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Akpabio to Sue Joy Nunieh for Defamation, Denies ‘False Allegations’

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said he has instructed his lawyers to seek necessary redress in a Court of competent jurisdiction on his behalf over the defamatory statements made by the former acting managing director of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Ms. Joy Nunieh.

Ms Nunieh in an interview with newsmen had raised some accusations against the former governor of Akwa-Ibom.

But in a statement signed Thursday in Abuja by Akpabio special assistant on media, Anietie Ekong, described all the allegations as “cornucopia of false, malicious and libellous,” adding that the Minister will seek redress in a Court of law.

The statement said: “The Honourable Minister’s initial attitude was to allow his lawyers and the judicial system vindicate him of the false allegations against him, but he is compelled to react to some of the wayward allegations levied against his person by Ms. Nunieh, especially the one bothering on sexual harassment.

“To start with, let it be known that there is no scintilla of truth in all the allegations peddled around by Ms. Nunieh. They are simply false! The Honourable Minister did not at any time, place or circumstance make any form of sexual advances to Ms. Nunieh, not even to put himself in a position or posture suggestive of sexual advances towards Ms. Nunieh, or any female staff of his Ministry or the NDDC.

“For the records, the Honourable Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON is happily married and contented with his wife. Together they are blessed with children, four (4) of whom are young women. The Honourable Minister is an avid believer of the Affirmative Action and that was visible in the appointments he made as a two (2) term Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015. Under his watch, he appointed several women into various high level positions as

“Chairpersons of Local Government Councils, Magistrates, Judges, Heads of Parastatals, Directors, Permanent Secretaries, and Commissioners.

“He is the first Governor in Akwa Ibom State to have a female Deputy Governor, was also the first to appoint female Chief Justices of the High Court, recommended women for ministerial appointments one of whom was the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, and supported for appointment the first female Vice Chancellor of the only Federal University in the State etc. He has always championed and still champions the cause of women and young children.

“Whilst the Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, the Honourable Minister summoned the political will and effrontery to stop modern day slavery in his state, where young women and children were ferried away from the State to other states in Nigeria to be used for all sorts of menial chores as house maids and most suffered unimaginable unethical trade malpractices and maltreatments. He ensured that anyone caught in that trade was severely punished. He signed the Child Rights Law to protect children, especially the girl child from stigmatization and punishment by ordeal where some were executed or banished on allegation of witchcraft. The Child Rights Law also made primary and secondary education in Akwa Ibom State free and compulsory; educating the girl child was his topmost priority.

“The Honourable Minister has never hidden his admiration and respect for his wife, Mrs. Ekaete Akpabio, Children and sisters, he therefore felt compelled to react to the malicious attack on his person by Ms. Nunieh bothering on allegations of sexual harassment. The Honourable Minister therefore finds the said allegation nauseating and a very cheap blackmail, for Ms. Nunieh to suggest or insinuate that he sexually harassed her, while she was the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC.

“The Honourable Minister also finds it appalling that, Ms. Nunieh, never deemed it fit to report the alleged incident to the police at the earliest opportunity she had, before, during or after her tenure as the Acting Managing Director on 17th February, 2020, if indeed the allegation was true. Waiting till July 10th and 13th 2020 when the National Assembly appears to be probing some of her actions as the Acting Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee (“IMC”) exposes her motive, especially at a time when the momentum for the Forensic Audit”

According to the statement, investigation of the NDDC is heating up and the truth is about to be unveiled for all to see? The critical question is who is afraid of the Forensic Audit at the NDDC? Who is Afraid of the Truth?

“There is no doubt that Ms. Nunieh’s attacks are both personal and sponsored. Those afraid of the truth, and who wish to bury it from seeing the light of the day, are strenuously behind Ms. Nunieh’s vicious campaign of calumny.

“The Honourable Minister has a mandate from Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to unearth alleged looting and financial misappropriation that had gone on at the NDDC since its inception in 2001. He is committed to that mandate through the forensic audit of the NDDC and will not be deterred or distracted from that goal. The aim of this campaign of calumny is simple, get Senator Akpabio out, kill the forensic audit, and continue business as usual at the NDDC.”

