Why we must impeach Ortom
Why we must impeach Ortom
All Progressives Congress lawmakers in Benue State House of Assembly who are seeking the removal of Samuel Ortom have listed corruption allegations against the governor, accusing him of misappropriating billions in public funds while state workers groan amidst unpaid salaries.
Reports out of Makurdi, the state capital, on Monday morning said eight lawmakers took over the premises, suspended 22 remaining lawmakers and served an impeachment notice on Mr Ortom.
The Assembly has 30 members in total. It would take at least two-thirds to impeach the governor. Also, eight members cannot form a quorum, which requires at least one-thirds of the total.
But the APC lawmakers, led by Terkimbi Ikyange, who was impeached as speaker last week by at least 22 members of the assembly, said they are capable of impeaching the governor. They reportedly took over the parliament this morning based on security arrangements provided by the police and the State Security Service.
Mr Ikyange told reporters in Makurdi Monday morning that they had passed articles of impeachment against Mr Ortom and would serve him a notice “within seven days,” the News Agency of Nigeria reported.
Mr Ikyange said he has nine other lawmakers with him, giving his group 10 lawmakers in total. While this is enough to form a quorum, it is insufficient to impeach a governor as required by the Nigerian Constitution.
Also, NAN reported that Mr Ikyange only said they are 10 lawmakers, but did not provide the identities of the remaining nine. Reporters were also barred from observing the proceeding of the alleged 10 lawmakers.
He accused Mr Ortorm of squandering N54 billion in state funds, N22 billion from security votes while N32 billion was from local government funds.
The alleged corruption, by Mr Ortom, he said, resulted in the ongoing crisis about state workers’ salaries. Teachers and other civil servants, including those on minimum wage have sparred with Mr Ortom over irregular payments of salaries and emoluments.
The governor blamed lack of resources when he explained the situation to PREMIUM TIMES last September, saying the state only earned N250 million in monthly revenues while grappling with over N40 billion in unfunded liabilities.
The 22 lawmakers loyal to Mr Ortom described his impeachment as illegal. They sat at the Old Banquet Hall, Makurdi, after being denied access to the assembly complex, NAN reported.
House Majority Leader, Avine Agbom, said Mr Ikyange, who presided over the session by the purported 10 lawmakers, had been impeached and suspended for six months, rendering his activities illegal, null and void.
Mr Agbom also moved for the suspension of all members who attended the session where the said impeachment notice was initiated, NAN reported. Mr Ikyange was said to have also been barred from entering the parliament via a court order.
Terver Akase, a spokesperson for Mr Ortom, told PREMIUM TIMES 22 lawmakers on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, to which Mr Ortom recently defected, sat at the Government House Monday and conducted legislative businesses.
“It is not illegal for them to sit anywhere, so long as they have the maze and the clerk,” Mr Akase said. “The state is in good shape and the governor is still in his office.”
Mr Akase strongly denied the allegations of corruption against Mr Ortom, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to call members of his party to order and save Nigeria from brigandage in a democratic system.
“The allegations are all lies and the attempt to impeach the governor remains illegal, null and void,” Mr Akase said. “We call on the president to prevail on SSS and police to stop attempt to truncate democracy and rather than being an accomplice.”
Security agencies have been accused of supporting the APC lawmakers to protect the interest of Mr Buhari.
The state police commissioner, Dapiya Gwana, told PREMIUM TIMES he knew nothing about the crisis at the parliament.
“I do not know anything about it,” Mr Gwana said. “I only arrived at my office.”
George Akume, a former Benue governor and serving APC senator, faced accusation that he sponsored the APC state lawmakers. He did not return PREMIUM TIMES’ requests for comments. Related Topics:
JoelsBlog is a Nigerian News and Gossip Blog for the Latest News in Nigeria and diaspora, a one stop bustop for all your Nigerian News Advertisement Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment “How much is the bride price again?”– Adekunle Gold to Simi’s mum
Just after Simi slammed Leaders NG for listing her among the 67 million Nigerian youths that accepted 200million to cover Buhari’s re-election campaign, Adekunle Gold in Her Instagram comment box asked her Mum for her bride price.
This was followed after the Singer posted a picture of hers wearing a black tracsuit with a pink sneakers on instagram, with the caption
ah-boo-jah was popping, #do you miss me now?
Then her rumoured lover and an award winner, Adekunle Gold added a comment tagging Simi’s mom,
@jedishola mommy, how much is the bride price again?
Interestingly, her mom replied with a suggestive comment saying ;
Sorry, I forgot to add the dowry N10m only. I will be collecting the remaining after the first set of twins.
BREAKING: Eight APC lawmakers take over Benue Assembly, serve Governor Ortom impeachment notice
Eight out of 30 lawmakers in Benue State House of Assembly have served an impeachment notice on Governor Samuel Ortom .
