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Wike Should Remain In Abuja, Leave Fubara, Rivers Alone – Clark

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Former Federal Commissioner for Information and South South Leader, Chief Edwin Clark has asked the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Nyesom Wike to remain focused and concentrate in the nation’s Capital because he has a lot to do and leave Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara and the people of the state alone.

The Elder statesman who stated this in an Interview with African Independent Television, AIT on Tuesday however accused the former Rivers State governor and the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and his successor as the masterminds of what he described as politics of madness in Rivers State.

The Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF who noted that godfatherism must give way in the nation’s polity and the practice of politics for the development and growth of democracy in the country, said that he has never Fubara ad he cannot ascertain his complexion, said that he is only out to fight against injustice and oppression.

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The interview by the AIT with Clark was in Commemorations of his 97th Birthday as well as a Documentary on his Life and Achievements.

When asked why attempts have not been made to settle both Wike and Fubara, the Leader of the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF asked if they are quarrelling that would call for settlement, stressing that what is playing out is egocentricism, the issue of I made you the governor of the state and you must worship me, but the other saying that he cannot worship man, but God, even though he agreed that he made the governor by the former governor.

READ ALSO: Buhari Did Everything To Subjugate Igbos, Says Edwin Clark

Clark said, “Who made you Governor of Rivers States, today you don’t want to see the man? He wrote about Peter Odili but later now he said that if he does anything against Odili, God should kill him. Then, Amaechi made him Chief of Staff. When he quarreled with him, Ameachi now recommended him to be appointed Minister, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo agreed.

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“But what happened? One day, we had the approval of theresidency to tell the security people as he got five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, I have their names here, to impeach the speaker, one Otelemaba Amachreee. Then to later impeach, the governor, Rotimi Ameachi. There was a free-for-all fight. The mace was broken. One of the members called Chidi, not somebody with a part of the mace. That man had to be flown abroad for treatment. Amaechi then closed the House of Assembly for one year. So that’s Wike’s work.

“Politics of madness in Rivers State was started by Wike and Ameachi. They don’t care about other people. So, there is no way, Wike should stay, remain in Abuja to do his job. Let the young man rule his place.

“What are you going to settle them for? Where they quarreling. What are you settling them for? People said Wike made Fubara governor, yes, that is true.

“The man has acknowledged it. But he says, I can’t worship a human being that I will worship God to show appreciation. But Wike said that worship God through me. The man said no. That is the problem they have.”

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READ ALSO: Woman Wrongly Convicted Of Murder Freed After 43 Years In Prison

On the Rivers State House of Assembly members who dumped the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for the All Progressives Congress, APC, he said, “So, as far as I’m concerned, it will ease out. And this is tied to what you said about INEC. INEC is not doing its job. The constitution is clear. There’s a legal advisor in INEC office, Secretariat.

“When such vacancies are created like this, they have to take action to conduct election within 90 days to fill those vacant places, which they have not done. These are some of their failings.”

When asked what he would like to be remembered for, Clark disclosed that he would want to be remembered as a foremost Nigerian who believed in Nigeria, who believed in equality in this country, who believed that no one in Nigeria should be regarded as a superior person against the other, just as asked those he offended in the course of his sojourn and work to forgive him.

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The South South leader said, “It must come from a home to be a Nigerian. So, as far as I remember, number one, I am one of the oldest states men in Nigeria. I was very happy when His Majesty, the Ooni of Ife, during my book launch, Brutally Frank asked everybody to stand up, with General Yakubu Gowon, former President Goodluck Jonathan, among others were all there. He said, everybody should stand up. The Ooni said that Chief Clark is our Baba, he is our nationalist, a national figure. So, what honour do would be more than that ? So, I want to be remembered for the role I played in Nigeria, and an appeal to those that during these 70 something years of my service to my country, those that I do not know that I have offended, to forgive me.

READ ALSO: Chief Imam’s Sallah Ram Stolen In Jos

“But I want to be remembered to be a foremost Nigerian who believed in Nigeria, who believed in equality in this country, who believed that no one in Nigeria should be regarded as a superior person against the other. Everybody should be equal.

” That is the Nigerian I want to be remembered for that. I contributed to that, which I did, because during the civil war, all the teachers and other workers from the South West or South East, South-South, left the North. There were no teachers, there were nobody. I was then the Commissioner for Education, i was appointed by Bridgadier General Samuel Ogbemudia, we supplied Kano State, 250 teachers, free of charge, they don’t pay out. Audu Bako was the governor; . They got integrated in Kano.

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We gave North West, Sokoto the headquarters, 200 teachers; when Alhaji Shehu Shagari was Commissioner for Education in Sokoto, North Western State. They didn’t treat them well, then the people returned home.

We gave science teachers to the rest of the states. We had exchange of students, with North East, in Maiduguri.

