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Ortom to Presidency: I wonder what they smoke at the Villa



•Governor Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has slammed Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, following comments made by the latter on the governor for faulting approaches to ongoing war against insecurity in the country.

In response to Gov Ortom’s revelation that some high ranking military officials, confided in him that, President Buhari warned them against repelling attacks on armed herdsmen, Garba Shehu had said Ortom “expects the country to believe Nigeria’s top security personnel would share high level confidential information with him. To be clear, they do not”.

Reacting to the utterances of the Presidential spokesman, Principal Special Assistant (New Media) to Governor Ortom, Raymond Magen took Shehu to the cleaners, insisting that well-meaning Nigerians know the governor as a man who does not make baseless comments on sensitive issues.

In a statement titled, “Ortom’s revelation cannot be waved away: A response to Garba Shehu,” Mr. Magen noted that “while being a weak line in the hope of making a rebuttal of the governor’s revelation, it smacks of ignorance to make the claim generally, that, Nigeria’s top security personnel would not share confidential information with a state governor. To be clear: on a number of cases, they do. And for a state governor battling with herdsmen attacks, it’s a no brainer, he must have feedback from all security outfits involved in arresting the herder attacks. And such feedback always includes “off record” or ‘don’t quote me’, information.”

He continued: “But then, Shehu would also add that, if indeed Gov Ortom is saying the truth, he should “name names”. In Garba’s words: “Let him name the military personnel who told him this story”.

“I once wrote that, I wonder what they smoke there at the villa. Garba’s outing here reinforces my curiosity.  If Garba expects Ortom to give out the identities of people who give him information on their devilish plans, he’s clearly overrated. It’s sufficient that they know, the Governor and the country now knows of this order that has long been widely thought of as, merely the body language of the President. It’s worse. It’s now a communicated order.

“In phrasing the title for his State House press release on the subject, Shehu coined it “Ortom’s lies insults nation’s security system”. An alternative title more befitting, I might add, would be “Ortom’s revelation helps in understanding the emboldened attacks on communities by armed herdsmen.

“This is especially so because, one can now make better sense of the prevalence on the one hand, of gun wielding herdsmen freely moving across the country and the shoot on sight order for possessors of AK 47 – the latter, being a so-called Presidential order.

“There is now, a guided understanding to how particular weapons are strangely withdrawn from battle fields wherein their use was mostly responsible for inflicting high number casualties on enemies of state. It addresses our curiosities (Ortom’s revelation) on strange military tactics like sending out numbered personnel to battle fields with weapons that, easily gathered intelligence already points to possession of way higher grade weaponry by the enemy. It addresses our sense of wonder and helps our appreciation of the many puzzles on bizarre military responses with regards timing, armed levels, personnel numbers, reluctance or refusal to go after known targets/camps, etc.

“To have as President, someone with a military background, should ordinarily assure of their loyalty to country, their broad mindedness and triumph over such common prejudices as ethnicity, religion, region etc. Instead, we have a soldier who embraces vulnerabilities in these areas and presides over country with every security decision and appointment influenced by these parochial leanings. Shame!

“It does point to a deep sense of dissatisfaction, frustration, when high placed military personnel begin to reveal unpopular orders. When these reveals do not lead to reviews and then reversals, options available as resorts are considered and they may not be pleasant options. Ortom’s revelation can not be waved aside,” the statement read.

Mr. Magen signed off the statement with a quote by former American President, Barack Obama who in 2004 said, “When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they are gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.“ (Vanguard)

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New State lawmaker appoints 14 aides



Ondo lawmaker Chris Ayebusiwa
A first–time Ondo lawmaker Chris Ayebusiwa has announced the appointment of 14 aides.

Seven of the newly appointees are to work as legislative aides while seven others would work at the Ward level of the party.

Ayebusiwa was among the 26 lawmakers that took oath of office into the 10th Assembly at the weekend.

He said the appointments was to ensure smooth running of office.

Among those appointed were: Monday Akinsulere as Senior Legislative Aide; Femi Olawoye as Personal Assistant; Morayo Itiolu as Special Assistant Women & Girl Child Affairs; Kehinde Akinyemi as Special Assistant, Media & Advocacy; Joshua Akindoyo as Special Assistant, Youth & Mobilisation; Ayo Olowoselu as Special Assistant, Special Duties and Osedele Gbenga as Special Assistant, Party Affairs.

