Category Archives: News

Updates are news. features, analyses and viewpoints about the the Coal City or for attention of City residents and visitors. Served with depth and interpretation.

Anambra lawmaker killed and beheaded

… Soludo offers N10m reward for info

A faceless violent gang has killed and beheaded Anambra lawmaker, Hon Okechukwu Okoye, kidnapped on 15 May 2022.

Hon Okoye, representing Aguata II in the Anambra State Assembly, hitherto chaired the House Committee on Information.

The gang abducted the lawmaker with his aide, Cyril Chiegboka, Government said in a statement.

Both died in what appears like a cheeky response to Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s efforts to rid the state of violent criminals.

An outraged Governor Soludo pledged to find the killers and offered N10million bounty for information that helps unmask them.

Incidentally, Governor Soludo, late Okoye and Chiegboka are from the same hometown of Isuofia in Aguata LGA of the State.

The double killing heightened fears that faceless terror gangs holding the State hostage were sending a message to the Governor.

Soludo said this morning he was undeterred by their action, even as the news shocked and saddened him.

He however vowed to press on with his mission to track down and deal with murderous criminals operating in Anambra

He suggested that the same criminal gang that attacked him and killed three policemen at Isuofia could have struck again.

“They can never cow down Isuofia and Anambra state,” he said in a statement released by his spokesperson, Christian Aburime.

The N10million reward he pledged is for individuals or groups that offer information to unmask and arrest the killers.

“Anambra will soon be a hell for these criminals. Anambra will win against the forces of darkness,” he said.

Gov Soludo urged Anambra citizens to brace up for “the all out war against the criminals.”

As of the time of writing this report, no group claimed responsibility for the double abduction and murder

Slug Anambra lawmaker killed and beheaded

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general for N80b fraud

EFCC arrests the nation’s accountant-general (AGF) for allegedly pinching N80billion federal funds. EFCC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is a federal agency that manages Nigeria’s war against financial fraud.

Agency officials said the AGF, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, diverted and subsequently laundered N80billion federal funds in his care.

The AGF initially funneled the funds into bogus consultancies executed by friends and family members, officials said.

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general
Alhaji Ahmed Idris

Subsequently, he allegedly laundered the money through real estate property purchased in Abuja and Kano cities.

The Agency said it had no option than to pick up Alhaji Ahmed after he disregarded invitations to respond to the allegations against him.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Idris, a professional accountant and civil servant, on 25 June 2015, to look after the nation’s finances

In doing so, he fired Idris’ predecessor, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, for allegedly pinching N2.5 billion of security agencies’ funds.

Controversies trailed Idris himself, ranging from failure to respect mandatory retirement age and lax audit of MDAs to fraud allegations.

Senior civil servants accused him of staying beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60. He rejected the claim with a counter that the AGF is a political appointee not bound by age rules.

An NGO also called him out and demanded explanations for over N106billion allegedly missing from the budgets of MDAs in 2018. 

At some point, the Academic Staff Union of Universities asked Idris to explain how he financed his massive real estate investments.

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general over N80B fraud

Red Sunday in Anambra

…Policeman shot dead
…Legislator kidnapped

It was red Sunday this evening, 15 May, as gunmen shot dead a policeman and kidnapped a state legislator in Anambra.

Unidentified gunmen reportedly shot and killed a police officer at Eke Oko Market this evening.

Oko, the Polytechnic Town, is in Aguata LGA where the Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, incidentally comes from.

Witnesses said the policeman was riding on a bike when his assailants blocked his path and pumped bullets into him.

Witnesses ran for dear life as the unfortunate agent died on the spot.

In another daredevil raid, kidnappers this afternoon abducted a state legislator in the same Aguata LGA.

Witnesses identified Dr Okey Okoye who represents Aguata II in the Anambra State House of Assembly as the victim.

The abductors dragged him out of his black Sienna bus and whisked away.

The Anambra Police Command has yet to confirm both alleged killing and kidnap.

In recent times, miscreants appear to directly target the Governor’s home local government in a renewed terrorist offensive.

