Monday 31 December 2012

Chidinma, Davido win @ 2012 KORA Awards as Omawumi, D’banj, Clarence Peters lose out

The 2012 KORA awards was delayed by 24 hours but it wasn’t enough to douse the surprises and thrills of the epoch making event which held late Sunday night in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
chidinmaPetite framed beauty and Kedike crooner Chidinma walked away with the Best African Female Act award for her hit song ‘Kedike’  surprisingly beating ebony skinned, song goddess Omawumi’s ‘If you ask me’ and five other African female artists.
Omo baba olowo Davido who was absent also was a winner at the event as he clinched the Best Newcomer Award.
It wasn’t a happy KORA awards event for D’Banj, Clarence Peters and the Infinity Group as they failed to win in their categories as Best Male African act, Best Director and Best Gospel group respectively.
American pop recording artist Chris Brown who was the reason for the event’s 24 hours delay as he had flight issues arrived Abidjan Sunday with his off/on Girlfriend Rihanna to perform at the event.
Nigerian pop recording twins P Square also hit the stage to give their own electrifying performance.
A full list of winners will be published shortly…

Mercy Johnson gives birth to baby girl

Nollywood actress Mercy Johnson has given birth to a baby girl at an undisclosed hospital in the US.
*Mercy Johnson
Mercy we are told, is doing well with her baby. She had traveled abroad a few months back to be on location for a movie role she plays as a heavily pregnant woman. Mercy had been busy during the entire duration of her pregnancy taking on different movie roles that suited her condition.

‘Islamists’ slaughter 15 people in their sleep

JTF kills 4, arrests 59 in Yobe
Yobe – The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yobe on Sunday said four insurgents had been killed and 59 suspects arrested in an operation in Yindiski area of Potiskum Local Government.
A statement by Lt. Eli Lazarus, JTF spokesman, stated that one policeman died and a soldier, who sustained injury, was receiving treatment.
The statement said “four AK 47 rifles, one double barrel gun, 16 magazines and 380 rounds of ammunitions were recovered”. It said other items recovered in the operation included two gas cylinders and materials used for improvised explosive devices.
The statement urged the public to provide the task force with useful information on suspicious movements and persons in their locality.
It assured the public that all information provided would be treated in confidence and would enhance response by the force.
‘Islamists’ slaughter 15 people in their sleep
Also suspected Islamist extremists have killed 15 People by slitting their throats in an attack on a village in volatile northeast, residents and a relief source said Sunday.
The gruesome violence was the latest to be blamed on Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, though this Christmas season has been notably less bloody than in 2011, when attacks on churches and other locations left scores dead.
“From the information we gathered, the attackers broke into selected homes and slaughtered 15 people in their sleep,” the relief official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly.
Authorities had previously confirmed the predawn Friday attack in Musari, but gave few details and said only five were killed. Musari is located on the outskirts of Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s base.
Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, spokesman for a military task force in the area, told AFP on Sunday that he stood by the toll of five dead, adding that some were shot and others attacked with machetes.
Authority tend to under-report death tolls however, and the relief official’s information matched up with that of residents, who spoke of 15 people having their throats slit.
Speaking of the victims, the relief official said “they included one traffic warden and 14 civilians. The victims were selected because they were all Christians, some of whom had moved into the neighbourhood from other parts of the city hit by Boko Haram attacks.”
Residents said they suspected the attackers were from Boko Haram.
“The attackers came in and silently went into homes whose residents were all Christians and slit the throats of their victims. They killed 15 people,” one resident said.
An earlier military statement on the attack had said “unknown gunmen sneaked into Musari community … and secretly carried out selective killings of five people including a serving Nigerian police traffic warden.”
Residents said that a number of people have moved into the Musari area to flee violence in Maiduguri, which has faced incessant bombings and shootings blamed on Boko Haram.
Violence linked to Boko Haram’s insurgency in northern and central Nigeria has left some 3,000 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.
While Boko Haram’s victims have often included Muslims, the group has also specifically targeted Christians, including bombings of churches. There have previously been instances of victims having their throats slit in attacks.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the group of seeking to ignite a religious crisis in the nation of some 160 million people.
During a Christmas Eve service last week, gunmen attacked a church in northeastern Yobe state, killing six people, including the pastor, before setting the building ablaze.
Boko Haram has claimed to be fighting for the creation of an Islamic state in Nigeria, though its demands have repeatedly shifted and it is believed to include a number of factions with varying aims.
Nigeria’s military has also been accused of major abuses in its response to Boko Haram’s attacks, including killings of civilians and the burning of homes.
Human Rights Watch recently alleged that Nigerian security forces as well as Boko Haram may both be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Fulani, Gwari clash claims 2, displaces 1,500

