Tag Archives: atiku

COVID-19: I test negative despite meeting with Abba Kyari – Sen. Mamora


The Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, says he has tested negative for coronavirus.

Mamora said this in a text message sent to newsmen on Thursday.


He admitted that he came in contact with at least one person who tested positive for the virus.

The minister, however, did not disclose the identity of the person he came in contact with.


Mamora said, “Following my contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, I went into self-isolation. Testing was carried out on me yesterday (Wednesday) and the result came back negative this morning (Thursday).”

Newsmen report that many ministers have gone into self-isolation since reports emerged that the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and three of his aides tested positive for coronavirus.

Kyari also attended the Federal Executive Council meeting last week as well as meetings with All Progressives Congress’ governors.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Atiku donate N50M relief fund.


Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has donated N50million as relief fund to support the Federal Government’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Atiku, in a press statement he personally signed on Wednesday, said his contribution will help “form part of the stimulus package.”


He praised the Federal and State Governments for taking precautionary measures in containing the spread of the virus in the country.

Part of these, Atiku explained, include issuing stay at home orders, and shutting down non-essential markets and other places of mass gatherings, while also giving guidelines for social distancing.


Despite the measures, however, the former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asked governments at all levels to “provide palliatives to the Nigerian people to enable them to survive, even as they abide by these necessary measures put in place for their own safety.”

According to him, “a large percentage of our people do not have the financial capacity to withstand long periods of self-isolation and even lockdown.”


READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

Corona Virus: Nigerians Deserve Palliative Measures


As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the world, I applaud the various Nigerian state governments who have proactively taken measures, such as issuing stay at home orders, and shutting down non-essential markets and other places of mass gatherings, while also giving guidelines for social distancing.

However, we must accept the fact that much of the Nigerian public have a subsistence existence. A large percentage of our people do not have the financial capacity to withstand long periods of self-isolation and even lockdown.


It is, therefore, incumbent on the Federal and state governments to provide palliatives to the Nigerian people to enable them to survive, even as they abide by these necessary measures put in place for their own safety.

At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, the government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for foodstuff to each household, among other palliative measures, with no one left behind.


It is thus time for the National Assembly to reconvene in an emergency session, perhaps by teleconference (in line with the demands of social distancing), to legislate a Stimulus Package Act that will cater for all Nigerian citizens.

I also call on all Mobile Telephony Companies in Nigeria to urgently develop mobile money platforms so that the government can reach the unbanked with financial assistance. I also urge these telecommunications firms to offer each of the 100 million mobile phone lines in Nigeria free credit of at least ₦1500 per mobile line, so that Nigerians who show symptoms, or those who just want information, can call the nearest available health facility, or even an ambulance service, as the case may be.

I commend all individuals and corporate organisations who have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people. This is what makes Nigeria great, when we help each other at such crisis times as this, irrespective of any differences. I further call on more corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times.

To this end, Priam Group pledges N50 million on my behalf as my humble contribution to a relief Fund that will form part of the stimulus package.

May God bless Nigeria.

Atiku Abubakar

Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007

Abuja

25th March 2020


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Atiku tells Buhari to give each household in Nigeria N10,000.


Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has called on the Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, to provide a stimulus package for Nigerian families as the nation battles the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus has ravaged through countries across the world for the past three months and interrupted human activities, and endangered the global economy.


The Nigerian government has already restricted all international flights into the country and closed all land borders. All public workers from Level 12 and below have also been instructed to work from home to reduce human traffic around the country.

A few state governments have announced similar measures to curb the disease, trapping many Nigerians in their homes with minimal contact with others advised for everyone.


In a statement on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Atiku, whose son, Mohammed, recently tested positive for the virus, said a large percentage of Nigerians lack the financial capacity to withstand restricted activity as is currently required.

He, therefore, called on the Federal and state governments to provide palliatives for Nigerians to survive the current difficult times.


“At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, the government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for foodstuff to each household, among other palliative measures, with no one left behind.

“It is thus time for the National Assembly to reconvene in an emergency session, perhaps by teleconference (in line with the demands of social distancing), to legislate a Stimulus Package Act that will cater for all Nigerian citizens,” he said.


To show his commitment to his call, Atiku, who lost the presidential election in 2019, pledged the donation of N50 million, donated on his behalf by Priam Group, as contribution to a relief fund that will form part of the stimulus package.

He also called on all mobile telephone companies in the country to develop mobile money platforms so that the government will be able to reach unbanked Nigerians with the proposed package.

“I also urge these telecommunications firms to offer each of the 100 million mobile phone lines in Nigeria free credit of at least ₦1500 per mobile line, so that Nigerians who show symptoms, or those who just want information, can call the nearest available health facility, or even an ambulance service, as the case may be,” he said.

Atiku called on individuals and corporate organisations to assist the government in providing relief for the Nigerian people.


#Newsworthy…

Atiku react to report of his son refusing to isolate himself.

...my son did not attend PDP rally


Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to reports that his son refused to isolate himself upon return.

Atiku had on Sunday revealed that his son tested positive for the deadly disease.


He said he has been moved to Gwagwalada specialist hospital.

But reports on Monday emerged that Atiku’s son attended a popular club in Abuja, as well as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s rally that was held in Ibadan.


But reacting Atiku in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe debunked the reports.

Describing the reports as a ‘false narrative,’ Atiku said his son returned to the country on 17th March via Switzerland from some business engagements in France and Switzerland and isolated himself when he returned to Abuja.


He urged Nigerians to disregard the ‘perfidious information that his son accessed open location.

The statement reads, “The clinical case attended a private meeting of six (6) persons same day in Lagos, stayed in his private house for the night and took an Aero 5.20pm flight to Abuja on the 18th.


“The case did not travel with his family or any other but travelled alone by Emirates Airline.

The case wore face mask as a precautionary measure since his arrival in Nigeria.


“The case did not show symptoms of infection and voluntarily placed a call to NCDC on arrival in Abuja late on the 18th to inform them he had returned from COVID-19 prone country and desired to be tested.

“On the 19th, NCDC took his blood sample which result came positive on the 20th. He subsequently went into self-isolation to protect his family within his own house.


“Meantime his son has since tested negative while his wife’s result is being awaited. The two persons are currently in self-isolation.

“We urge members of the public to disregard the perfidious information that the case accessed open location. He was not at Play Lounge nor any other club in Abuja as being mischievously bandied about.

“The case neither attended the Friday Jumu’a prayers nor any social gathering until his evacuation to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital on the 20th where he is being treated and managed.

“We thank Nigerians for their prayers and support through this difficult time. Once again, it needs to be restated that the risk and danger of #COVID19 is real.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: ‘May God heal him’ – Daddy freeze react as Atiku’s son test positive.


A few hours ago, Atiku Abubakar took to social media to announce that his son has tested positive for coronavirus.

The former Vice President tweeted;

Don’t Miss:

COVID-19: Atiku’s son test positive

”My son has tested positive to coronavirus.@NCDCGov has been duly informed, and he has been moved to Gwagwalada Specialist Teaching Hospital in Abuja for treatment and management. I will appreciate it if you have him in your prayers. Stay safe, coronavirus is real.”