On the allegations of the Minister’s involvement in contract racketeering, bombing of oil pipelines, corruption/diversion of funds, the statement said the Minister has stated several times and at various fora that since his assumption of office, he has only awarded three contracts till date- the appointment of the lead forensic auditors which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC); the emergency procurement contract for COVID-19 intervention in the Niger Delta Area which due to its urgency had his interim approval and Presidential approval in line with the Bureau of Public Procurement Act and the award of Vehicles procurement duly approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Federal Executive Council but yet to be consummated. It is noteworthy, that all these contracts went through due processes.

On her allegation that Akpabio directed her to change the Dollars in the NDDC’s Account, the statement declared that NDDC’s Account is domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Every inflow and outflow is known and traceable. NDDC gets its revenue in Dollars which is paid directly to its Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Dollar is then converted to Naira by the CBN and paid into the NDDC Naira Account still domiciled with the CBN upon a written application from the NDDC. It is therefore impossible for any sum of money belonging to the NDDC with the CBN including the several figures bandied around as missing to be missing.

It is important to state, that unlike in the past where the NDDC had over three hundred (300) bank accounts in different commercial banks, that practice had since changed under the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which gave full effect to the application of the Treasury Single Account and the NDDC now has its accounts with the CBN. The Honourable Minister does not give verbal instructions to anybody, all instructions are in writing and in response to a request from the Commission.

“On the allegation that the Honourable Minister directed Ms. Nunieh to remove Mr. Kaltungo, same is false. His track record marks him out as a totally detribalized politician and one of the best friends of Northern Nigeria. The Honourable Minister was informed by the NDDC management that over twenty three (23) top Management Staff, from various part of Nigeria including the Niger Delta region, who have evaded leave in the last ten (10) years or had the tendency to influence negatively the ongoing forensic audit were recommended for mandatory leave by the lead forensic auditors. They are still staff of the Commission currently receiving their monthly salaries and benefits.

“The Honourable Minister has taken steps to instruct his lawyers to seek necessary redress in a Court of competent Jurisdiction on his behalf over the defamatory statements made by Ms. Nunieh.

“On a final note, while encouraging all Nigerians to hold their leaders to account, he urges them to take their time to sift between the chaff and the substance before embarking on far reaching allegations, opinions and views.”

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PDP Celebrates Obasanjo At 84

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has celebrated former President Olusegun Obasanjo on his 84th birthday.

The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Friday described Obasanjo as a patriotic leader and a global figure.

He also described the former president as exceptionally energetic administrator, who made immeasurable contributions, both as a military leader and democratically elected president for the survival, unity, stability and development of Nigeria.

“As a military leader, Obasanjo fought for the unity of our dear nation during its turbulent hours as well as making immense personal sacrifices for the return of democratic rule with the Second Republic in 1979.

“Twenty years after, as a democratically elected President, on the platform of our great party, the PDP, Obasanjo further united our nation with entrenchment of democratic values of all-inclusiveness,” he said.

Ologbondiyan said that Nigerians celebrated Obasanjo for running a visionary administration, leading to the revamping the country’s productive sectors.

“Under the Obasanjo-led PDP administration, our nation witnessed most of its best days as Nigerians particularly in the private sector, thrived in all fields.

“These included telecommunication, aviation, banking and finance, education, manufacturing, sports, entertainment, real estate, healthcare both at home and in the international arena.

“Our party extols Obasanjo’s undying sense of patriotism and love for our dear nation for which he has remained fearlessly active in his counsels, directions and admonitions,” he said.
He prayed God to grant him many more years in good health for the benefit of Nigeria and humanity at large.

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Insecurity: Inter-Faith Group Appeals To CAN, Others To See President Buhari As Leader For All

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The National Inter-Faith Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) has urged the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other religious bodies in the country to embrace President Muhammadu Buhari as a leader for all.

