Soldiers Vs Civilians: Of Sanity And The Insanity By: Okanga Agila
I almost lost my calmness reading through an article authored by one Mr. Elias Ozikpu, who rudely scolded the entire Nigerian Army (NA) on account of what he perceived as misconduct by some soldiers. My anger was first triggered by the title of the article itself-“Bonny Cantonment: Where Some Of Buratai’s Mad Men Reside.” It generously impugned the dignity and office of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai , his officers and soldiers.

First, the writer strikes like a debauch, with a passion for artificialized titles in identifying himself. He calls himself “a literary author and an activist.” Only Elias Ozikpu knows what “literary author” means. Activism is a word any Nigerian, dubiously ascribes to himself to curry undeserved public attention.

But I judged his diatribes and denigration of soldiers from the plank of his moral deficiency and decided to adopt the title above in my reply to him. Its little surprise Nigeria has remained tied to the tethers of retrogression, if supposed intellectuals (he claimed so) are this much untutored. That is the mess of our country Nigeria today.

Ask Ozikpu, he will gladly tell you no soldier ought to be seen outside of the barracks or shadows of their uniforms sighted on streets. Once out, soldiers should head straight for the battlefield and remain in trenches. It’s true. But soldiers are everywhere because of characters like him, who have injected criminality into the system in multiple ways. It explains why soldiers are pulled out of the barracks to become sentinels of streets in Nigeria. No conventional author who knows his self-worth would address himself as “Literary author.” It’s part of the dubiousness.

Let me cite an example from the retinue of cases he amplified in the write-up, which affected him directly. I presume the other cases are reported from a third party narrative and vulnerable to distortions. He postures like a man, sitting over his own judgment. He wrote about the anger and near assault a soldier confronted them after they horned for him to clear off the road.

I know some road users are devoid of basic traffic rules and regulations. From the tenor of his write-up, it appears he has a disdain for men in uniform. He probably frightened the soldier with his horn rather than decently horning from a respectable distance to alert a strayed figure on the road. Ozikpo failed to intimate his readers of how close he was before horning. Some drivers are neck-deep into the habit of frightening other road users.

Such tendency offends everybody. You must not be a soldier before you get infuriated at such road-use misconduct. And the guess may not be far from it because he admitted stopping. Why did he stop to exchange words with the soldier, if there was no preconceived intention to offend him? It’s the familiar arrogance of some Nigerians, especially people who claim to be writers of whatever hue like Ozikpu because they are civilians. Are soldiers, first of all not civilians before becoming professional soldiers or men in camouflage as he derogatively referred to them?
Many Nigerians are still in the dark about the changed face of their country. The COAS, Lt.Gen. Buratai has devoted his time and energy to bequeath to Nigerians the finest breed of soldiers. I do not expect that army formations should be temples of worship or monasteries where everyone is holy and pious. But Buratai has ensured no unprofessional misconduct by his officers pass without the appropriate reprimand.
And before now, Buratai ordered the arrest and discipline of the two soldiers who maltreated a cripple in Onitsha, in accordance with military disciplinary laws. How else can a leader be responsive to be appreciated by people like the writer?
Most times, criminally-minded civilians stoke the trouble with soldiers to create an excuse to chastise the army and its leadership. For instance, just last Saturday in the same Lagos, a military officer, Lt Gyang of 149 Battalion in mufti was on veiled security surveillance with six other soldiers behind Alakija. He was unarmed, but the soldiers in his company were armed. And alas, suspected militants in the area opened fire on them without any provocation and the soldiers replied. No casualty was recorded, but the officer was reportedly abducted by these suspected militants and no shadow of him is traced till now.
In Abuja yesterday, an officer and two soldiers of Army Headquarters (AHQ) Garrison who were back-loading a broken-down Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) had a misunderstanding with civilians in the Gwagwalada area. It attracted a heavy mob and people uttered all manner of abuses and obscenities on soldiers. Had the soldiers vented their spleen, these Nigerians would have forgotten about their unruly confrontation of soldiers and dangled the sympathy card of armed soldiers against civilians.
The perpetual drunken civilian “officer” beaten in Aba for wearing military uniform did it deliberately to provoke soldiers. But in spite of the fact that criminals, who impersonate the army, also wear army uniforms, the NA similarly disciplined the soldiers.
Nigerians must not forget that soldiers are also human beings. They have blood running through their veins. They have emotions and can feel pains. They have families, children, brothers and sisters as well as dependents. They have friends. They can love and be loved. So, what is good for the Jews is also good for the Gentiles. Nigeria is not the only country with soldiers and there is no need to make our own soldiers endangered species.
Lt. General Buratai has established the Human Rights Desk at the AHQ, commands and units to handle cases of human rights violations on soldiers and no soldier, so far has been spared of punishment for any wrong committed. And it goes to say, families of soldiers are also waiting to be appeased when civilians who unjustifiably open fire on soldiers and kill them will be punished. It has always been the burden of soldiers like it happened in Niger state, when local militias opened fire and killed soldiers on routine surveillance. 
If not because some Nigerians are peculiarly different human beings, elsewhere, citizens would fete Nigerian soldiers, anywhere they are sighted for defeating Boko Haram terrorism and offering them peace. These are indeed hard times for our military especially the Nigerian soldiers who get punished, for any mistake, but no one is ever punished for wrongs done to them, on the casual misconception that their uniforms ought to absorb all pains in national interest. It’s wrong and precisely, the insanity in sanity!

