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4 students killed in Federal Polytechnic Bida

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At least four students of the Federal Polytechnic Bida were killed yesterday Sunday during a rampage that scorched parts of the Bida Township in Niger State. A commercial bus driver was also reportedly killed.

 It was gathered that some students boarded a commercial bus from Minna to Bida on Saturday and paid the driver to take them to the campus which is on the outskirt of town leading to Ilorin.  The driver however reportedly ended the journey at the Bida Motorpark asking the students to seek alternative transport to the campus.   

The students lodged complaints with the motorpark authorities but fellow inter-city bus drivers saw nothing wrong in what the driver had done, insisting the students sought taxis to convey them to campus.

Victims of the violent attack in Bida Poly

Unable to get justice from the Park management, the student resorted to self-help. A shouting match that ensued between them and the bus drivers soon snowballed into fisticuffs and rampage with the angry students disrupting business activities within the motorpark vicinity.

 

It was gathered that the students returned on Sunday morning with some of the Students Union Government (SUG) officials but they were beaten up by motorpark touts. Outnumbered, the students made a retreat only to return to campus to mobilize more students.

The Institution’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Husseini Enagi, who confirmed the incident to newsmen said the students returned back to campus, remobilized themselves and went back to town on rampage

“Our students said they were cheated by a driver and all means to lay their complainants were not entertained, rather, they were beaten up when they went with some SUG officials. Majority of them were injured. I do not have the exact number now.

“With this development, they went back to school and mobilized themselves and went on rampage in town. We have received reports that they started looting shops and beating people around. However, we are yet to get in touch with the SUG officials because everywhere is tensed now. “

That was on Sunday. Later it was gathered that a lecturer and eight students were critically injured, while four other students were fatally stabbed. The hostility between the drivers and students also reportedly took a turn for the worse as some natives of Bida bent on avenging the dead driver, said to be an indigene of the town.

Police reportedly stormed the campus, firing gunshots into the air and throwing cannisters of tear gas. While not confirming the number of deaths, the Niger state Command Public Relations Officer, Abubakar Muhammad said the Police is on top of situation.

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Corruption: Emir Sanusi Lamido was under secret probe by govt. – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

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Emir Sanusi
Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido [Photo Credit: Guardian Nigeria]

Almost all through his 5-year tenure as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido did his best to uphold a squeaky-clean image as a public servant. He even put on a new toga, assuming the role of the country’s anti-corruption czar, speaking out against public and private sector corruption as well as supporting policies towards strengthening best practices.

 A startling revelation however, in a new book, paints a diametrically-opposing picture of Sanusi with strong suggestions of sleaze and brigandage at the apex bank where he held sway from 2009 to 2014.

The level of corruption was ostensibly on a large scale; so much so that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), a financial oversight body located in the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment initiated a probe.

The book, released 2018 and titled “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines,” was written by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a World Bank economist who herself was a cabinet insider at the time Sanusi was the CBN governor.

Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines

Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines

 Ngozi was Finance Minister, first in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration and returned to serve a second time in the same position but with an expanded portfolio as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

For political expediency and also not to send the wrong signal to international investors, the Jonathan administration chose to keep the probe quiet.According to Ngozi, the President said “if the situation became public, it could reflect badly on the Central Bank Governor.”

While the outcome of the probe was being given official consideration at the highest level, Sanusi sprung a surprise. He wrote a letter on September 2013 to President Jonathan, alerting him that there was $49.8 billion missing from the country’s oil accounts between January 2012 and July 2013.

The new development spurred efforts towards reconciling the accounts by a joint task force comprising the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, The Finance Ministry and the CBN; but was hit by a major setback when Ngozi got a call from a Financial Times of London African correspondent, William Walis, of a leaked letter to the President (Jonathan) which alleged that $50 billion was missing from the country’s oil accounts.

File Photo: Former President Goodluck Jonathan [Photo credit: Daily Post]

File Photo: Former President Goodluck Jonathan [Photo credit: Daily Post]

Before she could act accordingly, the story of the alleged missing funds had spread like wildfire, leading to widespread outrage all over the country.

In December 2013, reports by the task force were ready and after professional consideration, the parties involved agreed that the unaccounted funds were between the ranges of $10.8 billion to $12 billion.

Though this reconciliation had been made, the country was already thrown in an uproar over the initial report of the missing $50 billion which led the National Assembly to call for a hearing.

To water down the attendant reactions that embraced the initial report, a press conference was organized where Sanusi admitted that his staff had erroneously tampered with the figures but after proper investigations by the task force, the CBN came to a resolution that only about $12 billion of the funds were unaccounted for.

Efforts to exonerate all wrongdoings by the parties involved were short-lived a day after the press conference following a television advert by the NNPC distancing itself from the controversy which further complicated the already dicey situation.

