Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Abuja Bloggers: My services are still available – Boko Haram negot...

Abuja Bloggers: My services are still available – Boko Haram negot...: Northern-born journalist widely reported to have strong ties with the Boko Haram sect, Ahmad Salkida, has said that he is still readily ...

My services are still available – Boko Haram negotiator

SalkidaNorthern-born journalist widely reported to have strong ties with the Boko Haram sect, Ahmad Salkida, has said that he is still readily available to render his services to bring an end to the insurgency in the country.
Salkida was said to be close to the late Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf, as well as many top shots of the group.
He had since fled to the United Arab Emirates on account of an alleged threat to his life over what he described as his “professional closeness” to the insurgents.
“My first-rate exclusive reports on the insurgency in northern Nigeria served by the Boko Haram militant group unsettled a section of the local authorities. This consequently led to threats to my life. I now live with my family and work part-time in the United Arab Emirates,” a post on his LinkedIn page read.
But, writing on Twitter, Salkida stated that despite being “gagged for doing his work dutifully and lawfully,” he is still willing to make use of his “rare” working relationship with members of the sect to restore peace to northern Nigeria.
According to him, terrorism as seen today in the country is a tactic used by “a few extremists” against an overwhelmingly peaceful population.
“There is nothing wrong in having professional access to insurgents as long as it is used to save lives and promote peaceful co-existence. I will forever be readily available to use my rare professional access and knowledge to end this madness and senseless violence in Nigeria.
“Speculations should not becloud the fact that there are many well-meaning patriots, including myself, that are working quietly day and night for peace. Nigeria is our country. We have no other country to call our own. So let’s get it right. I love Nigeria, I cherish its unity. I will do anything legitimately to make it better than it is, if I can,” he wrote on his Twitter feed.
The 40-year-old who grew up in Maiduguri, Borno State added that the most effective way the Federal Government can fight terrorism was to “study those behind it and review what strategy works and what doesn’t work.”
He also urged Nigerians to unite against the Boko Haram insurgency by not seeing it as a menace ravaging the northern Nigeria but a threat to the entire country.
Calling on Nigerians to render “unconditional support” to the military, he counselled the armed forces to endeavour to be “more accountable” in the ongoing war against the insurgents.
Salkida frowned on summary killing of Boko Haram detainees, saying the development amounted to extrajudicial executions opposed by international laws.
“Is there a good understanding of the structure, composition and lifeline of the Boko Haram by our leaders? Has there been a counter-terrorism strategy in Nigeria that has worked in the last three years beyond summary execution and detention without trial?
“Will the Boko Haram crisis end? It may never be totally eliminated, but a cohesive community that trusts its authorities can curb it. The day we begin to see this war as a threat to Nigeria and not a threat to the Beroms, Christians or Muslims, that is the beginning of our victory,” he added.
Confronting terrorism, he argued, would be futile if the Federal Government does not move to confront “lesser evils” which he reeled out as corruption, electoral fraud and bad governance.
The journalist, who has won grants from organisations such as the Committee to Protect Journalist and Reporters without Borders, carpeted President Goodluck Jonathan for blaming the opposition for terrorism.
“I’m frustrated each time my dear President blames the opposition and the opposition blames him. You all need to sit down in the interest of Nigeria and learn. How can this crisis stop when security and political leaders, with the onus of responsibility for public safety, politicise insurgency?
“This is a case of corrosive doctrine that is poorly managed by the authorities. If effective measures are not taken today, at the end of GEJ’s administration – whether it is General Muhammodu Buhari, (Babatunde) Fashola or Atiku (Abubakar) that is taking over – the crisis will intensify. It’s not who is in power.The central theme of the Boko Haram insurgency is to undermine the institution of democracy and those that support it,” he added in a series of tweets.

