The senate has said that any plot to remove the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, would fail as other senators are ‘not ready to remove him.’
Senate Spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, made this known while speaking with reporters at the weekend.
Mr. Abdullahi noted that the senate president has provided stability not only in the National Assembly, but the entire country, ThisDay reported.
“Nobody can remove Saraki. We elected him and we are not ready to remove him yet. From day one, ‘they’ never wanted Saraki. What we are saying is that the right to choose the Senate President lies with senators and we have chosen our leader.
“From everything he has been doing as chairman of the National Assembly and as President of the Senate, he has provided stability. He has not only brought this to the National Assembly, but the entire country.
“The true face of democracy is the parliament and since Saraki came in, we have not failed this democracy,”
He noted that it was in Nigeria’s interest that the stability in the National Assembly be allowed to endure so that all hands can be on deck to tackle the challenges in the country.
While speaking on the appointment of the Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar, Isa Misau, Bauchi-APC accused a minister of leading a plot to remove the senate president.
“When we were on holiday, so many people were going behind that they should try and remove the senate president. And it was a minister that was spearheading that thing. What is the reason, they said that the senate president would leave APC that they should create problems for him (Saraki). What kind of country is this? Everything is about religion, about tribe,” he said.
The Ogun Government is initiating a free tuberculosis screening programme in Ogun State.
The program which is being carried out in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was flagged-off on Wednesday at Itantebo area in Ijebu-Ode.
It was also launched simultaneously across nine other local governments across the state.
The programme tagged, ‘Wellness on Wheels’, is part of the state government’s efforts at providing affordable healthcare for people at the grassroots and ending the scourge of tuberculosis.
Speaking at the flag-off, the Chairman of Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council, Mr Gbolade Oduwole, urged the people to take advantage of the programme in ascertaining their TB status and getting free treatment.
“Affordable healthcare delivery is one of Senator Ibikunle Amosun led-administration cardinal programmes aimed at bringing succour to the people.
“This is another step where the impact of the government will be felt by the people. All you need to do is come for test and x-ray which is free,” he said.
Oduwole, who urged residents of Ijebu-Ode to always take cognisance of their health issues, gave an assurance that continuous health education on the importance of check-up would be provided.
Also speaking, Mrs Tinuke Otufowora, the Tuberculosis Control Officer for Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council, said the mobile screening programme was a welcome initiative.
She said the exercise would be on a rolling basis and had been structured to accommodate everyone in the state.
“We are going to five communities in the first phase of the programme in the next two weeks where Itantebo is the starting point.
“We have sensitised the people in the area to come out for test; that is anybody that is coughing persistently which we classify in TB treatment as the presumptive stage.
“If they have been coughing for two weeks or more. They have to come for test even if you are not coughing; you can come for testing,” Otufowora said.
The other local government areas benefiting from the programme include Ado Odo-Ota, Ifo, Abeokuta South and Abeokuta North.
Others are Yewa North, Yewa South, Sagamu and Obafemi Owode Local Governments.
Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held a closed-door meeting with the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and former chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Details of the meeting were not disclosed by the parties but Tinubu told reporters while leaving the villa that the meeting was a routine consultation with the president.
He also insisted that the meeting had nothing to do with the statement issued by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in which he asked President Buhari not to go for a second term.
He described the timing of the visit as pure coincidence.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to step down after the expiration of his current term in office.
In a special press statement released by the former President on Tuesday, the retired general condemned those calling on President Buhari to go for a second term in 2019. He urged Buhari to honourably dismount from the horse and join other Nigerian leaders whose wealth of experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the sideline for the good of the country.
”President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7,” Obasanjo stated.
Obasanjo who recently bagged a PhD from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) called for the formation of a coalition for a Nigerian movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward.
”This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward. It must have a pride of place for all Nigerians, particularly for our youth and our women. It is a coalition of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress. It is a coalition to banish poverty, insecurity and despair. Our country must not be oblivious to concomitant danger around, outside and ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially-cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making.
”The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short- medium- and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality. What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden. It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity,” Obasanjo stated.
