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Shooting At Benin Monarch’s Palace : APC, PDP Trade Blame, Accusation

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The APC and the PDP have continue to exchange tough words and accused each other of he was responsible for the shooting that occurred at the campaign flag-off of the latter, yesterday, Saturday, 25, 2020.

Recall there was a sporadic gunshots that lasted for over 60 seconds at Plymouth road, front of Oba of Benin Palace, shortly after the PDP campaign team led by its national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus had went to seek blessings of the Oba before kicking off their campaign.

Some persons who were drumming and dancing had reportedly booed Governor Godwin Obaseki, calling him all sorts of names when he was leaving the Palace, not too long this incident occurred that gunshots greeted the air.

READ ALSO: Edo 2020: APC Accuses PDP, Obaseki Of Unleashing  Violence Over Rally, Public Rejection

Addressing newsmen today in Benin, Chief Dan Osi Orbih, Chairman, Edo 2020
Campaign Council for PDP, said the incident was “a coordinated attempt by the APC to leadership of the PDP and all democratically elected Governors of PDP that were expected to be with the Governor.”

He continues, “ The invasion of the Palace Gate by armed APC Youths was a well co-ordinated assault by the leadership and Sponsors of Edo APC to eliminate the National leadership of the PDP and all democratically elected Governors of PDP that were expected to be with the Governor.”

Raising counter allegations on the incident in a press briefing on Sunday, Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon, Vice-Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee, of the APC National Campaign Council, blamed Obaseki and the PDP for the violence that broke out and led to the hospitalization of multiple persons for gunshot wounds.

He further accused the Governor of “setting conscripted thugs and cultists on protesters who expressed their rejection of him and his alleged “invitation of tax-collectors who are feasting on the state’s treasury.”

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Edo Guber: Scores Sustain Injuries As Heavy Gunshots Greet PDP Campaign Flag-off In Benin

According to him, the PDP and Obaseki of plotting to subvert the September 19 governorship election in the state through “alleged violent attacks and illegal detainment of its party leaders and members.

“Worse still, information have also reached us from sources in Obaseki’s government who are but disillusioned with his nefarious acts, that the governor has plotted and perfected a criminally appalling initiative aimed at subverting the will of the people.

” On the back of conscripting renowned cultists and providing them official cover and funding for wanton violence under the guise of aides appointments, Mr. Godwin Obaseki is planning to use COVID-19 as a ruse to neuter grassroots leaders of our party, the APC on the eve of the gubernatorial election by abducting and detaining them in isolation centers—this way, disenfranchising them and forestalling the political force they would deliver in pursuant of APC’s victory.

” Having pellucidly read the handwriting on the wall that he faces a monumental defeat and an electoral opprobrium on the 19th of September, Obaseki aims to illegally strike what he deems the head and important political leaders of our party with the hopes of subverting the election.

READ ALSO: Edo Guber: Ize-Iyamu Assures Residents Of Violence-free Election, Calls On Opposition To Shun Provocative Actions

” Names of prominent leaders of the APC have been compiled to be dealt with, intimidated, harassed, terrorized, physically assaulted, and lacerated by state-sponsored goons.

Hon. Obahiagbon also alleged a plan by the Edo State Government to detain a former Governor of the State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, over trumped-up charges on the eve of the election and also set fire on the farm of billionaire businessman, Captain Hosa Okunbo, in continuation of the alleged assault on his reputation and businesses for refusing to back the second-term agenda of Governor Godwin Obaseki.

He condemned the “anomalies and acts of political desperadoism” as “direct affronts on the country’s constitution and the rule of law” while also appealing to the Police, INEC, and other relevant stakeholders to prevail on the Governor and ensure that he allows the rule of law and a level democratic playing field to hold supreme between now and the end of the Edo governorship elections.”

Raising further allegations, the PDP chieftain, Orbih noted that in his view the attack at the Palace was “a political mutiny, against constituted authority, capable of causing interstate conflict and war between Edo state and the affected states of the governors that were marked down for elimination.”

While stating that the incident must be investigated and all those connected with it must be arrested and tried in accordance with the laws, Orbih said the action was aimed at throwing the country into crisis.

” The APC organised attack at the Palace is in our view a political mutiny, against constituted authority, capable of causing interstate conflict and war between Edo state and the affected states of the Governors that were marked down for elimination.

