BY: Olu Jacob, Ngozi Oboh and Soji Bamidele

[Bynext]

The National Police Headquarters, Abuja was yesterday rocked by a blast from an explosive-laden car that was driven into the compound by a suspected bomber. The attack, which claimed at least two lives, came barely 24 hours after the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, boasted that the violent Islamist sect, Boko Haram, would be suppressed in days.Police blame Boko Haram

A traffic warden near the scene who requested anonymity said the explosion took place shortly after Mr Ringim’s convoy entered the building. He said the bomber, who was driving an old model Mercedez Benz car, was right behind the IG’s incoming convoy, and gained entrance into the building premises despite efforts to dissuade him by policemen riding in the last vehicle in the convoy.

Sources say that as soon as the suspected bomber entered the premises, he attempted to park the car beside that of the inspector general but was stopped by a police superintendent who forced him to move to an adjacent parking garage.

According to police spokesperson, Olusola Amore, “The traffic warden who entered the vehicle of the suicide bomber to direct him to the car park was blown off along with him as soon as they got to the park.”

Early visitors to the scene say burning flesh and car parts flew out of the building and landed in adjacent streets, and cars parked metres away from the building had their windows shattered. Mr Amore said that over 700 cars were affected, with half of them destroyed.

When NEXT visited the scene about 30 minutes after the blast, military officers were seen guarding a human body part on a street near Protea Hotel, Asokoro, and there was blood beside the fence of the hotel near the police headquarters. A police cap with bloodstains could be seen by the walls of the police headquarters although the body of the victim was not there.

Only a day earlier, in response to Mr Ringim’s statement vowing to end the menace of Boko Haram, the group responded by promising an all out war. It also threatened that it was pulling out of all peace talks with the government. A police officer at the scene of the blast said smugly that his colleagues have no doubt that, “the IG comment in Maiduguri led to this suicide attempt on his life”.

Panic everywhere

Although the police claimed that only one person died besides the bomber, the actual figures may be more than that as at least three ambulances were seen arriving and leaving the police headquarters, taking victims to the Asokoro General Hospital. Many of the victims where injured during the stampede that followed the blast, which set off a series of explosions as cars burst into flames.

Doctors battled to save the lives of the 11 people who were rushed to three hospitals following the explosions. Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who went to the National Hospital, Asokoro General Hospital and Garki General Hospital, report that the victims who sustained various degrees of injuries, were in stable conditions, according to doctors.

The acting chairman of Asokoro General Hospital, Abubakar Ahmadu said nine of the victims were brought to the hospital, and were being treated for minor injuries. He said no dead person was brought from the scene of the explosions.

People working in offices hundreds of metres away from the police headquarters said the force of the explosion rattled their building and forced many of them to abandon work. Even police officers working at the headquarters decided to take the day off. Several offices within the police headquarters itself were damaged in the blast.

Workers with offices in Maitama, Asokoro, Federal Secretariat, and the Federal Capital Development Authority were seen leaving their offices in droves.

Zephaniah Avreson, who works with the FCDA said, “The blast was so heavy, you would think it happened in your office. There was panic everywhere until we saw the smoke coming from the police headquarters.”

Mohammed Salihu, whose office at the Airtel call centre is opposite the Louis Edet House, said: “Just moments after the siren of the IG blasted past, I heard the explosion. It was a shocking sound, one I hope never to hear such again.”

Parents whose children attend the Police Officers Wife Association Nursery and Primary school across the road from the headquarters were seen rushing into the school that morning to take their wards home. Many mothers whose children attend a creche at Asokoro could be seen crying as they searched frantically for their children, some of whom had been taken to the Women Centre. Both schools were immediately closed down as staff and students rushed home.

A national disgrace

At a brief news conference, Mr Amore in responding to a question asked by reporter for a foreign media house, said there is no need to ask if the police boss will resign.

“The IG will not be embarrassed into resigning. Members of the public are assured that the criminal elements will be fished out as the government will not succumb to the demands of any criminal group,” he said.