According to the foremost interfaith-faith group, the president has never demonstrated bias against Christians, Muslims or any other religious sect in the country.

This unshakable faith in the unity of Nigeria, the group reckoned, was visible at the last polls in 2019, in which Nigerians across religious and ethnic lines massively voted for the president.

NIFROP’s remarks trails CAN’s insinuation that President Buhari’s prolonged silence on Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s alleged profiling of military operatives is tantamount to endorsement of the Islamic cleric.

However, speaking at a press conference on Friday, in Abuja, through its grand patron, Bishop Julius Idiwe, NIFROP warned the Christian body not to drag the president into bigotry or partisanship.

Bishop Idiwe noted that CAN’s unwarranted outburst and vituperation on the presidency, with intent to incite the public, negates the core norms and values of all religions.

The inter-faith group insisted that President Buhari has always taken an impartial stand on national issues and doesn’t jump into every statement in the public domain.

Idiwe recalled how Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka and other Christian preachers in the past launched scathing attacks on the president without any reprimand whatsoever.

While Gumi has insistently canvassed for compensation and amnesty for the bandits, the respected Christian cleric said President Buhari has rejected his proposal.

He, therefore, advised CAN to promote peaceful co-existence, unity, togetherness and the indivisibility of Nigeria.

Read the full statement below:

The leadership of the NationalInter-Faith Religious Organizations for Peace ( NIFROP) is compelled to address a component of us, the  Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over comments attributed to an Islamic cleric, Shiek Ahmad Gumi on his alleged negative profiling of non-Muslim soldiers fighting insecurities in the frontlines, in  President Muhammadu  Buhari was unfairly dragged into a religious campaign. We find the contents of CAN’s statement untrue and a misrepresentation of reality concerning the Buhari Presidency.

NIFROP has found the public utterances and outbursts of CAN, a major Christian body in Nigeria against the Government, office and person of President Buhari extremely misdirected and misleading. And we believe, it is because of a lack of basic knowledge of the operations or mindset of this  Presidency.

NIFROP is unexcited the more by the consistent focus by CAN, as exemplified even in the current public statement to align the personality or the Buhari  Presidency to the country’s regressive national faultlines of ethnicity, religion and regionalism, even when there is enough evidence against such sermonized inclinations on the President. We again wish to bring to the notice of CAN’s leadership that President Buhari has consistently over the years, clearly resisted a romance with such biases.

It is the conviction of NIFROP that the sacred obligation of religious leaders in the country is to seek peace as also amplified by the Holy Scriptures. It is completely unreasonable to stoke troubles in the land in the magnitude that would cause the widespread crisis. It is our divine duty as clerics to promote peaceful co-existence, unity, togetherness and the indivisibility of Nigerians and Nigeria.

Therefore, CAN’s unwarranted outburst and vituperations on the Presidency, intent on public incitement of the people negates these core norms and values of all religions, as we collectively seek for a unified nation. It is a task President Buhari has glaringly and religiously committed his heart to it as leader of this nation.

President Buhari has never demonstrated through words o  actions any discrimination against neither Christian nor Muslims or preference for a particular religious sect in this country. He has not shown any favouritism to any section of this country against another based on religion or ethnicity. Both Christian and Muslim clerics have variously and directly attacked his Presidency, several times in the past; but he has never contemplated or condescended to a clampdown on them using state power for their expressed opinions.

It may interest CAN and their leaders to recall the several damaging prophecies of the SpiritualDirectorr of the Adoration Ministry,  Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbak against the Government and person of President Buhari, including his 2018 New Year eve prophesy, predicting President Buhari’s defeat in the 2019 presidential elections.

CAN should also remember Fr. Mbaka’s prophecy on December 31, 2020, Crossover Night tagged, ‘Cornucopia of New Miracles from God,” in which he accused President Buhari of politicising the conditions of Nigerian youths. And at another instance, Fr. Mbaka declared that “God is angry with Buhari”, a statement, he later denied after it went viral on social media. But the Presidency never harassed him.