The eight lawmakers have also taken over the premises of the state parliament with the support of the police, Tahav Agerzua, a spokesperson for Mr Ortom told PREMIUM TIMES at 10:00 a.m. Monday.
“They have taken over the House of Assembly and served the governor an impeachment notice despite a court order forbidding them from doing so,”Mr Agerzua said by telephone.
Mr Agerzua said George Akume, a former governor and an APC senator from Benue State, was the one who brought police officers from Abuja to attempt to use eight lawmakers to impeach a governor in a House of 30 lawmakers.
The crisis comes a few days after Mr Orton defected from the APC to the PDP.
It also came days after 23 PDP lawmakers impeached the House Speaker, Terkimbi Ikyange, on allegations that he was not carrying other members along in legislative activities.
Mr Ikyange, who remained in the APC despite recent mass defection of his colleagues to the PDP, was said to have been impeached because he was no longer in the majority party.
Some of the majority House members who impeached the Speaker insisted it had nothing to do with his status as a minority lawmaker.
Last week, PDP lawmakers said they were compelled to use the Government House in Makurdi to conduct legislative businesses after security agencies locked the parliament.
The state’s police commissioner was changed last week.
The mass defection of APC lawmakers in the House was in ancitipation of Mr Ortom’s planned defection to the PDP from APC, which eventually came last week.
Mr Akume did not immediately return requests for comments.
Details soon… Zimbabweans vote in first election since Mugabe’s removal
Zimbabweans voted on Monday in the first election since the removal of former president Robert Mugabe.
The election pits 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a long-time Mugabe ally, against 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor vying to become Zimbabwe’s youngest head of state.
On the eve of the election, Mr Mugabe emerged from eight months of obscurity since the military ousted him in a bloodless coup, to announce he would vote for the opposition, surprising former ally Mr Mnangagwa who accused him of striking a deal with Mr Chamisa.
Voting started at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will end at 7 p.m.
Opinion polls give former intelligence chief Mr Mnangagwa, who took over as president after the army ousted Mugabe, only a slim lead over Chamisa.
There will be a runoff on September 8 if no candidate wins more than half the votes.
Nicknamed “the Crocodile”, an animal famed in Zimbabwean lore for its stealth and ruthlessness, Mr Mnangagwa, of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), has pledged to revive the moribund economy, attract foreign investment and mend racial and tribal divisions.
Queues of eager voters snaked around the streets of the capital Harare from before sunrise.
“ZANU-PF is the only party that I have voted for,” said Elizabeth Kamhunga, 67, after casting her vote at a school in the Harare suburb of Malbereign.
“We may have made some mistakes but I think President Mnangagwa is the only person who has the interests of Zimbabwe at heart.”
Mr Chamisa, who honed his rhetorical skills in the courtroom and the pulpit, has attracted young and unemployed voters frustrated with nearly four decades of ZANU–PF rule.
“This is a historic day,” said Fabian Matsika, a security guard who woke at 4:30 a.m. to travel to his polling station on the outskirts of the capital.
“I’ll vote for Chamisa because it is a vote for change, it is a vote for the youth. Tomorrow we will have a new president.”
Mr Chamisa on Monday cast his vote, telling a cheering crowd: “Victory is certain, the people have spoken.”CREDIBILITY
Mugabe, one of the last “Big Men” of African politics, still looms large over Zimbabwean society and his comments may yet influence the first vote without his name on the ballot paper since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980.
For Zimbabwe to be welcomed back into the international fold, end painful sanctions and secure the donor funding it needs to stem chronic cash shortages, observers have to sign off on the vote as being credible.
Several elections under Mugabe were marred by intimidation, rigging and widespread violence but the consensus is the build-up to this vote has been better than before.
Robert Mugabe, Ex-President of Zimbabwe
There have been reports of intimidation and coercion and state media are biased towards ZANU–PF. Mr Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has questioned the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Mr Mnangagwa has welcomed foreign media and international observers from the European Union, the U.S. and the Commonwealth, who are watching polling stations across the country.
There remain concerns that people may be intimidated into voting a certain way by party members.
“It is exciting to see so many Zimbabweans casting ballots,” said former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, co-leader of the National Democratic Institute’s observer mission.
“However the public’s faith in the secrecy of the ballot is essential for the credibility of the process. We urge the authorities to do everything possible to ensure the secrecy of today’s vote.”
Mr Mnangagwa has made a big effort to win over foreign opinion; hosting Western ambassadors, courting investors and patching up relations with white commercial farmers who were violently evicted from their farms under Mugabe.
Whoever wins will face the mammoth task of putting Zimbabwe back on track after 37 years of Mugabe rule that was tainted by corruption, mismanagement and diplomatic isolation, sending one of Africa’s most promising economies into crisis.
