Sunday, 23 November 2014

Plot against Jonathan, a joke —PDP Reps

President Goodluck Jonathan
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the House of Representatives have described the ongoing move to impeach Jonathan as a joke, warning that it will be an exercise in futility.
Members of the PDP caucus stated that no member of the ruling party would be a party to the process.
In separate interviews with our correspondents, the PDP lawmakers insisted that Jonathan had not committed any impeachable offence since he became President.
On Thursday, about 113 members of the House, said to be members of the All Progressives Congress, signed to remove Jonathan.
The sponsors of the plot were said to have wanted to table a motion for Jonathan’s impeachment on Thursday, using the opportunity of the reconvening of the House, which reportedly led to the massive deployment of security forces in the National Assembly and prevention of lawmakers from gaining entry.
Speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH, the lawmaker representing Esan North-East and Esan South-East in the House of Representatives under the PDP, Friday Itulah, described the impeachment move against Jonathan as a journey in futility.
Itulah said the priority of members of the PDP in the House was to work towards the re-election of the President.
The lawmaker, who is also seeking a return to the green chamber, argued that Jonathan’s performance stood him out above his predecessors since 1999.
Itulah noted, “If anybody is doing that, he or she is completely on his or her own. President Jonathan needs re-election and not impeachment. It would be better a person never attempts such a thing at all (impeachment) because it is a total waste of efforts and will not take the person anywhere.
“I am aware of his (Jonathan’s) track records, and to the best of my knowledge, no president has performed this much since the return of democracy. Nobody should give any serious thought to such plan by anybody.”
The lawmaker also debunked the speculation that PDP lawmakers in the National Assembly, who were aspiring to return to their seats, were drumming support for the President in order to increase their chances of getting the party’s tickets.
He described the purported impeachment plan as an “impossible” diversion, which had nothing to do with the political aspirations of PDP lawmakers.
“It is purely diversionary; it is not a question of anybody being scared of not being involved in anything like that.”
Itulah, however, vowed that the PDP membership of the House would resist the plot.
“I can tell you authoritatively that no member of the PDP, and even those who are not part of the majority party, is part of any such process, if it does exist in every sense of the word. I can assure you that such a thing will not even be tabled on the floor of the House. We will ensure that it is not tabled; I don’t have to disclose our strategy,” he said.
In his submission, Albert Akintoye, who is representing Irele/Okitipupa Federal Constituency of Ondo State at the House, added that Jonathan had to be examined to show whether he had committed an offence worthy of impeachment.
“I am a PDP man to the core and I think the President has not done anything at the moment to warrant an impeachment,” he said.
Also, the member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor, Bayelsa State, in the House, Stella Dorgu, described the move to impeach Jonathan as a huge joke.
Dorgu stated that no member of the PDP would be a part of such move.
Describing the move as unfortunate, the PDP lawmaker opined that the House was misdirected, noting that at the end of the day, the House would not be able to carry out the threat.
She said, “I see it as a threat. Definitely, no PDP member will be a party to such a move. What will be the reason? What has the President done, except to make sure that he puts this country on the right trajectory to be the leader of Africa that everybody wants Nigeria to be.
“I think they are misdirected and they will not be able to go through with it if there is such move at all.
“The reason for my position is because of the future of Nigeria. I believe that Goodluck Jonathan has been one of the best, if not the best President that we have had since this democracy in 1999.”
Similarly, another member of the House from Ogun State, Adewusi Razak, said President Goodluck Jonathan, had not committed any impeachable offence to warrant any call for his impeachment.
According to him, as far as PDP members in the House are concerned, those raising dust that the President be impeached are members of the APC.
He posited that such plans would not materialise, as the sponsors had yet to raise the impeachment motion on the floor of the House.
Razak said, “If you read the newspapers, it is the opposition that is talking about impeachment. It remains to be seen how they want to achieve that. How will 123 or 130 members move against 240? It is not possible.
“Moreover, the President has not done anything to warrant impeachment.”
Also, another member representing Umunneochi /Isuikwuato Federal Constituency at the House, Nkiruka Onyejiocha, told SUNDAY PUNCH the PDP caucus in the chamber would resist sponsorship of Jonathan’s impeachment.
Onyejiocha, who described the impeachment plot as laughable, said it would not scale through, as Jonathan had not committed any impeachable offence.
She also hinted that the PDP caucus at the House had perfected plans to ensure the opposition did not succeed in derailing Nigeria’s young democracy.
Copyright PUNCH.


