Archive for December 16th, 2012

December 16, 2012

Azazi, Yakowa Tragedy: Crashed Navy Helicopter Had ‘Engine Failure’ After 10 Trips

Azazi, Yakowa Tragedy: Crashed Navy Helicopter Had ‘Engine Failure’ After 10 Trips

The Nigeria navy executive Agusta 109E helicopter, which crashed yesterday killing Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, former NSA Andrew Owoye Azazi and four others, had engine failure, naval sources have said.
SaharaReporters learned that the pilot of the helicopter communicated with the control tower in Port Harcourt to report the problem before it crashed to the ground and caught fire. The chopper belonged to the Nigeria navy, but it had been placed at the exclusive service of the president in the Niger Delta region.
The navy has had three Agusta 109E helicopters.  In 2007, one of them crashed due to bad weather as it approached the Owerri airport in the night, accompanying INEC election materials. Four persons died in the crash.
 The other two, NN07 and NN08, which actively worked the Bayelsa airspace yesterday, were commissioned in 2009.  
Sources told SaharaReporters that the choppers had been placed almost exclusively at the service of President Goodluck Jonathan and his cronies, which is the reason why they were deployed to carry VIPs to and from the Port Harcourt International Airport for a private burial event of presidential aide Oronto Douglas that had no official value.
Prior to yesterday’s deadly flight, the naval choppers also carried VIPs to the funeral of President Jonathan’s brother, Meni, less than two weeks ago.
At the time of the crash, the helicopter had reportedly done 10 shuttle trips between Port Harcourt and the burial place of Mr. Douglas’s father in Okoroba. Landing and taking off from the soccer field of a decrepit local school in the town.
The flight was reportedly the last one, but the engine failed some ten minutes after takeoff, leading to the fatal crash.
President Jonathan, who had earlier attended an overnight “Holy Ghost Congress” at the Redeemed Church of God on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway then issued a terse statement which revealed the names of crash victims and the usual promise that a probe of the crash will be conducted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jonathan has ordered two new luxury helicopters from the same manufacturer, AgustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian helicopter company based in Italy. The two AW 101 VIP helicopters will cost Nigeria $40 million.  In 2010, Mr. Jonathan ordered three presidential jets as soon as he took office.

December 16, 2012

I Once Spent N14million On A Handbag –Barbara Juliano

I Once Spent N14million On A Handbag –Barbara Juliano

Indeed, Barbara Juliano has seen it all in the modelling world. She walks with a gait that promptly tells you she was born to be a model.

