Archive for February 19th, 2015

(Religious Politics) You Are Guilty Of What You Preach, PDP Tells APC

Adamau Muazu

The Peoples Democratic Party says the alert by the All Progressives Congress that certain desperate politicians were planning to circulate leaflets in mosques and churches to urge Muslims to vote only Muslims in the coming elections is an unintended leak from the APC’s massive arsenal of religious bigotry and viscous divisive politics.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, Thursday, said the APC, whose presidential candidate stands to benefit from such unpatriotic conduct and who together with his party has consistently been aligned to such insensibilities, is scared of the possible backlash and desperately looking for a scapegoat.

“Here is the APC running with the hares by pretending an ally of the people while ravenously hunting with the hounds by harvesting from the fissures on our fault lines, all in an attempt to sell the unmarketable in its presidential candidate.

“Such a barefaced, thoughtless statement from a political party notorious for false alarms, deceit and pernicious propaganda is another auspicious window into the warped mindset of the party that flaunts messianic wherewithal.

“It is tangential for Nigerians to judge who gains from such an irresponsible political conduct. And the truth is that it is the APC whose actions, utterances and body language have been anything but unifying. It is the APC who the provincial and religious irredentism of its leaders is defying the overnight coat of nationalism forced on them by million dollar-backed foreign consultants.

“The PDP needs neither religious nor ethnic cleavages to campaign and win the 2015 presidential elections. Our history of consistency in form, structure and core values as well as track record of delivery, which have endeared us over the years to Nigerians have not changed. We therefore remain the best and do not need recourse to narrow politicking especially when our presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan epitomizes the unity, progress and prosperity of the nation.”

culled from Premiumtimes

(Security) Nigerian Military Curbs Sambisa Forest For Boko Haram

Nigerian-Air-Force-fighter-jet

The Nigerian military has finally invaded the notorious Sambisa forest base of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

A statement by the Defence Spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, said a concerted air campaign by the Nigerian Air Force was ongoing in the forest to clear the terrorists from their enclaves.

Mr. Olukolade said Thursday’s air strikes, targeted at the training camps and logistics dumps of the terrorists in Sambisa forests and parts of Gwoza were “highly successful”.

He said a high death rate was recorded on the side of the terrorists while many others were scampering out of the areas invaded by the military.

“Details of casualty will be determined in subsequent phases of the operation. Meanwhile, the strikes continue in other locations of the theatre heralding the advance of troops and other elements of the mission,” Mr. Olukolade said.

The claims could not be independently confirmed.

The Nigerian military has been sternly criticised for not going after Boko Haram militants despite knowing their major bases.

The new strikes will also raise concerns over the safety of over 200 school girls believed to be held in the Sambisa area by the insurgent group since April 14 last year.

The girls were abducted from their hostel at Government Secondary School Chibok in Borno State.

The military had said in the past it was avoiding an all-out battle on the Sambisa enclave for the sake of the girls’ safety.

culled from Premiumtimes

Anti People activities: How Fashola Ploted To Exploit Lagosians Through Water Scheme

Tap Water

But before the bank’s decision, activists and civil servants had

pressure on the water company against such a move, which they said would raise the cost of having access to water beyond the reach of ordinary Lagosians.

The Corporation’s staff, who stood to lose their jobs, went a step further to threaten to do “everything to frustrate” the move.

Last month, the World Bank issued a statement announcing a breakdown in talks between its International Finance Corporation and the Lagos Water Corporation.

“Contrary to recent reports, IFC has not signed any agreement with the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC),” the bank said in the statement. “LWC expressed interest in working with IFC and we had a number of discussions on how we might be able to assist the company. In the end, IFC decided not to advise LWC. We continue to support the government and people of Nigeria in achieving their development goals.”

Shrouded in secrecy

The latest round of negotiations between the bank and the LWC to design a water privatization scheme in the state began 18 months ago.

