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We Want Bakassi Issue Revisited…. Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa




Why are you still here talking about Bakassi when it is no longer a part of Nigeria?

Why won’t I talk about Bakassi? Bakassi is still in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, why won’t I talk about it? You should realise that the action of ceding Bakassi to Cameroon was not backed by any referendum asking the people where they want to belong. It was a unilateral action and that is why we are asking that the matter be readdressed. There is no legislative approval for Bakassi to be moved out of Nigeria. However, my own position is that I am saving time because I am talking about reality. I am talking about the lives of the people. As we speak, there are thousands of Bakassi people living in refugee camps somewhere in Akpabuyo. They are all exposed to harsh weather conditions of the raining season. They have on their own, offered to come back to the country but they still live as refugees. If you read the Green Tree Agreement very well –I can make copies available. It says you may stay in Cameroon or you may stay in Nigeria. It does not say you are no longer Nigerian neither does it say you must change your citizenship. The agreement allows the people to say where they want to stay. And it further says that if you chose to stay in Cameroon, the administration must allow you live your life in accordance with your culture and traditions. Meanwhile, an area has been allocated where they can resettle but it is not yet developed. We are asking that the area be developed so the people can live meaningful lives. We don’t want to be in Cameroon. We want to be in Nigeria. I want to live in Nigeria but all I ask is that the area be developed to help us resettle. So, basically, we are asking for two things: resettlement and compensation.

What sort of compensation?

Compensation to individuals for loss of landmass to the state and compensation for loss of individual property to the state; compensation for the inconvenience caused the people, for their rights that were violated, compensation for all the major things we left behind there. That is what we are asking for.

Can you put this is naira terms?

We are working on the figures.

You said Bakassi is still in Nigeria’s Constitution but the Nigerian government ceded it to Cameroon. Don’t you see a contradiction here?

Yes, Bakassi is still recognised by the Nigerian Constitution. The Nigerian government ceded Bakassi to Cameroon as a geographical expression, as land. Even that ceding was done without reference to the legislature. Procedurally, you must get legislative approval if you want to cede any land in Nigeria.

How come till this moment there has not been legislative action to ratify or challenge the ceding?

I believe that those who represent Cross River State at the National Assembly have been talking about it, but you know how Nigeria is. You talk and talk and make recommendations but the recommendations never see the light of day. But there is work currently ongoing. There was a committee that was set up recently after much agitation from my people and me. The committee has been there and they looked at the area, gathered information and looked at options available. The committee has been working. We are waiting for the outcome of that committee.

What you said now highlights the problem most delegates have raised at the conference and that is the issue of unjust demarcation of boundaries and alienation of people from their homelands. How do you feel being part of a government that did this?

Well, it is most unfortunate but you should know that most of these actions were not deliberate but done out of carelessness. Just out of carelessness.

Are you suggesting that the administration then was careless to have allowed that happen?

You have to be careful about such use of words. If a president wants to cede an area, and wants to abide by the rules of the land, or the laws of the land, I believe that he would have also referred the matter to the National Assembly. Not forgetting the fact that the president subjected himself to that jurisdiction and once you subject yourself to the jurisdiction of the court, you are obliged to respect and implement whatever is the outcome of the court process. However, before obliging, that matter would have been settled in the National Assembly.

You sit in the conference with the Attorney General who handed over the instrument of ceding to Cameroon. Have you interacted with him on what actually transpired?

I have been handling issues and Nigeria is supposed to come up and back the people of Bakassi to make sure they are resettled. The unfortunate thing about it was that we subjected ourselves to the jurisdiction of the court and once we did that, we were obliged to abide by the outcome. Mind you that (Gen. Sani) Abacha was taken to court and he refused to subject himself to the jurisdiction of the court. Rather, he went to fight. He fought up to a point before he stopped. I do not know where we would have been today were he to be alive. He gave us the local government. Now, when democracy set in, I think we wanted to portray the image of a democratic nation which is willing to go with the world and abide by the tenets of democracy.

In other words, the Bakassi people are pained that Nigeria has not gotten leader with the character of an Abacha?

I am not saying that neither am I denying that we will continue to celebrate him because he gave us the local government.

Are you satisfied with the way things have developed so far at the conference?

Very much satisfied! This is a very well organised conference and people are talking. On the first day we came here, I asked if they will grant every delegate an opportunity to speak even if for five minutes. I am happy that is happening and people are pouring out their hearts. Added to that, the committee of 50, which I am part of, helped doused a flame and stopped anything that would have caused turbulence in the conference.

