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NDLEA intercepts 581 million Tramadol tablets in 2 days

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it has seized 241 million Tramadol tablets in 11 containers, weighing 118 metric tonnes.

Head of Public Affairs of the agency, Mr Jonah Achema, said in a statement on Sunday in Abuja that the seizure was made at the Apapa Port in Lagos.

The agency had earlier uncovered 340 million Tramadol tablets in 12 containers on November 15 at the port.

The containers had been on the watch-list of the NDLEA since November 2017.

They were taken to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for search, based on the agency’s reasonable suspicion that they contained the drug.

Achema said that there were 39 more containers that were lined up for search as the agency strongly suspected that they contained illicit drugs.

“This brings to 581 million Tramadol tablets uncovered within two days of the search. The search is still ongoing. We shall continue tomorrow as well,” he said.

Achema added that the agency would not relent until the country was freed from drug abuse and consumption.

Buhari, Sultan, Sanusi speak on Nigeria’s unity

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President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration is committed to national unity and religious harmony.

He urged Nigerians to embrace the effort.

He gave the assurance on Sunday during the 10th Anniversary of Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN) and N5bn launch of MUSWEN International Centre in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president’s message was read at the event by Mr Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education.

Buhari urged religious leaders to embrace religious tolerance to achieve peaceful co-existence and national unity, re-stating his administration’s commitment to religious harmony and national unity.

The president commended MUSWEN and its leaders for their contributions to national growth and development, saying the south west Muslim leaders were the most dedicated.

Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, also urged all to always extend hands of fellowship to others, irrespective of religious beliefs, ethnicity and status in the society.

He counseled Nigerians to eschew the use of foul languages on others even when they felt so much aggrieved, saying the nation could only achieve greatness through tolerance and unity of purpose.

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, in a keynote address entitled “Muslim Voice on Good Governance”, said the topic was timely considering the challenges facing the country.

He said that Islam and Muslim political heritage had profound principles, norms and practices for good governance, saying such predated modern democracy which was about 200 years.

“Muslims should be at the fore front in advocating and leading with examples in good governance.

“This has become necessary because our political culture has deteriorated and increasingly mercantile, where money is everything.

“This is responsible for bad governance that has characterised the polity, subverted development, perpetrated poverty as well as elicited the unending social conflicts.”

Sanusi said money-based politics would continue to fuel unprecedented corruption seen in the society today, saying pristine values as a people had been supplanted and the future thrown into jeopardy.

He urged all political, spiritual and traditional leaders to join hands in salvaging the polity from the danger posed by the current political culture.

According to him, “we have to take leadership seriously and cannot ignore centuries old wisdom which places high premium on leadership and criteria for shouldering responsibilities.

“The consequences of ignoring the standards are already showing and we must not wait until the bubble bursts. We cannot allow full reins to money politics and expect the eradication of corruption.”

You are a monumental failure, PDP blasts Aregbesola as tenure ends

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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Osun State has called out Governor Rauf Aregbesola, describing his eight years tenure as a monumental failure.

It argued that the governor will go down in history of the state as the worst since the return of democratic rule in 1999.

PDP said contrary to what the governor was making people to believe as achievement in infrastructure and human capital, “Aregbesola is leaving the state worse than how he met it in 2010”.

The Chairman of PDP in the state, Hon. Soji Adagunodo stated this on Sunday through a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

Speaking on where he scored himself high during an all night interaction tagged “Ogbeni Till Day Break” on Friday, PDP said such self glorification was childish and a total farce.

According to the party, “There is no better indication of the governor’s failure than the dysfunctional educational system, comatose healthcare, gargantuan debt, deplorable road, abysmal water infrastructure and several other negatives which the governor is bequething to his successor.

“It is already on record that it is during the tenure of Ogbeni Aregbesola that Osun was ranked by BUDGIT as one of the four most indebted States and the least fiscally responsible state in Nigeria.

“It was during these same years that the state found itself on the lowest rung of performance of students in public examinations; a situation which made us a laughing stock even among states hitherto considered educationally disadvantaged in Nigeria.

“Human life and development had never been this compromised as Medical doctors, health workers, lecturers, and civil servants embarked on strikes for a cumulative period of not less than 3 and a half years during Aregbesola’s administration.”

