Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Kogi East Senatorial District, have nominated Mohammed, 43, first son of Abubakar Audu, to replace his father as the party’s governorship candidate.
The senior Audu died on Sunday just as it became clear he was leading in the Kogi governorship election held Saturday.
The APC is to conduct a fresh primary to choose a replacement.
The Kogi leaders, who made their decision known in Lokoja on Thursday after a meeting, said they chose Mohammed Audu after due consultations.
Their spokesman, Daniel Isah, who is the vice chairman of APC in Kogi East, said they had resolved and were determined to back Mohammed Audu to replace his father when the National Working Committee orders fresh primaries.
Mr. Isah thanked the Independent National Electoral Commission and the national leadership of the party for the opportunity given to them to find a replacement for Mr. Audu who died at Ogbonicha, Ofu Local Government.
He appealed to the national leadership of the party to give their decision utmost consideration and approval in the overall interest of the party and the state.
Present at the meeting were Lincho Ocheje, Hassan Omale, Benjamin Ikhani, and Emmanuel Dangana, among others.
A blast struck a market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Yola on Tuesday evening, killing 32 people and wounding 80 others, both the Red Cross and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
The explosion occurred at a fruit and vegetable market beside a main road in the Jimeta area of Adamawa’s state capital around 1900 GMT.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the blast bore the hallmarks of militant Islamist group Boko Haram which has killed thousands over the last six years in its bid to create a state adhering to strict Sharia law in the northeast.
“Thirty-two people were killed and 80 have been injured,” said a Red Cross official who asked not to be named. NEMA regional spokesman Alhaji Sa’ad Bello later gave the same casualty figures.
Suspected Boko Haram militants have carried out attacks in neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon in recent weeks but have not struck northeastern Nigeria since late October when bombings in Yola and Maiduguri left at least 37 people dead.
“The ground near my shop was covered with dead bodies. I helped to load 32 dead bodies into five vehicles,” said witness Alhaji Ahmed, who owns a shop in the market.
A Reuters witness said he saw eight ambulances being used to carry casualties away for treatment.
Suspected members of Boko Haram have killed around 1,000 people since President Muhammadu Buhari took office in May, vowing to crush the militant group.
Since losing most of the territory they took over earlier this year to the Nigerian army, the militants have focused attacks on markets, bus stations and places of worship, as well as hit-and-run attacks on villages.
(Reporting by Emmanuel Ande; Additional reporting by Isaac Abrak; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Dominic Evans)
Nigeria has recorded more deaths from insurgency and violent crimes in the last four years than before, despite spending an unprecedented N1.488 trillion on armaments between 2011 and 2014, a PREMIUM TIMES analysis has shown.
While N369 billion was spent in 2011, N365 billion, N381 billion and N374 billion were spent in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively for the purchase of the security equipment — mostly arms and ammunition — across the major law enforcement departments of the country.
Offices reviewed are the Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministries of Defence, Interior, and the Police. Together, they received a total budgetary allocation of N3.69 trillion within the period.
The N1.488 trillion spent on arms formed about 40 per cent of the entire N3.69 trillion security budget.
The security budget was about 20 per cent of Nigeria’s entire budget within the period.
Police Service Commission
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Curiously, the number of deaths caused by insurgency and violence in the country increased as the spending rose.
According to the death toll tracker by Nigeria Security Tracker, deaths caused by crime and violence in Nigeria rose from 29 in May 2011 to 41,619 in September 2015.
Majority of these deaths were linked to the militant Islamist movement, Boko Haram, violence among ethnic groups, farmers, and herdsmen, Niger Delta militants and even police extrajudicial murders.
The Nigerian military and allied agencies do not fully disclose details of how these monies are spent. They simply tag them as matters of national security.
The heads of the country’s security agencies have also repeatedly said allocations to their units were insufficient to equip the armed forces.
Experts however say the huge allocations should translate to improved level of security in the country.
But that is not the case.
An analysis of global annual military spending by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, as well as annual violence-related deaths collated from Council for Foreign Relations’Nigeria security tracker show that for Nigeria, the funds dedicated to arms have not exactly translated to improved security or fewer number of deaths.
WHAT THAT AMOUNT CAN DO FOR NIGERIANS
The huge military investment could improve other sectors significantly. For jobs creation, it could help:
148,820 beneficiaries of YOUWIN loan scheme at N10 million each
59,528 doctors’ annual salary of N2,500,000 for 10 years
219,595 teachers’ annual salary of N677,704 for 10 years
Close to 1.5 million beneficiaries of SMEs loan at N1 million each
Should the same amount be committed to infrastructure and or social amenities, here is what it can do.
Over 67 gas-turbine able to produce up to 32,800 megawatts at the cost of N22billion per piece;
Extra 74,400 primary schools built for N20 million each;
Up to 148,800 primary health centres at a total cost of N10million;
Additional 212,571 cheap housing for citizens at N7million per piece;
Not less than 16.17 million households with potable water at a cost of N92,000 per household connection;
Additional 15,780 kilometers roads constructed at the outrageous N94 million per kilometer;
248 million bags of fertilizers for farmers across Nigeria to enhance growth of agricultural plants; and
Mosquito treated nets at N6,900 each for about 215.65 million Nigerian kids thus saving them from the scourge of malaria which kills more than 300,000 Nigerian children under the age of five. (Is it annually)
Ishola Williams, a retired major general in the Nigerian Army, said part of the reasons the military is unable to contain the violence in the country was perhaps not related to inadequate arms and ammunition.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Williams said the failure in containing the insurgency could be “because the community intelligence, comprising the state security service (SSS), Civil Defence and Police, are not friendly with the community where they operate; they don’t get good information from residents to help them uncover activities and hideouts of criminals and even the Boko Haram insurgents”.