It is being said that some of you in that committee have gone ahead to form another group?

I don’t know of any other group. But at conferences like this, it is not out of place to from groups. There are many groups of which I am member of some. There is no formal group of the 50 but there are many groups which happen at conferences. It is necessary for you to sit down as a group, devoid of ethnicity and religion, to discuss. It happens all the time.

It is being said the group is to push for Jonathan…?

I don’t know about that. I did not come here for Jonathan. I came here for Bakassi people. I think it is very unfortunate the way people talk. It is very unfair and they should not bring down the integrity of such a great conference, such a gathering of great people. However, I don’t owe any Nigerian any explanation but I have not been invited by anybody to discuss Jonathan. As a PDP member, if I think Jonathan has done well and deserves a second term, I will join his campaign and campaign for him. Not in this conference.

Are you happy with the bickering, by delegates, over food?

That is why I am canvassing for executive session. It is actually out of place for delegates of this calibre to be discussing about food. This is the sort of things you bring up in executive sessions not at plenary. However, there is nothing wrong with people complaining but this food thing should not really be an issue.

But the other day you were seen urging some aggrieved delegates to join you to town for lunch?

That is invasion of my privacy. I am a mother and I am very finicky about food. So, if I have my own food, I can invite my friends to eat with me. I do that all the time. It is not because the food is not good. Meanwhile, I don’t mind when the food is not good because I am forever on a diet. Don’t you want to be like me?

Culled: The Union

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Ikpeazu diverted N10bn airport fund into road construction – Abia PDP




Vice Chairman and acting Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abia State, Abraham Amah, talks to DANIEL AYANTOYE about the aborted airport project, among other issues

In a recent statement, you disowned the comment of the former speakers of the state House of Assembly on the performance of the state Governor, Alex Otti. Does it mean that they did not speak the mind of your political party, the PDP?

In that statement, we made it very clear that as members of the Association of Former Speakers, have the right to pay a visit to the state governor. It’s part of their fundamental rights. There is no law against that. And for those of them who are members of the PDP, there is no law also in the party against that. So, they have the right to go to where they have gone. Whatever they had said, they also said on behalf of themselves and not on behalf of the party. Another very important thing to note is that the membership of that association cuts across several political parties in the state.

But is it not anti-party for PDP members in the group to visit and commend the governor in such a way that could portray an endorsement of the Labour Party government in the state?

The truth about it is that some politicians put their interests first before anything else. The major purpose of that visit was to engage the governor for him to consider the need to pay them a kind of pension every month as former members of the state House of Assembly because there was a subsisting law before, which took care of the interests of the former governors but did not take care of the interests of former speakers.

Also, because judiciary leaders get something when they leave office, they (former speakers) go to canvass for that. But unknown to them, the governor was already planning to abrogate the law that favours the former governors through the act of the State Assembly. When you lobby as a politician, you tell the person you are lobbying something that will make him happy, to be able to grant you what you want. That was exactly the card they played.

Unfortunately for them, the card was not able to attract anything. The situation is just that the public was not looking at it from the angle that they were former members of the State House of Assembly who visited the governor but from the angle of the PDP and that is the narrative most media houses were promoting.

How will you describe the request they presented to the governor? Is it justifiable or not?

There is no basis for me to say it’s justifiable or not. As I said, no law allows for such expenditure, as far as the state is concerned. What they should have done was to take that lobby to the state House of Assembly, and not to the governor. They should have lobbied the Speaker of the state House of Assembly and members and then sponsored a bill. That is the appropriate thing for them to have done. When they sponsor that bill and it is passed through first, second, and third reading, and then move it to the governor for assent, it is at about that time they can visit the governor to tender the request.

Does that mean they goofed in their tactics despite being former lawmakers?

Of course, they did.

The former lawmakers praised the governor’s performance in the state while endorsing his administration. Do you agree with their appraisal?

Unfortunately, he is less than one year but in the next couple of weeks, he will be one year in office. The only way to talk about performance is to look at what he has been able to receive from the Federation Account, what he has been able to generate through the internally generated revenue vis-à-vis the expenditure, and then we match this expenditure with what is visible on the ground. If we follow this format, I can assure you that many Abia people, today, think that the governor has not done well.

