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Supreme Court to hear appeal of husband killer, Maryam Sanda, today


By Ismail Auwal

The Supreme Court will today hear an appeal from convicted husband killer, Maryam Sanda, who was sentenced to death by hanging by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

In her appeal, the convict asks the Supreme Court to overturn the concurrent findings and convictions of the high court and the Court of Appeal.

She is alleging a wrongful conviction in the way her trial was conducted and the death sentence was imposed on her.

She wants the Supreme Court to resolve in her favour, the allegations of denial of fair hearing she levelled against the FCT high court.

Her legal team is billed to be led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr Joseph Bodunde Daudu.

It could be recalled that Sanda was on January 27, 2020, convicted by the High Court for stabbing her husband, a real estate developer, to death at their Abuja residence in 2017.

Her death sentence by Justice Halilu Yusuf was on December 4, 2020, upheld by the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Stephen Ada.

Police arrest final year student for stabbing friend to death in Bauchi

By Nasir Isa

The police in Bauchi State have arrested a student of Adamu Tafawa Balewa College of Education, Kangere for allegedly killing a fellow student at the same school.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the State’s command spokesperson, SP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, stated that detectives had arrested the suspect, identified as Kamaluddeen Musa, for the murder of his friend.

“On 28/11/2022 at about 1300hrs, information available to the command revealed that on the same date at about 0915hrs Kamaluddeen Musa stabbed his friend Usman Umar ‘m’ aged 25yrs-old of the same address with a sharp knife in his stomach.

“Upon arrival at the scene, the Police detectives evacuated the victim to the Specialist Hospital Bauchi where the victim was certified dead by a medical doctor, while the suspect was immediately arrested.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that both the suspect and the victim were friends and final-year students of Adamu Tafawa Balewa College of Education Kangere Bauchi LGA, Bauchi State, ” the statement reads.

A minor quarrel reportedly burst between the two students on November 28, 2022, around 0915hrs, when the deceased bewailed that the suspect had gone on an outing without informing him.

“This led to a physical confrontation which inflicted injury to the thump finger of the suspect, in the process the suspect drew a small knife from his pocket and stabbed the deceased in his stomach and it was corroborated by the two eye-witnesses; Musa Danjuma ‘m’ aged 22yrs and Nawasi Sadi ‘m’ aged 20yrs all student of the same school. As the investigation continues to explore other facts of the case,” Wakili said.

Sha’aban Sharada blasts Ganduje on tricycle ban

By Aminu Kutama

The gubernatorial candidate of the Kano State Action Democratic Party (ADP) and a member of the House of Representatives, Sha’aban Ibrahim Sharada, has condemned in totality the ban of tricycles on major roads, without due consultations and provision of alternatives for operators.

Shaaban who criticized the ban on tricycles on major state roads by the state government warned that the action negates the principles of human development.

Sha’aban Ibrahim Sharada made the statement in a press statement made available to newsmen by his campaign council spokesperson, Abbas Yushau Yusuf in Kano.

He said at a time when the government is supposed to come up with ideas to address youth restiveness and divert their attention from crimes and drug abuse, it is rather focused on the path of persecution.

Honorable Sharada, who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Intelligence and National Security, sympathized with commuters and tricycle operators over the hardships being inflicted on them by the government.

He said even though the transportation system in Kano State is in urgent need of a total overhaul, the manner in which the current administration is going about it signals an absolute disregard for the livelihood and welfare of the good people of Kano State.

“This measure will subject pregnant women, schoolchildren, and hardworking citizens to unwarranted trekking, leading to the loss of productivity or even lives,” the statement read.

“In addition, it will retard the economic well-being of the tricycle owners, operators, repairers, oil and spare part merchants, as well as the millions of Kano people who eke out a living from the operation of the tricycles,” he added.

The ADP gubernatorial candidate blamed the Kano state government for pursuing policies that forced the populace to rely on tricycles in the first place.

“Such policies include the deliberate disregard for metropolitan roads as well as the uncontrolled allocation of parking spaces that makes car owners prefer the tricycles over their own vehicles.”

