Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Suntai may arrive Jalingo today

Taraba State Governor Danbaba Sunatai
Governor Danbaba Sunatai of Taraba State will on Sunday (today) arrive Jalingo, approximately 10 months after he was flown abroad for treatment following an air crash involving his private jet in Yola.
Sources close to the governor told our correspondent that Suntai arrived London from New York on Saturday. He was scheduled to leave London for Jalingo on Saturday night or early hours of Sunday.
Suntai reportedly left New York for London on a chartered flight on Saturday due to the lack of seats on commercial flights.
Our source, however, declined to name the flight, airport and time of departure from London as well as the time of arrival in Jalingo, but said the  governor’s wife, Hauwa, had left for home to prepare ahead for the arrival of her husband.
The governor’s wife had in a telephone interview on August 20, said that her husband was expected to depart the Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Centre and Home, New York, on August 25.
Suntai spent four months at the rehabilitation centre after spending about six months in a German hospital.
Barely 48 hours after he was transferred to the National Hospital, Abuja, following injuries sustained in the plane crash, the Taraba governor was flown to Germany for medical treatment.
Suntai was the pilot of his jet Cessna 208, 5N-BMJ Jet that crashed in Yola, Adamawa State on October 25, 2012.
He was taken to an Abuja hospital around 10:57am on October 26, 2012, in a state ambulance. He was reported to have been in coma when he was flown out of the country. The governor, his aide-de-camp and chief security officer were all onboard the crashed plane.
Suntai, who graduated as a pilot from the Aviation College in Zaria last year, flew the crashed plane. That was the second time he survived a plane crash.

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Mourinho hints at Willian arrival at Chelsea

Spurs appeared poised to announce a deal for the Anzhi Makhachkala forward after he completed a medical, but Chelsea swooped in to forge a deal of their own, after making their long-standing interest known.
A deal was quickly agreed between the Blues and the Russian club – the respective owners Roman Abramovich and Suleyman Kerimov are friends and compatriots.
Willian has been keen to move to Stamford Bridge since first becoming aware of a potential switch to Chelsea two years ago.
“I think he’s already made his decision,” Mourinho said.
The coach nodded in the affirmative when asked if that was Chelsea.
He added: “I don’t like to speak before time because football can be crazy. I know what the player wants, so in this moment we cannot hide that it’s a possibility.”
Willian is still to undergo a medical at Stamford Bridge, but if he signs it strikes a blow for Mourinho over his former staff member Andre Villas-Boas, once of Chelsea and now the Tottenham manager.
Losing out an the attacking player could also stiffen Spurs’ resolve to attempt to keep Bale from a move to Real Madrid.
Mourinho understands the need for medicals before contracts being agreed, but also spoke of the danger of a deal being trumped by another club. “The best thing to do is to do the medical in secret,” he said. “After that when you sign the contract with the club and the player, you say ‘done’.”
Mourinho had insisted the Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was his sole target, but revealed he had alternative options, too.

I don’t want to be next Drogba – Lukaku

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku insists he doesn’t want comparisons to be drawn between himself and legendary Blues hit-man Didier Drogba.
Lukaku may be just 20-years-old but his impressive spell on loan at West Brom last season, coupled with his physical stature, has seen him labelled ‘the new Drogba’ by sections of the Chelsea fanbase, as well as the media.
But the Belgian international, who was a 65th-minute substitute against Aston Villa last night, says he wants to make a name for himself in his own right.
“There will always be comparisons but I have my own name,” said Lukaku. “I am young and I can still make my own way.
“I have to keep working hard with the team and make the best out of the opportunities that I get. I will not put too much pressure on myself to score.
‘If I work hard enough the goals will come, as a striker if you do your job you will deliver.
“I feel that I am getting closer to where I want to be.”
Lukaku hit 17 goals for the Baggies last term, in a loan spell which saw him nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
And there have been calls for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho to place faith in the youngster and make him the Blues’ first choice frontman this season, ahead of Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.