It is a forcible response to the Governor’s effort to contain violence and killings unleashed in the State.

Governor Soludo was in Abuja on Friday to visit detained separatist agitator, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and get him to help stem the violence.

Mazi Kanu reportedly agreed to call Biafran activists to order if given the opportunity to make a broadcast.

Red Sunday in Anambra as policeman killed

Between Sharia and the 1959 bargain

In Between Sharia and the 1959 Bargain, Sam Amadi examines how politicization of Sharia law enables abuse of due process.

Between Sharia and the 1959 bargain
Dr Sam Amadi

Dr Sam Amadi, former chair of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), is a law teacher in an Abuja University.


In 2000 when Zamfara declared Islamic criminal law, Olisa Agbokaba and myself filed a suit at the High Court at Gusua to challenge the constitutionality of the Sharia criminal law. The court struck out the case because we are not indigenes of Zamfara and therefore have no locus standi to bring the case. We changed course and brought another case on behalf of indigenous Christian community in Zamfara. Before the case was decided I traveled abroad for graduate studies.

At Harvard I started re-examining the legality of the enactment of sharia criminal law in Zamfara and other states in the north of Nigeria. I wrote a paper to argue that may be the enactment of an Islamic criminal law is in line with democracy. I was beginning to change my views. I decided to pursue scholarly research on the relationship between Islamic jurisprudence and liberal democratic theory. I chose a renowned Muslim human rights scholar as my field supervisor. His name is Prof Abdullahi an-Na’im. He is popular in Nigeria for his scholarship and participation at conferences on sharia and human rights in many Nigerian universities. He is from Sudan, and a leading global human rights scholar.

When I gave professor an-Na’im my doctoral proposal, he took offense at my effort to argue for the legality of the Sharia criminal law system. We had long debates for days. Later he wrote to me that he would not be one of my supervisors. As a Muslim he believes that Sharia is a sacred law that any attempt to enact it by a political authority is a degradation of Shari as divine law. He argued further that when a state enacts Sharia it will lead to religious persecution of Muslims who do not agree to the interpretation of the dominant school of Islamic jurisprudence, because there is possibility of divergent human interpretations of the Sharia. He narrated how his mentor and leader, the leading Islamic cleric in Sudan, was executed by Islamic sectarian leaders because they adjudged his interpretations wrong. So for him, this debate is a matter of life and death, and he will not have the neutrality to accept my argument about the legality of Sharia criminal law. He pulled out of my team and I had to look for a substitute. Fortunately, I found a renowned German Islamic scholar who had taught in Nigerian universities to take his place in my team.

I won a fellowship of the Harvard Islamic Institute and conducted extensive research in Northern Nigeria. As part of the research, I interviewed diverse Islamic leaders, including El ZakZaky. Two perspectives emerged from the research. Most of those I interviewed supported the enactment of the Sharia code. But some believed that a political, secular state should not enact sharia as public law. When it does, it ceases to be true sharia. It become a human law that is full of human contamination. For them, Sharia should remain a divine law, and not a state law.

A variant of the latter view recommends that the personal dimensions of Sharia should be legally recognized. But the criminal aspects of Sharia should not be legalized in political society. This view influenced the development of public law in Indonesia. President Wahid, a leading critic who later become President, told me that Islamic leaders in Indonesia decided to exclude criminal aspects of Sharia (public Sharia) during preparations for independence, although the country had overwhelming Muslim population. This perspective aligns with the recommendation of the special committee established by the government of the Northern Region in 1957. The committee led by Professor Anderson of University of London, the leading expert on African law, had as members notable clerics from Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan. It recommended that criminal Sharia should not be enacted as law in Nigeria, even as the personal aspects of Sharia should be part of Nigeria’s public law system.

Nigerian leaders debated this perspective at the London Constitutional Conference in 1959 and institutionalized it in the Bill of Rights in the 1960 Independence Constitution. It was retained in all constitutions, including the 1999 Constitution.