He added that the government should have brought out a plan that will alleviate the sufferings of commuters and engage the tricycle value chain in economic activities that will replace their lost earnings.

Kwankwaso blasts Atiku, queries his chances of winning without Kano and Rivers


By Aminu Kutama

The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, on Monday, blasted his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, saying any party that can’t control Lagos, Kano, and Rivers states should forget about the 2023 presidential election.

Kwankwaso made this known when he commissioned the Mgbutanwo Internal Roads in the Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State at the invitation of Governor Nyesom Wike. The former Kano governor also hit some PDP leaders whom he described as rigid and selfish

“Many people have made so many mistakes; many people don’t understand. Some leaders are very rigid, rigid in the sense that whether they are failing or winning, they will stick to one idea, they will stick to one candidate not minding the consequences, not minding the feelings of the people involved

We have seen people in my former party that all they want is to get the presidential ticket. They are ready to do anything to have a ticket.
“Any party that cannot control two of the three states – Kano, Lagos, and Rivers is out,” he added.

Kwankwaso also queried how the PDP will win the presidential election having lost its key stakeholders in the states of Rivers, Kano and Lagos.

“He (Wike) has been saying it and people have not taken note of it. Anyway, by now, with Kwankwaso out of that party, and Wike struggling to be there or not to be there, somehow things are moving, certainly, Lagos is not their own, and one begins to wonder how they will win the election of 2023.”

Kwankwaso also told the Rivers governor that he saw very early what he (Wike) now sees in the PDP, hence his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in December 2013 and later to the NNPP in March 2022. Kwankwaso also said he left the APC and returned to the PDP in 2018 because the ruling party proved to be worse than the PDP.

Immigration rescues 8 victims of trafficking in Jigawa


By Aminu Kutama

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has rescued eight suspected victims of human trafficking in Jigawa State.

NIS Comptroller, Jigawa State Command, Ahmad Dauda Bagari confirmed the arrest to newsmen in his office on Monday. Adding that the victims were intercepted on Sunday by NIS personnel on their way to cross the border to Niger along Kaya-Daurawa in Roni Local Government.

The victims consist of five males and three females from the four states of Abia, Edo, Imo, and Ogun.

He said, among the victims only one person was in possession of an expired Nigerian standard passport.

The Comptroller explained that, the victims mostly travelled without an agent, but influenced by friends and with the knowledge of their parents and guardians.

He said, there were no incriminating items or drugs found in their possession upon interrogation. 

Dauda Bagari said, the Comptroller General of the service had directed that the victims be handed over to NAPTIP.

Bagari also called on the general public to report cases of human trafficking and other related criminal acts to the nearest security agencies.

Abuja-Kaduna train service to resume in two weeks – Minister


By Nasir Isa

Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has assured that the Abuja-Kaduna train service will resume operations in less than two weeks.

Sambo while disclosing this on Thursday in Ibadan, at the Railway station in Moniya, assured that the Federal Government would improve security on the railway corridors.

He added, “It is not necessary for me to share that date publicly, I don’t think that will help in running the service.

“Nigerians are interested in the service, in less than two weeks, before the month is over, so just be patient.”

Nuclear non-proliferation and its applications in clean energy generation


By Dr. Yakubu Wudil and Umar F. Ahmad

Nuclear energy goes beyond the widespread assumption that it is only a tool of mass destruction. It involves the use of radioactive elements to produce electricity. It is one of the cleaner sources of energy currently harnessed by developed countries. The energy generated by nuclear power plants is sufficient for both domestic and industrial applications.

A major environmental concern related to nuclear power is the creation of radioactive wastes such as uranium mill tailings, used reactor fuel, and other radioactive wastes. No doubt, these materials can remain radioactive and dangerous to human health for thousands of years.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)  is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.

More than 128 countries, UN agencies, international organizations, and civil societies have gathered in three different conferences between 2013 and 2014 to address the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. Twenty-four countries issued statements at the first conference in Oslo, in 2013. However, the P5 (China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States) decided not to attend the conference, citing concern that the Oslo Conference will divert discussion away from practical steps to create conditions for further nuclear weapons reduction.  

