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Yar’Adua Buried Amidst Tears, Tributes …Jonathan Steps In As President

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Remains of late President Umaru Yar'Adua being conveyed  from Abuja to Katsina for  interment yesterday. Photo: NAN

Remains of late President Umaru Yar'Adua being conveyed from Abuja to Katsina for interment yesterday. Photo: NAN

Following Nigerian President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s, death on Wednesday night at the age of 58, after a protracted illness, the  Federal Government, yesterday, announced seven days of national mourning and declared one-day public holiday.

The late president was laid to rest in his family home in Kastina State. Acting president Goodluck Jonathan has been sworn in as president.

In accordance with the Nigerian constitution, the acting president Goodluck Jonathan was, Thursday, sworn in as  president and Commander-in Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces at the council chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina Alu at 9.20am.

The wife of the Acting President, Dame Patience Jonathan and Governors of Kwara, Bukola Saraki, Ogun, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Nasarawa, Aliyu Akwe-Doma, Zamfara, Aliyu Shinkafi, Enugu, Sullivan Chime, Benue, Gabriel Suswam, Imo, Ikedi Ohakim and Oyo, Alao Akala witnessed the swearing-in ceremony.

Also at the ceremony were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, members of the National Assembly, Service Chiefs, as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed.

Ministers, the Inspector-General of Police Ogbonna Onovo, PDP Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor and members of the Diplomatic Corps were also in attendance.

Yar’Adua died from a protracted heart disease called acute pericarditis, the inflammation of the outer layer of the heart.

Yar’Adua came to power in 2007 elections which he himself acknowledged were flawed. The country’s Supreme Court finally ruled in December 2008 that he could stay in office, dismissing objections lodged by rival candidates. This meant Yar’Adua became the first civilian leader in Nigeria to take over from another.

Even before he was elected, there were doubts about whether Yar’Adua had the physical strength to reform the most populous country in Africa.

His health problems that dated to the late 1990s when he was governor of his native Katsina state forced him to travel to a German hospital on several occasions.

 However, Nigerian Nobel prize winner, Wole Soyinka, regretted that politicians  handled Yar’Adua’s illness in a disgraceful way.

“My feeling is one of resentment for those who used him as a mere instrument for their diabolical political gains,” he said. “Yar’Adua should have been released from office ages ago to pay full attention to his health, but people who knew how ill he was refused to take the necessary steps towards preserving him in his last days as a human being. He was just used and I found it most disgusting.”

American President Barack Obama said Yar’Adua would be remembered for his personal decency and integrity, his deep commitment to public service, and his passionate belief in the vast potential and bright future of Nigeria’s 150 million people.

Indications that the ailing president may go the way of all mortals emerged last Thursday as he failed to turn up at  the mandatory Friday prayers, despite an invitation by leading Islamic preachers.

Meanwhile, tears and tributes have continued to trail Yar’Adua’s demise, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said he received news of the passage of President Umaru Yar’Adua with great shock and sadness.

“Nigeria has lost the jewel on its crown, and even the heavens mourn with our nation tonight,” he said yesterday in Abuja.

In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Ima Niboro, Jonathan described the death of the President as sad, unfortunate and regrettable.

“As individuals and as a nation, we prayed for the recovery of Mr President.  “But we take solace in the fact that the Almighty is the giver and taker of all life,” he said.

The statement quoted the acting President as offering heartfelt condolences to President Yar’Adua’s widow, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, the entire Yar’Adua family, the people of Katsina State and Nigerians both at home and the world over.

In his tribute, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Prince Vincent Ogbulafor expressed deep regret, sorrow and sadness over the demise of this great son of Africa”, adding “ one of the most glorious chapter in the history of Nigeria has suddenly drawn to a close”.

In their reaction, the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP)  and the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) applauded Yar’Adua’s insistence on the rule of law, transparency and accountability in governance.

Alhaji Balarabe Musa, CNPP National Chairman ,who is also the leader of PRP, said in Kaduna that “Nigeria has lost a leader who tried to entrench rule of law and electoral reforms”.

He advised President Jonathan to continue with the good works of his predecessor toward strengthening the institutions of government and restore people’s hope in the polity.

Meanwhile, APGA  condoled with Nigerians over the death of  President Umaru Yar’Adua, describing it as a great loss

The National Secretary of APGA, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi,  said that the party received the news of Yar’ Adua’s death with “great shock’’.

He urged the new President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to rise to the challenges of moving the nation forward.

