Twelve years after their conviction, former Chief of General Staff, Lt. General Oladipo Diya, and 44 other military officers, convicted for their alleged roles in the phantom coups in the General Sani Abacha administration in 1995 and 1997, finally got presidential pardon yesterday. This followed the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM), which was approved by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and was considered for final reprieve yesterday by the National Council of State meeting scheduled in Abuja. Others to be granted the presidential pardon and compensation include: Major Generals Abdulkareem K. Adisa (deceased) Tajudeen Olarewaju, Col. Lawan Gwadabe, 41 Other officers, four other ranks, a current serving Senator Chris Anyanwu, the late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and a journalist, the late Bagauda Kalto, former special adviser to the Chief of General Staff, Professor Odekunle, an activist, Comrade Shehu Sani and two State Security Service operatives, namely, Anthony Awoloyi and Julius Badejo. In a document,dated 23rd June 2009, copies of which have been given to state governors, former Heads of State, Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives, President Yar’Adua has accepted to grant the former convicts presidential pardon in accordance with the provisions of 175 of the 1999 Constitution. The document prepared to apprise the National Council of State of the intention of President Yar’Adua to grant the ex-convicts presidential pardon is categorised into four different groups for which the first set included 68 persons convicted by the Abacha administration for alleged participation in the 1995 and 1997 phantom coup d’état, but most of whom are no longer in detention and were earlier granted clemency. The presidential document further stated that those in the first category, include those earlier granted clemency, but not full pardon thus their properties were still forfeited, while category two contained list of 87 persons who are 60 years and above serving various terms in prisons all over the country. Category three include 12 eligible serving prisoners convicted of federal offences. The fourth category comprised 2 persons, namely the former Managing Director of Bank of the North (BoN), Alhaji Shettima Mohammed Bulama and Dr. Chiichii Ashwe, who were convicted for contravening financial laws but crave for the removal of the stigma attached to their names for purposes of re-integration into the society. In the recommendation of the presidential pardon to the Council of State, following the advice of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) for 2009, the debilitating ill-health likely to incapacitate or terminate in death of the inmates, as well as young persons of 16 years and below and all those that have spent 15 years and above on life sentence, were part of the consideration for the presidential pardon. The list of other military officers granted the presidential pardon include; Colonels G. A. Ajayi, O. Oloruntoba, R. S. B. Bello-Fadile, R. N. Emokpae, J. Isa, Olu Craig, E. I. Jando, D. Ndubueze and Y. Bako, while those in the Lt. Col. group include K. H. Bulus, S. E. Oyewole, M. A. Igwe, R. K. Obiki, C. P. Izeogu, O. L. Nyong, V. O. Bamgboye and S. B. Mepaiyeda. Others are A. Lawal, M. A. Ajayi. G. P. Okiki, O. O. Akiode (deceased), Navy Cdr, D. A. Omessa, L. M. Fabiyi, Majors J. O. Edeh, E. Obalisa, N. U. Okoro, A. Umar, A. A. Akinyemi, O. O. Fadipe, B. Mohammed, Capt. A. A. Ogunsuyi, U.S.A. Suleiman, M. A. Ibrahim, Lt. Olowookere (Navy), Lt. D. K. Olowomoran, 2nd Lt. R. Emouhe, Sgts. M. Potiskum, and P. Usikpeko (deceased) as well as Cpl. Godspower Ogbinovia.
Boko Haram Killed 847 Soldiers, Buried In Borno Cemetery, Ndume Reveals …48 Doctors Abducted In Two Years, NMA Laments
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, said on yesterday that 847 Nigerian soldiers killed by the Boko Haram terrorists from 2013 till date were buried in the Military cemetery located in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
He said the figure did not include other soldiers killed by the insurgents and buried in other military cemeteries located in other parts of the North-East geopolitical zone.
Ndume, who stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja on the findings by his colleagues who recently returned from Maiduguri, however, denied reports of mass burial of soldiers killed by the terrorists.