Daddy Freeze has now reacted to the news, saying Atiku did the right thing by letting everyone know, adding that he is the kind of leader the country needs.

”The kind of transparency Nigeria needs. He has done the right thing by announcing to the public and proceeding to follow government protocol. May the LORD heal him IYN amen!”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: ‘Allah renu en Amin’ – Aisha Buhari says as she react to Atiku’s son positive result.


The First Lady and wife to President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha Buhari, has prayed for the quick recovery of Atiku Abubakar’s son.

Aisha made the prayer while reacting to reports that the former Vice President’s son had tested positive for coronavirus.


Recall that Atiku had on Sunday revealed that his son tested positive for the deadly disease.

He said he has been moved to Gwagwalada specialist hospital.


Reacting, the President’s wife on Twitter wrote.

“Your Excellency, It’s with deep sense of concern that I extend my sincere prayers towards the quick recovery of your dear son.

“Allah renu en Amin.”

Meanwhile, the number of patients with the disease in Nigeria is now 30


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Abubakar Atiku’s son positive.


The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has announced that his son tested positive to coronavirus.

He made his known via his Twitter handle on Sunday.


“My son has tested positive to coronavirus,” he tweeted.

More details later….


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Set policy to ensure Nigeria doesn’t go on recession – Atiku to FG.


Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called for policy measures to protect Nigerian economy and well being of the citizens as Coronavirus ravage many countries across the world.

Abubakar, who was the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, made the call in a statement he issued on Tuesday in Abuja.


Abubakar said policy measures should be adopted to ensure that Nigerian economy did not return to recession due to effect of Coronavirus effects.

Some of the policies recommended by Abubakar include the temporary suspension of Stamp Duty on all types of accounts and reduction in the price of petrol.


“The coronavirus is raging in the world and not just ravaging human beings, it is also affecting economies.

“Nigeria is not an island onto itself, and we must take measures to protect the economic well being of our nation and people.


“Every action that can be taken to ease the cost of doing business in Nigeria and reduce the cost of living, while promoting consumer confidence must be implemented.

“All hands must be on deck in a multi partisan manner to ensure that Nigeria does not return to economic recession. This is possible with decisive leadership and disciplined management.


“As such, I recommend that policies like the stamp duty on all types of accounts be temporarily suspended, until such a time as the nation’s economy has turned the tide in the fight against this virulent scourge.

“Furthermore, as the landing cost of petrol, also known as petrol, has reduced significantly, it is strongly recommended that the government should not absorb the savings.


“It should pass it on to the Nigerian people by way of reducing the pump price of petrol to reflect the current prevailing market costs,” He said.

Abubakar urged the government to request large scale industrialists and employers of labour not to disengage workers.


He said that definitely, the scourge of the virus would affect the companies production and profitability.

“However, if they know that the government is behind them and will do all to support them, they are less likely to disengage workers.

“These are extraordinary times, and we as a nation must take extraordinary measures to protect the entire nation.

“Nigeria is our collective home, as such, we must suppress every partisan disagreement and think and work patriotically to ensure our national survival in the midst of global uncertainty.”


#Newsworthy…

Reduce fuel price – Atiku call on Buhariregime’s attention.

suspends stamp duty


An opposition leader, Atiku Abubakar, has called for a reduction in fuel price to help Nigerians cope with the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.

Mr Abubakar also called for the suspension of stamp duty charges collected on electronic money transfers.


The former presidential candidate stated this in a statement his office sent to Reporters.

“As the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, has reduced significantly, it is strongly recommended that the government should not absorb the savings, but should pass it on to the Nigerian people by way of reducing the pump price of PMS to reflect the current prevailing market costs,” he said as part of his advice to the government on economic actions to take amidst the coronavirus.


Petrol currently sells across Nigeria at an official price of about N145 per litre. Nigeria, despite being an oil-producing country, imports almost all of its refined petroleum products.

The significant reduction in international crude oil price, from about $60 a barrel two months ago to about $30 a barrel means the landing cost of petrol to Nigeria has also reduced.


Read Mr Abubakar’s full statement below.

Nigeria Must Take Decisive Economic Action to Protect Our People from the Ravages of the Corona Virus


The coronavirus is raging in the world and not just ravaging human beings, it is also affecting economies. Nigeria is not an island onto itself, and we must take measures to protect the economic well being of our nation and people.

Every action that can be taken to ease the cost of doing business in Nigeria and reduce the cost of living, while promoting consumer confidence must be implemented.


All hands must be on deck in a multi partisan manner to ensure that Nigeria does not return to economic recession. This is possible with decisive leadership and disciplined management.

As such, I recommend that policies like the Stamp Duty on all types of accounts be temporarily suspended, until such a time as the nation’s economy has turned the tide in the fight against this virulent scourge.


Furthermore, as the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, has reduced significantly, it is strongly recommended that the government should not absorb the savings, but should pass it on to the Nigerian people by way of reducing the pump price of PMS to reflect the current prevailing market costs.

In addition to these measures, the government is urged to request large scale industrialists and employers of labour not to disengage workers. Definitely, this scourge will affect their production and profitability. However, if they know that the government is behind them and will do all to support them, they are less likely to disengage workers.

These are extraordinary times, and we as a nation must take extraordinary measures to protect the entire nation. Nigeria is our collective home, as such, we must suppress every partisan disagreement and think and work patriotically to ensure our national survival in the midst of global uncertainty.

Continue reading Reduce fuel price – Atiku call on Buhariregime’s attention.

Money laundering: Atiku’s lawyer re-arraigned.


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday re-arraigned Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, lawyer to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, for allegedly laundering $2m during the 2019 general elections.


Atiku contested in the elections against Nigerian Ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, but he lost.

In the three counts filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos, the EFCC accused Atiku’s lawyer and his younger brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, of conspiring to make a cash payment of $2m without going through a financial institution during the electioneering.


The anti-graft agency said the transaction violated the provisions of Sections 18(a) and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, adding that the defendants were liable to be punished under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

But the Giwa-Osagie brothers pleaded not guilty before Justice C.J. Aneke.


They had earlier been arraigned August last year before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the same court.

Their re-arraignment on Friday followed the transfer of the case file from Justice Oweibo to Justice Aneke.

Following an application by their lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), Justice Aneke permitted them to continue on the bail earlier granted them by Justice Oweibo.

The judge later adjourned till Monday, March 9, to rule on Atiku’s lawyer’s application seeking permission to travel to London for a medical appointment.


#Newsworthy. …

HappyBirthdayObasanjo: No Nigerian dominated politics like Obasanjo – Atiku.

as he celebrate his 63rd birthday


Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has said that no individual, living or dead has dominated the nation’s political space like ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Abubakar, in a statement issued on Wednesday, commended the contributions of Obasanjo to the development of Nigeria, the African continent and humanity.

He said that no individual living or dead had bestrode the Nigerian political space as positively and purposefully as Obasanjo had done, “for good and better, in peacetime and war, in times of austerity, and times of prosperity.


“It is not an exaggeration to describe you as the preeminent political colossus in Nigeria, a nation that owes so much to you. Indeed, many Nigerians will read about your birthday on their GSM devices, which are one of your legacies to the Nigerian people.

