NCC disavows leaked phone call between Obi and Oyedepo; Sanusi possible candidate for CBN governor under Tinubu presidency | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • NCC disavows leaked phone call between Obi and Oyedepo
  • Ortom maintains resilience despite senatorial election loss
  • DHQ reassures Nigeria’s safety amid UN fighting vehicle sighting in Edo
  • FPRO challenges individuals with evidence of attack to sue MC Oluomo
  • Sanusi possible candidate for CBN governor under Tinubu presidency

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

NCC disavows leaked phone call between Obi and Oyedepo

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has issued a statement in response to allegations of cellphone tracking and leakage made against it by some individuals and groups on social media. The allegations came after a leaked phone conversation that purportedly took place between Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25 presidential election, and Bishop David Oyedepo, the founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide.

NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Reuben Muoka, said in the statement that the commission denies the allegations and advises the public to disregard them.

Muoka emphasized that, according to the Nigerian Communication Act 2003 and other relevant laws, the commission does not and cannot “track” nor “leak” telephone conversations of anyone.

He added that the commission has reported the allegations to relevant security agencies for proper investigation and necessary action. Furthermore, the commission restated its commitment to discharging its responsibilities to the Nigerian people in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the NCA 2003, and other extant laws of the federation, as well as global best practices.

The leaked audio clip contains a conversation between Obi and Oyedepo in which Obi asks the bishop to speak to his people in the South-West and Kwara, referring to Christians in the area, and says that “this is a religious war.”

Obi’s media aide, Valentine Obienyem, claims that the leaked audio was edited out of context and that “our Nnewi prodigal brother” is responsible for the leak.

As of now, it is unclear who leaked the audio clip or what their motivations were. However, the NCC’s statement makes it clear that the commission takes the allegations seriously and is committed to ensuring that its responsibilities are discharged in accordance with the law and best practices.

Ortom maintains resilience despite senatorial election loss

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has said he remains undaunted in his pursuit of equity, justice, and fairness, despite his loss in the senatorial bid in the 2019 Nigerian presidential and National Assembly elections.

Governor Ortom made the statement on Tuesday during the commissioning of the Government Secondary School, Kpor in Gokana Local Government Area. The governor, who is a member of the G5, a group of five aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, praised other members of the group, such as Nyesome Wike, the governor of Rivers State, for standing by the truth, equity, fairness, and justice for the country.

“We have everything we need in Nigeria; what is lacking is equity, fairness, and justice, and I am very proud that right from the beginning, I stood firm and said after eight years of Presidency in the North, another eight years should go to the South, and I am happy that today this is where we are,” Governor Ortom stated.

During the 2019 elections, Ortom had hoped for a victory for the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, but both Obi and Ortom lost the polls. There were also strong indications that some other members of the G5 worked for Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, who emerged as the winner.

One of the main demands of the G5 was that the former National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resign to honor the party’s constitutional provisions on zoning, as both he and Atiku hail from the North. After a months-long feud between the G5 and the national leadership of the PDP, Ayu stepped aside last week.

DHQ reassures Nigeria’s safety amid UN fighting vehicle sighting in Edo

Nigerians should not be alarmed by the presence of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping fighting vehicles in the country, the Defence Headquarters has said.

The reassurance comes after a video circulated on social media showing the UN fighting vehicles and equipment passing through Benin, Edo state capital. Nigeria’s Acting Director of Defence Information, Tukur Gusau, confirmed that the country was not under any threat and that Nigeria was exporting the vehicles and equipment to troops in Sudan.

“The UN doesn’t have its own troops, rather it enters into agreement with troops contributing countries to provide their personnel and equipment for operations in its various missions. Therefore, it is imperative to state emphatically that the military fighting vehicles and equipment painted in UN colour as sighted are being moved through the Warri port for movement to the mission area in Southern Sudan to marry up with our troops who were inducted into the UNISFA mission last month,” Gusau explained.

He also reiterated that Nigeria is contributing troops to various UN peacekeeping operations, with the most recent being the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in Southern Sudan, which is commanded by Nigerian Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr.

“The Defence Headquarters under the leadership of General Lucky Irabor CFR wishes to assure Nigerians that our nation is not under any threat that will warrant the deployment of United Nations troops on our soil,” the statement added.

FPRO challenges individuals with evidence of attack to sue MC Oluomo

In response to a tweet by a Twitter user named AjammaS, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Force Public Relations Officer, has stated that anyone with evidence against Musiliu Akinsaya, Chairman of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Association, popularly known as MC Oluomo, can file a case of attack against him.

AjammaS had accused Adejobi and the police of failing to protect voters during the election after Adejobi had allegedly urged people to take MC Oluomo’s threat about the Igbo tribe in a viral video as a joke and assured them of safety during the election.

The tweet reads: “Now Nigerians heed to your calls and went out to cast their votes and unfortunately you failed to protect them as you promised. They were attacked by MC Oluomo and his boys, some were murdered, brutalised, blinded, some are currently receiving treatment in different hospitals.”

In response, Adejobi said: “If he has evidence of attack(s) against him, he should come up and file a case, rather than blackmailing or accusing anyone wrongly. MC Oluomo doesn’t have immunity on any criminal case. Investigation is ongoing on the Lagos Island crisis, we will brief the public on its outcome, please.”

Sanusi possible candidate for CBN governor under Tinubu presidency

There is currently a powerful lobby advocating for the return of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to reports, Governor Nasiru El Rufai of Kaduna State, who is believed to have the ear of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, is backing Sanusi’s candidacy.

Sanusi, who served as CBN governor from 2009 to 2014, is known for his strong, independent leadership style, which ensured the relative stability of Nigeria’s financial market after the turbulence of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis. During his tenure, the value of the naira stabilized at around N155 to $1 for four years.

Tinubu is reportedly looking to establish a new monetary management framework, linked to sound fiscal policy, to revitalize the national economy when he assumes office on May 29. Sanusi is seen as a credible technocrat with a strong character to sanitize the banking and financial sector.

“Sanusi is a highly respected economist who has been credited with undertaking extensive reforms in the banking sector. He is also an internationally recognized figure who was named central bank governor of the year for 2010 by Banker magazine,” said a source close to the matter.

However, Sanusi’s return to the CBN will not be without controversy. In 2014, he was suspended by then-President Goodluck Jonathan for alleging that $20bn in oil revenue had gone missing.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation denied the claims, saying they showed “little understanding of the technicalities of the oil industry”.

Sanusi’s allegations caused foreign exchange, bond, and money markets to cease trading due to uncertainty. Despite this, he remains a respected figure in the Nigerian financial sector, with many believing his return as CBN governor will help to restore the bank’s independence and stabilize the economy.

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