These are the top ten stories that drove conversation this week.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; the immediate past Governor of Kano, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and some political parties have been meeting as part of moves to strategise for the 2019 elections.
In one of such meetings, which held at Protea Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, Obasanjo was said to have met with 35 political parties under the aegis of the Coalition for New Nigeria.
Then, on Thursday, March 22, Obasanjo said the Coalition for Nigeria Movement has recorded over three million membership.
He disclosed this at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, at the 14th annual lecture of the Women in Management, Business, and Public Service.
He said, “The Coalition for Nigeria Movement is penetrating to the grassroots. And presently there are over three million members who had registered.”
On Monday, March 19, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris ordered the withdrawal of police officers attached to Very Important Persons (VIPs) and political office holders.
He said the directive also affected private businessmen, multi-national companies and other corporate organisations.
The IGP has, however, postponed the withdrawal to April 20.
A statement by the Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, in Abuja on Thursday, said the postponement followed the IG’s meeting with the Commanders of Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) and Special Protection Unit (SPU).
The Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) has predicted that Nigeria will be able to generate 100,000 megawatts of power by 2030.
The ECN director-general, Eli Bala, made this known in an interview with NAN.
He said the projection would be possible with an annual economic growth rate of seven percent and steady implementation of the national energy plan by the federal ministry of power, works and housing.
“With the incremental power programme; every time, every year, we must have an increment in power generation,” he said.
The Nigerian Police Force charged Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) and three others with criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms before a Federal High Court in Lokoja.
Police spokesman Jimoh Moshood, told newsmen that the case was filed on March 16, following the confession of a “wanted criminal” that the Senator gave him arms and cash.
Moshood said the Senator failed to cooperate with the police investigators having failed to report for questioning even after the Police wrote to Senate President Bukola Saraki seeking the release of the Senator to answer to the allegations.
Still on Melaye, the Kogi State Independent National Electoral Commission announced dates for the commencement of the recall process of the embattled Senator.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof. James Apam, said following the appeal court ruling that INEC can commence the recall process, the commission has fixed the last Saturday of April as the verification date.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Monday, said N100 billion and a separate $289 million were embezzled by officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, a few weeks to the 2015 elections.
Osinbajo made this known while speaking at the 7th Quarterly Business Forum (QBF) held at the State House, Abuja.
The Vice President, who spoke to a cross section of stakeholders in the Nigerian business and economy circle, said the strategic alliance contracts signed by the Jonathan government with the NNPC and NDPC were used to embezzle money by the promoters.
He said, “In one single transaction, a few weeks to the elections in 2015, the sum of N100 billion and $289 million in cash were embezzled by a few. When you consider that in 2014, when oil prices were an average of $110 per barrel, only N99 billion was spent on Power, Works and Housing, and in one day, N100 billion was issued and people essentially shared it and N99 billion was spent on Power, Works and Housing. When we talk about our economy, we talk about it like it is normal but it is abnormal by every standard, completely abnormal. Nobody should talk about the economy when you have these huge leakages and corruption; corruption that makes what you allocate to capital and infrastructure nonsense.”
In reaction, Reno Omokri, aide to former president Goodluck Jonathan accused Osinbajo of lying.
“It is sad that the vice-president has again surrendered his lips to Satan to be used to spread slander and lies. Nigerians may recall that lying is the most consistent achievement of professor Osinbajo’s almost three years as vice-president,” Omokri said.
Former label mates, Don Jazzy and D’Banj have announced a reunion tour by their defunct label, Mo’hits Records.
On their Instagram pages, the artistes posted a video hinting at a tour, with Don Jazzy’s caption as “@iambangalee How many states/countries should we give them?”.
The Mo’hits crew reunited and performed together for the first time after the label’s breakup at Davido’s 30 billion concert in 2017.
One of the police officers accused of killing six persons in Apo, Abuja, in 2005, Danjuma Ibrahim has been promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG).
He was decorated with the new rank on Monday, March 19, at the force headquarters in Abuja.
Ibrahim and five other police officers had been accused of killing some persons, including five traders, on June 7, 2005.
In November 2017, he was controversially acquitted alongside two others by a federal high court in Abuja, after pleading not guilty to the charges.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has declared that the nation cannot survive without the Northern region.
ACF Chairman Ibrahim Coomassie stated this when the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Forum received leaders of the foremost northern women socio-cultural organisation, Jam’iyya Matan Arewa (JMA), in Kaduna.
Coomassie said: “We all know that without the North, Nigeria can never survive. We still stand by it. But now is the time to walk the talk in the interest of our people.
“Chibok girls are still missing. Now it has gone to Dapchi in Yobe State. What happened? Are we always going to be the victims? Boko Haram; see what they did to the Northeast. They have spread over to the Northcentral and even to the southern part of the country.
“Should we continue to be regarded in the negative side? No. We are leaders in our own right and we must exercise this responsibility for our people”.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed confirmed that Boko Haram terrorists have released 104 schoolgirls and a boy abducted from Dapchi, Yobe.
The Minister said the Federal Government did not give money to the insurgents for the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls.
One of the abducted schoolgirls narrated how five of them died of heart attack and stress caused by the trauma of the abduction while in custody of the insurgents.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he is dedicated to the rescue of the remaining schoolgirl in captivity.
Also, the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Lawal Daura, recalled that the president had given “a clear directive to security agencies to use peaceful options to ensure the timely and safe release of the girls”.
This, he said, led to “intense behind-the-scene dialogue spearheaded by the Department of State Services”.
Daura said the insurgents’ only condition was their demands for suspension of hostilities and temporary ceasefire to enable them return the girls at the point they picked them.
Co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, says the execution process of the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) does not reflect the needs of Nigerians.
The ERGP is a medium-term document launched by the President Buhari administration in 2017 to restore the nation’s economic status after it was hit by its worst recession in 29 years.
Gates made this statement while speaking at the expanded national economic council presided over by Osinbajo on Thursday.
“Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad. One in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished,” he said.