She is about six feet tall, slim but fleshy in the right places and possesses that unusual look of models.
She rhapsodises: “I started modelling in Paris at 17 while on holidays with a close friend. I was still in school then. He was a model and I used to accompany him to modelling agencies for casting.
I gradually joined in the model castings, did a few commercials on a part time basis and before I knew it, by 18, I was already a full time model. I did more jobs abroad than in Nigeria, modelling in London, Paris and Italy.
“I featured in quite a number of television commercials, editorial and magazine shoots for several high end products like Olay, Diesel jeans, Dolce and Gabbana, Lux etc. After giving in my all to modelling for 15 years, I gradually began my slow descent. This I did from 2005 through 2008 when I finally stopped. Then, I faced my shoe business.”
Explaining her decision for venturing into the retail of high end shoes, Barbara who runs Rose Barbara, a shoe company in Lagos, says it was borne out of a passion. Moreover, she considers modelling to go hand-in-hand with the art of wearing accessories.
“I believe that there is no modelling without shoes. No model goes on the runway barefooted. Their feet are always encased most times in stilettos which help to give one the needed gait. Oftentimes, the shoes are an advertisement on their own. So, I didn’t just start selling shoes, I became a personal shopper because people trusted my judgment on items that I picked out for them. That was after I stopped modelling.
“I am very particular about what I retail, I can tell the history of each pair of designer shoes that I retail. The modelling world really helped me to have a better understanding of what shoes are all about. My love for shoes knows no bounds. I collect shoes and I personally have a minimum of 200 pairs! That is how bad my obsession for shoes is. My husband sees my interest in the shoe business as an opportunity to acquire more pairs for myself and I don’t think he is far from the truth.”
Aside the shoe business, she has since diversified into luxurious hair retailing and also runs an African restaurant in London.
Born 37 years ago, Juliano who hails from Ikong, Cross River State, recalls her growing up years was fun filled especially as it spanned three cities— Cross Rivers State, Paris and Italy.
“Memories of my days in Cross Rivers State, especially during the holidays are so deeply etched that I sometimes crave for them. We would go to Obudu cattle ranch to have fun; horse riding, mountain climbing, and watch the water falls etc. My parents are avid believers in fun filled holidays.”
Turning out to be a success at her numerous ventures didn’t come to her on a platter of gold as she did have her trying period in her early days as a model.
“I dropped out from the University of Calabar, where I had enrolled to study Sociology. That was two years to my graduating year. I wanted to face my modelling career squarely,” she reminisces.
But with a father, who is a medical doctor and a mother who is an English graduate from Oxford University, didn’t she face stiff opposition at home?
She replies: “Nigeria is one country with people who are very particular about paper qualifications. Naturally, there was an outcry when I took that decision. My parents were to say the least, miffed at my action. I was strongly opposed but I was hell bent on pursuing a modelling career because that was what I loved and wanted to do at that time.
“I did all I could to assuage their feelings by constantly showing them my finished works. I wanted to prove that I had retained my decency while still modelling. But they had their beliefs and concluded that I was fooling around. It took a while before they finally came around to give me their blessings. I am persuaded that modelling is innate because even as a little child, the traits were very evident in me. I sometimes wonder where I got the passion for modelling from considering my background. My other family members are known for being quite cerebral. Ironically, my younger sister is now toeing my path.”
Now, she is in her parents’ shoes and feels what they felt many years back. Now, older and wiser, she constantly insists that her younger sister completes her education even as she (Barbara) also plans to complete her education.
“I have to, it isn’t like I need it right away but I will definitely. I believe I owe it to myself. When I decide to, it will be in a streamlined course in luxury management since that is my area of core competence,” she explains.
Barbara would tell you she prefers white men whenever issues of romance are raised.
“I prefer white men because I think they are more loving and respectful to women. I was once married to a French man for eight years but it didn’t work out. Now, I am married to the love of my life— an Italian. I have been with my husband for four years but we have been married for two years with a daughter. We met in Milan, Italy. He is a very understanding and humble person and I consider myself a very lucky woman to have him as a husband.”
Asked if she has any plan to give back to society through mentorship, Barbara quips that is no longer on her plate. At least currently but could be considered in the near future.
“I once imparted knowledge from my wealth of experience to young up and coming models while I was still a model and even set up an academy called, Amazon Modelling Academy. I shut down when I stopped modelling,” she says.
Models are considered stylish. Not far from one, she defines her style as unique but corrects that, “I will never be caught dead in a mini skirt or dress!”
She is a designer freak too. Hear her collection: “For shoes, I currently love Zannoti, Valentino and Cavalli. I am not very particular about the designers of the dresses I wear, as long as they are beautiful dresses.
For bags, it is Channel and Birkins. Oh! I love bags too and I have lost count of the regular bags that I have. I do have about 14 high end bags like Hermes Birkins, Channels etc. In fact, I once spent €68,000 for a hand bag. After shoes, my fashion fetish is bags.”
Her life’s philosophy is simple: Respect for people and loyalty. “Sometimes I wish I didn’t have friends having gone through some disappointments in life with friends”, she concludes.