In CAN’s latest statement, it also referenced the most recent open epistle to Nigerians by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Fr. Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah in which he severely threw darts at President Buhari and his Government in an obviously inciting and demeaning manner. It angered some Muslim youths who reacted to it by issuing a quit notice to  Fr. Kukah to vacate the North or face the consequences.

But CAN deliberately or hypocritically fail to remember or mention that the Presidency instantly condemned and countered the threats of the Muslim youths on Kukah through a public statement. It also took actions to secure his life from any possible physical assault on him. President Buhari warned the enraged and incensed Muslim youths never to contemplate an attack on the Catholic Priest or dare take laws into their hands or else, the consequences would be severe on the perpetrators.

President Buhari has repeatedly hollered publicly and even in his private conversations with eminent Nigerians his unshakeable faith in the oneness of Nigeria. He believes in the doctrine of equity, fairness and justice. That’s why even in 2019,  both Christian and Muslim dominated states in Nigeria competitively and massively voted for his reelection. It is a testimony to his demonstrated credentials as the father of the nation and all Nigerians irrespective of religious or ethnic affinities.

And the neutral character of President Buhari has reflected even in the distribution of his appointments and capital projects throughout Nigeria. Every section of the country has an imprint of his administration. CAN’s statement is, therefore, unfortunate and condemnable, to say the least.

Therefore, it is instructive to advise CAN and other religious bigots to necessarily separate the Buhari Presidency from false and imposed religious or ethnic biases.

To consciously and provocatively

align Mr. president with religion or ethnicity over fighting insecurities in the country,  profusely as exhibited by CAN is antithetical to all alternatives of panaceas to the crisis of insecurity in the country.  CAN and their co-travellers must learn to embrace the President and his views as leader of Nigeria and not as a  Fulani, Hausa or a Muslim.

Therefore,  it defeats every sane logic and wisdom on CAN’s expectations of the leader of a complex nation like Nigeria to start chasing every statement in public space. For CAN to misconstrue the Presidency’s silence over Shiek Gumi’s utterances as an endorsement of it and a lack of commitment to fighting armed banditry or terrorism in the county is a farce that only exists in the warped imaginations of these CAN leaders.

And there are several examples to buttress this assertion. Whilst Shiek Gumi has insistently canvassed fo compensation and amnesty for the bandits, President Buhari has rejected his proposal. Mr President is clear and loud that there will be no amnesty for bandits or criminals, as his administration is poised to deal with them appropriately.

Mr. President’s recent directive to security operatives to shoot anybody bearing AK-47 and other sophisticated weapons anywhere in the country is one of the series of fresh actions to contain insecurities in the country. Therefore, CAN have no sound basis to castigate or malign Mr President on his result-oriented battles with insecurities in the last five years.

Thank you.

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Group Faults RevolutionNow Protesters Over Calls For Buhari’s Resignation

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A pan socio-cultural group, Nigeria First, has condemned the purported rally by Omoyele Sowore-led RevolutionNow movement demanding for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation.

According to the group, Sowore, having failed legitimately to become president, aims to make the country ungovernable for the current administration, not minding the consequences.

The Nigeria First movement made these known at a press conference on Friday in Abuja.

In his address titled ‘Omoyele Sowore: A call for caution in Nigeria’, the group’s Deputy President, Ndubisi Nwogu, noted that the self-acclaimed activist is not acting in insolation.

Mr Nwogu revealed that the Sahara Reporters founder has the backing of both local and international saboteurs who are pained with the level of sustainable growth and development experienced in Nigeria under President Buhari.

He added that the call for President Buhari’s resignation is part of the overall plot and in the weeks and months ahead, more and more attempts to destabilize the country would surface.

The group, therefore, warned Sowore to desist from this ignoble quest which by all intents and purposes would serve the interest of his paymasters.

It further cautioned that the former presidential hopeful would be held responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the country.

Nwogu, however, urged all well-meaning Nigerians to rise in defence of the country in this “critical period of our existence by calling to question the motives of Sowore and his goons in their antics towards misleading the unsuspecting members of the general public”.

