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June 12 Celebrations: Good Triumphs Over Evil!

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Like a stubborn sphinx that refused to be interred, June 12 has risen after 26 years to get its rightful place in the annals of the country’s history. When those that procured and sustained the annulment of the June 12 1993 election thought they had successfully buried that epochal historicity in the thick grave that enshroud the country’s chequered political history, that date has shot up and assumed its rightful place as the foremost Democracy Day when the labours of the patriots and martyrs that fought against militarism and civilian democracy was restored and rightly documented.
 
This year, precisely June 12, 2019, Nigerians will celebrate the real Democracy Day which highlights the gritty and nervy fight Nigerians undertook to rout the military from the country’s politics and re-establish civilian democratic rule. This historical celebration of the rightful date that midwifed the present democratic dispensation was granted by President Muhammadu Buhari via a Presidential Order last year, which boldly decided to break from the sash of a thick-hooded conspiracy that sought to bury that historical date and rather divert its glory to May 29 when civilian governments took off in 1999. In releasing the Executive Order that rightly accorded June 12 its rightful place as the country’s Democracy Day. 
President Buhari decided to lead the country to strike a clean break from a dubious past that was webbed to misappropriate the rightful roots of the present long stretch democratic epoch, deny the heroes of the struggle that brought democracy their rightful and earned places in history and replace these with impostors and transient fortune hunters who misappropriated the fruits of those that laid down their lives for the enthronement of the present democracy.
 
So after a long 26 years living in denial, the country is, this year, celebrating Democracy Day on its rightful date. In invoking that Presidential Order, President Buhari had rightly mended history, healed open and festering wounds and indeed brought to fruition those indelible words in our national anthem that ‘the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain’. 
In recognizing some of the leading lights of the fitful struggle to bring democracy, the government demonstrated a desire to stop the misapplication of honours and recognize it for what it really is. That June 12 rose, several years after its brutal suppression and equally brutal efforts to sustain that wrong shows the staying power of truth over blemished lies.
 
As a core participant in the efforts to restore the sanctity of June 12 and accord it its rightful place in our country’s history, I see the decision of President Buhari to do right to the festering sore as a crowning of our efforts to do right and stand by that. I see the validation of June 12 as the right move Nigerians need to fire their moral unction and do what is right in all situations, no matter the cost. I see the hallowed place June 12 is getting from this year as a timely message to a citizenry that is being persuaded to trifle with lasting values and mores and embrace base interests because of their mundane pecuniary value. 
For me and millions of Nigerians who struggled against the brutal military and their civilian collaborators to restore the sanctity of June 12, the declaration of a National Holiday on June 12 and its recognition as Democracy Day is enough reward for the struggle. That this year, twenty-six whole years after that epic event, Nigerians are doing away with the lie that robbed the date of its value and are going back to the roots of this democratic order shows the staying power of truth. It can be persecuted, rubbished, deprived but it can never get buried.
 
Those who were undeserving beneficiaries of the June 12 struggle did everything to bury June 12. Those who anchored their selfish interests on suppressing June 12 did everything to kill it. Those who see their future selfish interests nestled on killing June 12 did everything to inter that date but, because it is a struggle anchored on justice, it rose triumphant when they least expected and this year, Nigeria is in one boundless crescendo celebrating this date for what it rightly is.
 
When we recall that some of those that made the loudest noise standing on June 12 are today seized by bitter pain and agony because June 12 is given its rightful place by the Buhari regime, we will better understand what fired some of the people in the struggle. It is obvious that most of these that hustled for photo-ops with Chief MKO Abiola and who vowed and swore to stand and die by June 12 were only hustling for their selfish interests. 
They neither had the conviction that encased this struggle nor the selfless desire to see that justice was served by the actualization of June 12. They were only positioning themselves for the anticipated nectars of the struggle. That is why most of them are seized with fits of bitterness and anger this year when they should be in their Christmas bests. Their anger is ruled by selfish desires and narrow interests that have made some of them disgruntled stakeholders in a PDP, whose leading lights played pivotal roles in annulling and sustaining the annulment of June 12. Their bitterness betrays their pretensions of standing for the lofty ideals of June 12. 
It was obvious that when Chief Abiola died, most of these players surveyed the ground for where best to attend to their carnal desires. Some of them were seduced to serve the subsequent military governments. With the advent of the civilian government, most of them cozied up to Obasanjo and his PDP who were natural foes of June 12 and what it represents and for 16 years the PDP controlled power, these impostors were comfortable with the shoddy manner June 12 was treated. They went to bed with PDP and forgot June 12 and for them, the struggle was ended because there were no further prospects for their elephantine interests in a June 12 their new allies did everything to inter.
 
