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‘I Am Dying Slowly With One Kidney’, Says Bomb Blast Convict Okah

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The man convicted of masterminding the 2010 Independence Day anniversary in Abuja, Charles Okah, claims he is dying slowly in prison owning to lack of access to medical treatment.

Okah who is currently confined in the Maiduguri prison says he has been living with a kidney in the last 37 years but his condition is deteriorating in prison.

He wants the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Correctional Service, Ja’afaru Ahmed to either transfer him to Abuja or Lagos for better care.

Okah was jailed for life with his co-defendant, Obi Nwabueze, for masterminding the bomb blasts which occurred in Abuja on October 1, 2010 and, earlier in Warri, Delta State, on March 15 of the same year in a court presided over by Justice Gabriel Kolawole.

The two convicts were said to have conspired with Henry Okah, who was the leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).

Henry was jailed by a South African court in 2013 for similar offences and sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment.

The conviction is currently before the Court of Appeal.

But Okah said he is almost losing the only kidney left with him.

His plea was contained in a September 3, 2019 letter to the Comptroller-General by his counsel, C. A. Mishael.

Mishael said “We are solicitor to Mr. Charles Tombra Okah (our client) who is presently under your custody at the Maximum Security Prisons. Borno State. His conviction by Federal High Court Abuja is currently the subject of appeal at the Court of Appeal. Abuja.

“Our client has been living on a single kidney for the past 37 years and this fact, without gainsaying, makes it imperative for constant medical attention which he has not been getting at the Maiduguri Maximum Prisons.

“While he was being held at the Kuje Prisons, he had access to medical experts at the National Hospital Abuja.

“More recently, our client has been experiencing uncontrolled hand tremor and has been passing blood in his urine. He also has developed other ailments that require urgent and expert medical review.

“The Maximum Security Prison in Maiduguri Borno State, where he is presently being held lacks both the expertise and facilities to treat our client of the kidney related ailments and other health challenges he is currently facing.

“We therefore apply that the controller in Maiduguri be directed to grant our client permission to attend a medical facility that has the facility to adequately treat him.

“In the alternative, we apply that our client be transferred back to Abuja or Lagos Prisons from where he can have access to proper medical treatment.

“While we anticipate your usual cooperation, please accept the assurances of our highest consideration.”

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FG Explains Reasons Behind Deregulation Policy

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The federal government has said in view of recent misguided comments and innuendos, it has become expedient for the Ministry of Petroleum to explain misconceptions around the issue of Petroleum Products Deregulation.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, in a statement he personally signed Wednesday in Abuja, explained that after a thorough examination of the economics of subsidising PMS for domestic consumption, the federal government concluded that it was unrealistic to continue with the burden of subsidizing PMS to the tune of trillions of Naira every year.

The Minister said more so when the said subsidy was benefiting in large part the rich rather than the poor and ordinary Nigerians.

The former Bayelsa state governor, however said the government was mindful of the likely impact of higher PMS prices would have on Nigerians, adding that to alleviate the impact the ministry will roll out the auto-gas scheme, which will provide Nigerians with alternative sources of fuel and at a lower cost.

According to the Minister, deregulation means that the government will no longer continue to be the main supplier of Petroleum Products. “But will encourage private sector to takeover the role of supplyer of Petroleum Products.

“This means also that market forces will henceforth determine the prices at the pump. In line with global best practices, Government will continue to play its traditional role of regulation; to ensure that this strategic commodity is not priced arbitrarily by private sector suppliers; a regulatory function not unlike the role played by the Central Bank of Nigeria in the banking sector; ensuring that commercial banks do not charge arbitrary interest rates.

“Petroleum Products are refined from Crude Oil. Therefore the price of Crude (the feedstock) for the refining process will affect the price of the refined product.

“When Crude Oil prices were down, Government, through its regulatory functions ensured that the benefits of lower Crude Oil prices were enjoyed by Nigerians by ensuring that PMS was lowered.

“At that time, we indicated that increase in Crude Oil Prices will also reflect at the pump.