B’Haram: MTN, forensic expert to testify against Ndume

Senator Aliyu Ndume
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday granted an application by the Federal Government to call two additional witnesses against Senator Aliyu Ndume, who is facing charges of sponsoring the violent Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram.
The proposed witnesses, according to the Federal Government, are the MTN and a forensic expert. Three prosecution witnesses had already testified in the case.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, after dismissing Ndume’s opposition to the prosecution’s application on Tuesday, gave the Federal Government seven days to file its additional proof of evidence and serve same on the defence.
Ndume had through his lawyer, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), argued that the request to call additional witnesses by the prosecution was “a ploy to bring back through the back door”, exhibits which the Court of Appeal had ruled were wrongly admitted by the trial court.
But Justice Kolawole held that the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, delivered by Justice Amiru   person had appealed against its admission in evidence.
The Exhibits P7, P8, P8A and P8B were said to be DVDs containing results of the forensic analysis of two mobile telephones said to be retrieved from Ndume and Ali Konduga.
Konduga (aka Al Zawahiri), who had been convicted of terror charges, was said to be a former spokesman for Boko Haram.
Justice Kolawole ruled on Tuesday that, though it was an elementary knowledge in law that an exhibit that had been marked rejected could not be re-tendered in the same proceedings, the exhibits which the prosecution sought to call additional witnesses for, were not the same marked rejected by the Court of Appeal.
“The court cannot anticipate what the proposed witnesses of the prosecution are coming to say,” Justice Kolawole added on Tuesday.
He also ruled, “In the light of this, it will be an unjudicial exercise of discretion by the judge to shut out or to shut down the evidence to be tendered by the proposed witnesses.”
The court dismissed Ndume’s other grounds of objection, among which was that the prosecution failed to give details of the proposed witnesses, especially the one from MTN, including their names, addresses, status and areas of expertise.
Ndume had also urged the court to refuse the prosecution’s application because it constituted an abuse of court process because the additional proof of evidence sought to be filed by the prosecution was baseless.
But the court, upheld the submissions of the Federal Government’s counsel, E.A Orji, to the effect that the prosecution was not bound by law to file proof of evidence in a criminal trial at the Federal High Court.
“The court cannot exert on the prosecution what is not imposed by law,” the court ruled.
The court added that the defence ought to focus on the “materiality and the relevance” of the evidence to be given by the witnesses, rather than bothering itself with the details of the witnesses.
The court added that the defence was at liberty to ask for an adjournment if it becomes handicapped to cross-examine the witnesses due to lack of sufficient information about the witnesses which had been withheld by the prosecution.
The matter was then fixed for June 30, July 1 and 9 for continuation of trial.
Ndume was arraigned on four counts of terrorism, after he was implicated by Konduga, who had since been convicted and sentenced.
The Court of Appeal had in its December 17, 2013 ruling declared as wrongful, the admission in evidence of the DVDs which contained the records of mobile telephone exchanges between Ndume and Konduga.
The appellate court ruled that the prosecution failed to comply with the condition precedent as required under Section 84(1) and (2) of the Evidence Act 2011 (as amended) in relation to the admission of computer generated evidence.
But the call data records had revealed a total of 73 mobile telephone conversations between Ndume and Konduga from October 3, 2011 to November 3, 2011.
The call data records were obtained after a forensic analysis of a Nokia E7 phone said to belong to Ndume, and a Nokia 2700 belonging to Konduga.