Like a Daniel come to judgment, not many were surprised that the Buhari regime restored June 12 when almost every Nigeria thought the date has become history and had cozied up with the lie that May 29 was the Democracy Day as Obasanjo and his PDP confederates sold. What was rather surprising is that many of those that struggled for photo-op sessions with Chief Abiola and were waving the bandana of June 12 are not happy today because the right thing was done by Buhari. Many of those that reveled as friends and associates of Abiola and who made a loud noise about their pre-eminent roles in the struggle for the actualization of June 12 are today very sad that June 12 was indeed actualized. They felt at home that an impostor in May 29 was drafted as democracy day by their collaborators in PDP and are bitter that June 12, the real democracy day is being restored. What more, many of them had frantically tried to pour cold water on that gargantuan effort by Buhari because they are today activists for PDP and the very interests that killed and buried June 12.
 
But the flipsides of June 12 will not prevent millions of Nigerians from celebrating that historical date for what it is; the very root of the present democratic order. The betrayals that attend June 12 started from the very early days of the struggle when party chieftains that should protect its sanctity traded it to the devious regime that annulled it. It dates back to when the Vice Presidential candidate of that ticket sold out to the military for a price lesser than what Judas betrayed Jesus Christ for. 
The betrayals were enormous and expansive since then but even in their hefty nature, they are not strong enough to stop its triumph when the Buhari government declared it a national holiday, restored its status as the Democracy Day, apologized to Abiola family, presented Chief Abiola the country’s highest national honour, declared him the winner of June 12, 1993, election and honoured many who were prominent in the fight for the actualization of June 12 and the restoration of democracy in Nigeria. These were healing balms that attends to such open sore as inflicted not only on Abiola but Nigerians in general.
 
As Nigerians celebrate the actualization of June 12, its rightful role as the Democracy Day, its dethronement of the impostor of May 29, what should rule our minds is the resolve to say never again will some self-serving interests play the nation that hard card again. And never again will bestial interests deal us such evil bad card of injustice as was done to June 12. Happy celebrations to all Nigerians!
 

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Prince Harry Accused Of Cheating On Meghan Markel With Model

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A new book by royal biographer, Angela Levin has claimed that Prince Harry was dating Sarah Ann Macklin when he met and started dating Meghan Markle.

In the book entitled Harry: Conversations with the Prince, Levin says Harry and Sarah Ann met at a private party, where they swapped numbers and exchanged some texts,”But it turned out to be just a fling.” 

Prince Harry is said to have gone out on multiple dates with Sarah Ann who models for Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren.

The allegations are coming at a time when Prince William is also linked to another woman while he’s married to Kate Middleton.

While at the Queen’s birthday (Trooping the Colour) Meghan reportedly put on a brave face despite already knowing about the allegations.

Levine said Prince Harry and Sarah Ann, “met a private party, he took her number and bombarded her with texts.”

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We Have Eliminated Boko Haram Terrorists In Sambisa, Nigerian Airforce Claims

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Ibikunle Daramola


The Nigerian Airforce has said that it launched an air strike which eliminated Boko Haram insurgents in Sambisa Forest, Borno state. 

NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said air strikes were conducted on specific targets in the forest.

The claim is coming less than 24 hours after Boko Haram suicide bombers detonated their Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) at a viewing center in Mandarari ward, Konduga local government area of Borno state on Sunday evening.

Ibikunle said:” In continuation of its sustained air strikes against terrorists’ targets in Borno State, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has severely degraded another Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) hideout in the Sambisa Forest.

“The operation was executed yesterday, 16 June 2019, after persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions revealed heavy presence of BHTs at a new camp with several structures hidden under the thick foliage of the Forest.

“Accordingly, the ATF dispatched an Alpha Jet to attack the location.

” Its bombs hit the target area, with devastating effects on several of the camouflaged structures, neutralizing their BHT occupants.”

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Access Bank: Nigeria’s Financial Institution Embroiled In Staff Gratuities Scandal

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For several weeks, one of Nigeria’s foremost banks, Access Bank, had refused to comment on some underhanded financial dealings involving its former employees. Several phones to its media department had yielded no response. There has been no response to emails sent to the bank too. A visit to the bank’s head office in Lagos yielded little or no response.