With public outcry on the danger of such a move, the LWC maintained that it was not going into privatization, just discussions on how to optimize water supply to Lagosians.

But details of their negotiations were kept away from the public, including civil society groups who had pushed for information disclosure.

In October last year, a rights advocacy group, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), said it made attempts to obtain information relating to the

but continually met brick walls.

“Despite the World Bank’s 60-day disclosure policy, the Lagos contract had not been disclosed on the bank’s website and had been hidden from civil society,” said Akinbode Oluwafemi, Director of Corporate Accountability, ERA/FoEN.

With pressure from Nigerian groups, hundreds of other civil society bodies and activists across the United States began calling and sending out messages to the World Bank demanding full disclosure of the project.

“Our investigations indicate that the IFC is currently being paid by the Lagos government as an official advisor to develop a plan for the city’s water privatization,” Mr. Oluwafemi said.

“And this advisory contract is undisclosed by both the World Bank and the Lagos government, and both the privatization the IFC is designing and the advisory contract itself are being carried out in secrecy, without public participation and input from Lagosian stakeholders.

“This lack of transparency leaves residents with very little information about important developments that will affect them directly.

In December, a PREMIUM TIMES’ Freedom of Information request for details of the negotiations with the World Bank also met a brick wall. An official at the LWC headquarters at Ijora declined to answer questions put to him and promised to e-mail answers or arrange an interview with the Group Managing Director, Shayo Holloway.

He did neither.

Lagos State has two major waterworks at Iju and Adiyan, providing a combined supply of 115 Million Gallons Per Day for the 20 million residents, according to information on LWC’s website.

Expansion of other waterworks – micro and mini waterworks – spread across the state has been ongoing for years, and provision of tap water is still limited to a fraction of the population.

The corporation says its current installed capacity is 210 million gallons per day, whereas the actual water demand in Lagos is 540 million gallons per day

Most residents solve their water needs through self-help, patronizing water vendors, digging wells, or sinking boreholes in their homes.

No Privatization Plans

Before the World Bank announced its decision to shelve talks with Lagos State government, the LWC management had continued to insist that it had no plans to privatize the corporation.

Mr. Holloway said, in a statement December, that the Lagos State government was only trying to partner with the private sector “in a bid to increase water supply and alleviate poverty”.

“According to Engr. Holloway, PPP (Public Private Partnership) is not Privatization. Privatization involves the sale of government-owned asset to private investors, while PPP involves fresh injection of private capital into the efficient management of government-owned assets,” said the statement published on the corporation’s website.

“In order to meet the demand gap as well as the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015, LWC has developed a Lagos Water Supply Master Plan (2010 – 2020) which outlines the infrastructure development programmes into short, medium and long term phases.

“By year 2020, water demand is expected to be 733 million gallons per day, while the water production will be 745 million gallons per day, leaving us with the excess of 12 million gallons per day. The need to bridge the gap has necessitated the involvement of the private sector by way of injecting more capital to improve efficiency of existing state-owned assets.”

The LWC refused to make public the nature of its partnership with the “private sector.”

But according to information obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the water corporation’s plans involved a concession of the state-owned major water works to private investors who would produce water and sell to the government. And the government would then sell to the final consumer.

Dissatisfied workers

On December 17, the corporation’s workers’ union, the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, AUCPTRE, held a meeting with the management where they aired their disagreement with the planned “partnership”.

Tomiwa Odusanwo, the chairman, AUCPTRE branch of LWC, insisted that the management was planning to privatize the corporation.

“You cannot know my management beyond me,” Mr. Odusanwo told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview in January.

“We were not carried along. The funny thing is that we heard it over the news, read it in newspapers, and because we have seen how it was recorded in other African countries, even in western world.”

“The Iju and Adiyan water works are going to be in concession as well. There are some foreign investors now, in their master plan for 2010-2020, that those investors will use their money and construct mini water works.”

