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‘Plenty Surprises’ In Buhari’s Cabinet List, Nominees Undergo Security Checks

Peter Okunoren

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As stakeholders and ordinary citizens get impatient over the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari to send his list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for their input and vetting, there were strong indications yesterday that the list will be out this week.

An insider source, not willing to be named, said the list has been forwarded to security departments for appropriate checks and that only the President and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo know details of every nominee that made the final list.

The source added that even the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) and Chief of Staff (COS) to the President will only see the final list tomorrow or early in the week when it’s set for the Senate.

On whether it was the President alone that nominated all the names, the source said that governors and other stakeholders sent in nominees but no one knows for sure whether their nomination was eventually accepted.

This was as some founding members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who confided in The Guardian yesterday, said that President Buhari’s cabinet may not be too new as majority of the ministers that started with him are set to return. They supported their assertions with the re-appointment of Kyari as COS despite criticisms.

Regarding chances of former ministers returning, the insider source tipped former Works, Power and Housing minister, Babatunde Fashola as being ahead of others from the Southwest. The source wouldn’t tell whether Fashola is getting the job on his personal reckoning, or whether a godfather is putting in a word for him.

The source, however, assured of plenty surprises. While the possibility of former governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode getting a slot is said not to be categorical, Fashola, for instance, may not continue to enjoy the status of super Minister, having the three ministries under one portfolio like he did for nearly four years. A split is very likely.

The source added that former Industry and Trade Minister, Okechukwu Enelamah is not coming back because he doesn’t seem a favorite of the Presidency cabal. The immediate past Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Adaramola is also not returning on performance ground, just as he has been accused of not using the post to the utmost advantage of the party and his people.

On another hand, former presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina may be set for promotion to a higher office, while other presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu and Laolu Akande, whom many expected to have been named last Friday along with other Presidency aides, the source assured, will all come back.

As the President continues to keep the ministerial list to his chest despite the concerns it is generating across the country, another source hinted at some factors that had been causing the delay of the final list.

One important factor, the source told The Guardian, was that since most of the immediate past ministers were being considered for possible return, forensic investigations of financial misdeeds by some of them had to be done, thereby causing some delay.

The other factor, the source added, was the appointment of SGF and COS, which the President did on Friday, because the two offices, apart from coordinating ministers’ affairs, would also interface with principal officers of the National Assembly for clearance of government appointees.

Meanwhile speculations about the names that have made the President’s list have continued unabated. Checks by The Guardian revealed that a founding member of APC, based in the Southwest, was pushing for former Commissioner of Finance in Lagos, Mr. Wale Edun to take the Ogun slot but a truce is said to have been made with Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo.

The Egba people are bent on producing the minister since Ogun East had produced the Vice President and the governor, Dapo Abiodun. Although, the Yewa people in Ogun West are also contesting the ministerial slot, the Egbas have maintained that the volume of votes President Buhari scored in the last presidential election surpasses what the entire Ogun West generated and as such, they should have the slot.

In Ekiti State, there has been a strong argument in support of former governor of the state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, who has been on the flanks since 2003 when he left power and has remained loyal and committed to the party. This is, however, not in consonance with the desire of some forces pushing for the likes of former Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake and former Senator Femi Ojudu.

To further secure and entrench the interest of APC in Rivers State ahead of the 2023 election, the party is said to have strongly supported the retention of the former Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi. The Guardian learnt that APC may not have alternative to the former governor of Rivers State.

Moreover, the immediate past minister is adjudged to have performed creditably as minister, especially with the strides made under his leadership in the railway transport sub-sector.

As a matter of fact, President Buhari is said to be impressed with Amaechi and the immediate past Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Mr. Gbenga Ashafa, who some party members have also said is likely to be compensated by Mr. President with some appointment because of the milestone achieved in the railway sector. Recall that the railway sector featured as one of the strong campaign points of the party in the last election.

Meanwhile, anxiety has continued to grow in the Senate over the delay in the submission of the ministerial list by the Presidency.

