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23 May 2019

Amaechi opens up on who’s behind his success as Minister

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, says the support and commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to the development of transport infrastructure led to his achievements in the last four years.

Amaechi disclosed this during his valedictory news conference on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that the interest of the President was the yardstick for the performance of any minister.
“The president’s commitment to developing rail infrastructure was the secret behind our success in the ministry of transportation,’’ he said.

On rail projects, Amaechi said Abuja-Kaduna Rail line and Lagos-Ibadan line were the biggest achievement of the government, adding that other rail projects had also achieved appreciable level of progress.

He also disclosed that the government achieved milestone in maritime transport especially the repositioning of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron in Akwa Ibom.

He added that a lot had been achieved in the inland waterways, adding that the ports were reorganised for efficiency.

In aviation, the minister explained that two of the four international terminal buildings in Port Harcourt and Abuja airports were completed while others in Kano and Lagos were at various stages of completion.

On national carrier, he said that the cabinet was divided on the issue of modality, explaining that there were those who believed government should invest and then sell the equity later.

According to him, there are also those who believed in getting investors in and giving them the franchise of Nigeria Airways or Air Nigeria.

“That is where we are and that is what held it down. But as for whether it is still in our plan, it is and has not been abandoned,” he said.

Amaechi also stated that the current administration had achieved a lot in ensuring the safety of the nation’s airspace.

On road transport, he said the sector was the most confusing in terms of building and management, saying that the government was working towards harmonising it.

Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) Goes Crazy Over Game Of Thrones Ending

For perhaps the last time ever, Jason Momoa channeled his late Game of Thrones character, Khal Drogo, and growled his way through the hit HBO series' finale on Sunday night. Like many fans, Momoa had some powerful reactions to the episode. In particular, he seemed extremely displeased with how things ended for Khal Drogo's Khaleesi, a.k.a. Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke), who was killed by her nephew and lover Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in the final episode of the series.
Momoa livestreamed his (NSFW!) reactions on Instagram for all to share. "You're going back to what the fvck you did in the first place and you killed Khaleesi? Oh my god." He later joked that he was going to to go to the bar and get in a fight.

See his live reactions below:


To further prove his devotion and disappointment, Momoa also left three gushing comments on his on-screen wife and off-screen friend Emilia Clarke's Instagram about the Game of Thrones finale. Clarke's most recent Instagram teased her New Yorker interview. "So my dear kind peeps at @newyorkermag asked me a few questions about my MOD [Mother of Dragons] experience and I answered as best I could.... link in bio for a few snippets on how it felt to wave goodbye to my extra limb.
#modforlyfe @gameofthrones#endofanera #goodbyemylover."


And in the comments, Momoa made his thoughts on the finale known. "Baby that episode killed me," he wrote in his first comment. Then he commented four heart-eye emojis and added, "I love u madly."

Momoa has commented on Clarke's Instagram like the most enthusiastic work-spouse several times before. Most notably, when Game of Thrones wrapped last June, he left a super supportive comment.

Clarke had written, "Hopped on a boat to an island to say goodbye to the land that has been my home away from home for almost a decade. It’s been a trip @gameofthrones thank you for the life I never dreamed I’d be able to live and the family I’ll never stop missing."

And Momoa commented to her, "Love u. Proud of you." Sweet stuff:

U.S Files New Charges Against Wikileaks' Julian Assange

The U.S. filed new charges Thursday against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, accusing him of placing the United States at risk of serious harm by publishing thousands of secret and classified documents, including the names of confidential sources for American armed forces.

In an 18-count, superseding indictment, Justice Department prosecutors allege that Assange directed former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.
The case presents immediate questions about media freedom, including whether the Justice Department is charging Assange for actions — such as soliciting and publishing classified information — that journalists do as a matter of course. Department officials said Thursday they believe Assange strayed far outside First Amendment protections.

"Julian Assange is no journalist," said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the Justice Department's top national security official. "No responsible actor, journalist or otherwise, would purposely publish the names of individuals he or she knew to be confidential sources, exposing them to the gravest of dangers."

A lawyer for Assange did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The new Espionage Act charges go far beyond an initial indictment against Assange made public last month that accused him of conspiring with Manning to crack a defense computer password.

Wikileaks caused particular harm by publishing the names of people who helped American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. diplomats around the world.

The new indictment says Assange conspired with Manning to obtain and disclose classified national defense documents, including State Department cables and reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prosecutors say his actions "risked serious harm" to the United States.

Assange, 47, is in custody in London after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in April. The U.S. is seeking his extradition.

