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Tinubu: Wike, El-Rufai, Umahi, others are needed for their political experience

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Because President Bola Tinubu, could change his mind at any time on which assignment would be given to each minister, it is best to keep to the tradition of not attaching specific portfolios to them, Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff (CoS) to President Bola Tinubu, explained on Thursday,

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, who also spoke on the outstanding states yet to get a ministerial slot, assuring that another list of minister-nominees will be sent to the National Assembly “in coming days” to increase the number to suit constitutional requirement, Gbajabiamila, told reporters at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after submitting President Bola Tinubu’s initial 28-man list to the Senate on Thursday that the process of selecting suitable nominees has been thorough and careful.

The Chief of Staff, who praised the list of nominees submitted as a perfect selection of technocrats and people with political acumen, also explained the reason why the President did not attach portfolios to the names submitted.

“First of all, I’m sure you all know that the government is not fully formed until a cabinet is in place and that process started a while ago, culminating in the delivery of ministerial nominees today. The President took his time, spent a lot of time going through, did a lot of due-diligence, going through the nominees one by one.

“As you know he had 60 days from time of inauguration, as stipulated in the Constitution. He has fulfilled that requirement of the Constitution by submitting 28 names today, as his letter stated, and was read on the floor of the Senate, the remainder names, not sure how many, probably about 12, maybe 13, will be forwarded to the Senate in the coming days.

“As far as the nominees themselves are concerned, and like I said, Mr. President took his time to sift through those names, he dissected those names with a fine-tooth comb and that’s what you’ve seen, each and every one, I believe, of the persons on that list, are worth being on that list. But I really hope that we haven’t missed anything that would have necessitated any name not being on that list, but we wait and see.

“It’s a good mix of both people with political acumen and technocrats. So this is a good balance and it’s needed. These are people who have keyed-in to the vision and mission of Mr. President. Like I said, it’s a good balance, needed to move the country forward, as Mr. President is eager to do and has already started doing,”

The President did not attach portfolios to the names of his nominees, to afford him the opportunity to look at the characters of the nominees and see the ministry that fitted most of them, he said, adding that it would have been the best idea to attach portfolio to the names, it may cause problems if the President changes his mind after they have been screened.

Hinting that the President might separate portfolios, restructure or create new ministries, he said reiterated that attaching portfolios to the names of the nominees would have been the way to go about, adding that it would have been a welcome development, but at the same time, “as good as that sounds it straightjacket’s the President to pigeonhole one person in an office or the other.

“What happens then if you change your mind? Do you then bring the person back for screening again because the President is at liberty to change your mind? For instance, if I decide I want somebody as Minister of Labour, and then after setting the name, later on, I decide that, you know what, I didn’t know this about this person, this person would actually be better with another portfolio.

“And meanwhile, the senate has screened that person for that particular initial portfolio, what happens then? Do you now rescreen the person? So, a lot of these things have their merits and demerits, advantages and disadvantages. I like the idea of attaching portfolios, I actually do, because it makes it necessary for the Senate to know exactly what you’re asking and what you’re looking for.

“But for now, it’s been thought wise that we stick to the tradition of sending the names and then whilst the screening processes going on allowing Mr. President and his team to look at the portfolios and the characters and see how they fit. The first step that he has done is that these are people that can work wherever you put them, except this specialized fields like attorney general and what have you.

“But in the main in most of the portfolios, he believes most of them can fit in anywhere and what’s important is also the Mr. President intends to separate portfolios or restructure the ministries in such a way you might be hearing of new ministries that were not standalone ministries before. So the process continues.”

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Imo massacre: Armoured vehicles procured for police used to rig elections – LP

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Labour Party, palpably in anguish at the slaughter of eight soldiers in Imo State on Tuesday by some rampaging gunmen, has raised questions over the whereabouts of the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) Athan Achonu, it claimed its governorship candidate for the November 11 election, repaired and donated to the authorities in the state.

The party, all but called out the leadership of the Imo State Police Command, to whom they claimed the equipment were handed over, alleging that the last time they APCs were seen was during the last general elections, where they were used by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party in power in the state to snatch ballot boxes for candidates in the national and state assemblies.

The claim, was made when Nick Opara-Ndudu  and Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiareri , chieftains of the party appeared as guests on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television to sell the candidacy of Achonu, whom they said would never have allowed the type of insecurity in the state to endure under his watch.

Both men, who said that Achonu, whose highest political office so far, was his short stint in the Senate, where he served via the 2015 election before he was removed through the courts, remained the only solution not to the insecurity, in the state and even the South East,  but the one to rescue the people from years of underdevelopment from poor leadership.

