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Mark, IBB, Others Mourn Aikhomu



Senate President David Mark has described the late former Chief of General Staff and Military vice president, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, who died on Wednesday in Lagos as one of the nation’s best officers.

In a statement signed by Mr Paul Mumeh, his Chief Press Secretary, yesterday, Mark said Aikhomu was a distinguished officer who exhibited a high sense of patriotism, loyalty and commitment to the indivisibility of the nation.

“His death is a personal loss to me. I worked very closely with him and found him an accomplished officer and gentleman who was loyal and dedicated to his nation. He was a man of high moral standing.  He was a leading light and  was among the first set of officers in Africa that brought pride and honour to the continent because of his exploits and successes abroad,” Mark said.

The Senate President added that Aikhomu was one of the patriotic officers who laid the foundation for the Armed Forces of Nigeria which had become the pride of all.

He said Aikhomu as a politician, preached peace and non-violent electioneering, stressing that he eschewed rancour and bitterness in its entire ramification.

Mark urged Aikhomu’s wife, Rebecca, as well as the government and people of Edo State to take solace in the fact that the deceased left an indelible footprint on the sands of time.

Also, former Military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, has expressed shock over the death of his deputy, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu.

According to a statement signed by his spokesman, Prince Kassim Afegbua, the former military leader said: “I am dumbfounded with the news coming on a day when I am celebrating my 70th birthday. I have lost a trusted, loyal and extremely reliable friend and a brother in Augustus Aikhomu. I enjoyed all my years of very warm and close relationship with him. He was a professional colleague who understood where we were headed as government and went out of his way to ensure, we achieved our set goals and objectives”.

Babangida prayed that God would grant Aikhomu eternal rest and grant the family and the nation the fortitude to bear the painful and irreplaceable loss.

Also,Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole expressed shock over the death of the  former military vice president, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu.

The governor, who extolled the enviable military career of Aikhomu, said: “Although he served under a military administration, he managed to cut the image of a father figure and a man of moderate influence. In his years as a politician, he was vibrant and demonstrated a competitive spirit.’’

He commiserated with the widow, Rebecca, whom he described as a staunchly supportive spouse. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Aikhomu family at this trying moment and prayed God to grant him eternal rest,’’ the governor said.

Former Chief of General Staff (CGS) Adm. Augustus Aikhomu would be fondly remembered for his loyalty both in the military and politics, former Senate president Adolphous Wabara said.

The former Senate president prayed God to grant the elder statesman “eternal rest in his bosom” and fortitude for his family to bear the irreparable loss.

In his tribute, Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger described the death as a great loss.

A release, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi Ndayebo, quoted the governor as saying that though Admiral Aikhomu died at the age of 72, after a prolonged illness, his death still came as a shock.

“Coming at a time when the guidance and advice of our great leaders are needed to help steer the ship of state, Admiral Aikhomu’s death is a big blow. But we are comforted that the great values he left behind will serve as guiding light not only to his former colleagues in the military but to the entire nation.”

Aliyu described Aikhomu as a loyal and dedicated deputy who supported former President Ibrahim Babangida in the re-engineering of Nigeria with resultant legacies in all sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has described the death of the former Military Vice President of Nigeria, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu (Rtd), as a huge loss to the nation.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali described the late former Vice President as a statesman whose critical roles as  vice president between 1986 – 1993 contributed in no small measure to the growth and development of Nigeria.

According to the statement, the Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Alh. Abubakar Kawu Baraje and the Party’s National Working Committee deeply regret the passing away of Admiral Aikhomu whose years of committed service to the Nigerian Navy and the nation is a lesson in patriotism.

The PDP further prayed Almighty God to grant him eternal rest and comfort his family, the Government and people of Edo State, as well as the nation.

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity



Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments



President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari



Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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