In February 2014 during their appearance before the Senate ad-hoc committee chaired by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Sanusi in his defense when asked to speak, made a surprise u-turn and countered the initially agreed figure of $12 billion, Ngozi said.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala [Photo Credit: Guardian Nigeria]

In his defense, Sanusi said that while the unaccounted funds were not $50 billion, he argued that the money could not have been $12 billion either, tendering new exhibits alleging the figures to be $20 billion.

Sanusi fingered a subsidiary of the NNPC, the Nigeria Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC), for the non-disbursement of $6 billion to the Federal Account.

Thrown off balance by the new revelations, Ngozi called for an independent forensic audit, a move she opined was the last resort to regaining lost public trust.

Though Sanusi was suspended for ‘financial recklessness’, his act was interpreted as punishment for whistle blowing, Ngozi added.

In June 2014, embattled Sanusi was eventually crowned the Emir of Kano after the death of his grand uncle, Ado Bayero.

On assumption into office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed that his administration will probe the missing $20 billion allegedly unaccounted for from the country’s oil accounts. Buhari said that though the former governor of the apex bank had already assumed the position as the new Emir of Kano, the probe for the missing monies fraudulently unaccounted for became expedient, adding that the figure was too huge to ignore.

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CSO calls for action as Nigeria ranks among 14 countries where killers of journalists go unpunished

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A cross-section of participants at the event
A cross-section of participants at the event themed "Impunity for Crime against Journalists, a Threat to Democracy"

A civil society organisation (CSO), Safer-Media Initiative, has called on the federal government of Nigeria to take stringent actions to end impunity for crimes against journalists as Nigeria ranks among 14 countries where killers of journalists go unpunished.

The charge was made on November 2 in Abuja by the Executive Director of the organisation, Peter Iorter during a press conference with the theme “Impunity for Crime against Journalists, a Threat to Democracy”. The event was held as part of its activities to mark this year’s International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Participants at the event comprised representatives of the media, other civil society organisations, and the private sector.

In his opening remark, Iorter cited a UNESCO report which revealed that between 2016 and 2017, 182 Journalists lost their lives in the line of professional duty while in 2018; 86 of them were killed between January and October.

In a press release made available to SATELLITE TIMES, Iorter said that “shocking and infuriating is that in nine out of ten cases, the killers go unpunished. Even more disturbing is that Nigeria has consistently remained a contributor to those stunning global figures.”

In 2017, data collected by the International Press Centre (IPC) showed that at least two Nigerian journalists were killed while 12 journalists and media organizations in the country suffered various forms of assault.

A group photograph of some of the participants at the event

The slain journalists are Famous Giobaro of Bayelsa State-owned radio station, Glory FM 97.1, who was shot dead on April 16; and Lawrence Okojie of Nigerian Television Authority, Benin, who was shot dead while returning from work on July 8.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in an annual global impunity index published few days ago said Nigeria ranked 13 out of 14 countries in the world where journalists are slain and the killers circumvent justice.

According to Iorter, the alarming global reports propelled his organisation to raise concern that the Nigerian press is under “grave threat”.

“It is unfortunate, worrisome, and unacceptable that violations and assaults on journalists have continued unabated under a supposedly democratic system of governance,” he said.

He further condemned the incessant harassment, physical violence, arrest and detention of journalists by agents of government including the Department of State Service (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), among others.

“Their salaries are paid with tax payers’ money to protect citizens; any action of theirs to the contrary amounts to breach of the social contract,” he added.

Furthermore, Ioter also insisted that the rights of journalists must be protected at all times.

He called on the National Assembly to recognize the urgent need to strengthen the laws that promote media freedom and provide protection for journalists.

While fielding questions from journalists at the event, Iorter said his organization is poised toward press freedom, safety of journalists and advancement of responsible media.

Mr. Peter Iorter is also an Editor at SATELLITE TIMES newspaper.

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Army releases detained pregnant woman, Noroh Dung

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Noro Dung

The Nigerian Army has yielded to pressure and released a heavily pregnant woman, Noroh Dung, who was arrested and detained during a search and rescue operation in Du district, Jos South LGA of Plateau State.

Noroh who was whisked away on October 3 was released on Friday, October 12.

Speaking to SATELLITE TIMES, Barr. Godfree Matthew of the Christian Lawyers Association, confirmed Noroh’s release, adding that he was a signatory on behalf of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) he represents.

The news of her release comes shortly after the House of Reps waded into the matter, asking the Federal Government to allow relevant agencies to do everything within the law to trace the whereabouts of all missing persons in Nigeria.

SATELLITE TIMES had reported how Noroh was arrested alongside other civilians on suspicions of probable links to the disappearance of Gen. Idris Alkali, who according to the Nigerian Army was a victim of irate youths who blocked roads and attacked travelers, following the invasion of their community on September 2.

SATELLITE TIMES and the Christian Lawyers Association have been championing the release of Noroh ever since the news of her arrest reached this paper.

Details later…

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