Read Obasanjo’s full statement here:
THE WAY OUT: A CLARION CALL FOR COALITION FOR NIGERIA MOVEMENT
Special Press Statement
President Olusegun Obasanjo
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Since we are still in the month of January, it is appropriate to wish all Nigerians Happy 2018. I am constrained to issue this special statement at this time considering the situation of the country. Some of you may be asking, “What has brought about this special occasion of Obasanjo issuing a Special Statement?” You will be right to ask such a question. But there is a Yoruba saying that ‘when lice abound in your clothes, your fingernails will never be dried of blood’. When I was in the village, to make sure that lice die, you put them between two fingernails and press hard to ensure they die and they always leave blood stains on the fingernails. To ensure you do not have blood on your fingernails, you have to ensure that lice are not harboured anywhere within your vicinity.
The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today. With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’.
Four years ago when my PDP card was torn, I made it abundantly clear that I quit partisan politics for aye but my concern and interest in Nigeria, Africa and indeed in humanity would not wane. Ever since, I have adhered strictly to that position. Since that time, I have devoted quality time to the issue of zero hunger as contained in Goal No. 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. We have set the target that Nigeria with the participating States in the Zero Hunger Forum should reach Zero Hunger goal by 2025 – five years earlier than the UN target date. I am involved in the issue of education in some States and generally in the issue of youth empowerment and employment. I am involved in all these domestically and altruistically to give hope and future to the seemingly hopeless and those in despair. I believe strongly that God has endowed Nigeria so adequately that no Nigerian should be either in want or in despair.
I believe in team work and collaborative efforts. At the international level, we have worked with other world leaders to domicile the apparatus for monitoring and encouraging socio-economic progress in Africa in our Presidential Library. The purpose of Africa Progress Group, which is the new name assumed by Africa Progress Panel (APP), is to point out where, when and what works need to be done for the progress of Africa separately and collectively by African leaders and their development partners. I have also gladly accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary-General to be a member of his eighteen-member High-Level Board of Advisers on Mediation. There are other assignments I take up in other fora for Africa and for the international community. For Africa to move forward, Nigeria must be one of the anchor countries, if not the leading anchor country. It means that Nigeria must be good at home to be good outside. No doubt, our situation in the last decade or so had shown that we are not good enough at home; hence we are invariably absent at the table that we should be abroad.
All these led me to take the unusual step of going against my own political Party, PDP, in the last general election to support the opposite side. I saw that action as the best option for Nigeria. As it has been revealed in the last three years or so, that decision and the subsequent collective decision of Nigerians to vote for a change was the right decision for the nation. For me, there was nothing personal, it was all in the best interest of Nigeria and, indeed, in the best interest of Africa and humanity at large. Even the horse rider then, with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard. He has a role to play on the side line for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.
The situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again. First, I thought I knew the point where President Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote about it even before Nigerians voted for him and I also did vote for him because at that time it was a matter of “any option but Jonathan” (aobj). But my letter to President Jonathan titled: “Before It Is Too Late” was meant for him to act before it was too late. He ignored it and it was too late for him and those who goaded him into ignoring the voice of caution. I know that praise-singers and hired attackers may be raised up against me for verbal or even physical attack but if I can withstand undeserved imprisonment and was ready to shed my blood by standing for Nigeria, I will consider no sacrifice too great to make for the good of Nigeria at any time. No human leader is expected to be personally strong or self-sufficient in all aspects of governance.
I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help. Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move. I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well. They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria. There were serious allegations of round-tripping against some inner caucus of the Presidency which would seem to have been condoned. I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it? Culture of condonation and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up. And going to justice must be with clean hands.
I thought President Buhari would fight corruption and insurgency and he must be given some credit for his achievement so far in these two areas although it is not yet uhuru!
The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some Governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate. The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.
But there are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public? The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security. The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game. Our Constitution is very clear, one of the cardinal responsibilities of the President is the management of the economy of which the value of the naira forms an integral part. Kinship and friendship that place responsibility for governance in the hands of the unelected can only be deleterious to good government and to the nation.
President Buhari’s illness called for the sympathy, understanding, prayer and patience from every sane Nigerian. It is part of our culture. Most Nigerians prayed for him while he was away sick in London for over hundred days and he gave his Deputy sufficient leeway to carry on in his absence. We all thanked God for President Buhari for coming back reasonably hale and hearty and progressing well in his recovery. But whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him, no matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say. President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.
