EL RUFAI: THE MAN WHO DEFIED COURT ORDERS, DEMOLISHED HOUSES, PEOPLE’S SHOPS, NOW SEEKING JUSTICE – SHEHU SANI In a striking turn of events, former Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai is seeking legal redress against the Kaduna State Assembly’s investigation into his administration’s finances. This move has drawn sharp criticism from former senator Shehu Sani, who took to Twitter to highlight the apparent irony of El-Rufai’s newfound reliance on the judiciary. Sani’s tweet came shortly after El-Rufai initiated a lawsuit challenging the Assembly’s probe into alleged financial discrepancies amounting to N432 billion during his tenure. The former governor, known for his uncompromising stance on governance and often contentious policies, now finds himself appealing to the same courts he was frequently accused of undermining. During his administration, El-Rufai was notorious for disregarding judicial orders. Sani’s critique recalls a series of incidents where the former governor demolished homes and businesses, allegedly without due process or adequate compensation. Despite court rulings demanding redress, El-Rufai’s administration was accused of consistently ignoring these legal mandates, leaving many victims without recourse. Additionally, Sani highlights how El-Rufai’s policies led to the seizure and redistribution of lands, often in violation of court orders. This disregard for property rights and judicial authority created a climate of fear and instability among the populace. Thousands of civil servants and teachers were retrenched, actions that faced legal challenges yet were largely unaddressed by the governor’s office. Further compounding his controversial legacy, El-Rufai was also criticized for his treatment of the judiciary in Kaduna State. Sani points out that judges were left underfunded and powerless, severely compromising the judicial system’s independence and effectiveness.The governor’s tenure was also marked by a crackdown on media and public dissent, with numerous journalists and social media users facing arrest for their criticisms of his administration.


PETER OBI, A LONE VOICE IN AN UNSTABLE WORLD – OBI OF ONITSHA The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, has described Mr Peter Obi as a man who stands for the truth at all costs and a lone voice in an unstable world. Igwe Achebe made the remark at the 6th Public Lecture of the Board of Fellows, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He explained that Obi’s stellar performance as Governor of Anambra State continues to be celebrated. He praised Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate in the last general election, as “a lone voice in an unstable world, speaking the truth and pursuing excellence”. The monarch commended Obi for his strength of character, his passion for the betterment of the nation, and his commitment to doing what is right. Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (BOF-PSN), Dr Joel Adagadzu, praised the former Anambra State Governor for setting a standard of excellence in governance. Adagadzu noted that Obi’s achievements have become a legacy upon which others build. “Though I am from a different political party than Peter Obi, and I promised not to discuss politics at this event, I must acknowledge his great achievements. He is not only a nationalist but a global personality. I am happy to be in Anambra State, and I appreciate him for leaving a legacy of excellence upon which others build,” Adagadzu said.The event, which brought together prominent figures in pharmacy, was themed “Access to Quality Medicines in an Unstable Environment”. It focused on how the nation can eliminate counterfeit medicines and provide the public with access to quality drugs for better healthcare.


FG SPENT ₦1B ON TINUBU’S TRIP TO ETHIOPIA, ₦650 MILLION ON HONORARIUM Nigeria Spent Over N1Billion To Purchase Dollars For Tinubu’s Trip To Ethiopia, N650 Million On Honorarium in 21 days An investigation by SaharaReporters, utilising the public payments portal, reveals that President Bola Tinubu’s trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the African Union summit came with a hefty price tag of N1.041 billion, sparking concerns over excessive spending on international travel. The trip was made in February 2024. Records show that on February 9, 2024, $692,265 was purchased with over N1.041 billion “for Mr President’s trip to Ethiopia”. This development comes amid calls for a reduction in the cost of governance. In a related development, between February 24 and March 15, 2024, the Presidency recorded N650 million for “presidential honorarium and transportation”. This means that in 21 days, the Presidential honorarium cost the country N650 million. An honorarium is a payment made as a gesture of appreciation for services rendered, where no fee is legally or customarily expected. It’s a voluntary expression of gratitude, rather than a mandatory compensation. In January 2024, it was reported that the President cut his travel delegations by 60 percent to reduce the cost of governance, so it remains unclear how much the country would have incurred for the Ethiopian trip assuming that the delegation had not been reduced by 40 percent. SaharaReporters earlier noted how the administration of Tinubu spent N473 million on the First Lady Oluremi Tinubu’s to Mozambique, United Kingdom and Ethiopia. The country’s low revenue generation has sparked widespread concern and scrutiny, with many calling for improved fiscal management and strategies to boost economic growth. The organised labour recently demanded an increase in the minimum wage, a development that has continued to trigger disagreements in the country with the government saying it is unable to pay due to paucity of funds.SaharaReporters has exposed the Tinubu administration’s non-compliance with legal requirements by failing to publish quarterly budget performance reports, thereby denying citizens the right to access crucial information on government expenditures and undermining transparency and accountability in public financial management.


