Why Jonathan fired Stella Oduah, Orubebe, two others,NACA warns against HIV, STIs this Valentine’s day & other important news you should know today

by Oge Okonkwo


Why Jonathan fired Stella Oduah, Orubebe, two others

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday sacked the embattled Minister of Aviation – Stella Oduah , Minister of Niger Delta Affairs – Godsday Orubebe , Minister of Police Affairs – Caleb Olubolade and Minister of Finance – Yerima Ngama.

According to reports, some of the ministers sacked Wednesday have corruption allegations hanging on their necks.

The sack of the four ministers is the second major sack of ministers in the federal cabinet undertaken by President Jonathan in the last seven months.

Premium Times reports:

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday summoned uncommon courage, firing four of his ministers – three of which have been enmeshed in controversies and corruption allegations.

Briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, said the president announced the removal of the ministers during the meeting.

“The President announced further changes in the Federal Executive Council,” Mr. Maku said. “He said a number of ministers had been asked to step out from the council to pursue their own interests, some in politics and others in their own private focus. Mainly what the President did today was to allow the Ministers that have indicated interest in pursuing further growth in the economy to be allowed to go.”

Mr. Maku said the Aviation ministry would now be supervised by the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Samuel Ortom. While the Ministry of Niger Delta would be supervised by its Minister of State, Gauis Ishaku , the Ministry of Police Affairs would be supervised by the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide. The Ministry of Finance would continue to be manned by its minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Showing them the door

While Ms. Oduah was sacked in absentia as she was not at the cabinet meeting, the other affected ministers were in attendance at what turned out their last FEC meeting.

The ministers of police affairs and Niger Delta affairs however left before the end of the meeting.

The sack of the cabinet members came barely seven months after nine of their colleagues were dropped and two weeks after the president sent 12 ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.

The ministers sacked last September were Shamsuddeen Usman (Minister of National Planning), Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs), Hadiza Mailiafia (Environment), Ruqqayat Ahmed (Education), Ita Ewa (Science and Technology) and Ama Pepple (Housing and Urban Development).

Others were Bukar Tijani (Minister of State for Agriculture), Zainab Kuchi (Power), and Olusola Obada (Defence).

The new ministerial nominees the president sent to the Senate on January 21 for confirmation are Aliyu Gusau (Zamfara), Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Musiliu Obanikoro (Lagos), Akon Eyakeni (Akwa Ibom), Mohammed Wakil (Borno), Lawrencia Mallam (Kaduna), Aminu Wali (Kano) and Jumilia Salik (Kano).

Asabe Ahmed (Niger), Abduljelili Oyewale (Osun), T.W. Danagogo (Rivers) and Khaliru Alhassan (Sokoto) were also nominated.

Before the removal of the nine ministers nine months ago, two others — Haliru Mohammed (Defence), and Inuwa Abdul-kadir (Youth Affairs) — were dropped while Ali Pate (Minister of State for Health) resigned to take up a teaching appointment in the United States.

Although, Messrs Orubebe and Olubolade are believed to have been fired to enable them pursue their gubernatorial interests in Delta and Ekiti States, respectively, that cannot be possibly be said of Ms Oduah and Mr. Ngama.

Oduah’s bagful of scandals

It is believed that Ms. Oduah was forced to resign because of the various controversies and scandals trailing her.

The former aviation minister was found guilty by two panels, which probed the purchase of two bullet-proofs cars by an agency under her supervision, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for N255 million in violation of Nigeria’s public procurement and appropriation laws.

The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, which held an investigative hearing on the matter, said in its report that the money used in purchasing the vehicles was not covered by the 2013 budget. It also said Ms. Oduah breached Nigerian laws by exceeding her approval limit and signing off over N634 million for the agency to buy 54 vehicles.

The Committee, headed by Nkiru Onyejiocha, then advised President Jonathan to review Mrs. Oduah’s appointment as minister.

“The House urges the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to review the continued engagement of the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, for having contravened the Appropriation Act 2013 and the approved, revised thresholds by exceeding the Ministry of Aviation’s approval limit of N100 million by the purchase of 54 vehicles valued at N643 million,” the report said in part.

The President panel set up by the Federal Government on the matter equally found Mrs. Oduah guilty for breaching the laws of the land.

The panel was headed by the immediate past Head of Service of the Federation, Bello Isa and had as members the National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki and Dick Iruenebere, a retired Air Vice Marshall.

Apart from the scandal, Ms. Oduah was also involved in a certificate forgery scandal. The former minister was alleged to have claimed in the resume she submitted to the Senate for her confirmation hearing that a university, which was later found to be non-existent, awarded her a phantom honorary doctorate degree.

She also falsely claimed on the website of the Ministry of Aviation that she bagged a Masters degree from St. Paul College, Lawrenceville, Virginia, United States.

However, checks at the institution revealed that it did not award her the degree as it does not run graduate programmes.

