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Showing posts with label Local News. Show all posts

Nigeria Communication Minister Pantami Plotted Against the Killing of Former Governor of Kaduna State Patrick Yakowa- Document Reveals

He was killed in a helicopter crash in 2012, alongside former national security adviser Owoeye Patrick Azazi.

A document has been uncovered which showed how President Muhammadu Buhari’s communication minister Isa Pantami and other Muslim leaders plotted to assassinate former Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa. It was unclear whether the conclusion of the Muslim leaders was responsible for the helicopter crash that killed Mr Yakowa, and the minister did not immediately return a request seeking comments from Peoples Gazette on Wednesday night.

Mr Yakowa was the first Christian governor of Kaduna, which is divided between Muslim and Christians, although with a mostly Muslim population. 

Mr Pantami chaired the July 13, 2010, meeting of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), a foremost Isla mic body led by Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar, where it was agreed that Mr Yakowa and his family must be eliminated because he was a Christian leader leading a state in the Muslim-dominated North.

“We must either use the security or other means to eliminate the governor, his family and all those they perceive as supporting him,” Mr Pantami and other leaders said in their communique adopted at the meeting held at Bauchi Central Mosque. 

The meeting complained that Mr Yakowa was making moves to contest for governor in 2011 and he had the support of former President Goodluck Jonathan, a fellow Christian. 

Mr Yakowa became governor in 2010 when Mr Jonathan tapped Namadi Sambo, then Kaduna governor, as his vice-president. 

Mr Yakowa contested in 2011 and won a substantive four-year term. He was killed in a helicopter crash barely a year later in 2012, alongside former national security adviser Owoye Andrew Azazi. The event had long been suspected to be more than just an accident, and investigation into what happened was never concluded or made public.

The minister did not immediately return a request seeking comments about the 2010 meeting.

Document about the meeting surfaced as Mr Pantami came under pressure to step down from office after The Gazette uncovered details of his past inflammatory statements. The minister said he was always happy about the massacre of unbelievers. 

He also said Osama Bin Laden was a better Muslim than himself and wished Al Qaeda and the Taliban success in their terrorism. 

Electricity Company of Ghana timetable for Greater Accra for the month of May 'dumsor'

 The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has released the power outages timetable for Greater Accra for the month of May 2021, due to ongoing construction works in the power sector especially at the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point.

According to the ECG, as part of projects to improve power supply reliability and system voltages, the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in collaboration with the ECG are undertaking interruptions in the power supply to facilitate the work of contractors at various stages and times.

This, according to the ECG requires a complete shutdown of the 330kv line thereby affecting power supply reliability to the Mallam Bulk Supply Point (BSP).

This is because, the new Pokuase Bulk Supply Point, which is near completion and sponsored by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) under the auspices of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) will require a tie-in to GRIDCo's 330kv transmission line.

While some of the areas will sleep in darkness for two nights and have their power off for two days during the day in the month of May, others will sleep in darkness for three nights and have their power off for just one day. Others will also sleep in darkness for three nights and have power off for just one day.

The outages will rotate between day and night from 6am to 6pm and 6pm to 6am for eight days.

According to the ECG, the tie-in works will take eight days from Monday, May 10 to Monday, May 17, 2021 and will affect power supply to some customers in the North-Eastern parts of Accra.

The ECG has explained that other needed interruptions in power supply to enable contractors complete the different intervention projects, will be communicated in due course.

The affected areas which have been divided into four groups are listed below.

Group A - Power off on May 10 and May 14 during the day and power off at night on May 12 and May 16.

Nsakina, Oduman, Odorkor Official Town, Awoshie, Odorgonno, Mallam Abease, Top Base (Gbawe), Kokompe, Zamrama Line, Banana Inn, Chorkor, Korle Gonno, Gbegbeyse, Shiabu, Kwashi-Bu, Abeka Lapaz, Nii Boye Town, Alhaji, Sowutuom, Ablekuma New Town, Dansoman Control, Market, GBC Staff Quarters, Old barrier, Opeikuma, Ashalaja, Lamptey Mills (Kasoa).

Group B - Power off during the day on May 12 and May 16 and power off during the night on May 10 and May 14.

Lower McCarthy, Mallam, Gbawe, Agape junction, Bubiashie, Demod, Abossey Okai, Santa Maria, Bortianor, Red Top, New Aplaku, Mataheko, Dansoman SSNIT Flats, Glefe, Nyanyano, Nyanyano Kakraba, Iron City, Breku, Tuba.

Group C - Power off during the day on May 11, May 15, May 17 and power off during the night on May 13.

Sakaman, Hansonic, Upper McCarthy Hill, Tetegu, Melcom Plus Industrial Area, Abeka Market, Lartebiokorshie, Tantra Hill, Nyamekye, Pokuase ACP Estates, Amasaman, Anyaa, NIC, Nsumfa, Antieku, Bortianor, Wesley Grammar, Ayigbe Town, Korkordzor, Banana Inn, Mamprobi New Town.

Group D - Power off during the day on May 13 and power off at night on May 11, May 15, May 17,

Odorkor, St. Anthony, Djaman township, Oblogo, Salaga market, CMB Flats, Mamprobi, Soko, Taifa, Ofankor, Asofa, Alhajo, Tabora, Chantan, Israel, Fadama, North Kaneshie, Joma, NIC Top, Seminary, Sowutuom Last Stop, Ablekuma Curve, Russia, Sukura, Kokrobite, Bortianor, Osofo Dadzie, Datus. 

The Federal Govt of Nigeria has Kick Against Asylum by UK Govt to Biafra Agitators as Disrespectful and Sabotaging Terrorism Fight

 The Federal Government says the reported decision of the United Kingdom to grant asylum to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is disrespectful of Nigeria as a nation.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also said that the decision amounted to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.

Fielding questions at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) flagship interview programe, NANForum, on Tuesday in Abuja, Mohammed said the decision is unacceptable to Nigeria.

“Let me say straightaway that this issue is within the purview of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and I am sure he will handle it appropriately.

“But as the spokesman for the Federal Government of Nigeria, I will say that if indeed the report that the UK will grant asylum to supposedly persecuted IPOB and MASSOB members is true, then something is wrong somewhere.

“Against the background of the fact that IPOB is not only proscribed but also designated as a terrorist organisation here in Nigeria, the UK’s decision is disrespectful of Nigeria as a nation.

“The decision amounts to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.

“It is not only unconscionable, it is inexplicable,’’ he said.

The minister said that there had recently been heightened attacks against security agencies in the South East Zone.

He said IPOB had been fingered as being behind the attacks inspite of its denials.

“For the UK to choose this time to give succour to IPOB beggars belief and calls to question the UK’s real intention.

“If we could go down the memory lane, what the UK has done is like Nigeria offering asylum to members of the IRA before the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) had released new guidelines to its decision makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups.