He also said the Senate panel was already investigating allegations that some non-governmental agencies operating in the North-East were providing useful information to the Boko Haram leaders.
Ndume also dismissed claims of the existence of mass graves where soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents had been buried.
He said during the visit of his committee to theatre commands in Borno State, it was discovered that soldiers were under-equipped to confront the insurgents.
Ndume also decried the inadequate number of soldiers confronting insurgents.
He called on the government to recruit more men into the service to aid the fight.
However, as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, yesterday, alleged that a total number of 847 soldiers were killed and buried in the military cemetery in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the Nigerian Army has challenged him to provide a proof to substantiate his statement.
Ndume had reported that 840 Nigerian soldiers were killed by Boko Haram terrorists from 2013 till date, noting that other soldiers killed by the same insurgents, and were buried in other military cemeteries are not inclusive.
But in a repost by Army’s spokesman, Col Sagir Musa, the Nigerian Army quashed the allegation, and challenged Ndume to provide a proof to substantiate his statement.
Musa said, “If he says so, then, he should substantiate. What is his source? Let him provide it”.
Similarly, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has raised the alarm that no fewer than 48 medical doctors have been abducted across the country in the last two years.
Its National President, Dr Francis Faduyile, who said this in Akure during the association’s 2019 Physicians Week, described the development as worrisome and unacceptable.
Faduyile lamented that “Some of our members that were kidnapped in some cases even died in the kidnappers’ den.
“At least, two doctors have been kidnapped in two-third of the states across the country within the last two years.
“It is worthy of note that all is not well with Nigerian doctors, the kidnapping of our members in the course of discharging their duties to the Nigerian state with some still in captivity.
“Incessant harassment/assaults by patients and their relations and the unfortunate maltreatment by employers (government), ranging from poor general working environment and emoluments to irregular payment of salaries with arrears running to 12 months or more in some states.
“Our members, two in number, kidnapped in Taraba in the last six months have not been released by their abductors.
Faduyile, therefore, appealed to government at all level to be more responsive and responsible to the welfare of Nigerian physicians who are making selfless sacrifices to sustain healthcare delivery in the country amidst challenges, including incessant harassment, kidnapping in the line of duty.
“The abysmal physicians to patients ratio and rise in brain drain brought about mainly by the poor general working condition in the health sector”.
He said the theme of this year’s Physicians Week, “Care of the Unknown Patient” was chosen to bring to fore issues affecting Nigerians who suddenly find themselves in an unconscious state from traumatic cause to majorly road traffic accident or medical conditions.
The NMA regretted that the government “has not deemed it pertinent to accord the desired attention and value to this category of patients.
“There is a lack of commitment to the implementation of the National Health Act which provides for the care of patients in an emergency situation.
“There is no enduring policy to cater for victims of a road traffic accident which accounts for large numbers of unknown patients”.
Faduyile equally lamented that there is no policy statement that clearly addresses the various components of the emergency care service for victims of gunshot injury.
The association, therefore, called for “an enduring and unambiguous policy statement that takes into consideration the critical aspects of care in an emergency.
“We advocate for the provision of defibrillators at the strategic public arena and health facilities for the prompt care of patients with a heart attack and related conditions either in the hospital setting or before taking such patients to a health care facilities for proper care”, he added.
Recover Govt Property From Illegal Occupants, Wike Charges Task Force …Explains Focus On Massive Urban Renewal
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has inaugurated the state Task Force for the Recovery of Government Properties, with a charge to members of the task force to work diligently for the state.
Inaugurating the committee in Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday, Wike said several permanent secretaries and top civil servants have retired from service, but were still illegally occupying government quarters.
Wike noted that several attempts to ensure that they vacate government quarters, so that serving officers can reside in such houses have met with resistance from the retired senior civil servants.
“You are by this inauguration required to recover all government properties illegally occupied by some persons.
“There are many civil servants who have retired from service, but are still occupying government buildings several years after retirement. This has made it difficult for those in service to have official quarters allocated to them”, he said.
The governor told members of the task force that they would face challenges while carrying out their responsibilities, and advised them to be firm.
