Sunday, December 26, 2010

Role of the President's aides in Abuja Independent Bomb Blast Saga via SaharaReporters

An account of the role played by aides to Goodluck Jonathan in trying to convince Heny Okah to dump the blame for the Independence Day bomb blast in Abuja on “Northern elements” are emerging, just as Mr. Okah's lawyers received the news of a January 4, 2011 date to appeal his denial of bail application which has enabled his continued detention in South Africa. Last month, he was denied bail by a South African magistrate after the judge said "The accused was untruthful and he lied to the court" .

Saharareporters has obtained a confidential report which might a major role in the trial that details calls made to Okah by several key Jonathan aides the night after the bomb blasts, at a time MEND was claiming responsibility for them. Those named in the secret report include Jonathan's former ADC, Moses Jituboh, a police officer whose current designation is “Personal Security Officer to the president;" the Minister for the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe; and Tony Uranta, the same Jonathan operative who was recently named in the $50,000 bribery of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG).

The secret document shows that four calls were traced to Mr. Orubebe, and several calls as well as a key text message were traced to Mr. Uranta, who used telephone numbers: +2348075407801, +2347084961205 and +2348069280206 to communicate as he acted as an intermediary between Mr. Okah and President Jonathan up to the night after the Abuja bombing in October.

The document shows that after the bombs went off, Uranta sent a text message to Okah, saying, "Please get JG to withdraw claim," ["JG" being the shortened form of "Jomo Gbomo", the mysterious but widely-known email name used in MEND releases] but Okah responded by text, saying , "Don't even think about that".

Mr. Uranta responded with another text message to Mr. Okah, saying the critical words, "Govt will blame bombing on Northern elements."
That was the last text message before Mr. Uranta joined a delegation of Niger Delta delegates which “commiserated” with Jonathan over the bombings. Meanwhile, as Jonathan possibly thought the deal to blame the blast on "Northern elements" had sailed through with Mr. Okah, he announced publicly that MEND was not responsible for the bombing even as the MEND had already claimed responsibility.

As was exclusively reported by SaharaReporters, Mr. Okah's house was ransacked by the South African police the day before the Abuja bombings, and his phones and laptops—as well as those of his children—confiscated. The search had been initiated by the Nigerian government, having been tipped off by Western security agents about the impending blast. MEND had also issued press releases announcing its intentions prior to the blast.

The confidential document revealed that Jonathan called his South African counterpart, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to have Okah arrested to "prevent" the deadly blast. In turn, Zuma directly asked South African prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, to get a Magistrate to issue a search warrant and an arrest warrant for Okah's arrest.

Two South African Magistrates, Nonhle Jadezweni and PJ du Plessis, were contacted to issue the search warrant and warrant of arrest. Both initially refused to comply, for lack of sufficient information or disclosure of course of action, but Mr. Du Plessis was told by the prosecutor that it would be in the interest of the Nigeria-South African bilateral relationship.

As Du Plessis was contemplating the next course of action, Mr. Abrahams put a man whom he said was President Zuma on the phone to tell the judge how important it was to issue an arrest warrant for Okah. The prosecutor then went ahead to produce an Interpol "Red Notice" which was issued in 2007 on Okah.

On the part of Magistrate Jadezweni, a search warrant was issued to the effect that Okah was a violent criminal with stockpiles of arms in his Johannesburg mansion. A search into Okah house did not yield any arms.

Dumisa Ntsebeza SC has now joined Okah's defense team and will be with him at the South Gauteng High Court in Johanessburg in two weeks to try and secure his bail. Okah's legal team is requesting the magistrate records as a way of proving that his arrest and detention was orchestrated politically because of his refusal to be used by Jonathan to endorse his candidature as president in the upcoming 2011 general elections.

If Okah's trial proceeds as planned, revelations from his team will ultimately reveal the extent of the Nigerian government’s involvement with Okah at the highest levels. The involvement of President Zuma and the Johannesburg Magistrate, Heine Louw, were attributed to pressures on South African business interests in Nigeria. Mr. Louw is due for promotion to the South Africa High Court system.

Meanwhile, MEND sources said they are planning series of attacks that would cripple Nigerian oil production between now and January 2011. Chevron has already suspended production due to recent pipeline sabotage. A MEND source told SaharaReporters that their sabotage campaign would affect as much as 500,000 barrels per day.

MEND's threats follow the disappearance of four militants from Port Harcourt prison a few days ago. Our source said they fear that Tamuno Tonye Kuna, known as "Commander Obese", who recently surrendered to the Joint Military Task Force, may have been killed by JTF operatives along with the four missing militants.

“Commander Obese” was reportedly lured out of the creeks by Farrah Dagogo with his fighters and made to turn over some hostages.

Said a MEND source to SaharaReporters, "President Jonathan promised Obese N500 million and a second Amnesty, but they arrested him as soon as he surrendered his forces."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Former First lady Rendered Homeless in Potomac, MD.

This saga echoes a scene from a Nigerian home video, except that it is real. Imagine going from first lady, with all the largesse, to homeless, where you now have to depend on government assistance to survive in a foreign land. It is sad tale, but is the fate of Mrs. Aisha Abubakar Audu, former first lady of Kogi state.

Thursday, lawyers to Prince Abubakar Audu, who has been on a warpath with his wife, Aisha, showed up at their holiday home in Potomac, Maryland and evicted Mrs. Aisha Audu and her three young children from their home.

In the words of the former first lady, "Prince Abubakar Audu owns houses in this town but could not provide a place for us to stay. Instead, he has evicted us from a home we have known for 10 years".

“We were thrown outside at a temperature of less than 30 degrees, while he waited around town to be handed the keys to his company home. He has claimed victory over his wife and children to vacate his home".