No fewer than two people were killed, weekend, in a communal clash between the Fulani and Gwari people, while 1,500 people were displaced.
The clash, which erupted at Gwarko, Gwagwalada Local Government Area of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, last Saturday, was said to have been sparked off by encroachment of Fulani cattle into farmlands in the area.
Director-General of National Emergency Agency, NEMA, Mohammed Sani-Sidi, who confirmed this yesterday, said the prompt intervention of security agencies prevented the clash from escalating into a full scale war.
He commended the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, for the promptness of his agencies and his physical presence at the scenes, appealing to the warring parties to live peacefully with one another and eschew any form of violence as the New Year approached.
MD Abubakar, Police IG
Sani-Sidi, who disclosed that two lives were lost and 27 communities affected, said over 1,500 internally-displaced people were currently squatting in a temporary camp on the permanent campus of the University of Abuja, Gwagwalada.
Muhammed, who led other government agencies to assess the impact of the incidence, appealed to the communities to remain calm as the government would ensure that the causes of the crisis would soon be addressed, so they could return to their homes.
The minister asked NEMA to provide more amenities to the victims. He also constituted an emergency team for conflict resolution and relief distribution to the affected communities. The committee comprise members of response agencies and Urban Affairs Department of FCTA.
On his part, the Sarkin Fulani, who spoke on behalf of the Fulani communities now residing at the university campus, thanked the FCT Minister and President Goodluck Jonathan for coming to their rescue.
He assured them that they will continue to live in harmony with the Gwari in the FCT, while urging the government to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.
Meanwhile, FCT Minister has called a meeting for today with leaders of both Fulani and Gwari communities, the Gwagwalada Area Council Chairman, traditional rulers of Gwagwalada and other stakeholders to ensure that peace between the communities was maintained.

How to overcome our challenges – OBJ, Anyaoku

ABEOKUTA— Elder Statesmen- former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, yesterday, reviewed the state of the nation in 2012 and proffered suggestions on how to overcome the present challenges.
In separate statements, both leaders acknowledged the efforts the Goodluck Jonathan administration is making to tackle the challenges and concluded that Nigeria would rank among the greatest countries of the world in the nearest future.
Addressing newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Obasanjo lamented that despite the abundant resources the country was endowed with, the country could not manage it well.
*Anyaoku and Obasanjo
Obasanjo who was thanking God for His mercies over the country, said despite the bombings and other dangerous activities, he believed that the country would achieve peace.
“On Boko Haram, I know we will get there very soon and Nigeria will enjoy peace and tranquility,”Obasanjo said.
While speaking on alleged mismanagement of resources by the leaders, Obasanjo said “God has  been extra generous to Nigeria; many nations of the world are not as richly endowed as Nigeria.”
He, however, urged Nigerian leaders to harness the country’s endowments for the transformation of the nation.
“I believe good people will be able to manage it, maybe later. But the earlier we are there, the better and I am sure we will be there. We will be there because God has been kind to us, we only need to be kind to ourselves. God will help us.”
In his end of year comment, Chief Anyaoku said: “2012 is ending with a number of our national challenges remaining acute among which are insecurity, corruption, and dilapidated state of our roads.
“But the year has also seen some improvements in such areas as agriculture, foreign direct investment, railways, power and macroeconomic management. I believe that if the hopes kindled by President Jonathan’s administration are actualised, and the country’s present inefficient governance architecture is far-sightedly reformed in the ongoing constitutional review, 2013 and the year after will be the years of a decisive march towards the Nigeria of our dreams.”

