General news

Why I am contesting Kogi governorship election —  Irukera



Mr Babatunde Irukera, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi, says that he is contesting in the Kogi governorship election to fulfil his vision for the development of the state.

Irukera, in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Abuja, said that his interests were aroused by the plight of the citizens and the need to ensure that the narratives by the people in the state would change for better.

He said that he was pressured to contest by the people but was convinced of leading the right team to maximise the potential of the state.

Irukera, who is the Director General Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCP), said that although he was approached by a lot of people, both within and outside the state to contest, his vision for the development of the state motivated him most.

“I am not going to say that people didn’t ask me or pressure me to do it; I am in the race in part because of the pressure and ultimately because I truly have a clear vision for development of the state.

“I firmly believe that I understand exactly how to accomplish that vision and lead the right team to accomplish those objectives and finally because Kogi, as it is today, is not optimising its potential.

“I believe that given the opportunity to lead a strong team of very committed and bright people, we can truly transform the state and put it on the map of very progressive locations not just in Nigeria, but on the continent. Kogi has all it takes.

“So, I think there is an intersection between what I desire for the state and what the people of the state desire for themselves.

“It is that intersection that motivates me and that is where my passion to run and perhaps lead the state, if given the opportunity,’’ he said.

The aspirant said that he firmly believed in Kogi’s greatness, saying that under the right leadership with the right commitment and sacrifice,  Kogi could become greater.

He said that apart from being an unusual confluence of two major rivers on the continent, “Kogi is state where you can find in large quantity any mineral resources that could be found elsewhere in Nigeria.

“Not to mention of closeness to Abuja; Kogi is also significantly endowed with arable farm land and good irrigation; the confluence itself is a tourist attraction, if truly and fully maximised.

“Mount Patti is one of the highest points where you have a significant flat top that can be truly exploited for tourism.

“It’s a place where people come from different part of the world to visit. There is an annual clime there.’’

Asked of reason he waited towards the deadline before obtaining his forms, Irukera said that he obtained the party expression of interest and nomination forms within the timeframe.

He said that what could be described as late entry would be for someone who had absolutely no track record or reputation for the capacity of work needed to be done in Kogi.

Irukera said that his qualification and capacity standpoints, participations in the state, close engagements and “undying relentless commitments’’ in contributing to peoples’ lives  in Kogi offered him a good chance.

He said that before 2015 governorship election in the state, he had been relevant in community development across the state.

He said that he had been responsive to philanthropy, strategy discussion, conversations with young people, leadership training or mentorship within the state.

Irukera said that beyond drilling of boreholes for communities, there was no dispute about his name recognition and the record of his contributions to peoples’ lives across the state.

“I cannot even begin to name the number of scholarships that I have provided across the state not just in my senatorial zone.

“I have taken every opportunity to support every emergency intervention in people’s health.

“One of the most important things that I’ve done is in mentorship and providing some guidance with respect to emerging leadership among young people.

“I truly and firmly believe that this is, perhaps, the greatest contribution you can make to society, he said.’’


Edited by Kayode Olaitan


Why Gov. Umahi is after me- Abia Onyike former Ebonyi Commissioner



Chief Abia Onyike, former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation in Ebonyi, has explained reason behind his present ordeal with Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi.


Onyike in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abakaliki, explained that Umahi and his agents were after him due to his criticism against the governor’s style of administration.

NAN recalls that Umahi in his live COVID-19 weekly radio broadcast to update the people, had directed the Director, State Security Service to ensure that Onyike was compelled to under go compulsory COVID-19 test.

He was directed to isolate/quarantine Onyike for 14 days for allegedly breaching   the COVID-19 protocol restricting order on inter-state travels.


The statement was captioned, ‘Harassment, Intimidation and Isolation/Quarantne: Gov. Umahi’s Tactical Maneuvers To Silence Me From Criticising His Government’.


The former commissioner who also was the General Manager of Ebonyi Publishing and Printing Press, alleged that Umahi had employed all subterranean tactics to muzzle him and stop him from constructive criticism of the administration.


Onyike, a former National Deputy President,   Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), and first Chairman, NUJ Ebonyi Council, has however vowed to resist any form of harassment, intimidation or persecution in his quest to get the government do the right thing.


The statement reads: “I want to seize this opportunity to draw the attention of the public to the incessant intimidation and harrassment which I have been subjected to by Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi and his agents.


” Umahi has vowed to employ all sinister measures to silence and prevent me from being critical of his anti-people administration.


“On Tuesday, June 9, I was part of a three-man panel of discussants invited by 92.5 Dream FM Radio in Enugu.


“The live radio programme was to analyse the issue of Leadership and Democracy in the South-East geopolitical zone, as part of the celebration of 21 years of uninterrupted democratic governance in Nigeria.


