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Nigeria House Of Represenative Building, Abuja

The bill to reduce the age qualifications of candidates contesting for the positions of presidency, governorship and senate has been passed for a second reading by the house of representatives on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.

According to the bill the age range for candidates for aforementioned positions was reduced to 30 years old while that of contestants for the house of representatives and state houses of assembly was reduced to 25 years old, Vanguard reports.

The bill is a move to encourage youths to actively participate in the electoral process of the country.

Moreover, the bill sponsored by Tony Chinedu Nwulu, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, representing Oshodi-Isolo 11 Federal Constituency of Lagos State, encourages independent candidates to participate in the electoral process.

The Bill is an alteration of section 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 constitution which had prescribed qualification into the office of President to 40 years and above, office of governors and senate, 35 years and above as well as house of representatives and state houses of assembly to 25 years and above.

Nwulu said: “Countries like the United Kingdom parliament decided in 2006 to lower their age of candidacy from 21 to 18, which had existed since the Parliamentary Elections Act 1695. An age candidacy of 25 would encourage greater youth participation in politics.”

He further noted that the age qualification reduction bill was initiated following demands from many countries.

Nwulu also added that the bill was a demonstration of the growing desire and demand of youths to participate in the democratic process.

“This desire itself could be viewed as a sufficient warrant for young people to participate, demonstrate a willingness to engage and fulfill the burdens of office,” he stated.

“It is pertinent now to amend the constitution to make room for independent candidates to widen the democratic processes in our elections, and above all to encourage our young ones to fully participate in all elective offices.”

Chinaemerem Ibezim, Chinaemerem Ibezim devotional, Spirit and Life Devotional

“Then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’” Hebrews 10:17 NKJV

Only God knows the number of times people have argued about the possibility of forgetting something wrong that’s done; well, when you truly forgive you will never use whatever that person did against him or her in anyway ever again.

You’ll agree with me that if God were to judge us everyday, or let whatever we’ve done in the past determine the level of relationship He will have with us, not many of us will be Christians today. Let’s not even begin to talk about the kinds of sins we’ve committed in the past (and still commit!); but we are still here today, able to lift up holy hands to God and stand in His presence, because He is a merciful God. Hallelujah!

When we confess and repent of our sins, in the mind of God it’s as if we never even sinned! Isn’t that awesome? Yes, it is! Psalms 103:12 says that “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Wow! Be free from guilty consciousness in the name of Jesus! I don’t need to know what you have done, if God doesn’t remember it then I don’t care to know either! Begin to walk in freedom and refuse to let Satan intimidate you! If God has justified us, there’s absolutely nothing that anyone can do about it! We are free indeed!

Follow @pastorchinae (Twitter), Chinaemerem Joshua Ibezim (Facebook), Chinaemerem Ibezim (Google+), PIN: 568E2E56, www.facebook.com/spiritandlifedevotional, Join our BBM Channel, PIN: C004F1183

Niger Delta Avengers Nigeria Troops
FILE: Niger Delta militants pictured sometime during the campaign of early 2000 to 2009 when the hostilities ended with the acceptance of a Presidential Amnesty Programme by late President Musa Yar'Adua

A new militant group,the Ultimate Warriors of Niger Delta, UWND, has emerged in the oil-rich region southern Nigeria. The group announced its existence on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 presenting a string of demands to the Nigerian government.

The Ultimate Warriors threatened to continue vandalism in the Niger Delta if their demands are not met by the federal government. Among the UWND demands are that 60% of oil blocs should be owned by the Niger Delta region and the immediate commencement of operations in the Federal Maritime University

The new militant group which spoke for the very first time on Wednesday also demanded that the federal government allow the $16 billion export processing zone otherwise called Delta Gas City project begin operations in earnest.

The group, gave the government a two-week ultimatum to ensure that their demands were adequately met for a lasting ceasefire in the region.

Spokesperson of the Ultimate Warriors, as it chose to be addressed, Sibiri Taiowoh, in a statement said if the FG truly wants peace in the region, it should award 60 per cent oil bloc to indigenous people from the region as its primary demand for a ceasefire.

The Punch reports that UWND further asked for commencement of academic activities at Federal Maritime University established during the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Warning further, it said failure to meet its demands, would warrant total shutting down of vital oil facilities including Chevron BOP, Okan Platform, MEREN Gas Gathering Compression Platform and Chevron Tank Farm.