Okanga, a traditional warrior writes from Agila, Benue State.

saraki and melaye
There was disquiet yesterday at the Senate over the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo's decision to withhold assent to four bills sent to him by the upper legislative chamber, News Punch understand

The bills are Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016, National Lottery (Amendment) Bill 2016, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill 2016, and the Currency Conversion (Freezing Orders) (Amendment) Bill 2016.

In the four letters sent to the Senate, dated February 7, 2017, the Acting President gave various reasons for his decision “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the Constitution.”

On the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill 2016, Osinbajo said, “The reasons for withholding assent to the bill are the concerns surrounding board composition, funding arrangements, limitation of liability of funds, and proposals to increase levels of un-collaterised loans from N5,000 to N250,000.”

For withholding asset to the Currency Conversion (Freezing Orders) (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Acting President said, “The rationale for withholding assent to the bill is the concern regarding modalities for the communication of asset forfeiture orders.”

Osinbajo also said the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016 could not be assented to, saying, “The rationale for withholding assent to the bill are the concerns regarding certain words and phrases utilised in the draft bill that may be inconsistent with the Principal Act (for example, Section 6 of the bill with Section 21 of the Principal Act) and the spirit behind the proposed amendments.”

Also, the Acting President said he withheld assent to the National Lottery (Amendment) Bill 2016 due to “the existence of pending legal challenge to the competence of the National Assembly to legislate on the subject matter.”

After the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, read Osinbajo’s letters to senators at plenary on Wednesday, Senator Dino Melaye, who sponsored the National Lottery (Amendment) Bill, raised a point of order and dismissed the Acting President’s reason for not assenting to it.

Citing Section 4 of the constitution, the senator described the court process and the decision by Osinbajo as against the principle of separation of powers.

Melaye said, “Mr. President, the explanation for withholding the assent as stipulated in the letter by the Acting President is because there is a pending litigation on this matter. Mr. President, democracy is standing on the basic principles of separation of powers and it has divided this into three; the executive, the legislature and the judiciary., Punch Newspaper established

“Mr. President, the role of the executive is to carry out its fundamental objective by signing anything that has been passed by this House and anyone who has a problem with it can go to court in compliance with the provisions of Section 6 of the constitution. May it not be a bad day for democracy if we keep quiet and allow the powers of the legislature to be usurped by the non-compliance to the provisions of the constitution.”

Saraki, in his response, said the chamber would seek legal advice on the matter as it had to do with separation of powers.

He said, “I think the procedure is that we will refer this (issue) to our legal department to give us advice on interpretation on some of the things that you have said, for us to be properly guided. But, I agree with you that it is a matter that we must take seriously because it goes down to the issue of separation of powers. We would get the opinion of the legal department.”

But Senator George Sekibo, rose up to say that the National Assembly had the powers to override the veto of the President.

He said, “The way the constitution is framed, they have their own roles to play and we have our own role to play. We check each other. I know that the matter is in court and based on our rules, we cannot discuss it; it is a different thing. But if it is just that the President did not give assent, we have to look at the merit of the particular bill if it meets the standards and if the court matter is not going to impede what we are going to do. Then, we can override the veto of the President.”

Again, Saraki stated that the issue should be referred to the legal department for interpretation and counsel.

Osinbajo had last week assented to seven bills passed by the legislature.

Text From Punch Newspaper used in the article

Stella Oduah
A Lagos Federal High Court has restrained Stella Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Ltd., from making any withdrawal from its account and those of three other companies domiciled with 21 banks.

The other companies include: Sea Shipping Agency Ltd, Rotary Engineering Services Ltd, and Tour Afrique Company Ltd.

The court issued the orders over an alleged indebtedness of the defendants in the sum of about $16.4 million and N100.5 million.