The governor (Otti) spends a lot of money on media and propaganda, and to a very large extent, he is enjoying the dividends of that propaganda, but such dividends can only last for a while. Let me just run down what was captured from the websites of the state government. In less than one year, the governor has spent N11.4bn to run the Governor’s Office, and as we speak, the governor operates from his private home. The fundamental question here is why a governor spends N11.4bn to run a Governor’s Office in his home. What is it that you are running in that home? I think we are in the 11th month; so, you are spending a little bit about over N1bn every month to run the Governor’s Office from your home. The governor has also spent N32.3bn on roads. The truth is that Abia people are asking, where are the roads?

Don’t you think that a government that can provide information about its expenditures and its income on its websites is transparent and can also be described as a performer?

That website was put in place by the former administration as a requirement of the World Bank for all the states in Nigeria. That is why they cannot shut it down. The first time their publications on that website were captured by the media, that website was shut down. But when there was a lot of pressure from the World Bank, It had to come up again. The website enables the World Bank to monitor the activities of the state government because of what they are doing in the various states across the country. So, it is not as if the state government put up the site on purpose. All the state governments have these websites for the purpose I mentioned.

There have been several reports of people applauding the performance of the governor, saying he is performing well in this state. Why is this so?

Let me analyse one of those major performance indicators they boast of. During a lecture at Johns Hopkins University, recently, the governor told the world that he met 10 years of unpaid pension arrears and that he had cleared these arrears. Everybody clapped for him. If you search on Google, you will also find out that several mainstream media have also reported on the clearance of 10 years of pension arrears in Abia State, whereas what was paid as pension arrears in Abia State was pension for nine months and not 10 years as he claimed.

The problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to verify these things. There is also a video that is trending about him building a seaport in Abia State. That is what an average Igbo man wants to hear. Most of these claims, with the support of artificial intelligence, we have people who can package them together and when they watch it, they believe that something like that is going whereas there is no stone laying or foundation or inauguration of any building or any seaport anywhere in the state.

Even as we speak, there is no document presented to the federal authorities saddled with the responsibility of approving a seaport much less of anybody building anything. We have this type of misinformation circulating everywhere. The people have bought into this information. They believe that these things are true. They don’t know that they are not true. So, today, the pensioners in Abia State are saying, ‘You cannot do this to us.’

Reach out to the pensioners and ask them, ‘How many months’ pension has been paid?’ If you look at the money they allocated for pension, in these documents, you’ll find out that it’s around N1bn. You will agree with me that the amount cannot be pension for 10 years. It’s under one-year pension arrears. He creates this narrative and pushes them.

How is this possible that?

When we talk about marketing, the banks in Nigeria, particularly the new-generation banks, came with innovation in marketing. The kind of innovation we have never seen before. When you talk about advertisements and those who pay the biggest money for advertisements, for radio and television, it’s Nigerian banks. So, he (Otti) brought that kind of innovation of marketing to governance.

Recently, the governor revealed that the previous government under PDP’s Okezie Ikpeazu spent billions of naira on a non-existing airport which was discovered through an audit report. How did this happen?

To conduct an audit requires by law that the auditor, as a matter of necessity, or compulsion, must engage the person or institution to be audited. That is, those who operate the business he is auditing, and ask them questions. That was why, when President Bola Tinubu’s administration appointed an auditor to do a forensic audit for the Central Bank of Nigeria, they had to go to where Emefele was detained, brought him out, and asked questions. You cannot do an audit without asking. So, you cannot conduct an audit without asking questions to the auditee.

Secondly, you accused a company of receiving N10bn, according to your report, but today, that same construction company remains your number one construction company. If you want to conduct an investigation, the first suspect is a person who received the money into his accounts because to receive the money into your accounts, you must deliver the services for which that money was meant.

So, was the money paid for the airport, and where is the airport?

The documents are available everywhere. Those who served in the government and others made those documents available. What happened was that when that N10bn loan was approved for the airports, members of Abia State Council of Chiefs; that is the traditional rulers, approached the governor and told him that from Aba to Port Harcourt was a maximum of one one-hour drive, from Umuahia to Uyo was one hour, from Umuahia to Owerri Airport was 45 minutes, and that we were like a state surrounded by three major airports and that what we needed at that moment was the construction of more roads because we had a lot of bad roads.

Based on that, the governor approached the House of Assembly and told them to do the necessary approval for that money which had been paid to the construction company that was already handling several road projects in Abia State to capture same for further jobs about road construction. The good thing is that the construction company is not a ghost, and the governor is still using them for projects to date. The governor does not mention the company, but the former governor, Ikpeazu.