In the guidelines, asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members IPOB, a group that Nigeria had designated as a terrorist organisation.

Also in the guidelines, asylum is to be granted to the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.

United Kingdom To Grant Asylum To ‘persecuted’ IPOB, MASSOB Members which has been Designated as a Terrorist Organisation by the Nigerian Government

Asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian government, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

IPOB was formed in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu and is believed to be an offshoot of MASSOB, which was founded in 1999 by Ralph Uwazuruike.

Both are campaigning for the secession of mainly the south-east but also several other ethnic nationalities from Nigeria.

In the just-released ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups’ seen by TheCable, the UKVI, a division of the Home Office, directed its decision makers to consider if a person “who actively and openly supports IPOB is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution”.

According to the guidelines, the decision makers “must also consider if the [Nigerian] government’s actions are acts of prosecution, not persecution. Those fleeing prosecution or punishment for a criminal offence are not normally refugees. Prosecution may, however, amount to persecution if it involves victimisation in its application by the authorities”.

An example of persecution, the UKVI said, is “if it is the vehicle or excuse for or if only certain groups are prosecuted for a particular offence and the consequences of that discrimination are sufficiently severe. Punishment which is cruel, inhuman or degrading (including punishment which is out of all proportion to the offence committed) may also amount to persecution”.

They are also to “consider each case on its facts to determine if the person is likely to be of interest to the [Nigerian] government and whether this is for the legitimate grounds of prosecution which is proportionate and non-discriminatory”.


The onus is on the applicants to demonstrate that they will be “at risk of persecution or serious harm” in Nigeria, according to the guidelines.

In particular, the decision makers are to consider each case on its facts, taking into account:

profile, size, and organisation of the group/organisation to which the person belongs and its activities

whether a person in the UK would wish to continue their activism if returned to Nigeria (if not, why not)

whether the group/organisation has a presence in Nigeria as well as outside of the country and any evidence that it is being monitored by the government

person’s profile and political activities (including those online) and relevant documentary or other evidence

profile and activities of family members

past treatment.

The UK acknowledges that the Nigerian government has a responsibility to maintain law and order, “to prevent and protect the public against acts of violence”.

It said where supporters or members of MASSOB or IPOB “have incited or used violence to disrupt public order, the government may have legitimate grounds to arrest and prosecute those people”.

“However, where the government has arrested and detained persons who, for example, peacefully participate in demonstrations and has then charged them with treason or the person is subjected to periods of detention in degrading or inhuman conditions, such treatment is unlikely to be fair or proportionate, and is likely to amount to persecution,” the guidelines noted.

The UK defines ‘Biafra’ as an area “in the south-east of Nigeria that comprises the states of Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra. The area is inhabited principally by Igbo (Ibo) people who are one of the country’s 3 largest ethnic groups”.


The UK, which is a signatory to several human rights and refugee conventions, believes Biafran secessionist agitations are covered by one or more of the following policies:

A person is reasonably likely to face a real risk of persecution or serious harm

The general humanitarian situation is so severe as to breach Article 15(b) of European Council Directive 2004/83/EC (the Qualification Directive)/Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights as transposed in paragraph 339C and 339CA(iii) of the Immigration Rules

The security situation presents a real risk to a civilian’s life or person such that it would breach Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive as transposed in paragraph 339C and 339CA(iv) of the Immigration Rules

A person is able to obtain protection from the state (or quasi state bodies)

A person is reasonably able to relocate within a country or territory

A claim is likely to justify granting asylum, humanitarian protection or other form of leave, and

If a claim is refused, it is likely or unlikely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’ under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

However, decision makers are directly to still consider all claims on an individual basis, taking into account each case’s specific facts.

Source: The Cable News

The United States remains committed to providing Taiwan with defence Against China Invasion -U.S. Department of Defence

 The United States remains committed to providing Taiwan with defensive material and helping it strengthen its self-defense capabilities, U.S. Department of Defence spokesman John Kirby said Monday.


"We remain committed, as we have for multiple administrations, to aiding Taiwan in its self-defence, to providing materiel for them to defend themselves," Kirby said at a news briefing when asked how Japan and the U.S. should cooperate to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait.

When asked by Japanese Nippon Television about the necessity to formulate a joint operation plan or hold joint exercises to prepare for a potential confrontation in the Strait, Kirby said he would not speculate on this issue.

He simply reiterated the U.S.' support for the one-China policy and said "nobody wants to see things come to blows over Taiwan."

Talk of U.S.-Japan cooperation on Taiwan emerged after U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met in Washington on April 16.

The importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait was highlighted in a joint statement issued after their meeting. That was believed to be the first mention of the importance of cross-strait security in a joint U.S.-Japan statement since 1969.

Meanwhile, Kirby noted that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who participated in the April 16 meeting with Suga, made his first overseas trip to Asia and his first stop was Tokyo.

The trip gave him a chance to learn more about the region from the Japanese perspective and reaffirm the U.S.' commitment to its obligations and its assistance in the defense of Japan under the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, Kirby said.

The U.S. will also continue to work bilaterally with Japan's Self-Defense Forces to improve their collective capabilities given the scope of the threats across the region, including the threats emanating from North Korea, Kirby said.


Nigeria Vice President Osinbajo seeks review of US foreign policy

 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on the United States (U.S.) to reset its foreign policy on Africa.

According to him, a robust intervention in the continent by the U.S will be beneficial to both parties.

Osinbajo made the call in a speech delivered virtually at the 2021 Johns Hopkins University’s African Studies Programme Conference on the theme: “Africa-US re-engagement: A new foreign policy agenda”.

He urged the U.S. to back the call for a just global transition to zero emissions, lead the effort to ensure easy access to COVID-19 vaccine.

The vice president said: “The U.S.) should promote a partnership that brings about economic prosperity, increases security, combats disease, improves governance and mitigates climate change.

“Africa is in many ways the last frontier for economic development and it has the potential to be a global growth pole. Indeed, as other parts of the world are looking inwards, Africa is moving confidently to integrate its economies through the African Union Agenda 2063 as well as the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”

Speaking  on AfCFTA implementation, Osinbajo said: “The United States is well placed to lead trade and investment ties with Africa. And it has a good leg-in with the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). The legislation, which removed all tariffs on 6,400 products available for export to the US, saw some African countries benefiting considerably.”

”As the African Continental Free Trade Agreements are set to kick-in, AGOA must now be implemented consistent with the AFCTA. AGOA expires in 2025. But a new and improved AGOA that takes these challenges into account can be negotiated before then.”

On improving the support of the US in combating terrorism in the Sahel region, the vice president said a more robust intervention towards clearing the reign of terror in the region is desirable.