FG should not bow to Boko Haram’s demand –Poll........drop your comments below

InfographicAn overwhelming number of Nigerians are of the view that the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government should not release detained Boko Haram members in exchange for the 234 girls abducted from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, on April 14.
In a well-circulated video showing some of the abducted girls, the leader of the violent Islamist sect, Abubakar Shekau, had given the proposal as a condition for the release of the abducted pupils.
Respondents, in a poll conducted by PUNCH ONLINE on the question ‘Should the FG agree to Boko Haram’s proposal to free detained terrorists before the sect releases the 234 abducted Chibok schoolgirls?’ voted overwhelmingly that it would be a wrong step for the FG to succumb to such a demand.
The poll opened on May 15, 2014.
At the end of the poll on May 23, 2014, one thousand and seventy seven respondents had taken part, choosing either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the poll question.
The outcome showed that 869 respondents, representing 81 per cent, agree that the FG should not exchange detained members of the sect for the abducted schoolgirls.
Conversely, 208 respondents, which represent 19 per cent, think that the prisoner swap option is a reasonable step to bring back the girls.
Speaking on Amanpour, a talk show programme on CNN, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, had said government should negotiate with Boko Haram.
He said, “The issue of not negotiating with the terrorists – it’s out of the question; if it means talking to the devil, it means the devil can come down, we can get back our girls.”
Indeed, the 208 respondents must have reasoned along the line of Shettima.
The respondents, too, apparently share the views of a North-based human rights activist and President, Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sanni, who believes FG should negotiate with Boko Haram and consider its option for releasing the Chibok girls.
In an exclusive interview with PUNCH, Sanni had opined that there were two ways to free the girls from their captors – one is force and the other is negotiation.
He said, “We need to understand that any attempt to use force is most likely to end in a disaster.
“The lives of the girls should be more important to us than the conditions attached to their release.
“The State of Israel released about 300 Palestinians because of one Israeli soldier abducted by a group regarded as a terrorist group. They valued the life of the soldier over the lives of the detainees.”
Conversely, the 869 respondents must have aligned their thoughts with that of another human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), who insists that the schoolgirls are not prisoners, and so a prisoner swap situation doesn’t arise.
Falana said, “From legal point of view, the abducted girls are not prisoners of war. They are not soldiers of the Nigerian Army; therefore, there is no lawful ground for such a demand.”
The FG is however yet to make its decision on the issue public

Boko Haram attacks police station, army base…kills 40 soldiers, policemen in Yobe