“In the one-hour programme, I took time to dissect and  analyse Gov. Umahi’s administration government in Ebonyi.

” I accused the government of being nepotic, as the governor had converted the state to a private family dynasty.


“After the programme, I returned to Abakaliki and was confronted same day by Mr Austin Umahi, the governor’s younger brother who is the National Vice Chairman of PDP.


” He sent a message to my WhatsApp and threw caution to the winds by calling me names amidst other unprintable and derogatory comments, and sought to know why I criticised his brother’s government.


“Then, Thursday, June 11, Umahi used his live broadcast to issue an order that the security agencies should compel me to be isolated and quarantined.


“I wish to state categorically that the present step by Umahi is a calculated witch-hunt aimed at curtailing my fundamental human rights and freedom of speech.


” It was based on a letter issued by the Caretaker Committee Chairman

of Afikpo South Local Government Area, my LGA of origin.

” But, this process is shrouded in mystery and contradictions; first and foremost, I am resident in Abakaliki and not Afikpo South LGA.

” I wish to state that I will not be comfortable with any test being conducted by Gov. Umahi’s agents in Ebonyi as the governor and his brother, Austin had threatened to kill me.


Edited By: Obike Ukoh (NAN)
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General news

Why rape cases are increasing-Ex-NBA chairman



A legal practitioner, Manzuma Issa, says lack of diligent prosecution of rape cases is responsible for the recent upsurge  in the country.

Issa, the immediate past Chairman of the Ilorin branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday that the rising cases of rape exposed the ineffectiveness of security agencies in diligently prosecuting accused persons.

He also called for  intensive advocacy and diligent prosecution to curb the incessant cases of rape.

I think I will suggest there should intensive awareness and advocacy to sensitise on the dangers of rape and the consequences.

“What we need is advocacy, proper prosecution of offenders because I know that some cases that are taken to recognisable institutions and authorities are settled.

“This encourages others to commit the offences.

“We need to address the issue of social justice. We need to address issue of corruption. People will commit crimes and get away with it.

“People have blamed the court of law, but the court acts on the materials put before it to deliver justice.

” So if there are insufficient materials, the judge, whatever may be the sentiment about the rampancy of a particular crime, cannot convict the defendant unless there is sufficient evidence before the court.

“The punishment for rape is 21 years imprisonment and I doubt if anybody has been convicted for offences of rape and incest in recent times,” he said.

On the burden of proof in rape cases, the legal practitioner explained that the proof of commission of rape is not too stringent.

“What the prosecution needs to prove is that there was a penetration and the victim never gave consent. It is as simple as that,”   the lawyer said.

He urged victims of rape and their families to always come out to report so that  culprits could be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

The lawyer also warned females against indecent dressing, saying it might  be one of the contributory factors to the rising cases of the menace in the society.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
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General news

Why illicit drug trade persists in Nigeria– Stakeholders



Some stakeholders in  criminal justice administration have identified dearth of personnel in prosecuting agencies, unemployment, obsolete laws and compromise among security agents as factors responsible for the thriving illicit drug business.

The respondents told the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Monday in Ibadan that cases of illicit drug trade had continued to surface in courts in spite of frequent arrests, prosecutions and convictions by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

Mr Ayokunle Morakinyo, an NDLEA counsel, who had served as a prosecutor in many states of the federation, said that the agency lacks adequate human and material resources to execute its work properly.

He said that government had so many responsibilities that it was contending with, adding that this had made it difficult to meet all the needs of the NDLEA.

“Sometimes, we don’t have enough support to do a thorough job.

“When I was in Niger State as an NDLEA prosecutor, many people who were convicted and sentenced to years in prison soon went back into drug dealing after completing their jail terms.

“It is the same story when I got to Kebbi State, and the situation was the same when I was in Oyo State.

“In fact, some defendants who were granted bail also went back into drug trafficking and were arrested and arraigned for fresh offences when they had not been discharged from previous crimes.

“Unfortunately, state governments don’t seem to be interested in drug-related matters because they believe that the NDLEA, which is a Federal Government Agency, is there to handle it.

“There is also a psychological angle to the issue of drug dealing in Nigeria because some of the criminals feel that unless they buy and sell cannabis and the likes, they cannot survive.

“Socially, there is wide-spread unemployment where idle hands engage themselves in dealing in the  illicit trade,” he said.

The NDLEA counsel expressed worry that the situation might worsen if something urgent was not done to curtail the rising cases.

Mrs Oyinkansola Odebunmi, a counsellor and Founder of Oyin Counsel Concept in Ibadan, said drug trafficking was on the rise because the punishment attached to the commission of the crime remained light among other factors.

“This problem has also remained because some influential persons are out there encouraging the criminals.

“Another reason why drug dealing has persisted is that it is the only means of livelihood for some people and there must be a strong alternative before the dealers can stop peddling it,” Odebunmi said.