I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.
I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction. The recent show of PDP must give grave and great concern to lovers of Nigeria. To claim, as has been credited to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for procuring the Supreme Court judgement for his faction of the Party, he must dictate the tune all the way and this is indeed fraught with danger. If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it “a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference.” We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly.
I believe the situation we are in today is akin to what and where we were in at the beginning of this democratic dispensation in 1999. The nation was tottering. People became hopeless and saw no bright future in the horizon. It was all a dark cloud politically, economically and socially. The price of oil at that time was nine dollars per barrel and we had a debt overhang of about $35 billion. Most people were confused with lack of direction in the country. One of the factors that saved the situation was a near government of national unity that was put in place to navigate us through the dark cloud. We had almost all hands on deck. We used people at home and from the diaspora and we navigated through the dark cloud of those days. At that time, most people were hopelessly groping in the dark. They saw no choice, neither in the left nor in the right, and yet we were not bereft of people at home and from the diaspora that could come together to make Nigeria truly a land flowing with milk and honey. Where we are is a matter of choice but we can choose differently to make a necessary and desirable change, once again.
Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians complaining, murmuring in anguish and anger. But our anger should not be like the anger of the cripple. We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves. It will not come through self-pity, fruitless complaint or protest but through constructive and positive engagement and collective action for the good of our nation and ourselves and our children and their children. We need moral re-armament and engaging togetherness of people of like-mind and goodwill to come solidly together to lift Nigeria up. This is no time for trading blames or embarking on futile argument and neither should we accept untenable excuses for non-performance. Let us accept that the present administration has done what it can do to the limit of its ability, aptitude and understanding. Let the administration and its political party platform agree with the rest of us that what they have done and what they are capable of doing is not good enough for us. They have given as best as they have and as best as they can give. Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they have given or what we know they are capable of giving. To ask them to give more will be unrealistic and will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term of four years if not destroy it beyond the possibility of an early recovery and substantial growth. Einstein made it clear to us that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the height of folly. Already, Nigerians are committing suicide for the unbearable socio-economic situation they find themselves in. And yet Nigerians love life. We must not continue to reinforce failure and hope that all will be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and another aspect of folly.
What has emerged from the opposition has shown no better promise from their antecedents. As the leader of that Party for eight years as President of Nigeria, I can categorically say there is nothing to write home about in their new team. We have only one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the promised land. And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement. Change that will give hope and future to all our youth and dignity and full participation to all our women. Our youth should be empowered to deploy their ability to learn, innovate and work energetically at ideas and concepts in which they can make their own original inputs. Youth must be part of the action today and not relegated to leadership of tomorrow which may never come. Change that will mean enhancement of living standard and progress for all. A situation where the elected will accountably govern and every Nigerian will have equal opportunity not based on kinship and friendship but based on free citizenship.
Democracy is sustained and measured not by leaders doing extra-ordinary things, (invariably, leaders fail to do ordinary things very well), but by citizens rising up to do ordinary things extra-ordinarily well. Our democracy, development and progress at this juncture require ordinary citizens of Nigeria to do the extra-ordinary things of changing the course and direction of our lackluster performance and development. If leadership fails, citizens must not fail and there lies the beauty and importance of democracy. We are challenged by the current situation; we must neither adopt spirit of cowardice nor timidity let alone impotence but must be sustained by courage, determination and commitment to say and do and to persist until we achieve upliftment for Nigeria. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and we believe that our venturing will not be in vain. God of Nigeria has endowed this country adequately and our non-performance cannot be blamed on God but on leadership. God, who has given us what we need and which is potentially there, will give us leadership enablement to actualize our potentiality.
The development and modernization of our country and society must be anchored and sustained on dynamic Nigerian culture, enduring values and an enchanting Nigerian dream. We must have abiding faith in our country and its role and place within the comity of nations. Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck. All hands of men and women of goodwill must be on deck. We need all hands to move our country forward.
We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That Movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. Coalition to salvage and redeem our country. You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us. Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections. But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into candidate-sponsoring Movement for elections, I will bow out of the Movement because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria must have its headquarters in Abuja.
This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward. It must have a pride of place for all Nigerians, particularly for our youth and our women. It is a coalition of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress. It is a coalition to banish poverty, insecurity and despair. Our country must not be oblivious to concomitant danger around, outside and ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially-cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making.
