Wike, Akpabio Deny Funding Niger Delta Avengers

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and ex-Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, have denied funding the Niger Delta Avengers.

Both men along with ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, and Chief Edwin Clark were among South-South leaders named as sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, a group which split from the NDA.

Others mentioned in the list were Bayelsa State Governor,  Seriake Dickson; ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo); the founder, African Independent Television, Raymond Dokpesi; Kingsley Kuku; Kimi Angozi, and Patrick Akpobolokemi.

Wike, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, called on Nigerians to ignore the list.

On his part, Akpabio, the Senate Minority Leader, described the allegation as “baseless, reckless and senseless”.

“Senator Akpabio has no link with the Niger Delta Avengers or any other militant group for that matter,’’ a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Anietie Ekong, on Sunday said.

The reaction was similar for Clark, who spoke through his lawyer, Mr. Dotun Sowemimo.

He said, “The allegation is an attempt to undermine the efforts of the Niger Delta leaders to bring true, lasting peace to the region.

“Clark and other leaders in the region believe in the unity of Nigeria. The list is a cheap lie, which is meant to distract the peace moves by the elders and leaders in the Niger Delta.”

Dokpesi also distanced himself from the Niger Delta Avengers, stressing that he remained committed to strengthening the unity and stability of Nigeria.

He said, “I don’t know who is giving that report; I have never met any member of the NDA in my life, I have no association with them and I don’t know who they are. I have been committed to strengthening the unity and stability of the country.”

A former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, also denied having anything to do with the NDA.

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Sex Scandal: Accused Lawmakers Deny Allegation, Insist On Proof

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, mandated its committees on Ethics and Privileges and Foreign Affairs to investigate alleged sexual misconduct against three of its members.

This followed a motion brought under Order six, Rules two and 22 of the House Standing Orders by one of the accused, Rep. Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue).

In the motion, Gbillah described the action of the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwhistle, in petitioning the house, as a move to tarnish the image of the lawmakers and the hallowed chamber. He said that no such incident occurred as reported by the ambassador, and insisted that the envoy should provide proof to support his allegation.

Gbillah, who was accused with Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mohammed Gololo (APC, Bauchi) of the crime, said that none of them was interrogated by U.S. authorities over the allegation.

He said that there was, therefore, the need not to draw conclusion on the matter until it had been properly investigated.

The motion was unanimously adopted through a voice vote.

However, Rep. Nnena Elendu-Ukeje, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, cautioned that the matter should be taken with utmost seriousness so as not to jeopardise Nigeria-U.S. relationship.

In his remarks, the Speaker of the house, Mr Yakubu Dogara, urged Nigerians to tread with caution on the matter until the persons involved were proven guilty.

He therefore referred the matter to the relevant committees “to be handled in line with international best practice’’.

Credit: Guardian

Senators Deny Boycotting House Of Assembly Vote

A group of senators, under the platform of the Unity Forum, have rejected the election of Bukola Saraki as the Senate President.

The legislators, while addressing journalists at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, also refuted reports they boycotted the poll to choose House leaders, as has been widely reported.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Banabas Gemade, said they were attending a meeting with President Mohammed Buhari at the International Conference Centre.

“We did not boycott the inauguration, we were invited to a meeting with President Mohammed Buhari at the International Conference Centre, Gemade said.

He said the members that voted did not constitute a quorum. “When 53 Senators are outside during the nomination it is totally wrong to close the nomination,” Gemade said.

In his reaction, George Akume said the election of Senate President through a ballot without 53 legislators was “wrong. Before we could rush from the venue of the meeting with the President, the election was over,” said Akume.

Credit: CAJ News

Fuel Crisis: Marketers Deny Receiving Payment From Govt, Say Strike Continues

Despite the claim by the Federal Government that N156 billion was released on Thursday to oil marketers to facilitate the quick resolution of the current fuel crisis, the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), has said normal lifting of fuel will not resume till their members’ accounts are duly credited by the banks.

As at 4.35 p.m. on Thursday, the Executive Secretary, Depot & Petroleum Products Marketers Association(DAPPMA), Odufemi Adewole, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that none of its members and their counterparts in the Major Oil Marketers Association(MOMAN), had confirmed receiving any payment.

“The money government said it was paying to marketers has not yet hit our accounts. So, there is little we can do about the situation,” Mr, Adewole said. “The money the Minister of Finance promised to pay us last February did not get into our hands till about four or five weeks later.

“If all members are not getting the money today, it means we have to wait till Monday. But, the truth is that nobody is going to call off the strike till the money is paid,” he added.

With Friday declared work-free day to mark workers’ day, it means consumers would have to grapple with terrible fuel supply crisis till next week when the payment may hit the marketers’ accounts.

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Parties Deny Allegiance to Buhari

Two opposition parties – Independent Democrats and United Progressives Party – have denied pledging support for the All Progressives Congress for the March 28 presidential election. A total of 12 opposition parties reportedly pledged allegiance to the APC to enable it win the election.

The parties were African Peoples Alliance, Kowa Party, Social Democratic Party, African Democratic Congress, Hope Democratic Party, Democratic Peoples Party and the United Peoples Party.

Others are Accord Party, Independent Democrat, Unity Party of Nigeria and Action Alliance and Peoples Democratic Movement.

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Gov. Akpabio Denies Taking N600bn Loan

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has dismissed claims that he obtained N600 billion loan to run the affairs of the state, saying the state only got N80 billion facility

The governor, however, said he had repaid about N30 billion of the debt, leaving the state with only N50 billion debt. He pledged to further reduce the debt to about N45 billion before leaving office on May 29.

Akpabio blamed the news of indebtedness on the opposition, which he said was bent on deceiving the people in order to get political power.

He said with the signing into law of the Freedom of Information Bill by President Goodluck Jonathan, those who genuinely needed information about the state’s finances could easily approach the state Ministry of Finance for details rather than being caught in the web of lies on social media.

“When we realized that the economy was going down in 2013, we decided to go for the first loan, and all we have borrowed as a state amounts to N80 billion…”

Read More: sunnewsonline