Also speaking, an Ibadan-based lawyer, Mr Stephen Raji, contended that some security operatives involved in investigating drug dealers sometimes compromise.

“I challenge you to watch court trials involving drug traffickers, you can hardly find big guys like barons being tried.

“The people you will find being made to face prosecution are ordinary smokers and sellers because the real dealers would have bribed their way through,” Raji said.

The legal practitioner called for a department to be established to supervise the day-to-day operation of NDLEA officers so as to forestall any compromise during arrest and investigation of suspects.

He also advocated regular training and retraining of the officers to boost human capacity development and productivity.

(Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Mufutau Ojo (NAN))
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Opinion: Why decoupling-with-China rhetoric hardly sways entrepreneurs




Earlier this month, U.S. multinational conglomerate Honeywell launched its emerging market headquarters and innovation center in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

It came only a few weeks after U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil and its Chinese partners held a special virtual groundbreaking ceremony for a chemical complex in China’s southern province of Guangdong.

Undated file photo shows the night view of the Huizhou Dayawan Petrochemical Industrial Park in south China’s Guangdong Province. Multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil broke ground on its solely-funded chemical complex in Huizhou in April 2020. (Huizhou Information Office/Handout via Xinhua)

Undated file photo shows the night view of the Huizhou Dayawan Petrochemical Industrial Park in south China’s Guangdong Province. Multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil broke ground on its solely-funded chemical complex in Huizhou in April 2020. (Huizhou Information Office/Handout via Xinhua)

These stellar projects by U.S. flagship enterprises, happening while the coronavirus pandemic is still raging across the globe, and the clamoring for decoupling with China has once again captured headlines, have given off a clear signal that global investors remain confident in a promising future of China even at this unprecedentedly challenging and uncertain time.

Perhaps the most important source of that continued confidence comes from China’s forceful epidemic response and well-managed post-pandemic economic rehabilitation.

Since the outbreak, China has taken some very decisive containment steps, and effectively put the disease under control. This significant progress has allowed Beijing to roll out a raft of measures to bring production back on track, and reopen businesses. As a result, recovery is underway, and China is getting back on its feet steadily.

Workers are busy on the production lines at the workshop of Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle Company in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, March 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

Workers are busy on the production lines at the workshop of Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle Company in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, March 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

Figures from China‘s National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday that profits from China’s major industrial firms in April edged down 4.3 percent, recovering from the 34.9-percent drop registered in March.

China’s drive to get back to normal is undoubtedly a shot in the arm to help provide urgently needed medical supplies like masks and protective suits to the world, stabilize global supply chains, and shore up heavily-hit manufacturing industries worldwide and international trade.

China’s economic resilience, unique and competitive manufacturing edges, abundant industrial workers and solid fundamentals for long-term economic growth offer investors and entrepreneurs another reason to keep their faith in the Asian country.

China-skeptics in the United States who have vowed to reshore already outsourced manufacturing jobs need a grip on reality: existing global supply chains are a natural, decades-long progression jointly shaped by a variety of factors like operation costs, industrial capabilities, and a sufficient and skilled workforce.

China still remains home to the world’s most attractive and populous consumer market. Last year, consumer spending contributed 57.8 percent to China’s overall economic growth. With 400 million middle-income earners, greater potential for consumer products and public services awaits to be tapped.

Over the decades, encouraged by the massive and fast-growing Chinese consumer markets, foreign companies have been shifting a model of “made in China” to “made for China.”

Moreover, the Chinese government’s persistent pledge to create a more friendly business environment, for stronger protection of intellectual property rights and to bolster global free trade and multilateralism has made its domestic markets more attractive. The foreign investment law that took effect at the start of the year is a fine example of China’s commitments.

A worker conducts welding at a factory of the CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd. in Zhuzhou, central China’s Hunan Province, March 3, 2020. (Photo by Chen Sihan/Xinhua)

A worker conducts welding at a factory of the CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd. in Zhuzhou, central China’s Hunan Province, March 3, 2020. (Photo by Chen Sihan/Xinhua)

According to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and PwC China in March, over 70 percent of U.S. companies said they had no plans yet to relocate production and supply chain operations or sourcing outside of China.

During a press conference after the annual “two sessions” on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the importance of openness in stabilizing industrial and supply chains, saying that China will further enhance cooperation with the rest of the world and introduce more measures for further opening-up.

Indeed, the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus this year has prompted many political leaders and business titans worldwide to revisit the highly interconnected global supply system and prescribe remedies.

Looking ahead, they ought to understand that although the virus has affected the world economy in a variety of ways, it will not stop or reverse globalization. China, with its strong commitment to opening-up and cooperation, as well as its unique place in this deeply interwoven global economy, will always remain deeply relevant.

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