The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short- medium- and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality. What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden. It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity.
Some may ask, what does Obasanjo want again? Obasanjo has wanted nothing other than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians and he will continue to want nothing less. And if we have the best, we will be contented whether where we live is described as palaces or huts by others and we will always give thanks to God.
I, therefore, will gladly join such a Movement when one is established as Coalition for Nigeria, CN, taking Nigeria to the height God has created it to be. From now on, the Nigeria eagle must continue to soar and fly high. CN, as a Movement, will be new, green, transparent and must remain clean and always active, selflessly so. Members must be ready to make sacrifice for the nation and pay the price of being pioneers and good Nigerians for our country to play the God-assigned role for itself, for its neighbours, for its sub-region of West Africa, for its continent and for humanity in general. For me, the strength and sustainable success of CN will derive largely from the strong commitment of a population that is constantly mobilized to the rallying platform of the fact that going forward together is our best option for building a nation that will occupy its deserved place in the global community. May God continue to lead, guide and protect us. Amen.
• Inside story Ejima Igwedibia (alias Don Waney), the Rivers State-based oil bunkerer, cult leader, serial killer and kidnap kingpin
• How he made N20m a day from crude oil sale
Don Waney’s name evokes the same fear that the mention of the names of Oyenusi, Anini, Osisikankwu, and lately, Evans, used to elicit in the minds of people. While he lived, he was the lord of the manor who dared to walk where angels feared to tread. It is not every time that you see or hear of bullet-riddled bodies of a big-time criminal being displayed like a trophy, for the viewing of members of the public. But Waney’s own and two of his crime partners had to be displayed recently by men and officers of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, ostensibly in a bid to reassure the public that there is no more cause for alarm over the trajectory their criminal activities had assumed. Long before the 34-year-old kidnap kingpin from Ogba/Egbema /Ndoni Local Government Area, ONELGA of Rivers State, became something of an unmitigated menace to the society, he used to be known as Ejima (Twin) Igwedibia (a name which translates as “Strong Native Doctor”).
Dimension of his criminal activities
Waney, a member of a Niger Delta militant group in the Orashi region of the state, used to be a hitman of Chiboy (one-time leader of Orashi Marine) in Ahoada East Local Government Area. Sources said he became very powerful after masterminding the murder of the Orashi region militant leader, Chiboy, in a fiendish powerplay.
At 26 years, he later took over the entire structure of the militant group and began to run its affairs from his Aligu village. With time, he became very popular and extremely powerful. He demanded and got the loyalty of almost everyone: traditional rulers, religious leaders, youth groups, politicians and multinational oil companies. Accusing fingers pointed at him as the mastermind of the killings, kidnappings and beheadings that went on daily in the Orashi region, a that worsened during the 2015 general elections. When in 2016 he reportedly accepted an offer of amnesty from the state government, Don Waney had debunked all the allegations of killing, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, cultism and oil-bunkering carried out on the area levelled against him. He had in turn accused multinational oil firms operating in ONELGA of being behind the security challenges experienced by the public. He also accused politicians of causing stunted development in the council. And he pledged to work with the government if it (government) would be sincere. He (together with his gang) was among the militants and cultists that accepted the state government amnesty. Shortly after doing so, he was conferred with a chieftaincy title. And, indeed, for some months, he seemed to have truly sheathed his sword of killings and sundry atrocities. For instance, when in 2017 his mother was abducted and later freed after some days, he vowed that no amount of temptation by his opponents would make him return to his old ways.
Bio-data of the crime kingpin
The man whose real name is Prince Ejima Igwedibia was born in 1983 the first child of the family of Igwedibia in Aligu Community of Omoku, headquarters of Ogba /Egbema /Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA). One of his siblings, a younger brother, is also a member of his gang, a deadly fellow who goes by the name “Obataosu” (literarily translated as “one who causes trouble the moment he walks into a gathering or scene”). Waney, once a student of Community Secondary School, Obigwe in ONELGA, dropped out in Class 3. Thereafter, he followed the path and to mix up with bad gangs.
