Ganduje sues for N3bn, also asking for public apology; Presidential committee says Imo governorship candidate was released so he doesn’t die | Other top stories of the week

These are the stories that drove conversation this week.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo reacted to a report by a House of Representatives committee indicting him for allegedly illegally approving N5.9 billion for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), for which its Director General, Mustapha Maihaja, is currently being probed by the lawmakers.

As contained in a statementOsinbajo described the allegations as false and misleading, stressing that the presidential approvals were well within the clear constitutional authority of the Acting President.

The House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Chaired by Ali J. C. Isa (Balanga/Billiri, PDP), however, insisted that Osinbajo has questions to answer on the approval because he is Chairman of the governing council of NEMA and was the Acting President at the time when the fund was approved.

Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar said “agents of the state”, tried to use their power to intimidate him and members of his staff.

However, in a statement released by the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika described the claim by Abubakar as a mischievous attempt to grab the headlines, adding that Nigerians should be aware that one of the resolutions of the Abubakar team at their recently-concluded Dubai retreat was to embark on scaremongering as this.

Kano High Court upheld an earlier order halting the state House of Assembly Investigative Committee from probing the bribery allegation against Kano Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

Responding during the hearing, Counsel to the Kano House of Assembly (first defendant) and Investigative Committee Chairman, Hon. Baffa Babba Dan Agundi (second defendant), Mohammed Waziri, described his clients as law-abiding citizens who would not breach the law in any way, adding that “the Assembly has no intention whatsoever to take any further steps until the subsisting matter is decided upon because constitutional issues are being raised.”

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed he has seen the videos.

We gave the videos to security agencies for vetting. And we will surely take action on the matter if he is found guilty,” one of the participants quoted the president as asking while demonstrating how the governor was stashing bundles of dollars under his babariga.

Then, Ganduje dragged the online medium, Daily Nigerian, and its publisher, Ja’afar Ja’afar before a Federal High Court in Kano, instituting a N3 billion suit against them for alleged defamation of character, slander and libel through publications and release of video clips alleging that the governor was involved in bribery.

Ganduje is also asking for an order compelling the defendants to write a public apology to the plaintiff and broadcast such apology through their online platforms and other news media with global accessibility.

While the media office of Senator Hope Uzodinma (Imo West) released a statement to refute reports that he (Uzodinma) was arrested, pointing out that “the story was planted by Governor Rochas Okorocha and his cohorts out of their dare-devil desperation to damage the image of the distinguished Senator before the Imo electorate who are poised to vote for him in 2019,” the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) gave a different account of what happened.

Chairman of SPIPRPP, Okoi Obono-Obla said that the embattled APC gubernatorial flag-bearer was granted administrative bail around midnight after he developed high blood pressure in detention and pleaded to be allowed to report back for questioning on Tuesday.

An Abuja High Court has ordered the Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia-South) and two others (Ben Elshalom, a Jewish priest, and Tochukwu Uchendu) who stood as sureties for the leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to deposit N100 million each as bail bond into the court’s account within two months.

The IPOB leader who is being prosecuted on charges of treasonable felony disappeared after an alleged military invasion of his home in, Umuahia, in Abia on September 14, 2017.

Some Igbo leaders comprising members of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo Leaders of Thought, the intelligentsia among others resolved to support the candidacy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi in the 2019 election.

According to the leaders led by elder statesman, Prof. Ben Nwabueze said their position was based on the restructuring agenda put on the table by Atiku/Obi, which four zones of the country had agreed on, stressing that their campaign isn’t against anybody, but simply a campaign for their very survival.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki has said the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has ‘no locus standi to talk about morality in today’s Nigeria’s politics.’

Saraki said that for “somebody who has been told to have been collecting not even naira but dollars from candidates and is being accused by his party’s aspirants and governors doesn’t have any moral ground, to continue to be in politics, not to talk about being a chairman of a party.”

In reaction, Oshiomhole threatened to sue Saraki over the unwarranted attack and call for his resignation, describing it as pathetic and an irresponsible resort to petty politics.

“It is sad that Saraki, who just woke up from slumber occasioned by his crushing defeat at the Port Harcourt presidential primary election of his party, could degenerate to such a low level. And I challenge Saraki to mention one name of an aspirant that gave money to the National Chairman or we file a legal action against him,” the statement read.

Saraki said he “will be ready to meet him (Oshiomhole) in court.”

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) expressed dismay over the statement credited to the Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi that Nigerian University professors earn same salary of N500,000 as him or even more and that the strike embarked upon by ASUU was needless as the Buhari government has done more for education than any other government.

According to a statement released to newsmen in Ibadan, ASUU stated that the Buhari education policy has brought disaster to education, noting that the education budget before President Buhari took over in 2015 was above 10 percent but has worsened by a retrogressive allocation that took 2018 education budget to six percent.

“Fayemi’s utterances revealed the mental state of those ruling us. We challenge him to publish what a university professor earns as salaries and allowances and what governors earn and allowances.  If lecturers earn more than governors why did Fayemi run away?” the statement added.

Meanwhile, a meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU ended without resolution.

On national minimum wage, Governor of ZamfaraAbdul’aziz Yari, said the payment of N30,000 wage was impracticable, while stressing that the proposed wage would be paid if labour would agree to downsize the workforce across the countryor the Federal Government itself accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.”

Yari also alleged that the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage did not include the governors’ submission of N22,500 in its proposal to the President under the guise that their decision (the governors) came late.

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, reduced the jail term of former Governor Joshua Dariye to 10 years, saying while the conviction was right, the former governor should have been jailed for 10 years.

Similarly, the Court of Appeal, Abuja, ordered the former Taraba Governor, Jolly Nyame, to pay a fine of N495 million for alleged misappropriation of funds while he was governor of Taraba from 1999 to 2007.

The court on Thursday, however, reduced the 14-year jail term, earlier given to Nyame by a High Court in Abuja to 12 years.

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