“And the other day, during the COVID-19, I got a call that the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu was coming to visit me. So he came. And he sat down somewhere, because of the COVID.

READ ALSO: Rivers Crisis: Clark Asks PDP, APC Chairmen To Caution Wike

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“Then he was saying, have you forgotten your pension? He said exchange of students? I said, yes, yes, I remember. One of my daughters said, he was one of those who finished up in Government College in Maiduguri.

He said, yes, myself, I was sent to Edo College, where I did my HSC. And he used to come and talk to us. I said, come and sit by me. That’s all I wanted.

“When the war was over, Gen. Yakubu Gowon said, I don’t need any congratulations, that there was no victor, no vanquished because it was a family war. Go and help them to reintegrate, to reconcile and we have a station, which we did. My eldest daughter, Rebecca, was in Class 2 in St. Theresa School Ughelli. I removed her from Ughelli and took her to Enugu to go and study with them and see and suffer with them, supplied them desk.Government supplied Queen’s School, Enugu, Okanagan Grammar School, Enugu, with furnished teacher’s quarters in Nsukka, 10.

“So what am I saying? I’ve been in Nigeria. And I challenge anybody who says, Chief Clark was such and such, no way.

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“I kicked against corruption because I know it’s one of those things eating Nigeria. I will be remembered for my role in education. When I was 85, I asked myself, what do I do? I must leave a legacy behind.

“Shouting on top of my voice is not enough. I said I want to establish a private University where children from all over the country will come to my village, live together, study together, and grow up together to be good citizens of their country and already, that is happening.”

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Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries In The World 2024

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The world’s most dangerous countries to visit in 2024 have been unveiled in a recent report by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The report ranks 163 independent states and territories based on their level of peacefulness, covering 99.7% of the world’s population.

It also noted that there are currently 56 active conflicts, marking the highest number since the end of the Second World War, with fewer conflicts being resolved either militarily or through peace agreements.

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Using the Global Peace Index (GPI), here are the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world in 2024.

Yemen

With a 2024 Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.397, Yemen remains one of the world’s most hazardous nations, with its catastrophic civil conflict since 2015 causing immense suffering and turmoil.

Yemen is grappling with widespread famine, disease, and infrastructure collapse amid a prolonged state of war. What began as an internal conflict has escalated due to the involvement of neighboring countries, each backing different factions, prolonging and intensifying the destructive nature of the conflict.

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READ ALSO: Top 5 Cheapest Countries To Study In Europe

Sudan

Sudan is widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous countries, influenced by a variety of factors that severely affect its safety and stability.

Sudan’s instability stems primarily from the ongoing conflict in Darfur, alongside unrest in South Kordofan and Blue Nile districts. In 2024, these conflicts resulted in over 3,000 deaths and displaced nearly 2 million people, according to UN estimates. The humanitarian crisis is exacerbated by frequent attacks on civilians by government forces, opposition groups, and militias.

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Also, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 14 million people need humanitarian aid.

South Sudan

South Sudan, with a 2024 Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.224, continues to rank among the world’s most dangerous nations due to ongoing civil conflict, ethnic violence, and political instability since gaining independence in 2011.

Afghanistan

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Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with a Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.448. The country has been experiencing ongoing violence for more than 40 years, making it a center of international concern.

READ ALSO: 7 Countries Who Recently Changed Their Names And Why

Decades of conflict have shaped Afghanistan into one of the most dangerous countries. The Taliban’s seizure of power in August 2021 has intensified instability, with heightened risks of terrorism, kidnappings, and widespread violence.

Ukraine

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Ukraine has experienced the most significant decline in safety and stability, not only within its region but globally as well. This notable deterioration can be primarily attributed to the Russian invasion that began in February 2022.

By 2024, the conflict in Ukraine has claimed over 150,000 lives, including soldiers and civilians. More than 8 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries, with an additional 7 million internally displaced, causing widespread destruction of cities and critical infrastructure like homes, schools, and hospitals.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The conflict in Congo has spanned more than four and a half years, has taken more lives than any other since World War II, and is the deadliest documented conflict in African history, according to the International Rescue Committee.

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Russia

In 2024, Russia, with a Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.249, ranks among the world’s most hazardous nations, exacerbated by heightened geopolitical tensions stemming from the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

READ ALSO: 10 Safest Countries In The World In 2024

Russia is grappling with internal challenges including organized crime and corruption, which undermine law and order, alongside escalating environmental concerns such as industrial accidents and pollution, posing significant health risks to the population.

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Syria

Syria’s civil war, beginning in 2011, has resulted in a profoundly tragic and complex situation. The conflict has ravaged infrastructure, including buildings, roads, hospitals, and schools, severely impacting the daily lives of those remaining in Syria.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is dire, with over 13 million Syrians, including 6.6 million internally displaced, requiring humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

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More than half of the population faces food insecurity, and the healthcare system is in disarray, with many hospitals either destroyed or operating at minimal capacity.

