NATIONAL NEWS

BISHOP ONAGA, ORDAINED 5TH BISHOP OF ENUGU, BISHOP ETOKUDOR, APPOINTED BISHOP OF PORT-HARCOURT.
EFCC UNCOVERS PLOT TO SMEAR NIGERIA
MAN WITH 86 WIVES BAGS BLACK LEGEND AWARD
GORY INCIDENT AS THREE PERSONS WERE BURNT TO DEATH
N'delta: Yar'adua Sets Up Committee On Militants' Amnesty
17 In Police Net For Diversion Of Petroleum Products

Ekiti Rerun: Police Quiz Inec Staff Over Bribery Row
GUNMEN MURDER OBY CHIDIAC: Nigerian Married To Lebanese


BISHOP ONAGA, ORDAINED 5TH BISHOP OF ENUGU, BISHOP ETOKUDOR, APPOINTED BISHOP OF PORT-HARCOURT.

Bishop Callistus Valentine Chukwuma Onaga has been ordained as the fifth bishop of the catholic Diocese of Enugu. He succeeded the Most Rev. Dr. Anthony Okonkwo Gbuji, who has retired following canonical stipulations. Earlier on at the beginning of the mass of the Episcopal ordination held at Holy Ghost Cathedral Enugu, the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Renzo Fratini, who was the principal consecrator, described the episcopacy as a position of service to the people of God. He lauded the sterling leadership qualities of Bishop Gbuji who was retiring after 36 years as a bishop.

Delivering his homily during the mass, Archbishop Felix Alaba Job, the archbishop of Ibadan and the president of the CBCN, described the day as one of joy both to Enugu Diocese and the entire universal church. He called for the spirit of collaboration among the laity and clergy of Enugu Diocese. According to him, we are all members of the crew in the boat of salvation. Each one is important, but no one is indispensable. As living stones said the archbishop, each one of us should contribute towards the work of salvation. The prelate further described the Episcopal ordination as the conferment of the plenitude of the priesthood. He enjoined the new bishop to exercise his duties with love, order and firmness.

Later on before the end of the mass, the new bishop called on all to pray for him as he assumes the new office. Bishop Onaga thereafter appointed Very Rev. Msgr. Luke Adike as the Vicar General; Very Rev. Fr. John Nwafor as the cathedral Administrator and Fr. Ambrose Agu as his secretary. Also present for the ordination ceremony were Govs. Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, Peter Obi of Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, former governor of old Anambra State and a crème de la crème of dignitaries.

In a related hint, sequel to an apostolic mandate from Rome, Bishop Camillus Archibong Etokudoh has been appointed the new bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese. Until his appointment on the 4th of May 2009, bishop Etokudoh has been the catholic bishop of Ikot Ekpene Diocese of Nigeria. Born in 1949, bishop Etokudoh was ordained a priest on 2 July, 1978 for Ikot Ekpene Diocese. On 18th January 1988, he was appointed the auxiliary bishop of Ikot Ekpene. He was later appointed the bishop of Ikot Ekpene Diocese on September 1st 1989. He has been a priest for 27 years and a bishop for 21 years. Consequently, his appointment as the new bishop of Port Harcourt marks the official retirement of Bishop Alexius Makozi who has been the catholic bishop of Port Harcourt.

Back To Top


EFCC UNCOVERS PLOT TO SMEAR NIGERIA

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered plans by the Vaswani brothers to launch a campaign of calumny against the Federal Government, the commission and other government agencies. The Vaswani brothers-Mahesh, Haresh and Sunil who hail from India were deported from Nigeria recently for alleged criminal conspiracy and economic fraud. Chairman of the EFCC Mrs. Farida Waziri who made this known at a press briefing in Abuja alleged that the Vaswanis, through their company, Stallion Group, made false entries on rice importation and evaded payment of N2.5 billion duty to government. She said 28 top officials of the Group were similarly repatriated to their countries of origin.

However, the EFCC in a statement by its head of media and publicity, Mr. Femi Babafemi alleged that the Vaswani brothers had voted huge sum of money to fund a campaign of calumny against the EFCC and others.

Back To Top


MAN WITH 86 WIVES BAGS BLACK LEGEND AWARD

Pa Bello Masaba who got married to 86 wives is to be honoured with 'Black legend philanthropic Award' during the forthcoming Ghana 2009 award day. Pa Masaba whom some mischief makers had said should be in the Guinness book of record for this lofty feat, won the award for his acclaimed philanthropy.