Also, the court issued an order directing the said commercial banks harbouring the assets of Stella Oduah and the four companies to sequestrate their indebtedness as at November 2016.

The court ordered that the money should be kept in an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Federal court, pending the determination of the suit filed before the court to recover the debt.

The order of the court was sequel to an affidavit deposed to by Business Manager of Sterling Bank Plc., Segun Akinsanya, filed and argued before the court by its Counsel, Kemi Balogun (SAN).

In the affidavit, Mr. Akinsanya averred that on October 8, 2012, the bank granted a lease /Cabotage Vessel Finance Facility (CVFF) to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company in the said sums to finance one unit 5,000 MT tanker vessel.

He said that the loan was secured by an unconditional personal guarantee of the companies’ director, Stella Oduah.

Mr. Akinsanya also said that same was supported by a statement of her net worth, legal mortgage of two properties worth N135 billion, and a power of Attorney of the tanker vessel in favour of Sterling Bank.

Also in support was a fully executed standing payment order and tripartite remittance agreement between First Bank plc, Sterling Bank and Stella Oduah.

It was further averred that in June 27, 2013, Sea Petroleum Company requested and was granted additional facilities in the sum of about 450,000 dollars for post delivery expenses.

He said that also granted was about $993, 000 to meet the requisite conditions in securing the release of the tanker.

Also, he averred that upon the persistent failure of the defendants to liquidate their indebtedness, Sterling Bank instructed its counsels to recover the debt.

He said that in spite of several reminders, and demands, the defendants had failed and refused to liquidate their indebtedness which had culminated to $16.4 million, and about N100.5 million as at November 2016.

Mr. Akinsanya also averred that the defendants were also greatly indebted to a number of banks and had conceded a number of assets to AMCON who had stepped into the shoes of those banks.

He sais that there was imminent risk of the defendants dissipating the assets of the companies.

The plaintiff urged the court to grant the order restraining Stella Oduah and other directors of the companies from withdrawing money from the account of the companies domiciled with 21 banks pending the determination of the debt recovery suit.

In an ex -parte application filed and argued before the court by Mr. Balogun, he stated that it had been difficult to serve court processes on the defendants.

The judge, Abdulaziz Anka, consequently ordered that court processes be advertised in national newspapers.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Oduah and her companies urged the court to discharge the order made against them.

They also filed a preliminary objection to the suit and urged the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

Justice Anka fixed March 20 to decide whether or not to vacate the order.

Culled From Premium Times

Ailing President Buhari Speaks At Last In A Released Video
Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has become the latest high-profile political figure to talk with President Muhammadu Buhari, since he left for the UK on vacation.

Buhari called Ganduje during a special prayer session for the President, organized at the Government House in Kano.

This was confirmed by the Governor’s Personal Assistant on Media and Communication, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, on Twitter.

He wrote: “H.E @GovUmarGanduje just spoke to H.E @MBuhari on the phone live during a special prayer session at the government house Kano.

“H.E @MBuhari was on speaker phone and thanked H.E @GovUmarGanduje & the people of Kano for the prayers & said he is much better now.”

Watch Video Here:

17 Assorted Car Hid In Secret Wharehouse RECOVERED From Ex-Custom Boss, Inde
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 recovered seventeen exotic vehicles in a warehouse of the former Comptroller-General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko Inde, located at Nnamdi Azikwe Street, Kaduna.

The recovery was sequel to an intelligence report the Commission received that stolen money and properties suspected to be proceeds of crime were being warehoused at the former custom boss’ premises. Upon receipt of the intelligence, a team of operatives from the Kano Zonal Office of the EFCC were deployed to carry out the investigation on the matter.

On arrival at the location, two individuals who were identified to be the custodians of the property – Dantala Mohammed and Ahmed Balarabe were presented with a search warrant. In the course of the search, a total of seventeen vehicles among which are brand new cars, shuttle busses and SUVs were found in the premises.

Consequently, the vehicles and the two individuals were conveyed to the Commission’s zonal offices in Kaduna and Kano respectively. Investigation revealed that the warehouse in question actually belongs to the former customs boss.

Particulars of the vehicles recovered include:

Black colour BMW 525i series, 2010 model with chassis number WBAFR7108BC262936.

Ash colour Hyundai Velester, 2012 model with chassis number KMHTC6AD4CU056038.

Dark Blue BMW 325i, 2003 model with chassis number WBAEV31090KL48386.

Black colour Land Cruiser Prado Jeep, 2014 model with chassis number JTEBU3FJ50K082080.

Black colour Mercedes G wagon, 2013 model with chassis number WDB4632361X207661.

Black colour BMW 335i series, 2012 model with chassis number WBA3A91040F268895.