“Your love for Nigeria and commitment to her unity, good governance and stability have prevented you from retiring, a sacrifice that my family and I deeply appreciate. From the Congo to South Africa to Angola to Liberia and São Tomé and Príncipe, your democratic fingerprint on the African continent is indelible. You have served and still serve as a beacon of democracy and a guardian of constitutionality.


Abubakar said Nigeria owes Obasanjo a debt that Nigerians could not pay. He said that the former president led Nigeria to pay its foreign debts that the citizens could not imagine paying.

“By that singular action, you planted trees for generations yet unborn. You hold the enviable and esteemed record of being the first African military ruler to have voluntarily, and without internal and external pressure, restored power to the government democratically elected by the Nigerian people.

“It was not your will to be in office, but it was your will to bequeath democracy to Nigeria. And after 21 years of the Fourth Republic, Nigeria has cause to celebrate your democratic credentials.

“Happy birthday President Obasanjo. You are beloved now and forever,‘’ said Abubakar.


#Newsworthy…

Kaduna: 50 persons massacre – Atiku react


The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar has called for an urgent reset of the country’s security architecture after over 50 persons were killed in Kerawa village, Kaduna State.

NobleReporters learnt that the other villages affected by the renewed attacks were Kerawa, Rago, Marina, Zariyawa, Hashimawa, Gidan Musa Saidu, and Unguwar Barau.


Reacting, Atiku while condemning the renewed attack on his Twitter handle wrote, “The tragic incident in #Kaduna, where scores of persons were killed makes a case for the urgent reset of our nation’s security architecture.

“ My thoughts and prayers are with all who lost loved ones in the attack. “


#Newsworthy…

FG told to halt flight from affected countries

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has advised the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to stop all flights from countries that have recorded outbreak of coronavirus.

Atiku, who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last election, said Nigeria should fight the disease the same way it was able to tackle the outbreak of Ebola in 2014.


He said in a Facebook post that since Buhari had been able to shut land borders to protect the economy, it would not be too difficult to stop flights from countries facing the coronavirus scourge.

“But above all, Nigeria must not panic, whether at the government or individual levels. We have defeated Ebola before, and we can defeat this present predicament,” he said.


Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday allayed the fears of Lagosians over the record of the deadly coronavirus in the state, saying there was no cause for alarm.

Speaking at a press conference at the State House, Marina, Sanwo-Olu said the government had begun tracing those who had contacts with the Italian patient who developed the symptoms in Ogun State, where he had a businesses meeting on Tuesday.


With surveillance officers stationed in all the local government and local council development areas, the governor tasked Lagosians and Nigerians in general on preventive measures through observing proper personal and environmental hygiene.

Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, on Friday also called for calm among residents of the state, saying the state government had always been proactive in relation to the safety of lives.


Meanwhile, Saipem, an Italian multinational oilfield services company, has debunked claims that the Italian man who brought the dreaded coronavirus to Nigeria visited its office on Banana Island, Lagos.

The Managing Director of Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Walter Peviani, said in a statement on Friday that the Italian never visited the office.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: FG should stop all flights coming from infected countries – Atiku


Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has advised the President, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to stop all flights from countries facing coronavirus outbreak.


Atiku, who was the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last election said Nigeria should fight the disease the same way it was able to tackle the outbreak of Ebola in 2014.

He said in a Facebook post that since Buhari had been able to shut land borders to protect the economy, it would not be too difficult to stop flights from countries facing the coronavirus scourge.


The former Vice-President added, “Nigeria needs firm and decisive actions to prevent an escalation of the scourge. Recently, we closed our borders as an act against economic sabotage. Perhaps now is the time to temporarily halt flights to and from any nation with a prevalence of this scourge. It is more important to secure human lives than to secure an economy. We also need to invest in early detection facilities at our airports.

“But above all, Nigeria must not panic, whether at government or individual levels. We have defeated Ebola before, and we can defeat this present predicament.”


The PDP chieftain said this was not the time to cast aspersions on anyone or begin to trade blame.

He said the focus should be on finding solutions.


Atiku added, “We must call upon our experience with the Wild Ebola Virus, of which we were the first nation in the world to defeat that scourge in 2014. How did Nigeria do it? We achieved it by showing unprecedented unity.

“The Federal Government of the day worked closely with the Lagos and Rivers State governments. There was complete unity, solidarity, and oneness of purpose, which created the atmosphere that defeated that deadly infestation.

“I strongly counsel that any tendency to blame and point fighters must be temporary, if not permanently, suspended. If fingers must be pointed, it must be to solutions.”

He said the crisis is an opportunity to show that we are first and foremost Nigerians and that we have no other country but our dear fatherland, which we must work together to keep healthy and secure.


#Newsworthy…

Atiku call for SARS reform


Former Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has called for the reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), days after a Remo Stars player identified as Kazeem Tiyamiyu (Kaka) was allegedly killed by some operatives of the security outfit deployed to Sagamu-Abeokuta road.

In his tweet, the former Vice President stated that the reform of the Nigeria Police especially the SARS unit, is long overdue. He added that the police was created to protect the life and property of citizens and not to put them into harms way.


Atiku tweeted;

The reform of the Nigeria Police, especially the SARS unit, is long overdue. [email protected] is meant to protect the life and property of our citizens and not to put them into harm’s way. -AA


#Newsworthy…

Presidential Election: PDP Seek Review Of Supreme Court Judgement


The Peoples Democratic Party has revealed that it has asked the Supreme Court to review its judgment on the 2019 presidential election petition.

Spokesperson for the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja.


The party said, “Consequently, the National Working Committee of the @OfficialPDPNig, after comprehensive consultations, states that our party has no choice left, given the manner with which the @OfficialAPCNg has conducted itself than to ask for a review of the judgment of the Presidential election petition tribunal, where the issue of certificate forgery and or presentation of false information in aid of qualifications was clearly established against the @OfficialAPCNg and her presidential candidate.”

PDP also said its national working committee had decided to seek the review of governorship election cases where it lost out.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: Atiku’s political career, over – Lawal ..


