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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Abandoned Chibok girl found

A girl believed to be one of the 219 Chibok schoolgirls in Boko Haram’s custody for more than 160 days has been found abandoned.

She was picked up at Kwarihi village near Biu in Borno State after being thrown out of a moving Volkswagen Golf car.

She wandered in the bush for two days before she was rescued by villagers.

The Chairman of the Chibok community in Abuja, Hosea Tsambido, recounted this story yesterday.

He spoke at the gathering of the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners on a day Borno State Government announced a scholarship of N1.4million each for 36 girls – among the 57 who escaped on April 15 from abductors.

According to Tsambido, the abandoned girl, who gave her name as Susanna Ishaya, appeared mentally unstable.

He said she had been handed over to one of the Chibok parents who took her to the hospital after which she would be properly questioned.
Tsambido said: “One of the girls was ferried in a Volkswagen golf and thrown into the bush about two days ago and she wandered into the village of Kwarihi, near Mubi.

“From there they called one of the parents to take care of her in Kwarihi. They are taking her to Yola.
“When she was asked, she gave her name as Susanna Ishaya but right now we are not sure if it is her real name until she is really treated because the people that saw her said she is both mentally and phsycally sick and has been taken to the hospital.

“We believe that she was probably abandoned by Boko Haram because of her health.”

The Borno State Government yesterday granted scholarship to 36 of the 57 Chibok school girls who slipped away from  Boko Haram abductors.

As at yesterday, 219 Chibok girls were still in the custody of Boko Haram although there had been covert talks to set them free.
Governor Kashim Shettima said the 36 girls have been admitted into international schools in Abuja, Kaduna and Plateau States.

Fifty one (51) of the girls were meant for admission after six secured a scholarship at an international school in Yola, Adamawa State.

The governor said the government is spending a minimum of N1.4million annual fees on each of the schoolgirls in their new schools besides other costs for welfare.

The governor, who spoke at a brief farewell for the girls at the Government House in Maiduguri , pleaded not to disclose the names of the schools.
He said the schools were kept under wrap in order to shield the girls from public distraction and to safeguard the security of the girls and the new schools.

A Borno State  statement said: “Governor Shettima said he opted to spread the girls in different schools so as not to make suitable, unnecessary visits that would continue to make them subject of public focus given the global attention on them.

“Shettima said the decision to relocate the schoolgirls was reached after psychosocial experts, psychologists, medical doctors, interfaith religious experts, women from civil society organisations and other trauma managers conducted trauma management sessions for the schoolgirls at the Government House in Maiduguri some months back and certified the girls set for continued education.

“The Governor said while it was a hard decision to send the 36 girls back to school when their colleagues were still in captivity, the government he said, has not given up on the girls still held. He said no sane parent would rule out a child that is held in captivity.
“Shettima called on the schoolgirls to be of good behaviors, obey the rules of their new schools, put their bitter experience behind them and focus on their studies so as to achieve their dreams in life.

“The Governor announced that any of the schoolgirls that obtains a minimum of five credits will be awarded automatic scholarship throughout her university education.” Shettima thanked the parents of the 36 girls that released their children for continued education noting that his government was deeply committed to ensuring their children were provided access to the best education money can offer in Nigeria.

“ He said his administration has a bias for female education which was why he introduced a female medical education intervention programme under which 50 female citizens drawn from the 27 local government areas of the state currently undergo full scholarship to study medicine abroad while more will be sent in a continuous exercise.

“Governor Shettima appealed to members of the media not to bring to the public, the new schools ýthe girls would be relocated even if the media gets to find out through investigations. He noted that exposing their schools could expose them and the schools due to the global interest on them.

Borno State Chairman of the Christians Association of Nigeria, Reverend Titus Pona who is an elder in Chibok community, praised Shettima for fulfilling his pledge of relocating the freed schoolgirls to international schools.
But Tsambido criticized the decision of the Borno State government to send some of the girls to Kaduna.

He said, “the journey from Chibok to Biu is a journey that now takes two days because of the level of insurgency; so sending the girls on such a journey with only one government official and no security protection only shows their level of carelessness.

“The girls will not  be able to fully concentrate in their new school since Kaduna itself is not spared from insurgency.”

Thursday, 18 September 2014

PDP NEC adopts Jonathan as sole candidate

Members of the National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party have adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s sole presidential candidate for the 2015 election.

This decision was taken few minutes ago at the ongoing meeting of the body which is being held at the party’s national headquarters, Abuja on Thursday.

Members of the NEC took the decision after various organs of the party said that they had endorsed the President during their meetings which they said were held on Wednesday.

National Chairman of the party, Adamu Mua’zu led other members of the party’s National Working Committee to the meeting.

President Jonathan, his deputy, Namadi Sambo; Senate President, David Mark; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha were among those present at the meeting.

It was aslo attended by majority of the governors, including the Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido.

The governor is believed to be nursing presidential ambition.

APC asks Jonathan to explain $9.3m arms cash scam

The All Progressives Congress has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to come clean on the circumstances surrounding the $9.3m that was impounded in South Africa.

The party noted that the scandal had become the latest in “a series of global ridicule to which the scandal-prone Jonathan Administration has subjected Nigeria.”

In a statement in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also called on the National Assembly to launch an urgent investigation into the issue, saying the silence of the peoples’ representatives on the issue is deafening, unfathomable and unacceptable.

