The Big 5: Akpabio ‘hits’ Saraki, Dogara over budget presentation row; Driver confirmed alive as manhunt for killers of ex-Defence chief begins | Other top stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

The Police says the manhunt for the assassins of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has commenced on Wednesday as operatives from the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team ([RT) and Special Tactical Squad (STS) have been deployed to Nasarawa to carry out discrete investigation into the case.

In a statement on the preliminary investigation into the murder released in Lafia by the spokesman for the State Police Command, Kennedy Idirisu, “the former Chief of Defense Staff suffered gunshot injury, which resulted in his death, with the driver sustaining injuries while the friend was abducted.

The statement added that following the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa State and some senior military personnel have visited the scene, with the police calling on the public with useful information to avail the police with the view to rescuing the abducted person and arresting the perpetrators of the dastardly act.


The lawmaker representing Akwa Ibom North West, Senator Godswill Akpabio (APC-Akwa Ibom) has described the inability of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara to deliver their speeches during Wednesday’s presentation of the 2019 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari as a sign of weakness.

Akpabio who disclosed this while speaking with journalists shortly after the President made the presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill at the National Assembly in Abuja, stressed that both leaders couldn’t make the opening and closing remarks respectively traditionally done before and after the presentation, since they now belong to a minority party.

“When I was in the minority party, I was the minority leader; I wasn’t the Senate President. “So I will expect that what has happened today should be a wake-up call on the Speaker and the Senate President to resign peacefully,” he said.


In a related development, the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on described Wednesday’s development at the at the joint session of the National Assembly as a resounding and unambiguous vote of no confidence and unmistaken expression of Buhari’s rejection by the Nigerian public, across the divides.

Addressing the media in Abuja, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan who stated that the booing and jeering of the President was by lawmakers across party lines and not instigated by the PDP lawmakers, added that Nigerians were fed up with Buhari’s ‘incompetent, divisive and corrupt administration,’ which, he said had brought so much hunger, starvation, escalated violence and bloodletting in Nigeria.

“Today’s open rejection of President Buhari by the lawmakers, representing all the federal constituencies and senatorial zones across our country, shows that Mr. President no longer enjoys the support of Nigerians across the country; that he no longer has any political foothold and only awaits a crushing defeat in the 2019 general election,” he said.


The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on the other hand condemned the action of lawmakers of the PDP at the presentation of the 2019 National Budget by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, stressing that the development further confirmed that the opposition party was largely populated by self-serving and unpatriotic members, whose sole aim in politics was to promote their self interests at the expense of the country’s interests.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC said the PDP should be aware that the disgraceful conduct and actions of its legislative caucus had succeeded in eroding the remnant of the public’s respect, (if any) that the party had in the eyes of any respectable Nigerian.

“By law, respect for the office of the president or head of government in any clime is not a matter of choice but a civic obligation sanctioned by laws. Being an opposition party or critic is no licence for such wayward conduct by the PDP legislative caucus; most especially against the president of the country,” the statement read.


Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has asked the Nigerian Army to end the “attack, harassment and intimidation of Amnesty International and focus instead on addressing the several allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses by the Army.”

As contained in a statement he issued in Lagos on Wednesday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said “the Nigerian military has also been indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Presidential Panel on Procurement of Arms and Ammunition, Judicial Commissions of Enquiry and the International Criminal Court (ICC) on gross human rights abuse and war crimes which are similar to the allegations documented by Amnesty International.”

“I am very concerned that rather than telling Nigerians what they would do to address the very damaging allegations made by Amnesty International of grave human rights abuses against the Nigerian Army and other security agencies the Army is targeting Amnesty simply for working to hold the Army to account,” he added.

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