December 16, 2012

General Azazi’s Final Hour By Ross Alabo-George

General Azazi's Final Hour By Ross Alabo-George

It was just a few minutes to 13.00hours and the service of songs was in session when our chartered Caverton helicopter landed in ancient breezy coastal community of Okoroba, hometown of Mr. Oronto Douglas, a senior aide to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. I had flown with my Uncle, Engr. Mayne David-West, Principal Consultant of Pearl Consultants, and George Kerley, Coordinator of The Jonathan Project and an unrepentant crusader of the president.
We proceeded directly to the venue of the Service of Songs. It was a ten minutes walk from the school field where the helicopter had landed, and it offered an opportunity to see the sprawling ancient community and the new developments taking place. The people were very happy. They were seeing new faces – ministers; governors; commissioners; corporate executives and citizens they only read about and saw in the news walk on the new rigid pavements of their community. I think above all, they wowed at the Nollywood stars who dazzled the natives to disbelief.Ramsey Noah, Rita Dominic, Segun Arinze et al, then the big masquerade – Kanu Nwankwo was right there. I said to myself, the children of Okoroba Town would be inspired by the time the body of Pa Douglas is finally laid to rest.
In this flourish and fanfare, he sat quiet, listening to the incisive message delivered by the Reverend Ayo Oritsejafor. He seemed consumed by the pastor’s deep rhetoric about how ephemeral life was, and how wealth and money were necessary vanity but how a life well spent is eternal in value. Still, I interrupted his intense engrossment. He was excited to see me. We exchanged pleasantries and he asked that I stay around for a chat after the pastor’s message. I did.
The General is a towering man. Dressed in a grey striped French suite and black shoes, I watched him walk in his usual calculated steps as he left the tent to the other tent where the reception for visitors was to be held. He looked fresh, like he had rested well after his surprising removal as National Security Adviser. His warmth was charming and his humility ever evident. He was led to a roundtable on the first row and he took his seat by his friend Engr. Mayne David-West whom he hadn’t seen in months. They chatted warmly while they poured themselves a little champagne. He was served soup and he ate light. In about forty-five minutes he was done. Just about then, he receives a signal that the ill-fated helicopter was on its way.
He walked around to the other tables, shook hands and made his way out. He was headed for the helicopter, but he was obviously not in a hurry. He strolled with Governor Patrick Yakowa, a governor whose humility endeared me to him. Governor Yakowa spoke softly, greeted warmly and smiled like he knew it was a final moment to be enjoyed. We walked ahead of the Governor and the General, and in a few minutes we were all at the Okoroba Primary School field.
There were a few chartered helicopters arriving and taking off. The choppy drone of rotor blades slicing through the air ruffled us a bit. The primary school was sufficiently solicitous of intervention. The classroom had neither doors nor windows, in fact it looked abandoned. While we stood inside I asked why a primary school in Mr. Douglas’s home would be this wrecked. I called a young man, and in intense curiosity I began to question him. My findings were that a new primary school was being developed and new community library built and well equipped. I was satisfied, I would have been disappointed.
General Azazi watched these happen. Now it was time to take him on. I had not seen him since his removal as NSA. He was a deep man, and I was eager to hear him say something. I knew him to be blunt in a very smart way. He would not say a thing if he had not thought it through intensely. I probed into his period as NSA and asked what his take was on the Jonathan presidency. He had lost no love for the President. He said …”Ross, the president is very intelligent and smarter than most people know”. He talked about the Boko Haram issue with plenty caution, but was optimistic that the president would check them.
Now, we were joined by the IYC president, Mr. Miabiye Kuromiema, and I surprised the General when I fired: “Sir, it is about time the president threw Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke under the bus”. I maintained that the Jonathan presidency was haemorrhaging severely because of her continued stay as minister. I expected him to say something, his face expressionless, he remained quiet. George Kerley, a known defender of the honourable minister, quipped with a straight face: “Ross, you are right. It is time the president is told the truth… He is taking too much bullets for some of these ministers”. The General shook his head, not in approval or disapproval; he was just enjoying the chat. He brought up a few issues and we all talked with surplus warmth. We hadn’t pressed him enough when the Navy helicopter appeared within sight in the sky.
He offered us the two spare seats in the helicopter, but we declined as our chopper was at that moment already landing. He pulled George Kerley aside for a two-aside. They talked for about two minutes, and he joined Governor Yakowa again, as they strolled on the rigid pavement into the boisterous windy path of the chopper. The pilots dismounted the chopper to greet their VIP passengers; they looked smart in their military uniform. It was the governor’s and the general’s final handshake.
Mr. Darego Williams, a seasoned pilot turned business man was joining our chopper back to Port Harcourt. He cringed at the manner the chopper had taken off and didn’t stop starring at the effects of the rotor blades. I noticed he was a little uncomfortable, but then he had been off the cockpit for over two decades, so he contained thoughts.
Less than ten minutes later, we were ready to go. The captain welcomes us on board and soon after we were in the air. We had just done about 10 nautical miles when the pilot suddenly did a 180 degree turn. Mr. Darego Williams was curious and called on the captain. The captain apologized to all on board and announced to us that a helicopter had just ‘gone down’. He actually meant ‘crashed’. We were the first search party.
Less than a minute ahead, smoke plumed from the thick swampy forest. It was a clear sign of danger. We did about four low fly passes to capture the coordinates of incident site. Our helicopter had ingested the smoke and smell of burning metals, wires and flesh. We could see the helicopter and the appendage bearing the ‘NAVY’ inscription had severed from the main body. The moment was intense, we doubted the very facts we knew. We all believed some miracle could have happened; the worst case was not an option. It just could not be true.