PDP also took on Aregbesola over his claim that he had built more roads than previous governors, saying there were more death traps than motorable roads, as it cited township roads in Ejigbo, Iwo, Ede, Ikirun, Ila Orangun, Ilobu among others.

The party added that the roads from Osogbo to Ila-Odo, Akoda-Gbongan, Orile Owu to Ijebu-Igbo, Iwo to Ejigbo and several others which it said the governor used as cover to obtain various huge loans have been abandoned at stages ranging between 15 and 40 percent completion.

“The road from Osogbo through Iwo to Ibadan which the governor boasted would be rehabilitated by Julius Berger in 2012 was never started and must today rank among the worst roads in Nigeria.

“It is similarly on record that a recent survey by an international organisation ranked Osun as one of the 3 dirtiest states in Nigeria. This is in spite of the billions of Naira siphoned by Local and State government officials in the guise of environmental sanitation.

“Our party notes that while Osun is very happy that the reign of Ogbeni Aregbesola is coming to an end, the people are rather sad at the legacy of impunity and fraud that Mr Governor and his party introduced to our political landscape as exemplified in the September 22nd and 27th governorship election in Osun State. It is one ugly legacy which has put the name of our dear state on the dark spot of political discourse within and outside Nigeria.

“However, our hope is in the judiciary to do justice and restore the mandate freely given to Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke as the rightful successor to Ogbeni Aregbesola; the PDP hereby joins the people of Osun State to keep on praying that the inglorious reign of the APC would soon be terminated and a new lease of prosperous life be injected into the State of the living spring”, the statement said.

Abducted Zamfara twin sisters regain freedom

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Two female twins abducted by gunmen in Dauran village of Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State have been released.

The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Mohammed Shehu, who confirmed their release to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gusau,

said that the victims were being debriefed by the command in Gusau.
NAN reports that the two girls who came home from the state capital, Gusau, to distribute their wedding cards and make other wedding plans, were abducted by the gunmen along with four others, including their pregnant elder sister, Rukayya (still in captivity).

It was on realisation of the concern and media reports centered on the twins that their abductors demanded for an initial ransom of N150 million from the relatives of the orphans whose father died recently shortly after his retirement from the state’s civil service.

After several pleas by the relatives and threats of fire power by the state government and security operatives in the state, the ransom was reduced to N15 million which led to their brother – in-law giving out his bank account number for good samaritans to donate.

A close associate of the family, who preferred anonymity, told NAN that the money was raised and taken to the bandits on Saturday at a location they gave, about 20 kilometres from Dumburum village.

The location is one of the notorious areas of operations of the bandits in the same Zurmi local government area.

“The gunmen, numbering over 100, each one carrying an AK 47 rifle, surrounded those who brought the money, the person who seemed to be their leader threw sand on the two bags with the money, jumped and chanted some words, then asked his boys to take the money away.

“Then came a bus in high speed which brought the two girls and the four people who brought the money were told to go with the girls without turning back, ” he said.

Meanwhile, the remaining victims including the pregnant woman, were yet to be rescued.

Presidency reacts to APC bye-election victories in Bauchi, Katsina, Kwara

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The Presidency has spoken on the All Progressives Congress (APC) victories in the last 24 hours.

In the bye-elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, November 17, 2018, the APC swept the seats in three federal constituencies in Katsina State, three in Kwara State, and another in Bauchi State.

“This is a sign of things to come in the 2019 elections”, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, said in a statement on Sunday.

He said: “This victory should be a blow for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaigners who have maintained that by merely claiming that they have rebranded, Nigerians will have forgotten all the mess they left behind in 2015.

“By voting overwhelmingly for the ruling APC, Nigerians have shown their confidence in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, and their willingness for continuation of this government and its policies.

“This clear show of support can only be a synopsis of what Nigerians should expect in the forthcoming elections, at all levels.

“I would like to use this opportunity to remind Nigerians that there will always be a winner and a loser in every election, an individual and a party with the highest votes and another with the lowest.

“That is what democracy is about. Therefore, all aspirants should approach elections with the mindset that they could either win or lose.

“Accepting results only when one wins and challenging results each time one loses, is not the right attitude. It is certainly not what democracy is about.