In 2000, this bargain was reversed by Zamfara government in enacting the Sharia Criminal Law. Many northern states followed suit. This now provides legal legitimacy for the offense of blasphemy.

The predicted surprise of such legalization is that in a disorderly society with high impunity, the mob can seize the right of Islamic court to punish presumed blasphemy without due process. But the fault still lies largely with the reversal of the 1959 bargain that built on the 1957 recommendation in 2000. The year 2000 may be the year one of the pillars of the Nigerian republican system was recast. We need more reflections on this constitutional transformation in the guise of lawmaking, even as we commend efforts by Governor Tambuwal, the Sultan, and the Bishop of Sokoto to act fast to avert total breakdown of order in Sokoto State.

Because of the 2000 reversal of the 1959 bargain, the Nigerian constitutional state is now deeply trapped in incoherence.

Between Sharia and the 1959 Bargain, by Dr Sam Amadi

What Nnamdi Kanu told Soludo about sit-at-home

What Mazi Nnamdi Kanu told Gov Chukwuma Soludo on Friday: “I’m against brutal enforcement of sit-at-home in Southeast.”

Leader of the separatist group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is against enforcement of sit-at-home in Southeast.

Kanu is being held at a Department of State Security (DSS) facility in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, while facing treason trial.

Kanu also expressed sadness over “sacrilegious killings of innocent persons, kidnappings and all forms of criminalities.”

If given an opportunity, he volunteered to make a broadcast to ask his followers “to maintain peace.”

Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo made these revelations yesterday after a visit to the detainee.

The visit to sue for peace took place on Friday, 13 May 2022, Governor Soludo said in a Facebook post.

Here’s the full text of the statement:

“I visited Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday, (Friday, 13th May, 2022) to felicitate with him and also as part of the wider consultations with critical stakeholders in search of lasting peace and security in the South East.

“He was in very high spirits and we had quality and frank discussion in a very convivial atmosphere.

“(Kanu) expressed sadness over what he described as “sacrilegious killings” of innocent persons, kidnappings and all forms of criminalities, including the brutal enforcement of the senseless “sit at home” perpetuated by sundry groups claiming to be acting for or on behalf of IPOB.

“He assured that if the opportunity arises, he will be glad to personally broadcast to his followers to maintain the peace.

“Together, we shall restore peace, security and prosperity in Anambra and the Southeast.

“It is well indeed!”

What Mazi Nnamdi Kanu told Gov Chukwuma Soludo on Friday

Ekweremadu at 60

Enugu Metro lineup of the people and places that featured at the Ekweremadu at 60 birthday anniversary celebration.

The distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu celebrated in Enugu, his home State on Thursday, 12 May 2022.

He used the occasion to reaffirm his commitment to holistic human capital development of the state.

Thanksgiving Service

After Service

Reception

A touch of politics..

… and of culture..

He later took to his Facebook page to thank God for his favours.

Ekweremadu at 60

How kidnappers nabbed Ekweremadu

…his testimony at 60

Senate Ike Ekweremadu yesterday recalled how he was nabbed by kidnappers but saved by God’s grace in year 2000.

He gave a testimony of the experience at his 60th birthday anniversary thanksgiving service held in Enugu yesterday.

“When His Lordship, the Bishop, spoke about some of my travails, he didn’t remember to say that I was kidnapped in the year 2000 at Onu Asata in Enugu Metropolis.

“I was taken to Anambra State. I went to one bush with the kidnappers and passed the night with them.

“The next day, I was taken to Benue State from Anambra.

“We later returned to Nsukka and just by the single grace of God, they let me go and gave me N1,500 for my transport.

“Not many people can be that lucky. So, I thank God and trust him.”

Enugu Metro dug out a record of the incident which took place on 10 September 2000. He was at the time the chief of staff to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani.

No ransom was paid for his release, fueling speculations that the kidnappers wanted to use him to send a message to Governor Nnamani.

Yesterday, the Senator used his ordeal in the hands of the daredevil kidnappers to emphasize the necessity to give youths employment.

This, according to him, is because the high rate of crimes is directly linked to high unemployment rate across the nation.

