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Today, October 31, 2011, 2 hours ago

BlackBerry chat on bombing of Third Mainland Bridge lands man in prison
Saturday, October 29, 2011, 1:09:46 AM

One Fafana Sekon was on Friday arraigned before an Abuja Chief Magistrate’s Court for allegedly seeking a volunteer to bomb the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos for the Boko Haram sect.

Police prosecutor, Danjuma Etobi, told the court that the suspect was arrested on September 5, 2011 by policemen attached to Area G, Ogba Police Station, Lagos.

He said the patrol team found a text message sent by the accused to his friends through his BlackBerry chat, informing them of the plot.

"Boko Haram has offered to pay $5m to anybody that would volunteer to bomb down the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos," the BB message read.

Etobi said the accused was charged with belonging to an unlawful society, which contravened section 97B of the Penal Code Law.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge, but Chief Magistrate Okeagu Azubuike ordered him to be remanded in prison custody.

The case was adjourned till Decembeer1, for hearing.

Meanwhile, three men suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect have been arraigned before an Abuja Chief Magistrate’s Court for various offences.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that two of the suspects were arraigned together, while the other appeared alone.

All the suspects, arraigned before Chief Magistrate Okeagu Azubuike, pleaded not guilty, while the court ordered them to be remanded in prison custody.

Nama Abdullahi,who was arraigned alone, was accused of belonging to the Boko Haram sect and participating in the Maiduguri crises.

Police prosecutor Danjuma Etobi, said that on September 28, 2011, a team of detectives arrested the accused based on information that he was a "notorious member of the Boko Haram."

The accused pleaded not guilty, while the case was adjourned till December 1 for further hearing.

Abdullahi Bello and Ahmed Ibrahim, who were also arraigned before the court, were accused of belonging to the Boko Haram sect and giving false information.

Etobi said the offence was contrary to the provisions of sections 97(B), 97 and 139 of the Penal Code Law.

The two pleaded not guilty and were also remanded in prison custody, while the magistrate adjourned the case to December 1 for hearing.

Senate to deliberate on ACN supporters’ arrest
Friday, October 28, 2011, 12:49:12 AM

The Senate on Thursday voted to consider a motion on the arrest and breach of the fundamental rights of supporters of the Action Congress of Nigeria barred from entering Abuja by the police on Wednesday.

Members of the Osun State chapter of the ACN were arrested on their way to Abuja on Tuesday and detained till Wednesday by the police in Kogi State.

Senator Sola Adeyeye from Osun State rose on Order 42 of the Standing Rules of the Senate relating to matters of urgent national importance, urging the Senate to consider at another plenary the barring of ACN supportersfrom coming into Abuja.

He said the supporters were on their way to Abuja given that they had the right to do so as guaranteed by the constitution, but were not allowed free movement into the city of Abuja.

After presenting his case, senators, through a voice vote, were unanimous in their decision to take the motion on Tuesday.

The supporters were said to be on their way to Abuja to attend the trial of the former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The Osun State Vice-Chairman of the party, Chief Ishola Oyewumi, in Lokoja on Thursday, said their ordeal started at about 6:41pm on Tuesday when the Osun Government coaster bus in which they were travelling was accosted by policemen at Jamata village, near the River Niger Bridge.

He said the policemen almost 10 in number immediately ordered all the occupants of the bus to disembark for identification and thorough checking.

He said, “All of us promptly complied but nothing incriminating was found in the bus with number plate OSGH 192.”

He said they were surprised when the police insisted that they could not proceed on their trip, ordering them to go back to Osun.

The party leader said before they could offer further explanation, the police ordered everybody back into the bus and directed the driver to return them to their take-off point.

He said the policemen escorted the bus to a point at Kabba junction before turning back.

Oyewumi said they decided to turn back and continue with the journey only for them to run into the same policemen at Jamata village.

He said the policemen were infuriated by that action and immediately arrested them.

Among those detained were the state auditor of the party, Mrs. Funke Ogundele, Welfare Officer, Mr. John Olayemi and the state ACN youth leader, Mr Rasheed Adeniji

Others are Assistant secretary, Mr. Omolaoye Akintola, Assistant Public Relations Officer, Mr. Samson Oyebode, Assistant Financial Secretary, Mr. Bakare Idera, among others.

Oyeumi said he and his colleagues and were made to sleep in the open without food and water until about 2pm on Wednesday when they were released to the Kogi Chairman of the party, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo.

FG urges Nigerians to make sacrifices
Friday, October 28, 2011, 12:42:31 AM

The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, on Thursday said Nigerians must make sacrifices to enable the country to become one of the leading 20 economies in the world in 2020.

Maku said at a retreat organised by the Federal Ministry of Information in conjunction with the National Planning Commission in Calabar, Cross River State, that to be great in the comity of nations, Nigeria must plan for the future.

He said the policy on deregulation was one of the sacrifices the nation might pass through at the initial stage.

According to the minister, the deregulation of the telecommunications and aviation sectors has not only generated employment but has also made the sector more effective and reliable.

Maku said there had been about $20bn direct investment from 2001 to 2011 in the telecommunications industry.

He said the theme of the retreat, ‘Nigeria’s Vision 20-2020 and Government’s Transformation Agenda: Share in the vision’, was selected with the involvement of the media to enlighten the public on the need for mass participation in the realisation of the vision.

Maku stressed the need for a proper national planning, noting that right from the 60s till the tenure of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, there was a serious planning in the country, imparting positively on the economy.

He lamented however that everything crumbled when the military took over the helm of affairs.

He said military incursion in the country took Nigeria to the dark ages where national planning took the back seat.