One of the villages destroyed by Boko Haram
Boko Haram insurgents continued their rampage on Monday night, killing 49 security operatives and civilians in two communities in Yobe and Borno states.
In the attack on Buni Yadi, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State, they left 20 soldiers and 20 policemen dead while in   Chinene, Gwoza LGA of Borno State, they cut the lives of nine civilians short.
The Divisional Police Officer   and the Divisional Crime Officer of the Police Station in Bunu Yadi were believed to be among the victims of the attack by the insurgents who stormed the town with an Armoured Personnel Carrier and Toyota Hilux vans.
Residents said the attackers dressed in camouflage and   hoisted Boko Haram’s flag on the APC and the vans.
They said   the gunmen,   on arrival moved straight to the military formation in the town from where they launched the attack which lasted over two hours.
The attackers were said to have set the military formation, LG secretariat, the divisional police station, the area court, the district head’s residence and office as well as some residential quarters ablaze.
The palace of the Emir, Alhaji Muktar Gangaran, was   also vandalised by the insurgents during the attack, the third on Buni Yadi this year.
One of the residents, who declined to give his name said, “We counted up to 20 dead soldiers and 20 policemen when the attackers left our village after operating for almost two hours.
“They overpowered the   security operatives on duty and also burnt the military base and police station in the town .”
Another resident,   Mallam Modibbo Kawu, said the insurgents told them not to be scared because they were on reprisal against the military.
“They told us not to be afraid because they were in Buni Yadi on a reprisal against   the military for attacking them in Alagarno last week,” he said.
   “I can confirm to you that several police, soldiers and mobile policemen were killed. Their corpses were taken to the Damaturu Specialist Hospital,” he said.
But military sources, who asked not to be named, claimed that 14 soldiers and 11 policemen lost their lives.
They   regretted that the attack claimed the lives of many of their colleagues.
Reuters’ account of the attack had it that 24 security personnel lost their lives. It quoted security sources and civilian witness as saying   that the   attack occurred not far from where the insurgents shot or burned to death 59 pupils at a boarding school in February.
The spokesman for the military in Yobe State, Lt. Eli Lazarus, could not be reached for comment on the attack.
The state commissioner of police Mr. Markus K. Danladi,   who visited the scene, said he could not   give the casualty figure because he was still getting the details.
In Chinene,     the insurgents killed nine civilians,   and set ablaze churches and residential buildings.
They   were said to have hoisted their flag on some structures in Ashigashiya ward in the community, thus depicting its conquest.
According to sources, many   people sustained serious bullet wounds while   others were forced to take refuge in nearby bushes and surrounding hills.
An LG   official, Nglamuda Ibrahim, who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri, said many of his extended family members and friends displaced in the attack had been calling for assistance since Monday night.
Ibrahim said, “As we speak now, I am still receiving distress calls from them; they are all calling for help. No soldier and no policeman   had gone there yet.’’
“The Boko Haram gunmen mounted their flags in Ashigashiya ward   showing that it was now under their control.
“Last night, six churches were burnt, eight persons were killed   and several others seriously injured. We cannot count the number of houses that were burnt in Chinene village of Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum ward.
“The insurgents also attacked Amuda village in Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum ward where one person was killed and several others injured.
“All we are doing now is calling on the military authorities in the state to quickly go up there and help us rescue those poor villagers, their wives and children.”
He listed the names of some of those killed in Chinene village as Bulama Dajiba, Bulama John, Haruna Wadda, Bitrus Kurma, Haruna Kwatha, Haruna Waruda, and Shaibu Galva.
A top security officer, who did not want his name in print, said, “We all have received the report from Chinene village. It was really another sad episode and we learnt that the insurgents hoisted their flag in Ashigashiya.”
The Police Public Relations Officer,   Gideon Jubrin, could not be reached as all his telephone lines were switched off.
Meanwhile, former president Olusegun Obasanjo has met with people close to Boko Haram in an attempt to secure the release of the   schoolgirls kidnapped in Chibok by the sect.
The meeting which took place last weekend at Obasanjo’s farm in   Ogun State, had   the   relatives of some senior Boko Haram fighters and     intermediaries in attendance, Agence France Presse quoted a source on Tuesday as saying .
“The meeting was focused on how to free the girls through negotiation,” said the source who requested anonymity.
Obasanjo had previously sought to negotiate with the insurgents after Boko Haram bombed the United Nations headquarters in Abuja.
Then, he flew to   Maiduguri to meet relatives of former Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in police custody in 2009.
The 2011 talks did not help stem the violence and some at the time doubted if Obasanjo was dealing with people who were legitimately capable of negotiating a ceasefire.
A source told AFP that Obasanjo had voiced concern about Nigeria’s acceptance of foreign military personnel to help rescue the girls.
He was quoted to have said he was worried that Nigeria’s prestige in Africa as a major continental power had been diminished by President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to bring in Western military help, including from the United States.
Mustapha Zanna, the lawyer who helped organise Obasanjo’s 2011 talks with Boko Haram, said he was at the former President’s home on Saturday.
But he declined to discuss whether the Chibok abductions were on the agenda.
“I was there,” he told AFP, adding that Obasanjo was interested in helping orphans and vulnerable children in   troubled North-East.
It was not clear if Obasanjo’s weekend meeting had been sanctioned by the government.
According to a source, Obasanjo supported a prisoner-for-hostage swap that would see the abducted girls released in exchange for a group of Boko Haram fighters.
Meanwhile, Cameroon has deployed some 1,000 troops and Armoured Personnel Carriers in its border region with Nigeria to counter a rising threat from Boko Haram.
“Their mission will be to carry out reconnaissance and be ready to respond with enough fire power,” Cameroon’s Army spokesman, Lt.Col. Didier Badjeck, told Reuters by telephone from Yaounde on Tuesday.
Boko Haram, which outraged international opinion with the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State on April 14,   has also carried out attacks in northern Cameroon.