He promised to meet the unemployment challenge in his home state if he is elected as governor.

Why I run

The Senator said he aspires to be governor of Enugu State to continue his prior efforts to transform the State.

He said he has a lot to offer the state from his “national and international experience, exposure, goodwill, and contacts.”
 
“Today, by the grace of God, I am seeking the office of the governor of Enugu State.

“The idea is to create a completely new Enugu State where good governance will be showcased.
 
“We intend to deal with the issues of unemployment, which is affecting our society and creating the opportunity for crimes to thrive.
 
His blueprint for transformation includes promoting at least two industries in every local government to create jobs.
 
He will also harness agricultural and tourism potentials of the state which will boost revenue collection for development.

And he will make life easy for the people by building and maintaining world-class infrastructure, he said.

“By the grace of God, we will achieve more.”

The Senator asked for prayers and support but said that, ultimately, it is God’s will that will prevail.
 
“I submit myself to the will of God in this endeavor. Whatever is His will, may it be so in Jesus’ name.”

My testimony

Ekweremadu reminded his audience that he was raised from “a highly challenged part of Enugu State.”

As a young man, he said that he beseeched God to lift him so he could upift his people

“I had a covenant with God early in life and asked for his mercy and favour so I could lift others up. I prayed God to give me an opportunity to be able to transform society and assured Him that if he did that for me, as a testimony and a constant reminder, I would build a church for Him.

“Since that covenant, God has never looked back in matters concerning me.

“That is why I pass through tribulations, I pass through water, and I pass through fire. Yet, none has been able to consume me because God is with me.
 
“So, this 60th anniversary is 60 years of thanksgiving. It is about 60 years of grace and God’s favour,” he stated.

He also said he fulfilled his part of the deal he made with God.

“God fulfilled his part of that covenant. I also fulfilled mine by building a Church for him at Mpu, my community.”

He’s the best, says Chukwuma

Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma conducted the service at Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd (Anglican Communion) yesterday, 12 May 2022.

The Archbishop said he finds Ekweremadu as an outstanding legislator in Nigeria and best in the history of Enugu State.

He blessed the Senator for his contributions to the development of Enugu State and Nigeria and wished him well.

Sight and sounds..

The sights and sounds of a celebration, as recorded yesterday. See photos

How kidnappers nabbed Ekweremadu

Buhari orders Amechi, 5 others ministers to resign

President Muhammadu Buhari orders Mr Rotimi Amechi, and four other Ministers to resign their offices to pursue their presidential ambitions.

Government spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the presidential order at the end of 11 May meeting of the Federal Executive Council.

The President reportedly gave the directive after announcing that Minister of State for Education, Emeke Nwajiuba, similarly resigned.

The order affects six ministers running for president and three others seeking state and legislative mandates in 2023.

Mohammed told newsmen that President Buhari praised Nwajiuba for obeying the electoral law by quitting his job.

“I expect other members of this council seeking to be President to resign with immediate effect,” President Buhari reportedly said.

Affected Ministers

Amechi is one of six ministers running for President on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Others are Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta), Chris Ngige (Labour & Employment), and Ogbonnaya Onu (Science, Technology and Innovation).

The junior Ministers among them are Nwajiuba of Education and Timipre Sylva of Petroleum Resources.

Justice Minister and Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami is running for the office of governor (Kebbi State) while Uche Ogar (Mines and Steel) wants to govern Cross River. The only woman among them, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, is running for Senate from Plateau State.

Alhaji Lai’s media briefing did not indicate whether the President’s directive affects other public officers outside the cabinet.

“As of this moment, the mandate I have is for members of the Federal Executive Council. Subsequently it might affect other political appointees but that will be made known. If there is going to be any amendment or any inclusion, you will be informed in due course,” he said.

What the law says

However, the 2023 electoral law mandates public officers seeking elective positions to quit their offices at least six months to their party primaries.

Specifically, Section 84(2) of the Electoral Act 2023 mandates public officers who want to participate in the election to resign their offices before they are eligible to do so. It also interprets participation as aspiring to become either a delegate or a party candidate.

