Anambrarians go to the polls to elect their governor today; EFCC arrests ex-SGF over ecological fund & money laundering; Reps summon fugitive ex-pension boss over illegal reinstatement & promotion; FG raises panel to probe death of 26 Nigerian girls on Mediterranean sea; Soldiers pursued truck loaded with weapons into Kanu’s home — Buratai . . .
Anambra voters are going to the voting booths to vote for their governor today. Today’s election in Anambra will go down as one of the most anticipated and controversial governorship elections in the history of Nigeria.
Already, it has set a record of being the governorship election with the highest number of candidates (37) in Nigeria’s electoral history. The state has ben plagued by godfatherism, zoning, political vendetta and the hanging IPOB threat to boycott the election. Those are some of the indices expected to play out in today’s polls with over 2.1 million registered voters.
The reason this election is holding today and not in 2019 with most other states is rooted in the controversial nature of Anambra politics which goes back to the 2003 Anambra governorship election. The PDP under ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo hatched the perfect heist that snatched the mandate of the then winner, Peter Obi of APGA.
Godfathered Chris Ngige emerged winner but It took three years of court battles for Mr. Obi to win back his mandate. Dr. Ngige was sacked by the Court of Appeal in March 2006 and Mr. Obi was sworn in two days later as the governor of Anambra state. Low turnout loomed yesterday as the IPOB threats to boycott the polls provoke anxiety for today’s voting. President Muhammad Buhari ordered the immediate reinstatement of the security detail removed from Governor Willie Obiano – which had been earlier withdrawn by the IGP of Police.
EFCC agents on Thursday afternoon arrested and detained a former former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Ayim Pius Animi after he failed to honor a 10 am appointment by the agency. Sources on Friday said the EFCC detailed how Sen. Anyim used firms in which he had interest to award contracts to the tune of ₦13 billion from the Ecological Fund Account domiciled in his SGF’s office.
The agency also questioning the ex-SGF on how he collected the sum of ₦520 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.) on the eve of the 2015 Presidential election; and also grilled him on false asset declaration. According to sources, EFCC agents, on storming the ex-SGF’s house, and armed with a Warrant, immediately executed a search on his property during which they recovered documents relevant to their investigation.
Fugitive ex-chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, is expected to appear next week before the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives panel investigating his controversial readmission into the federal civil service and promotion.
The ex-pension boss is still on the EFCC wanted list. Hon. Aliyu Madaki-led ad hoc committee confirmed that Maina may at the long run appear before the committee next week. The lawmaker also confirmed that Maina’s lawyer, Muhammad Sani Katu, of the Justice Mamman Nasir Chamber, had reportedly made some initial representation to the committee, ahead of Maina’s expected appearance next week.
The Federal Government has set up a cabinet committee to examine the circumstances of the death of 26 teenage Nigerian migrant girls found dead in the Mediterranean sea in early November. A Presidency source on Friday debunked the allegations that the government had not reacted to the death of the girls believed to have drowned at sea.
He said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has kept it sights on the issue and had briefed the Presidency on a regular basis since the the time the tragic incident came to limelight. The official said the government committee is expected to also examine the reports of incidents of the sale of Nigerian citizens through slavery and report to the Federal Executive Council within the week.
The 26 Nigerian migrants who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean sea were buried on Friday in Italy. The BBC had reported that majority of the victims were teenagers, with some as young as 14 years old.
Their corpses were found on a Spanish warship Cantabria which was also carrying hundreds of other migrants, including other Nigerian survivors.Thecommittee has as members: the Ministers of Women Affairs, Youths, Foreign Affairs; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora.
According to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, Nigerian soldiers pursued a truck loaded with weapons into the family home of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in Abia state. It was reported In September that some people were injured after soldiers and members of IPOB clashed in and around Kanu’s family home.
The army later raided the house and since then, Kanu’s whereabouts remain unknown. Gen. Buratai said the truck laden with weapons was “deliberately ignited” by IPOB members after soldiers tried to arrest its fleeing occupants.
The COAS said, inter alia:
“. . . It was the legitimate attempt by the officers and men of the Nigerian Army to arrest the fleeing occupants of the truck and impound the truck that precipitated the deliberate igniting of the ammunition in the truck by persons now believed to be IPOB members.
The act of the IPOB members resulted in sporadic explosions within the said applicant’s compound. The applicant (Kanu) is not and has [never been] in our custody nor in the custody of any person, officer or institution receiving instruction directly or indirectly from him.
The applicant was not at any time whatsoever arrested, taken into custody or detained by the officers and men of the Nigerian army . . .”