Mr Amore however said the body of the attacker has been recovered and a full investigation has commenced. He commended the prompt response by the army, the fire service, and the National Emergency Management Agency.

Claiming responsibility

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Boko Haram said yesterday that the group was responsible for the explosion in an interview with VOA. Usman Alzawahiri told the group that “Yes, the blast is our handiwork. We are behind it and we are going to attack the entire north and other parts of the country, including the capital, Abuja.” He also said Boko Haram personnel just returned from Somalia five days ago and have been scattered around northern parts of the country. He said his group is advising Nigerians to be careful.

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By: Cosmas Ekpunobi

[Bychampion]

Senate president David Mark yesterday enjoined Nigerians to be on red alert ,insisting that the spate of bomb blast has become a threat to the security and corporate existence of Nigeria.

This is as he called on security operatives in the country to look inward , stressing that it is only by engaging in self introspection by security agents that perpetrators of bomb blasts can be unmasked and the evil halted.

Mark in a statement signed by his chief press secretary Paul Mumeh specifically charged the Inspector General of Police(IPG) Mr Hafiz Ringim not to be deterred by yesterday’s incident but, instead , step up police intelligence to crush those behind the act.

He pleaded with security operatives to rise up to the challenge and bring the matter to an end reiterating the call to security agents to search themselves and fish out black legs among them.

He expressed grave concern about the spate of bomb blast which he said was a threat to the security and corporate existence of Nigeria, saying, “No nation has ever progressed or survived in the midst of terror.”

The President of the Senate contended that no matter the grievances or anger in a man’s mind, resort to violence, terrorism or wanton destruction of lives and property cannot be a way out.

He said there are established channels of redressing or addressing any issue, pointing out that resort to unorthodox means would only aggravate the situation and create more harm.

Senator Mark stressed that the security challenges unarguably called for collaboration and synergy between and among all security agencies to bring the situation under control.

He implored all Nigerians to be security conscious and co-operate with security agencies, saying; “those who are committing these heinous crimes do not live in the moon, they live among us.

“I do not think that resort to killings or terrorism would answer our questions. The real answer lies in our ability to come together as a people and address our common problems.

“No one can claim monopoly of any knowledge; we can all contribute our quota positively and make our society a better place.”

He said the Senate and indeed the National Assembly on its part would make adequate budgetary provision for the security operatives to carry out their legitimate assignments unhindered.

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BY:  Martins Oloja, Madu Onuorah, John-Abba Ogbodo, Terhemba Daka, Nkechi Onyedika, Joke Akanmu, John Ogiji

FROM the gate, an unusual disquiet prevailed. Policemen, some armed, others with their hands on their heads stood sentry. Thick smoke and a Abuja police headquarters bomb blast casualtybellowing flame filled the sky.  There were quick movements in and out of the building by aid workers, who struggled with their equipment to put off the fire.

A few metres to the structure, charred remains of human flesh dotted the bonnets of some vehicles parked outside the fence. Routes leading to the building were cordoned by the security agents.

The scene was the Force Headquarters of the Nigeria Police in Asokoro District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where a suspected suicide bomber in a car detonated an explosive yesterday.

Police authorities confirmed that a lone “suicide bomber” suspected to be a member of the Boko Haram sect (hates of western civilisation) yesterday attacked the Louis Edet House with explosives, killing several persons and wounding others.

Police spokesman, Olusola Amore told reporters that two persons, a Traffic Warden and the suspect died as the high calibre explosive device he carried in his car went off at about 10:46 a.m. But witnesses said the casualty figure was higher.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan, who had earlier scheduled a meeting with his close aides, cancelled the meeting when the bomb blast shook the State House precincts.

A source told The Guardian: “Yes, the bomb blasts affected the normal schedule of the President, who had a meeting with his national security team, including the National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs, Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Inspector-General of Police.”

The explosion rocked the Police building, which provides offices for the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Hafiz Ringim and other senior police officers, shattering the windows.

Visitors were not spared as an unconfirmed number were allegedly killed or wounded.