He said: “While it is evident that the threat of violent extremist organizations is growing, it will appear that US policy (United States Africa Command) has since 2020 shifted from a strategy of degrading violent extremist organisations in West Africa to simply containing their spread.

“The escalation of the attacks, the synergies being created amongst these extremist groups call for a review of position. It may be the moment for a more robust intervention along the lines of US-backed operations in clearing terrorists and insurgents in the Middle East.”

The vice president also advocated that the US-Africa relations need not be unidimensional, noting that “since the U.S. is also a global leader in economic and military terms as well as through its contributions to the norms that shape the global order, it should work with Africa either under the auspices of the African Union or indeed through individual countries like Nigeria to build a better world.

“Africa should not be seen or used as a pawn in great power games nor as an arena in the contest to secure strategic minerals and natural resources but rather as a partner in building a more secure, peaceful and prosperous world,” Osinbajo added.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, the vice president also tasked the US to reset its foreign policy with the African continent in ways that bring about economic prosperity, increased security, and improved governance.

The statement reads: “The U.S. and Africa should work together to tackle climate change and moderate global warming including through an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies. African countries have made commitments in this regard towards implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement targets.

Given the long term commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050, there is a growing trend among development finance institutions to withdraw from fossil fuel investment, including the World Bank’s decision to cease funding for upstream oil and gas development and the new restrictions on financing downstream gas development currently being considered by the European Union, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the U.S.

“While well-intentioned, this move does not take into account the principles of common but differentiated responsibility and leaving no one behind, that are enshrined into global treaties around sustainable development and climate action,” Osinbajo noted.

Life Tips: 7 Things You Should Learn To Do In Your 20s To Avoid Regrets In Your Later Life

 Life in the 20s is so much energetic, fun and adventurous. You have little or no responsibilities, but with so much to see, learn and do, both the interesting, good, bad and the ugly. It is easy to get carried away in the whole frenzy and forget that it is also a stage that you should be building yourself for later in life when you are less energetic and have more responsibilities.

Below are seven tips to help you consolidate your 20s in other to avoid regrets in your 30s and 40s.

1. Don’t Get So Entangled In Love:

Love, relationship and marriage is good, but at this stage it could be distracting you from focusing on the things that matters at the moment. Falling in love because you feel lonely and getting passionately committed to it, will leave you pursuing love and feelings at the expense of expanding your mental growth and development. This could in turn lead to regret at later stages in life, especially because most relationship at this stage don’t work out and you have wasted all that time chasing shadows.

2. Start Pursuing Your Passion As Early As Possible:

There is no time too early to start doing the things you love doing and no one is too young to pursue his or her passion. Even while pursuing a University Education, you should also find time to improve that skill you have or develop that passion of yours alongside your education. If you do not, you could get stuck in the cycle of regret later just doing a 9 to 5 job you don’t like or have no passion for.

3. Build Connections Early If You Can:

Truth is at 20s you are probably busy with either education, skill acquisition or apprenticeship that you may not have time to build connections. Moreover you are still too young to know important and highly placed persons to build Connections. However, you are not too young to build Connections, if you have the opportunity in whatever capacity to meet influential persons, do as much as possible to get acquainted with them and establish contact if possible. Attend forums, seminars and events, they will improve your chances of meeting persons of influence.

4. Learn Financial Discipline:

Admittedly, there are a lot of distractions at your 20s and you are probably young enough to want everything and anything good and shiny your eye sees. However this is actually the best time for you to start being prudent and learn how to manage money and make wise financial decisions. Besides it is not out of place to begin investing at 20, no age is too young for wise financial investments. The discipline you learn at this stage will lead you into better financial understanding later in life.

5. Avoid Getting Used To Procrastination:

Learn to set goals, targets and start pursuing them immediately without shifting the take off time. Always tell yourself that the best time to start doing anything you decide to do is now. Don’t get used to waiting for when all conditions and situations will favour you before you commence. Normalise setting goals and pursuing them starting immediately without making lazy excuses why you have not started. This will give you the much needed discipline later in your 40s.

6. Control Your Emotions:

Emotions drive almost everything humans do, for whatever you conceive in your heart, there is a corresponding emotion that pushes you to it. Actions, good or bad are driven by emotions, good emotions birth good actions and bad emotions birth bad actions. Actions can put you in serious trouble if you do not control what you feel, how you feel and how you choose to react. Learn to control your emotions so you do not get caught up in actions that you will regret later in life or in the worst case put you in a condition that will ruin your life completely.

7. Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things:

You are very young, with all the time in the world to experiment and find what’s best for you. You have nothing to loose, if you fail, you have simply learnt the lessons that apply and you try again in better ways or move to try better things, untill you find what suits and fits you. So don’t be afraid to try out new things and do not shy away from difficult or complicated tasks, you will learn and grow faster when you try them out.

Source : Nairaland

Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc Commits $700 Million To Sugar Production in Nigeria

 The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has said it is committing over $700m to its sugar projects to support the Backward Integration Policy of the Federal Government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by Dangote Industries Limited, the company disclosed this to visiting members of the Nasarawa House of Assembly on Friday.

The company noted that Nigeria was one of the sub-Saharan Africa’s largest importers of sugar, second only to South Africa with an annual import of over $337m.

The Dangote Sugar management however assured the lawmakers that with the completion of its sugar projects in Nasarawa and Adamawa under the BIP, the nation would be saved more than half of the forex expended on sugar imports annually.

It added that the investment would also lift its people as other people-oriented infrastructures would come with the sugar projects.

The state lawmakers commended the Dangote Group for choice of the state for the project and the accelerated pace with which the project was being executed, despite occasional delays arising from communal disagreements.

General Manager for the BIP, Dangote Sugar, John Beverley said when the factory was fully operational, it would have the capacity to crush 12,000 tons of cane per day, while 90MW power would be generated for both the company’s use and host communities.

He also disclosed that some 500km roads in all would be constructed to ease transportation within the vicinity. He solicited the support of the lawmakers in controlling the menace of land encroachment by settlers and itinerant farmers.

The Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Abdullah, and his team members, who were conducted round the company’s 78,000 hectares BIP in Tunga Awe Local Government Area commended the company for the project.

Abdullah noted that it would not only open up opportunities in the state but in Africa as a whole, and said the lawmakers were ready to partner and support the company towards the realisation of the sugar project through relevant legislations.

When the phase II of the project is completed, according to the company, it will make it the largest sugar refining plant in Africa.

Nigeria Opposition Party PDP Asks DSS To Probe Pantami, Seeks Minister’s Sack

 The Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday called on the Department of State Service to immediately invite the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, for questioning over his alleged affiliations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The Party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, also demanded that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), should immediately sack the minister, given the sensitivity of the issue at stake.

The party said its position was predicated on the heightening concerns in the public space and in the international arena of possible compromises by the communication minister.