December 16, 2012

Navy recovers Yakowa, Azazi’s bodies, four others

Navy recovers Yakowa, Azazi’s bodies, four others

The Nigerian Navy disclosed, Sunday, that its search and rescue efforts, after the Dec 15 helicopter crash in Okoloba community, has led to the recovery of six bodies of the victims of the crash, saying that the bodies have been deposited at the Federal Medical Center , Yenagoa, Bayelsa State .
It said with the recovery, the Navy has commenced investigation into the cause of the accident.
The statement by the Director of Naval Information, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu reads, “The Nigerian Navy wishes to confirm that search and rescue effort has led to the recovery of all the 4 passengers and the 2 pilots on board its helicopter NN 07 which crashed on 15 December 2012”.
Scene of the crash, near Okoroba in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.
“The bodies of the victims have been recovered from the scene of the incident and the crash site has been duly secured to allow for detailed investigation. It should be noted that the report of the investigation would be made available as soon as possible”.
The names of the victims according to the statement are, Mr Patrick I. Yakowa, Governor of Kaduna State, General Andrew Owoye Azazi, former National Security Adviser, Mr Dauda Tsoho, Aide to Governor Yakowa, Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal-Aide to General Azazi, Commander Murtala Muhammed Daba. And Lieutenant Olukayode Sowola.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, Sunday visited the site of the crash.

December 16, 2012

Monday Declared Public Holiday In Kaduna.

Monday Declared Public Holiday In Kaduna.

In respect to the demise of the late patrick yakowa, monday the 17th of December was declared public holiday. All flags are to be in half mast.
Kaduna now have a new governor, in person of Muktar lamaran Yero who was sworn in at exactly 1pm today.

December 16, 2012

VIDEO CONFIRMATION – How TB Joshua Prophesied Crash That Killed Yakowa, Azazi

As the nation mourns the tragic helicopter crash that ended the lives of Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa and former National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoye Azazi, alongside four others, Nigerian Prophet, T.B. Joshua has revealed how he prophesied the fatal crash.
On Sunday 16th December 2012, speaking to a live audience on Emmanuel TV, Prophet T.B. Joshua explained how God showed him the incident, stating that he conveyed the message to the nation in a series of prophetic revelations that started in January 2011. The prophetic message has since been uploaded to Joshua’s official YouTube channel and posted on his Facebook account to over 500,000 fans.
“I see the blood of personalities flowing,” Joshua said on Sunday 2nd January 2011. “This is a government personality. They should not enter the same plane and say they are flying from one state to another for any reason in this country. There is danger. This is a plane crash.”
On July 15th 20112, he added further insight to the revelation, saying, “Those people who matter in society, they should not go inside the plane, together in one plane because I see satan wants to destroy these people who matter in society…” Joshua specified that six individuals would be involved. “They begin to mention one, two, three, four, five, six people who matter in society, high profile. The enemy is looking for a time when they will enter a plane together and be on the air.”
On September 23rd 2012, Joshua sent one of his ‘Wise Men’ to deliver a message, stating that he had seen the flag of Nigeria being lowered, calling on Nigerians to join in prayer to avert the tragedy that would result in this. Then, on October 27th2 012, Joshua himself specified further about the incident that would cause the lowering of Nigeria’s flag, stating that he saw a Governor flying with his aide. He said, “Everyone should come together on their knees and pray for the nation. Where will these people go, you, Governor, and you put yourself inside a plane and go together with your aide? Where are they going? They should not put themselves inside the same plane, aircraft and go. I’m seeing this thing is very close.”
After the tragic helicopter crash on Saturday 15th December that saw the death of 6 Nigerians, many online observers of Joshua’s ministry stated that they remembered his prediction when it was initially spoken on Emmanuel TV, lamenting that the government officials had not taken it seriously.
After playing back the clips of the prophetic revelations, Joshua spoke to the congregation, stating that he even went to the extent of reaching out to Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan to warn him of the impending disaster. He stated that the nation should have entered a period of national fasting for the tragedy to be averted but that people were not taking the prophetic messages seriously.
He then explained how the prophetic gift of God in his life was a tool that was supposed to be utilised and valued rather than neglected. He reminded congregants how this prophetic gift started from the onset of his ministry, specifying an occasion where he personally met the late Chief MKO Abiola during his election campaign and bluntly told him that he did not see him on the throne, despite his popularity and overwhelming support at that period. Joshua said as he was leaving, Abiola sent a large sum of money to him which he refused to take, maintaining that his gift was from God who was more than able to supply his needs.
Joshua subsequently petitioned those in power to publicly call on all those who claimed to have prophetic powers to submit their revelations for the upcoming year to those in authority, as a test of legitimacy. Joshua called on US President Barack Obama to spearhead this arrangement, stating that as government leaders had advisors in every field of life, they also needed spiritual advisors to tell them what the future holds, something impossible to achieve with mere ‘brain power’.
It was also revealed in the service that the tragic massacre of school children in Connecticut, USA was also seen by Joshua. After the movie-theatre shooting in Colorado, he stated on Sunday 6th August that the wave of gun-related massacres would continue to increase, stressing that America needed to pray for their ‘homeland security’.
This is not the first high-profile death Joshua has spoken of. He caused an internet storm when his prediction of the demise of Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika came to pass, the prophecy being widely reported in African press before and after his death.
Aside from prophesying on national and international levels, Joshua is also known for prophesying to individuals in his church with alarming accuracy. Recently highlighted as one of Africa’s 50 most influential people, the controversial cleric is also known for his philanthropy.