It was learnt that 33 vehicles at the car park located within the precincts of the Force Headquarters were burnt beyond recognition. The police said 40 other vehicles were damaged in the blast.

The Guardian saw the burnt body of a man on the driver’s seat in one of the burnt cars. He is believed to have been caught in the explosion, which caused fear in the city.

Panic-stricken police personnel were seen in groups discussing the incident, which they said killed many and injured several of their colleagues.

Narrating the incident in tears, one of the food vendors at the Force Headquarters, claimed civilian visitors who patronised the eatery in the complex were affected in the blast.

Unofficial sources said a visitor (suspected suicide bomber) had driven a car into the car park reserved for senior police officers.

On sighting him, a police officer at the gate allegedly instructed a Traffic Warden to direct the driver to park appropriately. It was while in the process of negotiating and heading for the car park meant for the public that the explosive-laden exploded, hitting other vehicles in the premises, which caught fire, and resulted in the death of the victims.

A rescue team from the Federal Fire Service, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State House ambulances as well as those from the FCT and soldiers led by the Guards Brigade Commander, Brig-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe were on hand to render services.

Bomb experts and personnel of the fire brigade service were also sighted criss-crossing the premises to put off the fire resulting from the explosion.

Specifically, vehicles approaching the police headquarters from the Federal Secretariat as well as those from the Area 11 in Garki were diverted as the security agents mounted checks points.

In a chat with journalists, Amore blamed the incident on the Boko Haram sect.

He said Ringim had expressed displeasure over the attack.

According to Amore, “the unfortunate incident occurred at about 11.00 hours when the suicide bomber’s vehicle was intercepted and directed to the car park for searching and checking.

“The traffic warden who entered the vehicle of the suicide bomber to direct him to the car park was blown off along with him, that is the suicide bomber as soon as they got to the car park.

“The IGP wishes to appreciate the efforts of the rescue workers, who promptly responded to put out the fire. The body of the suicide bomber has been recovered and full investigation has commenced.

“Members of the public are assured that the criminal elements behind this dastardly act will be fished out as the government, the police and other security agencies will not succumb to the demand of any criminal group or individuals. You agree with me that the matter is still fresh and that is why I have to give you this press statement. The IGP will later talk to you.”

The interview went thus:

Is the IGP not embarrassed by this development?

No, the IGP will not be embarrassed because I don’t think this is the first time you will have attack either on a security organisation. You all remember the attack of September 11, the president of the United States did not resign because of the 9/11 attack. Definitely, the criminal elements are planning their own attack but I can assure you that the security agencies will rise to the challenge.

Do you have an idea of whom these bombers are because you said the police would not succumb to their demand?

Definitely, we will be suspecting those groups that go by the name ‘’Boko Haram’’ who have been issuing threats upon threats and for which the police is rising up to that challenge. You remember, we just came back from Maiduguri, Borno State, where we took 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) to rise up to the challenge of insecurity in the state.

Why were your security people at the gate not able to detect this before the suspect gained entry into the premises?

From what I told you, you can see that it was the interception of the security people that led them to ask a traffic warden to direct him to the car park where it would be properly searched. So, it was in the course of searching and checking the vehicle that the bomb went up.

What about the casualty figure?

I told you the suicide bomber and the police traffic warden that accompanied him.

There were people at the car park!

Well, that is why NEMA and the police were still working and combing and as we get more information, we will inform you.

What type of car did the suicide bomber use?

The vehicle has been blown off, so you cannot actually say this is the type of vehicle.

At what time did the incident occur?

At 1100 hours.

How many people are in the hospital now?

I think it is too early to mention the number of people in the hospital. You will be given briefings at intervals to ensure that members of the public have the necessary information.

Have you recovered the body of the bomber?

The shattered body is there. It has been recovered and you know with the DNA and other means, all those things will be identified.

How are you going to identify the body of the police traffic warden?

Definitely, the tattered uniform of the Traffic Warden will differentiate him from the suicide bomber.

Was he alone in the car?

He was alone.

Does it mean that it was only one device that exploded?

It was only one device.

But it shook the entire Abuja?

