Latest news from Nigeria on catch up with A-Z news and information from Africa’s most populous country in West Africa via our teams in Kaduna, Warri, Lagos, Abuja and Kano.

News, Politics

NIS Will Install Biometrics Equipment At Border Posts

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says it will install biometrics equipment across all the borders posts in the country, to check the influx of immigrants.

The NIS Acting Comptroller-General, Mr Rilwan Musa, made this know to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday after he visited the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Musa said that the country’s borders were porous and needed to be fortified through the introduction of biometrics.

He said that some of the biometrics equipment would be placed at the airports, adding that it would give accurate data of individuals for the next 40 years because all information would be in the data bank.

The comptroller-general said that the immigration counters at the airports would be increased to accelerate passengers’ clearance.

He said that Immigration officers would be sent on observation trips outside the country to observe passengers clearing in other airports, saying that there would be changes as soon as that was done.

“We are trying to put biometrics equipment in place. The passengers are expected to be given speedy clearance on arrival after over eight hours flight.

“Our intention is to have these officers on observation trips so that by the time they come back, I believe they will improve on what they are doing,” he said.

On the difficulties associated with issuance of passport to Nigerians, he blamed it on desperate Nigerians who want to travel by all means without obtaining genuine travelling documents.

He, however, stressed that the organisation was working with embassies in the country to fish out criminals with fake documents.

The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr George Uriesi, assured the Immigration chief of the organisation’s support toward ensuring “seamless clearance of passengers”.

Uriesi said that FAAN and the NIS had been working tirelessly to provide a conducive travelling environment for passengers.

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News, Politics

Lawmaker Faults Governors On LG Autonomy

A Member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Garba Datti, has advised state governors not to prevent local government Areas from becoming autonomous.

Datti (CPC-Kaduna) gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

He said if local governments were autonomous, the funds allocated to the councils would no longer be diverted by some governors.

“Some of the state governors used local government funds to embark on personal projects.

“The activities of some governors necessitated the need for the House of Representatives to amend the constitution in such a way as to grant local government councils the autonomy they deserve,” he said.

Datti alleged that on some occasions, governors were in the habit of releasing money to the councils for personnel and overhead cost only while the remaining funds were used for political purposes.

“The joint account between the state and the local governments is a big joke as it has been bastardised by the state governors.

“If the joint account is meaningful to the local governments, majority of the governors will not be rejecting the proposed autonomy for local councils. There is something fishy,” he said.

Datti, however, advised state assemblies not to be rubber stamps in the hands of their governors.

He urged them to desist from taking directives that would not lead to the development of their councils.

He said that majority of the state assemblies lacked the political will to amend the constitution in such a way that would lead to the economic development of their states.

He said the assemblies only voted for those things that would serve the “whims and caprices” of their governors.

Datti advised the governors not to work against the amendment of the constitution that would grant local government autonomy by being clogs in the wheel of progress of the societies.

On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the legislator said he was not in support of the provision of fund for the host community in the bill.

He said that the 13 per cent derivation given to state governments should be given to the host communities.

“I am not totally against the host communities fund.

“But the experience we have had in the past with the 13 per cent derivation given to the state governments was not palatable.

“The fund should instead be given to the host communities,” he said.

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Crime, News, Yobe

UPDATE: 2 Foreign Doctors Killed, Another Beheaded In Yobe

Three foreign doctors have been killed in Nigeria, one of them beheaded, officials have said.

Their nationality remains unclear, with differing reports claiming they were either South Korean or Chinese.

The deaths on Saturday night of the physicians in Potiskum, a town in Yobe state, comes less than a week after gunmen killed at least nine women administering polio vaccines in Kano, the major city of

The attackers reportedly targeted the doctors inside their home, an official at General Hospital in Potiskum, a government-run health facility.

The doctors had no security guards at their residence and typically travelled around the city via three-wheel taxis without a police escort, said the official who insisted on anonymity.

By the time soldiers arrived at the house, they found the doctors’ wives cowering in a flower bed outside their home, the official said. At the property, they found the corpses of the three men, all bearing what appeared to be machete wounds.