It noted that Pantami had access to sensitive government documents and information, in addition to data of all individuals including high profile personalities in the public and private sectors as well as the traditional and faith-based circles.

The statement partly read, “The PDP is particularly worried about allegations in the public suggesting that the minister compromised the NIN registration exercise by giving room for the registration of aliens and invaders from other countries as our citizens.

“The party tasks the DSS to investigate the allegation which has created apprehension, particularly given the rise in banditry and other terrorist activities in our country.

“The PDP urges Nigerians to remain at alert and very sensitive to their environment, while not hesitating in providing useful information to our security agencies in the interest of our nation"

Currency Printing: APC Governors Knock Obaseki, Say Edo Gov’s assertion unfortunate, did not reflect the true position of things while PDP Governors Fire Back

 •Say Edo Gov’s assertion unfortunate, did not reflect the true position of things

The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) yesterday debunked claims by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State that the federal government printed between N50 billion – N60 billion to bridge the shortfall in the distribution of federation revenues to the three tiers of government in March 2021, saying that the claims did not reflect the true position of things.

The Forum, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, said at first, the impression it got was that it was an off the cuff remark made in a private meeting, but “we were however shocked to see yet another response from our colleague to the rebuttal by the HM Finance insisting that the March 2021 FAAC was augmented via the printing of money.

The PGF states: “Given the significance of the statement from a sitting governor and the possible negative impact it has brought to the credibility of both the federal and State government in managing government finances, the Forum is obliged to put a statement out.

“To set the records clear and to the best of our knowledge, the total distributable statutory revenue for the month of March 2021 was N596.94 billion. Due to the shortfall in gross statutory revenues by N43.34 billion compared to the previous month, an augmentation was made in the sum of N8.65 billion from the Forex Equalization Fund Account, which brought the total distributable revenue to N605.59 billion.

“Federation revenues distributed monthly primarily consist of mineral revenues from the sale of oil and gas, as well as non-mineral revenues from customs and excise duties, company income tax, and value added tax.”

The Progressive Governors admits that there are periods when the country experiences significant fiscal shocks in federation revenues, but says the shocks are offset by other savings serviced from the federation account, including distributions from the domestic excess crude proceeds and the foreign excess crude savings account.

“These payments started since 2008 when the country first experienced fiscal shocks from the fallouts of the global financial crisis of 2008 – 2009. As a trained Economist who has been a Governor since 2016, Mr. Obaseki is aware of all the support states have received from President Buhari in coping with the shocks that have resulted from the CoviD 19 pandemic and resulting economic recession.

“Not only have we received budget support, bail out support to meet salary obligations and infrastructure refunds to all states, this was implemented in the overall public interest without discrimination on the basis of party affiliation. This is why it’s unfortunate and disingenuous to allege preferential treatment of APC states when PDP governed states are even greater beneficiaries of all the support,” said the PGF.

It said there was nothing exceptional in this current review of economic orthodoxy because “almost every Central Bank in the world is taking steps to support their government in coping with the effect of Covid 19 pandemic on the national economy. This has become the norm rather than the exception as all countries grapple with the deleterious effect of economic recession.”

The PGF continues: “This unfortunate and inaccurate assertion by Governor Obaseki becomes even more worrisome when juxtaposed with the official statement released after the meeting of PDP Governors last week, calling for restructuring and greater devolution of powers to the States. It would appear that matters that require the collective resolve of all leaders are now being turned into purely partisan, point scoring claims.

“Every discerning Nigerian knows that the APC’s position on restructuring and devolution is clearly articulated and accurately captured in the report of Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s committee on True Federalism. And the APC Governors Forum has since made representation to NASS in furtherance of that position. However, since there are constitutional boundaries, we cannot usurp the responsibilities of the NASS on constitutional reform process, having made our position known.

“These are challenging times for the country. The COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the recent macroeconomic challenges, has had a significant impact on government finances, however, both the federal and state governments are working assiduously to confront the challenge through greater collaboration to increase independent government revenues, rationalize non-essential spending and improve the efficiency of public spending.

“Indeed, we are beginning to see the positive impact of these initiatives given the country’s exit from recession in the first quarter of 2021.”

The PGF said while the right to criticize and hold alternative views is acknowledged, “all state governments have been equitably treated by both the Federal Government and national institutions, particularly the CBN. The support include, among others, bailouts, special interventions and various refunds that were owed to states prior to the Buhari administration.”

It explains further: “For example, as at June 2015, 27 states could not pay salaries but the Federal Government provided support to states to enable them to pay salaries and pensions. The federal government equally refunded the longstanding claim by states on deductions made in 2006, wrongly, to pay the Paris Club debt. Furthermore, states were refunded various amounts for roads and other projects undertaken on behalf of the Federal Government.

“In addition to the above, the Central Bank of Nigeria designed and implemented various interventions which helped in stimulating economic activity in all the states, and contributed to the country’s quick emergence from recession in 2016 and 2021. Such interventions include the Anchor Borrowers Programme, Accelarated Agriculture Development Scheme, Small and medium scale enterprises support scheme as well as expansion of pre-existing Programme such as Commercial Agriculture Credit.

“The world economy had been challenged in the last few years with fiscal and monetary authorities responding in various ways to support their respective economies. In all situations the Central Banks had responded to ease Credit and in a number of cases where interest rates were near zero, quantitative easing measures were undertaken to expand money supply to the economy.

“Given the constraints faced by the Nigerian economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria had responded commendably well while still working hard on exchange and interest rates. We urge the Governor, management and staff not be distracted. Equally we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari and his team for the support and partnership extended to all the federating units. In addition to occasional meetings with Mr. President, the National Economic Council, chaired by the Vice President, HE Prof Yemi Osinbajo, meets every month and all issues are discussed transparently and exhaustively.

“It would therefore be helpful to admonish ourselves as leaders to work collaboratively in tackling these challenges rather than resort to cheap and demagogic point scoring in our quest to rescue the economy.”

"Leave Obaseki alone, PDP Govs attack APC, FG

1. @GovernorObaseki merely offered a patriotic advise 

The PDP Governors Forum is alarmed at the partisan slant a patriotic advise to the @NigeriaGov by His Excellency,  @GovernorObaseki , on its monetary policies has assumed.

2  It is unhelpful for the Progressive Governors Forum to join the fray in the manner it did by its recent statement attacking the bona fides of @GovernorObaseki who merely warned the monetary authorities about the danger of uncontrolled use of Ways and Means, that is, the printing of Naira, to support government's expenditure.

3. @GovernorObaseki has a background in economics and finance and is a very responsible Governor who talks in a measured way . His advise, which by the way has been corroborated by none other than the Governor of the CBN himself, and the international ratings agency FITCH, should be heeded rather than being crucified for sounding a note of caution.