Fresh challenge for Moses as Willian joins Chelsea

Chelsea announced on Sunday that they have reached an agreement to sign Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, subject to the granting of a work permit.
His arrival will further swell the number of attacking midfielders at manager Jose Mourinho’s disposal, with Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Victor Moses, Kevin De Bruyne and Schuerrle already competing for just three starting places.
The arrival of the Brazilian has turned analysts’ focus on Moses as the most likely to be hit by the addition. Soon after Chelsea announced the deal on Sunday, British media highlighted Moses as the lowest in the pecking order of the supporting strikers who could go on loan when the mid-season transfer window opens in January. The predictions are coming despite Mourinho’s pre-season remark on the Super Eagles attacker. The Chelsea boss had said during the tour of the USA that Moses was doing very well with the team.
He said, “Moses has been very terrific.”
There was an initial loan bid from Everton for Moses which Chelsea turned down in June.
The acquisition of Willain by the Stamford Bridge team comes as a surprise. The 25-year-old had been set to join Tottenham Hotspur, having undergone a medical at the north London club earlier last week, only for Chelsea to hijack the deal.
British media reports claim Chelsea will pay a fee of around £30m to secure his services.
“Chelsea Football Club can confirm an agreement has been reached with both Willian and his club Anzhi Makhachkala for the transfer of the Brazilian player,” read a statement on the Chelsea website.
“The transfer is subject to a work permit hearing on Wednesday.”
Willian will be the fourth player to join Chelsea during the current transfer window, following Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel and Germany international Andre Schuerrle.
Willian only joined Anzhi from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in January, but he is being moved on after the Russian side’s billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov decided to restructure the club and drastically shrink their budget.
Mourinho said he felt no sympathy for Spurs despite swiping the player from beneath their noses.
“That’s the danger of medicals before contracts. But you have to do the medical before,” he said.
“The best thing to do is the medical in secret. If the player is fine, you can sign him. If he’s not, you don’t have to destroy his career. Sometimes there are sources who find out everything.”


Boko Haram kills 14, injures nine in Borno

Boko Haram members
Nigerian Islamists on Monday attacked Bama, a town in Borno State killing 14 pro-government youth vigilantes and injuring nine others, a local official who attended a mass funeral for the victims has said.
Reuters reported that Sunday’s attack was one of the spates of deadly assaults by the Boko Haram Islamist sect this month that raises doubts about whether a military offensive against it since May can succeed.
Local vigilante groups run by youth volunteers have been instrumental in helping the military capture Boko Haram members, but they have also made them a target for the insurgents, drawing civilians further into the conflict.
The Chairman, Bama Local Government Area of Borno State,  Alhaji Baba Shehu Gulumba, told journalists in Bama, near Maiduguri, the Borno State capital that the insurgents disguised as soldiers and lured the youths into a trap.
“They were on guard duty when the sect members dressed in military camouflage came and told them that they were needed at a meeting nearby.
“When they had been lured away from their duty posts they were then attacked and killed,” he said.
When our correspondent contacted the Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, he said that he was not aware of the attacks.
He said that he had not received any briefing on an attack by Boko Haram in Borno on Monday.
He said, “I have not seen any such attack and killings in my records; I am not aware of it.”
Bama is in Borno State, the center of the insurgency. The town is not far from a mountainous area along the Cameroon border where many Boko Haram fighters are believed to be holding out, after being cleared from other areas by Nigerian forces.
Their four-year battle to revive an ancient Islamic caliphate in religiously mixed Nigeria remains the main security threat to Africa’s top oil producer.
The military announced a week ago that Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau may have died between late July and early August from bullet wounds he received during a gun battle weeks before.
If he did die, not only has it failed to stem the violence, but deadly attacks are actually up on a month ago.

Confusion in Taraba • Speaker, Majority Leader disagree on Suntai’s status • Deputy gov, security chiefs barred from seeing gov