Tambuwal blasts police, says he’s ready for arrest

Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

The Speaker of House of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, on Saturday asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, to invite him for questioning and possible arrest if found to have fallen fowl of the law.
Tambuwal was reacting to the directive the IGP reportedly gave to state police commissioners to invite him for questioning over the commotion that took place at the National Assembly on Thursday.
Tambuwal said the IGP did not need to seek far to invite him as he was freely available to answer any questions from law enforcement agencies, being a law-abiding citizen.
In a statement by his Special Assistant, Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Imam Imam, the speaker said he did not enjoy any immunity against arrest or protection except privileges conferred on him by the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act.
“The Honorable Speaker wishes to state that he is a law-abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has no immunity against arrest and prosecution except privileges as may be provided by the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act.
“Accordingly, the Speaker states for the records that he is available, ready and willing to answer any lawful invitation from any of the security agencies on any matter for which they may require his attention.”
However, he berated the police for their “unprofessional” and “disgraceful” conduct in the manner they locked down the National Assembly on Thursday.
Tambuwal said the police were out to stop him from entering the premises.
He noted that the lockdown led to the avoidable commotion as members were left with no options but to scale the gates to gain access into the premises.
The statement reads further, “Most disgraceful is the false statement later issued by the Police in which they claimed that in the lawful exercise of their duties, “ Alh Aminu Tambuwal CFR, arrived the venue with a motley crowd,who broke the cordon, assaulted the Police and evaded due process.”
“This blatant falsehood coming from a law enforcement agency, that is expected to be neutral and lawful, is unfortunate, to say the least.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Speaker came to National Assembly accompanied by members as is customary during any sitting of the House.
“They all came with their official vehicles but were disallowed from driving into the premises.
“Certainly members, who arrived the precinct of the National Assembly in response to a call to perform an urgent, critical national assignment, cannot be described by any self respecting institution as “a motley crowd “
“It is important to remind the Nigeria Police Force that as a public institution that provides common services for all the arms of government, they must not allow themselves to be used by one of the arms to undermine the others.”
But the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, on Saturday denied issuing any arrest order on lawmakers involved in the commotion and the alleged attack on Policemen at the National Assembly premises.
He said the investigating Police Officers will determine who to invite, quiz and prosecute as the case may be.
Abba also condemned, in very strong terms, the unwarranted attack on police officers providing security at a political rally in Oke Ado area of Ibadan, Oyo State, during which one Police Inspector was shot dead and five others sustained injuries.
While ordering a thorough investigation into the shooting incident and the attendant death of a service personnel, the IG reiterated his warning to political actors to desist from the use of thugs in pursuing their agenda.
“The IG reaffirmed the resolve and determination of the Nigeria Police to provide a safe and secure corridor for all political competitors, stressing that offenders of the Electoral Act will face the full wrath of the law,” a statement on Saturday in Abuja, by the Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said.
Copyright PUNCH.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014


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Dike rejects $7,000 World Cup bonus