I can’t wear skimpy dresses again –Mercy Johnson

Mercy Johnson
Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson, speaks with Abuja Bloggers on her marriage and acting career
Any conversation that Nollywood star Mercy Johnson will have with you nowadays can hardly be complete without her making intermittent reference to her husband of three years, Odianosen Okogie. Mention his name and her face instantly lights up. Besides her exploits in Nollywood, she professes finding fulfilment in her marriage even though the road to the union was fraught with obstacles that made news.
At a time many celebrity marriages are collapsing, the Kogi-State born thespian is eager to share what she describes as her winning formula.
She says, “It is simply commitment, having a great husband and being submissive as a woman. And I must add knowing how to deal with your differences with love. Motherhood is just the best thing to have happened to me and in no way would I say it has slowed me or my career down.
“I thank God I am a mother because it has given me the opportunity to understand what being a mother is all about and I am extremely glad about that. Motherhood and acting are different responsibilities which I learn to manage well, thanks to God and my husband.”
Before now, Johnson’s figure was the talk of the town and envy of many. She was known for provocative and revealing outfits, with her robust breasts especially threatening to jump out of dresses. In this manner, her photographs were generously displayed on posters and jackets of movies in which she starred. But all that appears to be in the past because she is “now a new creature.”
“Marriage is influencing my dress sense in a more positive way. As I always say my husband is my greatest critic but when it comes to my profession, he understands and has made me grow better than I used to. Sometimes when I look back and see the dresses I wore I laugh real hard and thank God for a blessed and understanding friend, manager and hubby.”
Quite unlike some of her fellow actors, including Genevieve Nnaji and Rita Dominic, who had to play several minor roles before getting their big Mercy’s first attempt in The Maid shot her into limelight. That was in 2004. Since then, she has been having a great time starring in many films.
Ironically, however, she has yet to clinch any ‘juicy’ ambassadorial or endorsement deals, which the likes of Genevieve currently enjoy. She says this does not bother her, though.
“First of all I always remain grateful that I am appreciated and recommended by showbiz personalities and Nigerians. That for me is the biggest endorsement. The other one will come. Keep your fingers crossed. I am humbled, grateful and uplifted and full of gratitude to everyone who ‘Googled’ Mercy Johnson at all times.”
On an endorsement deal she was rumoured to be discussing with the Bank of Industry, she says, “They (BOI) wanted a meeting on a collaborative effort. We honoured the meeting and that was all.”
For now, all that matters to Mercy is how best to expand the activities of her NGO, The Mercy Johnson Foundation for Children and Widows.
She says, “We have been in existence for years but you hardly hear much about it because I chose to make it that way. It does not call for so much noise because it’s another part of my life I do not joke with. Maybe soon, depending on plans, a lot will be heard about the foundation.”
Having starred in over 100 movies, one would expect Mercy to consider shooting her first feature film. In defence, the dark-skinned star says, “Firstly, there is time for everything. Sit, relax and watch me as an executive producer soon.”
Asked to confirm if she was indeed the highest paid Nollywood actress, she simply responded saying, “No comment o, before someone misquotes what I said. I am what I am by the grace of God.”
On another rumour that she is having some spat with some of her colleagues, she notes that she has no problem with anyone.
“I am not fighting with anybody. Last time it was rumoured that Chike Ike and I had issues while we were on set together. We had to take to Twitter to deny it. Tomorrow it will be another person. I am a peaceful person and I believe most of the people in Nollywood are also peaceful.”

Uzoenyi, Uchebo shine in Eagles training

The 2014 African Nations Championship Most Valuable Player, Ejike Uzoenyi, alongside Almeria midfielder   Ramon Azeez and Belgium-based Michael Uchebo were impressive during the Super Eagles training on Tuesday ahead of the friendly game against Scotland on Wednesday (today).
Coach Stephen Keshi will certainly be in good mood as the team’s more established players also gave a good account of themselves at the Craven Cottage training pitch under chilly conditions, as the fight for the 2014 World Cup places intensified.
Forward Nnamdi Oduamadi, who missed the first training session of the team, arrived in camp after lunch time yesterday after a visa mix-up but France-based Sunday Mba, remained the only player yet to join the team in London.
There are doubts over the ability of the midfielder, who scored the winner to hand the Eagles a third Africa Cup of Nations title last year, to arrive in time for the match against the Scots.
Meanwhile, players have hailed the training session, which lasted over two hours.
“You don’t play the World Cup every year and time,” goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama said.
Defender Azubuike Egwuekwe said, “The training was tough and good.”
Keshi said the players needed the session to get them ready for the task of playing against the best teams at the World Cup in Brazil.