In his reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress, Mr Lai Mohammed, commended the swearing in of President Goodluck Jonathan to succeed Yar Adua, describing it as ‘’a smooth transition’’

‘’ We are glad that there has been a smooth transition as the acting president has been sworn in in line with the constitution. This has shown that Nigeria has towed the path of constitutionalism.’’

Mohammed described the late Yar’Adua as a straightforward and candid personality who shocked members of his party by his admission that the electoral process which brought him into office was flawed.

Meanwhile, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed sadness over the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Obasanjo said: “I received the news of Yar’Adua’s death with heartfelt sorrow. “Our prayer is that God grants him repose and condole his family.’’

The former President spoke during a stop-over on his way to Beijing.

In his reaction, former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, said that Yar’Ádua was great in death, just as he was graceful in his life time.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr Kassim Afegbua, Babangida said that Yar’Adua battled death like a valiant man, adding, “he represented our daily struggle in life’s bramble forest.’’

Babangida said: “It is pathetic and utterly painful; every death brings with it tears and pain and sorrow of grief and discomfiture.

Also speaking, Senate President David Mark described the death of Yar’Adua as a monumental loss to the nation.

A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, quoted Mark as saying that Yar’Adua left a legacy of selfless service that would be difficult to rival.

 

Victor Tew, Canice Amadi (Enugu), Friday Nwagbara (Calabar) with Agency reports

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How Soldiers Helped Me Escape, Kidnap Kingpin Reveals …They Opened Fire On Police, Took Me To Their HQ, Cut My Handcuffs …How We Re-Arrested Hamisu Wadume –Police …IGP Hails Operatives

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A suspected kidnap lord in Taraba State, Hamisu Bala popularly known as Wadume, has been reportedly re-arrested and taken to the Louis Edet House Force headquarters in Abuja.
It was not immediately clear when and where Wadume was taken into custody, but a police source confirmed the development, yesterday.
However, Wadume was sighted at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, yesterday.
In his reaction, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has commended the police operatives for their painstaking efforts in the re-arrest of Taraba notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, disclosed this, yesterday, in a statement in Abuja.
He said Wadume was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday in his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
Mba said the police had been on a massive manhunt for the suspect since August 6.
He said the manhunt followed the incident in Ibi, Taraba that led to the killing of three police officers and two civilians as well as injuring of five others.
Mba said the suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the first arrest, was subsequently released by his “rescuers”.
The FPRO said the IGP had expressed his profound gratitude to Nigerians for their show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the murdered officers and civilians.
“The re-arrest of Wadume will help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect,” Mba quoted the IGP as saying.
It would be recalled that Wadume was the ‘high profile’ kidnapping suspect arrested by the police on August 6.
He was being driven to Jalingo, the state capital by the police team when soldiers opened fire on them along Ibi-Wukari Road, killing three police officers and a civilian.
The attack immediately sparked friction between the police and the Nigerian Army, as well as a nationwide apprehension, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to order an investigation.
The investigation panel, which includes persons with police and military background, was initially scheduled to conclude its findings, last week, but the team sought additional two weeks to wrap up.
Meanwhile, captured suspected kidnapper, HamisuBala Wadume, has explained how he escaped from the operatives of Intelligence Response Team on August 6.
Wadume escaped from the custody of IRT operatives when they came under attack from soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, as they conveyed the kidnap suspect from the scene of his arrest.
The Army later explained that the soldiers attacked the IRT operatives when they mistook them for criminals, following a distress call they had received.
In the said attack, three policemen and a civilian were killed, while five other operatives sustained injuries.
Wadume was, however, re-arrested on the eve of Monday, August 19, Force spokesperson Frank Mba said yesterday
In a video clip posted on the verified Twitter handle of Nigeria Police Force yesterday, Wadume, who spoke in Hausa, virtually implicated soldiers at the Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, in his escape from the IRT custody.
Wadume spoke in Hausa, which was interpreted by our in-house staff member.
The suspect, who is alleged to have received millions of naira as ransom from his victims, said, “My name is Hamisu Bala Wadume.
“Police came to arrest me, When they arrested me, army chased after them and opened fire.
“From there, they (soldiers) took me to their headquarters, and cut up my handcuffs.
“I went back to my house and Police came to re-arrest me…”
Also, Force spokesman, Frank Mba, has described how the Police re-arrested millionaire kidnapper, Hamisu Wadume.
Wadume escaped when the operatives of Intelligence Response Team came under attack from soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, as they conveyed the kidnap suspect from the scene of his arrest.
“His arrest followed massive manhunt launched by the Police special forces and IRT members,” Mba said in a statement released to media yesterday.
The statement read, “The operatives of the Nigeria Police have re-arrested the notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume.
“He was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday, August 19, at his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
“It would be recalled that the Police had been on the massive manhunt for the suspect, Alhaji HamisuBala Wadume, since August 6, following the unfortunate incident in Ibi, Taraba State which resulted in the brutal murder of three Police Officers and two civilians, and injury to five others.
“The suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the incident, was subsequently released by his “rescuers” after they had destroyed the restraining handcuffs.”
The Police noted that Wadume’s arrest,” will, no doubt, help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect”.
Reacting to the recapture of the kidnapper, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has commended the police operatives for their efforts in the re-arrest of Taraba notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume.
The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, disclosed this yesterday in a statement in Abuja.
He said Wadume was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday in his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
Mba said the police had been on a massive manhunt for the suspect since August 6.
He said the manhunt followed the incident in Ibi, Taraba that led to the killing of three police officers and two civilians as well as injuring of five others.
Mba said the suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the first arrest, was subsequently released by his “rescuers”.
The FPRO said the IGP had expressed his profound gratitude to Nigerians for their show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the murdered officers and civilians.
“Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni while commending the Police operatives for their perseverance and painstaking efforts, has expressed his profound gratitude to all Nigerians for their unparalleled show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the officers and patriotic civilians who paid the supreme price in the service of their fatherland.
It is his belief that the re-arrest of Wadume, will help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect,” Mba quoted the IGP as saying. The Army is yet to respond to the allegation of the kidnap kingpin.