December 16, 2012

NASA: December 21, 2012 isn’t the end of the world

No, of course the world isn’t going to end on December 21, 2012. I can’t believe we’re even still talking about this.

On December 11, 2012, NASA posted a video to YouTube, forward-dated to December 22. The video explains, in simple terms, why the world won’t end. NASA’s video is helpfully titled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday”, and you can watch it below.

Basically, there’s no indication that the Sun is flaring up to the extent that it’ll torch the Earth (which has never happened in the multi-billion year history of our planet), and no rogue celestial body is hurtling towards us like in “Deep Impact”. Think about it: if an asteroid were really on a collision course with Earth, and if it were really going to strike us on December 21, it would be clearly visible in the sky by now, no telescope required.

“Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday” also explains a bit about how the Mayans kept track of time, and how the failure to grasp the concept of the odometer has led to the whole “Mayan doomsday prophecy” nonsense that’s so prevalent in 2012.

SciShow also has some input on this issue. If “The Mayan Calendar & 2012” seems a bit snarky and condescending, it’s no more than the overly-credulous deserve.

December 16, 2012

36-Year-Old Graduate Missing After Receiving N500,000

36-Year-Old Graduate Missing After Receiving N500,000

The family members and friends of one Miss Tanwa Serifat Sanni, a 36-year-old lady, have been in great distress since her sudden disappearance on Friday October 12, 2012.
It was gathered that Serifat, a graduate of Business Administration, Lagos State University (LASU),on that fateful day left her residence at No 116 Ezeagwu Street, Ojo Road, by Alao Bus-stop, Ajegunle, around 5am without disclosing to anybody where she was going to.
Prior to her disappearance, Serifat was given N500,000 (cash) by her parents to start up a business of her own since she couldn’t gain a meaningful employment 11 years after her graduation.
She was said to have left her house that day with the money, then mysteriously disappeared.
Speaking with the Press, a close family member to the missing lady told newsmen that the young lady,who is
about 5ft tall, is mentally balanced and had never suffered from dementia.
They however appealed that anyone with useful information about the whereabouts of Serifat should kindly contact Alhaji Sanni Isiaka on 08054018208, Agboola Ganiyat on 08032262731 or the nearest police station.

December 16, 2012

Actress and aide to Governor Okorocha, Nkiru Sylvanus abducted, kidnappers demand N100 million

Actress and aide to Governor Okorocha, Nkiru Sylvanus abducted, kidnappers demand N100 million

Reports reaching our newsdesk, have it that Nollywood star and a Special Assistant to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Nkiru Sylvanus, has been kidnapped.
Her friends have confirmed that the fair-skinned actress, was abducted this afternoon and her abductors are demanding a hefty N100 million ransom.
This development comes barely one week after the kidnap of Dr. Kanene Okonjo, mother of Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. She was released five days later, amidst reports that the family parted with a sizeable amount.

December 16, 2012

NaetoC Beats-up Blogger At DJ Neptune’s Wedding In Lagos

NaetoC Beats-up Blogger At DJ Neptune's Wedding In Lagos

For those who witnessed this show of shame by popular Nigerian rapper, Naetochuckwu Chikwe otherwise known as Naeto C, at the wedding reception of DJ Neptunes, formerly with Raypower FM, held at the City Hall, Lagos Island, surprise and eyesore were words they used in describing how the son of a former Aviation Minister, Kema Chikwe descended himself low like a street urchin.