Tillman Now ‘TILLA’, Releases New Singles, Photos. Oyo State music Ambassador

IMG_5503-Edit‘Ori Owo’crooner, Tillaman has debuted new singles, photos and name. Tillaman, who has a few popular songs to his credit, bagged a political appointment as Youth Musical Ambassador in his home-state, Oyo State, but it seemed all did not fetch him the ‘superstar’ status he craved. According to a recent release, this was because “the brand needed to come of age”. Hence, the birth of TILLA. “TILLA is everything TILLAMAN was, in higher measures, and a lot more. Not only are we just about to experience the VOICE in all its richness, strength at ranges and pitches unimaginable, we’re also just about to meet the sweet, smooth, sensual gentleman that is the new man, TILLA. All name labels and other representations will henceforth bear the name “TILLA” instead of “TILLAMAN”. TILLA also recently teamed up with producer J-Fem (best known for producing W4′s monster-hit, Kontrol) and in introducing us to the new man TILLA as well as this new musical synergy between him and J-Fem, The songs are both mastered by Foster Zeeno.

California Assembly wants porn actors to wear condoms

A bill requiring pornographic film actors to wear condoms during sex scenes easily passed through the California State Assembly on Tuesday in Sacramento, in the U.S. Its passage was in spite of resistance from most of the adult film industry. The bill would also require employers to test pornography film actors regularly for sexually transmitted diseases. The lower house passed the measure 48-13, with 19 Assembly members not voting, and the bill now goes to the Senate. State Assembly member Isadore Hall, a Democrat from Compton who authored the bill, has hailed the measure as a public health effort. The legislator said the bill was aimed at reducing the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, within the pornography industry. Adult film actors are 10 times more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease than the general public, according to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the group which sponsored the bill. The Free Speech Coalition, which represents the pornography industry, calls the law “a morality crusade” aimed at driving a legal business out of California. The coalition has warned that further regulations on condoms, and the regular testing of actors, would force the film sector from the state. The sector is worth an estimated nine billion dollars to $13 billion a year. The 13 Assembly members, who voted against the bill, include Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly and other lawmakers. The legislators are largely from areas in or surrounding Los Angeles County, where most U.S. adult films are shot.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Breaking News: Bomb blast kills 3 in Jos Nigeria

Bomb blast kills 3 people in Jos, Plateau State Nigeria. The casualities was said to have been watching a champion's leaque football match. An eye witness said that it was a suicide bomber who carried out the attack.