Manning, who was convicted in military court for providing a trove of classified documents to Wikileaks, is currently in a northern Virginia jail on a civil contempt charge.

Manning spent two months in the Alexandria Detention Center beginning in March after she refused to testify to a grand jury investigating Wikileaks. That grand jury is sitting in Alexandria, where Assange is charged. She could remain in jail for up to 18 months, the length of the current grand jury's term.

Manning has said she believes prosecutors want to question her about the same conduct for which she was convicted at her court-martial. She served seven years of a 35-year military sentence before receiving a commutation from then-President Barack Obama.

Call Oshiomole To Order - NANS Fire Strong Warning To Buhari

The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to order.

The student expressed sadness over Oshiomhole’s alleged plan to impose his candidates as principal officers of the 9th National Assembly.
NANS staged a protest at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja on Thursday asking the party to immediately convey a National Executive Council, NEC, meeting and issue a stern warning to the party National Chairman

NANS came out with various placards with inscriptions such as “No to open balloting at 9th Senate and Reps election”, “Asiwaju Tinubu, as a democrat, allow each candidate to ride on his/ her credibility”, “Adams Oshiomhole, you are derailing our hard-earned democracy” among others.

The students also took a copy of the protest letter to Lagos House in Asokoro, for onward delivery to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

NANS Senate President, Gambo Mohammed, who addressed newsmen during the protest, said that federal character principle suggests that no part of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria should be marginalized especially with regards to principal positions of the National Assembly.

Presenting an eight-paragraph protest letter to a representative of APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Mohammed said that students are interested in politics because human beings are political animals.

The letter reads in part: “The leadership of the Senate NANS, acting closely with the Coalition of Youths Organization, having met and thoroughly examined the underlying dynamics in the election of the 9th National Assembly, and arising from a critical stakeholders meeting where it deliberated on matters arising at the National Assembly, have resolved that our lives begin to end the day we keep mute on the things that matter to us.

“History has it that the imposition of candidates was a key factor that destroyed the PDP, thus NANS Senate hereby cautions the leadership of APC to tread carefully on the imposition of sponsored candidates as this negatively impact their ratings and public image, while threatening the coherence of the 9th National Assembly.

“Having zoned the Senate presidency to the North East, in clear accordance with the preamble of the APC constitution, the best practice is to allow all inherently qualified members thereto to participate in the election. NANS Senate is well aware of the inherent imposition which holds sway at party levels, but is of the position that party politics imposition is not superior to what is constitutionally established.

“While NANS Senate is of the opinion that the leadership of the National Assembly at all time should be a matter with no bearing on party imposition, it concedes that our experience as a people has been that the majority party holds the trump card in these matters as stated earlier.

“This reiteration is to drive home the point that Nigerians are looking up to the APC to set the right template for emulation by other arms and tiers of government.”

Over 100 IPOB Members Land In Prison Over Alleged Treason

An Enugu East Magistrates Court presided by Magistrate A. N. Chioke has remanded 140 members of the proscribed  Indigenous Peoples of Biafra over alleged treason.

The defendants, who were brought to the court in three 608 buses and one 18-seater bus, were said to have conspired to commit a treasonable felony.

They were, however, arraigned outside the court for about two hours as the courtroom could not accommodate them.
The offence was said to be punishable under Sect. 516 (A) of the Criminal Code CAP C38, Laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Enugu State.

When the charge was read, the defendants pleaded not guilty.

One of the defence counsels, Mr Osita Abalu applied for their bail on the grounds that there was no evidence to back up the charge.

Abalu said that the prosecution had failed to provide probable cause why the defendants should be remanded in court in line with Sect. 234 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws (ACJL) of Enugu State, 2017.

He urged the court to exercise its powers under Sect. 225 of the same law and grant bail to the defendants.

Abalu said that though the offence for which the defendants were charged was punishable with life imprisonment, Sect. 88 of the ACJL, the Magistrates Court was qualified to grant bail.

Counsel to the 107 defendant, Mr F.C. Okeke told the court that it was ridiculous for the prosecution to claim that the defendants attempted to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari.

Okeke said that the defendants were arrested on their way to a burial and wondered how that could translate to overthrowing the government.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is in Abuja, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is in Enugu while the defendants were arrested in Nsukka,” he said.

The counsel described the charge as trumped-up and meant to deny the defendants of their fundamental rights.

Okeke said that the prosecution deliberately brought the matter to the Magistrates Court just to punish them.

“An accused person cannot be brought to a court when such court has no jurisdiction to entertain the matter just to punish them.

“That is the essence of the ACJL of Enugu State. The law does not want an innocent soul to suffer.