However, it is on record that Masaba who had earlier on been taken to court by his state government and the Bida Emirate Council, for marrying wives far above the maximum of four which is allowed by Islam for those who cannot be contended with only one wife. Thus, a man who was once rejected and dragged to court in his own country has now been recommended and awarded in an alien soil. One hopes that the husband of many wives would not teach Ghanaians how to have a harem.

Back To Top



GORY INCIDENT AS THREE PERSONS WERE BURNT TO DEATH

Misfortune struck last week as three persons were burnt to death at Ibadan following a ghastly auto accident involving a commercial vehicle and three tankers conveying fuel. The three petrol tankers after the collision went up in flames while all vehicles within the vicinity also got burnt. However, tears flowed freely from the eyes of many passers-by who thronged the area to help in the rescue mission as they saw trapped individuals burning in the raging inferno.

According to our source, the gory incident which happened at about 10:pm was caused by over speeding and loss of control by one of the petrol tanker drivers who consequently crashed into the other two tankers and the on coming commercial vehicle. Despite the three unlucky persons who were burnt to death, several persons also sustained injuries from the burning furnace which the road safety commission and fire fighters were still battling to put out as at dusk of the day. Thick billions of smoke were seen to have engulfed the whole area of the mishap as the vehicle were burning with sympathizers watching helplessly, and with residents of houses close to the scene of the mayhem, running away from the panicking scenario for fear that the spilled fuel might flow into their houses to set them ablaze.

Back To Top



N'delta: Yar'adua Sets Up Committee On Militants' Amnesty

President Umaru Yar'Adua has set up a special presidential committee to work out the details of the recent reprieve granted to the Niger Delta warlords by the Federal Government. The Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, disclosed this in an interview recently. He, however, declined to volunteer details of the leadership and membership of the committee. Yar'Adua had in March announced amnesty for the militants willing to embrace peace by laying down their arms. He also promised that the National Security Council would work out the details of the gesture.

Although Orubebe said the Presidency would make the committee public, investigation by our correspondent showed that Yar'Adua might have appointed the National Security Adviser to lead the body. Orubebe said, “A committee has being put in place and very shortly the committee will work out the details in consultation with all stakeholders that are involved so that we can have a programme to bring into reality the amnesty that has been pronounced by Mr. President which of course will be followed by the empowerment of our youths massively. The President has announced it (amnesty) and very shortly the government will make the members of the committee public but until that is done we have to wait for the government's pronounce-ment. “But I think it is finalised and any minute from now the committee will be formally announced by the government.” Orubebe, however, said the ministry had concluded sensitisation tour of the creeks and waterways of the Niger Delta to persuade the militants to embrace the presidential gesture.

He added, “We have gone round all the states in the Niger Delta and the ministry will continue to directly interact with the youths, women, traditional rulers, business community and leaders of the entire nine states. “ We are consulting with them directly and agree on what to do and move forward. We are carrying the thinking of Mr. President directly to them and not through anybody, to tell them the reality of the situation that we cannot be talking about development and yet there is crisis and yet people that are coming to work in the area are disturbed. “ We cannot be talking about full engagement when the opportunities are not given to the Federal Government to do what it plans to do.”

Back To Top


 

17 In Police Net For Diversion Of Petroleum Products

The Delta State Petroleum Monitoring Committee has arrested 17 oil dealers for hoarding and diversion of petroleum products meant for the state to unauthorised places. The suspects were apprehended during unscheduled visits to Asaba, the state capital, Agbor, Warri and other major towns in the state by the committee. The suspects have been handed over to the Commissioner of Police, State Command, Mr. Jacob Oshiomogho, who is also a member of the committee for interrogation and prosecution. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan inaugurated the committee following the shortage of petroleum products occasioned by diversion and profiteering by unscrupulous fuel dealers in the state. Uduaghan, who stated that there was enough petroleum products for the state, described the development as artificial scarcity being perpetrated by some disgruntled oil dealers.

He directed the committee to break the gang of economic saboteurs and restore sanity in the distribution and marketing of petroleum products in the state. The committee, headed by a veteran labour leader and the state Commissioner for Power and Energy, Mr. Ovuozorie Macaulay, also has the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Oma Djebah; Director, State Security Service, Mr. Christain Ojobor; and the representatives of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Petroleum Resources, as well as other top officials of the state government, as members. Macaulay has dissolved the body into different sub-committees for effective discharge of the mandate to ensure widespread coverage of the entire state.