The minister however said the situation had changed since 2007 when the late President Musa Yar’Adua emerged till the time Dr. Goodluck Jonathan mounted the saddle.

Maku called for a collaborative effort in the realisation of Vision 2020, which he described as a road map towards a particular destination to ensure an increase in the Gross Domestic Product for people to live a good life.

He said, “The President cannot do it alone without the contributions of the people. The vision means we must ask Nigerians to do it in different ways as it is contained in the article.

“To realise this communication information dissemination must be a primary objective.”

28 million Nigerian youths unemployed – Minister
Friday, October 28, 2011, 12:30:04 AM

The Minister of Youths Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has said 28.14m youths in Nigeria are unemployed.

According to him, there are 67m youths in the country while 42 per cent of them are unemployed, which is 28.14m.

The minister added that 80 per cent of the unemployed youth do not have more than secondary school certificates.

He spoke during the inauguration of the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria Competition for North Central Zone, in Ilorin on Thursday.

He said there was the need to address the rising youth unemployment rate.

He reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to reduce youth unemployment through job creation and entrepreneurship development programmes.

He appealed to state governments and the private sector to support the Federal Government in employment generation and youth empowerment.

Abdullahi said, “The Federal Government cannot alone create job. No matter how well-intentioned it is. There is the need for the private sector to support government in job creation and youth empowerment. If we do not find jobs for our youths, the devil will find jobs for them.

“YouWin is a programme initiated by the Federal Government to create jobs for Nigerian youths through a series of business plan competitions.

“The competitions are open to Nigerians from age 18 to 40, who have promising business ideas or expansion plans, for an existing small business that would result in job creation.”

Bi-Courtney repairs expressway
Friday, October 28, 2011, 12:17:58 AM

The concessionaire of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, on Thursday said it had fixed a portion of the road that collapsed at the Redemption Camp area.

A statement by BCHSL spokessman, Dipo Kehinde, said the firm had been working to keep the expressway in motor-able condition, while preparing for proper reconstruction scheduled to start in November.

Kehinde urged stakeholders to shun the propaganda by some people who were bent on stopping the progress of work on the highway.

He said, “We noticed that a portion of the road was falling apart, so, we moved in to repair it. Those who ply the highway know that BCHSL has kept on working, on a daily basis, to keep the road in motor-able condition, while we prepare for the major work next month.

“We have positioned five groups of workers on the road. Two groups for patching failed portions; two for cleaning, and one for repairing a failed portion at Ogere, where we are also improving the temporary trailer park to clear the bottleneck at that location.”

Kehinde said the company had completed its preparation and would finish the proper construction of the road before the projected date.

“In the last two months, BCHSL has worked on long stretches of the road at Ibafo. This work has contributed appreciably to ease traffic congestion normally experienced along the stretch. We have overlaid long stretches at Fidiwo, Sapade, Alapako, and Kilometre 90, near Ibadan; Fatgbems, at Isheri; Ibafo, and RCCG area. All potholes were patched,” Kehinde said.

APGA’s victory has crippled us – Imo PDP
Thursday, October 27, 2011, 9:22:15 PM

The Chairman of Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Eze Duruiheoma, has said the loss of the state governorship election to the All Progressive Grand Alliance is seriously affecting the PDP.

Duruiheoma said this when he led the leadership of the party in Imo to visit members of the PDP National Working Committee in Abuja on Thursday.

He said it was unfortunate that the party no longer had access to state fund to finance the party in the state.

He therefore appealed to the national body to come their rescue.

He said, “Another problem we want to share with you is that because we have no access to the Government House in Imo State, the funding of the party is very, very poor.

“As you know very well party funding cannot be left in the hands of even one person or few persons. The need to fund the party and keep it strong cannot be over emphasised.”

Duruiheoma told the NWC members that the Rochas Okorocha administration in the state was unfriendly, alleging that the actions of the state government were aimed at making the PDP poorer.

He alleged that the governor removed all the elected local government officials in the state, an action he said was making things harder for PDP.

He added, “The APGA government destabilised the Imo state House of Assembly dominated by the PDP and overnight turned our majority status into a minority.

“Up till date the government has refused to pay commissioners, honourable members and all other political appointees of the previous PDP administration in Imo State their allowances, including severance pay because they are PDP men and women.

“The government illegally sponsored the impeachment of the former Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Mr. Goodluck Opia, two days to the expiration of his tenure, his offence is that he is an unrepentant PDP man.”

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, said the national PDP had not been fair to the Imo State chapter of the party.

He said the party could not have taken glory in his emergence as the PDP and the NWC had no contribution to his elevation.

He said, “My emergence as the Deputy Speaker is a divine intervention and an act of God; you know you were not part of it Mr. Chairman.

“I don’t think it’s a wonderful score card that Imo has just one person that has been appointed by the present administration.

“We are aware of the number of appointments that have been made, Mr. Chairman we have a Minister of State, a number of states have two ministers.

“Some of these states also have several advisers to the President. I am sure you are aware that none of our citizens, none of our party members from Imo is an adviser.

“I am not aware that any person of the Imo PDP fold is so far being nominated, we are aware that there are several federal commissions, parastatals and agencies. There must be a policy reversal.

“If the policy reversal does not follow this trend, we will have cause to worry. We have come to tell you that this is our position that you should please, water the ground for us before Mr. President.”

He said the Imo State chapter of the party would also like to meet the President and share with him ways and programmes and a road map to getting Imo state PDP back to government in the state.

The Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, assured the party stakeholders that he would meet with Jonathan very soon and inform him with the grievances expressed by the members of the party from Imo.

He said, “By this time next week, God sparing our lives, some of you will accompany me to meet with Mr. President. We will work together with Mr. President to ensure that the right people are given the right appointments.”

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