The Late 5: Jonathan’s book, nothing but a presidential tale by midday – Gov. Shettima; Otedola appears in court, testifies against Lawan | Other top stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

President Muhammadu Buhari has said the security challenges confronting Nigeria are both internal and external factors.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President on receiving a security report from the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), who were commissioned to take a holistic look at the security challenges confronting the country and come up with sustainable solutions, assured the people that he would study the report and recommendations in it.

“Government is convinced that these security challenges are rooted in both internal and external factors. Most importantly, government is also convinced that finding sustainable solutions to these challenges will require the support and collaboration of security agencies and communities,” Buhari added.

Following recent revelations from the book ‘My Transition Hour,’ written by former President Goodluck Jonathan, especially on the 2014 abduction of over 200 secondary school girls in Chibok, Governor, Kashim Shettima of Borno, has criticised him, describing the book as “elementary in content” and containing “fiction.”

According to a statement issued by his media adviser, Isa Gusau, Governor Shettima who accused the former president of attempting to “sweep under the carpet the incontrovertible facts about how his (Jonathan) government mishandled the issue of the abduction,” wondered how the former president could speak about the abduction when “he never believed any girl was abducted,” while stressing that the former president’s refusal to publish any part of his own panel’s findings on the Chibok abduction, meant the book was nothing short of a presidential tale by midday.

“What has become very clear is that the former President decided to sit on facts in his custody while he published, in an elementary standard, a book of fiction designed to pass guilty verdicts to anyone but himself, with respect to the open failures of his administration to rescue our daughters and in tackling the Boko Haram challenges,” he added.

Oil magnate, Femi Otedola, on Wednesday, revealed that a former House of Representatives member, Farouk Lawan, demanded a $500,000 bribe from him to remove his company, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited from the list of oil companies allegedly involved in fuel subsidy fraud.

Otedola who appeared before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, said the former chairman of a House of Representatives committee probing the multi-billion naira fuel subsidy fraud, removed his company from the list of indicted oil companies after he collected the money, adding that $2.5 million was the balance he was expected to pay the ex-lawmaker.

“I could not have put him under pressure because Zenon Oil was not involved in the theft of subsidy funds. If he did not demand (for money), why will he collect the $500,000 and was expecting $2.5 million. “He did mention to me that several companies involved in the scam were paying and I reported to the DSS,” he told the court.

The rank of the All Progressives Congress (APC) especially in the National Assembly continued to deplete on Wednesday, as two members of the ruling party in the House of Representatives resigned their membership of the APC.

According to their letters read by the Speaker of the House during plenary, both lawmakers made references to irreconcilable issues relating to the party primaries as part of the reasons for the resignation and defection, explaining that after due consultations with their constituents, it was time for them to part ways with the APC.

One of the lawmakers, Babatunde Kolawale, representing Akoko North East/West Federal Constituency in Ondo, in his letter, announced that he was defecting to the PDP, while Mukaila Kazzim, representing Abeokuta North/Obafemi-Owode/ Odeda Federal Constituency of Ogun, who stated that “god-fatherism” played a vital role in the emergence of candidates to represent the party in the 2019 general elections, is yet to announce his new party.

The Senate on Wednesday decrying the state of the development of railways lines in the South Eastern part of the country, has summoned the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, to explain the Federal Government’s plans for rail development from the Port Harcourt and Enugu railway axis.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who contributed to the discussion on the floor of the Senate, cited Orders 42 and 52, adding that “for a country to survive there has to be equity, fairness and justice.” “Less attention is being given to the Eastern part of Nigeria,” he said.

Senator Shehu Sani who also contributed to the debate said “That line has a lot of political, social and economic advantage as it can open many opportunities. I request that the Senate bring the Minister of transport to answer these questions.”

And stories from around the world:

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that a joint military exercise with South Korea called “Foal Eagle” would be reduced in scope next year so it does not harm diplomatic efforts with North Korea. (Reuters)

Interpol has elected South Korean Kim Jong-yang as its president, rejecting the controversial Russian frontrunner. (BBC)

Turkey on Wednesday accused the US of trying to turn a blind eye to the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, and dismissed comments from Donald Trump on the issue as “comic”. (The Guardian, UK)

A UAE court sentenced a British academic to life in prison on charges of spying for the British government on Wednesday, in a move Britain said would have serious diplomatic consequences for relations between the old allies. (Reuters)

Saudi activists, including women, arrested in a government crackdown this year have faced sexual harassment and torture during interrogation, Amnesty International said. (Al Jazeera)


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