(1) Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai being assisted out of an aircraft by his aides at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja ... on Sunday; (2)  An SUV that conveyed him to the VIP lounge of  the airport; (3) Security personnel and aides welcoming him at the Jalingo airport.
There was confusion in Taraba State on Wednesday as the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr.  Haruna Tsokwa and the Majority Leader, Mr. Joseph Albasu, disagreed on who ran the affairs of the state as governor.
While Tsokwa said the Deputy Governor, Alhaji  Alhaji Garba Umar, would  continue to act as governor  until the Assembly deliberated  on the letter by the recuperating Governor Danbaba Suntai seeking to resume duty, Albasu  claimed that Suntai had already taken charge as the state’s Chief Executive.
The   Majority Leader told journalists  at the assembly complex in Jalingo that the lawmakers  gave the governor the nod to begin work since he had  fulfilled the provisions of the  1999 Constitution.
Albasu, who said  he was speaking for   all the lawmakers, added that the governor was mentally fit to carry out his duties.
He argued  that the constitution did not  make it mandatory  for a governor to appear before the assembly  on the matter in  question.
The  Majority Leader, also stated that it was against the spirit of   the constitution for the  assembly to debate the letter by Suntai.
 But the Speaker faulted him, saying the governor must  appear before the Assembly  or be prepared to receive  its principal officers  in his office in the Government House,  Jalingo.
 He  said,  “Governor Suntai has transmitted a letter to the Assembly, but his deputy, Alhaji Umar, will continue to act, until this assembly deliberates on  his letter.”
The PUNCH however learnt that the lawmakers might deliberate on the letter on Wednesday (today).
The speaker, who claimed that he was  unaware of the claims by the  Majority Leader, also confirmed earlier reports  that  Suntai’s wife  blocked  him  from seeing   her husband  on Tuesday.
Tsokwa became the speaker when Istifanus Haruna Gbana –an ally of  Suntai, was  removed while Suntai was still  receiving treatment abroad for injuries he sustained last October when a small plane he piloted crashed.
 Findings by The PUNCH on Tuesday showed that apart from the speaker, who led a delegation to the Government House,   Alhaji Umar;  the  Commissioner in charge of the state Police Command  and the Director of State Security Service    were  prevented from   seeing the governor    by Suntai’s  family members and influential associates  on Tuesday.
There were reports on Monday that Umar, who acted as governor during the 10 months  that  Suntai was out of the country, was barred  from seeing the governor on his arrival at the Jalingo Airport. But  a credible source had  told The PUNCH  that the deputy governor  met the governor  in Jalingo even  before he alighted  from the aircraft  that flew him there.
Sources close to the  state government  informed one of our correspondents on Tuesday   that  Umar, Tsokwa and the two security chiefs  were told that Suntai would not  be able to see them  until he had rested for 72 hours.
One of the sources  said, “What we have been told is that the governor will rest for 72 hours in compliance with the instructions of his doctors. This was the explanation they also gave to the D-G, SSS and the CP. They were there to see him, but they were stopped.”
According to another source, “the speaker’s delegation was kept waiting for about one hour and the governor’s wife (Hauwa) later told them that Suntai was resting.”
He added that because of  the development, the state House of Assembly had resolved to sit on Wednesday (today) and debate the governor’s letter.
“What the members have decided is to sit tomorrow (today) and formally invite the governor to address the House. He has been away for about 10 months; so, coming to address them will at least put all the speculations and uncertainties surrounding his health to rest”, the source added.
Asked what Taraba stakeholders considered to be the way forward for the state, a top  Peoples Democratic Party member from the state, said that much depended on the assembly’s decision.
He said, “This situation must be addressed with all the caution that it requires. There is no point rushing things or being unnecessarily preemptive.
“If the House say they are going to invite him, the right thing is to await the outcome of the decision of the House. Let them come up with their decision.”
In Abuja, the Conference of   Nigeria Political Parties and the Inter Party Advisory Council  called on the  state  House  of Assembly to set up a medical panel to examine Suntai’s  state of health.
Both CNPP and IPAC, whose officials spoke separately with the News Agency of Nigeria, said this was in accordance with the provisions of the  1999 Constitution.
The CNPP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Osita Okechukwu, told NAN that the  assembly should set up  the panel immediately “to determine if Suntai is capable or incapable of carrying out his constitutional functions.”
IPAC, through its  chairman,  Mr. Yusuf Tanko,  also said the governor’s health status must be established before any action could be taken.
It said, “It is in the interest of democracy that Suntai’s health situation is established. If he is found incapable, there are constitutional provisions that should be followed, otherwise we will continue to put democracy in danger.’’
In Lagos, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN),  gave a three-day  ultimatum to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to   investigate  the   governor’s  letter of intention to resume duty.
Falana, in a  letter to Abubakar, which was obtained by one of  our correspondents, threatened to go to court if his demand  was not met before the expiration of the ultimatum.
The letter reads in part,  “We therefore urge you, in the interest of the people of  Taraba State and Nigeria as a whole,  to use your good offices to cause a detailed investigation to confirm the authenticity of the letter of intention sent by  the Governor of Taraba State.  We believe  that the letter of intention may have been forged by the governor’s handlers.”
Another civil rights lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, said Suntai’s medical fitness must be ascertained to avert “governance by proxy.”
 Aturu said, “We thank God that he has returned. But it is not all about returning. We want to know if  he is capable of performing the functions of his office. His state of health must be ascertained by a medical team otherwise  Taraba State may be governed by somebody else we don’t know. That will amount to governance by proxy, which is not recognised by the constitution.”
Chairman, Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Monday Ubani, who described as worrisome “the secrecy that still surrounds Suntai’s health status”, argued that it was criminal to allow an ill person to govern a state.
Ubani said, “Why are these facts shrouded in  secrecy and why are Nigerians, nay the citizens of his state, denied the opportunity  of hearing from their governor.  It will amount to fraud and ill governor to run the state contrary to the express provision of the constitution.”
Two civil society groups – Say No Campagin and United Action for Democracy – also  criticised the politicisation of  Suntai’s  illness and return by “some people who are against the state.”
The groups,  at a joint press conference in Abuja,  described the hasty tranmission of  the  letter to the state House of Assembly as “the handiwork of political jobbers bent on satisfying selfish interest at the detriment of the state.”
The  Convener of the SNC, Ezenwa Nwagwu, said, “While we sympathise with the Sunatais and the entire people of Taraba State, we however condemn unequivocally, the attempt by some political vultures within and outside the state who are bent on holding the whole state to ransom and making effective governance once again unrealistic.”
The  UAD Director, Jaye Gaskia, likened what was happening in Taraba State to a repeat of  the late President  Umaru Yar’Adua’s saga when he was brought in by his associates to keep running the country even though he was incapable of doing so.
Also,the Conscience Nigeria and Northern Youth Assembly disagreed with those advising  the state House of Assembly to  invoke relevant sections of the  1999 Constitution to make Umar the state  governor.
According to them, the deputy governor cannot be made a substantive governor, given the fact that he was not democratically elected alongside the governor in 2011.
They argued that  Umar  was handpicked by the governor after the impeachment of the former deputy governor, Alhaji Sani Abubakar.
The Executive Director of CN, Mr. Tosin Adeyanju, and Speaker of NYA, Mr Gideon Oband,  who stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, asked the  state   assembly to urgently treat Monday’s letter from the governor  so that he could resume work in earnest.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

