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Former Senate President, David Mark, and Senators Jonah Jang, Abiodun Olujimi and Rabiu Kwankwaso were among 49 senators who signed a list rejecting any move to force a change in leadership in the Senate.

The list was made available to reporters in the Senate on Tuesday.

It was gathered that the list was meant to serve as a notice to those behind the alleged botched attempt to remove the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The list, which is made up mostly members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, was compiled at the foyer of the National Assembly.

A copy of the list sighted by our correspondent, read, “We, the undersigned senators, hereby declare our total support for Senator Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as President and Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are against any purported illegal impeachment being cooked up by a few minority (sic).”

Recall that speculations that a group of senators of the All Progressives Congress were plotting to invade the National Assembly to reconvene and effect a leadership change led to the appearance of several PDP senators, who decided to suspend their recess, to thwart the move.

They were, however, initially prevented from entering into the National Assembly complex by armed and masked operatives of the Department of State Services who said they were acting on “orders from above.”

BIG STORY

A’Ibom 2019: Plot To Tag Gov Udom’s Aides As cultists Thickens

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As the buildup to the 2019 general elections gathers momentum, a thickening plot to implicate the key aides of Akwa Ibom State governor, Dr. Udom Emmanuel with trumped-up accusations of being involved in cult activities has been uncovered. 

It is alleged to be spearheaded by a top-ranking former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who recently cross-carpeted to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Akwa Ibom State has turned into a theatre of war, no thanks to the activities of key opposition politicians in the state led by a senator who has not hidden his determination to retake control of the political machinery in the state and ensure power swings to his new party at the polls come 2019.

The once peaceful state has been engulfed in an intractable crisis since the defection of the top party man to the extent that the centre can no longer hold. Everything has allegedly been done by the Senator and his cohorts in the last few weeks to make the state ungovernable. It is perceived to be a ploy to humiliate the governor of the state, Udom Emmanuel, who has been locked in a battle for the soul of the state since the beginning of the crisis.

It got to a stage that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was deployed in the humiliation process. In the process, Gov. Emmanuel was indicted by officers of the anti-graft agency for purportedly withdrawing the sum of N1.7 billion from the state treasury, an accusation which the government has since denied.

The senator representing Uyo Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan; the Assembly speaker, Hon Onofiok Luke; and Hon Ekong Samson, Commissioner for Economic Development, Labour and Manpower Planning are among Governor Udom’s aides penciled down to be labeled cultists in the latest onslaught. Others include Transition Committee ex-chairman, Hon Victor Umondak as well as Hon Kenneth Okon and Hon Eno-Obong Uwah, the Senior Special Assistant on Local Government and Youth Groups to the governor and Executive Chairman, Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA, respectively.

More names included in the hit list include that of Barrister Emmanuel Eno-Idem, PDP National Legal Adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, Hon Kelly Okon and Dr Charles Mbong, among others.

The strategy is to use the law enforcement officers including the police and DSS to harangue the top aides of the governor.

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BIG STORY

Fuel Crisis Looms as Marketers Order Depots’ Shutdown

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Oil marketers under the aegis of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) yesterday directed their members to shut down all depots in the country at midnight to protest federal government’s failure to pay them their outstanding subsidy claims estimated at N800 billion.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has, however, described the action of the marketers as economic sabotage.

The Ministry of Finance had announced, at the weekend, that the federal government had reached an agreement with the marketers after meeting the parties to begin the payment of the money owed them.

But DAPPMAN, in a counter statement yesterday by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, denied the ministry’s claim, saying they never signed any agreement with the federal government, insisting that their planned seven-day ultimatum still stands and ordered the shutdown of depots.

Adewole said, “Premised on our inability to pay December salaries and to avoid owing staff for work done without any hope of pay, it is hereby agreed, since our staff have been disengaged, all DAPPMAN member depots are not in a position to operate hence will shut down all loading operations at midnight, Sunday, December 9, 2018 until the federal government pays our calculated claims.

“This decision is binding on all members of the association and full compliance is expected from every member company of the association. The association shall revert in the same vein with any other directives as might be deemed necessary.”

According to Adewole, the association took the bold step to stop the financial haemorrhage of its members, which arose from the federal government’s failure to pay its members’ outstanding claims.

He said, “As you are aware, the association reviewed the suspension of the ultimatum given to the federal government in December 25, 2017, which was suspended due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians and the federal government’s promise to immediately pay marketers the outstanding subsidy-induced debts.

“Unfortunately as at today, and almost 12 months to the date, all we got so far are invitations to meetings and dialogues which have so far not stopped the daily increasing interest on these debts (which are owed to banks, AMCON, PPPRA, and PEF(M)B) and FIRS) and which, also has not manifested as credit to marketers.”

In a telephone interview with THISDAY, the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Paul Abechi, said the relevant agencies of the government met with oil marketers last Thursday to resolve the subsidy payment controversy, adding that it was unfortunate for any group to claim otherwise.

Abechi noted that people had begun to exploit the political season to advance their interests, adding that to further show government’s commitment to defray the subsidy arrears, it offered to pay the first tranche of N236 billion last Saturday.

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BIG STORY

I Don’t Work For Tinubu, I’m More Influential Than Him; He Stole Lagos Money —- Omoyele Sowore [VIDEO]

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Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress ( AAC) and founder of online news agency Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore has denied claims he’s working for APC National Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Sowore debunked the old-aged rumor while addressing the press recently where he spoke about the role of the media in the forthcoming general elections and also answered questions on his plans and party manifesto for Nigeria.

Watch the video below:

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