The statement added, “We are also behind the recent pipeline bombing in the Niger Delta region and I can assure you we will not stop until the EPZ project and the Maritime University are totally completed and start operations.

“We want to be the ones to be safe guarding oil pipeline in our area so as to create more jobs for our people. We would resist any attempt to give surveillance contracts of pipeline in our backyard to foreigners. We want the pipeline jobs to be given to our indigenous people.”

Warning further, it said failure to meet its demands, would warrant total shutting down of vital oil facilities including Chevron BOP, Okan Platform, MEREN Gas Gathering Compression Platform and Chevron Tank Farm.

The statement added, “We are also behind the recent pipeline bombing in the Niger Delta region and I can assure you we will not stop until the EPZ project and the Maritime University are totally completed and start operations.

“We want to be the ones to be safe guarding oil pipeline in our area so as to create more jobs for our people. We would resist any attempt to give surveillance contracts of pipeline in our backyard to foreigners. We want the pipeline jobs to be given to our indigenous people.”

“We also want 60 per cent of the oil blocs to be allocated to the Niger Deltans just as the Federal Government has also allocated 80 per cent to those who are not from the oil producing area and just as 50 per cent of the resource was used to develop the non-oil area when we were producing cocoa and groundnut as main economic resources, the same 50 percent should be use to develop the Niger Delta region because we are the ones suffering the brunt of oil pollution and degradation in the region”, it further added.

Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Avengers have announced that they will not negotiate with the federal government.

The militant group also revealed that it blew up a crude oil pipeline belonging to Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL). Niger Delta Avengers made this known via their official Twitter handle. It was also confirmed by a source that the pipeline had been earlier attacked by militants using the same ‘modus operandi’.

In recent times, new militant groups have been emerging within the now embattled Niger Delta region. It would be recalled that about a fortnight ago, another militant group name the Red Egbesu Water Lions announced their emergence, vowing to team up with the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in ensuring zero production of oil and gas in the region if the NDA’s demands are not met.

In a statement by its Creek Network Coordinator, “General” Torunanawei Latei, on Wednesday, the new militant group vowed to work with the Niger Delta Avengers and Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), to ensure that all their demands were met in the next seven days.

Among others, the group demanded the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader and the discharge of former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki from prison custody.

It also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to defreeze the bank accounts of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.

Hattip to Naij

Cartoon depicting rock band

There was relief in the Niger Delta region on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 following the failure of the new Niger Delta group, Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, JNDLF, to unleash six missiles on the country’s critical assets, including military hardware in the region.

Many respondents told ThisDay that though the group was little known, the threats could not be dismissed with a wave of the hand since several other groups like that had kept their vows in the past.

Aside from threatening to bomb the Presidential Villa, the Department of State Services, Central Bank of Nigeria, the Police Headquarters and the Defence Headquarters, the group had also vowed to attack all the assets of the Joint Task Force in the region.

‘’Note: we are going to destroy the ones (warships and fighter jets) they have deployed to Escravos, Forcados in Delta State; Bonga oil field, Agbami offshore and Brass in Bayelsa.

‘’Also, Bonny in Rivers; Qua Iboe Terminal in Akwa Ibom State, and Opuekeba in Ondo state if they (military) fail to remove them before time. Our crack team has taken inventory of their equipment’’, the group had threatened.

It was learnt that while there was no serious public security response to the vow to bomb the facilities, residents in the area took several precautions, including staying indoors.

‘’There was serious apprehension in the region concerning the threats. In fact, some teachers asked some students not to come to school tuesday.

‘’In my area, Harbour Road, Yenagoa, many children did not go to school. You needed to check the Free Readers Association, the people that read free news, saying that the equipment the boys possessed, Nigeria didn’t have them.

‘’But it was basically out of ignorance. Do you know what a missile is? Do you know what it takes to launch a missile?’’, Mr Christopher Abarowei, a resident of the state, said.

Hattip to ThisDay

Arewa Nigeria Fayose North Ango Afenifere Katsina Arewa Northern Group Igbos Muhammadu Buhari Election Violence Arewa Youth Consultative Forum
FILE: General Muhammadu Buhari supporters on a violent rampage following his loss at the 2011 presidential elections | AFP

Barely 10 days after a mob killed an Igbo woman for allegedly committing blasphemy in Kano, a 41- year old Christian man, Francis Emmanuel, was stabbed on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, afternoon by Muslim youths for eating during the Ramadan fast in Kaduna State.