We don’t know the magnitude.  The anti-bomb unit will be able to analyse the explosive and tell us the magnitude, the device used, that is when we will be able to talk about it.

How many vehicles were damaged?

We have about 33 vehicles damaged beyond repair and maybe, some 40 others partially damaged.

From security perspective, was it wise for you to have allowed a traffic warden to conduct a search on the vehicle at the Force Headquarters?

No, he drove in and the traffic was directing him to where to park. It was because he wanted to park at senior officers’ car space that the traffic warden entered and directed him to the car park.

Meanwhile, the Niger State Governor and Chairman, Northern Governor’s Forum, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has joined other Nigerians to condemn the incident.

The governor, in a statement in Minna yesterday and signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi Ndayebo, described the act as horrendous and cowardice, saying that the killings, maiming and destruction of public property would never bring any good to Nigeria.

He called on security agents to launch full inquiry into what he called “dastardly act” with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.

Also, former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has condemned bomb blast.In a statement made available to The Guardian, Ezeife said the recurring incidence of bomb blast and killing of innocent Nigerians in some part of the country be curbed by the government.

According to him: “The Bible does not, nor does the Qu’ran or Haddith, provide any excuse for shedding the blood of innocent Nigerians.

The government has already deployed relevant response teams to combat the crisis”.

In a statement by NEMA spokesman, Mr. Yushau Shuaib, it said but for the timely intervention of the agency, among other security agencies, the blast could have gone out of hand.

It stated that Director-General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, who immediately mobilised rescue and evacuation teams from the agency to the site of explosion, ordered the release and use of specialised equipment for the operation.

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BY: Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA — Reprieve came the way of the embattled former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his erstwhile deputy, Usman Bayero Nafada, as they were Wednesday released on bail by an Abuja High Court sitting at Apo.

The court specifically ordered the duo to deposit N50 million each and one surety each in like sum, stressing that the said surety must be a civil servant not below the level of a Permanent Secretary who must be resident within the Federal Capital Territory.Dimeji Bankole

Justice Suleiman Belgore who released them on bail after he had dismissed a counter-affidavit that was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in opposition to their consolidated bail applications, ordered the anti-graft agency to retain the diplomatic and official passports of the former Speaker and his deputy, saying they should remain in custody pending when all the conditions are perfected.

Meanwhile, the accused persons are protesting the bail terms that were handed to them by the trial High Court yesterday, saying it was too stringent.

Immediately the trial judge finished delivering his ruling yesterday, the accused persons through their counsel, Chief Michael Fashanu, SAN, pleaded for a variation of the bail condition, insisting that it may be herculean for them to get a Permanent Secretary that would be willing to stick-out his or her neck to stand surety in the matter.

Counsel to the accused persons contended that asking them to produce such caliber of civil servants would amount to technically denying his clients bail, even as he pleaded with the court to rather request for a public officer of a particular range instead of tying it to the position of a Permanent Secretary.

Following the refusal of the trial Judge to accede to the oral plea for variation, the accused persons who were subsequently whisked back to their detention cell by operatives of the anti-graft commission, said they would re-approach the court with a formal application to that effect.

The ruling was delivered on a day both the EFCC and the accused persons adduced reasons why the discretion of the High Court should sway to their favour.

Whereas the anti-graft agency urged the court to consider the weight of the charge against the former speaker and his deputy and refuse them bail, the accused persons on the other hand, pleaded the trial judge to grant them bail in self recognition, insisting that they would be available to face trial.

Nafada specifically implored the court to consider his failing heath condition and allow him to go home, maintaining that he was on Saturday June 11, involved in a fatal road accident which he said claimed seven lives.

The former speaker told the court that his present health situation warrants consistent medical attention, just as the 1st accused person, Bankole, urged the court to take cognizance of the fact that the Abuja division of the Federal High Court earlier granted him bail over a sister case that was instituted against him by the anti-graft agency.

Their submissions were vehemently opposed by EFCC lawyer, Keyamo, who insisted that the onus was on the applicants to provide material evidence that the trial court could rely upon and grant them bail.