UPROAR OVER PLAN TO COMMIT ENUGU ASSEMBLY MEMBER TO PRISON, COMMUNITY ACCUSES COURT OF BIAS An uproar ensued on Thursday at the Enugu South Magistrate Court as three lawyers fought fruitlessly to dissuade His Worship, E.D. Ownu to give a long adjournment date in a matter against an Enugu assembly lawmaker, Hon. Bright Ngene and a townsman over communal issue. While the defence lawyers, Messrs C J S Okereke, Benjamin C. Nwobodo and Frabel Awgu asked the trial magistrate to adjourn the matter till next week to enable them study and reply to application filed by the prosecuting counsel, His Worship E D Ownu insisted that court must sit today, Friday. Meanwhile the matter had been lingering since 2017 before Ngene ran for the assembly election. When every effort by the defence counsel failed to sway the trial magistrate, they stormed out of the court, visibly angry. Addressing journalists on the outcome of the proceeding, Barrister C.J.S Okereke said that the community had applied to discontinue the matter and wanted the matter transferred to another magistrate court in Enugu South Magisterial Court other than that of His Worship, Onwu, who they felt is biased and compromised. “This court is biased. We have filed an application that the matter should be transferred to another court. Let another court see this matter because this court is compromised.” Accusing His Worship, Onwu of comprising in the case, Okereke said they petitioned National Judicial Council, that they were not happy with Onwu handling the matter.. “When his disposition, Onwu, became unbearable, we saw counter and conflicting orders, we wrote the Chief Judge of Enugu State for direction as to which court we are going to hear this matter, there was no reply. We wrote again and there was no reply and we were constrained to go to the highest disciplinary body of the bench, the NJC on June 7 and we got acknowledgment that the matter is being looked into. “I don’t know why this court still want to hear the matter,” he lamented, saying that there was a gang plan to commit his client to prison so that he would not participate in the rerun election to maintain his position at the Enugu State House of Assembly where he had been representing Enugu South Urban Constituency before the Court of Appeals annuled the election and called for a rerun in 8 polling booths. Irked by the development, people from Akwuke community carried placards condemning His Worship, E D Ownu for not allowing a longer time for adjournment.Some of the placards read: “His Worship E D Ownu is grossly lawless and rascal in presiding the case; E D Ownu how much were paid, among others.


KANO EMIRATE TUSSLE: FLAG OF AUTHORITY HOISTED AT ADO BAYERO’S MINI PALACE Amid the Kano emirate tussle, traditional and official flags have been hoisted at the Nassarawa mini palace which the 15th Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero currently occupies. The flag signifies the presence of an emir once raised and it’s also a symbol of authority. It is often raised every day by 6am and taken down by 6pm and remains down when the emir is officially outside the palace or travels. The flag was set up early Wednesday morning with iron rod but the flag was brought down later in the evening. Finally, it was raised by 6 am on Thursday. The two embattled emirs, Aminu Ado Bayero and Muhammadu Sanusi II, are still observing and exercising all traditional rites in their various palaces as they clinch tightly to the Kano Emirate throne.