(Reuters/NAN) I’m not bothered about defections – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari said Sunday night that he was not bothered about the defections in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The president made his feelings known while responding to a question during an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Togo at the Nigerian Embassy, Lome, Togo.
Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Monday, quoted the president as saying that most Nigerians appreciated the performance of his administration.
President Buhari said: “I am not bothered about the defections. Ordinary Nigerians have developed confidence in us and are defending us.
“I assure you, majority of Nigerians back home are appreciative of our efforts.”
While expressing delight in seeing the Nigerians who had travelled from the five regions of Togo to welcome him in Lome, President Buhari said he was pleased to hear them commend the performance of his administration.
He assured them that his administration had remained steadfast in keeping to its three campaign promises of providing security, improving the economy and fighting corruption.
The president noted that if past governments had utilised even 25 per cent of the huge oil revenue available to them, Nigerians would not be complaining today.
He cited the16 billion dollars reportedly spent on electricity and yet Nigerians could not see the power.
He, however, restated his administration’s commitment to providing critical infrastructure, providing loans to farmers thereby cutting rice importation by more than 90 per cent.
President Buhari said all recovered illegally acquired assets would now be sold and the money paid into the treasury in the administration’s renewed anti-graft campaign.
“I assure you that we are making progress in security as some displaced farmers are returning to their farms.
“We will continue to work very hard for our dear country,” he stressed.
In his welcome address, the Nigerian Ambassador to Togo, Joseph Iji, said the close to two million Nigerians in Togo were law-abiding and peaceful.
He, however, drew the president’s attention to the inability of the Nigerian Mission in Lome to issue Nigerian passports, making applicants to go to Ghana or Benin Republic.
Representatives of top bank executives, who spoke at the event, commended the economic policies of the Federal Government especially the Ease of Doing Business, agricultural revolution and anti-corruption campaign,
According to the presidential aide, other leaders of the Nigerian Community at the event also lauded the discipline, transparency and accountability that the current administration has introduced into governance.
“They also called for government assistance towards the completion of community’s on-going school building project in order to overcome the lack of good English schools in that country,’’ he said.
On its part, the APC Togo Chapter, told President Buhari not to be worried about the defections from the party, assuring him of its support in the 2019 presidential election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting with the Nigerian Community was the President’s first official engagement on arrival in Lome ahead of the Joint ECOWAS/Economic Community of Central African States Summit,
President Buhari will also be participating in the 53rd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, among others.
(NAN) Gunmen kidnap 15 in Zamfara as Buhari deploys massive troops
The Speaker, Zamfara State House of Assembly, Sanusi Rikiji, has said that 15 persons were kidnapped by unknown gunmen on Saturday in Maradun Local Government Area of the state.
Mr Rikiji told journalists in Gusau on Sunday that the security situation in the state called for serious review.
He recalled the ugly incidences recorded in the last two days in Zurmi Local Government Area where bandits took over three districts comprising over 18 villages and towns.
“As I said yesterday in Zurmi the issue of insecurity in this state require general study system review to tackle the prolonged security challenges facing the state.
“Security agencies should do more and more to deploy enough security personnel in Zamfara; we need permanent security stations in the affected area.
“We thank the immediate intervention of the federal government to this issue. As I am speaking now the troops, security personnel, have been deployed to the affected areas in Zurmi.
“They have started restoring normalcy in the area. We appeal to the people of the area to remain calm as government in collaboration with security agencies is working to maintain peace and stability in the areas,’’ he said.
The speaker also thanked the Emir of Zurmi, Abubakar Atiku, over his concern and commitment to the protection of his people.
Also on Sunday, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the deployment of a 1000-strong security force to Zamfara to check the worsening security situation there.
The security force includes the army, air force, police and civil defence. The president also ordered the deployment of two fighter jets to the state, which will operate from a base in nearby Katsina State.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the past year by bandits in Zamfara. The attackers also often burn villages and kidnap for ransom. Must read! Top 25 Canadian Social Media Influencers
Must read! Top 25 Canadian Social Media Influencers
Recent findings by the 2017 State of Creator Economy revealed that the use of social media is on the rise in Canada, and in order to build a influencial brand in Canada, below are the Top 25 Canadian Social Media Influencers you need to follow; 25 Top Canadian Social Media Influencers
Ori Raynai, aka @ori.ginals , has 49,000 followers on Instagram. The Canadian social media influencer is a photographer has partnered with popular brands including Nike and Red Bull. Along with sponsored posts and projects, the photographer has a number of beautiful personal photos on Instagram, which explains his popularity.