Saturday Sun learnt of the strained relationship between Don Waney and his father. It was common knowledge in the community that the reason for the discord was his father’s refusal to support his nefarious activities. In contrast, the same cannot be said of his mother, who, as the rumour goes, introduced him to witchcraft and approved of his criminal venture, her support so absolute she not only lived with him in his mansion but also took charge of the gang’s shopping. Multiple sources claimed she used to buy foodstuffs and needful items for the gang and always went about accompanied by heavily armed men. She lived with him until the military raid on the camp on Tuesday, November 17, 2017. Sources claimed the ‘prince’ attached to his name did not mean he was from a royal family. Rather, the appellate came from his notoriety as a gang leader. Involvement with bad groups, and operations.
After abandoning school and education, Don Waney started his crime career with domestic stealing. Thereafter, he joined cult groups and quickly rose through the ranks courtesy of his viciousness. He graduated from cultism to kidnapping and later became the leader of a gang of kidnappers, the notorious Iceland cult. At a point, politicians became interested in him and he was hired, from time to time for dirty jobs, by the highest bidder. Investigations showed that while he worked in cahoots with unscrupulous politicians, his main job remained kidnapping, bunkering and dealings with multinational oil firms in the local government area.
Waney operated like a true gang leader. His gang often dressed in military camouflages, making it almost difficult for a novice to distinguish the difference between them and regular troops of the Nigerian Army. The major difference was in the insignia on their red berets––two guns crossed at a point with a human skull at the centre. Their stronghold was the Orashi River. Some time ago, he told journalists his main camp was across the Orashi River.
How he made his money
While he was alive, he was patronised by multinational oil companies and politicians. Notwithstanding, several sources agreed that he made the bulk of his money from kidnapping long ago before finding his way into the plum niche of multinational oil companies. From one of the oil companies in the area, he got steady incentives like employment slots, contracts and pipeline surveillance. At a point, he went into crude oil bunkering, and reportedly made a lot of money running into millions of dollars. That made him not only stupendously rich but also influential. In the course of time, he became lawless. With the huge chest of money at his disposal, he was able to buy the loyalty of some members of Nigerian security agencies. Several sources alleged that security agencies gave him coverage in his bunkering business. His romance with security agents yielded millions of naira, with a significant portion of his plunder dispensed as largesse that oiled the protection machinery. “He became untouchable based on the huge amount of money he made from bunkering and kidnapping,” a source told Saturday Sun. “He was a warlord.” According to some residents of Omoku and neighbouring communities, Waney’s reign of terror lasted for approximately seven years.
Marriage and family life
Saturday Sun gathered that the slain kingpin had two young wives; the first wife, from Omoku, the daughter of a third-class traditional ruler; the second wife, an Igbo and an undergraduate, who lived in Dubai with her two children.
The raid and its repercussion On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, the Nigerian Army raided his palatial home, following the murder of some members of ONELGA Security, Peace and Advisory Committee (OSPAC) by his gang, in a deadly gunfight. Then General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division Port Harcourt, Major General Eneobong Udoh, accompanied by other security chiefs, conducted selected journalists round the Waney den, located in Aligu community. The compound had two steel gates. It took an armoured tank and bulldozers to break them. On the fence of the compound were four dwarf gates that served dual purposes as lookout points and escape routes. One of the exit gates led directly to the Orashi River, where speedboats were on standby to ferry Waney and his gang members away in times of trouble.
Deadly German Shepherd dogs––most of them were killed during the raid––also formed part of his security. His home was a nest of luxury––mini football pitch, lawn tennis and basketball courts, Olympic-size swimming pool, a warehouse of a large amount of foodstuffs and assorted alcoholic drinks, mostly beer. There was, however, a dark side to the palatial home that had a functional fountain, that was a five feet tall double-headed lion statue. During the demolition, human skeletons were unearthed from beneath the edifice. A shrine outside the building was surrounded by shallow graves that harboured decomposing human corpses that were exhumed for journalists to see. Eleven human skulls were recovered from the shrine. Other items included assorted weapons, dynamites, bags of cannabis, military camouflage uniforms, boots and radio communication gadgets. After the raid, the people of Omoku took to the streets in jubilation for the liberation of the town from the stranglehold of Dagon. They mistakenly assumed him to be dead. The joy was short-lived. The sequence of the event did not go down well with Don Waney and his gang, and this according to the Nigerian Army, was what led to the bloodshed that ended in the massacre of 22 innocent individuals on New Year’s Eve. The victims––old, young, male and female––all dispatched by bullets as they returned home after the watch night service.