REPS IN ROWDY SESSION OVER 2023 APPROPRIATION ACT AS SENATE PASSES BILL The House of Representatives, was on Thursday, thrown into a rowdy session following President Bola Tinubu’s call to extend the capital component of the 2023 Appropriation Act and the Supplementary Appropriation Act until December 31st, 2024. In the letter read by the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, Tinubu said the extension is critical to ensure that the government completes some of the projects in the two budgets. Tinubu seeks the extension of the two budgets until 31 December to allow for a full implementation of the law. However, Tinubu’s call caused a division within the lawmakers with opposition lawmakers rejecting the suggestion. The opposition forced the lawmakers into a rowdy session following loud booing from members. Meanwhile, the Senate had on Thursday passed the 2023 supplementary appropriation act to run till 31st December 2024. The implementation of the 2023 supplementary by implication would run in paripasu with that of the 2024 which stands at N28.78 trillion. The passage followed the emergency plenary convened which was presided by the Senate President, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio. The 2023 supplementary budget bill was sponsored by the Senate Leader and Senator representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Michael Bamidele Opeyemi, for its implementation to be extended. In his remark, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio thanked Senators for their understanding and patriotism and expressed his belief that the implementation would allow the executive to complete all abandoned projects


COUP ATTEMPT: BOLIVIAN POLICE ARREST LEADER Bolivian police have arrested the leader of an attempted coup, hours after the presidential palace in the capital La Paz was stormed by soldiers. Armoured vehicles and troops also took up positions on Murillo Square where key government buildings are located. They are now reported to have begun withdrawing. The rebel military officer in charge, General Juan José Zúñiga, had said he wanted to “restructure democracy” and that while he respected President Luis Arce for now there would be a change of government. He is now under arrest. President Luis Arce condemned the coup attempt, calling on the public to “organise and mobilise… in favour of democracy”. “We cannot allow once again coup attempts to take Bolivian lives,” he said in a televised message to the country inside the presidential palace. He also announced he was appointing new military commanders, confirming reports that Gen Zúñiga had been dismissed after openly criticising Bolivia’s former leader, Evo Morales. Mr Morales also condemned the coup attempt and called for criminal charges to be brought against Gen Zúñiga and his “accomplices”. The public prosecutor’s office said it would open a criminal investigation. Speaking from Murillo Square after it was taken by troops, Gen Zúñiga had said: “We are going to recover this homeland”. “An elite has taken over the country, vandals who have destroyed the country.” Gen Zúñiga also said “political prisoners” including jailed former leader Jeanine Áñez would be freed. Gen Zúñiga appeared on television on Monday and said he would arrest Mr Morales if he ran for office again next year, despite being barred from doing so. Mr Morales – who quit as president and was replaced by Ms Áñez after the chief of the army urged him to step down amid protests over allegations of vote-rigging in the 2019 election – also called on supporters of democracy to strike and block roads. Formerly allies, Mr Morales is currently opposed to Mr Arce, despite them being from the same socialist movement, and there have been growing political tensions between the pair. The coup attempt sparked international condemnation, including from several Latin American countries. The leader of neighbouring Paraguay made an “energetic call to respect democracy and the rule of law”, while Mexico’s president expressed the “strongest condemnation of the attempted coup”. The US said it was monitoring the situation in Bolivia closely and urged restraint. “The European Union condemns any attempt to disrupt the constitutional order in Bolivia,” wrote the body’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on social media. Mr Arce was elected after a period of instability following the 2019 election. Mr Morales, the first president to come from Bolivia’s indigenous majority, carried out a radical programme after winning power in 2005, aimed at addressing extreme social divisions and inequalities. The former coca union leader resigned in 2019 after attempting to bypass the constitution and seek a fourth term in power. He was succeeded by Ms Áñez, who declared herself interim president in November 2019. However, in a re-run of the 2019 election a year later, Mr Arce won, returning the Mas socialist party to power. Ms Áñez was sentenced to 10 years in jail for “decisions contrary to the constitution”..


FIVE KILLED AS GUNMEN, POLICE EXCHANGE FIRE IN EBONYI In Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, at least five members of the suspected Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were reportedly killed in a confrontation with state police operatives. The incident occurred when the group allegedly attacked Ishieke Police Station in a blue Sienna bus around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, opening fire on the facility. The police engaged the attackers in a gun battle that lasted about 30 minutes, during which police vehicles were reportedly set ablaze. A video showing the bodies of the deceased attackers was circulated on social media. Reinforcements from the state police command headquarters in Abakaliki and soldiers responded swiftly to a distress call from Ishieke Police Station.A reliable source mentioned that the intense shooting caused residents to flee for their safety.


