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EXCLUSIVE: Why Sanwo-Olu Ordered Demolition Of Okeowo’s Ikoyi House

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EXCLUSIVE: Why Sanwo-Olu Ordered Demolition Of Okeowo's Ikoyi House

To many Lagosians, particularly real estate merchants in the commercial hub of Nigeria, Olu Okeowo, the founder and chairman of Gibraltar Construction is a popular figure, all thanks to his affluence.

For over 27 years, the real estate tycoon has been exploring the building and construction engineering industry, making the island and Ikoyi areas of Lagos his fortress with the development of luxury homes like Palacio De Okeowo, Solomon Court, Adejoke’s Court, Abraham Court, Grace Court, amongst many others.

But on Friday, April 23, the demolition of Tumi’s Court, one of the billionaire’s properties situated at Olusegun Aina Street, Parkview Estate in Ikoyi, started

When Newsrand visited the house situated just beside Okeowo’s famous Palacio De Okeowo, site workers were seen pulling down Okeowo’s N120 million (3 bedroom)/N140 million (4 bed room) a flat multi-family building.

EXCLUSIVE: Why Sanwo-Olu Ordered Demolition Of Okeowo's Ikoyi House

Our correspondents, however, learnt that the demolition was on the order of Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Newsrand was informed by sources who don’t want to be mentioned in this report, that the construction was a form of reclamation, an act of creating land out of an ocean or stealing a portion of a sea to situate property, w

hich is illegal. Okeowo dredged and sand-filled a part of the sea to extend what was meant to be a luxury building.

As seen in an aerial video by Ripples, the reclaimed part is occupied by a two-storey building, with gardens, a swimming pool, and a tennis court, as the waterside was used as a unique selling proposition to lure buyers/investors.

EXCLUSIVE: Why Sanwo-Olu Ordered Demolition Of Okeowo's Ikoyi House

Prior to the demolition, a Lagos-based journalist Olalekan Fakoyejo had reached out to the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) to find out if the state government gave a license for such extension or approved the building plan. He, however, found out from Fanope Queen, the hotline call representative for the real estate regulator, that the extension works may have been illegal and not approved by the government.

Confirming that Sanwo-Olu ordered the demolition, Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho said the building contravened the existing laws in the state. “I’m told it was a case of contravention of the regulation,” he told Newsrand in a chat.

Meanwhile, a close ally to Okeowo, expressed shock to the demolition, querying “whom as my friend offended that would have called for this incident?”

The ally who preferred anonymity told this publication that a top Southwest governor has been approached to interven in the matter.

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REVEALED: How Abuja-Kaduna Train Station Staff Exploit Passengers

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Excluisive: How Abuja-Kaduna Train Station Staff Exploit Passengers

The Ministry of Transport is under the supervision of the Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. Since the inception of the Buhari administration, it has launched various railway stations across the country, one of which is the Abuja-Kaduna Railway.

Information reached NEWSRAND about suspicious activities going on in the train station, of staff exploiting passengers by selling tickets at a higher price.

Our team conducted an investigation and here’s what we discovered;

Staff at these stations hoard tickets, then tell passengers who intend to board that they are sold out, no more seats in the train.

READ ALSO: FG Inaugurates E-Ticketing Platform For Abuja-Kaduna Train Service

As departure time draws nearer, staff who hoard these tickets then discreetly go to meet with frustrated passengers, telling them they have a reserved ticket and then doubling the price from the initial ticket price.

These passengers have no option but to buy this ticket because of the need and urgency.

NEWSRAND in its findings got the original price of the ticket to be N3,000 for economy class, and N6,000 for business class, with minor extra charges for medical.

Speaking with Andra Chidiebele one of the riders at the Kubwa train station, she explained to NEWSRAND how she was exploited by one of the train station staff.

“I tried getting the tickets online, on my way back to Abuja, and it was showing me that there were no more available seats on the train. I went there to the train station, and I got the same feedback that the seats were all occupied, I was feeling down because I had to get back to Abuja for an event that day.

READ ALSO: FG Inaugurates E-Ticketing Platform For Abuja-Kaduna Train Service

“Suddenly a man came to me, telling me he can get me a ticket in the Economy class for N6,000, I was not happy about the hike, the initial price of the ticket is N3,000, but I had to go back home today, so I bargained with him for N5,000 which he agreed.

“On entering the train, I found out that it was almost empty, the seats they claimed to be all out, I was vexed but could do nothing about it.

Another passenger Bright Udom shared his experience of how he was ripped earlier on his way to Kaduna.

“I had a wedding to attend on a Saturday morning, so I closed from work earlier to catch the 6 pm train, I went straight to the ticket stand only to be told the train is full. I had to get on the train because of the wedding starting at 10 am the next day, I felt disappointed, only to be approached by a staff who told me he has an extra ticket.

“He told me he has sitting ticket and standing ticket, that the sitting will cost me N7,000 why standing will cost me N4,000. I tried negotiating but he said he will not sell less, so I had to buy the standing since it is just a 2 hours journey. I got on the train and I didn’t even have to stand for a second because there were empty seats.

Jessica Chibuike, a Commuter narrated her ordeal, how amused she was when a cleaner in the station sold her a train ticket.

“I was rather amused than upset (even if I had been swindled of an extra N2,000) when a cleaner in the station sold a ticket for me after I was told the train was full. I mean like is he going back to Kaduna after work, what is he doing with an extra ticket?

Passengers have cried out to this exploitation and it seems that nothing yet has been done so far, and with the rate of insecurity in the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, people find it safer to travel by train.