Obiareri, spokesman of the LP in the state, argued that if the APCs had been in place, Tuesday’s incident in which the military men were killed alongside some policemen and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would probably not have happened, said a check on the social media would reveal how they were used by party men of the APC for rigging the 2023 general elections.

He said: “The military men that were killed if they had armoured vehicles patrolling, they wouldn’t have been shot by those criminals. Athan Achonu, go and confirm from Innoson, paid hundreds of millions of naira to Innoson, Innoson is still alive, you people can still go and interview him, to repair nine armoured vehicles for the police. Five were supposed to be in Okigwe zone. Till today, we don’t know where those nine armoured cars are.

“If you go to Youtube, you’ll see Youtube record of members of the House of Assembly in Imo State using those APCs to carry ballot boxes. It’s there on Youtube, you can search it out. What Athan Achonu will do is very simple. Every local government area will have one humvy vehicle for the police. Police stations had been totally burnt in Imo State and Athan repaired most of those police stations.

“Then, there will be community vigilante. We’ll train those 50 youths per community – train them, equip them and arm them. They should guard their communities. When you have over 50,000 hectres of land, reclaimed from the bandits, and you have youths who are not only just farming, but who are trained to protect their communities, they’ll do the job.

“Then, we have to set up a security trust fund. Ndi-Imo are not scared. As at today, there are some communities in Imo State, where bandits – unknown gunmen, are ransacking and collecting levies from the communities. Basically, Athan Achonu will provide training, recruitment for people donated by the communities. Communities know those who are the terrible ones in their midst. And I tell you, in six months, they will flush them out.”

Opara-Ndudu, who dismissed the claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodimma that the carnage and other killings in the state were politically-motivated, blamed the governor for misplacing his priorities and failing to provide jobs for the teeming youth population in the state, questioning why nobody had been arrested and prosecuted fully in the courts if the insecurity in the state was all about politics.

Hear him: “The security problem has to do with objective conditions in the state. The young people are frustrated. The government is not making any investments in the areas that are required. We’re busy pursuing projects that are designs in deception. Look at the roads that are being done in Imo State, you know for you to deal with the problem of poverty and other economic challenges, you have to deal with the problem of infrastructure.

“In Imo State, the government has dedicated all of its time and half of its time to reconstructing federal roads without any attention – little or no attention paid to the rural areas. If you go to length and breadth of Imo State – Ngor Okpala, Ezinifte Mbaise, even in the governor’s local government – everywhere in Imo State, you find that the rural areas are looking desolate and abandoned.”

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Police find body of missing female student dumped in the bush, vow to get killers

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Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, have vowed to fish out the killers of a university student, Blessing Karami, whose body was said to have been picked up from the bush days after she was declared missing on September 11.

The FCT police, which released the painful news on Thursday, said in a statement by its spokesman, Josephine Adeh that the remains were found in the woods in the Karimu area of the city.

The police spokesman acknowledged that her disappearance was reported to the police authorities last,  Thursday, September 14 added that 26-year-old Blessing, a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was declared missing after leaving her place of work in Garki, Abuja.

She said in the statement: “The body of Blessing Karami Moses, a 26-year-old woman who had been missing since September 11, 2023, was tragically discovered in a wooded area in Karimo. Her disappearance was reported to the authorities on September 14, 2023,” the statement read.

She said Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, had directed that command should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding: “While we are working closely with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to facilitate the respectful retrieval of the decomposed remains acknowledging the sensitive nature of this task, we will continue to provide updates to the public as our investigation progresses.”

Adeh, a Superintendent of Police (SP), also commiserated with Blessing’s family and loved ones over the incident.

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Ogun cult massacre: DSS raid home, pick up PDP lawmaker, five others

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Damilare Bello Mohammed, a serving member of the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), is currently telling operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) his side of the story, after he was picked up over his alleged involvement in the rival secret cult clashes that occurred in Sagamu town.

Mohammed, recently elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Sagamu State Constituency 1, was picked up on Wednesday by the agency over the incident in which at least eight persons were killed last weekend during the violent clash in the town, alongside five other suspected cultists allegedly involved in the cult violence.

The five other suspects; Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade, were arrested by the DSS operatives during a sting operation after a tip-off at the early hours of Thursday within the residence of the lawmaker.

Lekan Adeniran, spokesman to Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor, announced the development in a statement on Wednesday, saying the secret police tracked the six suspected cultists to the official residence of the lawmaker.

Accusing the lawmaker of providing shelter to the cultists, Adeniran, said in the statement, that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation in DSS custody after many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from them.

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