Kaduna’s Governor Nasir El-Rufai visited the victim of the assault earlier this morning at St. Gerard Catholic Hospital where he ordered the police to fish out the perpetrators for prosecution.

The incident occurred at 2:30pm on Tuesday when Emmanuel, a carpenter was eating in his workshop when the youths suddenly appeared from nowhere and started attacking him for eating on the afternoon of Ramadan.

41-year-old, Francis Emmanuel, a Christian stabbed by Muslim youth in Kaduna for eating during Ramadan visited by Governor Nasir El Rufai in his hospital bed
41-year-old, Francis Emmanuel, a Christian stabbed by Muslim youth in Kaduna for eating during Ramadan visited by Governor Nasir El Rufai in his hospital bed

Speaking with journalists from his hospital bed, the carpenter spoke of his terrifying ordeal.

“It happened around 2:30pm at Sokoto Road, Kakuri, on Tuesday, when I went to the market to buy wood to do some work,” Emmanuel said. “So, when I came back, I bought food to eat. As I was eating, about six Hausa boys came to ask me if I am a Muslim or a Christian, but I did not answer them.”

“They asked why I was not fasting, then, I told them that I am not a Muslim. Before I know it, one of them slapped me. As I stood up, the rest came and surrounded me and started attacking me with knives.”

Emmanuel then told the gathered journalists he did not know the identity of the vicious and bigoted attackers.

“Nobody could come to my aid because of the type of knives the boys were carrying. They used cutlasses scissors and knives, I became unconscious, I don’t even know who brought me to the hospital,” he added.

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FILE: Joint Task Force PULO Shield Officers in the Niger Delta

On Saturday, May 28, 2016, Nigerian soldiers invaded Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State in what community leaders described as a brutal raid that included a range of human rights abuses.

The soldiers stormed the village in a midnight raid presumably in search of members of the new militant group operating in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Southern Nigeria. They arrived in gunboats around 2.00 am, community leaders told The Trent on the day of the raid.

“They were asking the helpless villagers to produce former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, and members of the Niger Delta Avengers,” a youth leader told journalists.

An 80-year-old man was beaten with the butt of a gun and there were reports of gang rapes and widespread looting.

A new video been published by Sahara Reporters in which victims and eye-witnesses of the Nigerian army brutality in Oporoza, spoke on camera recounting their horrific ordeal at the hands of the soldiers. The 80-year-old community leader, Chief Atiti Mala told his story in the video.

So heartbreaking is the story of a woman, Timi, whose identity was protected. She said that three soldiers broke into her room as she slept and proceeded to rape her in turns.

Gbaramatu Kingdom in the hometown of former Niger Delta warlord and commander of defunct militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Chief Government Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo.

Tompolo had condemned the brutal invasion of his home community by the Nigerian army and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the soldiers. The Niger Delta Avengers had noted with sadness the rapes of girls in Gbaramatu by Nigerians soldiers and promised revenge.

In case you are wondering if the Avengers were arrested by the troops in the raid, NO! After terrorising innocent citizens and raping girls, the Nigerian troops left without finding any member of the Niger Delta Avengers.

You may watch the heartbreaking video below:

Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, right, arrive for the inauguration ceremony for South African president Jacob Zuma in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday May, 24, 2014. | AP/Mujahid Safodien

Former President Goodluck Jonathan straight from his phenomenal speech at Bloomberg TV on Monday, jet off to the United States where he was spotted at Le Jardin Restaurant in Edgewater, New Jersey with his wife and Nigeria’s former first lady Dame Patience Jonathan.

Since the former first couple left office in May 2015, Dame Patience Jonathan has maintained a low profile. It is nice to see her again with her husband on date night.

See the photos below, click on any image to enlarge.

Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Muhammadu Buhari
From left: Speaker, house of representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; APC national chairman, John Oyegun; APC vice presidential candidate, Yemi Osinbajo and APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, at the APC presidential campaign rally in Port Harcourt, Rivers, on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. (Photo Credit: NAN)

Probes are means of establishing accountability in service. It is the reason the Wike-led government of Rivers State, in the absence of any form of accountability and against the backdrop of allegations of monumental maladministration and sleaze by the Amaechi-led administration, embarked on a probe of that government to establish the actual state of affairs and possibly bring culprits to book. That process is still on and will come to logical conclusions no matter how slow the wheels of justice grind.