Eyewitnesses described Naeto C as Oshodi area boys especially with the way he reportedly torn the cloth of a popular blogger with Sturvs Media identified as Lewis Grant, who is the Vice President, Business Development, Sturvs Media Ltd.

As the gist goes, Lewis was said to have mistakenly stepped on Nicole Chukwueke, Naeto C’s wife’s dress, who was standing right behind Lewis along with her husband, Naeto C while he (Lewis) was taking pictures of DJ Neptunes and his wife at the reception. Probably to show to his wife how caring he is and how he can fight for her, Naeto C was reported to have pushed Lewis and commanded him to get away from his presence.

The eyewitness, who narrated this story said that Lewis reportedly told Naeto C not to command him like a boy. This statement by Lewis to Naeto C landed him (Lewis) a ‘special gold medal’; ‘a hot slap’ on his face.

One of the eyewitnesses that Naeto C didn’t stop there as he reportedly took his fight with this blogger further by tearing Lewis’ shirt. Soon, some military men reportedly joined in giving Lewis the beating of his life until one of Lewis’ aunties at the party intervened.

It was learnt that the military men barred people from taking pictures while Naeto C was busy flexing his muscles with Lewis.

December 16, 2012

**Bayelsa Helicopter Crash** God saved me — Timi Dakolo.

**Bayelsa Helicopter Crash** God saved me — Timi Dakolo.

Singer and song writer, Timi Dakolo, and his wife, Busola, narrowly escaped dead as he almost boarded the ill-fated flight.

The couple were said to have attended the burial ceremony of the father of a presidential aide, Oronto Douglas, in Bayelsa State.

Dakolo’s rumoured death spread on the Internet an many thought he boarded the ill-fated aircraft.

He however doused the tension on Twitter on Saturday night when he tweeted, “God saved me.”

While some reports said he changed his mind and decided to travel by road, others said the aircraft was already filled to capacity when Dakolo and his wife attempted to board it.

Dakolo was the winner of the first season of West Africa Idols on May 26, 2007, an edition that had popular singer, Omawumi Megbele, as the first runner-up.

December 16, 2012

Gunmen Kill, Cut Private Parts Of 10 Vigilante Members In Zamfara

Gunmen Kill, Cut Private Parts Of 10 Vigilante Members In Zamfara

Unidentified gunmen riding on motorcycles on Friday shot dead 10 members of the local vigilante group in an attack on Rukudawa village in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara state.
The attack was disclosed to newsmen in a Friday interview in Zurmi by the Chairman of the local government, Alhaji Abdullahi Gurbin-Baure.
According to Gurbin-Baure, the killers came on motorcycles through the Dumburum/Rukudawa road and attacked members of the vigilante group killing all the 10 persons on duty.
The chairman added that the killers also removed the private parts of some of their victims and burnt all the motorcycles used by the members of the vigilante.
He said that he had already reported the matter to the state police headquarters and to the state government.
According to the chairman, the Deputy Governor of the state, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala attended the burial of the deceased.
Malam Musa Lawali, who claimed to have witnessed the incident, told NAN that the gunmen apparently came with the specific purpose of killing members of the vigilante group.
He said that this was because the gunmen did not attack any of the traders at the market.
Lawali, who was also a trader attending the Dumburum weekly market, said that the gunmen went straight to the members of the vigilante, who were on their routine patrol providing security to traders.
Also confirming the incident, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Usman Gwary said that the incident had been reported to the command.
He told reporters that he was on his way to the local government area, adding that he could not give further details as investigations had just commenced on the killings. [NAN]