The seeming arrogance and impudence of the financial heavyweight signpost the serious allegations many of its former staff are levelling against it. It all started in 2012.

A reliable source, who is also an ex-employee that resigned on December 31, 2012, said the bank caused the majority of them to resign their appointment against their wish by ignoring their opinions and feelings while hundreds of people were sacked and their appointments terminated by a letter through the former Head, Employee Relations, Anthonia Opara and Mrs. Bolaji Agbede, Head, Group Human Resources which the proof, a clear document is with SaharaReporters.

According to a document forwarded by the Team Member, Branch Control Team (LMN), Kikelomo Omijeh on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at exactly 3:00 PM to one Olatunbosun Otesile, Team Member, Branch Services (LMN) containing the Staff Gratuity Scheme says that Intercontinental bank has reviewed its old gratuity scheme for qualifying for the money from 10 years to 5 years with immediate effect from 1st of November, 2005.


However, the document also stated that the staff that joined the bank after 30th September 2006 will not qualify for gratuity but those that have worked before that year will be paid. In this gratuity scheme, an example of N2, 500,000 was used in demonstrating how the Gratuity fund is stipulated and verified by the bank to be paid.


In 2012 when the merger between Intercontinental bank and Access bank was about to take place, according to a reliable source, the management of the bank had a meeting with the staff asking them to resign because there will be no place to secure a job in the bank if the merger comes through.

Many of the employees agreed to resign since the bank had promised to pay their severance and gratuity packages.

When an employee is leaving, the gratuity and the severance package should be paid. 

SaharaReporters found out that the calculation of how much the former employees would receive was not clear.

With many of its staff agreeing to resign, the bank realized it would suffer a huge indebtedness and according to reliable sources, Access Bank decided to play a fast one on its once loyal workers who had chosen to resign their appointment with the bank. Rather than give the former workers all their entitlements – severance pay and gratuity, among others – the bank enforced an agreement on them that they could only collect one of the entitlements at a time.

For example, a document attached to the resignation letter by Access Bank to one Adeyemo Akeem Adewale (Staff No: 020030)and dated March 5, 2012, said: “We acknowledge receipt of your letter on the above subject and wish to convey that it has been accepted by Management. Please find below details of your terminal account with the bank as of February 3, 2012, which officially was your last day at work. You are entitled to a severance package or your gratuity whichever is higher.”


  


Some of the former employees who complained about their gratuity were the former staff of Intercontinental Bank Plc which was acquired by Access Bank. They were considered eligible to receive gratuity under the defunct Intercontinental Bank’s gratuity scheme managed by Crusader Sterling Limited.

A source told SaharaReporters that the gratuities which were originally managed by Crusader Sterling Bank, NLPC Pension Administrators Ltd and First Trustees were moved by Access Bank to fund managers (the fund managers so as to tell the staffs that they have already gained access to the money legally without which Intercontinental Bank cannot meddle with. All these are just to shield the beneficiaries from getting their gratuity.

Earlier, in a gratuity document by Intercontinental Bank sent to all its staff on 6th of October 2011 prior to the merger, in the third paragraph wrote: “The board also approved that the gratuity entitlements of qualified staff should be moved to Fund Managers for the funds. In addition, a five-man Trustees Board was appointed amongst staff with all powers of Trustees as may be contained in the Trusteeship Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria so as to ensure a transparent administration”

“In this vein, the gratuity fund has been moved to the approved Fund Managers who were selected after rigorous screening by the Trustees in conjunction with Human Resources,” a source said.

In a document obtained by SaharaReporters of the deed of appointment of Trustees for the Gratuity scheme, Mrs. Vesiri Olu-Odugbemi, Mrs. Hetty Dambo, Mr. Akeem Babatunde, Mr. Mike Leramo and Mr. Dapo Tijani all signed on behalf of members of the scheme in the presence of Habila Amos who was at that time the Head of Human Resources of Intercontinental Bank PLC.

“In order to manage the scheme, the Company is desirous of appointed the staff as Trustees of the scheme” stated clearly on the second page of the ‘b’ part of the document.

This means the bank actually appointed them to be the intermediary between the fund managers where the bank had moved the gratuity fund with and the staff members so as to not allow any means of fraudulence.