As the upper legislative chamber prepares to embark on its six-week end of session recess by the end of July, one of the newly elected APC principal officers expressed concern over the delay.

He said it was the expectation of many lawmakers that the President would have submitted the ministerial list before the resumption of the Senate from the two weeks recess it embarked upon shortly after its inauguration.

The lawmaker said the Senate is seriously looking forward to having the list of nominees for screening and confirmation, at least, within the next two weeks so that it could conclude work on it before the end of session recess.

“If you check around the Senate premises, you will notice that our offices are yet to be furnished. Yet, we decided to remain in session because of expectations of that the list would soon be sent to us,” he said.

Excerpted from a report by The Guardian.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Buhari Sacks Muiz Banire As AMCON Chairman, Appoints Adamu

Peter Okunoren

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked Muiz Banire as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, appointing Edward Lametek Adamu as the new chairman of the Corporation.

This was contained in a letter read on the floor of the Senate by the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan.

The letter, dated December 9, 2019, reads: “In accordance with Section 10(1) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act, 2010, I hereby present Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu for confirmation as Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria by the Distinguished Senate.

“While hoping that this request will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

Banire was appointed as AMCON Chairman in 2018 when during the leadership of Bukola Saraki as Senate President.

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REVEALED: How Estate Electrician, Friend Attacked Maersk MD After House Party, Killed Wife [Full Details]

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Two suspects, Ade Akanbi and Olamide Adegoke, have been arrested by men of the Lagos State Police Command for attacking the Managing Director of Maersk Nigeria, Gildas Tohouo, and stabbing his wife, Bernadett, to death at the couple’s residence on No. 1 Luggard Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos State.

It was learnt that the suspects also stabbed the man and forced him to drink a substance suspected to be acid.

While the corpse of the wife had been evacuated and deposited in the mortuary, the man is battling for his life in hospital.

It was learnt that the deceased was a Hungarian, while her husband is a Cameroonian.

Report says the condition of the Cameroonian remains critical.

One of the perpetrators of the crime, Adegoke, was said to be an electrician working with the estate, where the couple’s apartment is located.

According to PUNCH, the couple had organised a party in their house on Sunday and many invited guests were said to have gathered in the compound to felicitate with them.

Adegoke, who was said to be a familiar face in the estate, was granted access to the party.

He reportedly used his familiarity to smuggle his accomplice, Akanbi, in.

It was gathered that the party ended around 11.30pm and the guests departed for their various homes, but Adegoke and Akanbi were said to have lurked around the couple’s apartment.

Suddenly, there was a power outage in the building and the suspects allegedly offered to assist the couple to restore power.

According to a source, the couple recognised one of them as an electrician in the estate and access the door for them to gain entrance into the main building.

The source stated, “The electrician came with his friend and they were granted access based on the fact that Adegoke was a known face. Immediately the two suspects entered the building, they attacked the couple with knives. They locked the husband and wife in separate rooms and forced the wife to transfer some money to them and also collected her ATM card.

“Afterwards, the suspects stabbed the couple. The husband survived the attack and managed to call his company’s chief security officer, who alerted the police, but his wife was not lucky as she died on the spot after being suffocated with a pillow.”

It was gathered that a team of policemen, led by the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, stormed the scene of the crime and arrested the suspects before they could escape.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, who confirmed the incident, said the suspects stabbed the man’s wife and suffocated her, adding that the husband also sustained injuries and had been taken to hospital.

Elkana stated, “The man is a Cameroonian and his wife was Hungarian. They hosted a party earlier on Sunday, and when the guests had left, there was a power outage. The electrician, who was also in attendance with an accomplice, was still in the compound during the outage.

“So, they knocked on the door and volunteered to help the couple fix their power problem. When the door was opened, the two suspects, Ade Akanbi and Olamide Adegoke, attacked the couple and stabbed the man and his wife.