He also said the Nigerian military’s reliance on the conventional military style inherited from Britain, the country’s colonial master, in fighting a non-conventional war against the Boko Haram, is responsible for the poor outing the military has recorded.
Mr. Williams said while the Nigerian military are equipped with sophisticated ammunition, many of its personnel do not have full knowledge of how they work.
He said they also lack the knowledge of how Boko Haram operates.
Quoting Sun Tzu, Mr. Williams said, “If you know yourself and your enemy, you will fight thousand battles and win the war, but in the case of Nigeria, perhaps our military only knows itself but does not know the enemy very well and so keeps losing the war”.
He said recruitment into the army is majorly to reduce unemployment and are not based on the need to fill critical positions with special requisite skills.
The siege on the home of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, by officials of the State Security Service, SSS, was still on, Sunday, despite a court order.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday reacted angrily to the siege on Mr. Dasuki’s house despite an earlier ruling he gave permitting the retired colonel to travel abroad for medical treatment. “My own orders will not be flouted” the judge said on Friday, while re-iterating his stance that the former security chief be allowed to travel for medical treatment.
PREMIUM TIMES could not confirm if the SSS had been served with Friday’s court order as the Service is yet to appoint a spokesperson.
Mr. Dasuki had returned to the court to sue the Federal Government for still plotting to re-arrest him despite the earlier court order.
Justice Ademola said on Friday that “a court order must be obeyed”.
He also said there was nothing wrong in allowing Mr. Dasuki travel abroad for medical treatment, saying “only a fit person can stand for trial and investigation.”
Mr. Dasuki had approached the court last Monday asking for an order to allow him enforce his rights.
In the suit, Mr. Dasuki sought enforcement of his fundamental human rights to dignity and security of his life.
Armed security operatives have been permanently stationed at his residence, closely monitoring in-and-out movements and occasionally checking trunks of vehicles.
PREMIUM TIMES observed that on Sunday, two Trucks belonging to the SSS were parked in front of Mr. Dasuki’s house at No. 13 John Khadiya street, in Asokoro district Abuja on Sunday.
Operatives of the SSS were also seen sitting in front of the House.
Mr. Dasuki himself responded to our inquiry asking whether the SSS had left his house via text message to say “ They are yet to comply. At this moment, they are still here”.
The SSS had while reacting to initial reports of the siege on the residence of the former NSA issued a statement saying the “standoff” with Mr. Dasuki is based on a different investigation
The agency said Mr. Dasuki has refused to honour an invitation by a committee investigating arms purchase while he held sway as the NSA.
“It may be recalled that Sambo was initially arrested and charged to court for unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering, for which reason his international passport was seized and on the order of the court, returned to the registrar for custody,” the SSS said in the statement by one Tony Opuiyo.
“What has however brought the seeming standoff between Sambo and the Service, despite the court-ordered release of his international passport on 4th November, 2015, is his refusal to appear before a Committee undertaking the investigation of an entirely different case.”
But Mr. Dasuki reacted swiftly saying he was never invited to appear before the committee.
“I’m not also aware that the committee is operating from the SSS headquarters,” Mr. Dasuki told PREMIUM TIMES. “What I know is that the committee is operating from the office of the National Security Adviser. So why is the SSS the one inviting me?”
Friday’s court order was issued after the SSS statement.
The United States has sent more than 30 troops to central Niger to help train local forces to fight Islamist militants, state TV and security sources said on Friday.
Niger is in the middle of a desert corridor between Mali’s lawless north and Libya’s barren south used by Islamist militants, including some with ties to al Qaeda.
State television said that U.S. ambassador Eunice Reddick had visited the troops earlier on Friday at the base in Agadez, a gateway city to the desert north.
“Training began in mid-October in Agadez with more than 30 American instructors who will train more than 100 of our soldiers,” said a Niger military source.
The mission is the latest sign of closer military cooperation between the two countries following the donation of two U.S. military aircraft in late October.
Washington is seeking to tackle Islamist militants in the Sahel-Sahara band as well as Boko Haram fighters further south while minimising expensive, long-term troop commitments.
Direct military operations are limited mostly to short raids although each year the United States organises an annual training session for regional troops, including Niger soldiers.
(Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Bernard Orr)
Oil giant Shell has been accused of making false claims about the extent of its clean-up operations in Nigeria.
In a joint report, Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development said Shell had failed to implement UN recommendations.
The report said several sites Shell claimed to have had cleaned up were still polluted.
Shell has said that it disagrees with the report’s findings.
A 2011 report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that oil spills in the Ogoniland region of southern Nigeria had contaminated drinking water, wrecked the fishing industry and threatened the health of local people.
Shell stopped drilling oil in Ogoniland in 1993 after growing unrest in the area.
Although Shell accepts that spills in the region have occurred through the failure of pipelines it says pollution is also caused by oil theft and illegal refining.
‘Failure of regulation’
The Amnesty/CEHRD report says four spill sites identified as highly polluted in 2011 all remained “visibly contaminated in 2015, even though Shell says it has cleaned them”.
“The investigation demonstrates this is due to inadequate clean-up, and not new oil spills,” it says.
“By inadequately cleaning up the pollution from its pipelines and wells, Shell is leaving thousands of women, men and children exposed to contaminated land, water and air, in some cases for years or even decades,” said Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights researcher at Amnesty.
The report also accuses the Nigerian government of failing to properly regulate the oil industry.
Shell says it rejects the findings and says it is “committed to cleaning up all spills”.
It says a thorough clean-up of Ogoniland will take many years to achieve.