NACA warns against HIV, STIs this Valentine’s day 

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), has called for caution against love  activities that could heighten the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections, STIs this Valentine’s Day season.

Speaking for the agency in Abuja, the Director General of the Agency, John Idoko, recognised Valentine Day as a period where gratitude of love is demonstrated between individuals through gestures of affection such as flowers, perfumes, cloths among other gift items.

Professor Idoko said: “Valentine Day as good as it may be, has however, brought up a worrisome aspect festering this celebration of love season. This is the high rate of indiscriminate sexual and other negative activities which are perpetrated on this day leading to uninformed decision making among adolescents.

Vanguard reports:

“In our quest to actualise a generation free from HIV/AIDS, NACA is advising that at this season of love, Nigerians should make informed decisions about their sexual engagements in order to halt the spread of the virus.”

Reminding Nigerians on the need to be principled and to abstain, or indulge only in protected sex at this period of love sharing. Idoko remarked that consumption of alcohol had become a worrisome aspect and catalyst in the spread of HIV/AIDS among sexual active partners.

“Either good or bad, alcohol intake does influence an individual’s judgments and perceptions. It is widely observed that drinking alcohol leads to increased risky sexual behaviour, like not using protection to prevent HIV/AIDS, or having sex that you will regret you had.

“As we celebrate love at this period of Valentine Day, it is good to note that safe sex is not just about protecting oneself, but however protecting those we love. As a nation, we must all come together with our partners and loved ones to discuss HIV/AIDS epidemic and above all get tested, he said.“

 Oduah’s sack: Reps back Jonathan

The House of Representatives yesterday supported the sack of Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Briefing journalists, yesterday, spokesman of the House, Zakari Mohammed, APC, Kwara, said the House proved detractors wrong as Oduah’s removal and ouster from office showed the President had taken sides with the House’ resolution.

Vanguard reports:

Mohammed said, “We have kept faith with exposing corruption and for us, we have done our job. And if the President has finally decided to do his now, then we are on the same page.”

On the allocation of N7billion by the Presidency for the national conference, Mohammed said the House would look into the proposal and do justice to it when it came to the National Assembly.

He said,“As an institution, it is too early for us to talk about the desirability of the conference and the budget for it. But when they bring it to us, we would look at it critically.”

Also yesterday, the Nigeria Unity Group in the House of Representatives condemned the wild and spurious allegations by members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, dished out millions of US dollars to senators and House members to defect to the PDP.

Maki Oh & Adebayo Oke-Lawal Listed as Semi-Finalists for the Global LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize

Nigerian designers Amaka Osakwe of Maki Oh and Adebayo-Oke Lawal of Orange Culture have been listed among the 30 semi-finalists for the LVHM Young Fashion Designer Prize. The global competition which was launched in November 2013 by Delphine Arnault.

The competition had over 1,221 applicants of which 30 have now been selected. The semi-finalists are to head to Paris on Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th February 2014 where they will showcase their collections to an exclusive panel. Among the Panel members are prominent editors and stylsts like Net-a-Porter Founder & CEO Natalie Massenet, Stylist Olivier Rizzo, Editor-in-Chief – Vogue China,Angelica Cheung among others. They will streamline the list to 10 finalists.

Up for grabs are 300,000 Euros and a Year of expert mentoring from an internal team at LVMH.

After the ten finalists have been selected by the fashion expert panel, they must then present a 20-minute presentation of their collections to an elite jury, which consists of eight creative directors from LVMH fashion houses, including the likes of Marc JacobsKarl LagerfeldNicolas Ghesquiére and Raf Simons. The jury will be joined by Delphine Arnault, Pierre-Yves Roussel Chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group and Jean-Paul Claverie, advisor to Bernard Arnault and Head of Corporate Philanthropy.

Speaking on the competition in an exclusive interview with WWD, Delphine said; “It was really hard to do a short list of 30. I was really amazed at the number of applicants and the quality of the dossiers we received.” ”I think it’s a great thing to support fashion and support designers. It’s really our responsibility to find the talents… and to help them grow.” She added.

To see the finalists list please visit www.WWD.com.

Army destroys truck-load of illegally refined fuel

A truck load of suspected illegally refined petrol have been destroyed by the 4 Brigade Nigerian Army, Benin, on Thursday.

The information was made available to journalist in a statement by the brigade in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Capt. Abubakar Abdullahi, on Wednesday.

Abdullahi said the destruction was part of the brigade’s effort to check illegal oil bunkering in the state.

Vanguard reports:

He said that the Army patrol troop intercepted the truck in January on Sepele bye-pass in Benin.

“And we set the truck ablaze on Thursday after a laboratory test confirmed the substance is contaminated PMS emanating from illegal refining facility.

“The exercise of destroying the truck is aimed at sending a clear warning to all those involved in illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism to desist from such illegal venture before they are apprehended by our troops,’’ it warned.



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