Two of the men had their throats slit, while the third was decapitated.

The state’s police commissioner, Sunusi Rufai, confirmed the attack took place but added that no one had claimed responsibility.

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Cover Stories, News

APC National Officers May Emerge This Week

A series of activities meant to strengthen the ongoing merger of Nigeria’s opposition parties has been lined up, LEADERSHIP SUNDAY has gathered. They include the election of national officers of the new All Progressive Congress (APC) this week, a prominent leader of one of the parties said.

To avoid the mistakes of the past, the merger committee will meet on Wednesday to work on the constitution, manifesto, convention and other topical issues to ensure the smooth take-off of the party, said the source who did not want to be named.

Yet another leader of a major party in the alliance said the major stakeholders are expected to hold their national convention to officially dissolve into the new platform on or before June this year.

He hinted that the interim leadership to pilot the affairs of the party may emerge at the planned meeting but refused to disclose the venue and time of the parley.

The leading opposition parties in the country had, last week, sealed a deal to merge ahead of the 2015 presidential election to wrestle power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It was learnt that when the merger becomes a reality, its key offices could go this way: ACN — national chairman and national publicity secretary; CPC — national secretary; ANPP — treasurer and national vice chairman; while APGA would produce the national organising secretary.

Although none of the members of the merger committee accepted to be quoted on the issues, LEADERSHIP SUNDAY has it on good authority that the failure of the opposition to come together in 2011 was due to its lateness in addressing critical issues such as the sharing of key party and elective positions.

‘‘We still have two more years to prepare. I can tell you categorically that meetings are going on at the level of leadership. We know some would go and some would join. We are also aware that sacrifices, dedication and commitments are important. Give and take would also come in. All these would be addressed before the general election. I can assure Nigerians that we would not disappoint them this time around,’’ a member of the committee said.

Another member of the panel disclosed that, but for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the ANPP would not have been carried along because of the way and manner they treated Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who had contested under its platform twice. ‘‘But Asiwaju Tinubu told Gen.Buhari that the new national chairman of the party is more credible and reliable as he has never been a member of the ruling party. We are aware of how a former governor wanted the BoT of that party to vote against the merger but it was the chairman that stopped him.

‘’All these differences would have been resolved before the election. This was why we are starting on time. Some would come as spies; events would expose them. All we saying is enough is enough,’’ he said.

The opposition governors had met in Lagos to discuss the merger, saying it was necessary to bring change to a country that is Africa’s largest oil producer but where deep poverty remains and corruption is endemic.

“At no time in our national life has radical change become more urgent,” said a statement read to reporters in the capital Abuja by ex-foreign affairs minister Tom Ikimi of the Action Congress of Nigeria. “And to meet the challenge of that change, we the following progressive political parties, namely ACN, ANPP, APGA and CPC, have resolved to merge forthwith and become the All Progressive Congress.”

PDM Lauds Opposition Over Merger
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), a political pressure group founded by the late Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua, has welcomed the recent merger of opposition parties in the country.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting, PDM urged the opposition to go beyond rhetoric and provide Nigerians with progressive ideology capable of pulling the country out of its current predicament.

The communiqué reads in part: “The movement received briefing on the ongoing merger talks among opposition political parties in the country and commended the opposition for its resolve to give Nigerians an alternative political platform. We call on all opposition political parties and organisations across the country to close ranks in order to provide Nigerians with a clear choice between conservative and progressive ideologies.

“While we are gladdened by this development, we implore the opposition to define its own identity based on progressive ideology, with clear and contrasting policies and programmes capable of pulling Nigeria out of the current state of despoliation, despair and debasement. Telling Nigerians how bad things are simply won’t suffice. Clear and practical solutions are what Nigerians need.

PDM is developing a clear roadmap for the entrenchment of profound national social, political and economic reforms which will lead to creating jobs, steady power supply, improved security, transparent and credible elections and bringing corruption in all its manifestations to a standstill.”

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