Reps Set To Probe Ribadu!

The National Assembly is set to launch an investigation into the conduct of out-going chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Members of the lower House have started compiling allegations and petitions against Mallam Nuhu Ribadu whose redeployment on training has stirred up controversy.

National Assembly sources who spoke with The Times of Nigeria said that the same group that influenced the removal of former Speaker of the House, Olubunmi Etteh has concluded plans to initiate a probe into the controversial Third Term financing.

The source said that there are very credible evidence before us that Ribadu played a very prominent role if the distribution of bribes to members of the House of Representatives and Senators in a failed attempt to influence the outcome of the vote.

“That massive fraud must be investigated and, we are ready to jumpstart the process.”A member of the Integrity Group told The Times of Nigeria.

Spearheading the effort to probe Ribadu are prominent members of the Integrity Group of Niger Delta states.

Some governors of Niger Delta state are said to have conferred with members of the National Assembly from their states and instructed them to initiate the probe claiming that Ribadu’s anti corruption fight has unfairly targeted the region more than any other region in the country.

Apart from the issue of Ribadu’s role in the ill-fated attempt to secure a third term for former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the group also intend to challenge the legality of the rapid promotion the EFCC chairman received from the past administration. Also on their list of grievances is what they called “financial impropriety” by Ribadu.

“Where did a serving policeman get the money to buy his Abuja residence that belonged to the former deputy Inspector General of Police?” The source queried.

The group is said to have been irked by what it called the “Holier than thou” attitude of the EFCC chairman.

“We know his associates and when the probe start Nigerians will be surprised by who the information that will come to the fore. We will disclose for the world to see the role that Ribadu himself played during the elections. Corruption is not only about taking money, you can corrupt your position by abuse your office.”



Clark Urge Yar’Adua To Intervene In Okah’s Case!

Chief Edwin Clark has called on the Federal Government to intervene in the detention of Henry Okah who is being detained in Angola by the country’s government for alleged gun running.  Clark said the silence of government on the detention of Okah is a violation of some parts of the Nigerian constitution, as it relates to fundamental human rights of the citizens.

Clark, who addressed journalists in Abuja yesterday pleaded with President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to personally intervene in the case to secure Okah release.

 “The continued detention of Okah is agitating the youth in the Niger Delta, as they believe that the same could happen to them, as it is happening to Okah.” Clark said

According to Clark, “the said Henry Okah is one of the youth leaders of the Niger Delta and was one of the key figures in the commencement of dialogue towards peace with the present government. It is on the score of this that the Vice President travelled to South Africa to meet him.”

“The early conclusion of the Okah matter will go a long way to contribute to the efforts at fighting peace and security in the Niger Delta” Clark said.

He also said that countries, including Nigeria under the international law have a duty to defend and protect their citizens, wondering why Nigeria is keeping silence on the Okah issue.

Ribadu Has Access To The President – Adeniyi

The presidency said today that EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, has not been denied access to President
Umaru Yar’Adua.

The clarification followed reports that the anti-graft icon had been barred fromthe presidential villa in the aftermath of his nomination for a yearlong course.

His nomination for the course by the Nigeria Police Force sparked off a controversy, as many people questioned its rationale.

The Special Adviser to the President on Communications, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, toldthe News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) today that there was no truth in the reports.

“Ribadu has not been denied access to the villa, he said, adding: “Why should anybody do that?”

Adeniyi expressed surprise at such stories and where they emanated from.

“He is EFCC chairman, nothing has changed and I wonder where all these stories emanate from.

“It is also not true he has to go through the Inspector-General of Police to see the president in the course of his work.

“The normal channel to see the president in the villa is the Chief of Staff,” thepresidential spokesman said.

Ribadu was in the villa earlier in the day to see the president.

– NAN

Ribadu Visits President Yar’Adua

Amid the controversy surrounding his study leave, EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, met with President Umaru Yar’Adua behind closed doors today in Abuja.

Beaming with smiles, Ribadu parried questions from State House correspondentsas he repeatedly said Happy New Year.

It was not clear what they discussed, but sources said it had to do with the controversy surrounding Ribadu’s new assignment.

Last December, the Nigeria Police Force nominated Ribadu for a yearlong course atthe National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos.

This sparked off a controversy as many Nigerians questioned the rationale for his nomination for the course.

Police authorities said, however, that by his rank Ribadu, an Assistant Inspector-Generalof Police was due for such study leave.

Princewill, AC, Calls For Ceasefire In Rivers State!

 

The Action Congress party (AC) in Rivers State and the gubernatorial candidate of the party during the last April elections today pleaded with all parties involved in the escalating confrontation between the militants and the security forces to exercise restraint in the interest of peace.

Tonye Princewill, in a statement to the media today urged the militants to sheath their swords while equaling appealing to the Joint Task Force – the security team responsible for restoring peace to the region to not only do the same but to declare a ceasefire to allow peace and stability to rein in the troubled state.

“It has becomes imperative to plead with the Rivers State Government under the able Leadership of Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Tom Ateke the Leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement (NDVM) and the Joint Task Force (JTF) not only to sheath their swords but declare an immediate cessation of hostilities to allow the State and the region regain its sanity and for reason to prevail.” The statement said.