It was done when the Central Bank of Nigeria was planning to sell Inter-continental bank to Access and the staff are afraid that they will be sacked without payment or see anything to benefit in. 

As a consequence, some of the staff now reasoned along with the bank’s guidelines that since they were already qualified for the gratuity, they could resign.

Knowing too well about the numbers of the staff that want to leave, which means there will not be any buyers. With that, they assured them that their money will be safe and this brought to the movement of funds from the bank to the five funds managers as explained earlier.

Since this money has been in their care (Access Bank) and no successor is allowed to tamper with the money, in a cunning way, “Operation Just Cause” OJC was introduced just to make sure that they frustrate the staff and give reasons to sack some who will not be able to meet the target;

“What they did was that they gave every staff regardless of your grade of deposit target to go and source fund for the bank, targets that were outrageous. They gave us a target of a deposit and reactivation of dormant accounts. We complained and of course, there is nothing we could do. 

Access Bank management do it in a way that if we bring in new deposit and at the end of the day, the owner should not take out from that deposit for three months, if they withdraw any amount, that shows that we going to get a negative mark and all our labour will go in vain.”

Some of the staff not sacked, knowing too well that there might be a calamity that would befall them, resigned because of the management’s earlier said all their allowance will be paid.

“If we had known that our gratuity will not be paid to us as promised earlier giving us the option of resigning, some of us wouldn’t have resigned, at least work more and gather money till we are sacked,” said a source.

“Access Bank met with the fund’s manager in which our money has been successfully kept by Intercontinental Bank to release the gratuity to them. This money is part of the money the bank used to pay our severance package.

“Without the gratuity payment, this indicates that all our years of labour and working honestly with our former employers are just in vain which Access Bank management took away with impunity” lamented by an ex-staff.

One of the top officials in Access bank told SaharaReporters that the amount of money which the bank use abnormality and fraudulence to filter away both sacked or retired staff are more than N6 billion naira.

Some of the staff took the case to court with their intact document as a piece of evidence to tender. This is after they’ve met with the Bola Akinyele and Co Chamber to seek for their opinion on the issue which the legal practitioners wrote to the Managing Director of Access Bank on May 2, 2012, soliciting for the staff who formally resigned.

In the document, the chamber noted that if the terms were not met within 14 days from the receipt of the letter that the staff had the right to set in motion the legal machinery at the appropriate court to redress, remedy and vindicate the ex-workers legal rights.

When the staff noticed that the response from Access Bank’s management was not satisfactory, they proceeded to court.

First, it was the National Industrial Court of Nigeria on February 4, 2013. The case was initially assigned to Justice Obaseki-Osaghae.

During the case, an ex-staff said: “The first three preceding, their lawyer(s) didn’t show up in the court trying to frustrate us with the case, he continued that The judge, Obaseki-Osaghae now wrote to the bank that if they fail to produce their lawyer(s) she will preside over the case. So before the next case, some people have informed the management of the bank what is going on. 

I was told that they perform their magic. Before the next case, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae was transferred to the Calabar Division of the National Court.”

SaharaReporters gathered that the regulatory bodies who contacted Access Bank to appear before them were immediately compromised before the next court proceeding and the case dropped after. This shows that the case was transferred to another judge.

“Following the transfer of Obaseki-Osaghae, the matter was assigned to Justice J.D. Peter. He came up only on five occasions before the said Honourable Justice dismissed the case. So, the court now brought another judge that is in the interest of the bank. To tell you that there was compromised about the case, one of the heads of the Industrial courts was indicted. “

“The judge granted a relief that the defendants never even apply for. But our case and stand with the bank was that they have no right to tamper with our gratuity in the first place and second, there are some of the staff members appointed by the same Access Bank Management to monitor our funds.”

“The duty of the staff is to make sure the money is not tampered with and when they did, we questioned them that how can Access Bank come from the back to gain access to our gratuity package to pay our severance package.” 

“What the judge did was striking out those staff (Board of Trustees) that they are not responsible to be with the money that they are just acting on principal as agents on behalf of Access Bank.”