EAGLES’ 42-MAN LIST: Your list is outrageous, NFF tells Keshi
EAGLES’ 42-MAN LIST: Your list is outrageous, NFF tells Keshi

EAGLES’ 42-MAN LIST: Your list is outrageous, NFF tells Keshi

THE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has ordered the Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, to cut down on the list of 42 players invited preparatory for the World Cup qualification match against Malawi next month.
Keshi had yesterday released a list of 24 home based and 18 foreign based players to prosecute the crucial final match of the first qualification round slated for Calabar, September 7.
According to a statement made available to NationSport yesterday, and signed by the Head Media, Ademola Olajire, the NFF said the focus should primarily be to earn for Nigeria a 2014 FIFA World Cup finals ticket, before the business of full preparation for the 2014 Nations Cup.
And rising from its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the NFF Technical and Development Committee told Coach Keshi to come up with a 23-man list for the World Cup cracker against the Cranes, instead of the outrageous 42- man list submitted.
Keshi has been told that there would be no elaborate camp for 24 home-based players, earlier scheduled to arrive in Abuja on Sunday, as only five will of them will make the final cut for the match in Calabar.
Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green, explained: “We must be very pragmatic and take it one step at a time. The 2014 FIFA World Cup ticket is very, very important to Nigeria and Nigerians. Yes, we have qualified for the African Nations Championship, for the first time ever, and we very much appreciate it.
“But there are three very crucial 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches that we must prosecute successfully to qualify for Brazil before we can start the build-up to the African Nations Championship.
Keshi is expected to harmonise his list and submit a reviewed document to the NFF before the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Keshi has explained the rationale behind inviting 24 home-based professionals when only five of them will eventually join the 18 overseas-based stars for the big game against Malawi, as well as for the international friendly against the Etalons of Burkina Faso in Kaduna on Tuesday, 10th September. The Big Boss is already planning ahead as he said the exercise will allow him discover more players for next year’s Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) to be staged in South Africa; a place that is fast becoming a good hunting ground for the Eagles’ gaffer.
-We are calling up 24 home boys in order to be able to identify new players for the 2014 African Nations Championship, for which we have already qualified, said Keshi.
The home based Eagles secured a berth in CHAN 2014 after beating their Ivorian counterparts to one of the tickets up for grab.
However, recent developments suggest that some key members of the local squad might become ineligible for the tournament proper as they are close to sealing various deals with some interested foreign club sides.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Strike: Govt offers to pay ASUU N30b allowances 5 hours ago