“He acted shamelessly and like we are NOBODY!”

“We are now homeless but have been provided temporary accommodation by the USA Human and Health Services, under the abused persons programs, where I and the kids have been attending therapy since this ordeal started".

"They have also provided school for the kids. The neighbors provided immediate help to cushions our plight before we were taken to a shelter as we were not allowed to take anything from the house”.

“Audu has a second house used as a guest house when he is in USA, It is located at 3928 Highwood Ct, there is another apartment which is not currently on rent (managed by his son, Bashir Audu, a student) at Unit N6F 1155 23rd street and unit N6M 1155 23rd street and Unit-PH3 1111 23rd street, all in NW Washington DC under the sham names of Goldwindow, Mercury Belside & Sunshine llc which he solely owns and operate”.

“He could give instructions to allow any member of his family use especially as he had locked us out in Abuja too leaving us with nowhere to go even if we were to return to Nigeria”.

“He also has refused even through his divorce attorney to accept temporary relief for the kids, claiming he is not agreeing to divorce me and has not been properly served”.

“Meanwhile all my personal belongings including that of the children has been confisticated by him in our home in the villa in Abuja, Jos, Kaduna, Lokoja, Alloma, Ogbonicha and London. We cannot get into any of these houses without his instruction to caretakers, police and guards and that was the only reason we came to the USA home believing that he will come to his senses eventually if I just hanged on a bit, but now it is obviously clear that my life has been in danger all along and it has all been a setup”.

“Before moving to our home in the USA which we had always used as a family for over 10 years without any approval from his sham company, eminent personalities like the Ohinohi of Ibira land, HRH Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, former Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Adimiral Ibrahim Ogohi, former Minister of Defence, Alhaji Kwankwaso, former Governor of Sokoto state, Alhaji Atahiru Banfarawa including family members, all got involved to talk to him to act responsibly and follow the Islamic rites instead of the ritual oath on his father's grave, based on allegation by his 35 year old daughter, Meimuna of my plot to poison her father (Audu)”.

“They solicited that he should make amends to the developing situation and where a divorce is the ultimate; he should do it properly instead of locking us out of the house without adequate provision”. “But he was adamant and will not listen or even agree to pay the children’s school fees towards the next school session so that that the kids could continue with their school at the America International School, Abuja”.

NBC Plc to Delist, Sends Notice to NSE

Nigerian Bottling Company Plc: Proposed Scheme of Agreement
Nigerian Bottling Company Plc (“NBC” or “the Company”), wishes to formally inform the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) of a proposed Scheme of Arrangement (“Scheme”) between the Company and its members, involving a cancellation of part of its share capital, such that the Company would become a wholly owned subsidiary of its majority shareholder, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company S.A. (“Hellenic”).
The proposed Scheme would be effected under the provision of S539 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (“CAMA”), which allows for an arrangement to be proposed between a company and its members.
The proposed structure envisages a cash consideration to be paid as compensation to shareholders for the cancellation of the shares of the Company which Hellenic (through its subsidiaries) does not already own. The terms and conditions thereof will be incorporated in a Scheme document to be circulated within the stipulated statutory period to all the Company’s shareholders for their consideration.
The proposed Scheme includes a cash payment ofN43 per NBC share as consideration to the minority shareholders. The proposed price would provide all minority shareholders with a premium of 37.4% to the 30-day average closing price and 43.2% to the closing price of NBC shares on the NSE on December 13 2010 which was N30.03 per NBC share.
The proposed Scheme will also be subject to the approval of the shareholders at a meeting of the Company, convened on the order of the Federal High Court (“FHC”), and will only become binding and effective upon obtaining the approval of not less than three-quarters in value of shares held by those present and voting, in person or by proxy, at the said meeting and the subsequent sanction of the FHC.
An application will consequently be made for the delisting of the Company’s shares from the Daily Official List of the NSE. The Company will also be re-registered as a private company in accordance with the relevant provisions of CAMA.
REFERENCE: Proshare’s Daily Market Report oF August 23, 2010 where the planned delisting was placed before the market.
The consequences of the ongoing imbroglio on the exchange have taken a new dimension as it was reported in the dailies today that three foreign blue chip companies (from Breweries, Conglomerate and Food & beverages subsectors) might be threatening to pull out of the bourse. According to the information gathered, loss of confidence, crisis in the Exchange and market meltdown was among the reasons why these companies are threatening to pull out from the stock exchange.
This further strengthens our stand as expressed in our previous reports that there are urgent needs to resolve the ongoing crisis; the more the crisis lingers, the worst it may continue to get for the market as this will make the market unattractive for reasonable investors. Foreign investors will be scared away further.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

INEC Recovers 16 stolen DDC Machines

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has recovered 16 out of the 20 Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines stolen at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu said 20 machines were stolen out of 6000 imported by Zinox Technologies Limited. "Sixteen of these have been recovered by Thursday afternoon, and security agents are working assiduously to recover the four outstanding and apprehend the culprits."

Idowu said the integrity of the DDC machines cannot be compromised by those behind the theft, saying "there are adequate safety features to forestall any nefarious use of the stolen items; as such, the integrity of the electoral processes would not be compromised."

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday resolved to institute an investigation into the reports that the Direct Data Capture machines imported by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been stolen at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

Adopting a motion on the matter sponsored by Rep. Halims Agoda (PDP,Delta), the House directed its committees on Electoral Matters, Aviation and Internal Security to investigate the issue and report back to the House in one week.

Aviation Minister, Mrs Fidelia Akuabata Njeze sy blamed the theft of DDC machines on lack of CCTV cameras and the porous nature of some of the airports in the country. The minister disclosed this while answering questions at the presentation of her ministry's score card in Abuja.