Silver colour Peugeot 406, 2002 model with chassis number VF3BBRFNR81519018.

Black colour Land Cruiser Prado Jeep, 2014 model with chassis number JTEBU3FJ10K082352.

Yellow colour Toyota FJ Jeep, 2007 model with chassis number JTEZU11F68K001301.

Black Toyota Avensis, 2013 model with chassis number SBIBL76L20E037245.

Dark ash colour KIA Cadenza, 2011 model with chassis number KNALN414BC5093288.

Silver colour Porsche Cayene, 2009 model with chassis number WPIZZZ9PZ9LA12738.

Golden colour Honda Accord, 2013 model with chassis number IHGCR2634DA620609.

White colour Nissan Urban Bus, 2006 model JNITF4E25Z0715833.

White colour Nissan Urban Bus, 1996 model with chassis number JTFJXO29P605023996.

White Toyota Hiace Bus, 2010 model with chassis number JTGJXO2P4B5020268.

White Nissan Bus, 2009 model with chassis number JNITA4E250011697.

The two suspects arrested are in custody assisting the EFCC in investigation.

Wilson Uwujaren

Head, Media & Publicity

More Photos of the cars:

17 Assorted Car Hid In Secret Wharehouse RECOVERED From Ex-Custom Boss, Inde

17 Assorted Car Hid In Secret Wharehouse RECOVERED From Ex-Custom Boss, Inde

Amidst uncertainty over the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Kashim  Shettima of Borno State has been tipped to replace the ailing President.

The Deputy Speaker of Borno House of Assembly, Danlami Kubo, said on Tuesday that his state governor, Kashim Shettima, should be the next man to rule Nigeria at the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, report according to Premium Times suggests.

The lawmaker said moves were being made to see that the candidacy of Mr. Shettima is accepted when the time comes for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to get President Buhari’s successor.

The Premium Times Detailed that he was not specific on whether his wish for Mr. Shettima to succeed Buhari would be in 2019 or beyond. The Borno governor has also not declared any intention to run for president, while Mr. Buhari has not declared if he would seek a second term or not.

Mr. Kubo, who has represented Shani constituency of Borno in the State House of Assembly since 2007, heads the assembly’s Women Affairs committee.

He made this declaration during the flag-off of a three day entrepreneurial training for 10,000 selected widows and displaced women, which was organised by the federal government.

The lawmaker told the crowd that Borno State has continued to enjoy much patronage from the federal government because of the “good leadership qualities” of Mr. Shettima.

“We are more than serious about this project”, he said. “Our governor has been very exemplary in his stewardship especially of a state that is faced with the daunting challenges of insurgency.”

“It is only few people that could remain calm and focused as chief executive of a state at a time when more than half of his state was being taken over by Boko Haram, millions of people displaced, thousands killed and properties worth billions of naira destroyed. And these are happening all through his tenure.

“And that did not make him shy away from his primary responsibility as well as other national responsibilities”.
The lawmaker said Mr. Shettima’s emergence as chairman of the 19 northern governors’ forum was an icing on his cake of eligibility to succeed President Buhari.

“Even as the chairman of the northern governors’ forum, His Excellency Governor Shettima has continued to shine as a true leader. Since he became the chairman of the NGF, the forum has been more organised and transformed. And this means that if he is given the opportunity to lead this country, he would do so effectively. Besides, from his achievements in Borno state speaks volume. He has never for once abdicated his roles even for once.

He said if given the chance to lead Nigeria, Mr. Shettima would not discriminate against anyone.
“Kashim Shettima has no kind of negative biases at all. He is a man that can unite this country and take it beyond the heights that out able President Buhari is taking us to now.

“He has shown us in Borno state that both Christians and Muslims are one; and he does that during all the festive seasons by visiting the Muslims and even the Christians in southern Borno during the Christmas time. That is the kind of leader we want to succeed our father, President Buhari.”

The Borno legislator also wanted more women involved in the state’s politics. He said as the chairman of the House committee on women affairs, he has been mobilising his colleagues and party leaders across the state to allow more women emerge as council chairmen in the coming council elections in the state.'

“Honestly, the population of women in Borno State is more than that of the men”, he said. “Even the ratio of women that turn out to cast votes in most elections are higher than that of the men.
“As a matter of fact, 75 per cent of voters, especially in the rural areas are women.”

The lawmaker said despite women’s population, it was unfair there was no female council chairman or lawmaker in the state.

“I have been doing it on personal level and now I am involving my other 27 colleagues in the state house of assembly, and they have all agreed to join me in this campaign. That is the only way we could better empower our women folks,” he said.
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