We’ll report to our principals, say teachers
APC urges action
University teachers have been offered N30 billion to call off their strike.
The cash will be for their allowances, which they said the Federal Government had agreed to pay in an October 2009 deal.
The teachers are asking for N87 billion, besides other demands.
The government had earlier approved N100 billion for projects in the 61 public universities.
President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the two Federal Government committees negotiating the requests by ASUU to take immediate measures at ending the strike, which began on July 1.
The Chairman of the Universities Needs implementation Committee and Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, announced the presidential directive after a meeting yesterday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
At the meeting were Vice-President Namadi Sambo, the Chairman of the Earned Allowance Committee; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim; Ministers of Education Prof. Ruqayyat Rufai and Labour, Emeka Wogu, National Universities Commission (NUC) Executive Secretary Prof. Julius Okogie and Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadome, attended the meeting.
Suswam said ASUU ought to call off its strike based on the N130 billion that the government offered.
The cash is made up of the N100 billion to be injected into infrastructure in the 61 public universities (federal and states) and the N30 billion for the earned allowances of lecturers.
For shifting ground from no money to agreeing to assisting the Governing Councils of universities with the N30 billion for the earned allowances, Suswam said ASUU should reconsider its stance on the strike.
But ASUU remained adamant last night. Its President, Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, said the negotiation team would report back to “our principals” when asked whether the teachers were willing to accept the government’s offer and call off the strike.
Fagge said: “The objective of the on going strike is to get government to implement the 2009 ASUU/ FGN agreement, particularly to implement the provision of the memorandum of understanding we reached in 2012. “It’s important to clarify that at this point, we are not making a demand. There was an agreement with government. At this point, what the union is talking about is the 2009 agreement, not the renegotiation of the agreement.”
He added: “We will wait to hear from government. For now, we will go back and report to our principals.”
Suswam said the Federal Government will meet the universities’ councils and vice chancellors this week to update them on the decisions taken so far and to urge them to certify those really entitled to the N30 billion to be released for the earned allowances.
On whether the Federal Government is ready to shift ground from what it is offering, he said: “Well, let me say that negotiation is still on-going. The Federal Government has opted to also meet with the Councils and managements of the universities because earned allowance is something that can be certified by the management and councils of the universities.
“Yes, if ASUU said this is the amount of money that the Federal Government is owing them and the government has shifted ground from its initial posture that there was no money to offering N30 billion, it means we are moving forward and with N100 billion available now for addressing the physical infrastructure deficit in our universities, I think the Federal Government has done quite well to have moved to where we are today.”
Suswam added: “I can say that we have made substantial progress and we are hoping that this strike should be called off, based on some of the mechanisms that we have put in place to move the sector forward.
“We met extensively yesterday. You know there are two components, to the whole issue; the needs assessment component, which is the one that I’m handling. We have to some large extent, concluded on that, the earned allowance committee, which is being headed by the SGF; that is where there are some contentions, but as you must have heard, the federal government made an offer of N30 billion to assist the various Councils of our universities to be able to pay the earned allowances.
“There is also N100 billion that is why myself, the Minister of Finance, the SGF, the ministers of Education, Labour, the Chief of Staff and the VP have just risen from a meeting to take some decisions that would end the strike and the President has instructed us as to what to do and he has shown a lot of commitments and launching of projects worth N100 billion in the 61 universities.
“So, we are hoping that we will be able to see the end of the strike very soon if at the end of the day ASUU is satisfied with the measures that have so far been taken. The President has graciously agreed that in the first week of September, he will be able to launch the projects.
“You also know that the procurement process will have to be followed and these projects include hostels in our universities, classrooms and lecture theatres, libraries and laboratories, among others. Some are renovations, some are new and all the 61 universities are going to benefit from one project or another.
“So it is not going to be selective; all the universities are going to benefit from this infrastructural revitalisation of our universities,” he said.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