Oklahoma State Football team forward Courtney Dike has rejected the $7000 paid to her by the Nigeria Football Federation for participating at 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada saying the honour of playing for the country was enough reward for her.
The 19-year-old, who is the younger sister of Super Eagles forward Bright Dike, represented the country at the competition where she scored the fastest goal in the tournament’s history.
NFF Head of Competition Sanusi Mohammed told Sports Radio, Brila FM, that the player rejected the outstanding allowances accrued to her for representing the country at the 10-day tournament.
Sanusi told Brila FM, “When we called her mother to confirm the delivery of the allowances, she declined it and insisted that the opportunity of playing for Nigeria was all the reward the family needed.”
Dike’s elder brother, Bright, featured for Nigeria at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil but missed the 2014 World Cup by a foot injury which side-lined him for four months.
Meanwhile, the head of the Nigeria Women League board Dilichukwu Onyedinma has said the player deserves a national award for her patriotic act.
The Women’s league boss told Football live, a programme on Brila FM, that what Dike did was worth emulating by other players in the country.
Dilichukwu told Football live, “She is a star and patriotic Nigerian who put service to her fatherland above money. The minister is aware and we will push the act before the NFF so it can inspire many others.”
She added, “Doing this with the backing of her parents, Courtney Dike should be applauded and perhaps celebrated.”

Copyright PUNCH.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

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Man needs N8m for kidney transplant




Obinna Anokwuru would have loved to celebrate his 35th birthday partying with family and friends on October 23, 2014, but the young man’s fate did not afford him such pleasure. In fact, only a few of his friends and family could wish him happy birthday: they seem not to have the emotional strength to wish him one.
In 2012 when Anokwuru was feeling unusually weak and dizzy, he had no idea of the pain ahead. Handsome and well-built, some of the female friends that once admired him had since stopped calling him. The feeling of love for him has now turned to that of sympathy – how emotions can quickly fade!
After proper diagnosis by medical experts, it was discovered that one of his kidneys had failed. And since then, the once smiles-beaming face of the bachelor has shrunk. Sitting down on a couch in his apartment with a protruded belly, it seems like his world is crashing right in his face. His business is gone already; and he is afraid his life may be gone also if he is unable to raise the fund for a kidney transplant in an Indian hospital.
Anokwuru before the illness
The Edo State indigene told Saturday PUNCH, “Two years ago, I came home unusually feeling dizzy and weak. I thought it was malaria or probably fatigue. When it was getting worse, I went for a medical checkup and there I got the most unexpected news about me.
“Doctors said I had kidney failure. I was shedding tears because I knew what that meant. I was told to start dialysis, which has wiped away all my savings and other resources. If I fail to go for the dialysis, I feel severe pain in my body. This suffering is too much for me and I wish this cup will pass over me. This is not the kind of life I wished for.”
Since he barely had the strength to talk long, his sister, Mrs. Lorretta Udemba, said since his predicament began, friends and relatives had spent almost all their life savings to save her sibling. She added that his situation had become a nightmare to the family because “we are drained of all our resources.”
“Obinna’s medical condition was first detected in 2012, and he immediately started dialysis, which the family was able to sustain for some months. But we have not been able to continue with it due to financial constraints. Right now, his condition has deteriorated as you can see how helplessly he is sitting,” she said.
Udemba added that her brother used to go for dialysis twice a week to stay fit – each session costing N50,000. She also disclosed that every month since 2012 when the illness started, the family spends about N500,000: N400,000 for dialysis and N100,000 for drugs and other contingencies. This has caused the family to be financially strained.
But despite the dialysis, his condition is not getting any better, and doctors have advised that kidney transplant in an Indian hospital would be the way out of his predicament – at a cost of N8m ($48,000). Unfortunately, the family does not have the wherewithal to bear such cost.
Born to the family of late Bright and Celine Anokwuru, Obinna’s father was once the national auditor of the Nigeria Labour Congress, where he served together with the current governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole.
“We urgently need the help of kind-hearted people to assist us with the cost of sending him abroad for the kidney transplant, which has been estimated at N8m, excluding the amount we will give to the kidney donor. We will not take any kind gesture for granted. Please come to our aid before my brother dies,” Udemba pleaded.
Obinna and his sister, Lorretta Udemba, could be reached on 08029002341, 08033026271, and 07033462302. His account details are also as follows: Name: Anokwuru Victor Obinna; Account numbers: GT BANK (0116983382) or ECOBANK (2951027692).
Copyright PUNCH.