I had expected the construction company as a responsible organised firm to issue a statement and tell the world about what they know and what they do not know about the N10bn, because as far as the law is concerned and as far as the best of investigators are concerned, the only body that can implicate the former government is the construction company, and the only way they can do that is to prove that they transmitted some of those monies back to Ikpeazu, and that will not make them free.

To the best of your knowledge, was the money channelled to road projects in the state, or was transmitted back to the state government?

It was used for the construction of roads in the states, and as we have said and I speak again today, there is no statement from the company itself.

Some have perceived the visit of the lawmakers to Governor Otti as an attempt to defect to the Labour Party. Is your party not concerned about this development?

I joined politics in the ‘90s as a young man; I contested my first election under the (United Nigeria Congress Party) UNCP on December 6, 1997. I won that election into the state House of Assembly. It has been the tradition of Nigerian politicians to defect, and each time a person defects, it creates room for other people to join. As I speak to you, prominent individuals are reaching out to the party that they want to join the PDP.

Many of those defecting are doing that for personal interest. They know better why they are doing what they are doing. As far as we are concerned, they have not also violated any known law, and our party is open to people. So, for us, it is a season of shedding leaves, and some of these leaves, I can assure you that many of those leaves will turn out to become manure for the same tree they fell from. So, do not be surprised that many of the people who are leaving the party (the PDP) today will still come back to the party to work for the party tomorrow. We have seen that happen on several occasions.

It was said that the division in your party led to the loss of the 2023 presidential election. Do you think there will be any difference in 2027?

Well, 2027 is still pregnant. I don’t want to dwell on that because I am a human being, a Christian, and an Elder in the Church. A lot of people will even die before that time. Sometimes when men talk, they don’t remember that people die. That I am alive now is all by the grace of God. So, I don’t know what will happen in the next minute or seconds from now. A lot of things will still happen between 2023 and 2027. So, don’t let us talk about that. What is on the ground now is that the party is preparing for the congress.

Of course, one thing that is always certain is that political parties adopt strategies ahead of the elections. Do you see the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, working for the PDP in 2027?

This is not the first time that a President appointed a member of another political party and we have seen it happen several in the history of this country. It happened in the First Republic. It also happened in the Second Republic during (Shehu) Shagari’s administration where some members of the Nigerian Peoples Party were given appointments by the then government. In the Third Republic, we saw it happen when Obasanjo himself did the same and they said the action was under the framework of Government of National Unity.


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By femi Oyewale



Higher education in Nigeria, quite frankly, is facing immense challenges including but not limited to poor infrastructure, unrealistic academic calendars resulting in extra years against stipulated durations, lack of teaching equipment, social menace, poor funding, amongst others.




Interestingly, Nigerian Army University, Biu (NAUB) is quite unique from other federal universities in the sense that since inception, there has not been any issue of strike, cultism, protest, or anti-social conduct.

Rather, the university is reputed for its excellent condition of learning environment.


This was aptly covered by the Governor of Borno State, H.E Professor Babagana Umara Zulum through his deputy during the maiden edition of the convocation ceremony of NAUB on Saturday, October 28th, 2023 at the University’s main campus ( note not temporary campus within five years of existence) in Biu, Borno State.




The Borno State governor said he was physically present at the groundbreaking ceremony of the foundation laying stone of NAUB five years ago, and he is impressed by what he has seen adding that it must take military precision and focus to put in a full-fledged and functional university on a barren land in such a short period.








The Governor further thanked the Federal Government, the Nigerian Army, the traditional rulers, scholars and academics philanthropist, industrialists, associates and men and women of goodwill from within and outside Borno State for the selfless service of gradually re-modelling the future of Borno State in particular and Nigeria in general and for putting Borno State on the path of further greatness through the Nigerian Army university, Biu.


Why then do we plan to abort such a great independent institution of learning known as a barrier breaker and line crosser by merging it with NDA whose missions and visions are not in tandem with each other

Why cut short the dreams of such noble ideas via politics?


Are there those who do not want a stable educational system in Nigeria?

Are there external forces or their agents at home trying to destroy a good foundation for a stable educational system in Nigeria?

Is NAUB in competition with the private universities?

Are there big shots who benefit from a chaotic educational system in Nigeria?


Are there some subterranean forces working within the system to achieve the Boko Haram objective that “education is sin”?