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Governor Amaechi, His Wife Refused To Pay Me Condolence Visit – Patience Jonathan

19 August, 2013

President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife, Patience Jonathan, has decried the failure of Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State to pay her a condolence visit since her mother died in an automobile accident several weeks ago.
In a statement released today in Abuja, Mrs. Jonathan all but declared Mr. Amaechi and his wife guilty of bad manners for refusing to express their sympathy over her mother’s death.
The First Lady’s statement was a reaction to reports that she had failed to recognize the presence of Rivers State Deputy Governor, Tele Ikuru, who was at the Port Harcourt International Airport to receive her when she visited the state on Sunday.
In a statement signed by the First Lady’s Director of Information, Ms. Ayo Adesugba, Mrs. Jonathan stated that, despite the refusal of the governor and his wife to pay her a condolence visit, she bore them no grudge.
Mrs. Jonathan’s press release noted that numerous personalities, including former presidents, traditional rulers and diplomats, had consoled her over the death of her mother, Mrs. Charity Oba. “However, [Governor Amaechi] and the wife from the State which the First Lady hails have not paid such a visit,” the statement added. Mrs. Jonathan, who is originally from Rivers State, has been identified as the principal sponsor of a political group that has precipitated a political crisis in the state. In recent months, the state has come close several times to being ungovernable. The crisis culminated in a physical brawl between five members of the state assembly loyal to Mrs. Jonathan and the majority who back the governor. The brawl was captured on tape and went viral after different versions of it were posted on youtube.
Speaking recently with a group of pastors who paid her a visit, Mrs. Jonathan stated that Governor Amaechi was stubborn, but added that he was a son to her. She denied wishing the governor political or physical harm, adding that prayers were needed to resolve the crisis in the state.
Leave Me Out of Rivers State Politics - First Lady The attention of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has been drawn to reports carried in some sections of the media alleging that top officials of the Rivers government, including the Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru who came to receive the First Lady, were shielded from Dame Jonathan on her arrival at Port Harcourt International Airport yesterday, (18/08/2013). Some of the media reports went to the extent of alleging that Dame Jonathan “snubbed” the Deputy Governor.
It is important to set the record straight in order to prevent the public from being misled. The First Lady arrived in Rivers State yesterday for a private visit, to make arrangements for the burial of her late mother with members of her extended family.
Customarily, the wife of the State Governor receives the First Lady whenever she visits any state. That is why the wife of Bayelsa State Governor traveled from Yenagoa to receive the First Lady. Ordinarily, one would have expected the same complement from the wife of the Rivers State Governor.
It is instructive to note that since the death of Mrs. Charity Oba, the mother of the First Lady, several groups and individuals from across the country have come to condole the First Family at the State House, Abuja. They include Executive State Governors and their wives from all the political divides; Nigeria’s former Presidents and Heads of State and their wives, captains of industry, female Ambassadors and High Commissioners of Nigeria, other members of the diplomatic corps, royal fathers and traditional leaders - the list is too numerous to call. However, the Governor and the wife from the State which the First Lady hails have not paid such a visit.
It should be clear to all that for quite some time now, the First Lady has refrained from commenting on issues relating to the politics of Rivers State. Dame Patience does not want her name to be used to heat up the polity. We therefore urge that the name of the First Lady be left out of the politics in Rivers State.
The First Lady, like any Nigerian, is free to visit the state of her birth. Dame Jonathan bears no grudge towards anyone as she is an individual who continues to tirelessly advocate for peace and harmony in Nigeria. We therefore reiterate that the First Lady’s name be left out of the politics in the State.
Ayo Adesugba (Mrs.)
Director (Information)
19 August, 2013
Boko Haram: Uncertainty over Shekau’s fate
Boko Haram: Uncertainty over Shekau’s fate