Area Boyz re Disturbing the the peace of Abuja

If  you  think the menace of hooliganism is limited to Lagos, then be prepared to face the social miscreants, popularly known as area boys, in the Federal Capital Territory and other parts of the country such as Oyo, Kwara, Ogun, Osun, Sokoto and  Bauchi  as they are fast spreading their tentacles across the nation. The hangouts of the so-called area boys, who are either forced into that way of life or are born into that particular social strata, are bus stops, major highways and the streets where they steal from pedestrians or  forcefully take  money from people going about their daily businesses. With  little or no education, they are products of  broken homes while their criminal activities range from rape, theft, arson, intimidation to extortion. Many FCT residents have had experiences with  the area boys. They have been made to part with money and precious items by the boys. One Mohammed Shehu, a self-confessed  area boy, told Sunday Vanguard how he had dropped out of secondary school at 13 after his father could no longer pay his fees. Swapping the classroom for the streets, the youngster quickly became addicted to drugs. Now aged 22, he makes his living by claiming ownership of a space by a  bus stop in road junction and charging motorists to load their vehicles for them. Mr Stephen Ararewa , the  Secretary of Area 1 Motor  Park, said most of the area boys do not belong to any of the transport unions. “Most of the area boys are not members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, though they behave as if they are members of the national union, a platform which they use to rob and extort people”. The major places they do this in the FCT include Area 1 and Area 3 junction. Many of them are criminals. They constitute a  problem to the national union” “The truth of the matter is that when the national union marshal or task force is in operation, you would know because they have  I.D. cards, they have operation vans, they wear vest and once the national union arrests  a driver operating without the required permission, they take you to their office at Jabi or Utako where they are made to pay fine and register their vehicles”, Ararawa said. “The area boys in Area 1  are  a major problem. Even some of us who are members of the national union don’t go near them because they will embarrass you. No matter what paper you present to them, they will not let you go till they collect money from you. So, we are calling on  government to help us flush the area boys out of the parks and bus stops in the FCT. “Area 1, Area 1 roundabout going to Game’s village,  Area 3, Jabi and Berger have become a den for area boys. If you stay in these areas very early in the morning or late at night, you may  be robbed by these area boys, ” Akande Sunday, a member of the NURTW in Wuse Berger Park, appealed to the FCT administration to come to  help them rid the parks and bus-stops of area boys “We have been calling on government to take them out of the streets and the parks. They  wreak havoc on  taxi drivers, we get harassed and, at times, they  vandalise our vehicles  when we refuse to be extorted of sums ranging from N50 to N100 under the pre-text that they are ‘Agbero’, that is, they will load your vehicle without  your permission  and collect money by force Akande said.” “The commuters can identify the vehicles they want to enter themselves, the driver can load the vehicle themselves, but the area boys under the guise of agberos  will still come out to extort  money from us. What  is the use of the agberos in the motor parks and bus stops? I will like to call on government  to take the area boys out of the motor parks and bus stops especially bus-stops that have to do with taxis in Abuja FCT now that we don’t have buses”. The area boys phenomenon began in the early 1980s from small bands of bullies fed by the steady flood of unemployed people that migrated  into Lagos from across  the country. Speaking to Sunday Vanguard on the headache of the miscreants, FCT Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Hyelhira Daniel, said the invasion to the FCT has been a problem to the police that is working hand in hand with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB. All the same, Daniel opined that the areas boys could be reformed and turned  into good citizens as some security agents do make use of them in achieving enforcement. “We have been working with environmental (AEPB) to clear area boys in Area 1 where they have been giving the FCT a lot of headache”, the police spokesperson said.. “We have small challenge  in that some of the agencies engage those boys to achieve enforcement and we have been working with some of those agencies to streamline their activities with the area boys to make them useful and be  better citizens of this country”. The FCT PPRO  implored parents to take proper care of their children and closely monitor them because  most of the area boys are forced into the menace due to negligence and lack of care from  parents and families.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Nigerian Engineers Advocate Railway Privatisation

The Nigerian Society of Engineers has advised the Nigerian government to privatise the Nigeria Railway Corporation in order to create an alternative transport system and decongest the nation’s roads. Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Friday, the President of the Society, Mr Ademola Olorunfemi, attributed the high volume of traffic on the nation’s highway was due to the inability of the Federal Government to provide alternative means of transportation. Part of the President Jonathan’s administration’s agenda is the reform of Nigeria’s rail system to provide an alternative means of transportation for persons, goods and service from one part of the country to another, but the group said the sector is yet to showcase the efficiency need in the sector. However, since the reform began there have been reports of improvement in the rail sector, as the Lagos Kano route commenced operation, but the union is calling for its privatisation in order to facilitate the reform. ‘Collapse Of Buildings’ The group also spoke on the increasing collapse of buildings, explained some of the reasons behind such occurrences and sought to end the trend. “The use of unqualified engineers has contributed to collapse of buildings in Nigeria and there is the need for property developers to engage the services of relevant and qualified engineers,” Mr Olorunfemi said. He insisted that the use of qualified engineers would provide the technical expertise that would help reduce cases of building collapse and improve the quality of buildings. He also asked developers to ensure that they use quality cement in building construction. some cement companies in Nigeria had earlier embarked on sensitisation programme to educate artisans on the best ways cement should be used and mixed to guard against poor standard buildings that could collapse over time.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Another Bomb Blast at Nyanya

The Bomb blast exploded in a vehicle loaded with explosives. The bomb exploded after few minutes after the car was parked near a crowd of people close the same location where the previous blomb blast took place 2weeks ago.

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