Canadian Blog House
Given that it’s a lifestyle blog devoted to all things Canada, is it any wonder that Canadian Blog House is one of the biggest Canadian social media influencers? The site’s Twitter account has 20,200 followers and was recently named one of the top Canadian influencers to follow. Jenny Jovanovic
Fashion blogger Jenny Jovanovic has been blogging at Crazy Style Love since 2012. Although she’s on a variety of social sites, her Instagram has the most traction, with more than 49,000 followers. The top Canadian influencer has a style that combines the aspirational with the attainable, which makes her a hit with followers Edward Row
Toronto’s Edward Row takes envy-inducing pictures wherever he goes. The Canadian social media influencer has a way of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, and his 50,000 Instagram followers are definitely on board with what he’s doing. Max Hourde-Shulman
The Canadian social media influencer behind yourgirlmax has effortless cool down to a science, and her nearly 18,000 Instagram followers have responded in kind. Whether she’s hanging out in Denmark, New York or Mexico, the Toronto-based street style star never looks out of place. Jamal Burger
Toronto-based Jamal Burger takes beautiful pictures of cities and sneakers. The Canadian Social Media influencer takes captivating Instagram posts that garnered him 205,000 followers as well as a partnership with Nike.
Jacqueline Poirier They say you gotta get a gimmick. Well, Jacqueline Poirier, aka the “Crazy Plate Lady,” has a gimmick. A resident artist at the Ritz Carleton, the Canadian social media influencer specializes in painting photo-realistic scenes on plates. Her special talent has translated into more than 93,000 Instagram followers.
Brad Smith Brad Smith is a former “Bachelor” and a Canadian social media superstar. Whether he’s promoting a charity or talking about his adorable pup, his nearly 33,000 Twitter followers and 21,000 Instagram followers are tuning in.
Adam Moryto Adam Moryto is a Canadian influencer and actor with an enviable Instagram following — nearly 64,000. Although his account is full of posts featuring his smoldering good looks, he also has several posts promoting area charities or encouraging his thousands of followers to give back
Jessica Morris Jessica Morris is another Toronto-based exercise and nutrition guru. She doesn’t have a huge Instagram following — just 4,139 followers — but each of the pictures she posts tends to get a large number of likes and comments from fans.
Sweat in the Six For some, Instagram is synonymous with “fitspiration” and “clean eating.” So it’s little surprise that Sweat in the Six, a clean-eating and gym-focused Instagram account based in Toronto, is one of the top Canadian social media influencers with 13.5K followers. The women behind Sweat in the Six share gym reviews, new healthy/clean-eating products and workout photos.
Coco Cake Land Lyndsay, the blogger and baker behind Coco Cake Land, produces decadent decorated cakes and shares them with the world. The top Canadian social media influencer has more than 80,000 Instagram followers.
Andrew Knapp With more than 598,000 followers on Instagram, Andrew Knapp has become a major Canadian social media influencer. What brought him to the top? His dog, Momo. Most of his posts center on Momo, who’s “hiding” somewhere in a scenic location. Thanks to Momo, Knapp has worked with brands such as Motorola and Volvo, and even has a children’s book in the works.
Cailli and Sam Beckerman Fashion week darlings, the Beckerman twins have a big following on Instagram (168,000) in large part because of their quirky and fun style. The top Canadian social media influencers also work with major names in the fashion industry, from Chanel to Vetements.
Jeremy Rupke Canada is to hockey as the US is to baseball. So is it any wonder that Jeremy Rupke, of How to Hockey, is one of the top Canadian social media influencers? His Twitter feed has more than 6,000 followers and is full of hockey-centric tips and product recommendations.
Coco Rocha Canadian-born Coco Rocha makes the supermodel’s life look attainable and fun. With more than one million Instagram followers, the top Canadian influencer often posts runway pictures mixed with photos from her real life, including snaps of her adorable daughter.
Filipa Jackson A UK-born, Toronto-based stylist, Filipa Jackson has nearly 43,000 followers on Instagram. As one of the top Canadian social media influencers, she’s promoted brands ranging from Starbucks to L’Oreal
Anna Argiropoulos The photographer and blogger behind Anna with Love, Anna Agiropoulos’s colorful snaps have earned her Instagram account more than 90,000 followers. As one of the top Canadian social media influencers, her photos and posts are cheerful and aspirational. It’s little wonder that each one typically earns more than 1,000 likes.
Joann Pai Although she’s now mainly based in Paris, food photographer Joann Pai is from Vancouver. The top Canadian social media influencer’s photographs of food are so mouth-watering, it’s little wonder her Instagram has 142,000 followers
Krystin Lee Fashion blogger Krystin Lee has 187,000 Instagram followers and is considered one of the top Canadian social media influencers. Although she does partner with top designer brands such as Lancome and Louis Vuitton, she also regularly posts about clothing that costs less than $40. Her Instagram is full of posts showcasing her feminine style, as well as beauty tips and travel shots.
Lee Vosburgh Lee Vosburgh is the blogger and top Canadian social media influencer behind the Style Bee, and a successful fashion designer. She has nearly 32,000 Instagram followers, in large part because she’s also the creator of the 10 X 10 Challenge, which encourages people to choose 10 pieces from their closets, create 10 outfits from those pieces and then wear those outfits for 10 days.