4. No doubt the @NigeriaGov has been supporting the States in the area of agriculture, budget, refund of Federal Government executed projects by States and a few other areas of intervention. Is CBN trying to be vindictive and vengeful by recalling its loans to the States because of an informed advise by a Governor?. It is unfortunate that governance has plummeted to this level.

5. The @NigeriaGov should plug financial leakages in the system and curb wasteful expenditure of billions of Naira on projects that can be executed by the private sector and save a lot of money in the process, thereby relying less on Ways and Means by the CBN , which brings pressure on the Naira with its inflationary consequences. Inflation in Nigeria is currently at 18.2 % ,  the highest in recent years. We should all be concerned to find ways of steming the tide.

6. We are all involved in the urgent task of rescuing the economy of Nigeria and nobody should indeed play the OSTRICH .

Hon CID Maduabum, LL.M

Director General,  @OfficialPDPNig Governors Forum

Warri Succession Crisis: Oba Of Benin Wades In, Meets Ologbotsere, Chief Ayiri Emami

 There were indications on on Friday that the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, has waded into the succession crisis that is rocking Warri Kingdom in Delta State.

The Nation authoritatively gathered that the Benin monarch met with one of the key players in the crisis, the Ologbotsere, Chief Ayiri Emami.

A source at the Oba of Benin palace told our reporter that Emami arrived at the palace at 3pm on Thursday and was immediately ushered into the presence of the Oba where a meeting that lasted about three hours with the monarch took place.

“The visit of Chief Emami to Benin on Friday was at the instance of the Omo N’Oba, who is very disturbed by the happenings in the Warri Kingdom,” our source said.

Although the details of the Wednesday’s meeting were not immediately known, it was gathered that Emami left the palace at about 6pm.

Chief Emami, who was contacted on the phone yesterday morning, confirmed the meeting but declined comment on what transpired.

“Yes, it is true that I met with our royal father, HRM the Oba of Benin. Whatever happened at the palace is personal,” he said before hanging up.

But The Nation gathered that the visit was not unconnected with the happenings in Warri Kingdom, where the Ologbotsere is embroiled in a fight with the Ginuwa Ruling House.

It will be recalled that the Ginuwa Ruling House, led by the Olori-Ebi, Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh, had suspended the Ologbotsere, following disagreement over the emergence of Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu-designate.

The Ojoye-Isan, the apex body of traditional titleholders in the kingdom, led by the Ologbotsere, had disqualified Prince Tsola on the strength of Article 4 of the law guiding the stool, which bars princes, except those born by Bini or Itsekiri mothers, from the throne.

The emergence of the Olu-designate without the Ologbotsere has led to a crisis, with the state government refusing to acknowledge the Omoba because of “issues around his emergence”.

Bini and Warri kingdoms share very close ties dating back to the 15th Century when a Benin prince founded the kingdom and became its first Olu Ginuwa in 1480, and it is hope that the peace move of the Oba could help bring a quick resolution of the matter.

Similarly, the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT) has also being meeting with the stakeholders, including the Ruling Family and Ologbotsere Emami with whom the group held a very lengthy meeting on Tuesday.

Various sources said Itsekiri leaders at the meeting held at the home of Chief Isaac Jemide, the Otsodi of Warri, called for cessation of the ‘media war’ to pave way for dialogue and reconciliation.

“The ILOT is working to ensure that the persons involved refrain from unnecessary newspaper and other media engagements that can worsen the already bad situation,” our source at the meeting said.

Meanwhile, sources said the Ologbotsere is under intense pressure to drop his opposition to the emergence of Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu-designate in order to pave the way for a peaceful and seamless coronation.

“There has been a lot of pressure on him to cease hostility and flow with the wish of the people. His visit to the Oba of Benin is therefore a part of the plan to ensure that he buries the hatchet to allow a peaceful transition and coronation.”

Forces Against NIN Policy Behind Attacks Against Me-Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami

 Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has alleged forces against the Federal Government’s compulsory policy on National Identification Number (NIN) registration for all Nigerians and those residing in the country are behind recent attacks against him.

Pantami in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES dismissed all the allegations against him, describing them as ‘untrue’.

He further denied links to extremist views, saying criminals and other ‘entrenched interests’ are behind the attacks on him.

He said: “I have no doubt about this. It has to do with the National Identification Number. Do you know one thing? This policy was started in 2011, it was not successful. Why? It was fought

“…In 2015, it came up, it was not successful. In 2018 there was a time that there were meetings between government and mobile network operators.

“And it was actually announced that by the agreement with government, the deadline was January 2018. It is there online, I will share it with you if you like. By January 2018, it was not implemented because there are forces against it. There are forces!”

Pantami explained NIN registration is not only meant for Nigerians but it could be obtained by anybody in Nigeria.

He said: “Now they have started coming with the news that people are coming from neighbouring countries to register.

“What they fail to understand is that the National Identification Number is not only for Nigerians; anybody in Nigeria can obtain it.

Read Also: I’ve no ties with Boko Haram – Pantami

“Section 16 and 17 of the Act mention the registrable people in the country – citizens, legal residents, legal permanent residents, and legal residents for a minimum of two years. So, it is not only for citizens. And it is also important to know that this is not just an indication that they are citizens of Nigeria.

“It is rather an indication that you presented your biometric data, so the government has control over your data.

“And that data of NIMC (National Identity Management Commission), nobody has access to it in any way he likes. Getting access to it illegally is 10 years in prison. It is there in the law. But people will like to discredit it, because they don’t like it.”

The Minister added: “As long as it is implemented by the government, it will go a long way in reducing crime and based on the statistics we have been seeing now, it’s really encouraging.

“As government, our priority is the protection of the lives and property of our citizens. Security is our priority as a government – whether in agric, digital economy, education or in health, in whatever.

“President Muhammadu Buahari is so passionate about security, and he directed me to do that because he knows I try to persevere despite challenges and do what is right in the interest of our citizens and humanity.”

“You know as a government appointee, and at this level, if you say you are going to be intimidated by everything, then you cannot do the work. You cannot do the work.

” I was with the Minister of Foreign Affairs this week, on April 12. I was with the Minister. I was with the ambassadors of the U.K., the U.S., South Korea, and many other countries.

“Even this issue that we are talking about, based on our findings, preliminary investigation, many people are not happy with what we have been doing – linking National Identification Number with SIM. Because a situation will come that all the people using SIM to commit crime will not be able to do that.

“If they do that, the government will be able to intercept them easily. This is what they don’t want to happen. And this is a mandate given to me by President Muhammadu Buhari. He personally signed the letter that ‘you are mandated to do that’.

“As his appointee, I should either do it or say I cannot. So, since I am willing to serve my country, I must continue to do it to the best of my ability.

“So, in my meeting with them, they even encouraged me to push it and make it very successful.”