“On behalf of President Buhari, I thank the people of Katsina, Kwara and Bauchi States for their show of support over the weekend.

“I thank Nigerians all over the country for believing in this government and in its determined effort to pull our nation out of the mess left behind by 16 years of PDP government, and into the greatness that is our destiny.”

Presidency reacts to APC bye-election victories in Bauchi, Katsina, Kwara

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The Presidency has spoken on the All Progressives Congress (APC) victories in the last 24 hours.

In the bye-elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, November 17, 2018, the APC swept the seats in three federal constituencies in Katsina State, three in Kwara State, and another in Bauchi State.

“This is a sign of things to come in the 2019 elections”, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, said in a statement on Sunday.

He said: “This victory should be a blow for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaigners who have maintained that by merely claiming that they have rebranded, Nigerians will have forgotten all the mess they left behind in 2015.

“By voting overwhelmingly for the ruling APC, Nigerians have shown their confidence in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, and their willingness for continuation of this government and its policies.

“This clear show of support can only be a synopsis of what Nigerians should expect in the forthcoming elections, at all levels.

“I would like to use this opportunity to remind Nigerians that there will always be a winner and a loser in every election, an individual and a party with the highest votes and another with the lowest.

“That is what democracy is about. Therefore, all aspirants should approach elections with the mindset that they could either win or lose.

“Accepting results only when one wins and challenging results each time one loses, is not the right attitude. It is certainly not what democracy is about.

“On behalf of President Buhari, I thank the people of Katsina, Kwara and Bauchi States for their show of support over the weekend.

“I thank Nigerians all over the country for believing in this government and in its determined effort to pull our nation out of the mess left behind by 16 years of PDP government, and into the greatness that is our destiny.”

Why governors should not have immunity – Senatorial Candidate, Ude

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Senatorial Candidate of the United Democratic Party, UDP, for Abia North district, Chief Charles Ude, has called for the removal of the immunity clause from the constitution.

He said doing so would make it difficult for corrupt governors to personalise and divert funds meant for the development of their states.

Ude, who stated this weekend in an interview with Veloxnews in Abuja, was reacting to the Appellate Court’s reduction of jail terms for two ex-governors, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame.

Recall that Justice Stephen Adah in a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeal reduce Dariye’s jail-term from 14 to 10 years. He was a two-term governor of Plateau state.

Similarly, Justice Abdul Aboki-led Appeal Court panel slashed Nyame’s sentence from 14 to 12 years. Like Dariye, he was a two-term governor of Taraba state.

Speaking, Ude faulted the delay in the prosecution and sentencing of the governors who both left office 11 years ago.

He regretted that though the jail terms were fair for the more than 20 charges brought against each of the governors, the people were denied prompt justice because of the immunity Dariye and Nyame enjoyed at the time when they diverted their state funds.

He insisted that without the immunity clause in the constitution, more governors would apply greater sense of responsibility in the handling of the people’s commonwealth.

“I hope the appropriate institutions will see the need, through Dariye and Nyame’s cases, to remove the immunity clause from our constitution.

“It will go a long way in making those who hold public offices as governors and president not to see the funds of their states as their own. It will some responsibility in governance,” he said.

Ude went further to fault the jail term reductions on the ground of the governors being ‘first time’ offenders, saying the law does not capture that idea in criminal cases.

He said: “If you look at the reduction of the terms given the analyses of the Appellate Court that they were first time offenders, you will but wonder.

“There is nothing like that in law in criminal cases. If it were murder trial would the Court have said the governors were first time murderers?

“Again, I think in a case of conspiracy a governor alone cannot to down. There should be other people involved but I wonder how they managed to let them off the hook.

“But for more than 20 charges against the governors, I think the jail terms were fair,” he concluded.

Whistle blowing: EEDC talks tough against corrupt officials, vandals

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The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, has vowed to prosecute any of its staff found indulging in corrupt practices.

It also declared that there would be no hiding place for those sabotaging power supply through the vandalization of critical infrastructure.

This came amid complaints from customers that some officials of the EEDC were demanding for money ranging from N20,000 to N30,000 to facilitate the installation of pre-paid metres for them.