Lauren O’Neil Lauren O’Neil is a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). She’s also a hit on Twitter, with nearly 72,000 followers. A self-described “internet girl,” the top Canadian social media influencer tweets run the gamut from politics to geeky stuff.
Jenny Jovanovic Fashion blogger Jenny Jovanovic has been blogging at Crazy Style Love since 2012. Although she’s on a variety of social sites, her Instagram has the most traction, with more than 49,000 followers. The top Canadian influencer has a style that combines the aspirational with the attainable, which makes her a hit with followers How I spent 11 hours on tree-top to escape abduction – Dino Melaye
The senator volunteers exclusive details of his alleged encounter with armed assailants to PREMIUM TIMES.
A Nigerian senator who was feared kidnapped earlier this week has provided a blow-by-blow account of his unpleasant experience to PREMIUM TIMES.
Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West Senatorial District, was widely assumed to have been abducted after his associates claimed he ran into unknown assailants as he travelled towards Kogi State.
One of his Senate colleagues, Ben Murray-Bruce, who alerted the public to the development on Thursday morning, said the incident occurred along the Abuja-Lokoja Highway.
Mr Melaye’s aides and family members later told PREMIUM TIMES the senator was attacked shortly after Gwagwalada, a major town in the FCT and home to the University of Abuja, while travelling to Lokoja.
The senator said he was on his way to court for a third appearance in his ongoing trial for alleged criminal conspiracy.
News of the purported abduction spread quickly, and many started drawing divergent conclusions as to what might have happened.
His spokesperson, Gideon Ayodele, told PREMIUM TIMES the violence was reported at Gwagwalada police division, but did not elaborate on the specific account provided to the police.
As at early Thursday afternoon when the news had become a trending topic, the police did not issue any statement on the reported attack on the senator.
A statement later came in later Thursday, in which the police cast strong doubts about Mr Melaye’s abduction and also denied claims by Mr Melaye’s aides that the matter was reported.
The police, however, said they would investigate Mr Melaye’s whereabouts and rescue him if necessary, urging citizens with actionable information to pass such to authorities.
A police source told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday morning that plans were underway to uncover Mr Melaye’s location, especially since his family members did not say they received calls from anyone for ransom.
But just before noon on Friday, Mr Melaye, whose social media accounts were missing in action since Thursday morning, suddenly posted an update on Twitter, announcing he had escaped attack and thanking the public for showing concern for his safety.
The announcement shocked many, especially since there were already assumptions that Mr Melaye might have faked his own abduction to excuse himself from court appearance.
Sources close to him also hinted PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Melaye had called in to inform them that he had escaped an attack, but needed time to recover from the shock before telling the public.
Several conspiracy theories about what happened to Mr Melaye quickly shaped up, and by weekend, some of them, especially the part that said he made a poor attempt at escaping court appearance, had become entrenched in the Nigerian social media.
Burn him, burn him down
In a lengthy discussion with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday afternoon, Mr Melaye narrated his own version of what he said unfolded along the Abuja-Lokoja Highway.
In all, he confirmed he was not abducted, but that he was not the architect of his ordeal either.
He said he was travelling from Abuja to Lokoja for a court appearance on Thursday morning and shortly after passing Gwagwalada, which is roughly 50 kilometres southwest of Abuja, a convoy of three vehicles drove recklessly by his vehicle, intercepting him on the highway and forcing him to stop.
He said the assailants tried to open fire to force themselves into the vehicle, only to realise that it was a well-fortified vehicle with bullet-proof. Without much time to waste at the scene, the attackers devised an alternative.
“They started shouting that they wanted to burn me, they said ‘burn him, burn him down,’ and crossed the road to look for tyres to set the vehicle on fire,” Mr Melaye said.
As the attackers dispersed in different directions to scavenge for tyres, Mr Melaye said he feared for his life and made instinctive calculation to jump into the bush and bolt, rather than remained in the car in defiance.
“I jumped into the bush, and I started running,” Mr Melaye said. “They pursued me and I was able to outmanoeuvre them and climb a tree.
“I was on top of the three when I saw them run past looking frantically for me. When they didn’t find me, they also ran back.”
The senator said it was on the tree that he perched until his assailants left. While on the tree, he saw four of them passing, but remained hushed to avoid being detected.
He would go on to spend 11 hours trying to ensure that he was no longer at immediate risk from his assailants and navigating his way out of the overgrown weeds.
He also said he could not identify any of them, even if there is an identification parade by authorities, largely because he was more apprehensive of his survival than anything else at that traumatic moment.
Mr Melaye said he believed those who attempted to attack him were police-sponsored elements.
He said when he appeared in court on Wednesday for his attempted suicide trial at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Apo, he saw some men trailing him after the proceeding.
