Why National Confab Can’t Be Sovereign

THE Senate has warned that holding a Sovereign National Conference, SNC, could lead to anarchy in the country. Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate leader, made the declaration while receiving Femi Okuroumu’s presidential advisory committee on behalf of David Mark, Senate president, at the new Senate building in Abuja, on Tuesday, October 22.

Ekweremadu said: “When we hear people talking about Sovereign National Conference, there must be a legal framework for it. You don’t wake up one day, when you have constitutional constituents in place, and begin to say you want a Sovereign National Conference to impose the will of some people on everybody without a legal basis for what they are doing. That means we are calling for anarchy. So, we believe that we can now work together to make this work and at the end, it will not be an effort in futility.”


The Senate leader promised that the National Assembly would do everything possible to ensure the amendment of Section nine of the constitution that would empower the confab to produce a new constitution for Nigerians. He said it now behoved on the National Assembly to provide the necessary legal framework that would support the outcome of both the committee and the one after it.

“We envisage that from works that were done over these years that a day such as this would come. We proposed to our colleagues a possible amendment to section nine of the constitution that would provide a legal basis to a possible new constitution” he said. Ekweremadu expressed optimism that the conference committee would create the framework for the constitutional conference, to provide intellectual background that “would enable those who will have the conversation to do something that is seamless.”

Okurounmu said the main job of his committee was to consult widely with all Nigerians in respect of the proposed National Conference particularly on what should be the agenda of the conference. He said the committee would also decide the size, duration and how membership of the conference should be chosen and what should be the legal basis of the conference and the transmission of its outcome to Nigerians.

Akpabio Heads PDP Fund Committee


THE crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, appears to be taking its toll on its finances. On Wednesday, October 23, Bamanga Tukur, national chairman of the party, appealed to Godswill Akpabio and Ibrahim Shema, governors of Akwa Ibom and Katsina states respectively, to help raise funds for the party.

Speaking at the inauguration of the party’s national finance committee headed by the two governors as chairman and deputy chairman respectively, in Abuja, Tukur asked the members of the committee to move round the country and also appealed to the PDP supporters to donate money to the party. Tukur told members of the committee, who were all given letters of appointment, that the party needed money to continue with some of its projects especially its national secretariat complex located at the Central Business District, Abuja. Members of the committee included Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate president, two ministers, representatives of the six geo-political zones and some members of the National Working Committee of the party.


“This committee is going to appeal to our members, people of goodwill to come and support us so that our party will continue to do its good works. I, therefore, charge you to help this party mobilise members in order to do our works like the building of our national secretariat,” he said.

On behalf of the committee, Akpabio assured Tukur that members would work as a team. “I am emphasising the word ‘team’ because I know that the problem we had in the recent past was that the National Working Committee of our party did not work as a team, but Mr. Chairman today, with the support of all the party faithful across Nigeria, we believe strongly that today we have a team,” the governor said.

Army Smokes Out Boko Haram

NO fewer than 37 members of Boko Haram were killed in a military raid carried out in the eastern part of Borno State, on Monday, October 21. The Nigerian Army said the Boko Haram members were killed during a coordinated raid and air strikes by its troops and Nigeria Air Force on a camp located at Alagarno, around Konduga-Damboa in the state. According to the military, the raid was made possible through intelligence report about the hideout of the group and subsequently launched a fierce attack, with the collaboration of the men of the Nigerian Air Force from the 79 Composite Group on Monday, killing at least 37 of the sect members.


“Based on available intelligence, troops of the 7 Division of Nigerian Army launched an attack on the Boko Haram camp located in Alagarno. The operation, which commenced on Monday 21, 2013, involved a coordinated ground and air assault by troops of 7 Division, in conjunction with 79 Composite Group of the Nigerian Air Force, Maiduguri, which destroyed the terrorists’ camp. A total of 37 terrorists were killed in the fire-fight, while several others fled with gunshot wounds,” Aliyu Danja, a captain and acting deputy director, Army Public Relations, DDAPR, of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, said in statement on Tuesday, October 22.

Danja said some arms and ammunition were recovered after the operation, while three Hilux vehicles and many motorcycles, believed to be owned by the terrorists were destroyed by the military troops. Meanwhile, the army started aggressive patrols of all highways in the North East part of the country on October 22, to stop the Boko Haram terrorist group from attacking and killing innocent travellers along the axis. According to reports, terrorists have taken over some major routes in the North East, attacking, maiming and killing innocent road travellers. Some travellers were reportedly slaughtered by members of the dreaded group, setting their vehicles ablaze and robbing their victims of their valuables.

Ibrahim Attahiru, a brigadier-general and director, Army Public Relations, promised that Boko Haram killings on the highways would soon come to an end, as troops from the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army had fully taken charge of the situation. Attahiru said an attempt by the group to attack Gamborou-Ngala village on October, 19, using propelled grenades and AK47, rifles was foiled by soldiers who promptly engaged them and killed a good number, while others escaped into Fotokol, in Cameroon.

House Report Exonerates Amaechi

THE House of Representatives has absolved Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State of flouting aviation regulations to warrant the grounding of his aircraft.  The lawmakers made the pronouncement based on the report of its panel during a plenary, on Wednesday, October 23. The state-owned Bombadier B700 Global Express jet was grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, in Akure in April, this year, by the NCAA, claiming that rules were breached.

But the House aligned with the recommendations and the report of its joint Committee on Justice and Aviation, which absolved Amaeachi of any wrong doing. Rather, it admonished the NCAA to be professional in its activities and also recommended that Caverton Helicopters that was involved in the registration of the aircraft, be prosecuted for misleading the aviation regulatory agency.


Ali Ahmad, chairman of the committee, said the reasons canvassed by the NCAA for grounding the plane were false. According to him, more than 70 per cent of private aircraft operating in the country were registered abroad, just as the Rivers’ aircraft was registered in the United States, US. The committee’s report recommended in part that: “The House should request the Attorney General and Minister for Justice to consider prosecuting Caverton Helicopters for misleading the NCAA to illegally ground the aircraft. For providing information that led the authorities to wrongly believe that Rivers State government falsified documents thereby leading to the grounding of its aircraft, the Attorney General is requested to consider prosecuting Caverton Helicopters under the provisions of section 36 (4) Civil Aviation Act. C13, 2004.”

The report said further that the Rivers State government should be allowed to comply with the necessary conditions for granting of all required permits and licences to the Rivers state owned Bombadier B700 Global Express Registration Number N565Rs. It urged the ministry of aviation to desist from undue interference in the day-to-day operations of the aviation regulatory authorities as envisaged by the law. “Aviation regulatory authorities are urged to operate professionally and ensure compliance with international best practices in the industry,” the report quoted.

The NCAA, in grounding the plane in April, had said in a statement: “By our records, the last flight clearance for this aircraft was approved for operation on Thursday, March 28, 2013 on Accra—PH–Accra and to terminate on April 2, 2013. With this development, the aircraft has exceeded the extra two days or 48 hours leeway for it to leave the country.

“While still operating illegally, the aircraft has been sighted in several places including Owerri and Akure. The owner of this aircraft according to the Certificate of Registration is Bank of Utah Trustee of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The clearance for the aircraft was sought by Caverton Helicopters on March 27, 2013. Consequently, this aircraft in reference is hereby grounded at any airport that is located right now in the country.”

— Nov. 4, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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