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PDP Senators Visit Jonathan, Pledge Support …As Saraki Reviews Committees

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators yesterday paid a surprise visit to former President Goodluck Jonathan, in his country home in Otuoke, Bayelsa State.
Reacting to the visit, yesterday, the ex-president on his @GEJonathan said: “I thank the distinguished senators who paid me a visit earlier today (Thursday), and I urge them to continue giving Nigeria their all”.
Since the former President handed over power to Muhammadu Buhari after conceding defeat in the presidential election in 2015, he has not been seen actively participating in the activities of PDP.
The PDP has also been rocked by leadership tussles and controversies with two factions battling for the chairmanship position of the party.
Jonathan since handing over to Buhari has focused on building his Goodluck Jonathan Foundation and was noticeably absent at the PDP’s convention.
Perhaps, in a move to make the former President an active member of the party, the senators paid a visit to him although details of the visit have not been made public yet.
The former president has however insisted that he has no plan to contest for the Presidency in 2019 so it is unlikely the meeting has anything to do with making him the party’s presidential candidate for 2019 election.
The visit by the senators generated reactions from Nigerians. While some commended the move and exalted Jonathan as a true statesman, others described him as a man who allowed corruption to flourish in the country.
Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki, yesterday, reshuffled the leaderships of the Senate’s committees, in what has been described as one of the moves to return peace to the troubled Red Chamber, since June 9, 2015.
Senator Kabiru Marafa, former Chairman of the Committee on National Population was appointed chairman of the Petroleum (Downstream) Committee. Senator Oluremi Tinubu, former chairman, Committee on Women Affairs was named chairperson of the Committee on Environment.
Senator Suleiman Hukunyi is now chairman of the Committee on National Identity.
These lawmakers were all outspoken critics of the Saraki-led Senate.
Saraki made the announcement shortly before the Senate adjourned, yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to put in necessary measures to evacuate Nigerians in South Sudan, currently facing internal conflicts.
The decision followed a Point of Order by the Deputy Spokesman of the Senate, Sen. Ben Bruce, at plenary.
Bruce while raising the point of order said that reports reaching him indicated that Nigerians in Sudan were the only nationals still left in the country in spite of the increasing tension.
According to him, rather than being evacuated by the authorities, Nigerians in South Sudan are being subjected to question and answer sessions and subsequently dismissed.
“As we speak, in the Hallowed Chamber, the fate of Nigerians in South Sudan is unknown and there are no indications that they have been evacuated,’’ he said.
Bruce urged the Senate to summon the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, to explain why Nigerians were allegedly abandoned in the war torn country.
The lawmaker also urged the Senate to mandate the Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisations, to carry out holistic investigation into what transpired between Nigerians at the Nigerian Embassy in the country.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the relevant authorities would be communicated appropriately to ensure that the lives of Nigerians in South Sudan were not in danger.
“Ben Murray Bruce came to discuss this matter with me and I think that based on our rule there will be no debate.
“But we will get the message across to the relevant Ministry to see that a thing like this doesn’t happen and action is taken to properly address the matter.’’
The Republic of South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, following a referendum that passed with 98.83 per cent of the vote.
The country, has however, suffered internal conflicts since its independence, with a resurgence of violence following its fifth anniversary as a country.

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity

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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

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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

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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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