December 16, 2012

I can’t stop criticising Jonathan, says Obasanjo

I can’t stop criticising Jonathan, says Obasanjo

The troubleshooting mission to Ota by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party to reconcile ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan has failed to yield the expected outcome with Mr. Obasanjo saying he won’t stop criticizing the present administration.
Mr. Obasanjo had angered Mr. Jonathan after he suggested that the president appeared a weak leader given the way he was handling the security challenges facing the country.
In his comment, the former President reminded the nation of how he directed security agencies to invade Odi, Rivers State, to fish out militants who killed some security men during his tenure.
An angry Mr. Jonathan however hit back at Mr. Obasanjo during his last media chat, saying the Odi invasion Mr. Obasanjo boasted about did not solve the problem but only ended up shedding the blood of the innocent.
Since then, elements loyal to the two men within the party have engaged one another in a war of words, and the national leadership of the party has been desperate for a reconciliation.
But when the peace team, led by party chairman Bamanga Tukur, visited Ota on Saturday, Mr. Obasanjo insisted he would continue to comment on national issues whenever necessary not minding whose ox is gored.
He said, “If there is anything that requires my own comment, position or views I will say it. “Because, if there is no Nigeria, there will not be a party and if there is no party, there will be nothing to govern on the platform of the party.
“It is my passion, patriotism and love that will continue to make me say my own. If I see something that is inimical to the growth of the party, I will talk.”
He said that keeping quiet on issues of national importance was not the best option for him because of his love for Nigeria.
Mr. Obasanjo expressed his delight over Mr. Tukur’s visit, describing the PDP chieftain a respected leader.
“It is always a delight to have our oga visit us to see what we are doing and what we are not doing. “Without Nigeria there will be no party even when I was in prison I was not quiet,” he said.
After a closed-door meeting where he tried to persuade Mr. Obasanjo to moderate his comment on national issues, Mr. Tukur told journalists the main purpose of his visit was to appreciate the former PDP Board of Trustees chairman for his service to the party, country and the international community.
“Your support has never been relenting and I have come to say “thank you sir,” he said.
To also pacify Mr. Obasanjo, Mr. Tukur informed him that the national leadership of the party would continue to recognize the leadership of the Dipo Odujirin-led executive in the state.
The Ogun State PDP has two factions with Mr. Obasanjo belonging to the Odujirin-led group, which was voided by a Federal High Court in November.
“Whoever the people have elected as far as I am concerned, is the chairman of our party in Ogun,” Mr. Tukur said, in disregard of the court order.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sen. Odujinrin and 28 others were elected as members of the state Executive Committee in August 2012 and the election was supervised by the national body of the party.
But Mr. Odujinrin’s chairmanship was opposed by a faction of the party who claimed a court ruling was in their favour.
Mr. Tukur said : ”there is no crisis here in Ogun PDP at all.
“I have come here because of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the leader of our party and I’m now the chairman.
“We do this with the leaders of our party throughout the country and my own programme is about reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding.
“I have been going round to the leaders and stakeholders of our party. So I can assure you that there is nothing about crisis here.
“Secondly, about discipline in our party; if you listen to what I said in Akwa Ibom, first of all, our own principle today is rebuilding our party based on equity and justice, no imposition so that everybody will feel to be part of that great party.
“It is only when you give people the leadership they did not elect that is when you then start to get crisis.
“As long as you build on harmony, consultation and consensus you will see that the party will be less or at almost zero conflict,” he added.