He described the vehicles the men were driving as two Toyota Hilux trucks and a Toyota Sienna minivan.
“They were exactly the same vehicle that were used to attack me on Thursday morning,” he said.
He was driving to Lokoja in a vehicle not previously known with him, in a bid to disguise his move to those who were trailing him.
“I was going in a totally different vehicle, but I asked my brother to drive behind me in an SUV as a back-up,” he said. “But I was shocked to see the attackers run into the middle, creating wall between my brother and I before attacking me.”
He said his brother immediately performed a U-turn, a task that was by and large seamless since he was not the target of the assailants.
Mr Melaye said he is still being haunted by the event of four days ago, and called on Nigerians to prevail on federal authorities to restore his security.
He urged citizens to disregard the claims that he was somehow involved in planning the attack on him.
“It defies logical, the claim is illogical,” Mr Melaye said.
“To begin with, the federal government and the police in particular have combined five cases against me in court,” Mr Melaye said. “I have never declined to appear in court for trial in all the five separate cases.”
He said the claim that he was trying to avoid court appearance should immediately ring false to lucid minds, especially since he was in court just a day before.
Besides, Mr Melaye said, the court appearance in Lokoja was more about symbolism than substance. This was because he had learnt from his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, that the case would not be heard on Thursday because prosecution lead had already written to notify of his unavoidable absence and seek adjournment.
“Alex Izinyon is the prosecutor and he had written to my lawyer to inform him that he would not be in court on Thursday and that the judge should adjourn the matter,” Mr Melaye said.
“So why would I not want to be in court when I know that nothing would happen to me?” Mr Melaye said.
Moreover, Mr Melaye further told PREMIUM TIMES that Nigerians should remember that he was granted bail by the same court in Lokoja, which he had continued to enjoy and had made three previous appearances.
“I have been attending all previous court hearings. I have been told that the prosecutor wanted an adjournment. I have been granted bail long ago which I continue to enjoy. So why would I not want to go to court that day?”
“There is no sense in that claim. It is completely against logic,” Mr Melaye said.
Right, not privilege
Mr Melaye said as a citizen, he is entitled to security if he informed the authorities of a credible threat to his life.
“So now that I am even a senator of the federal republic, how do you withdraw my security and leave me exposed, especially when I have escaped four previous assassination attempts?” Mr Melaye said.
He said his security was withdrawn on April 22, at the peak of his confrontation with the police over alleged complicity in a series of capital offences traced to some persons the police identified as hardened criminals who once terrorised Kogi State.
The suspects were arrested and they allegedly named Mr Melaye as their sponsor who supplied them with arms and funding. Mr Melaye strong rejected the claims, but the police continued to see him as a suspect, and later arraigned him in Lokoja.
Mr Melaye said he had made several attempts to have police detail restored, but all without luck.
He showed PREMIUM TIMES copies of letters he wrote to the Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris, informing him of threats to his life.
He also decried his vulnerable security during a plenary at the Senate, which lawmakers promptly responded to by passing a resolution on July 11, calling on the police to provide security for him.
“I also asked for security from the Civil Defence authorities, but they refused to provide it because of the powers that be,” he said.
Mr Melaye vowed that he would not stop criticising President Muhammadu Buhari, no matter the cost to his personal comfort and safety.
“If I die today, 100 Dinos will rise tomorrow and take my place,” the senator said. Despite population surge, many Lagos wives still reject family planning
Mention family planning to her, and brace yourself for at least a minute spell of enmity with Deborah, her husband says. For many years, Henry has appealed to his wife that the family adopt a contraceptive method to limit the number of children they have.
“My wife does not believe in any form of ‘protection’. I have been trying to make her adopt a method for many years now, but she will always tell me she’s not interested,” Henry told PREMIUM TIMES.
Henry’s insistence on family planning could be linked to the economic reality of the family. He, a National Diploma holder of the Lagos State Polytechnic, popularly known as LASPOTECH, earns N23,000 monthly working as a security guard in Lagos while Deborah earns an irregular amount working as an attendant in a pub at the Mile 2 area of Lagos.
The pressure to get Deborah adopt a family planning method started in 2012 after the couple had their second child.
“After our second child, I told her to make plans to do family planning but she rejected it instantly. I kept pestering her about it but she will tell me that she doesn’t like it. That it is not good. Other times, she will tell me that she won’t enjoy it (sex) well if we do family planning. She doesn’t just want to hear anything about it,” a frustrated Henry said of his wife.
The birth of their third child in 2015 was followed by ‘many rounds of persuasion’ for Deborah to embrace family planning, again, the plea fell on deaf ears. Then came the fourth pregnancy in 2017, one which almost took her life.
Due to early signs of complications, as against what she used to experience, the couple, from second month of conception registered for ante-natal sessions in a private hospital.