We Want Isa Pantami On Terrorist Watchlist - Nigerians Petition US Government

 Some Nigerians under a group, Concerned Nigerians, have written to the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, asking that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, be placed on the terrorists’ watchlist due to his extremist religious views.

The group stated on Friday that the US Secretary of State should order an investigation into the allegations and place him on the terrorist watchlist permanently.

The convener of the group, Deji Adeyanju, who signed the petition, stated that those in power who “express extremist views remain a threat to world peace as they support mass murder of both Christians and Muslims globally.”

The petition, obtained by SaharaReporters, and dated April 11, and written through the Ambassador, US Embassy in Nigeria, is titled, “Terrorist Watchlist – Isa Pantami.”

It partly reads, “We write to intimate you of remarks attributed to Sheikh Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Communications Minister in several media blogs in the country wherein he was quoted as saying he was always happy whenever unbelievers are killed by terrorist groups. “It is also further alleged that he had in the past openly supported and endorsed global terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Talibans.

“Pantami is said to have praised Osama Bin Laden describing him as a hero and a better Muslim than himself. He has not renounced these views in the face of new revelations by the media. His views are extremist views and a threat to a multi religious nation like Nigeria.

“He is a senior member of President Buhari’s regime and we are of the view that a supporter of Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden should not hold a sensitive position and be in charge of the database of Nigerians. We are confident that Mr. Pantami will not resign or be sacked despite the public outcry because President Buhari is drawn to men like him.

“We implore you to investigate these allegations and if true, place him on your terrorist watchlist permanently. Those who express extremist views remain a threat to world peace as they support mass murder of both Christians and Muslims globally. This remains unacceptable.

“Our reply to those who say these men may have had a change of heart is that terrorists don’t repent, they are only looking for an opportunity to get close to power so they can strike harder.”

Source: Sahara Reporters



Assalam alaikun Muslim Brothers and Sisters!!!

1. TOO EARLY : don't eat too early your Sahur befor Fajr prayer, the prophet instructed us to delay our sahur to few minutes to Fajr prayer, stop forming Jagaban angry

2. FEAST INSTEAD OF FAST : We pack food like there's going to be famine the following months... this is not good. We are to share our foods and feed the poor, while maintaining a simple and healthy way of eating.

3. TOO LATE : Some muslims delay their iftar, I don't know what they want to claim tho, but the Prophet SAW encouraged us to be haste at breaking our fast and abstain from delaying like you're the holiest of the Holiest��

4. IFTAR PARTY : just like organising Dinner party back then in school, we all know we end up doing other things other than just taking dinner�

5. FAST AND FURIOUS: Please, in as much as its encouraged and obligatory and an act that God himself will reward you...its a personal thing, so please, stop acting up and charging at ppl like Bulldogs all in the name of "i'm fasting", you don't expect everyone to be fasting like you and nobody forced you keep calm!

6.MISPLACED PRIORITIES : it has become a norm for some ppl to only pray tarawih(Asham) during Ramadan; the mosque is now so fully packed that ppl have to even pray outside the mosque. That's when you'll see ppl that have never stepped into a mosque since last year, with their pure white Jalamia, well, ��‍♂️ the issue is, while its a Good thing To pray Asham in congregation, Asham is not compulsory Oga... the 5 Obligatory prayers have been and will always be important than the optional prayers which includes Asham

7. ADDICTION TO SOCIAL MEDIA OR WATCHING FILMS : Please, there's really nothing bad in using your phone while fasting, but please be careful while you do that. Most of these films or statuses et al, have in one way or the other imbibed forbidden scenes that you might not be prepared to see. Trust me, no matter how careful you'd want to be, you'l just jam one. Hmmm, make God accept our fasting oooo shocked

8. TOO FAST LIKE FAST FORWARD MACHINE : Many muslims strive to finish reciting the whole Quran before the end of Ramadan. While this is a great achievement, we need to consider the verses and ponder over each of its meanings not reciting like an el-classico spanish commentator embarassed. we are gradually losing the spirit of Ramadan, and the Imams should take note pls.

9. BAD HYGIENE : Hmmm, brothers and sisters in Islam, while fasting, please brush your teeth regularly, please, stop spitting around like a pregnant woman, no one said you can't swallow your saliva....please don't be so hard on yourself. I beg you, don't listen to some fanatics with absurd theories. Don't cause another global warming during this Ramadan period. Take care of yourself please, Na fast you dey fast, you no turn deaf and dumb.

10. NIGHT OWL shocked : Those ppl that become irumole during the month of Ramadan grin , they turn day to night and night to day. Please stop it. There's nothing wrong in sleeping during the day, but do not exaggerate, because, when you sleep all day, you'll be missing out many activities that'll benefit you while fasting. By turning night to day, the whole purpose of fasting is ignored.

Seven Security Operatives Arrested For Supplying Arms, Military Kits To Bandits in Zamfara State

 The Zamfara police command has arrested seven security operatives for allegedly supplying arms, ammunition, and military kits to bandits in the state.

Ibrahim Dosara, Zamfara commissioner for information, who disclosed this at a media briefing on Thursday, said the suspects were arrested in various communities across the state.

Items recovered from the suspects include military bulletproof vests, jungle boots, shin guards, identity card, camouflage uniforms, among others.

“I wish to inform you that the state government has just received a report from the police on the arrest of seven security agents involved in aiding and abetting banditry activities across the state,” he said.

“The suspects, who have already been interrogated and confessed to their respective crimes, have since the commencement of the military operations in the state in recent past, been sabotaging the operations by sharing military intelligence, supplying arms and ammunition, military uniforms and other facilities to the armed bandits to prevent our gallant soldiers from conquering the bandits.

“This is why it took the Nigerian military and other security agencies fighting the bandits that long to defeat them. The suspects have already been handed over to their appropriate security authorities for further necessary actions.

“We feel obliged not to disclose their identities, as the security authorities concerned are acting on the matter.”

He, however, urged the federal government to come through on the promise to deploy additional security forces to the state.

“Zamfara state government is appealing to the president and commander-in-chief of the Nigeria armed forces to redeem his pledge on the deployment of 6,000 troops to the state to clear the recalcitrant bandits terrorising various communities of our dear state,” Dosara said.

“The state government also wants to urge the military authorities to embark on active supervision and monitoring of the military operations to ensure synergy and effectiveness.”

The development comes weeks after an officer of the Nigerian army was arrested for supplying ammunition and uniforms to bandits in Zamfara.

