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Insecurity: Reorganise Security Chiefs, NCEF Challenges Buhari

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The National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, has reminded President Muhammadu Buhari to stand by his words that the Islamic terrorists are godless, callous gangs of mass murderers by reorganizing the National Security Units to comply with the Federal Character Principle in Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution.
NCEF observed that the National Security Units that are solely in control are Muslims from the North of Nigeria.
NCEF noted that President Buhari should be held responsible for the audacity, expansion, and unbridled atrocities of ISWAP, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria.
NCEF, in a statement through its National Chairman, Elder Solomon Asemota, SAN, said that while President Buhari appropriately described the Islamic terrorists, “One would however require a lot of hope before attaching any sincerity to his statement given the excessive pro-Islamic direction of his government since 2015.
“President Buhari not only deliberately created the atmosphere for Islamic insurgency to thrive in Nigeria but has equally adopted repentant terrorists into the Nigeria Army.”
The NCEF, while reacting to what it described as the unwarranted and callous murder of eleven innocent Nigerian Christians on Christmas Day, 2019, noted that the timing of the gruesome murder of the innocents Christians to Christmas Day was a certain signal of the Islamic insurgents deliberately desecrating the day in which Christians worldwide marked the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and the central figure of the Christian faith.
The statement stressed that the act was not only a heinous crime, but it was also provocative and insulting.
Elder Asomota said, “These Christians were abducted by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram. According to reports, thirteen men were shown in a video pleading for deliverance while eleven were eventually killed.
“Two of the captives were released because they are Muslims while the remaining eleven were presumably killed due to their Christian faith. Ten of the Christians were beheaded while the eleventh was shot dead.
“The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari responded in a statement that he was “profoundly saddened and shocked by the death of innocent hostages in the hands of remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers that have given Islam a bad name through their atrocities.
“He further went on to appeal that we should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims because these barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world.”
The NCEF explained that if Buhari is sincere, he should ensure that all the terrorists that have been assimilated into the Nigeria Army be dismissed, adding that at the most, they could be constituted into Civilian Task Force if they are willing to help combat terror in the land.
According to the NCEF, “No sensible Government, anywhere in the world, adopts terrorists into its Army.”
NCEF further explained, “Our suspicion is that the statement of President Buhari is for the benefit of the United States of America which recently placed Nigeria on its Special Watch List (SWL).
“However, President Buhari has the opportunity to prove us wrong by ensuring that the murderous Fulani herdsmen from his ethnic group are arrested and prosecuted.”
NCEF said that they would however take President Buhari by his word that “We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims …”
“Presently Nigeria is divided under its conflict of ideologies which produced ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS. The current distress in the country is caused by the conflict between DEMOCRACY and SHARIA ideologies. It is the Sharia ideology that emboldens Islamic terrorists in the country and until it is dismantled as competing National Ideology, the country will not know peace.
“President Buhari has done more than any leader in this country to inflame this conflict of ideologies. In its paper of 11th December, 2019 titled: “SOWORE COURT SAGA: WELCOME TO SHARIA”, the NCEF provided information proving that Nigeria is running under Sharia ideology rather than Democracy which President Buhari was sworn into office to uphold.
“NCEF insists that the solution to the problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria is for Democracy to remain the only National Ideology as designed by the founding fathers of this country. If Mr. President is sincerely committed to the unity of Nigeria, he should promote Democracy.
“NCEF is also not unaware of the statement credited to the Sultan of Sokoto in PUNCH newspaper of 28thDecember, 2019 that “Christians in Nigeria are not persecuted”. NCEF would want to conclude that his Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto was misquoted as this statement coming from a traditional ruler of his stature would not accord with statesmanship. Denying the obvious under the circumstances could hardly be described as a suitable solution to problems threatening the corporate existence of the country.
“The National Christian Elders Forum would not want to link this statement with another statement of the Sultan in 2011 in Harvard, USA, in which his Eminence said, “I do not recognize any Nigerian Constitution and the only Constitution I recognize is the Koran”. This pregnant statement which out rightly rejected Democracy and accepted Sharia could easily be interpreted to have escalated the current Sharia induced religious insurgency and intolerance in Nigeria.
“NCEF implores both President Buhari and the Sultan of Sokoto, as Fulani Muslims, and leaders of the Islamic Ummah to open up dialogue with the rest of the country to resolve these problems caused by religious intolerance in Nigeria. Already, other Muslim countries in the world are relaxing their erstwhile hard Islamic stance in order to operate meaningfully in modern multicultural, multi religious and multi ethnic societies.
“For example: Saudi Arabia officially bans child marriage under 18 years. Sudan has apologized to Christians in the country. The Minister of Religious Affairs, Nasredin Mofreh, apologized to Sudanese Christians “for the oppression and harm inflicted on your bodies, the destruction of your temples, the theft of your property, and the unjust arrest and prosecution of your servants and confiscation of church buildings.
“The Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of Sudan on Christmas Eve tweeted a photo with prominent activist Natalina Yacoub and said that he seeks to build a Sudan. That respects diversity and enables all Sudanese citizens to practice their faith in a safe and dignified environment.” Sudan celebrated Christmas for the first time in ten years.
“Locally, Shiite Muslims visited three Churches in Kaduna to felicitate the Christmas season with them. All these are pointers to leaders of the Sunni Muslim Ummah in Nigeria that rigid Islamic intolerance is going out of fashion. It is time for Sunni Muslims in Nigeria, particularly in northern Nigeria, to adjust to modern civilization and join to restructure the country for the peace, safety, and prosperity of all the citizens,” NCEF explained.
The NCEF therefore called on President Buhari and the Sultan of Sokoto, as principal decision makers on all issues involving Islam in Nigeria, to participate in building ONE COUNTRY, ONE SYSTEM which is Democracy.
It said the conflict of ideologies of Sharia and Democracy must be dismantled, adding that as we enter a new decade in a few days time, the NCEF appealed to leaders of Sunni Islam in Nigeria to join all well meaning citizens to build a country that “though tribe and tongue differ, in brotherhood we stand.”

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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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