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Senate summons security chiefs over illegal arms

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N’Assembly begins probe into invasion by thugs
• Presidency has confirmed Buhari unfit, says PDP

The Senate, yesterday, summoned heads of the nation’s security agencies with a view to curbing illegal possession of firearms.

The security chiefs were Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; Director-General, Department of State Services, Lawal Daura; Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and others.

The lawmakers blamed the situation on negligence by government agencies tasked with controlling how individuals and corporate entities acquire firearms. Consequently, the Senate mandated its committee on Intelligence and National Security to probe the remote and immediate causes of the problem.

The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, who traced the genesis of unlawful possession of firearms to the cases of religious, communal and other conflicts across the country.

Hunkuyi regretted that despite repeated killings in Benue, Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara and other states, government has not done enough to curtail the illegal possession of arms.

He warned that unless the matter is tackled urgently, ongoing calls by some opinion leaders for self-defence could make more citizens stock up on firearms.

In his contribution, Senator Shehu Sani accused the political class of complicity on the matter. He said the rate at which people were being killed suggests the country has more illegal firearms than ever before. He called for a new national mindset where people would see politics as an opportunity to serve rather than a do-or-die affair.

Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, also insisted the proliferation of firearms explains the many killings in the country. He tasked the security chiefs to find a lasting solution to the issue.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, while approving the resolutions, said the rate of the killings and poor response by the security agencies called for a concerted effort.

Also, Saraki inaugurated an ad-hoc committee of Senate and House of Representatives members to probe the April 18 invasion by thugs who made away with the upper legislative chamber’s mace.

The committee is to be chaired by Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Na’ Allah.

The Senate president said: “The incident will go down as one of the darkest days of our democracy. The precincts of the National Assembly are not just places where the National Assembly meets, they are the symbol of our liberty and freedom from autocracy, and the base of our democracy.

“This should not happen. It should never have happened. The violation of this solemn place, the symbol of our liberty, by a group of mobsters and criminals, cannot simply be ignored. It has been inferred in many quarters that a serving, distinguished senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led this group of thugs and urchins. This is most despicable and unspeakable.”

He added: “We owe it a duty that the legislative process is purged of this dirt and the legislature restored to its full place of dignity. This is a duty that must be achieved. We cannot let a precedence proceed from this. Everyone involved, from conception to execution of this heinous crime, must be brought to book.

“This committee, therefore, must see its charge as pivotal to the restoration of the sanctity, the preservation of the dignity of the National Assembly, and the restoration of the security, integrity and moral authority of the National Assembly.”

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, said: “After months of deceit, the Presidency has confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari is unwell, ailing and unfit to attend to state matters.”

The party described as unfortunate the fact that “the President and his handlers had chosen to shroud the issue of his persistent illness in secrecy in a government that prides itself on claims of transparency and integrity.”

At a press conference in Abuja, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “Nigerians were taken for granted, deceived and treated like lesser men and women without reasoning capacity, while our nation, at those periods, was left with no leadership, as Mr. President refused to transmit power as required by the 1999 Constitution, as amended.”

The PDP said though it has nothing against Buhari’s decision to take care of his ailing health, it “detests the deception and lies that trailed the handling of his unabated health issue.

“Even as we speak, Nigerians are not aware of the ailment our President is suffering from and the identity of the doctors and the hospital attending to him.

Shortly before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April, Mr. President, without transmitting a letter to the National Assembly, as required by the constitution, undertook a private visit to the U.K., where his doctors are known to reside, five clear days ahead of CHOGM.

“Nigerians were left in the dark for the period, despite demands for full disclosure by the PDP. Only last week, two days after his departure from the United States where he had gone for a state visit, Mr. President went ‘missing’ again. When concerns began to mount on his whereabouts, the Presidency claimed he had a ‘technical stopover in the U.K., citing flight issues, only for revelations to emerge from the same Presidency, on Monday, that Mr. President was actually in the U.K. to see his doctors.”

The PDP also drew the attention of Nigerians and the international community to the “import of the response by the Presidency to the petition filed by our party to the United Nations, detailing the gross violation of human rights, mass killings, state- sponsored violence, persecution of the opposition, subversion of democratic tenets and large-scale corruption by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.”

The party said it was incontrovertible that “our petition, which was signed by our National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, embodies the pains, anguish, mood, wishes and voice of the generality of Nigerians across board, particularly the victims of extrajudicial killings, state instigated violence, arrests and detentions, economic hardship occasioned by large-scale corruption and government incompetence.”

It noted: “The world was, however, shocked when the Buhari presidency, in a brash show of power and siege mentality, arrogantly dismissed the issues raised by the PDP and the international agencies as ‘comical’, and even went ahead to issue new threats to opposition and dissenting voices in our country.”

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‘Do not listen’ to Udom – Akwa Ibom People Beg Senator Akpabio

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A section of Akwa Ibom residents have expressed reservations over the sudden posture of Governor Udom Emmanuel towards his predecessor, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

The social media on Sunday, was awash with pictures of Governor Udom Emmanuel exchanging pleasantries and whispering to
his ex-benefactor, Senator Godswill Akpabio at the Diocesan New Year Prayer and Fasting Assembly 2019 of the Catholic Diocese of Uyo held at Cardinal Ekanem Seminary Grounds, Dominic Utuk Avenue, Uyo.

Reacting to the development, facebook users have called on Senator Godswill Akpabio not to listen to Udom’s friendly gimmicks. “We do not know what he whispered to Senator, we are urging him not to listen to Udom’s lies. We’re waiting for March 2nd, Akwa Ibom people will reply all the invectives that Udom has poured on Akpabio”.