“My lord, it is not enough for the 2nd accused person to rely on health condition to move this court to grant him bail, he has failed to produce an admissible medical report or anything that could move your lordship to show sympathetic consideration to his application.

“We also urge your lordship to discountenance his submission as it relate to the purported accident he was involved in, there is neither a police report nor anything to corroborate the story.

“Most of the depositions in their affidavit for bail did not meet legal requirements capable of moving the court to exercise its discretion to their favour.

“Averments of the 1st accused that he has two children, aged parents, about his being a former speaker, holding honours of CFR, are not legal requirements for bail. I therefore urge your lordship to refuse this bail application in its entirety”, he argued.

After listening to their arguments, Justice Belgore, yesterday, stood-down the matter till 3pm when he eventually ruled on their consolidated bail applications.

The judge relied on the provisions of section 1(1), 6 (6b), 34(4), 36(4) (5) of the 1999 constitution and section 341(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, CPC, to release the accused person on bail pending the hearing and determination of the substantive case against them.

Though the judge waved-aside the claims of the former deputy speaker that he was suffering deteriorating health condition, he maintained that denying them bail would amount to an infringement on their constitutional rights.

The judge said he was not persuaded by the submissions of the prosecuting counsel that the accused would interfere with ongoing investigations into other allegations of corruption against them, adding that he was not convinced that they would attempt to evade trial if released on bail.

EFCC earlier told the High Court that most of the witnesses it intend to call against the duo are serving members of the National Assembly, saying there was an imminent danger that they could be influenced by the accused persons.

According to the judge, “I have carefully and meticulously read the motion papers all over and I have equally given deep consideration to the reliefs sought therein, it is my view that this application is not complex.

“The issue is whether or not the accused persons are entitled to bail and this is where section 341(2) of the CPC must come to play.

“the case of Abiola Vs FRN which was reported in 1999, 4-NWLR, stressed that an accused must place material evidence that the court will consider before exercising its discretion in granting or refusing an application for bail.

“The prosecution has argued that the 1st accused severally evaded arrest but can we say from all seriousness that he indeed evaded arrest?, the answer is found in the counter-affidavit which enumerated how many attempts that were made before he was eventually arrested on June 5.

“Failure to honour an invitation cannot be seen as evading arrest as nothing suggests that at one point in time, he was seen and he ran away.

“It is the view of this court that the EFCC was not able to locate him initially and when he was eventually located, he was accordingly arrested and taken into custody. There is nothing to show that he engaged operatives of the agency in a fight neither is there an exhibit showing that he was at any time a wanted person.

“It is not disputed that the said invitation letters were sent to the clerk of the National Assembly and not to the accused person. I cannot see the temptation for the accused persons to abscond trial in considering their antecedents.

“There is no serious risk that they will jump bail and contention of the prosecution that they will interfere with ongoing investigation is unattainable as the accused persons in their affidavit maintained that investigations into the matter were already concluded.

“This deposition was not controverted by the prosecution, it is trite law that fact not challenged are deemed to be true. I am therefore inclined to hold that investigation have been completed and whether the accused persons will interfere with further investigations is of no moment before this court.

“More so, this is the first time that the accused persons have found themselves in this mess and there is no likelihood that they may commit same is released.

“The right to bail of an accused is constitutional, I found merit in this application and accordingly grant same” the judge ruled.

Hearing on the substantive case against them was yesterday adjourned till July 19.

The accused persons, who were arraigned by the anti-graft agency on Monday, are facing trial over their alleged complicity in a N40 billion loan scam.

They had pleaded not guilty to the entire 17-count criminal charge that was preferred against them by the EFCC.

EFCC specifically alleged that they breached public trust by agreeing to approve the allowances and ‘running costs’ of members of the 6th session of House of Representatives in violation of the approved remuneration package for political, public and judicial office holders by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, as well as, the extant Revised Financial Regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 2009, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 97(1) of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under section 315 of the same Penal Code Act.