According to Princewill, “This call becomes necessary as Rivers State will remain even after they have gone. Innocent people therefore can not be victims of whatever disagreements they have. Enemies today will be friends tomorrow. Dialogue is the only way and whether today or tomorrow eventually it will be used. The difference between the options is what will determine how many more innocent people will die. Ateke should not further justify the actions of the JTF by killing innocent people. You have shown you can do peace. Now more than ever before, we implore you to show us you can do peace again. Then you leave the rest to God. The holy bible states in the Gospel of Saint Mathew chapter 5 verse 9 ‘blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God’.  Ateke become a child of God today by promoting peace once again and don’t give them an excuse to haunt, peruse or probably kill you.  The whole world is watching and today due to the happenings in our State the entire mankind  is suffering and the prizes of crude oil has soared to $100 a barrel thereby making the poor to pay more for oil which directly affects the economy of the world. Those that don’t know what you did before for peace must see what you do now. JTF and Rivers State also need peace. Ateke, please do utilize the peace overture of Governor Amaechi that militants should denounce violence and handover their weapons of mass destruction and be granted amnesty and beside as Thompson one of the greatest disciples of Christ one expect you to be at the fore-front of bringing sanity and peace to our State and Region.”

“Nigerians believe that the Niger Delta deserves an improvement in their socio-economic life. The international community and civil society organizations have also spoken in the same vain. We do not know of anyone today in Nigeria who feels that Niger Delta has been fairly treated by successive administrations. The helplessness, level of ecological devastation and degradation and poverty besetting our people are well known. Be that as it may, those of us who saw sense in the agitations and protests against marginalization and poverty of the region and have advocated same can no longer justify the modus operandi of some of these groups involved in snuffing life out of innocent oil workers, Security personnel, Nigerians and foreigners.”

Princewill said that President Musa Yar’adua and Governor Rotimi Amaechi are committed  to the “development and emancipation of our people is never in doubt but let us caution as much as we appreciate the efforts of the Joint Task Force ( JTF) to maintain peace in the Region but acting as an army of occupation is no longer fashionable. We have read the report of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta coded ‘Operation Restore Hope’ and wish to state that the use of military action to dislodge the Niger Delta warlords from their dens in the creeks of the region would be counter-productive, uncalled for, unwarranted and provocative and may result to a war on the Niger Delta people which calamitous consequences may not be ascertained.”

“We urge both the militants, JTF, FG and the various stakeholders to employ the principle of dialogue as the only suitable option to avoid overheating the polity or any other civil war in Nigeria” He said.

Hostage Fallout: Filipinos Barred From Working In Nigeria

The Philippines’ government has barred its citizens from seeking employment in Nigeria because of the rise in incidence of hostage crisis in the Niger Delta area of the country.

Most Filipinos work in Nigeria’s oil sector as crewmen onboard oil vessels that service the oil rigs in the Niger Delta.

Last year, a good number of the hostages taken were Filipino crew members.

Currently about 5,000 Filipinos work in Nigeria and most of them are in the Niger Delta.

The Filipino government has ordered immigration officials at the country’s international airports to refuse exits to all its citizens traveling to Nigeria. Other countries included ijn the travel ban are Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

Ferdinand Sampol, Naia immigration supervisor, said the move was recommended by the Department of Foreign Affairs along with the Department of Labor and Employment, which imposed a total ban on deployment to the four conflicted states.

Hundreds of departing workers, who flocked to the airport after spending the holidays with their families, were surprised to have their job contracts and supporting papers cleared by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency office before going to the outbound immigration counters.

Industry sources said the government had stopped processing the papers of Filipinos for employment in Nigeria and Afghanistan in November last year, while a total ban was imposed in 2004 on workers going to Lebanon and Iraq.

Data from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration indicated more than 1,000 are now in Afghanistan and 5,000 in Nigeria, who were able to slip out of the airport through the so-called escort system.

MEND Backs Ateke Tom, Vows To Cripple Oil Export!

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has vowed to cripple Nigeria’s oil industry by halting exports from the Niger Delta according to a statement released to the media yesterday.
MEND expressed regret for the loss of innocent lives in the New Year’s Day attack in Port Harcourt by Ateke Tom but praised him for the attack and promised to support him providing him arms including anti-aircraft gunships to wage battle with Nigerian security forces.


“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) commiserates with the families of the victims killed on New Year’s Day in Port Harcourt by the Nigeria Police Force after the attack by fighters of the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement.
“In its characteristic manner, the undisciplined Nigerian army resulted to an unnecessary scorched earth policy during a raid on the camp of Ateke Tom in Okrika. The burning of vehicles, boats, houses and looting was uncalled for in the first place, which resulted to the New Year reprisal attack on Port Harcourt.
“Our call for unity amongst every fighting force in the Niger Delta against a common enemy makes it imperative that MEND take sides in spite of our differences with Ateke Tom and will support him with fighters and heavy weapons including anti- aircraft. Today, the main factions in MEND are back together as one formidable force ready to fight against injustice and criminality.
“The injustice we refer to is the rape of the Niger Delta for decades; using its wealth to develop other regions of the country and oppression of the people. The criminals are the government of Nigeria, oil majors, corrupt politicians like the Obasanjo family, and the officers and men of the armed forces who are involved in oil bunkering, rape of our women, girls and little boys by gay soldiers, extra judicial killings, robbery, harassment of innocent civilians through involvement in civil matters and debt collection. Even with its huge budget, greedy officers in the military Joint Task Force (JTF) continue to hoodwink the governors in the region for money under one excuse or the other.
“We salute our agents inside the armed forces for a job well done! The leakage of classified information meant to annihilate us during a fraudulent peace initiative has prepared us for the bloody fight in2008. Our goal remains to paralyse 100 percent of Nigeria ’s oil export in one swipe.”
In the email signed by Jomo Gbomo, MEND advised civilians in the region to be cautious and avoid mingling in areas populated by military personnel.
“Civilians inside capital cities in the Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers are advised to avoid milling around army check points and Armoured Personnel Carriers as they have become targets for attacks by explosive devices.”