Read the full statement below:

You are all warmly welcomed to this event intended to put issues in proper perspective in the interest of the generality of Nigerians. The leadership of Nigeria First believes that recent events in the country indeed calls for caution from all relevant stakeholders at the risk of the country erupting in flames at the behest of some unscrupulous elements that are bent on destabilizing the country for reasons best known to them.

It is indeed despicable that some individuals and organizations would elect to throw caution in the wind by actively promoting causes that would divide the country in a most reckless manner and at the chagrin of our peace and unity as a country.

Nigeria First as a pan-sociocultural group is reiterating that recent events in the country are assuming a dangerous dimension, especially with the call for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari by no group other than the Omoyele Sowore led RevolutionNow Movement.

It is indeed obvious that Omoyele Sowore is the brain behind the despicable rally, which is a resurgence of his infamous call for a nationwide revolution in the country that was hugely a flop some months back.

Sadly, the likes of Omoyele Sowore have elected to sell their souls to the devil in return for a plate of porridge. This goes a long way to state the obvious truth that Omoyele Sowore is a cantankerous individual that ekes a living from blackmail and inciting violence, yet, parading himself as an activist and advocate for sustainable growth and development in Nigeria.

Nigeria First as a concerned stakeholder in Nigeria wishes to emphasize that it is now public knowledge that the overarching objective is to destabilize Nigeria and this anomaly is fast gaining traction in a dangerous dimension.

It is also instructive to state that Omoyele Sowore is not acting in insolation in the sense that the sponsorship of his nefarious activities is a combination of both local and international saboteurs that are angry with the level of sustainable growth and development experienced in Nigeria since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed leadership of the country.

Having this as a fact, it then speaks volumes that those that held the country by the jugular for several years have refused to come to terms with the present reality that it is no longer business as usual.

Nigeria First states that the sin of President Muhammadu Buhari remains the fact that he has put the interest of the country at heart and against the interest of a select few that have fed fat from the rot in the system, and responsible for the level of decadence in the polity.

It remains the considered opinion of Nigeria First that the plot to destabilize Nigeria is high on the list of the task before Omoyele Sowore and his goons that have been highly mobilized to incite a revolution in the country so they can truncate our nascent democracy.

Thus, the rally by RevolutionNow is indicative of this grand plot that has been well-planned as well as funded towards achieving their despicable objective aimed at causing unrest in the country.

Nigeria First wishes to use this medium to bring to the attention of Nigerians that indeed Omoyele Sowore is acting the script of some vested interest within political and ethnoreligious circles in Nigeria. And it has indeed assumed a dangerous dimension that indeed calls for concern from all well-meaning Nigerians that are desirous of sustainable growth and development in the country.

Nigeria First is using this medium to warn Omoyele Sowore to desist from his ignoble desire in destabilizing Nigeria which by all intents and purposes would serve the interest of his paymasters in the country and outside the shores of the country.

Nigerians must also come to the realization that the revolution now rally calling for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari is a part of the overall plot and in the weeks and months ahead, more and more attempts to destabilize the country would be experienced in the public space in Nigeria.

We are urging well-meaning Nigerians to rise in defence of Nigeria in this critical period of our existence by calling to question the motives of Omoyele Sowore and his goons in their antics towards misleading the unsuspecting members of the general public.

Nigerians must know that Omoyele Sowore by all indications is neck-deep in ensuring that Nigeria is destabilized through his RevolutionNow group. And their recent outing is just one out of the avalanche of planned events they have up their sleeves.

Nigeria First wishes to state in unequivocal terms that Nigerians should hold Omoyele Sowore responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the country in the coming weeks and months.

Having stated the above, Nigeria First as an organization would continue to engage other critical stakeholders in Nigeria towards nipping in the bud the plans of Omoyele Sowore and his paymasters towards destabilizing Nigeria.

Thank you all for your time and attention and God bless us all.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Long Live President Muhammadu Buhari.

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