Our correspondent reports that the allegation and high estimated billing topped complaints during the company’s customers’ forum held weekend in Enugu.

However, the EEDC head of communications, Mr. Chukwuemeka Ezeh said the company had earlier launched a whistle blowing policy against corrupt officials.

While acknowledging that there were bad eggs in every establishment, he urged customers “to be swift in unveiled the identity of any of our staff involved in making financial demands from them.

“Our metre is free, the installation is also free. So, anyone demanding money from customers is a fraudster and should be treated as such.”

He said the customers’ forum “is part of EEDC’s engagement strategy to reach out to her customers, intimate them of activities of the company; feel their pulse regarding the quality of service and also address their concerns.”

He also used the opportunity to enumerate some of the projects EEDC has embarked on to improve the quality of service to customers, some of which include: “asset registration and customer enumeration, massive metering of her customers, deloading of feeders; construction of new feeders; deployment of relief transformers, construction and upgrading of injection substations.”

Ezeh also appealed to customers “to be vigilant and protect the electrical installations within their neighborhood from vandals.”

Similarly, in a remark, the EEDC head of audit and compliance, Mr. Ade Odunmbaku said the company “looks into corruption very seriously; however, most customers encourage this because they are always in a hurry. In addition, most time, we have come out to deal with the situation. but the customer will turn around to say, I don’t want someone to lose his job.

“So, if we don’t fight them out and prosecute them, this will continue.. We have given whistle blowing number, make good use of it.”

Four INEC workers, NYSC member, 3 year-old die in Kogi auto crash

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Four staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a member of the NYSC and a three-year-old girl on Saturday died in an accident along Ajaokuta–Lokoja Road.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the victims were returning in the evening from Ayingba, Kogi, where they attended the wedding ceremony of another INEC staff.

NAN gathered that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member was performing his primary assignment with INEC office in Lokoja and the child belonged to one of the INEC staff members.

The Director of Voter Education and Publicity at Kogi Office of INEC, Mr Ahmed Biambo who confirmed the incident in a telephone interview with NAN said that the victims were from the Information and Communication Technology and Account departments of INEC.

Bimbo said that the corpses had been deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.

Meanwhile the Kogi Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps ( FRSC ), Mr Olisegun Martins, could not comment on the incident as he did not respond to calls made to his telephone number.

Fire guts 156 shops at Nkwo Ngwa market in Aba

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Fire on Saturday gutted about 156 shops at the timber and furniture section of Nkwo Ngwa market in Aba South Local Government Area of Abia, leaving many families in grief for their losses.

The Chairman of the market traders’ association, Okechukwu Lawrence, told NAN at the market on Sunday that he was informed about the incident through phone call around 7:00 pm on Saturday.

Lawrence said he rushed to the scene immediately and he and the market’s taskforce members broke its gates to let in sympathisers to help quench the fire, using water from a borehole.

“We tried our best before the Fire Service came in. We used water from our borehole to quench the fire.

“But the hoodlums around later broke the borehole in their bid to steal our pump while the fire was raging.

“That was how I saw it yesterday. The fire was too much and it gulped millions of Naira worth of goods and property.

“We have some building material sellers in all these front shops. The second row of shops is occupied by furniture sellers and dealers in other things.

“We recorded a very big loss here but there was no loss of life or injury,” he said.

Lawrence also debunked claims that his members attacked the fire service personnel who came to quench the fire.
The chairman said that it was a group of hoodlums called Aroo Boys who attacked the fire service men.

He said the Aroo Boys further entered the market, broke into shops, carried rice, stock fish, clothes and other property and left.

He further said the fire could have been stopped with the help of the fire fighters before it destroyed up to 100 shops.

The Abia Police Commissioner, Chris Ezeike, who visited the scene Sunday morning, said he was there to access the incident and sympathise with the victims.

Ezeike noted that the section of the market was full of inflammable materials.

He, however, called for calm and peace, adding that the fire incident, which was said to have caused by a generating set, would be investigated immediately.

Capt. Awa Udonsi (rtd.), Senior Special Adviser to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu on Security, said he had been notified about the incident and would involve the concerned ministries in the matter.

Udonsi said he would not take decisions for the governor but assured that government would “do the right thing” in the situation.