“The defendants were arrested with no evidence; not even a razor blade. They were going to a burial,” he said.

Okeke urged the court to grant them bail in the most lenient means.

However, the prosecution counsel, Mr Paschal Nwachukwu urged the court to discountenance the bail application.

Nwachukwu said that the law empowered prosecutors to bring defendants to a magistrate for remand.

He said that a court could not grant bail in a matter it had no jurisdiction.

In her ruling, Chioke declined jurisdiction in the case and remanded the defendants in Enugu Prisons and urged the defence team to make an application in the appropriate court.

The magistrate ordered the release of the four vehicles to their owners on bond and on the provision of proof of ownership and particulars.

“The charge the defendants are remanded for is reasonable but the prosecution did not list any exhibit of weapon of warfare against them.

“The only document against them before the court is the charge sheet. This looks to me like a trumped-up charge,” Chioke said.

(NAN)

Bode George slams Sule Lamido, backs Obasanjo on Islamization of Nigeria

Former National Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olabode George, has slammed a former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, for describing ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo as a religious and ethnic bigot.

Pa George, a former military governor of Ondo State, spoke to journalists at his Ikoyi office in Lagos.

He accused Lamido of disrespecting Obasanjo, whom, according to him (George) was a concerned nationalist.
Obasanjo had recently alleged that there was a grand plot by some elements to foist a Fulani and Islamic agenda on Nigeria and other West African countries.

But in a quick response, Lamido said Obasanjo should not allow his displeasure with the current administration make him a religious and ethnic bigot.

George said Obasanjo has the right to express his observation over the incursion and increased activities of herdsmen in the South West.

He said, “Things have never been this bad in this country and the way that we are going about it is creating unnecessary division. What is our problem as Nigerians?

“When Obasanjo left office as military head of state in 1979, a lot of Yoruba people blacklisted him saying he should have handed over to Pa Awolowo instead of a Fulani man. There was no name that he was not called, but Obasanjo is a straightforward person.

“Recently, he made a comment as an observation that things are not going right in this country. The incursion of herdsmen is disturbing.

“He is also a farmer and a lot of farmers are complaining bitterly that their farms are being ravaged. My friend, the former governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido accused Obasanjo who has always been a nationalist of being a bigot.

“What Lamido said was absolute nonsense and an insult. Does he know what Obasanjo suffered? Was it not the same man who made Lamido whom he is by giving him the opportunity to become a minister?

“But he is now turning round to call him a bigot. Why did Lamido not find out from Obasanjo why he made that statement?

“Wole Soyinka made the same observation that Obasanjo made and you know that both men are not usually on the same page.

“Maybe we should reverse roles and get some Agbekoya farmers from the South West to go to Lamido’s village and start ravaging farmlands, and then we would know what he would say.

“What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. I invite Lamido to come to the South West and I will take him round the villages so that he can see what these farmers who are losing their livelihoods are feeling.

“Our people are complaining about the sudden incursion and increased activities of herdsmen in the South West; why can’t Lamido see through that prism?

“We should be careful about some of the reckless comments that we make. Does it mean if tomorrow an Igbo man becomes the president, Igbo traders will now carry cutlasses and chase everyone away from their villages?

“Buhari should use his position as the President of the Fulani herdsmen in West Africa to calm these people down. It is a challenge to him.”

JUST IN: Osinbajo, Ngige unveil leadership of ‘short men’ in government

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, have unveiled the leadership of what they called, “short men in government”.
At a valedictory Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, which was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Ngige named Osinbajo as chairman and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as deputy.

While Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, was named as Secretary General of association, Ngige said he is the provost.

Osinbajo said: “Just to mention for the record that I was elected chairman of the association to which Dr. Ngige referred the one to which Adams Oshiomhole, Ngige and El-Rufai are members, not because I’m the Vice President but because I’m the tallest member.” 

Why Buhari, Police Council, Confirmed The Appointment Of Adamu As IGP

The Police Council headed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, confirmed the appointment of Mr Mohammed Adamu as the Inspector-General of Police.

A member of the Council and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, made this known to State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, NAN reports.
The president appointed Adamu as acting IGP on Jan. 15 following the retirement of his predecessor, Ibrahim Idris.

“The Council looked at the records of the acting Inspector-General of Police, who has been on the saddle now since Jan. 15, 2019.

“A cross section of members of council were very clear that given his passion and commitment, professionalism and his extensive experience locally and internationally, his acting inspector-general of police was approved.

“And, it has been confirmed (to) permanent appointment by the Police Council in accordance with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,’’ Fayemi said.

He stated that personal testimonies were given by many members of the council, including himself, in favour of the IGP.