David Babachir Lawal is the immediate-past Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF).The Adamawa-born politician in this exclusive interview with Sunday Sun revealed why the 2023 presidency may elude Southeast.The former SGF who was allegedly involved in the 2016 N500 million Grass-cutting scandal also said that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has lost political relevance in Adamawa State.He also spoke on the crisis rocking the APC, insecurity in the country, among other.For a while, you have been out of the political scene after serving as SGF. Is it deliberate?I am on sabbatical from politics. Beside, we just finished an election less than one year ago. Majority of the states have barely settled down, so I feel it is too early to do any form of politicking. We still have over three years to go.So, while you are on sabbatical, what keeps you busy?I am a farmer and an IT consultant. That is what I do.Do you still climb the pulpit?If I am invited to preach, I do that and attend church services, revivals as a normal routine and as a Christian. But preaching sermon is at the invitation of a given church.You are a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). Although you are not in active politics as you say. There are those who believe that the government may not have performed well despite the huge goodwill it once enjoyed. Could it be the fault of the President or those he empowered to work on his behalf whom you think are not doing well?Before you arrive at those conclusions you must have the basis. You cannot conclude that the whole political system is not working well. Some things must be working and some might not be. However, in order to arrive at a very objective analysis and conclusion of this government, you must know where they are coming from. You must know what was on the ground before they came in. Usually in life you do not make progress on a faulty foundation. You need to rebuild that foundation first and then proceed. I think this government found itself in a very bad shape on account of what it inherited from past governments and that is what is needed to be fixed.But that has taken over five years. And if that is the argument, people say when Olusegun Obasanjo came on board in 1999, when the military was leaving power, most of the institutions we have today were created by him. And that you cannot use five years to complain that you inherited a bad system?You cannot compare Obasanjo and Buhari. They are two completely different people in their approaches to life and their approaches to governance. Inasmuch as I have high regards for Obasanjo, he was practically running a militarised system.Is it different from what we have now?It is different from what we have now.But, don’t we still have most of those things we had during Obasanjo government in the present government?Like which one?If you look at current releases from the international community, you will see lack of freedom of the press; lack of tolerance for opposition and others?Let me tell you. In Nigeria, in terms of opinion moulding, good or bad, the Southern press has a monopoly. In fact, there is no other press aside the Southern press. By nature, they are adversarial to government by nature, historically. They build up the narrative. And as it is said that a lie repeated over and over becomes a resemblance of truth. And, so, I do not think that if you cannot see anything positive at all in a whole system.If you say the government has done well, why are Nigerians complaining?There are over 200 million Nigerians. How many are journalists and how many read their write ups? Majority of Nigerians do not read those newspapers, magazine, or watch television. And their views are not carried along. Statistically, those samples are very low. You cannot carry a sample of 200,000 people and make their views national views of 200 million people. For people like us, that is how we see it. But in a democracy, you are free to say this government is oppressing the press. But you are saying the government is doing and nobody touches you. You can call Buhari any unprintable names like some of the pressmen do. You can write that he is no longer president, or he is a Major General and you get away with it. This is a democracy and you are free to do whatever you like. But you must also concede to the other side the right to also say their own.If you look at the calibre of ministers and given the duration of four years which is short, do you think they are the right people…?I must interrupt you here because you have come to the conclusion that the government has not delivered in four years. I do not share your views. The government has delivered.I am talking of the next four years. What do you think?We are not prophets or gods to tell what will happen in four years. All we can say is that on the basis of the policies and the methodology being employed, we see a better future. We can project what is happening now, but we cannot say with certainty that in four years’ time things will not be better. If you talk about Obasanjo did this and that, you need to know that government is a continuum. If Buhari’s government had decided to discontinue with projects initiated by past governments and start afresh, Nigerians will be a graveyard of abandoned projects. Therefore, in very descending and intelligent community they will know like the Bible says that some plant, some water and everybody shares the result. Take the issue of railway, for example, that Goodluck Jonathan started. Supposing this government did not complete it, what would have happened? It would have become a graveyard. So, you must evaluate the performance of government not purely on the basis of initiation, but also on the basis of completion of projects.If you look at the entire country, there is this air of insecurity. Although, the government has tried in the area of Boko Haram unlike what we had in 2015. But people are saying that in place of Boko Haram, we now have banditry. What’s your take?You are free to say that insecurity has worsened. When I was a young man, I worked in Delta State and I can tell you that when we went to parties in the night, we ran into armed robbers when coming home. You couldn’t sleep with your eyes closed. You dare not move from Warri to Patani. The place was so fearful. It was like we were caged. When I resumed for my NYSC after camp in Auchi in Edo State, on my way to Warri, I encountered about four dead bodies and heads severed in those days to the extent that when my relations heard that I was posted to Warri, the only thing they did not do was to dig a grave and buy a coffin. They did not think I will come back alive. Life has always been like that. I am not saying there is a certain category of insurgency. It has spread. But someone like me who is from Adamawa State, I lived almost all my life with herdsmen problems. But one thing I can tell you as a northerner is that I was a refugee. Boko Haram over ran my local government in Mubi North, Mubi South, Gombi. And for six months, I could not access my village, including the state capital. Now, I can drive to my village, sleep and do whatever I want. We have forgotten the history that there was something like that. In the border local governments with Borno, Cameron, that is were Madagali and Michika fall in. There is a big mountain range to the East under suspicion of the Sambisa forest. Our understanding as a community is that Boko Haram people have their bases there. So when they run out of food, they come down and raid the community. In the process they kill. They are not normal human beings. Essentially, they do not occupy any land in Adamawa.What is the way forward in mitigating this? Is it to restructure the security architecture?When I was a young man, because I am over 65 years, we used to know that government had the final responsibility for the security of a nature and the system as a whole. But every citizen has a greater responsibility to ensure that security is maintained. In those days, any visitor that comes to our village, first of all, we report to the village head then all the community members will know so that in the process of trouble you might know who has shady character. And there is a saying that if somebody leaves his place for years and comes to settle in your place, find out whether he has killed somebody. Now, we have abandoned those traditions. More so, if you enter a hotel as you fill the form, hotel owners would copy it and send to the Divisional Police Officer. Then they will follow up to confirm those visitors. Then if you have a son who is behaving irrationally, it is your duty to report him or her to the police. When I was growing up in police barracks with my uncle, there was this constable who came home with a brand new radio when other police knew that his income cannot purchase a radio. He was reported and the man was dismissed. So, this type of individual participation in the security of the system as a whole is no more there. I mean you will find armed robbers lodging in hotels for days, including yahoo boys mostly at the reception and just stay there without anybody asking them what they are doing. So, the society must first of all be the source of intelligence for society. Still in the police barracks, we used to have CIDs. And some of them would be everywhere, including the beer parlour disguising as shoe cobblers and bar tenders. That means the system was better. You do not expect me now as a police officer to go spend the whole of money in the night drinking beer and trying to get information. I will not afford it. Now the system has changed. So, how then do we get the intelligence