” There have been several videos in the cyberspace where these thugs have been instructed, directed and motivated to intimidate and cause chaos and mayhem in the state.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Edo Guber: Another Commissioner Resigns Appointment In Edo

” The security agencies must swing into action to bring all those connected with the incident to book,” he said.

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Obanikoro Testifies Against Fayose, Says Ex-Ekiti Gov Got N1.2bn For Election

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A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, narrated to a Federal High Court in Abuja how N1.219bn cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

According to him, the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle huge amount of money prompted the airlifting of the money.

Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited are standing trial on 11 charges bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion.

Led in evidence by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN), Obanikoro explained that the money came from the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), adding that only he could explain its source.

READ ALSO: Rivers Court Remands Couple Over Alleged N500m Fraud

He added that he only got the information about the money from Dasuki, saying that it was the former NSA who told him that the said money had been paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

Obanikoro said, “I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.

“Some days before the election, I got a call from Gov. Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for that election.”

He also denied taking out the money as speculated in a report by an online media platform.

READ ALSO: Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget

Obanikoro said, “When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a call conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Lomited..

“The money came came from the NSA. Only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.

The bank lacked the capacity to handle the situation. It was a last-minute decision- to ferry the money to Ekiti.

“I handed over the cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to the publication by a Lagos-based online platform.”

READ ALSO: Ondo Crisis Worsens, Assembly Demands Aiyedatiwa’s Resignation

When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, Obanikoro said the account was initially opened to tackle terrorism in Lagos after which it was used to disburse funds for elections.

He said, “The account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, the account was created by Taiwo Kareem, and the account was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.

“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the fund. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.”

After listening to Obanikoro’s testimony, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case till February 27, 2024.

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Northern Elders Forum Gets New Spokesman

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The Northern Elders Forum has appointed Abdul-Azeez Suleiman as its new spokesman, following the exit of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

The PUNCH reports that Baba-Ahmed was appointed by President Bola Tinubu, as the Special Adviser On Political issues in the office of Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

Until his appointment, Suleiman was the spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups which comprises over 50 civil society organisations in the 19 northern states and Abuja.

READ ALSO: TVET: Benin Chamber Seeks Policy To Promote Private Sector Participation

NEF’s Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in the appointment letter he personally signed, said Suleiman’s appointment was a reflection of his contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria.

Abdullahi, a former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said, “I am pleased to inform you that I have approved the recommendation to appoint you as the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum.

“Your appointment is a reflection of your unwavering dedication and contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria as a whole, during your time with the Coalition of Northern Groups.

READ ALSO: Rivers Crisis: Call Wike To order, Ijaw Group Tells Tinubu

“Furthermore, your extensive experience in credible, fearless, selfless, and ethical journalism, also contributes to making you a great fit for this role.

“The NEF hopes that you will utilise your exceptional qualities and experience to enhance NEF’s activities and promote its image through cooperation with its directors and other members of the Forum.

“Congratulations on your appointment, and we look forward to the incredible value you will bring to the NEF.”

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Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget

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The Bauchi State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the medium term expenditure of about N300 billion for the 2024 physical year.

Mr Aminu Hammayo, the Bauchi state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on Wednesday.

According to him, the budget estimate was made on the basis of certain assumptions like increase in oil production capacity, increase in Value Added Tax.

READ ALSO: Kano Youths Protest Teenager’s Killing, Police Arrest Killer Cop

Other assumptions he said included the impact of the withdrawal of oil subsidy as there had been an increase in the amount of revenues accrued into the federation account as well as the increase in the cost of goods and services.

“The budget estimate for the year 2024 is about N300 billion and we have a proportion of about 58.8 per cent allocated for capital expenditure and about 41.2 per cent for recurrent expenditure.

“This means the emphasis is basically on capital expenditure so as to generate more revenue in the future.

“This budget estimate is going to be presented as a bill to the state House of Assembly and after the presentation, we will still come back to where there will be a budget briefing to give the details of what the budget is all about,” he said.

READ ALSO: EFCC Warns Nigerians Against ATM Swap Fraudsters

Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Usman Garba, explained that a decision had been taken to create a Ministry of Regional Integration so that the problems and challenges of the people would further be attended to.

He said that this decision was taken during the Northeast Governors Forum meeting held in Yola, Adamawa state on Saturday.

“Here in Bauchi state, the governor has decided to merge this new ministry with the ministry of Higher Education.

“So, what we have now is the Ministry of Higher Education and Regional Integration,” he said.

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