Don Waney’s last statement
Five days after the carnage, Don Waney spoke from his hideout, denying links to the massacre: “I have been complaining about what the Local Government Chairman is doing in ONELGA. He is recruiting cult boys to join OSPAC so that they can kill other cult people. “Many times, they had provoked me. They kidnapped my mother and later went about killing my boys, one by one. I notified the police about what they were doing to me. I told them that I have embraced the amnesty but OSPAC people are still treating me like a cultist. They even came to my house and shot at me. They thought I was dead. But, I surprised them, because, like Jesus Christ, I have resurrected again. Nobody can kill me.” Those were said to be his last words before he was killed alongside two others in a suburb of Enugu. A statement from the Army gave a blow-by-blow account of his Waterloo. “The authorities of 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt wish to inform the peace-loving people of Omoku in ONELGA in particular, Rivers State and, indeed, the entire good people of Niger Delta, that the notorious cult leader, kidnap kingpin and mass murderer, Don Waney is dead. Intense surveillance activities on him and his gang by the Department of State Services (DSS) Rivers State Command, revealed that after committing these atrocities he relocated to a neighbourhood within Enugu Town, in Enugu State, where he rented an apartment and started living among unsuspecting neighbours within the community. “From the relative safety of his newly-rented apartment, Don Waney was already perfecting plans to wrought another mayhem in Omoku in which he was to attack churches, schools, Army and Police locations and the residence of the generality of the already traumatized people of Omoku.
“However, following a successful location of his new Enugu neighbourhood hideout by the DSS Rivers State Command, a combined team of troops of 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, and personnel of DSS Rivers State Command raided the hideout to arrest him and his other accomplices. “Incidentally, on sensing that the combined team were closing in on his residence, Don Waney, his second-in-command (Ikechukwu Adiele) and another gang member (Lucky Ode) attempted to escape through the back exit of the apartment and were shot down by the eagle-eyed troops in the process. One of them died on the spot while the other two who sustained gunshot wounds eventually died while being evacuated for medical attention.” On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, his multi-million naira estate was demolished on the orders of the Federal Government. The demolition started in the morning and ended before noon, the operation carried out by heavily-armed security operatives.
The estate, located in a lush part of Aligu community, had eight fully furnished and lavishly built bungalows and a mansion sitting atop ten plots of land. Visitors would have to cross four major checkpoints manned by heavily armed men before getting to the main building. Each of the checkpoints is manned by soldiers standing or sitting behind General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG) and hidden away by bags of sand used as barricades, from the view of passersby and onlookers. He is said to have property also Enugu, Calabar, Asaba and in Dubai.
Rivers Govt. identifies corpse
Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike on Amnesty Matters, Sir Ken Chinda, visited the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, during the display of the remains of the criminals for public view. Chinda, who chaired the State Amnesty programme that promised amnesty for the warlord and his boys on October 5, 2016, regretted that Waney acted the part of the proverbial stubborn fly that followed the corpse to the grave. “When we had the interface, we told them that the amnesty is not a cover; that, if they go against the terms of the amnesty, they will face the law,” Chinda said. “We are happy and commend the gallantry Army and its sister agencies.
Nobody, who has accepted amnesty, should go back to crime. We will continue to have zero tolerance for criminality and cultism. With the development, there will be total peace in ONELGA now.” Role of local vigilance group, OSPAC ONELGA Security, Peace and Advisory Committee (OSPAC), played a pivotal role in bringing down Don Waney. The local vigilance group, the brainchild of the council’s caretaker committee chairman, Barr. Osi Olisa was set up to tackle security challenges, which had overwhelmed the LGA for several years.
Saturday Sun learnt that some members of the group were former members of Don Waney’s gang and as such, were able to confront him because they knew how notorious he was. Don Waney, had tried to eliminate the threat posed by the vigilance group, by waging an incessant war against the outfit, had some of its members killed at will and once launched a personal attack on Olisa. OSPAC, led by Maxwell Ahiakwo, an “Associate Professor of Mysticism” launched an audacious counterattack against Don Waney on November 19, 2017, in conjunction with personnel of the Joint Military Task Force and the Department of State Service (DSS).