KENYA’S PRESIDENT DROPS TAX HIKE AFTER DEADLY UNREST Kenya’s President William Ruto, on Wednesday, bowed to pressure from violent protesters and dropped the controversial tax bill which sought to raise $2.3billion in new levies in the Eastern Africa country. At least 23 people died in the anti-tax hike demonstration which took thousands of young men to the streets of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, and several other cities. The protest which began online, gathered momentum and paralysed socio-economic activities in the country for days. The original bill proposed taxes on bread, cooking oil, mobile money services, specialised hospitals and on motor vehicles – all of which Kenyans said would worsen the cost-of-living crisis. Since last week, the streets of Kenya have been marred by protests after lawmakers approved tax increases that are even unpopular with supporters of the president, who once vowed to reduce the cost of living. The doubling of the tax on petroleum products, from 8% to 16%, is expected to have a ripple effect on East Africa’s economic hub, with the prices of goods and services expected to increase. The administration of President William Ruto, who was elected last year, has only made things harder, one supporter said. “He said he was going to make life easier for us hustlers. We are now unable to afford food. Prices are higher than they were before the elections,” hairdresser Evelyne Adhiambo said. People earning above 500,000 shillings ($3,500) now will pay 32.5% in taxes, and those making above 800,000 shillings will pay 35%. Combined with a new housing tax of 1.5% and a medical insurance tax of 2.5%, the new burden will see some Kenyans part with about 40% of their income. Teresia Kathina, a civil servant for 26 years, said it will be the highest employees have ever paid in taxes. “This feels cruel because of the inflation rates,” she said. Economist Aly Khan Satchu said the new law “represents the highest tax rate across every segment.” Small businesses are also being hit, with a tax on their total sales increasing from 1% to 3%. Business people said this will kill the already struggling small businesses that have been reporting losses since the COVID-19 pandemic started. “They are essentially telling us to shut down, because we will not take loans to pay taxes,” said Moses Munyao, a wholesale shop owner in the capital, Nairobi. Ruto campaigned on a platform of reducing the cost of living. While seeking election, he accused former President Uhuru Kenyatta of letting food costs “skyrocket because he has never slept without food in his life, as he was born in a wealthy family.” Ruto’s election win was largely attributed to his appeal to voters as a fellow “hustler” who rose from a humble background to senior roles in government, including as Kenyatta’s vice president. Ruto has sought to justify the increased taxes as the only way to reduce borrowing for a government struggling with a public debt of 9.4 trillion shillings ($67 billion) and is classified by the World Bank as being at high risk of debt distress. The president was expected to sign the new bill into law before the start of the government’s financial year on July 1. Satchu, the economist, said the petrol tax is a reform that the International Monetary Fund has been championing for some time and may have been a “soft precondition” for the $1.1 billion IMF package recently announced for Kenya. “It’s a relatively frictionless tax for the government to collect. However, clearly it will create pronounced ripple effects throughout the economy in that it will raise prices across the economy and further crimp and reduce incomes, which have already been under downside pressure,” Satchu said. He said the…


SIT-AT-HOME: NNAMDI KANU LOSES GRIP AS SIMON EKPA DICTATES TUNE Despite Nnamdi Kanu’s explicit cancellation of the sit-at-home order, which he personally wrote and announced, the directive is still being enforced by those loyal to Simon Ekpa’s faction. This blatant disregard for Kanu’s instructions has led to chaos and criminality in the southeast region. According to Babajide Kolade Otitoju, a seasoned investigative journalist, many people in the region are no longer listening to Kanu’s instructions, instead opting to follow Simon Ekpa’s directives. This division has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, with innocent citizens bearing the brunt of the violence and criminality. “It’s a sad situation, where cultists and brainwashed individuals are using the sit-at-home order as an excuse to perpetuate criminality,” Otitoju said in an interview on TVC News’ “Issues with Jide.” “Nnamdi Kanu’s cancellation of the sit-at-home order was clear, but Simon Ekpa’s faction is refusing to listen, and it’s causing harm to innocent people.” The situation has raised concerns about the fragility of the peace process in the region, with many calling for the government to take decisive action to restore order and bring the perpetrators to justice. In his words; “Many people are not even taking Nnamdi Kanu’s instruction, they’re listening to Simon Ekpa even when Nnamdi kanu announced that he had cancelled sit at home which he wrote in his own hands to cancel it, sit at home is still being enforced by cultists and some undesirable elements who are listening to Simon Ekpa who have been brainwashed and see the sit at home as an opportunity to perpetuate criminality”