The committee, which started its assignment on Friday, has succeeded in achieving results as at Sunday as hoarding, diversion and profiteering by the oil dealers were being curbed by the monitoring teams, which stormed major towns and communities in the state to enforce compliance with the governor's directive. As at Sunday, queues were fast disappearing at the filling stations in the state as the oil dealers were compelled to dispense the fuel to motorists at authorised rates. Macaulay, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday, said the oil dealers deliberately hoarded petroleum products to amass excessive profits, adding that some arrested fuel attendants would be released as soon as their bosses appeared before the police for questioning.

Back To Top



Ekiti Rerun: Police Quiz Inec Staff Over Bribery Row

Strong indications emerged in Abuja that some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission involved in the April 25 governorship rerun election in Ekiti State might have compromised themselves. The affected officials, as informations were gathered, were bickering over the sharing of some money believed to be proceeds from gratification. An INEC official, who reportedly collected the money on behalf of the Presiding and Collation Officers but failed to deliver to his colleagues, has been quizzed by the police, our corespondent reliably learnt.

Another official who insisted that the money must be shared to the intended beneficiaries has made a written statement to the police. It was gathered from one of the written statements that each Collation Officer was to collect N200, 000, while a Presiding Officer was billed to smile home with N100, 000. INEC was said to have dispatched about 900 of its personnel to Ekiti State for the stalemated rerun poll. The two actors in the bribery scandal are Mr. John Onaji, an aggrieved officer who was posted to Ido-Osi Local Government Area as a presiding officer, and Mr. Okey Ndeche of the Operations Department, who allegedly collected the money for distribution to his colleagues. Onaji, who opened the pandora box when he returned to Abuja, explained that one Hon. Olumide Yomi announced the release of the suspected slush fund.
It was gathered that Yomi is a PDP chieftain in Ekiti State.

Onaji, who claimed to be a confidential secretary with INEC, in his three-page statement to the police, said that INEC personnel were welcomed by Yomi at the Federal Technical Science Secondary School, where he addressed them. His statement, which was made on April 30, reads, “On the 4th of April, 2009, I was deployed to Ido-Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State for the rerun governorship election. We arrived (at) Ekiti between the hours of 5 and 5.30pm. According to Onaji's statement, Ndeche had not distributed the money and INEC headquarters was awash with rumours of his alleged claim that he was waiting for a clearance from the INEC chairman to disburse the money to his colleagues. He added, “I then went to Okey's office and told him what the Hon. said and the feeling and reaction of staff over the issue. Before I could finish expressing myself, Okey flared up and said I was one of the people scandalising his name, that he was going to deal with me and make me an example to others.

It was further gathered that the police demanded to know from Onaji if he was not given a duty tour allowance for the Ekiti rerun to which he responded in the negative.
He also declined to regard the alleged bribe money as an inducement or a corrupt act, stressing that it was meant to support them for their logistics requirements.

Back To Top



GUNMEN MURDER OBY CHIDIAC: Nigerian Married To Lebanese

A business woman and philanthropist, Mrs. Oby Patricia Chidiac, popularly known as Ada Nd'Imo was shot and killed on Sunday 3rd May 2009 by unknown gunmen in front of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Liverpool Road, Apapa, Lagos. The lady in her forties who hailed from Ikeduru, Imo State, and married to Mr. Habib Chidiac, a Lebanese businessman based in Lagos, was shot at close range at about 10 o'clock, moments after she was dropped off at the church by her driver.

Mr. Chidiac, who was away in Lebanon when the incident occurred was said to have broken down in tears when he received news of the incident. Also, her relatives at Ikeduru whose lives she positively impacted in several ways were thrown into mourning when they got the news yesterday. Although it could not be ascertained as at press time if the helper of the less privileged was killed by hired assassins or armed robbery suspects, however,sources learnt that armed men who cut her down in a hail of bullets sped off immediately. It could not also be established if the killers made away with any of her belongings.

However, an eye-witness who wished to be anonymous said the woman was shot after she alighted from a car that brought her to the church, an indication that her assailants might have trailed her to the place. Our source enjoined the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, to leave no stone unturned to ensure that Mrs. Chidiac's killers are brought to book. Another source who paid glowing tribute to the deceased described the late Ada Nd'Imo as a great philanthropist who had assisted many less privileged persons in the society.

The deceased, continued the source, single-handed built a cathedral at her home town for the worship of God and touched the lives of several persons across the country.
A police source from Apapa police station who didn't want his name mentioned said the police were investigating the matter with a view to apprehending the suspects.

 

Back To Top