The governor said that the council also identified with the challenges and the enormities of responsibilities that the IGP would have to cope with at a time that security challenges were daunting across the country.

He stated that the council acknowledged that government at all levels must address the root causes of crimes with a view to checking criminal behaviours in the society.

“We will have to do a little more because many of these challenges are socio-economic in nature and need to look at the sociological underpinning of crime.

“It is not just being tough on crime but also being tough on causes of crime by addressing these causes most fundamentally.

“Council acknowledged that we will give the IGP the support that he deserves. Already, at the state level, many of you are aware that state governors are supporting the police in many ways and we are not tired of doing that,’’ he added.

Fayemi also disclosed that the council commended the IGP for introducing community policing as a stop-gap in addressing “the gap that exists between citizens and the security agencies.’’

BREAKING NEWS: Atiku Calls For The Arrest Of Lai Mohammed, See Why

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said that the Minister of Information ‘Lai Mohammed should be arrested for a breach of security’ and apologized to him and the PDP.

Atiku in a statement Paul Ibe, his spokesman, said Lai Mohammed’s comments that he is planning to sabotage President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was grandiose scheme being put together by some unscrupulous elements aimed at jeopardising his reputation”.
The Statement read thus “We wish to blow the whistle as an early-warning alert of the grandiose scheme being put together by some unscrupulous elements aimed at jeopardising the reputation of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar in the coming days and weeks,” the statement read.

“By the merit of what is beginning to unfold, there are plans to create some upsets across the country whereby alleged perpetrators of such crimes will engage in phantom names-dropping of Atiku Abubakar and some senior personalities in the Peoples Democratic Party.

Already, we are abreast of some other plans to plant fictitious stories in some mushroom media outlets aimed at discrediting Atiku and his political party, the PDP. “It, therefore, becomes preponderant that we alert the public of this demonic plan and to say that it will be imprudent to compromise the peace and security of Nigerians in order to score a cheap political goal.

“Towards this end, and for the umpteenth time, we call on the Federal Government to be awake to its responsibilities of providing security and ensuring peace, and to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of exposing our fault lines.

“It is very unsettling that senior administration officials, especially those who are the mouthpiece of government will make reckless but calculated comments to tarnish the image of Atiku Abubakar and government will sit idly on it.”

With the conclusion reached by relevant security outfits that there is no evidentiary proof to back the claim by Lai Mohammed that the opposition was planning to upstage the government, we demand that the information minister should be arrested for a breach of security and an apology rendered to Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.”


Vanguard

Corps Members Call For A Review Of SAED

Members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have called for a review of the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme of the scheme.

The programme was established in 2012 to “coordinate efforts towards empowering corp members nationwide to become thriving entrepreneurs and value-adding employees after their service year.”

Before the initiative became compulsory for corps members, there had been a growing concern among fresh graduates over the gradual disappearance of white collar jobs in the country.
In response to the concern, the federal government introduced the vocational and entrepreneurship development programme to train corps members in cosmetology, construction, agro-allied, ICT, film and photography, power and energy, automobile, education, culture and tourism, among others.

Despite the success stories recorded by some corp members through the NYSC SAED initiative, many corps members have tagged the initiative as a “scam” and “time-consuming” and called on the government to review its implementation.

Chukwuyem Divine, a corps member in Abuja, describe NYSC SAED as a great initiative with poor implementation.

“The idea of the NYSC SAED programme is great but the implementation is poor,” he stated in an interview with our reporter.

“I will not blame my fellow corps members who called the initiative a scam due to so many irregularities I can attest to. I boycotted the training not because I am certain of white collar job after my youth service, but because of the clear exploitation, lack of professionalism of the trainers and the wrong timing,” Mr Chukwuyem said.

“Most of our SAED lectures usually hold for three hours or more after intense morning parade when corps members must have been tired.”

Another corps member in Edo State said he and some colleagues did not participate in the programme because they could not afford the fees they were told to pay.

The corps member, David Ojumoola, said: “I was very disappointed when the coordinator sent me out because I could not afford the #1000 they asked us to pay outside the money the Federal Government set aside for the SAED training.”

This reporter made several attempts to reach the spokesperson of the NYSC in Abuja, Adenike Adeyemi, for her comment for this story but she did not pick calls to her telephone or respond to text messages.

On how to improve the programme, Mr Ojumoola urged the NYSC to set aside a day in the week for practical SAED classes, just as in the Community Development Service (CDS).

On his part, Mr Chukwuyem called for a total review of the programme implementation so as to protect coming corp members against exploitation by administrators of the programme.
 
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