Those affected include ministers, commissioners, special advisers and other political appointees.

A judge in Abia state however recently ruled that the section of the electoral law requiring public officers to quit their positions to contest elections breaches constitutional rights. Justice Minister, himself a candidate, quickly praised the ruling and vowed to expunge it from the law.

Nevertheless, President Buhari signed the legislation into law although he asked the national assembly to take a second look at the particular provision.

Buhari orders Amechi, 5 others ministers to resign and pursue their presidential ambitions

SMC partners UN on migration reporting

SMC partners UN on migration reporting

The SMC partners with two UN agencies to upscale reporting skills on migration issues in Nigeria. SMC is the School of Media and Communication of the Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos.

The partners are the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a UN Migration Agency, and the Global Migration Media Academy.

The programme kicks off today 10 May at the SMC Campus along the Lagos-Epe Expressway.

Over a two-week period, participants will be tutored on how to achieve better reportage on the complexity of migration. The title of the programme is “Media and Migration from the Global South”.

Participants – 25 of them – are final year and postgraduate students as well as journalists from across the country.

Five returnee migrants will share their experiences, according to a statement by Isaac Ezechukwu, Director of Professional Education at SMC.

The journalists are from Maiduguri, Yola, Abuja, Benin, and Lagos. They will run the second stream of the programme from 16 May 2022.

Cyprine Cheptepkeny, Project Officer of the International Organization for Migration expressed excitement about the possibilities of the Global Migration Media Academy in deepening narratives on migration.

The IOM carefully chose to collaborate with the School of Media & Communication in the pilot programme that it would replicate in four other countries.

“Migration has grown in intensity and impact across the world with many African countries involved in local and international migration.”

Cheptepkeny said the UN Migration would want better reportage of the trending global issue beyond the headlines that report boat disasters and similar accidents.

The International Organization for Migration works “to ensure humane and orderly migration in the interest of humanity”, the Project Officer added.

She hopes to educate citizens on the broader contexts of migration across international relations, diplomacy, economics, culture, and the health issues around it.

The International Organization for Migration would help participants to know what is happening in the migration world to ensure better communication of the issues.

Moreover, she added, the data shows that migration affects persons 13 to 35 years in the youth demographic.

Dr Mike Okolo, the Dean, said the SMC was glad to collaborate with the IOM as it aligns with its mission to impact society.

“We are glad to partner with an organisation with a similar mission to affect society”.

Okolo added, “We do not see migration as negative. We see it as something that requires control and management as part of the human story”.

Course Coordinator Dr Chike Mgbeadichie disclosed that the training seeks to

  • problematize migration, its opportunities and challenges from the perspective of the global South,
  • explore the centrality of the media in shaping the societal discourse of migration and
  • unpack the role of the media to assist nation-states, and civil societies in their campaign for effective migration.”

Facilitators come from SMC, the University of Wits, South Africa, and UN Migration in Geneva.

They will tackle topics such as Migrations, Climate Change and Dot Connections; Development Communication and Migration;

Others are Culture and Migration; Social Realities: The ‘here and there’ Discourse; Community Development and Policy Initiatives; Reporting Migration and the Japa Narrative; Reporting Vulnerable Audience and Migration through Storytelling; social media and Migration Reporting; Media Ethics and Migration; Reporting on Data.

SMC partners UN on migration reporting

Enugu PDP in a fix over Ward delegates list

Enugu State PDP appears in a fix to defend a 3-man Ward ad-hoc delegates list submitted for the 2023 elections.

The delegates are to join five ward executives and mandatory delegates to elect party candidates and national delegates.

Party candidates to be elected include those for Governor, Senate, House of Representatives, and State House of Assembly.

There were claims that some Wards witnessed parallel elections among the 260 Wards in the State. In other Wards, opposition group had a field day following the absence of candidates promoted by the Governor.

However, party members we spoke to claimed that the PDP state executive did not organize the Ward Convention in many wards. Rather, they were said to have written up and submitted names of preferred delegates.