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Wike Lauds US, RSG’s Synergy To Fight HIV/AIDS …As Symington Unveils $75m Funding Grant

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has commended the United States Government for working with the state government to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the state.
Also, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Stuart Symington said that the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) administered by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Department of Defence, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was implementing an Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) surge programme in Rivers State to identify and provide treatment to approximately 180,000 PLHIV who have not previously received such.
The two leaders spoke at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, during a high-profile meeting on the promotion of the health of Rivers people.
Wike said: “I want to thank the Government of the United States for working with the Rivers State Government to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
“I thank the United States Government for recognising the contributions of the Rivers State Government in the fight against HIV/AIDS “.
Wike assured the United States Government that his administration would continue to fund programmes that would reduce the prevalence of the healthcare challenge.
“We will continue to work for the reduction of HIV/AIDS in the state. We are glad that we are partners with the US Government. For us, health is key. Education is key. With Education, you can talk to people on measures to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
“At present, with the support of the United States Government, we are running 115 sites to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS”, he said.
He said that the health programmes of the Rivers State Government is yielding results as the immunisation statistics of the state has moved from 54 per cent to 82 per cent.
Speaking further, Wike thanked the United States Government for insisting that votes count in Rivers State during the last General Election.
He said that the United States Government ensured that democracy survived in the country, despite the fact that it came under threat.
It would recalled that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike recently announced that the Rivers State Government would pay the user-fees for People Living with HIV in the state to access free treatment.
In his remarks, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Stuart Symington said the U.S. Government’s $75million budget increase for HIV control activities in Nigeria, with about $25million allocated for the ART surge activities.
Symington thanked Wike for announcing his intent to eliminate user-fees for PLHIV.
The ambassador emphasized that Wike’s pronouncement serves as an example to other states and the Federal Government to eliminate such user-fees.
“The United States remains committed to supporting Nigeria as it works to reduce and ultimately eliminate the scourge of HIV/AIDS among its people,” Symington said.
He noted the increased funding to make anti-retrovirals available would enable more people living with HIV to lead healthy, productive lives until the day a cure for the virus is found.
Symington noted that disbursement of the additional PEPFAR HIV funds are contingent upon Nigerian federal and state governments’ reducing or eliminating financial barriers to PLHIV access to services, in particular fees charged by healthcare facilities for non-essential services or those already provided by PEPFAR.
The U.S. delegation was in Rivers State to advocate for elimination of user-fees for all people living with HIV, antenatal care charges for pregnant women living with the virus, and other barriers hindering PLHIV from accessing health services.
Earlier, on August 19, Symington had paid a similar visit to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel in Government House, Uyo, the state capital, with members of the diplomatic corps.
During the meeting, Governor Udom Emmanuel applauded the existing bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the United States of America which has spanned several decades, and particularly thanked the US Ambassador for his contributions to make Akwa Ibom and Nigeria a global family through economic, educational and cultural cooperation.
He expressed appreciation to the diplomatic corps in their observer role during the last elections in the country and the rich counsel to the stakeholders for a hitch-free democratic process.
The state chief executive also expressed appreciation to the United state for the choice of Akwa Ibom in the pilot scheme to reduce the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a coastal state bordering other state and countries who interface daily for commerce and other economic pursuits, adding that Akwa Ibom is richly blessed by human and economic potentials and sued for more bilateral cooperation to create wealth both for the state and country.