that we need for preventing security problems? We don’t have. So, it is we the citizens that failed.So, should the government be absorbed?No, you can’t absorb the government, but we must provide information. It is the information you supply to the government that it acts upon.In the absence of information, what can the three tiers of government do?Without the information, government would be handicapped.Is it safe to say that the inability of citizens to provide intelligence information is largely responsible for the insecurity we have?That is my view, absolutely. Because if my son leaves the house and does not come back I should ask where he went to? If he kills somebody, it is going to be clear in his behaviour. The parents, brothers, sisters and neighbours would know that you are into something that is not normal. In those days, they will be the one to report you.Recently in your state, Adamawa, a pastor was killed by Boko Haram insurgents despite promises or plans to pay the ransom. As a pastor, what is your view?As a human being, first, you will begin to put yourself in his shoes at the time of captivity. It is a condition that you empathise with because it is terrible. Last week, I was reading Leviticus, where God said that anybody that kidnaps or kills, the penalty is death. Because God himself understands the implication of forcefully taking someone and the trauma it causes the family, friends and society as a whole, you cannot begin to imagine. If your friend or your father travels to Kaduna State and you expect the journey to be an hour and half and the time you phone and you are told that he has not arrived, you can imagine the instant worry of his wife and children. But we cannot begin to talk about Boko Haram because we do not understand why they do what they do. In fact, all terrorist groups. Even as I sit here, I can tell you that the girls amongst the Chibok girls, two of them are children of my cousin. A friend of mine, who is late now, an air Vice Marshal, his son was a Wing Commander Pilot. He was one of the first to be beheaded publicly on television. It took a long time for the family to accept it. Even as we speak, we have not seen the dead body yet. Then Leah Sharibu is from my local government. So, the whole society is traumatised on a personal level. All we can do is to pray like the Bible admonishes us to do. Only God can console the families of those involved.That takes me back to the earlier question. Do you think government has done enough to put an end to these senseless killings, kidnappings because we still have girls in captivity who are yet to be released?In this matter, I do not want to be involved in defending the government because it is going to be hurtful to the victims. The government has a role because the role it has been playing so far does not appear to have yielded the needed results in the sense that safety of an individual is paramount and when liberty is not guaranteed, all grammar would be in vain. I think government can still redouble its efforts. I am sure the security experts will look at the strategies if they’re working. But if this is the best we can have, then we have no choice than to pursue it. The problem could be other methods. But fundamentally, the security chiefs must look at the strategies because at the time they overrun our local government, we studied their modus operandi. Usually, three or five Boko Haram operatives will drive in on motorcycles. As they come, they enter a community and suddenly they will multiply into hundreds, which means they have sleeper cells in those communities. The implication is that they have sympathisers within the community. Before they recruit, they start with sympathisers. So, part of the ways we should manage ourselves was to look at everybody. The society should study everybody that they suspect or they know could be one of the sniffers and report them to the security personnel. Now, we are free from such people.Do you think the new outfit being introduced by Southwest governors will be a solution to some of the problems that have defied common sense?I do not know what the Southwest has in mind or do with their security outfit, so I cannot begin to tell whether it will succeed or not. I do not know the objectives.At least, from recent discussions, some people are saying it poses a security threat and over time it would snowball into a militia group. What is your take?I have to object when you say discussion. There has never been any discussion. There has been acrimony across the country. My own personal view about Amotekun is that, either there is more that meets the eye or the six governors have not managed the issue very well. When you are going to do this kind of security outfit, you must have a universal view. Security outfit in the Southwest is not only for the them. I used to go to Osun State to visit Rauf Aregbeshola by road because there is no other way I can go. I used to visit Kayode in Ekiti. So, it would be in my interest if I am sure that I will arrive safely and return safely. So, any security outfit that guarantees that, to me it does not have to be tribal or religious. So, these are part of the stakeholders management that the system has failed to see. To the extent that in the North and in the Southwest, the majority think that this outfit is targeted at them and they protest. I cannot understand when the Attorney General of the Federation, Malami say it is unconstitutional. What baffles me is Rotimi Akeredolu, who is governor of Ondo State and Chairman, Southwest Governors Forum. He’s Senior Advocate of Nigeria and he could not advise his colleagues on how to go about it. That is why I say there is something in it more than we see.From the way it has been handled, does it pose any threat to the national security that those who are not from that region are suspecting?We cannot predict. Let us see how they will perform and if they will perform. If the sense is to keep outsiders out of Southwest, then it is not a smart move because there are more Southwest people outside the region than there are other zones in the Southwest.Aside that, there is the fear that politicians would cash in on it to eventually use them against their opponents. Do you share that view?That is what is going to happen. Some of us that really oppose local police is because of that. The native authority police were principally used by the Emirs and Chiefs to oppress their subjects. So, we are afraid that such institutions in the hands of politicians might be something else.But people have compared them with Hisbah; that there no major difference and that if they can exist in the North, why can’t it happen in the West?Hisbah, in my understanding is a group set up by states to enforce religious laws. Hisbah applies in Kano State. I am a Christian. I am not subject to Sharia Court. It does not affect me, which has been made very clear. And essentially, because of the stakeholders management planning stage where everybody would be involved. When you use those kinds of terminologies, it means it is exclusive to the Yoruba. They are career troublemakers in Nigeria. They do not like to live with any other person. They cannot share with any other person. So, when they get into such narrative they give it a connotation that is not what the founders intended. And these are the ones dominating the narratives and discussions of such group. And consequently, other people are reacting to ways that are funny which will affect the social cohesion of the country. The other day, I read in the papers that North-central state governors were attending North-central zonal security summit. It was a rational reaction to an irrational issue.But the governor of Katsina State, Bello Masari has said they may subscribe to the Amotekun ideology?So, you can see that everybody is now going to have a security outfit.Is it not good for the country?It is a failure. And that is why we have a national police. Even in other democratic nations like the United Kingdom and Europe where, there is a London Police and Metropolitan Police. They’re a sought of a decentralised law structure. The only structure we cannot decentralise is the Army. India has it. But then, they must be backed up by the law. The reason we are confident in the Nigerian Police, is that there are extant laws. These laws define their role and the extent of their power over the citizens. The citizens are comfortable that the police cannot exceed its mandate. Now, this kind of zonal or personal police has no laws guiding their conducts. You see vigilante in the night creating roadblocks. Sometimes they torture people mercilessly because of no laws.It is a failure of government at the centre as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had claimed?When PDP was in power, I went to Port Harcourt by road. When I was coming at the motorpark, I was wearing caftan and cap. The driver refused to carry me because they said I am an Hausa man. I had to remove those clothes and put on jeans and T-shirt in this country and for a man like me that lived in Warri for years and even considered myself a Warri boy, around 1991 or so. As we speak, I will think twice to drive by road from here to Benin.Is PDP wrong to have blamed the creation of security outfit by regional government on the failure of the government at the centre?It is hypocrisy. It is the Nigerian way of doing things. What today you hear is excellent, tomorrow you will hear a different thing. Anybody in PDP is an unreasonable person. They’re not objective. That’s why they are organising demonstrations. When Zamfara APC lost everything to PDP, did APC demonstrate? In Zamfara, they had finished the election. In Rivers, it was before the process.Is it that the protest was uncalled for even when the constitution guarantees the right to air your views?They have the right to protest. But we are right to call them hypocrites at that time they did not protest. They thought the Supreme Court was the best on earth when they won. So, we are right to call them hypocrites and not to take them seriously because what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.You and Atiku Abubakar are from the same state. In 2015, he did not get it and the same with 2019. And there are rumours that he may likely contest in 2023. If you were to advise him, do you think that would be a smart move?From inception, I was with Buhari’s political structure. We lost consistently before we eventually won. Well, in those days, we had this story of some Americans who tried five, six times and eventually won. Therefore, power belongs to God and He gives it to whoever He wills. But God did not tell you when your own will manifest. If some native doctors tell you then the devil is lying to you. So, it is not wrong to keep on trying until it is no longer reasonable. And how is it unreasonable? It is when you get to a certain age when you become so sick and weak. As long as you feel so healthy, think rationally, I do not think it is bad or wrong to contest. Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar is not my friend. He is too senior in age, position in the society to be my friend. He was the vice president. I only managed to become Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) for two years. So, he cannot be my friend. But we get along very well. We relate. In fact, I like the guy. I used to tell people that as an indigene of Adamawa State, and if not because I am committed to other candidates that I feel he will do better, I probably would have worked for him. The guy is okay. He relates very well with people. I have seen people he has helped. I have seen people he has destroyed. I have seen people he has ignored. There is no particular reason to say because I am from Adamawa, he is my friend. In Adamawa, however, I think his political career has fatigued or it is over.But the PDP under his leadership won in your state even when a sitting and a former SGF are from there. Why?No. Forget it. Your enemy’s enemy is your friend. That is what happened. The APC mishandled us both at the centre and the state levels. The governor was determined not to have any primaries or congress to start with. I was one of the groups that opposed it. We met the national chairman and we told him. Impose Bindow on us, he will not win. We know the ground very well. They abused us. Some of them were saying that how can a governor lose nomination? We appealed to them to allow us do congress and bring into the party credible leaders who will run the affairs of the party, the APC constitution that says it is the majority of the delegate of congresses that elect the candidates for elections. So every governor wants to have 99.99 per cent from the executive from the local government to state to have his own appointee and that was what was happening. So, they did not listen to us. I cannot, for example, just because I am in APC vote somebody whom I think will be a calamity for my state. No. Politics is not madness. And in any case, the president mandated everybody to vote for whoever they like and who will do the job.Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State granted an interview and said that the APC may seize to exist after Buhari. With the current crisis, do you share that view?Maybe it is in Ekiti. He cannot talk nationally. I have held different positions in APC so I know the genesis of the trouble in the party. I know why it was formed. We know the objectives. To the extent that I know all the important persons in APC. So for Fayemi to say so, even though later I heard that he was quoted out of context. But I did also hear rumours that he might be one of those interested in a bigger role in government in APC. If truly he said that, it means he has no intention of remaining in APC. There are great men in APC that make it what it is. People have come into APC hoping to use the platform to achieve their ambition. They did not achieve it. They have gone and they come back again. They are great men in APC that understand what is at the heart of party politics. There is no PDP. Uche Secondus is the only person we know in PDP. Some of the governors are busy running their states; they do not play party politics. He calls for meetings, nobody attends. So, APC will remain. Bola Tinubu is a great man. Bisi Akande, Oyegun and members of the merger committee. Unfortunately, Fayemi would have been classified as the core leader of APC. But if he thinks APC will collapse after his governorship, then he is on his own.2023 is not far and there are arguments that power will remain in the North, while some are saying it should come back to the South. Do you think the Southeast will get a clear shot at the presidency in 2023?When Nigerians do this argument, I do not join them because my understanding of the dynamics of politics is the ambition of one person. He goes about canvassing for the delegates to nominate him as a candidate for the party as much as that is APC methodology. If somebody from Adamawa wants to be governor or president, it is not as if all of us in Adamawa will get together and support him because it is our turn. The issue is that every corner of the country has an ambition. Some will have while some might not have. These ambitious people that go round canvassing votes, it is the rank and file of the party that will begin to see who will win this election for us, because in politics if you do not win election it is useless. It is expected that if you emerge people from your place will vote for you because the closer you are to power the better for you. And the closer you are to a man who is in power the better for you. But it is over simplifying the issue. If people in Igbo land who want to be president and they are not ready to go round and canvass the nomination through different platforms and region, then they will never get there. Or in the North, for instance, if I decide to become president and I just stay here and do nothing, how will I win? The constitution did not say that in 2023, Adamawa people give us whom you want to be president.Would it be fair to say that since they are always crying of marginalisation, the position of the president should be zoned to them?That is not what gives ticket. What wins an election is a candidate that other parts of Nigeria will feel safe and comfortable with. I am not going to vote for a candidate that I know will destroy me. It could be my own person. If the person I know will best serve the interest of the country and he comes from the Southeast, I will vote for him or her. I have followed Buhari since 2003. He is a Fulani from Katsina State and a Muslim. I am a Christian from Adamawa, and because I felt that my interest and those from Adamawa would be well served if he were to be president. As you rightly pointed out, Atiku is against him and I did not feel like at that time Atiku’s presidency will serve my interest. Because when he was Vice President, he did not serve my interest. So, these are the issues that Southwest and Southeast must understand that sitting and crying marginalisation is not what gives the ticket. If you are talking about marginalisation, they were so many Igbo that contested the last election. My sister was one of Kingsley Moghalu’s campaign members. She talks about him as if he is Angel Gabriel. Why did the Igbo not vote him? Why did we not see all the votes from the Southeast go to him? Why did 99 per cent vote from that region go to Atiku, a Fulani man from Adamawa at the expense of their son? The first shock I had was during the 2014 APC convention in Lagos. My analysis, which turned out to be wrong was that Okorocha was the man we feared most because we felt that with five states and all the delegates would vote him as an Igbo man, and at that there was so much anti-Buhari sentiment. Supposing that sentiment remained in the polity of Adamawa people, he would get half and possibly carried the ticket. But Okorocha got all his votes from the North. Why are they (Igbo) saying they are being marginalised when they do not patronise themselves?We got it from a grapevine that your friend Tinubu is planning to run in 2023. What’s your take?I have known him very well and not a matter of being a friend. My knowledge of him is that he will make an excellent president. He has demonstrated that he is a good leader. He was a good governor of Lagos State. That is why all his successors are working on his footprint. Even though some of them wanted to claim that they know, they found out that the structure he laid is a solid one. People can insult him, but every governor consistently builds on his structure to the extent that Lagos State has consistently produced the best governors in their dispensation starting from Tinubu, Fashola, Akinwunmi and Sanwo-Olu, who is just starting. Another quality that he has which Nigerians must look at is that there was a time in the Federal Executive Council of 36, I think he had four. If you look at all other governors, the only one that handed over to his deputy was Zamfara and because he had no choice.So, it is safe to say that you are advocating that power should shift to the Southwest in 2023?I am not advocating that. I am advocating that the best man should take over from Buhari. And for now that best man is Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is from the Southwest by coincidence.