Sunday 30 December 2012

I fed Okonjo-Iweala’s mum with bread, groundnuts – Suspect

ASABA —  A member of the 10-man kidnap gang who earlier this month abducted the 82-year-old Prof, Kamene Okonjo, mother of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, confessed his involvement in the abduction and narrated how he fed the retired professor of sociology with groundnut, water and bread in the kidnappers’ den.
The suspected kidnapper, Andrew Dime, aka Olokpa, 32, who hails from Enikorogha in Edo State, however, told Vanguard that he was only hired by the second-in-command of the gang to supply food to Prof. Okonjo on two occasions at a fee of N100,000.
Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, on the other hand, told Vanguard that Prof. Okonjo was kept in the custody of the suspect, who was in-charge of her feeding.
The second-in-command of the gang allegedly swindled him when he bolted with his N1 million share of the ransom collected for the release of Prof. Okonjo.
Apparently, to settle scores, the police said the suspect formed a new kidnap gang, which abducted an octogenarian at Aboh in Ndokwa area of the state.  But having obtained a database on the group after its leader, Nwaeze Nwosa, aka Bolaji was shot dead in Asaba, the police were able to track down the suspect.
Aduba told Vanguard that the police set a trap for him when it got information that he was in dire need of money for the yuletide by convincing him to sell one of the guns used for the abduction of Prof. Okonjo, which was in his custody. He fell for the trap and negotiated a price of N300,000 for a pump-action gun with a police officer, who posed as a buyer. He was, thereafter, arrested at Koka junction, Asaba, when he came to collect the cash.
Dark-complexioned Andrew, who spoke to Vanguard in an interview, debunked the claim that he formed a new kidnap gang and that he was the one that negotiated the sale of pump-action gun, which was used to ensnare him.
A police source said he was being economical with the truth, adding: “Most of these people (referring to criminals) will never tell you the truth when you arrest them until you get other members of the gang to confront them.”
 Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and her mother, Prof. Kamene Okonjo
Below are the excerpts of the interview with the suspect
What is your name?Andrew Idime.
How old are you?32.
Where are you from?I am from Enikorogha, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of  Edo State.
Where do you live?I live at Army Barracks, Onitsha.
Do you know why you are here in police cell?For now, I know why I am arrested. Some friends of mine, they indulged themselves in kidnapping act. One of them is Chiboy and another is Biggy.  The person I know very well is Chiboy. It was through this Chiboy that I met Biggy. I was trading on used shoes and my business was not moving well. So Chiboy called me that there is something that I was going to do. I asked him what it was, he said there was somebody I was going to drop food for and that I was going to drop food twice and that they would settle me. Therefore, I went there truly, he brought an Okada man (motorcyclist), the Okada man took me there, and I dropped the food twice.

Security beefed up in FCT ahead of New Year

With the New Year around the corner, the Federal Government has beefed up security around the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as part of measures to foil plans by suspected insurgents to unleash terror in the territory.
Findings by Blueprint revealed that the measures became necessary to avoid alleged plans by persons believed to be members of the Boko Haram sect to disrupt public peace in the New Year in Abuja and other parts of the country notably in the North.
According to a highly placed security personnel, who did not wish to be named, the high security alert followed reports of possible attacks in places of worship.
Our correspondent who went round the FCT reports that security operatives drawn from the different security agencies could be seen at strategic locations and places keeping watch.
As part of the measures, most churches failed to hold the usual night services on Christmas eve, while for the New Year’s eve crossing over, worshippers have been advised against bringing handbags while they are advised to be time conscious and obey security agents drafted to keep watch.

NUPENG blames FG for fuel scarcity

The federal government has been blamed for the lingering fuel scarcity in Abuja, Lagos and other major cities of the country.
Chairman of the South West zone of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) Mr. Tokunbo Korede said it is government rather than his union that was responsible for the scarcity.
In an interview on Radio Inspiration FM monitored in Lagos, Mr Korede alleged that government had not made enough products available.
Dismissing speculations that his union was responsible for the scarcity, Mr Korede declared “The federal government is responsible for the lingering fuel scarcity. The truth of the matter is that there is non availability of the products at the loading points”
Mr. Korede, who insisted that officials of government were not telling the truth maintained that the tanker drivers were at the loading points waiting for products but there were no products to load.
According to him “Our tanker drivers are there waiting for products that are not available , the tanker drivers are not on strike. The simple truth is that there are no products in spite of the promises by government to ensure adequate supply during the festive season”.
Mr. Korede, who blamed the fuel subsidy scam and its fall out as being responsible for the perennial scarcity said government officials should have told Nigerians the truth instead of the present lies they are peddling.
“If they actually had enough supply of products as they are claiming, there wouldn’t have been any scarcity because apart from the tanker drivers who are ready to move products, all the vandalised pipelines have been fixed. These government officials have just been lying about the situation” he said.
The NUPENG chief called on the government to apologise to Nigerians for subjecting them to the hardship of fuel scarcity during the festive season.
“The government officials should apologise to Nigerians for a policy that has failed instead of telling lies to the people”. He painted a grim picture for the future of the oil sector saying the situation was worsening from” frying pan to fire”.
In spite of promises made by the Presidency to flood the country with petroleum products during the yuletide to avert a scarcity, fuel queues returned to major cities in the country ruining the fun of the season.