December 16, 2012

ll-fated helicopter exploded before crashing, killing Yakowa, Azazi, four others

ll-fated helicopter exploded before crashing, killing Yakowa, Azazi, four others

A troubled helicopter conveying sympathizers to a funeral in Bayelsa state, burst into flames on Saturday, before plunging into the creeks, killing the governor of Kaduna state, Patrick Yakowa, a former National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi, and four others in the nation’s fourth air disaster this year.
Messrs Yakowa and Azazi, and their aides, Dauda Tsoho and Mohammed Kama; and the pilots, Murtala Daba and Adeyemi Sowole, reportedly died in the inferno, having been badly burnt beyond recognition, witnesses say.
The chopper, owned by the Nigerian Navy, is said to have carried out repeated shuttles between Port Harcourt, Yenagoa and Okoroba, a town in Ogbia local government of the state, where the father of an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Oronto Douglas, was being buried.
The fatal trip, which was to convey the governor and the former Security chief to Port Harcourt, enroute Abuja, was to be one of the helicopter’s last for the day.
But at about 2.30 p.m., minutes after takeoff, officials say, the chopper crashed, sparking an emergency crisis, and plunging a shocked nation, well-known to air disasters but unused to them, back to fright and mourning.
President Jonathan said in a statement he was shocked and saddened by the accident, and said the losses were “extremely painful” for the nation.
“The President extends deep and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased, and the governments and people of Kaduna and Bayelsa States,” the statement said. “He describes the sudden loss of these distinguished Nigerians as extremely painful to the entire nation.”
The president was away from Bayelsa, his home state, when the incident occured. Mr. Jonathan has ordered an investigation.
The crash will be the fourth this year after the June 3 Dana airline crash that killed all 153 on board and about six on the ground; the helicopter crash that killed Assistant Inspector General of Police John Haruna, his aides and the pilot and the October crash involving the governor of Taraba state, Danbaba Suntai.
Mr. Suntai, critically injured in the accident, remains hospitalized abroad.
The details of events leading to the Saturday crash remained unclear. But multiple reports say the carrier wobbled shortly after it stabilized in air and then plummeted into the swamps.
Mr. Yakowa, 64, was amongst the few governors who attended the funeral. A member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he shot to national reckoning after taking over as governor of Kaduna state, to replace Namadi Sambo, who had been drafted by Mr. Jonathan as Vice President.
Mr. Yakowa’s elevation, making him the first Christian to rule the state since 1999, chalked up intense internal political wrangling, which, teamed with militant-related violence, unsettled the northern state.
For the most part, Mr. Yakowa was credited with nimbly managing the state’s fragile polity for more than two years, keeping the level of violence in check.
As speculation over his death mounted Saturday evening, it was his party, the PDP, that gave what was the first official confirmation he made the fatal trip.
The party paid tribute to the former governor in a statement signed by spokesperson, Olisa Metuh.
“The nation has lost a great patriot who in about two years in saddle as the Governor of Kaduna State demonstrated an unyielding capacity in wielding together varying fragile interests,” the party said. “Even in the face of daunting security challenges, nothing came close to compromising his iron cast resolve and faith that the phase must certainly pass.”
In Kaduna state, the state government said funeral arrangements will be announced later. Security was immediately heightened in the restive state, residents say.
One photographer who had met Mr. Yakowa at the burial, shortly before his death, took a shot of Messrs Yakowa and Azazi walking away, a picture now regarded as the last of the two men.
Cosmas Asogwa described Mr. Yakowa as “most cheerful man I met today (Saturday)”.
He said the governor, upon alighting from the doomed chopper that brought him into Okoroba, beamed with smiles, greeting and acknowledging cheers.
At one point, he took time to cheer up his kinsmen who were at a corner butchering a cow for the occasion before moving onto the reception hall.
Mr. Azazi, a native of Bayelsa state where the incident occured, was a retired Army general, who served as the Army chief under late president, Umaru Yar’adua. Colleagues in the past have described Mr. Azazi as a fine and brave soldier, and a brilliant intelligence officer.
Mr. Azazi took over as the nation’s chief security adviser under Mr. Jonathan before leaving office amid criticisms over his failure to scale down the bombing and gun attacks by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Before leaving office, Mr. Azazi fell out of favour with Mr. Jonathan after publicly blaming the PDP for the violence in the north. The remark is said to have played a key role in his removal months later.
For hours, Saturday, after initial speculation about the deaths emerged, security and rescue officials scrambled information, declining to respond to media inquiries, and where they confirmed the crash, they declined to name the victims.
State television, NTA, ran a brief of breaking news for more than an hour without mentioning the names of those killed in the crash even after the deaths had been confirmed.
The National Emergency Management Agency only announced a rescue and search mission hours after the incident.
Hours later, the agency said the operation had been concluded and that the six occupants of the chopper were killed, without still mentioning their names.
But while they dithered, PREMIUM TIMES confirmed the incident and names of the victims.

December 16, 2012

Mukhtar Ramalan Yero To Become Kaduna State Governor

Mukhtar Ramalan Yero To Become Kaduna State Governor

Kaduna State, which lost Governor Patrick Yakowa in an air crash on Saturday, will get a replacement on Sunday morning when Deputy Governor Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero is expected to be sworn in, according to a source in Kaduna.

In Kaduna, hundreds of mourners are streaming into the former governor’s home to commiserate with his widow, Mrs. Amina Yakowa. Our sources say security arraignments and protocol are being mapped to ensure a peaceful succession ceremony in line with the 1999 constitution.

The new governor is a close ally of Vice President Namadi Sambo and was his accountant in his private company. He became Commissioner of Finance when Sambo was elected governor in 2007 and was chosen deputy governor to Yakowa in 2010.

Mr. Yero was born on 1st May 1969 in Anguwan Kaura,Zaria local government.

He had his primary education at LEA Primary School Kaura, 1974-1980, and secondary education at Government Secondary School, Ikara and Government Day Secondary School, Zaria.

He bagged a diploma in Banking in 1988, a B.Sc in Accounting in 1991, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in 2003.
During the mandatory National Youth Service Corps, he served in Ogun State, he worked in several private firms and banks.

In 1997, he joined Nalado Nigeria Limited, Kaduna, a company owned by his mentor and Vice President Namadi Sambo as Chief Accountant, rising to become its Director of Finance and Administration. In 2007, he resigned when he was appointed Kaduna State Commissioner of Finance.