The Big 5: Atiku says why he left APC, Buhari; suspected Jihadists kill 40 in Mali and other stories

These are the top stories you should be monitoring today.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo Saturday, called on members of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) to be prepared to take over power in 2019, stressing that they should propagate the need for all qualified electorates to obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ahead of the poll.

Obasanjo made this known at the inauguration of the Oyo Chapter of the movement, held at Trans Amusement Park, Ibadan, stressing that the members should have it in their hearts that in the struggle to redeem Nigeria, they would be threatened.

Everybody must be determined to rescue Nigeria, it may not be easy, however, the God who performed wonders sometime ago, will again perform wonders. We have (seen), in this country, where five political parties endorsed a single person and God was laughing and knew what he would do. If we are leaving everything to God, we must do our best. Get your PVCs and encourage others.”

An official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said they cannot be held responsible for the poor turnout of petitioners in Saturday’s verification of signatures for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye.

The INEC Federal Commissioner in-charge of Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa, Mohammed Haruna, made the statement in Lokoja shortly after the end of the exercise.

Haruna said the main concern of INEC was to ensure transparency in the process, insisting that the organisation was neutral in the bid to recall Mr Melaye from the Senate.

Turnout is not our problem; turnout is the problem of parties concerned, ours is to ensure transparency,” Haruna said.

Commenting on insinuations that INEC might tamper with the wish of the people, the commissioner said that nothing like that would happen, stressing that the agency had no interest in who won or lost in the matter.

Nothing untoward will happen, I assure you. Whatever happened at the polling units is what INEC will announce,” he stated.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said one of the reasons he parted ways with his former party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), was the inability of President Muhammadu Buhari to address the negative manner in which the party was being run.

Abubakar stated this on Saturday in an interview with BBC Hausa Good Morning programme.

After 2015 general election, I met the president. I told him the activities of the party have been crippled and there is a need for restructure. Also, I advised the president on issues concerning his administration. I said to him, if things continued like this, I will quit but Mr Buhari turned deaf ears and remained mum,” he said.

The federal government says it has completed timetable for the clean-up of hydrocarbon impacted communities in four local government areas of Ogoni land in Rivers.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, made this known on Friday while inspecting medical outreach in Terabor General Hospital, Gokana Local Government Area of the state.

The exercise was organised by the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) for indigent Ogonis.

The Nigerian Army arrested one of Governor Samuel Ortom‘s aides for allegedly masterminding recent killings in Benue.

Aliyu Teshaku, head of Benue Livestock Guards, was arrested on Friday by the the Army’s 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi on suspicion of his involvement in some of the deadly attacks recorded across the state since January 1.

The Army said Mr Teshaku was a Boko Haram suspect and his arrest had input from the police and the State Security Service (SSS).

Some of the allegations include his alleged involvement in the attack on a Catholic Church on Tuesday in which at least 15 worshipers were killed, including two Catholic priests.

And… stories from around the world.

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has pledged to shutter a nuclear test site and invite foreign experts and journalists to witness the decommissioning in May as he prepares to meet US President Donald Trump as early as next month.

Kim also said there was no need for the North to maintain a nuclear arsenal if a peace treaty is formalised and relations with the US improve, according to South Korea’s presidential office.

Suspected jihadists killed more than 40 people from the Tuareg ethnic group on Mali’s north-eastern border with Niger in two days of violence.

The former Tuareg rebel group MSA and tribal leaders said more than 30 people were killed on Friday, a day after another attack by gunmen on motorbikes had left 12 people dead in the Menaka region.

There have been 43 deaths in two days, all civilians, from the same community,” tribal leader Sidigui Ag Hamadi said.

Our fighters are destroying their bases and wiping them out … [The jihadists] are targeting innocent civilians,” he added, saying he viewed the bloodletting as a reprisal for attacks on jihadists by armed Tuareg groups.

Donald Trump has called for the resignation of Jon Tester, the Democratic senator who released details of allegations against Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor who withdrew his nomination to be secretary of veterans affairs.

Allegations made by Senator Jon Tester against Admiral/Doctor Ron Jackson are proving false,” the president tweeted. “The Secret Service is unable to confirm (in fact they deny) any of the phony Democrat charges which have absolutely devastated the wonderful Jackson family. Tester should resign.”

Armenia’s ruling party will not put up a candidate for prime minister as it attempts to ease tensions after more than two weeks of street protests.

Demonstrations against the party and official corruption forced Serzh Sargsyan, a former president, to resign as prime minister on April 23 and the parliament is due to pick a new one on May 1.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to strengthen communications and maintain peace along the two countries’ shared border, following the conclusion of a two-day “informal” summit held in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

The two leaders underscored the importance of maintaining peace and tranquility in all areas of the India-China border region in the larger interest of the overall development of bilateral relations,” read a joint statement issued by the Indian Foreign Ministry.

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