These are the stories that drove conversation this week.
After months of widespread rumours that Muhammadu Buhari has a clone and the one leading the country is an impostor from Sudan – named Jubril, the President replied a question from the Nigerian community in Poland saying he was the real one and the people that started peddling the story only wanted him dead.
The rumour started with IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who later said he never mentioned that President Buhari has a clone but that the one sitting in Aso Rock is an impostor and the real one is dead.
Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and the Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs) gave the federal government a seven-day ultimatum – ending today – to settle outstanding debts totalling N800 billion, failing which depots would cease operation across the country.
Legal Adviser to IPPI, Patrick Etim said that banks have taken over investments and assets of oil marketers over unpaid debts, adding that “the only way to salvage the situation is for government to pay the oil marketers the outstanding debts through cash option instead of a promissory note being proposed.
Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, who also confirmed the seven-day ultimatum notice, said that the oil marketers on November 28 served the ultimatum letter on the Debt Management Office (DMO), Minister of Finance, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Department of State Services (DSS) and Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
The Nigerian Army said it has yet received the $1 billion to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) in 2017, to fight insurgency and other security challenges in the country.
Army Spokesman, Sani Usman said the money is still being processed, adding, however, that the arms and ammunition procured over the last two to three years is being used judiciously by the armed forces.
“People should understand also that this is a democratic system in which procurement and of course funding of defense-related issues takes such a long time,” he said.
The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka attacked the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Peter Obi, saying they might “end in shame” with the way they are going.
As seen in a YouTube video, the Catholic priest said this after Obi who attended the programme alongside other politicians from the South East, failed to make a donation at the ministry’s 2018 harvest and bazaar celebration.
In a statement by his media aide, Val Obienyem, the former Anambra governor who disclosed that he didn’t feel bad about the statement, said it is “wrong for priests to be attacked based on what they said on the pulpits,” stressing that “while one may disagree with him, we should always acknowledge that he speaks and acts from the higher perspective of wisdom.“
The statement further noted that Obi does not interpret the comments of Fr. Mbaka the way several observers do, adding that every situation, however unpleasant, has positive lessons for us. “Please let us leave Fr. Mbaka alone, our duty to him is prayers for God to lead him aright.”
Staff of the National Assembly, under the aegis of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), shut lawmakers out of the premises in a protest over unpaid salaries and allowances, vowing not to back down until they received notification of payment.
The workers said the Clerk of the Assembly, Sani Omolori, is a contractor’ ‘killing staff with poor condition of service’.
In reaction, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in a statement and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara directed the National Assembly Management Committee headed by Omolori, to resolve all issues raised by protesting members of staff and report back to them by Friday, stressing that it was important for the workers to be well motivated.
“They added that the constitution of the National Assembly Service Commission which the workers demanded will be made available before Friday,” the statement read.
Leaving Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar, Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, has said that President Buhari will go nowhere if he remains ungrateful to the ministry.
Mbaka who made the disclosure during the ministry’s 2018 harvest and bazaar celebration, before Kano Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, who represented Buhari at the event, accused the president of abandoning the ministry despite the support and the prophecy about his victory in 2015.
As seen in a video clip, the priest stressed that he was almost assassinated for supporting Buhari.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), in reaction to the outburst, described the altercation as shameful.
A statement signed by the Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, said the incident did not have the support of the CBCN, and that the stand of the Catholic Church on August 7, 2018, saying that priests should remain apolitical and must not support or subscribe to any political party has not changed.
The Nigerian Army said eight soldiers were confirmed dead in an attack on its base in Buni Gari, Yobe, by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) – a faction of Boko Haram.
“Eight of our gallant troops paid the supreme price while over 10 Boko Haram terrorists were killed by the troops during the encounter,” Army spokesman Brig. General Sani Usman said.
Similarly, the Nigerian Police has refuted media reports that 50 of its officers were killed by bandits in Zamfara, but admitted it lost 16 men in the incident.
The police said a search and rescue operation by a Police Joint Intervention Force, found 20 policemen alive and 16 men killed, adding that 85 suspects were arrested in the massive operation after a daredevilry ambush by the criminals.
Wife of the president, Aisha Buhari is back in the news and, this time she alleged that two powerful personalities in government are behind the slow pace of the country’s development under the current administration.
“I have realised that Senator Babafemi Ojodu, Special Adviser, Political, to the President, and Dr Hajo Sani, and wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, are not comfortable with my saying this and want me to confine myself to my prepared speech but we must say the truth,” she said.
She did not mention the names of the ‘powerful persons,’ but the president’s wife urged Nigerian women to rise and fight and also appealed to the women to ensure victory for the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration in 2019.
The Chairman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and a former Governor of Osun, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola announced that 45 other opposition parties adopted the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar as its candidate in the 2019 elections.
Oyinlola declared that, “after a painstaking assessment of what we have across the coalition parties and after processing the candidates’ suitability, using these criteria, the steering committee, hereby, submits that a former vice president and candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is the best and his party the most virile of all the options before us.”
Although, about three political parties under the coalition dissociated themselves from the announcement.
SDP National Publicity Secretary, Mohammed Alfa said the party was not part of the endorsement as it already has a candidate, Donald Duke, whose name had been submitted to INEC for the 2019 election, while KOWA party stressed that, being a party that stands for transparency and accountability, considers the CUPP process largely flawed and quite dubiously executed, and as such had nothing to do with it.
Also, the Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN) rejected the endorsement and, said his party’s leaders were also not part of the resolution reached at the meeting.
President Buhari, for the fourth time, declined assent to the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill and has returned it to the National Assembly.
In the letter to both chambers of the National Assembly, Buhari said passing a new bill with elections close by could ‘create some uncertainty about the legislation to govern the process.’
He also highlighted some parts of the bill that he said need legislative action.