Another facebook user, Victy Peter said “Governor Udom’s gesture is coming too late. After hurling insults and paying mercenaries to humiliate Senator Akpabio, Udom should not deceive Akwa Ibom people with his friendly gesture. Maybe, he should postpone them till after the elections, we’re confident Udom will loose”.

Further investigations by Akwa Ibom INFO reveals that Udom is embarking on a mission of reconciliation because he is afraid of being ridiculed by Obong Nsima Ekere in the forthcoming polls. “The Governor is surrounded by mercantile politicians, he knows that he will not be re-elected but you know he cannot walk-away without putting up a fight”, another user added.

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Pastor Charis, Uma Ukpai, Nathaniel Bassey, Ors for Restoration Convention 2019

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Pastor Charis Essienobong, Senior Pastor and Founder, Restoration Grace Ministries will speak at the Restoration Convention 2019, with the theme: “Alive Again”.

The yearly event, which begins from Monday, January 14 to Sunday, January 20, will feature ministrations by Pastor Nathaniel Bassey, Prospa Ochimana, Pastor Ity Charis, The Classical Choir and The Restored Voices Choir, among others.

According to the organiser of the convention, Pastor Charis Essienobong, “this year’s theme alongside the pastor’s restoration conference is targeted at bringing to life anything that is dead around, within the life of believers and God is ready to release fresh light for His people.”

Other ministers of the gospel expected at the event include Pastor (Mrs) Idy Charis, Rev (Dr) Uma Ukpai, Bishop (Dr) John Ekong of the New Ark of Covenant Ministries and the Founder and Presiding Bishop of Victory Life Ministries International, Bishop Mike Bamidele.

The week-long power-packed event will be rounded off with Super Celebration Service on Sunday, January 20, 2018 from 8am at the church auditorium.

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Yuletide: Emmanuel Ekon Floods Federal Constituency with 4,000 Bags of Rice

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• Senator Udoedehe dissolves parallel excos

In an uncommon move that has never been heard of any from a federal lawmaker, Chairman House Committee on Local Content and Member Representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon has commenced distribution of 4,000 bags of rice, cash gift and other festive items worth millions of Naira.

Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon

Speaking at the flag-off of the exercise in Etim Ekpo and Ika Local Government Area which was graced and supported with various donations by APC State Chairman, Hon. Ini Okopido, Atuekong Inibehe Okori, DIG Udom Ekpoudom and wife, Member Representing Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency, Hon. Gabriel Toby and APC flagbearer for Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency, Barr. Chris Okorie, party leaders, stalwarts and faithfuls, the lawmaker announced the donation of 200 bags of rice, cash gift of N500, 000 and a live cow, each to the Local Government Areas.

The frontline lawmaker who is also the APC flagbearer for Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency in the forthcoming elections admonished youths to shun violence and desist from being tools in the hands of desperate politicians.

“The forthcoming elections is a choice between Keke Napep empowerment and knowledge. I recently watched a video where the retiring emperor of Etim Ekpo, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem claimed that he sent me to National Assembly to empower youths with motorcycle, not oversight and training of youths. Each of my trainees receive at least N120, 000 monthly which is more than the price of Keke. For Enoidem to say that youths only Keke Napep, it is time for the youths to tell him that the youths of Etim Ekpo are worth than Keke Napep”, he added.

In his remarks, the State Chairman of All Progressive Congress, Hon. Ini Okopido lauded the lawmaker and other dignitaries for their gesture which he said is palliative due to the gross insensitivity of the Udom administration towards the people. “By the time we take over government in 2019, we will continue to place the people at the center of our programmes”, he said.

In a similar vein, former lawmaker representing Abak, Etim Ekpo, Ika Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo commended the lawmaker for taking the welfare of constituents as priority, urging the people to remain steadfast and deliver all candidates of the party in 2019.

Responding, the youth leader of Ika Local Government, Mr. Ufok Abia and women leaders assured the lawmaker of the support of youths. “The youths of Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency have resolved to vote for all candidates of the All Progressives Congress. We simply have no choice, we’re ready to return all our candidates.”

Meanwhile, Senator John Udoedehe has dissolved parallel excos of the party in the area. According to him, “My task in Etim Ekpo is simple and easy. I am here to dissolve is parallel excos and by the powers conferred on me, I hereby dissolve all structures of the party. We have decided to work with the excos recognised by the leadership of the state. Don’t let anyone deceive you with money, APC is taking over Akwa Ibom State. At the moment, we’re no longer talking about winning the state, we’re talking about which local government that is returning the highest number of votes”.

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Business Mogul Lauds Emmanuel Ekon on Human Capacity Development

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CEO of Wissun Motors, Mr. Wisdom Sunday Ubom has commended Chairman House committee on Local Content and member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon for human capacity development and giant developmental strides.

Mr. Wisdom Ubom

The automobile expert who disclosed this in an interaction with Akwa Ibom INFO lauded the meaningful contributions of the lawmaker especially with the training of over 500 youths in the oil and gas industry, a feat he said has never been achieved in the history of representation in the constituency.

“Ekon has consistently focused on projects and programs that has brought about the grassroots’ development, thus making better the fortunes of the constituency. With his commitment towards empowering the youths in the constituency through various skill acquisition programs, the lawmaker recognises that youths are the future of our great constituency.”

“He has been passionate about youths. Recently he raised a motion on the need to forestall the resurgence of youth restiveness in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Areas in the constituency and called on the Presidential Amnesty Committee to integrate the aggrieved youths for proper training and rehabilitation.”

“We are impressed with the initiative of the lawmaker and that is why we are supporting his re-election bid. The youths of Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency will vote overwhelming for Ekon”, he added.

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