Like a ghost that defies death, Waney escaped the attack though with bullet wounds while 11 members of his gang were killed in the ensued fierce gun battle. The army took over his property after the raid. Reaction of a bereaved husband His death continues to evoke a sigh of relief from relatives of the New Year killings. While his death cannot bring back to life scores of victims he dispatched to their early graves, their relatives are nonetheless happy all the same, if not for anything but for the end of his inglorious reign. Bright Nwokocha, who lost his wife, Joy, in the 2018 New Year massacre is still brimming with resentment. “They killed my wife and shot my daughter and they thought it will be well with them?” he asked rhetorically. “Their punishment has just begun. We all need peace and God will ensure that the blood of my wife and those of other innocent persons murdered are accounted for and bring peace to ONELGA.” Return home, ONELGA boss begs fleeing indigenes.
The caretaker chairman of ONELGA, Barr. Olisa in an interview with Saturday Sun implored natives who had fled their homes in terror to return home. “What has happened is a demonstration of the commitment of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, to the security of the state,” he insisted “With the killing of the cultist, we can now face development. The people of Omoku are now celebrating.” He went on: “The major challenge we are facing outside this insecurity (which has been taken care of) is the issue of unemployment. When youths are not engaged they join cults, that is what resulted in the challenge we had. We will work to remove the youths from the streets so we will not go back to this situation.” Olisa also disclosed that OSPAC, would be reformed, adding that the main cause of security lapses in the locale has been exterminated. “OSPAC is part of the society and it has to grow along. But, it will be reformed. We will not remove it because we want to make ONELGA safe”, he added. Some ONELGA members who spoke to Saturday Sun, with a strict request not to have their names mentioned, observed that the late terror king made a fortune out of his criminal activities. Obi Nelson, a peace advocate gave a fuller portrait of the fallen criminal.
His summation of the “Rise and Fall of Don Waney” attributed reign to the roaring success of his criminal venture, the reason many boys, who did not have a job, quickly keyed into his criminal activities of kidnapping, oil bunkering and sundry violent crimes. Waney at his peak commanded numerous combatant “soldiers” armed with sophisticated arms and ammunition who could carry out heinous and devastating operations and go scot-free, Nelson said.
Nelson unravelled the conundrum further, with a claim that late kingpin once told him the source of his Don Waney nickname: a Jamaican action movie. “Aside the two goons gunned down alongside him, his other henchmen in Don Waney’s barrack, have been declared wanted as we speak.” Nelson warned that the deadliest member of the gang is still at large: Waney’s immediate younger brother, popularly known as Obataosu. “He knows quite well where they prepare their jazz (charms), the things used and how to go about the things needed for sacrifice,” said Nelson. According to him and other sources, Obataosu was the coordinator of the New Year Eve massacre across four communities in Omoku and its environs. Obataosu was aided in the crossover attack by King Kong, another dreaded member of the gang, who was shot dead in the Army-DSS joint operation.
Speaking further, Nelson said Don Waney went after political enemies, irrespective of party affiliation, especially those troubling or disobeying his orders. “He single-handedly chose who became youth leader or Community Development Committee Chairman, within and outside Omoku. Prominent politicians who could not withstand him fled Omoku and the LGA.
Those who could dance to his tune stayed. “Don Waney is a real don, a traditional ruler for that matter. In fact, he had already been given the title before he was said to have embraced the state government amnesty. His title was “Eze Onyirimba I” of Ogbaland. That title was given to him in 2016, not without regard to his antecedents. “While alive, he made millions of naira daily from multinational oil companies, from oil bunkering and was heavily being protected by security agencies. His products were sold to many filling stations. He made close to N20 million daily from oil bunkering. The kind of mayhem he perpetrated in ONELGA can never be healed because of most of the important persons he eliminated. He sent many families into perpetual hardship. So how can the wounds be healed?”
Everyone who uses Facebook will have come across some pretty strange posts in their time.
Random friend requests, being added to groups you did not ask to join, and tags that allow “friends” to clog up your timeline with posts or photos you don’t necessarily want.
But a Nigerian man took that to a whole new level when he posted an unusual advert.
Chidimma Amedu put up a post on 30 December, asking any woman interested in being his wife to reply, he told the BBC.