He assured that the Rivers State Government would provide the required security and logistical support for them to carry out their functions.
Wike said that some top civil servants have gone as far as taking illegal measures to own government properties, noting that in some blocks of flats, some have gone to illegally acquire Certificates of Occupancy (CoOs).
“If you are a civil servant, you already know when you are to retire. Therefore, you have to plan for retirement.
“It is regrettable that some civil servants even fail to maintain government buildings where they reside. Do this assignment diligently. Except there is a clear court order, recover government buildings that have been illegally occupied”, he directed members of the task force.
The governor also charged the task force to locate government lands that have been illegally occupied and recover same.
Responding, Chairman of the Task Force for the Recovery of Government Properties, Barrister Rufus Godwins appreciated the governor for the confidence reposed in the members to carry out the important responsibility.
Godwins, who is also the Head of Service, assured the Rivers State governor that the task force would locate, identify and recover all government properties illegally occupied.
He said where the task force meets resistance; it would recommend prosecution of the affected persons to the office of the Attorney General of Rivers State.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has explained that the ongoing urban renewal of Port Harcourt City and adjoining towns of the state capital was aimed at returning the city to its Garden City status.
Speaking after inspecting ongoing projects, last Monday, Wike said that his administration was committed to reconstructing key roads in the state capital to ease traffic congestion and boost the economy.
He said because his administration was committed to constructing roads that would last, adding that 70 per cent of the urban renewal scheme would be handled by a Nigerian-based international construction company.
“We are working hard to return Port Harcourt City to its Garden City status. That is why we have embarked on massive urban renewal across the state capital.
“Seventy per cent of the roads under construction will be handled by international construction company, Julius Berger. We are committed to delivering roads that will last for the people of the state”, he said.
On one of the roads under construction near the Polo Club, Port Harcourt, Wike said that he would invite the management of Polo Club to work towards removing the shanties that deface the area.
He said if the management of Polo Club fails to act, the state government would be compelled to take tough action.
“We cannot allow the kind of shanties that I am seeing here. I have sent for the President of Port Harcourt Polo Club to come and give them notice to quit”, he said.
The governor said that the Judges’ Quarters have already been completed, while contractors were concluding work on the external services, especially the drainage system.
He said that the Mother and Child Hospital would be completed by the end of the year, and commended the quality of work done by the contractors.
Wike was accompanied on the project inspection by the Rivers State Chairman of PDP, Bro Felix Obuah and Senator Olaka Nwogu.
Super Eagles’ Future Very Bright -Rohr
Nigeria national team coach, Gernot Rohr, believes that the Super Eagles have ‘good future’ after they played out a 1-1 draw against Brazil in last Sunday’s international friendly in Singapore.
The 66-year-old German tactician paraded a young team against the five-time world champions, following a spate of withdrawals by some of his experienced players, including Captain Ahmed Musa.
The team, however, gave a good account of themselves with Joe Aribo, making his second appearance for the Super Eagles, scoring the opening goal in the 35th minute before Casemiro’s second-half effort saved the South American champions from defeat.
The draw is the second in a row for the Brazilians after they were held by Senegal in last week’s friendly outing.
Rohr is impressed with the performance of his side but admitted the three-time African champions still have to improve.
“It was tough for us as the second game because Brazil would not have wanted to leave Singapore without winning, and it feels very good to know that we can play so well against some of the biggest names in football,” Rohr said in a post-match press conference.
“We didn’t have our best team here, but our wingers gave Brazil a lot of problems on the counter-attack and I am proud of our players. They can have a good future.
“We can still improve in defending set-pieces. We have height, with players as tall as two metres, but we have to be better in the air.
“It is not enough just to have good size, they need to jump well with good timing.”
Rohr believes African football is improving after both Nigeria and Senegal avoided defeat against the world number three.
“These results are good for African football when Senegal and Nigeria did not lose to Brazil, one of the strongest teams in the world,” he added.
Nigeria will hope to secure good results when they take on Benin Republic and Lesotho in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games in November.
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