At a workers’ meeting at the LWC headquarters in Ijora, Mr. Odusanwo and his colleagues were unanimous that they won’t go the way of the staff of the recently privatized Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, who protested for months over the non-payment of their severance benefits.

“The management of Water Corporation, presently, are after capital projects. They are not after welfare of the staff or anything that will benefit the staff. That is why we are saying no to that privatization,” said Mr. Odusanwo.

“Because presently now the corporation is owing pension, gratuity, plus pension to PENCOM close to N1 billion. As I speak to you now our deducted pension was not remitted adequately to our PFA (Pension Fund Administrator).

“The corporation is indebted seriously. So with privatization, many of us will be laid off without going home with a penny and that will be so disastrous for us.”

The involvement of the World Bank and its investment arm – the IFC- in water schemes across the world has not exactly been a success story.

Recently, many cities that, in expectation of availability of affordable potable water, signed a two decade or longer water concessions with private investors, have terminated the contracts and returned their water systems to the state.

According to Transnational Institute, an organization that studies global needs, 180 communities and cities across the globe, from Accra to Kuala Lumpur, have returned water provision to publicol in the past ten years.
In January, the IFC announced it had no ongoing water concession projects in Africa, after about 30 per cent of its water investment in Africa over the past two decades resulted into a failure.
“Like in Manila, in Ghana, World Bank corporate partners attempted to privatize and profit from water,” said Mr. Oluwafemi.
“Poor service, limited access and chronic quality problems forced the Ghanaian government not to renew a bank-backed contract for a private corporation to manage the country’s water.
“Around the world, the IFC advises governments, conducts corporate bidding processes, designs complex and lopsided water privatization contracts, dictates arbitration terms, and is part-owner of water corporations that win the contracts it designs and recommends, all the while aggressively marketing the model to be replicated around the world.
“Not only do these activities undermine democratic water governance, but they constitute an inherent conflict of interest within the IFC’s activities in the water sector, an alarming pattern seen from Eastern Europe to India to Southeast Asia.”
In Lagos, commercial sale of water by individuals is big business, with a 20-litre jerry can selling for N20 in most areas in the metropolis.
However, the cost of the water provided by the LWC comes at a cheaper rate, depending on the location.
In Dolphin Estate, Victoria Island, for instance, a flat pays a monthly rate of N800 for water while a duplex is billed N2, 400.
Water rates on the mainland costs even cheaper.
In Surulere for instance, a flat is charged N500, while a duplex is N800 monthly. At the Ojota axis, where there are a lot of single room apartments (popularly known as ‘Face-me-I-Face-You), a room is N100. A flat is N500, and a duplex N800.
According to civil society groups, water privatization negates the 2010 United Nations recognition of water as a fundamental human right.
“If the IFC was successful in securing a large-scale water PPP in Lagos, it would mirror that of the electricity sector privatization, which has imposed sky-rocketing electricity bills without

ng improved service,” Mr. Oluwafemi said.

“The IFC’s track record in the water sector is frightening: prices sky rocket, utility workers lose their jobs, water quality suffers, low-income communities have their water shut off, governments incur devastating debt, and public sovereignty is threatened by undemocratic arbitration.

“Privatization is not the solution for Lagos: it leads to corporate profits and has never provided universal access.
Additionally, if the IFC deal (had sailed) through, it would have opened the doors for several contracts for water corporations to take over the water system, and bidding by 2015.”

(Politics) Apologise To Jonathan Now, Oru advises Obasanjo @Richard

Oru made the call in Abuja at a news conference organised by the ministry.Jonathan-obj

He said that the former President was the most privileged Nigerian who had the opportunity of ruling the country twice both as military Head of State and as a democratically-elected president.

Oru expressed dismay over alleged comments credited to Obasanjo, who had served as President for two tenures on the platform of the PDP.

He said that the alleged statements were not in the interest of the unity of the country, considering his position as an elder statesman.