The anti-graft commission further alleged that the accused persons being entrusted with House of Representatives’ Account No. 00390070000018 with the United Bank of Africa, Plc and the Overhead Account of the House of Representatives with First Bank of Nigeria, Plc, properties of the Federal Government of Nigeria, dishonestly used the accounts to obtain loans totaling to about N40 billion.

The former speaker, who was previously arraigned on June 8, had already spent 9 days in EFCC custody.

It would be recalled that operatives of the commission re-arrested him on Monday shortly after he was granted bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja where he was docked ab-initio over another 16-count criminal charge bothering on contract inflation.

As at press time, the embattled former lawmakers were yet to perfect their bail conditions.

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By: Olu Jacob

A dramatic 24 hours in the presidential race reached a climax yesterday after Nuhu Ribadu, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) flag bearer, expressed regret for agreeing to step down for his Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.

On a frenetic day of alliance talks, there were several twists and turns before the deal eventually collapsed. Mr. Ribadu had, during an intense moment in the discussions, agreed to dump his presidential ambition in order for the long mooted coalition to work.

The collapse of the alliance means that Mr. Ribadu is going into Saturday’s presidential election with what will seem like little conviction amongst his supporters. In a message sent to NEXT, Mr. Ribadu conceded that the reversal would have a lasting impact on his future prospects.

Nuhu Ribadu

ACN presidential candidate, Nuhu Ribadu. Photo: NEXT

“This is the way this thing has been going all through,” he said. “I know the damage they have done to me personally, but I leave that to God.”

Sources at the three day meeting between the ACN and the CPC caucus said that on Tuesday, a decision had been made by Mr. Ribadu in which he accepted to step down for Mr. Buhari for the April 16 election.

“He was surprisingly cool about it all,” said an ACN delegate at the meeting.

“He said it has never been a do or die affair with him and he was willing to leave the race so that the alliance will work.”

Mr. Buhari and a former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, led the discussions for their respective sides. Mr. Buhari had reportedly been eager for the meeting to succeed but was unwilling to back down on certain points, including the idea that Mr. Tinubu becomes his vice president.

Mr. Ribadu said he was willing to sacrifice his ambition but others at the meeting were not so selfless.

“We have done our part. I have agreed to step down. We have sacrificed for the country. And they won’t even sign a simple letter?” he lamented.

The letter that ended a hope

After three days of intense deliberations, the parties finally reached a consensus on all the outstanding points. They agreed to field a single candidate, CPC’s Muhammadu Buhari, in the election; that ACN’s Nuhu Ribadu will immediately announce he was no longer running; that the ACN will campaign vigorously for Mr. Buhari’s candidacy, especially in the south west where it has such a great influence; that although it is too late to field another running mate for Mr. Buhari, Tunde Bakare, the CPC vice presidential candidate, will step down immediately after the election; that Mr Tinubu will not be allowed to replace him but may nominate those who would; that Mr Buhari reserved the final right to choose from among the list of three candidates that Mr. Tinubu submits.

Mr Tinubu, whose vice presidential ambition had also been blamed for the collapse of previous talks, immediately named three people for the job. They are Yemi Osinbajo a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Mr Tinubu’s administration, Yemi Cardoso, who was Mr Tinubu’s budget commissioner and a former Lagos State finance commissioner, Wale Edun.

Although Mr. Bakare had agreed to these terms, he balked when the ACN delegates insisted he signed a post dated resignation letter to seal the deal. He vehemently refused to append his signature to such a document. According to a source, it was at this point that the overnight meeting, which went on till 2am, reached an impasse.

The ACN refused to take Mr Bakare’s word that he will abide by the meeting’s decision. “How else could they make sure that he would not back out later?” said a former governor who was also a facilitator at the meeting.

No alliance anymore

The ACN delegates, who at this point were visibly aggrieved by the CPC, quickly started some damage control. The party’s national chairman, Bisi Akande issued a statement assuring its supporters that the party has not entered into any alliance with the CPC.

“We as party that believes in democratic values have therefore decided that in the overall interest of the parties involved, our democracy as well as our country, it is better for each of the parties to go into the presidential election on its own platform,” he said.