What Next to Do With U.S. Forces in the Persian Gulf- President Joe Biden to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan

In 1971, Alain C. Enthoven and K. Wayne Smith, two of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s so-called “whiz kids,” wrote a book titled How Much is Enough? Shaping the Defense Program. The subject was defense spending. And the title promised an answer, but like other perennials, the question still pops up multiple times every year in public policy decisions. It’s a simple and important one, but there remains no black and white answer.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan before Sept. 11 is a twofer: Since some U.S. forces deployed to the Persian Gulf are there to support U.S. operations in Afghanistan, they can be withdrawn and repurposed for other missions as the United States ends its military engagement in Afghanistan. However, the Biden administration will continue to struggle with how much is enough regarding the thousands of other military personnel in the Persian Gulf it inherited from its predecessor, including those dedicated to supporting U.S. military operations in Iraq.

This is, of course, not a new debate; but over the past several years, the chorus calling for ending the United States’ endless wars in the Middle East have cast a brighter light on the value of sustaining the country’s historic role as the guarantor of security in the Persian Gulf. As of yet, no consensus has emerged.

As is almost always the case in Washington policy debates, positions have become hardened around two extremes: Pack up the troops and go home, or stay the course. The answer, unsurprisingly, lies somewhere in between. As long as the rest of the world—if not the United States—remains dependent on oil and gas exports from the Persian Gulf, the United States and Iran are in conflict, and there is a potential for Iran to go nuclear or attack U.S. allies and partners in the region, the United States will need to maintain a military presence as a hedge. This military footprint, however, can be smaller than it is today.

Decisions about how small, exactly, should be based on a hard-headed calculation of U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf; an understanding of threats to those interests; and an assessment of the benefits, costs, risks, and implications of each policy choice. So what should a racking and stacking of those factors look like?

The champions of U.S. military disengagement from the Persian Gulf make several arguments.

First, the United States has no vital interests in the Persian Gulf. The region’s strategic importance to the country is declining primarily because of its growing energy production and global energy market diversification.

Second, the main threats to regional security and stability are internal, stemming from state weakness and dysfunctional governance; U.S. military forces are ill-suited to address these sources of conflict.

Third, core U.S. interests in the region are not currently endangered and can be safeguarded at a lower cost and with fewer risks and military resources. The United States does not need to maintain a permanent peacetime military presence to protect the free flow of oil, defend Israeli security, combat jihadist terrorism, or prevent the emergence of a hostile regional hegemon.

Fourth, the United States would save a considerable amount of money if forces in the Persian Gulf were withdrawn to the United States.

Fifth, the capabilities the United States deploys in the Persian Gulf would be better allocated to the European and Indo-Pacific theaters to wage great-power competition with Russia and China.

Finally, limiting the exposure of U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf would reduce the risk of their involvement in other countries’ internal conflicts; as long as the United States operates forces in the region, the argument goes, it will be too tempting for U.S. leaders to pursue military solutions to foreign-policy problems.

Proponents of maintaining the military status quo contend the financial and strategic benefits of military retrenchment have been exaggerated. Their argument goes as follows:

First, most U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf support U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and are performing non-combat roles, such as training, advising, and assisting local forces. As long as the United States maintains its missions in these two countries, there is only a limited scope for force reductions.

Second, the deployment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf was never about ensuring U.S. access to its oil supplies—given its ability to get oil elsewhere—but rather about access for the United States’ friends, allies, and partners around the world. Although the Persian Gulf may be of declining strategic significance to the United States, Washington still has important interests in maintaining the stability of global energy markets and deterring Iranian adventurism.

Third, instability would threaten U.S. security partners and potentially create more safe havens for groups seeking to attack the United States while Iran’s assertiveness and geopolitical aspirations in the region could spark a conflict with the United States itself.

Fourth, U.S. forces stationed in Gulf Cooperation Council states suffer very few casualties, and their current force posture is relatively small and cheap to maintain in the context of a $740 billion 2021 fiscal year defense budget request. Withdrawing these forces would not save any money unless they are dropped from the force structure, which is highly unlikely.

 Moreover, because Persian Gulf states provide outstanding training facilities and bear most of the costs of supporting U.S. forces, relocating these assets would cost the Pentagon more money. The current U.S. military presence is politically sustainable—it does not engender local hostility, threaten domestic stability, create political problems for host countries, or present a serious risk of terrorist attacks.

In addition, the champions of the status quo contend the potential strategic risks of military disengagement have been underestimated. It could frighten U.S. allies, and the more vulnerable those allies feel to attack, the more likely some of them will act aggressively against Iran. In other words, U.S. forces are in the region not only to deter Iran but also to restrain U.S. partners.

Disengagement could also, they argue, erode credibility of the U.S. extended conventional deterrent. Tehran could decide to act more aggressively because it sees U.S. retrenchment as evidence that the United States is no longer committed to defending Gulf states. These states, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, could likewise decide the United States is no longer a reliable security partner and develop their own nuclear programs, spurring a regional arms race.

If the United States left, it would also have less leverage on oil issues with Saudi Arabia in those (admittedly extreme) circumstances when a sudden, steep, and sustained drop in oil supplies sends the global price of oil through the roof and the U.S. president is willing to turn the screws on his counterpart to ramp up Saudi oil production to lower prices.

There are good arguments on both sides, but the key driver of the current U.S. force posture is the potential for conflict with Iran. Thus, the only safe exit ramp for U.S. forces out of the Persian Gulf hinges on a long overdue resolution of the nuclear and regional issues that have vexed the U.S.-Iranian relationship for years. But as long as those two countries are in a state of conflict, U.S. military access to regional bases and a military presence will be necessary. 

The United States does not, however, need to maintain all the forces it currently stations in the Persian Gulf once U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down or been terminated.The United States does not, however, need to maintain all the forces it currently stations in the Persian Gulf once U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down or been terminated.

A quick tour of the Gulf horizon suggests the United States should maintain its modest military presence in Bahrain unless its presence becomes a major source of instability. If the United States is going to maintain regular offshore naval deployments in the Arabian Sea, as it should, pulling up stakes in Bahrain would not be prudent or cost effective.

U.S. forces that were temporarily deployed to Saudi Arabia over the past two years should be withdrawn while air and missile defenses of critical infrastructure should be upgraded.

Downsizing some bases and trimming military personnel in Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar would be justified by the end of U.S. expeditionary operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These recommendations are based on our judgment that strategic and financial benefits of removing all U.S. forces from the Persian Gulf have been exaggerated and the risks associated with full military disengagement have been understated. 

The United States’ modest military presence in the Persian Gulf is affordable and politically sustainable; it also provides some value—although admittedly difficult to quantify and dependent on a given administration’s reputation—in deterring Iranian adventurism and reassuring U.S. allies in the region of its security commitment. It also enables a swift response to a range of military contingencies.

The United States’ core interests in the region can be protected with a smaller and more rationalized military presence, supplemented as necessary by rotational U.S. force deployments. These modest drawdowns will be criticized as too timid by advocates of military retrenchment while hawks on Iran will attack any withdrawals as a U.S. retreat from its leadership and a betrayal of its security partners and allies in the region. 