According to him, as an elder statesman, Obasanjo’s opinion is highly respected nationally and internationally.

Oru advised Obasanjo to emulate other respected former presidents who have humbled themselves and utilised available channels to advice government on ways to move the nation forward.

According to him, Obasanjo has not treated the PDP, the person and office of the President and Nigerians fairly.

“He still has the time to make amends and retrace his footsteps and tender an apology to the party and the nation.”

The minister observed that Jonathan had an usual gift of patience, tolerance and humility.

Obasanjo was quoted on Monday as saying that Jonathan was behind the rescheduling of the general elections because of his desperation to win the election.

He had declared publicly his resignation from the party at a meeting of his supporters in Abeokuta, where he also ordered that his PDP membership card be torn, following which his party expelled him. (NAN)

culled from Vanguard

(Politics) APC Writes INEC, President Over Soldiers @Richard

Leadership of the opposition party, APC is not leaving any stone unturned in their quest to wrestle power from the ruling PDP. Determined to make the federal government comply with court judgment on elections, the party has written a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega asking them to give heed to the judgment barring the involvement of soldiers in elections.

APC Joint Leadership Meeting: From left, APC National Leader Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu discussing with  APC Presidential Candidate  Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and National Chairman of APC Chief John Oyegun during APC Joint Leadership Meeting held in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

The letter, dated February 16, 2015 emanated from the  Director, Legal Services of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN)

Though it was addressed to Jega, copies of the letter were also made available to President Jonathan, the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and the National Chairmen of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party.

APC in the letter called the attention of the federal government to a judgment delivered on January 29, 2015 by Justice R.M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Sokoto and another by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, on February 16, 2015 which overruled the use of military in elections.

The letter read in parts, “I am sure all well-meaning Nigerians share your deep seated concern on the militarisation of our elections.

“It is therefore imperative your good office and commission ensure, henceforth, and until there is an enabling Act of the National Assembly, the court orders are obeyed and armed forces personnel are never again deployed in any form of security supervision of our elections.”

Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court in his judgment on the suit marked: FHC/S/CS/29/2014 among others, restrained the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and INEC “from engaging the service of the Nigerian armed forces in the security supervision of elections in any manner whatsoever in any part of Nigeria without the Act of the National Assembly.”

Justice Abdul Aboki, in his lead judgment in the Ekiti State Governorship Election appeal on February 16, held that “even the President of Nigeria has no powers to call on the Nigerian armed forces and to unleash them on peaceful citizens, who are exercising their franchise to elect their leaders.

“Whoever unleashed soldiers on Ekiti State, disturbed the peace of the election on June 21, 2014; acted in flagrant breach of the constitution and flouted the provisions of the Electoral Act, which required an enabling environment by civil authorities in the conduct of elections.”

(Entertainment) Amber Rose vs Kimdashias: Ex-Hubby, Wiz Khalifa knocks Amber Off

Twerk queen, Amber Rose must be a devastated woman at the very moment as the war between her and Kimdashias has taken another twist. Yes o, after been bunched and kicked front, back, right, left and centre by friends and fans of Kim on the social media, another sucker punch has been unleached on her by non other person but Wiz Khalifa, her ex husband. Chai! Na wa o, na so life be? Trouble no good o.

(Security) Escaped Boko Haram members Take Up Menial jobs At IDPs- FG

Me mbers of the dreaded terror group, Boko Haram currently not finding life funny. Seems hard times are really biting them which indicate that their end is around the corner.

According to theDirector-General of the National Information Center, Mr Mike Omeri, some fleeing Boko Haram militants had infiltrated the Internally Displaced Persons camps in the Northeast but were fished out and arrested by the police.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja today, Omeri also revealed that intelligence reports indicates that some of the fleeing Boko Haram members might have infiltrated towns and cities and have taken up some menial jobs to survive. He urged all citizens to be extra vigilant during this time and report any new face, worker or business setup.

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