“This is a necessary action taken by a responsible Government in the overall interest of Nigerians. Indeed, one of the reasons we have been unable to attract the level of investments we desire into the refining sector has been the burden of fuel subsidy. We need to free up that investment space so that what happened in the Banking Sector, Aviation Sector and other Sectors can happen in the Midstream and Downstream Oil Sector.

“We can no longer avoid the inevitable and expect the impossible to continue. There was no time Government promised to reduce Pump Price and keep it permanently low.

“Let us therefore ignore the antics of unscrupulous middlemen who would want status quo ante to remain at the expense of the generality of Nigerians. In addition to attracting investments and creating jobs and opportunities, this very important policy direction will free up trillions of naira to develop infrastructure instead of enriching a few.”

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Osagie Denies Involvement In Widows’ Empowerment Scheme

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The Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, has denied involvement in any widows’ empowerment scheme.

In a statement on Wednesday, Osagie cautioned the public to be wary of fraudsters who are exploiting the political campaigns to deceive and defraud people.

“There is a scam message being sent on social media on a specious empowerment scheme targeted at women and widows in the state said to be linked to me. This is a scam,” he said.

“The Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication has no relationship with the group known as Insured Good People (IGP).

“The statement did not emanate from me or my office. It is ploy by fraudsters to exploit vulnerable women and widows and the general public should consider it as such”.

According to the governor’s aide, with the governorship election drawing closer and things heating up in the state, some fraudulent persons are using the opportunity to perpetuate their crimes.

“With the election campaigns getting to a head, some fraudulent people would want to use such schemes to defraud vulnerable people in the society.

“I have alerted security agencies in the state to watch out for individuals and groups, who would want to take undue advantage of the ongoing electioneering campaigns to defraud Edo people,” he said.

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Edo: South-South Forum Urges Nigerians to be Vigilant

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A group, South-south Emerging Leaders’ Forum (SELF) has warned against subterranean plot by some highly placed politicians to rig the the 2023 general elections, beginning with the forthcoming Edo state governorship election.

The South-south forum, in a statement made available Wednesday in Abuja, by its Convener Barrister Preye Wilson, said the arrow head of the plot has commenced moves aimed at compromising the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to return the APC to power in 2023.

SELF revealed that a renewal of tenure is being dangled before the Chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu as bait to get him to play ball.

Prof. Yakubu was appointed as Chairman of the INEC by President Muhammadu Buhari on 21 October 2015. His tenure is due to expire on October 20 this year.

Section 3(1) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act 2010 (as amended) provides that “the chairman and members of the commission shall each hold office for a period of five years and on such terms and conditions as may be specified in their letters of appointment.”

The Forum further disclosed that according to
credible intelligence they gathered a top member of the National Assembly leadership has held a preliminary session with the INEC boss to “discuss the proposal and present the terms.”

He said that the INEC boss has been requested to show commitment to the cause by returning the candidate of the APC as winner of the September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo state.

The group said the leader of the highly secretive plot has pledged to facilitate Yakubu’s reappointment as INEC boss for another term of five years after he must have delivered Edo state to the APC in demonstration of good faith.

“There is a plot by the some politicians in the ruling party to ensure the return of the INEC chairman for a second tenure.

“They have held a meeting with the INEC chairman where it was stated that his tenure would soon be over but will be allowed to have a second term on the condition that he returns the APC in 2023.

“To be sure that he would not renege on the agreement, they have asked the INEC chairman to deliver Edo state in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

“This will prove that he will play ball in 2023 and as such, he will be recommend to the President, General Muhammadu Buhari, through his Chief of staff to be allowed to come back for a second term.

“With this information at our disposal, it is clear that the INEC chairman is already compromised and to this effect, the Edo State Governorship election is compromised.

“We, therefore call on Nigerians at home and abroad, the international community, United Nations, United States, United Kingdom, European Union, etc., to be vigilant and impress it on the APC government that they will one day be held accountable for their actions. We are watching!”

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