#Newsworthy…

Kebbi: Gov. Atiku appoints 100 SSAs, 40 SAs ..


Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State has approved the appointment of 40 Special Advisers (SAs) and 100 Senior Special Assistants (SSAs).

The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Babale Yauri, made the disclosure at a news conference in Birnin Kebbi yesterday.

“After the maiden meeting of the state executive council held at the council chambers today, all the executive council members have resolved to work together to support Bagudu in achieving the desired result for the development of the state,” he said.

Yauri said that Bagudu has also assigned portfolios to the newly appointed commissioners in the state, adding that the posting and appointments were with immediate effect.

Some of the Commissioners are Hajiya Ramatu Gulma, Ministry of Justice; Alhaji Ibrahim Augie, Ministry of Finance; Alhaji Kangiwa, Ministry of Water Resources; Alhaji Kaliel Gidado, Ministry of Youth and Sports; Hajiya Rakiya Ayuba, Ministry of Commerce and Industry; and Alhaji Mamuda Warra, Ministry of Information and Culture.


#Newsworthy…

Gotel Debts: Atiku owe me as well – John Chiahemen


John Chiahemen, the man former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar accused of disappearing with the N150m meant for the operation of his GOTEL media and pay foreign consultants, has now rebutted the accusation comprehensively.

He described it all as false and libellous, replete with misinformation and misrepresentations.

Chiahemen who is now based in South Africa accused the Atiku Media office of misrepresentation and misinformation in its earlier statement regarding wages owed GOTEL expatriates.

He said he never bolted away and explained the circumstances of his departure from the company. And in a stunning disclosure, he said Atiku is also owing him months of unpaid wages.

“Contrary to the publication, I did not ‘bolt and refuse to make myself available to account for the [alleged] huge resources put in my charge’. I was away on sick leave. The Chairman of the Board was notified of my trip and acknowledged my notification. In my absence, a Board meeting was held in Yola during which I was unceremoniously removed, and an acting Managing Director named to take over. The assertion that I had bolted is totally false and malicious as key Board members knew exactly where I was and were in written and telephone communication with me throughout”.

He said funds for the media company were never at any time in his custody but with the financial controller or group financial director of the company.

“The allegation that funds meant for the payment of salaries of both local and expatriates staff of Gotel were made available to me is not only false but also malicious. To be clear, funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff were not in my custody. The Group Financial Controller was the paymaster in all matters of funds relating to the Gotel Africa Project. Payroll and operational funds were provided on a month-by-month basis, when they were, by the Financial Controller and my management merely disbursed them.

“The Financial Controller and the Company Secretary have made repeated promises to these former staff since mid-2015 that the arrears would be paid, and my physical presence has never been necessary to verify any payments. Indeed, I am in the same class as the other members of staff hired to launch Gotel Africa international news channel as I am also owed salary in arrears of several months”, he wrote.

Chiahemen also debunked claims that the FCID is investigating the matter.

“Relatedly, I am unaware of any petition written to the FCIID (Interpol) against me as I have not been invited by any law enforcement agency on any of the false allegations levelled against my person. All Gotel Africa Management’s financial transactions were made through the bank and the bank statements are available”.

Please read the full statement:

RESPONSE BY JOHN CHIAHEMEN TO A PUBLICATION “ON THE MATTER OF GOTEL EXPATRIATES”

My attention has been drawn to a publication in The News/PM News and Sahara Reporters online news sites, both of January 16, 2020, captioned ‘On the matter of Gotel Expatriates’ (“the publication”). In the publication, Paul Ibe, the Media Adviser to Gotel’s Founder, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, made some false and libelous allegations against my person to which I am compelled to respond in order to correct the misrepresentations and misinformation contained therein.
In the publication, it was alleged that I, John Chiahemen, was given a free hand by the founder and board of Gotel Communications Ltd and Gotel Africa Media Ltd (Gotel) to run the affairs of the companies, that requisite resources, as requested by me were made available; that by 2016, there were concerns that the Chiahemen management was only long in promises and short in performance, prompting the then board to empanel an adhoc visitation committee to examine the state of the company and that the findings of that committee were damning.
It was further alleged in the publication that the visitation committee recommended the need for a comprehensive audit of the company; that the audit revealed serious fiduciary infractions by the Chiahemen led management; that further to the audit report, a board meeting was convened to consider the auditor’s report; that before that meeting of the board, Mr. John Chiahemen bolted and has refused to make himself available to account for the huge resources put under his charge.
The publication also stated that “for the avoidance of doubt, the funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff, both local and expatriates that were engaged by Chiahemen himself were made available to him. All those concerned are advised to contact Mr. Chiahemen accordingly.”
The publication concluded by stating that on the 14th day of December 2016, a formal petition on alleged breach of trust, fraud and misappropriation of funds against me was filed at the FCIID (Interpol) for investigation and advised that I make myself available to give account of all monies allegedly put under my charge during my tenure as the MD/CEO of Gotel.
I wish to inform the general public that the allegations levelled against me in the said publication are false, malicious, and a carefully orchestrated attempt to tarnish my image. I am talking with my lawyers with a view to seeking appropriate legal redress against the authors of the publication but in the meantime, I have responded below to the specific allegations made against me in the said publication.

Funds meant for the payment of Gotel staff salaries (local and expatriate) were not made available to me.
1. In the publication it was alleged that “the funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff, both local and expatriates that were engaged by Chiahemen himself were made available to him. All those concerned are advised to contact Mr. Chiahemen accordingly.”
2. The allegation that funds meant for the payment of salaries of both local and expatriates staff of Gotel were made available to me is not only false but also malicious. For the record, I was not the Group Financial Director or Group Financial Controller of Gotel. To be clear, funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff were not in my custody. The Group Financial Controller was the paymaster in all matters of funds relating to the Gotel Africa Project. Payroll and operational funds were provided on a month-by-month basis, when they were, by the Financial Controller and my management merely disbursed them.
3. I am aware that prior to my unceremonious removal as the Managing Director, payment of salaries had become difficult since mid-2015, and the Group Financial Controller had informed management on several occasions that this was due to the downturn in Nigeria’s economy. Consequently, management did not renew contracts for international staff when they came to an end and others agreed to cut theirs short and leave by the end of 2015.
4. The Financial Controller and the Company Secretary have made repeated promises to these former staff since mid-2015 that the arrears would be paid, and my physical presence has never been necessary to verify any payments. Indeed, I am in the same class as the other members of staff hired to launch Gotel Africa international news channel as I am also owed salary in arrears of several months.
I am not aware of any audit report on my management neither was I ever questioned in connection with the purported audit
5. In relation to the purported audit committee report, let me state firstly, that the purported audit referred to in the Press Release, if it exists, was a vindictive charade carried out after my removal. I have not been presented with or asked to respond to any queries relating to any audit while it was in progress or thereafter. I am not privy to the content of the speculated audit report or called upon to render account.
6. As I have further explained below, the so-called visitation panel was a vindictive and scapegoating exercise that had nothing to do with Gotel Africa but with the break down and rot of equipment at the Yola station over the years before the arrival of my management team.

7. Contrary to the publication, I did not ‘bolt and refuse to make myself available to account for the [alleged] huge resources put in my charge’. I was away on sick leave. The Chairman of the Board was notified of my trip and acknowledged my notification. In my absence, a Board meeting was held in Yola during which I was unceremoniously removed, and an acting Managing Director named to take over. The assertion that I had bolted is totally false and malicious as key Board members knew exactly where I was and were in written and telephone communication with me throughout.
I am not aware of any petition against me written to the FCIID or to any other law enforcement agency
8. Relatedly, I am unaware of any petition written to the FCIID (Interpol) against me as I have not been invited by any law enforcement agency on any of the false allegations levelled against my person. All Gotel Africa Management’s financial transactions were made through the bank and the bank statements are available. Required funds to float the buildup of the international TV network for which international professionals were hired were never released by the Group Financial Controller even when approved by the Board of Directors and the Founder.
9. To emphasize “funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff “were not in my custody. All the former international staff, including myself, received a statement of salary arrears from the Company Secretary long after I had left Gotel.
Gotel management under me performed well within the resources that we had. The management under me was not “… long in promises and short in performance…” as alleged
10. The allegation that there were concerns that the Gotel management under me was “only long in promises and short in performance” is a wrong projection of my management team, as it is on record that we successfully put Gotel on international satellite with footprint across Africa, the Middle East and parts of Western Europe before the license deadline of May 20, 2015. We turned a local station in Yola into a national channel via the DTT platform of CONSAT, and Gotel could for the first time, be watched in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and other major cities. The Founder’s residence in Abuja was the first live connection in Abuja. The NBC also included Gotel on its trial national digital service from Jos that was due to be extended to Abuja. All these services have been shut down because key satellite carriers cut Gotel off for non- payment of platform fees.
11. All the achievements of my management were in spite of the lack of proper project funding. My management submitted a detailed project plan for the rollout of the 24- hour international channel in Abuja and refurbishment of the provincial station in Yola, with costs and implementation timelines, in November 2013. This was approved by the Board the same month and the author of the Press Release was a member of the Board. No funds were ever released for the proposal despite repeated pleas and delegations by the management and the Board to the Founder. This fact is verifiable from Gotel’s