How we aborted Boko Haram’s Xmas Day attacks – Jonathan

You failed in 2012 – NUJ

President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that the Boko Haram sect had planned to carry out a lot of deadly attacks on Christmas Day but were stopped by government through effective security strategic plans put in place by various security agencies.
Jonathan said this at a Sunday Service at the EkklisiyarYan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), in Utako, Abuja.
He said: “The Boko Haram planned to carry out a lot of attacks on Christmas day, but we suppressed their plans during the Christmas.
“The extent of their plans was not executed because of the strategies put in place by the security agencies to abort their plans.
“Although we still recorded some incidences, but the extent of attacks which they planned was not allowed to be executed.
“Boko Haram will not push us backwards. If their plan is to stop government from providing dividends of democracy, they would not succeed because 2013 will be a good year for Nigerians and Nigeria. With your persistent prayer, we shall defeat them.”
Jonathan said the present administration is working round the clock to address the challenges of insecurity in the country and has put in place measures to contain the activities of the sect.
He said government is doing everything possible to ensure that the activities of the group do not push the nation backward, and assured Nigerians that 2013 would be a good year.
The President noted that Christianity and Islam are religions of peace and tolerance which forbid killings and blood-letting, saying it is strange how terrorism and suicide bombings, which were never part of the culture of any section of the country, have crept in.
He commended the authorities and members of the EkklisiyarYan’uwa a Nigeria nationwide for keeping faith and remaining calm even in the face of provocation.
Pastor of the church, Reverend Daniel Mbaya, said about 50 of their churches were burnt and 109 of their members were killed in the northern part of the country as a result of Boko Haram attacks.
He commended Jonathan for coming to worship with them, saying it was a demonstration that the country was blessed with a caring, loving and concerned leader.

Friday 28 December 2012

Twitter war: Yobo hits back at Odemwingie

LAGOS (AFP) – Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo has lashed out at Peter Odemwingie for being disrespectful after the West Bromwich Albion striker said the country does not have a team leader.
Odemwingie said via Twitter that recent Eagles captains have only looked out only for themselves and so the team lack a leader.
Yobo has now hit back at his national teammate, who was sensationally dropped from the squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa
“Osaze has been reckless, disrespectful to most people. He’s not a kid, he should grow up because we cannot continue to baby sit him. He is responsible for his problems,” Yobo told Lagos radio Brila FM on Friday.
File photo: Osaze, Yobo and other  team mates.
“This is not the first time he has been disrespectful. He is fighting all the coaches and at the World Cup he also disrespected me and he later apologised.
“He is not the (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo of Nigeria. He should look himself in the mirror.”
The Fenerbache star gave credit to coach Stephen Keshi for the provisional squad he picked for the AFCON, while admitting that he was surprised Obafemi Martins, Osaze, Taye Taiwo and Kalu Uche were not considered.
“I will give him credit for the squad. He will score 95 percent even though one or two should have been there,” said the former Everton defender.
“I’m sure he would have had some sleepless nights in selecting his team. Kalu Uche, Martins, Taye and Osaze not being there was a surprise but the coach must have his reasons and he cannot call everybody.”
Yobo also admitted that at 32 this is most likely his last AFCON.
“I think I have to admit it that this may be my last Nations Cup. We have to allow younger players to get their chance,” said the central defender, who has featured in five Nations Cups.

Breaking News: 20 feared dead as gunmen sack police station, prison in Adamawa

Yola – No fewer than 20 persons were feared killed and inmates set free when unknown gunmen, Friday, struck in Maiha, Adamawa state.
Report says the Maiha attack, in the Local Government that shares a common border with Cameroun left many injured.
Eyewitnesses  told Vanguard that the Divisional Police station, the prison, the  Customs area office, the presidential lodge, all located at the local government headquarters were completely razed.
According to eyewitnesses, the gunmen stormed the town at about 3: 00am with heavy artillery.
Vanguard gathered that the gunmen overran the police station, carted away arms and ammunition, then proceeded to the prisons where the inmates were reportedly set free.
File photo:
The entire town, according to the eyewitnesses was thrown into pandemonium as residents feared venturing out of their homes.
When contacted, Adamawa State Commissioner of Police, Godfrey Okeke  who confirmed the incident said, “nobody should disturb me now, already I am in Maiha, you people should allow me to rest.”
The Police public Relation Officer,PPRO, Mohammed Ibrahim (DSP), said they (the police) were in Maiha already to assess the situation.

Pictures Of Calabar Carnival