He described Symington as a brother with a passion for humanity and expressed regret that his tenure in the country as an ambassador is short-lived and wished him well as he returns to his home country.
In his remark, the outgoing Ambassador of the United States of America, Mr Stuart Symington, had described Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s vision to industrialize Akwa Ibom State, equipped health care facilities and provide beautiful road network as placing the state on the global map as the state with the treasure.
While expressing appreciation to the people of Akwa Ibom and Nigeria for the hospitality accorded him throughout his stay in the country, the US envoy said that for sustainable development his country has chosen Akwa Ibom for the implementation of the health care support next year to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS pandemic and make the state a place for succour to those affected by the disease.
These, he said, was buoyed by the love for humanity and the future of the younger generations and those unborn.
He said that provision is made for a hundred and thirty patients to benefit from the Health support system.
The highpoint of the event was a toast proposed by former Ambassador to Russia, Chief Assam Assam SAN, for long-lasting relationships and love for humanity in the global family.
Earlier, Akwa Ibom State Government had disclosed that it is set to partner the United States of America in healthcare and other development efforts aimed at making life meaningful to humanity.
Udom said that his administration has invested so much to transform the health care delivery system to save lives.
According to him, you cannot talk about human capital development without a functional health care system.
Udom expressed appreciation to the US and its development agencies in the plan to partner the state in the fight against HIV/AIDS to reduce the scourge in the country and other countries within the Gulf of Guinea.
The state chief executive described as alarming the 130,000 targets set by the agency to address the menace, and called for accuracy and transparency in the records and expenditures of funds allotted for the program.
He, however, said that as a border state in the coastal region, there is an influx of people from other states and countries to transact business in the state it becomes expedient to partner to save humanity in the global family.
Udom said that relevant agencies would have to collaborate with personnel from the state, and expressed the hope that with the health care facilities on ground Akwa Ibom best suits the pilot scheme and thanked the United States for the choice of the state for the programme.
The governor, however, took exception to the fact that over $30 billion had been expended in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic without any verifiable records, nor input from the relevant agencies in the state.
He congratulated Governor Emmanuel on his re-election and the investment in the health care delivery system as well the industrialization of the state.
He said the visit which is his last as the Ambassador to Nigeria was to intimate the government and people of the state of the United States contributions to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to provide necessary assistance to those who are infected and to provide drugs, equipment and personnel to help humanity.
Symington applauded Governor Emmanuel for the high premium placed on the healthcare delivery system and his efforts at transforming all the secondary health centres to meet international standards.
He sued for collaboration to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
The ambassador pledged his governments readiness to partner the state in education, healthcare, agriculture and commerce.

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S’Eagles’ Coach Backs Alex Iwobi To Succeed At Everton

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Alex Iwobi has the potential to become a key figure for Premier League side, Everton, according to Nigeria national team assistant coach, Imama Amapakabo.
The 23-year-old joined the Toffees on a five-year deal from Arsenal for a fee of an initial £28million deal – which could rise to £34million with add-ons.
Iwobi has yet to make his debut for Everton (he remained on the bench for the duration of the win over Watford at Goodison Park this past weekend) but he should see regular playing time for the Merseyside club.
And his move has been given a ringing endorsement from Amapakabo, who is Gernot Rohr’s right-hand man with the Super Eagles.
“I think he has been able to prove himself that he’s a good player, he didn’t just sell himself to Everton, they came for him knowing the reason why they came for him and the role he’s going to play for them,” Amakarkabo told newsmen.
“The league just started in England, let’s give him some time we will be able to have a discussion with anyone that will doubt Iwobi’s capabilities.
“He is a young lad, and he has his football ahead of him so, let us give him all the backing that we need to give him, hopefully at the end of the season, we would be able to take stock of how well he has fared with Everton.”

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