Things were moving fine until two days to the Deborah’s expected day of delivery when she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital.
After being stabilised in the private hospital, the doctor informed Henry his wife needed urgent attention which the hospital could not provide as her blood pressure has drastically shot up.
Deborah was referred to the Gbagada General Hospital for further attention. She was diagnosed as having hypertension and when it was time to deliver of the baby, she couldn’t do it on her strength. She had to be cut up to save her and the baby, or at least her life, the doctor informed Henry.
She underwent the surgery two days later and fortunately, she and her baby survived. It’s now a family of five.
Deborah is currently recuperating from the bruises she sustained when she collapsed and from the surgery. She declined to talk to PREMIUM TIMES. Henry however is not fully sure she will agree to family planning after rehabilitation.
“They asked us to come for counselling when she’s fully healed. I have talked to her again and it seems she will do it this time but I’m not fully sure yet,” Henry said.
Like Deborah, many wives in Lagos, the most populated state in Nigeria, reject family planning for several reasons.
FAMILY PLANNING IN LAGOS
In Nigeria, like many parts of Africa, the habitual practice is such that husbands discourage their wives from adopting family planning. But in Lagos, arguably the most populous state in Nigeria, the reverse is becoming the case.
The National Population Commission of Nigeria puts the Lagos population at over 21 million in 2016 with analysts warning of the dangers of overpopulation which the state is currently facing.
To stem rapid increase in population, especially through procreation, family planning methods, through the use of contraceptives, have been proposed as potent means.
These contraception comes in three broad forms: the long-acting reversible contraception, the short-acting reversible contraception and permanent methods.
The long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) are methods of birth control that provide effective contraception for an extended period without requiring user action. They include injections, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and subdermal contraceptive implants. On the other hand, the short-acting contraceptives (SARC) have to be used in short time intervals such as in case of condoms, and daily intake of pills.
While the SARC are handy and ready to use, some Lagos wives detest the use of LARC methods for certain reasons.
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
For some of wives, the fear of the unknown casts doubts on their disposition towards embracing family planning, especially the LARC methods.
This fear has been fending off Adeyemi Adebisi, a mother of two who ‘will never’ agree to any LARC family planning method.
Adeyemi Adebisi (1)
Her husband, a trader, has been on her neck since the birth of their first child, Fola, in 2011; but she won’t yield even after the birth of her second, Bose, in 2015.
“I have never used it (implant) before. Even if it’s for one day, I don’t want,” the 33-year-old said pulling a face of disgust.
“Most of the people I see around me adopt the implants have defects. Some start with swelling of the belly. You will see that she is not fat but it’s just the belly that is coming out. For others, it will delay their menstruation from flowing well. For some other people, they may have three days flow normally but once they do family planning, it will increase to 10 days.
“The greatest fear is how to get pregnant again. I have a friend, she took an implant which was supposed to work for two months, and it took her up to two years before she got pregnant again.”
Her insistence has resulted in mild and sometimes fierce confrontations between her and her husband. but she is not willing to give up the fight anytime soon.
To partially accede to his wish, Mrs Adebisi uses post-pills, but in situations when it doesn’t work effectively, she has her own way of ‘washing’ (aborting) the pregnancy.
“There is this mixture I use whenever it (pregnancy) comes. There are some things we combine for slimming, we call it combo water. It contains ginger, garlic, turmeric and some other things like that. Once I drink it, it will wash whatever is there away. If I’ve missed my period for some days, it will surely come,” she said.
Like Mrs Adebisi, Precious Michael, 23, will not succumb to her husband’s pressure because of experiences some LARC family planning users have shared with her.
Michael Precious (1)
Beyond fertility complications, she is worried about physical deformation some of her friends told her about. The mother of two still wants to be in good shape, hence, her argument for rejection of LARC method.
“I don’t like it, at all. When I was pregnant for my first child, I heard several experiences. If you do it for two years and remove it thereafter, you will have to wait for four years before you will be able to conceive again.
“You will also see some people, they will be fat and their cheeks will become puffy. They will just be shapeless. I don’t want to be like that,” she said.
To avoid her husband’s wrath, which has started coming in form of threats, Precious in June told him she ”would be thinking about it”.
Precious was still thinking about it on the day this reporter interviewed her.
Favour Adebayo, a student of Kwara State University will get married by December; but she already envisages her life with her partner. Even though, her partner wanted her to adopt an LARC method, Favour has been able to convince him to seek other methods of preventing pregnancy.
She says: “Though, people have been saying it. I and my spouse have been having several discussions on how to space our children but what have been hearing about it, I don’t like it.
“I just have to convince him. I don’t like a situation where I will be menstruating for a week, two weeks, one month and the ‘thing’ will be rushing or a situation where I will be adding weight.
“Some people will say they do it, they miss their periods for like six months. Some will menstruate for long, some will be like, they opened tap. Some people will do it and become big.