Israel

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated regional risks for Western travelers and exacerbated unrest-related dangers.

Mali

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Mali has been in the grip of armed conflict since January 2012, when Tuareg rebels seized control of northern territory and subsequently declared the independent nation of Azawad by April of that year.

The situation escalated further with a military coup in March of 2012, intensifying the turmoil in the region.
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Nigeria’s Public Officials Received ₦721bn Bribe In 2023 – UN, NBS

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A newly released report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), has said Nigerian public officials received nothing less than ₦721bn as bribes in 2023.

The result was based on a survey conducted with the UNODC.

According to the report “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends”, published by the NBS on Thursday, the ₦721bn paid in bribes amounted to about 0.35 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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According to the survey, the average cash bribe was ₦8,284, an increase from an average of ₦5,754 in 2019.

“According to the 2023 survey, the average cash bribe paid was 8,284 Nigerian Naira. While the nominal average cash bribe size increased since 2019 (from NGN 5,754), this does not account for inflation. The inflation-adjusted average cash bribe in 2023 was 29 per cent smaller than in 2019 in terms of what could be bought with the money.

“Overall, it is estimated that a total of roughly NGN 721 billion (US$1.26 billion) was paid in cash bribes to public officials in Nigeria in 2023, corresponding to 0.35 per cent of the entire Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria,” the report read in part.

The report indicates that 56 per cent of Nigerians interacted with a public official in 2023, down from 63 per cent in 2019.

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Despite this reduction, bribery remains widespread, with an average of 5.1 bribes paid per bribe payer, totalling approximately 87 million bribes nationwide. This is a decrease from the 117 million bribes estimated in 2019.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Alleged N33.8b Fraud: Court Grants Bail To Ex-power Minister

On payment mode, the report noted that over 95 per cent of bribes were paid in monetary form (cash or money transfer) in 2023.

It said public officials were more likely to demand bribes while private sector actors included doctors in private hospitals, which increased from 6 per cent in 2019 to 14 per cent in 2023.

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Despite this rise, bribery in the public sector remains about twice as high, with public sector contact rates also being twice as high as those in the private sector.

In 2023, 27 per cent of Nigerians who interacted with a public official paid a bribe, a slight decrease from 29 per cent in 2019. Including instances where bribes were requested but refused, over one-third of interactions between citizens and public officials involved bribery.

Similarly, the report shows a growing trend of Nigerians refusing to pay bribes. In 2023, 70 per cent of those asked to pay a bribe refused at least once, with the highest refusal rates in the North-West zone at 76 per cent. All regions recorded refusal rates above 60 per cent. This indicates that Nigerians are increasingly standing against corruption.

According to the report, bribery is becoming less accepted in Nigeria. The percentage of citizens who view bribery requests as acceptable to expedite administrative procedures decreased from 29 per cent in 2019 to 23 per cent in 2023.

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Fewer citizens reported suffering negative consequences after refusing bribe requests in 2023 compared to 2019. This suggests a growing empowerment among Nigerians to confront corrupt officials without fear of repercussions.

In 2023, 21 per cent of bribe refusers indicated they refused because they had other options. Normative concerns (42 per cent) and cost of living pressures (23 per cent) also played significant roles in their refusal to pay bribes.

Furthermore, not less than 60 per cent of public sector workers were hired due to nepotism, bribery or both between 2020 and 2023.

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The report noted that six out of 10 successful candidates admitted to using either nepotism, bribery, or both to improve their chances of being recruited.

Specifically, 27 per cent of these candidates admitted to using only bribery, 13 per cent to only nepotism, and 19 per cent to both bribery and nepotism. On the other hand, 40 per cent of the candidates claimed to have secured their positions without resorting to any such means, based on data collected between November 2020 and October 2023.

The report read, “The selection process used to recruit public officials plays a crucial role in shaping the culture of integrity that should drive the civil service as well as ensure that recruits have the highest standards of professionalism and merit.”

However, the 2023 survey findings indicate that the public sector recruitment process requires closer monitoring, as almost half (46 per cent) of people who secured a job in the public sector in the last three years before the survey admitted that they paid a bribe to facilitate their recruitment – about 1.5 times the share found in the 2019 survey (31 per cent).

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“The 2023 survey also found evidence that a considerable number of people recruited into the public sector secured their posts with the help of a friend or relative, many in addition to paying a bribe: of all successful applicants in the last three years before the 2023 survey, 32 per cent were helped by friends or relatives. Overall, in the three years before the 2023 survey, around 60 per cent of public sector applicants in Nigeria were hired as a result of nepotism, bribery or both – about 1.2 times the share found in the 2019 survey.”