“But the man survived, while his wife died due to the injuries she sustained from the attack.

“The suspects wanted to rob the couple and have been arrested. The knives used in perpetrating the crime have also been recovered.

“The state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, mobilised personnel to the scene of the crime and arrested the suspects. Homicide detectives from the command have also cordoned off the area. Investigation is ongoing.”

Reacting to the incident, the Regional Managing Director, Africa, A. P. Moller-Maersk, David Williams, while commiserating with the bereaved family, said the couple’s three children of the couple were safe, adding that the company was working with relevant the authorities to investigate the incident.

He said, “We are very sorry to confirm that a colleague and his family were attacked in their residence in Lagos, Nigeria, during the evening of Sunday, December 8, 2019.

“Tragically, the wife of our colleague passed away at the scene. Our colleague is in hospital, where his condition is critical but stable. The three children are all safe and accounted for.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go to the family. We will do whatever we can to support them in this tragedy.”

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BIG STORY

How 4 Neighbours Raped Me For 7 Years — 20-Year-Old Lagos Woman Tells Court

Gbemileke Ajayi

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A 20-year-old fashion designer (name withheld), on Monday, narrated before an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court how she was allegedly sexually abused and defiled by four neighbours on different occasions over a seven-year period.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two of the neighbours – a driver, Taofeeq Alabi, and dry cleaner, Igwe Andrew, aged 49 and 31, respectively – are facing trial for defilement.

The other two – Babatunde Green and Babatunde Andrew – are currently at large.

Led in evidence by Mrs. Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, prosecution counsel, the complainant, who is the first prosecution witness, narrated how each of the two defendants allegedly defiled her.

“The wife of Taofeeq Alabi, the first defendant, is a fashion designer and I usually go to their apartment upstairs to learn while she sews clothes for clients.

“One day, her husband asked me to come to the apartment, that he wanted to send me on an errand.

“When I got into the apartment, he gave me a powder to lick and told me that he had put something (black magic) in my body and that even though I got married, it would still be there.

“I became very scared, he removed my clothes and had sexual intercourse with me.

“I did not tell anyone about what happened because of fear and I was also afraid of how my parents might react if I told them,” she said.

Narrating how Andrew, the second defendant allegedly defiled her, she said he committed the offence in her bedroom.

“I was fast asleep in my bedroom and forgot to lock the door. Andrew came into my bedroom and lay on top of me.

“When I woke up and asked why he was in my room, he asked me to shut up.

“He told me that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with me,” she said.

The witness said that she tried unsuccessfully to push him away and he forcefully defiled her.

“After it happened, my younger brother came into the bedroom, saw him and beat him with a stick, telling him to get out of the room.

“The next day, he approached me and told me he wanted me to do something for him.

“When I asked what it was, he proceeded to show me a blue film (pornography) on his phone.

“I ignored him and since that day, I avoided him,” she said.

The complainant said both defendants defiled her when she was a 14-year-old Senior Secondary One (SS1) student.

She said the other neighbours (Green and Babatunde) started defiling her when she was in primary school.

She said she never told her parents about the defilement because she was scared of them, but it all came to light when the caretaker of their property informed her father that she was being defiled by the neighbours.

“My father reported the defilement at the Ladipo Police Station, where we made a statement and I was referred to the Mirabel Centre for medical examination,” she said.

After the evidence, defence counsel, Mr K. U. Ani, requested an adjournment of the cross-examination of the witness on the grounds of his ill-health.

Justice Abiola Soladoye adjourned the case until February 2, 2020, for cross-examination of the alleged victim.

According to the prosecution, the defendants committed the offences from 2010 to 2017 at the Papa Ajao area of Mushin, Lagos.

“The defendants, who have been remanded at a correctional facility, defiled the complainant, who is their neighbour, by having unlawful sexual intercourse with her when she was 14 years old.

“The offence contravenes Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015, which prescribes up to life sentence for anyone convicted of defilement of a child,” Momoh-Ayokanbi said.

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