Although the bank appointed some five trustees, the management actually played a trick while preparing the deed document knowing full well that the case might go to court if they eventually withheld the gratuity money of the staff members. What they did was that on page three no 6, 7 and 8 said:

“Upon transfer of the gratuity sum to the Fund Manager, the company (Bank) shall cease to operate the gratuity scheme policy and no member of staff of the company who thereafter attains five years in the service of the company shall be entitled to the scheme”. This actually means that after they had successfully transferred the fund to the fund managers, any members that joined after will not be entitled to gratuity. This is quite explanatory as this not what SaharaReporters want to reveal.

“The trustees shall have the sole exclusive powers to relate directly with the Scheme Manager in relation to the administration and management of the scheme” this is not the interesting part.

The interesting part is number (8) which states that;

“In the case above mentioned, the Trustees shall incur no liability for so acting and they shall in no way be bound to call for further evidence or be responsible for any loss that may be occasioned by acting on any such certificate and/or statement” 

This simply restricted the Trustees to some extent. This shows even if the management of the bank go ahead to meet the fund managers and get some funds without their (staff) consent, the members of the board (Trustees appointed by the same bank just to paint the bank that they are transparent) do not have the right to request for evidence or bank statement.

These are people with passion who before the merger of the banks have worked tirelessly. More so, the bank also said while leaving the employers’ service prior to exit date he or she “shall, in any event, be entitled to the sum due to him in the Scheme (Gratuity)”.

Although, the case is still in court and it has been adjourned until November 21, 2019.


  

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Gun Battle Involving Security Agents, Cultists In Rivers Claims Four Lives

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Korobe Menele, better known as ‘Mene’, a notorious cultist and oil thief, has been killed in a combined security operation in Rivers state.

The gun battle that ensued between the oil thief and security operatives left one Nigerian army personnel and two Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers dead. 

Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, Deputy Director Army Public Relations confirming the incident said, “In the early hours of today Sunday the 16th of June 2019, troops of 29 Battalion of 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) in conjunction with personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) guarding Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Trans National Pipelines at Gio community in Tai Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State were attacked by suspected militants who were hitherto prevented from vandalizing 24 and 28 TNP, thereby putting them out of the illicit business. 

“Unfortunately, during the ensuing firefight one soldier and two personnel of the NSCDC lost their lives and their weapons (one AK 47 and 2 G3 rifles) were carted away by the assailants.

“An immediate reinforcement by troops at the location led to the cordon and search of the general area with the view to finding any criminal believed to be harbouring within the communities. 

“Reliable intelligence led to the tracking of the prime suspect, a notorious cultist and illegal oil bunkering kingpin Korobe Menele Loveday who has been on the wanted list of the security agencies for terrorizing communities in the state. 

“Consequently, at about 9:00am, troops cashing on available information sighted a white Toyota Hilux vehicle without a number plate, hastily driven with four occupants.

“Efforts to stop the vehicle by troops at a checkpoint was ignored. The gallant troops chased the speeding vehicle and caught up with the suspects around Kira Junction, along Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic.

“Sensing danger, the occupants opened fire at the troops in a bid to escape. Troops reacted and incapacitated the militants’ vehicle. As a result, the bandits abandoned their vehicle and fled to the bush. 

“However, one of the criminals was gunned down and was identified as the wanted notorious cultists and illegal oil bunkering kingpin Korobe Menele, popularly known as MENE. Other cult members escaped with gunshot wounds. 

“The following teams were recovered from the scene and in the vehicle: 1 x K2 Rifle, 2 x Magazines loaded with 52 Rounds of 5.56mm, some personal effects, one pair of vehicle plate number KRK 95DP RIVERS and some documents,” he concluded. 

At the time of filing this report, the victims’ remains have been handed to the appropriate authorities while all exhibits were presented to the NSCDC for further investigations.

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Adeleke vs Oyetola: Supreme Court Fixes July 5 To Deliver Final Judgment On Osun Governorship Election

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria has fixed July 5, 2019, to deliver its judgment on the 2018 Osun State governorship election.

The Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Ademola Adeleke, had approached the apex court following the decision of the appeal court to pronounce Governor Gboyega Oyetola as the winner of the election.

Adeleke’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), prayed the court to uphold the ruling of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that pronounced Adeleke as the legal winner of the election and discard the judgment by the appeal court.

At the resumed hearing today, a seven-man-committee headed by Justice Tanko Muhammad, adjourned sitting on the matter until July 5 for judgment.

Oyetola’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) together with the counsel representing the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr. Yusuf Ali (SAN), and the All Progressives Congress counsel, Olumide Olujinmi, all urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal and retain Oyetola as the governor.

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