“Am of age to and I am ready to say I do and am wasting no time.
“Send in your applications – the most qualified will be married on January 6, 2018. Application closes 12 midnight, 31/12/2017,” he posted.
He then followed up with subsequent posts.
“Am serious about this oh and don’t say you did not see it on time. Good luck.”
He received a couple of responses, but one from a certain Sophy Ijeoma was the one which caught his attention.
“Am interested, just DM me…lols,” her post read.
At first, she thought it was a joke and she simply replied to keep the thread flowing.
Man on a mission
A direct message from him to her inbox, followed by a Facebook call, would change her life’s trajectory.
Two days after their first conversation, he travelled some 500km (300 miles) from his home in the northern city of Abuja, to Enugu in the east where she lived.
She had been waiting for him outside a retail store and in true fairy-tale style, “it was love at first sight”, she recalled.
“He is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.”
After two hours of “awkward” conversation, he asked her to go to meet his uncle, who incidentally is also resident in Enugu.
Asked what was going through her mind at the time, she said she thought it was all a bit of a joke, but she was excited about it and thought Chidimma was quite an interesting character.
Tradition meets modernity
“We got to the uncle’s house and he said: ‘Uncle, meet the woman I want to marry.'”
Like Chidimma, his family don’t seem to hang about when it comes to getting things done, because the uncle gave his approval.
Getting family backing for your choice of spouse is an essential part of Igbo culture.
Whereas picking your future wife from dozens of respondents to a Facebook marriage advert and marrying her in six days is decidedly not.
At this point in their day-old relationship, it was beginning to dawn on Sophy that this fellow was not playing, but how do you commit to marrying someone you only just met?
She would not comment on whether they had even shared as much as a kiss at that point, but maintained she was captivated by how focused and determined her new fiancé was.
“When I saw him for the first time, I definitely found him attractive, but what I didn’t know was how serious he was about marrying me.
“It was after we met the uncle and his wife, that I realised that this could actually happen and I wanted it.”
It was now her turn to worry about how she was going to get the approval of her family to marry a guy she had just met on Facebook.
But they had momentum going for them. Having met and fallen in love at first sight, or first message, if you like, and getting Chidimma’s uncle’s approval, the couple decided to complete the cycle by visiting Sophy’s family the same day.
Sophy recounted how she relayed the information to her mother. Her dad had passed away, and her mum said she did not have the final word in terms of giving approval for her to be married, so it was up to Sophy’s elder brother to give his blessings.
It would appear the odds were firmly in their favour as Sophy’s brother gave his blessings too.
So after a few questions from her brother, it was official – Chidimma and Sophy were engaged to be married in six days.
On the rebound?
Last year Chidimma was engaged to another woman and the wedding was scheduled for December, but the relationship fell apart in March leaving him dejected.
As December approached, the disappointment of not being able to fulfil his dream of getting married made him put up the post, he said.
“I had the desire to get married, I had a date in mind, but no bride, so I decided to place an advert as a joke, but I was open and up for it.”
Asked whether she knew about his earlier engagement and her thoughts on how this seemingly rushed marriage might be seen as a rebound, Sophy dismissed any suggestions that her relationship was not well thought through.
“I don’t care about that – when you see what you want, you go for it.”
They had been friends on Facebook for more than a year, but had never met or spoken to each other until the advert.
“Am interested, just DM me…lols” was all it took for the union to be formed.
Sophy admitted her friends were sceptical about the whole thing, while some are still in disbelief, but as she said: “When you see the one, you will know he is the one”.
Happily ever after?
They got married on 6 January in a traditional Igbo ceremony, and posted photos of their wedding day on Facebook of course – to the amusement of the social media community.
Chidimma put up a post saying people may have thought he had been joking but he clearly wasn’t.
As can be expected, there were mixed reactions, but mainly a lot of support for the couple.
They hope to have a church wedding in April and perhaps a honeymoon somewhere nice, he said.
A video has emerged of the old punk rocker taking direct aim at the Nigerian President and calling him out for all the atrocities befalling the nation.
The former Nigeria’s Idol series judge, in his own peculiar but habitual manner, furiously rained blame on the President for everything except the weather and went for the jugular on the issue of the president’s second term bid