Boko Haram: Uncertainty over Shekau’s fate

JTF claims he may have been killed
We’re winning, says Army
There was uncertainty yesterday over the fate of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, following reports on his wellbeing.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno claimed in a statement that Shekau may have died in Amitchide (a border community in Cameroon) after an encounter with troops. But a highly-placed source said the position of the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) was that it was hasty to reach such a conclusion.
Besides, there was no independent confirmation of the claim, which Boko Haram neither confirmed nor denied.
It was learnt that the DHQ had been analysing all clues and documents the JTF presented to it as evidence that Shekau may have died.
The DHQ was said to have passed an interim verdict that the JTF’s fact-sheet was yet to “add up”.
According to sources, the DHQ asked the JTF to “exercise caution” in making any announcement until Shekau’s situation had been verified.
But the JTF, in a statement by its spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, said intelligence report had shown that Shekau, who was reportedly injured during a crossfire with troops in Sambisa Forest in Borno State on June 30, might have died in Amitchide between July 25 and August 3.
The statement said: “Intelligence report available to the Joint Task Force Operation RESTORE ORDER revealed that Abubakar Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted Boko Haram terrorists leader may have died.
“He died of gunshot wound received in an encounter with the JTF troops in one of their camps at Sambisa Forest on 30 June 2013.
“Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide – a border community in Cameroon – for treatment which he never recovered.
“It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between 25 July to 3 August, 2013. He was reported to have masterminded the kidnap of the seven French citizens and that of the elder statesman Alhaji (Dr) Shettima Ali Monguno, in addition to many murders of Islamic clerics in Northern Nigeria.
“He was also responsible for bombings of many places of worship and public buildings including Police and United Nations Headquarters in Abuja.
“The recent video released on 13 August, 2013 by the purported sect leader was dramatised by an imposter to hoodwink the sect members to continue with the terrorism and to deceive the undiscerning minds.
“The JTF wishes to appeal to the sect members to lay down their arms and embrace the Federal Government’s offer for dialogue.”
But a top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The DHQ has received documents or intelligence report from the JTF on the purported death of Shekau but all these are still being analysed.
“The circumstances presented have some gaps which we have to fill through further investigation.
“The DHQ believes the details made available have not added up. So, as far as we are concerned, it is still hasty to conclude that Shekau is dead.
“As a matter of fact, the JTF was advised to tarry a while in making the announcement of Shekau’s death. But it was shocking to the DHQ.”
Another source, who also pleaded not to be named because of what he called the sensitivity of the matter, said: “There are challenges in verifying the death of Shekau. For instance, if Shekau was shot wounded on June 30 by troops, how come the DHQ was just being informed?
“How come none of the Boko Haram members in custody could account for Shekau’s death, unlike what they did on the death of Shekau’s deputy, Momodu Bama? Why is it impossible to send a decoy mission to Amatchide in Cameroon to verify his death?
“The purported appearance of Shekau on August 13 made the claim of his death about 10 days earlier suspicious by the DHQ.
“Although it is common for members of such a sect to sustain the struggle after the death of their leader, we might have to do voice screening or analysis to determine whether Shekau actually spoke on August 13 or not.
“Certainly, we have some gaps to fill, including liaising with Cameroonian authorities, to verify Shekau’s death in Amatchide.”
The defunct JTF in Borno State and the Borno Vigilance Youths Group, (BVYG) on Sunday arrested a top Boko Haram informant (name withheld) in Maiduguri, the state capital.
The suspect, who claimed to be a close associate of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had some documents on the activities of the sect on him, when he was arrested.
He was picked up at Baban Layi, a commercial area of Maiduguri metropolis, mostly dominated by Igbo traders, before they relocated in the heat of the Boko Haram crisis.
According to JTF sources in Maiduguri, five other Boko Haram suspects were arrested in Gwange and Kulolori/Shuwari wards.
Two of the suspects were arrested in Kulolori ward the remaining three were rounded up in Gwange area.
Chairman of BVYG, Abubakar Mallum, said the arrested informant, claimed to be a merchant.


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