Unusual Ward Congresses

Our investigations however show that Ward Chairmen texted party members to participate in the 30 April Ward Congress.

Interestingly, most of the messages we saw were sent between 10.00 p.m. and midnight, less than 10 hours to the Congress.

Partymen that spoke with us said they met an unusual situation when they arrived the Ward venue for the congress.

“We were told that the Congress has been done and the delegates elected,” one aspiring delegate told Enugu Metro.

“People from the Ekweremadu Camp didn’t mind. They pushed for the election to hold, as party executive and INEC observers were present.”

“There were no results sheets to record the outcome of the election, but they didn’t mind. They wrote the results on a sheet of paper and the executive and INEC observer signed it,” he said.

Battle for PDP Ward delegates list

Enugu Metro confirmed that in some Wards, both INEC observers and party executive signed the list of elected delegates.

News of the development forced some LGA Council officials to storm some venues and disrupt the process.

Violence broke out in at least three centres where casualties were recorded. In Aninri and Igbo-Eze North LGAs, matchets were freely used on opposition supporters,

Meanwhile, Enugu Government House released a statement same day saying that everything went well.

The Ikeoha Campaign organisation however disputed the claim.

Legal fireworks begin

The issue of which list was submitted to Abuja has gone to the courts as both groups struggle to gain an upper hand.

It is a proxy battle between groups sympathetic to the Governor and state executive on one side and the Ekweremadu group on the other.

This will be the final battle before the State Delegates Congress where candidates of the party will be selected.

Four of the Governor’s loyalists have asked the courts to prevent PDP from tampering with the list submitted by their representatives.

The Ekweremadu men, on the other hand, are asking the courts to declare the result of delegates congress signed by party executives and INEC observers on plain sheets as the authentic result of the 30 April Ward Congress.

First Court order

Yesterday, Judge Harold Eya of the Enugu High Court pronounced on the first order request from the Governor’s Camp.

He granted an ex-parte motion to restrain PDP from recognizing any list of ad-hoc delegates “other than the list that emerged from the congress held in all the wards in Enugu State on April 30, 2022.”

The judge equally restrained PDP from “allowing any other three-man ad hoc delegates to participate in the PDP’s Primary Election.”

The case, listed as Suit No. E/379/2022, was filed by Barrister O. J. Uchenna for four others – Prince Paul Nnaji, Tobias Ogbonna Onu, Cyril Obi Chukwu and Kevin Ikechukwu Agbo.

They claimed that Ward Congresses was supervised and authenticated by the National Working Committee’s five-man electoral panel.

In their 44-paragraph affidavit, the applicants said that

  • “a 3-man Delegate Congress held in Enugu State on the 30 April 2022
  • the Congress was monitored, supervised and duly authenticated by the five (5) man electoral panel set up by the National Working Committee of the PDP
  • the list of those that emerged from the congress had already been submitted and received by the PDP Head Office in Abuja; and
  • that no other three-man Delegate Congress ought to be conducted in Enugu State or anywhere for Enugu State, having successfully concluded the one held on the 30 April.”

PDP national and state party chairmen as well as members of the electoral panel were joined as defendants.

It’s all deceit, says Ikeoha Campaign

The Ikeoha Campaign today laughed off the case, describing it as an attempt to “validate impunity.”

The courts do not act in a vacuum, the organisation said in a statement signed by its Directory-General, Charles Ogbo Asogwa.

“There is no evidence of any exercise in their court papers. Neither was there any list of their supposed winners of the three-man delegates’ congress.

“It is part of the continued efforts to deceive the stakeholders, who innocently nominated the so-called delegates.

“These people could not participate in the exercise because an interest group was hiding forms so that every person would believe that his or her list is being preserved. There is no such preservation. It is all deceit.

“Those who were genuinely elected in a transparent exercise at the designated centres and time are already at the appropriate courts to protect their victory on a solid legal footing.

“We therefore call on the people of Enugu State to trust God, as this too will end in victory,” Asogwa said.

Enugu PDP in a fix over Ward delegates list