“Those things piss me off. I don’t like doing it. I don’t even have interest. I don’t think I can ever do it because of all this I’m hearing and seeing it.”
She will continue to use condom or find alternative means, she says with finality.
HUSBAND’S ‘RIDICULOUS THREAT’
Adekunle Sodiq, a welder, who resides in the Ketu axis of Lagos is one of those husbands that had challenges in talking their wives into adopting LARC method of family planning. He, however, got her into it in a most ridiculous manner.
After the birth of their second child in 2011, Mr Sodiq said he instructed his wife to visit a family planning provider to know which method would work best for her. She didn’t. Her disobedience resulted in a pregnancy which the two never prepared for in 2013.
“I was the one that introduced it to her. After our third child, I told her to go for family planning. She told me she doesn’t want it.
“Then I threatened her that I will continue to do it (have sex with her) and she’ll continue to bear children. And she will take responsibility for the children. That was how she embraced it. She took the one of five years.”
Mr Sodiq said he has quit childbearing and would make his wife continue to use the implant until she reaches menopause.
MISCONCEPTIONS UNTRUE – EXPERTS
Family planning providers say the women’s negative mind-set could be attributed to poor access to information.
A retired nurse and family planning consultant, Adekoya Abiola. shared her experience on how she talks such wives into taking up family planning.
“It’s through counselling. I counsel them, I look for people who can share positive experiences with them so as to convince them. And from there, some of them will say ‘yes’ and take an implant.
“To prevent maternal mortality rate, FP (family planning) is the way. It has to be reduced. FP will prevent unwanted and unplanned pregnancy. By that, it won’t put the life of the mother in danger. So, I think that is the way.”
Data from the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) puts maternal mortality rate in Lagos at 555 per 100,000 live births with a contraceptive prevalence rate of 48.3 per cent.
Lagos State mega city
This is milder in contrast to a national figure of 576 per 100,000 live births and 15.1 per cent.
The Lagos State Team Lead of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) II, Edun Omasanjuwa, said the excuses given by the women are ”mere misconceptions borne out of misinformation or lack of information”.
He, however, noted that effects such as weight gain, delayed menstruation and delayed conceptions are all part of the undesirable effects of using family planning.
“For hormonal contraceptives, it’s part of the undesirable effects. The person’s water retention will be higher. Once your body retains water, chances are that you’ll begin to add weight. That’s why we usually ask women who are hypertensive not to use hormonal methods because it would further increase the blood pressure. We also advise women who are above 75kg not to use hormonal method because, chances are that first, you will add more weight and secondly, it will not last up to five years.
“For example, because of the undesirable effects, you see some women go from size eight to size 10. But by the time you see a size eight go to like 14 in space of two years, it is no longer the drug. It is as a result of other factors.”
Mr Edun added that delayed menstruation should not be seen as abnormal.
“Because the hormonal methods work on your hormones, some people, for the period they are on hormonal contraceptives, might not see their periods. If they are taking it for three months, six months or even a year, they may not see their periods. Absence of menstrual period is not a disease. The fear in some people is that when they don’t menstruate, the menstruation is accumulating in their body which is false. What they should understand is that menstruation is as a result of the body trying to prepare for pregnancy.
“When you are not on hormonal method, the body, every month prepares to carry a child. By the end of that month, if that child does not come, all the preparation the body has done is nothing. There is no ovulation, there is nothing to prepare, so at the end of the month, there is nothing to churn out. That’s why some people don’t see their menstruation.”
For delay in conception, the family planning expert said it is normal if it doesn’t go beyond six months.
“Depending on the method, your fertility can return almost immediately or in some cases up to three, six months. But if it goes beyond six months and gets to one year, the reason is beyond the method
“We have found out that most of the time, there is usually a secondary reason for which most of these women don’t pay attention to.”
FAMILY PLANNING SHOULD BE IN CONSTITUTION – EXPERT
For Babafunke Fagbemi, a family planning expert and Executive Director, Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI), family planning should be listed as a basic and fundamental human right of Nigerians in the constitution.
This move, she opined, will bridge the gap of availability of the full range of safe and effective family planning methods that are fundamental to saving the lives of women and adolescents ”as well as a key factor in the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030”.
“The theme of this year’s World Population Day is speaking to the many myths and misconceptions about modern family planning methods, it is a direct attack on norms and cultures that seek to criminalise or ridicule those who have chosen to plan their family. The government and our lawmakers must rise up and play a key role in ensuring the well-being of Nigerian women and ensuring their human right to family planning is one way to go,” Mrs Fagbemi said.
“We need to let people know that modern family planning method is safe and people can actually return to their fertility once they are ready.”
Perhaps, if this message is relayed to Lagos women, their conceptions about family planning will change.
Editor’s Note: Names of respondents except the experts changed (on request) to protect their identities.