The words of Governor Zulum rings a wise bell when he said that Boko Haram insurgents have achieved their objectives if the university is scrapped.






“Therefore, we appeal to Mr. President to look into this issue so that the Army University Biu would remain a university… because of the importance of education in this part of the country, where Boko Haram is saying that education is forbidden. And I think that by allowing this Army university to be scrapped, they might have achieved one or two of their objectives,” he said.


The governor noted that, for over a decade, Borno State has been facing a serious crisis that has denied many children access to education.


“Therefore, this university is very important to not only the people of Borno State but our neighbouring states,” he said.




Look at the Western countries that started with military polytechnics that propelled revolution in military equipment development.


Many of these developed countries collaborated jointly through civil-military research.










The Swedish Defence University established like NAUB is Sweden’s leading resource in, and first choice for, education, training and research in the management of crisis, war and periods of tension in the leadership of both civil and military agencies. The Swedish Defence University is an accredited institution for academic education for military and civilian students and researchers where different experiences, approaches, and traditions come together. It has become a hub for both national and international students.






It might shock you to know that American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU). APUS is wholly owned by American Public Education, Inc., a publicly traded private-sector corporation that offers associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees, in addition to dual degrees, certificate programs and learning tracks.








During my NYSC, I served in the Nigerian Army School of Education (NASE), Ilorin, which is a renowned military institution focused on providing high-quality education and training for Nigerian Army personnel and civilians. So why the proposed merger of NAUB?












Interestingly, the Nigerian Army University Biu provides such a platform for the Nigerian military towards technological innovation, research, and development in varied fields for national defence and security breakthroughs like many modern nations. In fact, instead of downgrading the Nigerian Army University, many more Army universities should be established in Nigeria. That is the way out for a caricature type of educational system that has failed to have stability over the years.








Who is not interested in seeing that a federal university graduates its students within the regular course time frame?










Must programmes of all federal universities be easily disrupted. A course of 4 or 5 years ends up taking over 6 to 7 years to complete. The worst part is that many universities end up in a crash programme to be able to cover up for the lost times. The terrible damage to these universities’ products is the very low standard of graduates.


Who wants the Nigerian educational system to collapse completely? These are rhetorical questions the amiable president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all stakeholders should ask those proposing the merger to answer us publicly, else should let the matter die forever in the abyss of hasty decision.

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Tunji Ojo Has No Case To Answer” – Shehu Sanni 





Former Kaduna Central Senator, Shehu Sani, says Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has no case to answer regarding the contract awarded to a company linked to him by suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu.

Sani, in a chat with The Whistler, said Tunji-Ojo did not violate any public service law since he resigned from the company years ago.


” It could have been a conflict of interest if he hadn’t resigned.

The senator further said it is “not his ministry (that awarded contracts), and companies have the right to pursue businesses anywhere.

“Edu’s case is very clear and can’t be equated with that of a company associated with Hon Ojo.

“Legally, he can’t be held to account on this matter.

“Let’s not be distracted,” Sani said.

“The extant provision of the law under the 1999 Constitution is that anybody who is a public servant cannot engage in any business other than farming,” said Nelson Kebordih, a senior lawyer whose interest is in public policy.

He said the implication of the law is “that a person must be in active control and directorship of the company in the management of any enterprise.

“You are permitted to own shares because owning a share does not put you in the day-to-day management of the company or any enterprise.

“If he (Tunji-Ojo) has resigned from being a director, the law does not stop him from owning shares in the company,” he stated.

The former lawmaker’s position aligns with the 2008 Federal Service Rules on Chapter 4 which states that “Public officers are not prohibited from holding shares in both public and private companies operating in Nigeria or abroad except that they must not be Directors in private companies, and may only be Directors in public companies if nominated by Government.”


Following the suspension and quizzing of Edu, concerning alleged financial sleaze, the Minister of Interior has come under pressure to resign or equally be suspended by the president after it emerged that his company, New Planet Project Ltd, also received a contract from Edu.

Edu had awarded some companies contracts, some of which were unregistered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) raising concern of fraud and illegality.

Tunji-Ojo is also being pressured to step down with many commentators saying he has flouted the Public Service Rules which barred public servants from being awarded contracts or contracting any business except farming.

But the Minister while speaking on television explained that he had resigned since 2009 from the company.

“Almost five years ago, I resigned as director of the company, so I’m not a director. I resigned on 1st of February, 2009, you can take that to the bank,” the minister had said.

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