It said, “There was no doubt that the President was at the centre of the whole issue, considering the presidential treatment given to the plane and its cargo, since the plane departed from the Presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, away from the reach of the Nigerian Customs Service, which could not therefore have cleared the plane and its passengers.

”It is absolutely urgent for President Jonathan to clear the air on this alleged off-the-shelf equipment or arms purchase, which runs against all known protocol for such purchases anywhere in the world. Military equipment and weapons are not bean cakes to be purchased by the road side. There are globally-acceptable protocols for such purchases by governments, otherwise what differentiates a government from an insurgent group that is shopping for arms?

”Is the Jonathan Administration not aware that the UN General Assembly on April 2, 2013 adopted a landmark Arms Trade Treaty precisely to regulate the international trade in conventional weapons by avoiding the kind of road-side purchase that the Nigerian government is said to have been involved in? Though the ATT has not come into effect, the fact that Nigeria is among the few countries to have signed and ratified the treaty shows that the country is concerned by unregulated arms trade.”

The party said the resort to ”procedural error” to explain away the whole issue cannot work, because Nigerian authorities cannot pretend not to be aware that currency brought into or taken from South Africa is monitored by law, and that anyone bringing into that country more than R25,000 in South African currency or U$10,000 or the equivalent thereof in foreign currency must declare such.

It said, “In any case, those who are using ‘procedural error’ as an alibi are being too clever by half. This is because if entering or leaving a country with undeclared $9.3m is mere ‘procedural error’, why was Sule Lamido’s son convicted for not declaring a mere $50,000 at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport?”

APC said, however, that in the spirit of fairness, it has decided to give President Jonathan and the government he heads the opportunity to make urgently-needed clarifications by answering a number of questions relating to the $9.3m scandal: Is the money indeed meant to purchase a helicopter as has been reported? To which arm of the government or security force does the money belong? Who appropriated it and for what purpose? Why was the money being ferried in cash by the same government that has been spending huge time and money to promote a cashless policy? Is the resort to cash to avoid a paper trail for the transaction, in which case it is illegal?

It said, “Mr. President, we are aware that each arm of security has an account with the CBN for the purpose of arms purchase and such transactions are properly documented, so why was this not the case in this instance?

“Mr. President, why did it take your government all of 10 days to admit its involvement in this scandal, considering that the embarrassing incident happened since Sept. 5 and was not known until Sept. 15? Does this saga not give credence to the widely held view that you are indeed benefitting from the the Boko Haram insurgency and that you have deliberately allowed it to escalate to this level?

”Mr. President, has this saga not confirmed the suspicion that your 2015 reelection bid has been factored into your handling of the Boko Haram insurgency? Has this saga not given more credence to revelations that the sponsors of Boko Haram are those closest to the President? Has this saga not finally confirmed that the President knows more than he is telling the nation about the sudden escalation of the Boko Haram insurgency, especially in the run up to the 2015 elections?

”Mr. President, has this saga not confirmed that powerful forces in your administration are all working in concert to use the Boko Haram insurgency to secure tenure extension for President Jonathan? Is not clear now why the Senate President infamously declared two days ago that election is not on the table since the country is in a state of war? Have we not been proven right in our declaration at the panel discussion in the British House of Commons on Sept. 8th 2014 that the Jonathan administration will attempt to cash in on the Boko Haram insurgency to postpone elections?”

The party said the answers to the questions raised would go a long way in showing Nigerians that their government is not clandestinely buying equipment and weapons to fuel the Boko Haram insurgency and then profit from its own act of perfidy.

It said while the President is compiling his answers to the posers, he should ask his spokespersons to stop adding insult to injury by saying the CIA, FBI, Mossad etc also travel abroad with undeclared cash, in clear violation of the laws of their destination countries, to buy arms.

12 Nigerian soldiers sentenced to death for mutiny

The military authorities  Tuesday  morning sentenced 12 soldiers to death for mutiny.

The soldiers were charged with six count of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, disobeying lawful orders and various acts said to be inimical to the military service.
The nine-member all military Court Martial, also found the soldiers guilty of insubordinate behaviour, use of abusive language, leveling false accusation against their superior officers, among others.
They were similarly found guilty of attempting to kill their erstwhile General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Major General Ahmed Mohammed by shooting at his official car, between May 13 and 14, 2014. The car was bullet proof.
The incident took place at the Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri in the course of the ongoing counter insurgency campaign.
The court also found them guilty of preventing the movement of some of their injured colleagues to hospital and obstructing evacuation of their dead ones who were killed in ambush on their way from an operation in Chibok, Borno State.
Those to die are: Cpl. Jasper Braidolor, David Musa, Friday Onu, Yusuf Shuaibu, Emmanuel Igomu, Andrew Ngbede, Nurudeen Ahmed, Ifeanyi Alukhagbe, Alao Samuel, Amadi Chukwudi, Alan Linus and Stephen Clement.
Jeremiah Ichocho, who was found guilty of Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL) was sentenced to two years without labour.
Five were discharged and acquitted, having been found not guilty by the court.
The court said the sentences were subject to confirmation by higher authorities and acknowledged the right of the soldiers, who pleaded not guilty to most of the charges, to appeal the judgment.
The court was presided over by Brig. Gen. CC Okwonkwo.

Other members of the court are: Col. TS Nurseman, Col. TO Olowomeye, Col. IG Lassa, Lt.Col. JK Feboke, Lt. Col. CR Nnebeife, Major I Yusuf, Major TA Yakubu and Major AE Martins.
Lt. Col. AA Audu and Lt. Col. U Ukpe served as prosecutors