It is therefore foolhardy for Sahara Reporters and All Progressives Congress, APC, propagandists to summit, that governors of the South South are kicking against corruption probes by the federal government. From where did they come by that conclusion? Which government office issued a statement to that effect?

In any case, if that is the demand of the governors, if we may agree for the sake of the argument, how unjust is such a demand? Since what amounts to corruption probes are at best deliberate witch-hunts of opposition elements and members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP?

Are we not amazed as to why the same fervor by the federal government against PDP members, through its institutions, has not resulted in the clampdown of corrupt elements within its All Progressives Congress, in spite of the fact that some of them have been clearly indicted in probes of their stewardship while in office and have series of petitions against them unattended to in the same institutions that are used against the PDP? Why so? Is that not something to challenge? Is such a challenge, if truly done, not in the best interest of our weakening democracy?

That aside, however, to allege, hold or believe that the South South Governors are engaged in covert, overt or subtle endorsement, howsoever, and or sponsorship of the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers or whosoever else in order to cripple Nigeria amounts to mutating mischief to the grand scale of undiluted madness.

It is the most unintelligent form of propaganda and must be discountenanced by rational minds. It is as untrue as it is a product of bitterness, laziness and a lack of creativity. It shows clearly that the APC will stop at nothing to mislead the public and satiate its members’ avaricious appetite for the mundane.

For the avoidance of doubt, it must be reiterated that the APC can do no good. Its first year in office is an abysmal failure. Its next will even be more shocking.

Being incapable of any good, it cannot but denigrate its noble inheritances from the PDP including doing all it can to rubbish the saviours of the coming era, of which Governor Nyesom Wike is not just strategic to, but, as the knight in shining armour, will be instrumental to the redemption of our battered democracy. No amount of propaganda can derail him; and not even the PDP will be derailed.

Nigerians have seen it all. We will change this change.

Oraye St. Franklyn is a barrister-at-law. He is senior special assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike on Social Media. He is a strategic communicator and good governance advocate, writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He tweets from @RealOraye. He is also on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

Presidential Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria APC
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, shown here on June 14 in Johannesburg, South Africa. | Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images

President Muhammadu Buhari has been diagnosed with cancer, according to sources at the London hospital where he reportedly underwent medical check-up.

The Nigerian leader arrived in London on Monday, June 6, 2016 on a 10-day vacation, his spokesman, Femi Adesina announcing a day in advance: “During the holiday, he will see an E.N.T. specialist for a persistent ear infection. The president was examined by his Personal Physician and an E.N.T Specialist in Abuja and was treated. Both Nigerian doctors recommended further evaluation purely as a precaution.”

A source told News Express this morning, “President Buhari went for check-up hours after he arrived in London. The hospital has discovered the cause of Mr President’s illness to be cancer of the ear and brain. Let us start praying.”

The source, who is well connected in government circles, gave the name of the hospital as Royal Hospital London. He said he was given the information by medical sources at the hospital who have been his longtime friends.

Just yesterday the news filtered in that Buhari has also been battling “a terrible cough” and may need to spend more than 10 days in London to enable him seek adequate medical treatment.

Mr. Adesina, however, continues to insist that the President “is fit as a fiddle.”

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Nigerian Football Legend - Stephen Keshi - Nigeria's former Super Eagles Coach and Captain of the Eagles, passed away on Wednesday, June 7, 2016

Nigerians, and the world, awoke to the shocking news of the death of football legend, Stephen Keshi at the age of 54.

Keshi, a former coach and captain of Nigeria’s Super Eagles died of a cardiac arrest in Benin City, capital of Edo State a state in southern Nigeria. He had no previous history of heart disease.

News Stephen Keshi’s death comes as a shock to his friends and Nigerians, Africans, and people around the world have taken to social media platforms to extol him for his contribution to Nigerian football.

Stephen Keshi is the only Nigerian who has won the African Cup of Nations as a player and as a coach.

Here are some of the top comments shared on microblogging website, Twitter.

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