Also smarting from the breakdown in discussions, Bunmi Aborishade, the coordinator, Team Ribadu USA Convener, Ribadu for Nigeria Coalition said, “Please note that the alliance talk between the ACN and the CPC to field a single candidate finally broke down yesterday because Buhari/CPC reneged on the earlier agreement that the party with the highest number of seats in the National Assembly elections would produce the presidential candidate for the two parties.”

A small window

However, Rotimi Fashakin, the CPC spokesman, said talks were ongoing. “I really don’t know when you get that information. Talks are ongoing and 10 minutes in politics can make a lot of difference so, don’t rely on the information you got 45 minutes ago. I believe that all the impediments have been removed.”

When asked if the two parties have finally agreed to go into the election together and settled all differences, he said: “I believe so.”

Mr. Akande similarly left open a small window of opportunity.

“If at the end of the election on Saturday there is no clear winner we will make a decision on which way to go, in the overriding interest of all Nigerians,” he said.

Additional reporting by Festus Owete

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By: AGAJU Madugba

The Controller General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Mohammed Inde, says the bombs being used by hoodlums in the country in recent times are locally made.

He described as untrue, allegations that men of the Customs are negligent in the discharge of their duties, leading to porous borders and consequently unhindered smuggle of importation of bombs.

The Customs boss spoke in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) monitored in Kaduna yesterday.

As he put it, “an individual can produce a bomb and most of the bombs that exploded in Nigeria were locally made.

“They are local bombs, if you see the kind of bomb that is brought from outside, if it explodes, the devastation will be enormous.

“If you observe the way it was made or the way it was detonated, you will know that these persons were either sent or were on someone else’s mission.” he said.

Viewed 41053 times by 8359 viewers



By: Omololu Ogunmade

The newly launched gas development master plan by the Federal Government will attract investments worth $25 billion in gas processing, transmission and downstream gas utilisation projects as well as create over one million new jobs, presidential spokesman, Ima Niboro, has said.

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

Niboro who made this disclosure while answering questions from journalists Wednesday, said if President Goodluck Jonathan is elected president in Saturday’s poll, he would pursue his power reform agenda with vigour in a way that would guarantee the take-off of uninterrupted power supply in Nigeria.

He also said the president would work with the forthcoming National Assembly to address the recurring problem of overhead costs in government and simultaneously ensure that developmental projects are evenly distributed across the geo-political zones of the country.

Niboro also said the president would work with various interest groups with a view to promoting rapid economic development, creating millions of jobs, developing national infrastructure and diversifying the economy.

“With four more years in office, President Jonathan will work with full dedication and commitment to carry the reformation of Nigeria’s power sector and petroleum industry through to its logical conclusion.

“Steady and uninterrupted power supply will definitely become a reality in Nigeria in the president’s coming full term in office. He will also work with the new National Assembly to address the recurring problem of high overhead costs in government and ensure that a greater quantum of funds become available for developmental projects in the country.

“President Jonathan will also ensure that the equitable distribution of developmental projects to all parts of the country remains a cardinal principle of his administration if his mandate to lead the nation is renewed. What’s more? The president remains totally committed to running an all-inclusive government that will not discriminate against any Nigerian or section of the country.

“With success in the polls, his administration will continue to work with all interest groups in the country to achieve rapid economic development and create millions of new jobs for Nigeria’s youthful population. The next Jonathan administration will work even harder to develop national infrastructure, boost power supply, diversify the economy, boost mechanised agriculture, improve rail transportation and other forms of transportation and vastly improve the nation’s educational, health and other public services,” he said.

He encouraged Nigerians to look forward to four years of purposeful and dynamic leadership, adding that Jonathan would continue to place national interest above other considerations.

Niboro further said that about N200 billion had been set aside in the 2011 budget for the purpose of road construction and with over N50 billion set aside for other transport projects.

He also said Jonathan would concentrate efforts on improving the education sector, agriculture, water resources, the Niger Delta affairs, aviation and health.

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