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The report also noted that the use of bribery is notably lower when the recruitment process includes formal assessments.

Specifically, 51 per cent of candidates were not formally assessed, and of these, a significant 53 per cent admitted to using bribery or nepotism to secure their positions.

Conversely, among the 49 per cent of candidates who underwent a written test or oral interview, the use of unethical means such as bribery or nepotism dropped to 41 per cent.

The report read: “The 2023 survey data show that approximately half (49 per cent) of those who secured a position in the public sector in the three years before the survey passed a written test and/or oral interview during the recruitment selection process. Importantly, the data suggest that the means of selection had a role in facilitating or preventing the use of illegal practices during recruitment. Among those who underwent an assessment procedure (written test / oral interview), 41 per cent made use of bribery, while the share was as much as 53 per cent among those who were not formally assessed.”

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It was also disclosed that bribery is more common in rural areas, with rural residents paying an average of 5.8 bribes compared to 4.5 bribes in urban areas.

It was also disclosed that bribery is more common in rural areas, with rural residents paying an average of 5.8 bribes compared to 4.5 bribes in urban areas.

The report stated that corruption was ranked fourth among the most important problems affecting the country in 2023, after the cost of living, insecurity and unemployment.

It added, “This suggests relatively stable and high levels of concerns about corruption over time and compared to other concerns such as education or housing.

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“Nigerians confidence in the government’s anti-corruption effort has been declining over time and across regions. While in 2019, more than half of all citizens thought that the government was effective in fighting corruption, in 2023, the share declined to lessons than a third of all citizens. The downward trend in the citizen’s confidence is observable across the entire country, with all six zones recording reductions of more than 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2023 in terms of the share of citizens who thought the government was effective in fighting corruption.”

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Kenya Police Chief Resigns After Protests

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Kenya’s police chief has resigned following sharp criticism after anti-government protests left dozens of people dead, the presidency said Friday, the latest head to roll over the unrest.

The move came a day after President William Ruto sacked almost his entire cabinet, seeking to contain widespread public anger against his government after largely peaceful demonstrations over proposed tax hikes descended into deadly mayhem.

The presidency said in a statement that Ruto has “accepted the resignation” of inspector general of police Japhet Koome, who has served in the role since November 2022.

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Some of the young Gen-Z Kenyans behind the demonstrations had called for Koome to go, with police accused of using excessive force during the protests, the most serious crisis of Ruto’s near two-year presidency.

READ ALSO: At Least 30 Killed In Kenya Anti-government Protests – HRW

Ruto has taken a series of measures to placate the demonstrators, including abandoning the finance bill that contained the deeply unpopular tax increases.

On Thursday, he dismissed the attorney-general and all cabinet ministers, with the exception of Foreign Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

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-‘Wasted two years’ –

But the cabinet announcement, while welcomed by some, did not appease some young Kenyans frustrated with Ruto’s failure to deliver on his 2022 election promises to create jobs and boost their fortunes.

We will be back on the streets until Ruto goes. He has wasted two years in office travelling and telling lies,” said Hyrence Mwangi, 25.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Alleged N33.8b Fraud: Court Grants Bail To Ex-power Minister

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Initially peaceful, the protests sharply escalated when police fired at crowds who stormed parliament on June 25, ransacking the partly ablaze complex.

While large-scale street protests have subsided, anger against the government has not, particularly towards the police, with rights groups saying that 39 people were killed in the demonstrations.

When we first went to the streets, Ruto dismissed us as a bunch of hired goons and criminals, only to come later and start saying he will make changes,” said 27-year-old Jackson Rotich.

“We can’t trust him.”

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IT specialist Cyrus Otieno, 27, was among those who had called for Koome to go, saying he “must be prosecuted for police brutality”.

Law student Melisa Agufana, 24, welcomed the cabinet dismissal, saying she wanted to “thank the president for listening”.

She added that ministers had “wasted two years doing nothing apart from being driven around with our national flag.”

READ ALSO: Ruto Ready For ‘Conversation’ With Youth Protesters, Says Kenya’s Presidency

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-Fresh start after protests –

Analysts said the move offered the possibility of a fresh start, but warned of further risks.

The challenge that Ruto now faces is forming a new cabinet that includes various vested interests, whilst simultaneously calming popular anger in the face of an explicitly leaderless movement,” Gabrielle Lynch, professor of comparative politics at the University of Warwick, told AFP.

Last week, Ruto announced sharp cuts to government spending, including travel and refurbishment costs, and said he would increase borrowing to pay for some services even as Kenya grapples with massive foreign debt equivalent to roughly 70 percent of GDP.

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The crisis led US-based Moody’s to downgrade Kenya’s debt rating further into junk territory, warning of a negative outlook, which will make borrowing even more expensive for the cash-strapped government.

Ruto said Thursday that he would “immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government”, without elaborating further.

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