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Boko Haram Can’t Divide Nigeria …JTF Arrests 158 Suspects -The Tide Survey

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Nigerians have dismissed as impracticable the impression that the security threat which the Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram poses today is capable of dividing the country along religious lines.

This is the aggregate view of Nigerians sampled in an opinion survey conducted on-line by The Tide.

A Port Harcourt-based Solicitor and Advocate, Mr Reginald Nnwoka said Nigerians had grown beyond the level of being divided by security threats of the kind which a handful of unguarded  terrorists today pose.

The legal practitioner is  confident that governmental structures properly rooted in our current democratic experience and on-going efforts to properly equip the security forces would check the excesses of the Boko Haram  at the right time.

Nigerians, he said, had grown to overcome ethnic, religious and tribal differences as evidenced in the kind of cross- cultural, cross-religious and cross-ethnic marriages being consummated in the country in the past many years.

While conceding that the Islamist extremist group poses a threat to the stability of the nation, he called on President Goodluck Jonathan to prove to Nigerians that he is indeed the Chief Security Officer of Nigeria by tinkering plausible ways of equipping the security agencies to rise up to the challenge.

Another legal practitioner, Mr Amglad Imabibo said it was actually sad that some Nigerians were deliberately playing out a script written by a foreigner that Nigeria will be divided by 2015.

Barrister Imabibo decried what he described as double speak by many influential northerners and said unless adequate steps were taken to curb the excesses of Boko Haram, Nigerians stand to face more devastating security challenges.

He ruled out the possibility that a handful of terrorists could divide Nigeria but warned that unless all Nigerians unite against the terror organisation the group could inflict unimaginable harm to the secularity of our constitution.

A contractor, Mr John Igani said if division of the country would bring about the much-needed peace and development why should anybody break his head over it.

A Bauchi born transporter of cows, Alhaji Ganiyu Shettima said whoever was calling for the division of Nigeria along any lines was on his own.

According to him, he had raised a family of six children, four boys and two girls with an Onitsha born woman, Adaeze and could not break that union for any reason. He said since his first wife, Ramatu whom he married according to full Islamic rites died in September 1998, his major source of joy had been his current union with Adaeze.

Another young secondary school leaver of dual parentage, Haruna Nkem Haruna, who has an Igbo mother and Kanuri father said although he spends more time with his father in Kwara since the marriage of his parents was estranged , his father had not abandoned the needs of his mother, his two younger sisters and himself.

According to him,  while he is a Muslim, his two younger sisters are Christians and wondered how the division of Nigeria across religious lines would affect his once happy family.

Mr Haruna vowed to support all positive forces including the Federal Government to defend the unity and security of Nigeria and hoped that all men of good would unite against the negative distraction which Boko Haram today represents.

On her part, a Port Harcourt-based trader who deals on pork meat, Mrs Comfort Isetima said her last two children were fathered by a butcher-husband of Hausa extraction who lives and plies his trade in Port Harcourt with whom she has co-habited happily.

Although her husband is a moselm from Kano and  she a Christian from Rivers State, they had never considered religion as a negative variable for their union, and wondered how anyone could impress on them such unsolicited separation on account of division of the country along religious lines.

A youth corps member serving in Port Harcourt, Miss Tosin Adetokunbo said at the end of her service year, her spouse Malam Adamu Ibrahim from Sokoto and herself hope to get married according to Christian marital rites, herself being a Methodist even if the groom to be is an avowed moslem.

The understanding between them, according to her, is that after the consummation of their marriage, she would study the benefits of Islam and  thereafter consider sharing her husband’s religion.

Where will a divided Nigeria based on religious and ethnic differences keep them and the love they have shared since  their first year in the university?

She called on youths corps members believed to be beacons of national unity and integration to join forces with all constituted authorities in preaching peace instead of violence, love instead of hatred and social cohesion instead of religious divisions.

Out of a total of 97 respondents who reacted to our questionnaire, only two expressed pessimism that Nigeria could come  out of its unity.

Meanwhile, the Joint Military Taskforce has arrested 158 suspected members of the Islamist Boko Haram organisation in raids in the northern city of Kano.

Boko Haram said it carried out a series of bombings in Kano last Friday in which at least 185 people died.

The group says it wants to overthrow the Nigerian government and imposes Islamic law.

There were two casualties from Tuesday’s dawn raids, carried out by the Nigerian Joint Military Task Force.

One resident of Kano said officers had encircled a house where a Boko Haram suspect was believed to be hiding. The shoot-out lasted several hours.

“They began shooting, and he fired back… This was followed by a barrage of gunfire by the security men,” Mohammed Maikubi Bala told our correspondent.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Amnesty said the Nigerian government should do more to tackle the group.

“The Nigerian government has repeatedly failed to prevent, investigate, prosecute or punish these acts,” it said.

The key suspect in a Christmas Day bombing on a Catholic church – believed to be a member of the Islamist sect Boko Haram – escaped from police custody earlier this month.

At least 40 people died in that attack.

 

Soye Jamabo

President,Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie (left), in a handshake with the Secretary to Government of Federation (SGF),Senator Anyim Pius Anyim (right), at a meeting between Federal Government and ASUU in Abuja on Monday.With them is the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu

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Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow

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The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.

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$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others

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The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.

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