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Idriss Déby: Hereditary Succession In Africa’s Modern-day Autocracy

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Idriss Déby: Hereditary Succession In Africa's Modern-day Autocracy

Yesterday (Tuesday, April 20, 2021) was a sad day for Chadians, and not only for them but Africans at large. It was the day Idriss Déby, who served the country as a sitting president for no less than 31 years.  He died from the bullet wounds he suffered while leading Chadian troops in a fight against terror sect, Boko Haram.

A few hours after Déby’s death was disclosed, his son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, 37, was named as a transitional leader of the country. And in what appeared to be a demonstration of the country’s succession-designed plan, he eventually became the successor of his late father. “Itno will occupy the functions of the president of the republic, and also serve as head of the armed forces”, a statement from the presidency read.

How Déby planned to stay in power for at least, 4 decades

It would be recalled that a national conference, in what appeared to be a move to design monarchy, approved of Déby to be in power till 2033. The conference also sought the granting of greater powers to the deceased under constitutional changes. Newsrand understands that the development came after Déby had spent 31 years in power.

The two-week forum of about 800 politicians, business leaders, and traditional chiefs, also recommended the elimination of the post of prime minister, as they kicked against the idea of running a fully presidential system.

It, however, proposed re-instating presidential term limits that were scrapped by a 2005 referendum, but the reforms would still let President Idriss Deby, who came to power in a rebellion in 1990, stay on well into old age.

It recommended six-year presidential terms, limited to a maximum of two terms, effective from 2021, which was when the much-awaited presidential election was expected to hold. This development means Déby would stay in power until 2033 when he will be 81.

Even though he’s dead, Déby somehow managed to remain in power through an heir.

The leadership succession at play

Leadership succession is a truly ubiquitous phenomenon with manifold and wide-ranging implications, which explains the major attention that issues of succession have received in the international community.

While most contributions to the topic focus on political succession in either democratic or non-democratic regimes, it is pertinent to note that succession is an inevitability of political life, and as it has been seen in the past, there are several ways it has been accomplished. From dynastic inheritance to assassination, to competition for votes, Africa as a whole has experienced leadership through successions. Although, some do it better than others.

In view of the many successions that have been experienced in different African countries, it is however fair to say that the continent has had more than its share of disorderly successions. Even where succession does not lead directly to violence or state breakdown, uncertainty surrounding the process can impede economic development, increase insecurity, amongst other factors that might ignite call for revolution.

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Pantami: Dear Hon. Minister, Your Time Is Up

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Pantami: Dear Hon. Minister, Your Time Is Up

Today (Monday, April 19, 2021) makes it a week that Dr. Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, was mentioned in the media as a terrorist sympathiser.

As first published by Daily Independent,  Pantami, also the Dep­uty Secretary-General of the Supreme Sharia Council in Nigeria and a former student of Salafist ideologies, was trained in Saudi Arabia and the Mid­dle East with other top Is­lamic jihadists.

The report has it that prior to Pantami’s appointment as a minister, he was a known Islamic preacher and held what was termed ‘dangerous views’ against the American govern­ment with allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

Amongst other horrendous things, the minister was also reported to be a very close confidant of the late Mohammed Yusuf, the killed leader of Boko Haram with whom he allegedly shared jihad­ist doctrines.

Long after the publication surfaced, Pantami rushed to his social media handle to rebuff the claims, as he threatened legal actions against Daily Independent, and other purveyors of the ‘fake news.’

However, days after Pantami made the threat, evidence of stance on extremism started coming to the fore, all thanks to Peoples Gazette and renowned journalist, David Hundeyin.

As seen in a 2019 academic document ‘Debating Boko Haram‘, Pantami openly admitted that jihad (a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty) is a responsibility shouldered on Muslim faithful. “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria,’’ Pantami said in one of his vicious preachings in the 2000s. “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda (Allahumma’ nṣur Ṭālibān wa-tanẓīm al Qā‘ida).”

The serving minister had invited Muslims, especially “Ahlus Sunna” (Salafis), for a forum, advising them to be skeptical of politicians and religious leaders calling for peace and understanding but retaliate with jihad. “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria (hādhā jihād farḍ ‘ayn ‘ala kull muslim wa-khuṣūṣan fī Nījīriyā),” he added. Pantami’s comments were translated by Professor Andrea Brigaglia, an African expert at Naples University in Italy.

Pantami’s defense of his extremist views

In what appeared to be a shocking development to many, Pantami made a u-turn as against his first reaction, admitting that he truly supported global extremist groups -the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but he was ignorant at the time.

He, however, said he’s now matured and knows better.

Pantami’s words: “For 15 years, I have moved around the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states, and Difa in the Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.

“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English, and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.

“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.

“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of the international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”

Why Pantami’s resignation is not negotiable

With Bashir Ahmad, the Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on new media, supporting Pantami amid the ongoing controversy, it is more clear that somehow, the presidency is shielding Pantami.

It is however pertinent to note that almost a century and seven years since Nigeria was formed by the British for economic and administrative conveniences, the basic differences that distinguish the then southern protectorate from the northern protectorate continue to play a central role in the malfunctioning of the country. Amongst the basic differences is -the intractable religious differences, compounded by the fact that one-third of Nigeria’s 36 states are already operating the Islamic Sharia Law, which has led to a series of communal conflicts and violent clashes in the past.

Unarguably, over the years, religious crises continue to predominate the frangible interethnic, interreligious, economic and political relationships between the country’s North and South. And for as long as Nigeria continues to exist, the North and South will always be suspicious of each other. Sadly, it is within this context of national degeneracy, that Nigeria’s telecommunications database and central control house was handed to an extremist minister, who, according to popular opinions, is a traitor that must have compromised.

In the spirit of national interest, Pantami’s resignation shouldn’t have been a societal topic of discussion, as he would have been relieved of his duty in a serious social clime.

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