This very basic stance will ensure the United States is not caught unprepared in an area where it still has important—if diminishing—interests and which could offer unpleasant surprises as long as the United States and Iran have a hostile relationship. Until they reach some kind of compromise, a complete reduction of the United States’ presence will be constrained by the ancient adage, “if you want peace, prepare for war.”

NIGERIA: No, Chinese Authorities Didn’t Seize 7,221 Penises on Nigerian Cargo Ship

 The operation was allegedly billed as the "biggest seizure of human organs in history.


Chinese customs officers seized 7,221 "penises of African origin" on a cargo ship from Nigeria.


On March 19, 2021, the World News Daily Report published an article positing that Chinese customs officers had seized more than 7,200 “penises of African origin” on a cargo ship from Nigeria:

Chinese Authorities Seize Over 7,200 Human Penises on a Cargo Ship From Nigeria

Chinese customs officers have made the world’s biggest seizure of human organs in history this morning, a total of 7221 penises of African origin hidden in a refrigerated freight container.

Acting on information from an anonymous informer, Chinese officers found the organs in 36 boxes labelled as plantains (cooking bananas) inside a refrigerated container on a ship harboured in the Shanghai Port.

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

The same fabricated text was subsequently published verbatim, without a satire disclaimer, on several websites (for example, The Street Journal) that give the misleading appearance of being reliable news venues.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

EFCC Releases Ex-Imo Governor, Okorocha

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha after he spent two nights in detention.

Okorocha was released on Thursday evening, according to Daily Trust.

The former Governor is presently at his Maitama residence in Abuja.

Binnabook recalls that the EFCC invited Okorocha on Tuesday for questioning.

Okorocha, who governed Imo between 2011 and 2019, has been accused of embezzlement and misappropriation of state funds by the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma.

In February, the lawmaker accused Uzodinma of unleashing the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) against him.

Okorocha refuted the allegations, saying the state government had not been able to prove corruption allegations against him and his family in court.

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhar Returns From UK Medical Vacation

 President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived the country via the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport from the United Kingdom where he went on medical vacation for two weeks.

Before his departure, the presidency had explained that Buhari’s travel to the UK was not on an emergency case and that the Nigerian leader was not sick, dousing insinuations from critics who raised the alarm that the 78-year-old was not feeling well.

“It is a routine medical check-up; the President has undertaken this with a set of doctors that he has retained over many years,” said Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.

He also explained that Buhari did not transmit power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, noting that the President will not be away for so long to contravene the law.

“The requirement of the law is that the President is going to be absent in the country for 21 days and more, then that transmission is warranted. In this particular instance, it is not warranted,” the presidential aide said when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

Buhari’s departure was also widely criticised by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which described the move as an indictment of his government.

“It is indeed worrisome that under President Buhari, even the hitherto highly rated State House Clinic, has become so moribund that it cannot provide a simple medical checkup service for Mr. President,” the PDP noted.

Nigeria Inflation Rate Increases by 18.17% YoY In March 2021, 0.82% Higher Than February 2021 Rate

 The consumer price index, (CPI) which measures inflation increased by 18.17 percent (year-on-year) in March 2021. This is 0.82 percent points higher than the rate recorded in February 2021 (17.33 percent).

Increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the Headline index.

On month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.56 percent in March 2021. This is 0.02 percentage points higher than the rate recorded in February 2021 (1.54 percent).

The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the twelve months period ending March 2021, over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period was 14.55 percent, representing a 0.50 percent point increase over 14.05 percent recorded in February 2021.

The urban inflation rate increased by 18.76 percent (year-on-year) in March 2021 from 17.92 percent recorded in February 2021, while the rural inflation rate increased by 17.60 percent in March 2021 from 16.77 percent in February 2021.

On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.60 percent in March 2021, up by 0.02 compared to the rate recorded in February 2021, while the rural index also rose by 1.52 percent in March 2021, up by 0.02 compared to the rate that was recorded in February 2021 (1.50 percent).

The corresponding twelve-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 15.15 percent in March 2021. This is higher than 14.66 percent reported in February 2021, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in March 2021 is 13.99 percent compared to 13.48 percent recorded in February 2021.

Food Index

The composite food index rose by 22.95 percent in March 2021 compared to 21.79 percent in February 2021.

This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Potatoes, yam and other tubers, Meat, Vegetable, Fish, Oils and fats and fruits.

On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.90 percent in March 2021, up by 0.01 percent points from 1.89 percent recorded in February 2021.  

The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending March 2021 over the previous twelve-month average was 17.93  percent, 0.68  percent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in February 2021 (17.25) percent.

All Items Less Farm Produce

The "All items less farm produce" or Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 12.67 percent in March 2021, up by 0.29 percent when compared with 12.38 percent recorded in February 2021.

On month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.06 percent in March 2021. This was down by 0.15 percent when compared with 1.21 percent recorded in February 2021.

The highest increases were recorded in prices of Passenger transport by air, Medical services, Miscellaneous services relating to the dwelling, Passenger transport by road, Hospital services, Passenger transport by road, Pharmaceutical products, Paramedical services, Vehicle spare parts, Dental services, Motor cars, Maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, and Hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishment, 

The average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 10.01 percent for the twelve-month period ending March 2021; this is 0.76 percent points lower than 10.77 percent recorded in February 2021.

State Profiles

In analysing price movements under this section, note that the CPI is weighted by consumption expenditure patterns which differ across states. Accordingly, the weight assigned to a particular food or non-food item may differ from state to state making interstate comparisons of consumption basket inadvisable and potentially misleading.  

All Items Inflation

In March 2021, all items inflation on year on year basis was highest in Kogi (24.51%), Bauchi (22.24%) and Sokoto (20.70%), while Imo (16.08%), Kwara (15.34%) and Cross River (14.45%) recorded the slowest rise in headline Year on Year inflation.

On month on month basis however, March 2021 all items inflation was highest in Rivers (2.62%), Gombe (2.14%) and Niger (2.12%), while Zamfara (0.60%), Yobe (0.26%) and Kebbi (0.45%) recorded the slowest rise in headline month on month.

Food Inflation

In March 2021, food inflation on a year on year basis was highest in Kogi (29.71%), Sokoto (27.02%) and Ebonyi (26.59%), while Abuja (20.10%), Kebbi (19.98%) and Bauchi (18.61%) recorded the slowest rise .in year on year inflation.

On month on month basis however, March 2021 food inflation was highest in Rivers (3.52%), Niger (2.92%) and Gombe (2.85%), while Zamfara (0.51%) recording the slowest rise in month on month food inflation with Yobe and Kebbi recording price deflation or negative inflation (general decrease in the general price level of food or a negative food inflation rate).

Cuba Adopts Cryptocurrency as Part of Communist Party Agenda

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