Others are: Adebayo Saheed, Obolo Morenike, Idowu Fasalejo, Simeon Adedeji, Atinuke Arikawe, Koya Mewaye and Mrs Ayebuola.

He urged the appointees to put communal interest above their personal comfort and advised them to work toward achieving improved status for the constituency.

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Gunmen kidnap UNIZIK student



Revd. Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara, abducted
A student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State who is also a Catholic Priest, Revd. Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara, has been abducted by gunmen.

The student, who was abducted over the weekend, was said to be returning home from school when the gunmen ambushed and whisked him away to an unknown destination.

It was also gathered that the victim is a clergyman working with the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi.

Announcing the victim’s abduction in a press statement, the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Rev. Fr. Raphael Ezeogu identified the abducted priest as Rev. Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara.

He further called for insistent prayers to ensure the safety and immediate release of the abducted clergy.

“Our priest, Rev. Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara, a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, was kidnapped Friday evening, on his way from Awka to Nnewi.

“Let’s storm heaven with humble and insistent prayers for his quick release in sound health of mind and body. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Help of Christians, pray with and for us,” he said.

Efforts to receive the reaction of the Police Public Relations in Anambra State, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, proved abortive, as his phone number was not connecting.

It would be recalled that another UNIZIK student, Sylvester Mercy Chinomso (Mesi Sylvia) of the of Parasitology and Entomology Department, was sometime ago abducted  by unknown gunmen.  She was  abducted along with her sister.

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PSC to elevate junior Police lawyers, others



Dr Solomon Arase, Cheirman PSC

…Says Commission will review their status, place them properly

The Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Dr. Solomon Arase, former Inspector General of Police has promised to look into the status of qualified lawyers serving in the Nigeria Police Force and appearing in Courts with the ranks of Corporals, Sergeants and Inspectors.

He also said the cases of other junior Police Officers who acquired additional certificates in other disciplines while in service will also receive the attention of the Commission.

Dr. Arase noted that this will give the Officers the required self confidence to perform better.

He spoke in Abuja when he received in audience the leadership of the Unity Bar, (Nigerian Bar Association Abuja branch).
Bar. Afam Okeke Chairman of the Association who led the delegation had complained that Lawyers who came into the Police as Junior Officers but improved their qualifications are currently appearing and defending cases in Courts for the Nigeria Police Force but still wearing junior ranks.

The PSC Chairman told the delegation that the Commission may decide to send these categories of Police Lawyers and other junior Police Officers with additional qualifications on a short Service training after which they would be properly placed as Officers.

He said the Nigeria Police needs the services of more Lawyers stressing that the Commission will come out with a decision that will leave all parties in a win-win situation.

Dr. Arase used the opportunity of the courtesy visit to call on the Nigerian Bar Association to advise practising Lawyers to stop criminalising civil matters.

“It is wrong and should be discouraged, civil matters should be treated as civil matters and arbitration should serve the parties and the society better.

“We should avoid time wasting in criminalising civil matters and sending them to the Police when it can be better handled outside of the Police,” he noted.

Dr. Arase called for a robust legal system in Nigeria that inspires the citizens to seek for redress and justice. He noted that Offenders must be arrested and prosecuted to restore confidence in the system.

He informed his visitors that the Commission is setting up a Compliance Monitoring Unit to ensure the Police Complaints Response Units promptly attends to public complaints.

This new Unit, he said will be directly under his supervision for effectiveness and efficiency. The Commission according to him will henceforth ensure that it prevents a system that does not attend to public complaints.

Dr. Arase also spoke of the Commission’s desire to collaborate with the Nigeria Bar Association and organise some training programmes on human rights so as to expose its staff Lawyers to a better appreciation of its duties.

He promised the participation of the Commission and its Staff Lawyers in the Law Week of the Abuja branch and the National body’s convention in Abuja.

Bar. Okeke, the Chairman of the Unity Bar had earlier congratulated the PSC Chairman on his appointment and pledged the Union’s support.

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