bank statements which show that the project for the rollout of the international station and refurbishment of Yola was not funded. My management’s revenue forecasts were conditioned to project funding.
12. The poor state of the facilities at the Yola station was an inherited condition from previous management and repeated requests by my management team for funds for the repairs and maintenance were ignored. The so-called visitation panel was a vindictive and scapegoating exercise that had nothing to do with Gotel Africa but with the break down and rot of equipment at the Yola station over the years before the arrival of my management team. My Management’s proposals with costs for repairing the equipment were not funded. A key member of the so-called visitation panel was the previous Chief Executive of Gotel under whose management the equipment had been neglected. He had been summarily removed as Chief Executive only to be appointed to the Board.
13. This misrepresentation and falsehood contained have been propagated by Gotel as far back as 2016 and it has caused serious damage to my profession, reputation, character and solid reputation as a renowned and veteran international journalist with a track record spanning more than 40 years. I have held editorial management roles with Reuters, running bigger budgets and multicultural staff.
14. In view of the foregoing, I would like to inform the general public that the publication was part of an orchestrated campaign of calumny dating back to 2016 aimed at damaging my hard-earned professional and personal reputation, character and to bring me into public odium, obloquy, infamy, scandal, scorn and contempt. While I am taking legal advice from my lawyers with a view to seeking appropriate legal redress against the publishers of the defamatory material, I would urge the general public, family, friends and well-wishers to disregard same.
John N. Chiahemen International Media Professional January 21, 2020


#Newsworthy…

Imo verdict: Abubakar Atiku accuses PDP


Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has likened the comment of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the judgement of the Supreme Court sacking Emeka Ihedioha as Imo state governor, to a call for anarchy.

The PDP chairman had described the verdict as a judicial coup, called for its reversal and the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammad Tanko.

Bagudu, who is also the governor of Kebbi State said the statement was contemptuous and disrespectful to the nation’s democracy.


He said it was unfortunate that those who are supposed to defend the judiciary are the same people disparaging them because the judgement on the Imo election did not go in their favour.

Atiku Bagudu released the statement in Abuja today, on behalf of APC governors.


“Following the verdict of the Supreme Court in respect of Imo State election petition, which declared Sen. Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the March 9, 2019 Governorship election, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) proclaimed the judgement as “miscarriage of justice” and alleged that the judiciary is “heavily compromised” and has “lost credibility”.

“These are depressing allegations coming from supposedly democratic leaders who should ordinarily be in the forefront of protecting and defending the judicial institution as the sanctuary of our democracy. It is contemptuous and disrespectful to our democracy.
“This is most unfortunate and condemnable. We call on Nigerians and all lovers of democracy in the country to rise to the defence of our democratic institutions, especially the judiciary.


“We must prevail on the PDP leadership and all politicians to exercise restraint by demonstrating unalloyed loyalty and respect for our democratic institutions, particularly our judiciary, which is the most important pillar of democratic governance.

“To allege that a judgement delivered by Supreme Court Judges is “procured” simply because it does not favour the PDP is an invitation to anarchy.


“It is on record that President Muhammadu Buhari has at all times stated his commitment to democracy and rule of law. Our party has lost elections we thought we would win. Equally, our party has been stopped from participation in elections by the judiciary, for example in Rivers State.

“The case of Zamfara where we won the election but the Supreme Court in its wisdom nullified all our votes and declared PDP candidates as winners is another experience. In addition, our party members have lost many cases, and even though our views differ from the judgement delivered, we do not disparage the judiciary, yet our views of the judgement differ from the court.

Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu

“As Progressive Governors, we hereby declare abiding faith in our judiciary and will at all times respect all decisions of our Judges at all levels no matter the circumstances. Our party and our members believe in the sanctity of our judicial institution as the last hope for justice for our people.

“We wish to unequivocally state our resolve to work with all democrats in the country to ensure adequate protection of democratic governance by respecting all judgements from our courts”.


#Newsworthy…

GOTEL Debt: Atiku is a liar! – John Chiahemen


John Chiahemen, the man accused by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of disappearing with the N150m he claimed he paid to settle the bills of foreign consultants hired by his media company GOTEL has fired back.

In an exclusive exchange, the Nigerian TV producer and editor now based in South Africa hinted about suing Atiku for libel as he revealed that his lawyers, who are very familiar with the matter, will be “responding adequately on my behalf in the first instance in the coming hours”.

He described Atiku’s statement as ‘shameful and libellous’.


“The true picture will be very different from what that shameful and libellous statement alleges”, he said.

In a statement on Thursday, Atiku Abubakar sought to extricate himself from unpaid claims running into thousands of dollars by consultants hired for his Yola-based media company, GOTEL. He heaped all the blame on John Chiahemen, the Ahmadu Bello University alumnus, who he said GOTEL hired in 2003 ” to lead the planning, design, build-out and rollout of TV Gotel Africa to be based in Abuja”.


“To this end, Chiamehen was given a free hand by the founder and board of the company to run the affairs of Gotel.

“Requisite resources, as requested by Chiamehen were made available. On his own part, Chiamehen had committed to a revenue profile of N150 million, among others.


“But by 2016, there were concerns that the Chiamehen management was only long in promises and short in performance, prompting the then board to empanel an adhoc visitation committee to examine the state of the company. The findings of that committee were damning.

“Consequently, the committee recommended the need for a comprehensive audit of the company. The audit revealed serious fiduciary infractions by the Chiamehen led management.


“Further to the audit report, a board meeting was convened to consider the auditor’s report. However, before that meeting, Mr. John Chiamehen bolted and has refused to make himself available to account for the huge resources put in his charge.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff, both local and expatriates that were engaged by Chiamehen himself were made available to him. All those concerned are advised to contact Mr. Chiamehen accordingly.

“On the 14th of December 2016, a formal petition on alleged breach of trust, fraud and misappropriation of funds against the former managing director/CEO was filed at the FCIID (Interpol) for investigation.

“Mr. Chiamehen is encouraged to make himself available to give account of all monies put in his charge during his tenure as MD/CEO of Gotel”.

Atiku’s statement was signed by Paul Ibe, his media adviser.


#Newsworthy