In spite of their absence, the meeting recorded a huge success, as evidence presented on the immediate impact of nuclear detonation made it clear that no adequate humanitarian response would be possible. Furthermore, it paved the way for other two meetings that discussed the global and long-term consequences of a nuclear detonation and explored the humanitarian and environmental impacts of the detonation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and written in the final document of the First Special Session on Disarmament in 1978. The P5 and the other four states that have them (India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea) will not agree with this declaratory ban as the UK made it clear in the country’s statement at the Vienna Conference, 2014, “…this approach fails to take account of, and therefore jeopardizes, the stability and security which nuclear weapons can help to ensure.”   The question is what can we draw from this conclusion? Are these countries willing to pursue a world without nuclear weapons?

Following the devastation and humanitarian consequences witnessed in Japan, numerous nations and advocacy groups called for an immediate ban on nuclear weapons. However, the force unleashed by fission, or the splitting of atoms, is so great that countries that have them see the atomic bomb as the ultimate weapon. Furthermore, some Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) state that the retention of nuclear arsenals by other countries is the sole reason why they still rely on nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are created for a variety of reasons, not just security. Prestige is a powerful motivator; they are still regarded as a technological honor badge after nearly 75 years. It’s no coincidence that the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council were among the first to develop nuclear weapons.

Another question that needs to be addressed is whether we can ever be confident that all nuclear capabilities will be gone. We know that the presence of a treaty has not stopped governments from using chemical weapons. The humanitarian consequences of not following a nuclear treaty could be much more detrimental. In January 2021, the Treaty on the prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. The basic obligation of the treaty is to prohibit State Parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. However, all nine nuclear weapon states remained opposed to the treaty even though have shared the opinion that entry into the treaty is the sovereign right of individual states. The US further described the TPNW as a tool that “turns back the clock on verification and disarmament and is dangerous.” This is just an assertion of their position regarding the ban on nuclear weapons.   

It is not all doom and gloom. The New START Treaty signed by the Russian Federation and the US limits both sides’ nuclear missiles and bombers to 700 and caps their deployed nuclear warheads at 1,550. If the two world’s most powerful nations can come this long to achieve this, it proves that the nine NWS can also agree on a timetable for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  To boost confidence in arms reduction and disarmament, the world needs to harness 21st-century information technology. Remote sensing, precision guidance, machine learning, neutron imaging for nuclear warhead verification, and additive manufacturing need to be fully understood in relation to nuclear weapons proliferation.

Finally, rather than allowing nuclear weapon states veto power over the most crucial security issues, countries need to construct a more equal decision-making framework in the United Nations. Only then, nuclear weapons will start to lose their appeal.

Mr. Umar Ahmad is a nuclear physicist working with the Centre for Renewable Energy Research, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria (oumarulfarouq@gmail.com) and Dr. Yakubu Wudil is with the Renewable Energy Research Center, KFUPM, Saudi Arabia. (yswudil@yahoo.com).

Nigeria has enough money, we won’t need to borrow to pay salaries — Kwankwaso


By Aminu Kutama

The presidential candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, says Nigeria has enough money to take care of every of its citizens.

He said this while answering questions on indiscriminate borrowing which has set back the country’s economy in recent years during The People’s Townhall 2023, a live programme organised by Channels Television in Abuja on Sunday evening.

The former Kano State governor who said he repaid all debts he met as governor in Kano without borrowing, boasted of replicating same at the federal level.

He said, “There is so much money in this country, anybody who says there is no money either he doesn’t know or he wants to be mischievous. There is enough money to take care of each one of us in this country; we have done it in Kano in 1999 to 2003, we met a lot of debts, we paid the debts after eight years. When I went back I met debts of hundreds of millions of US dollars, and we settled them before I left in 2015.

“I’m talking of borrowing money either from banks or individuals, we have never borrowed. So I believe that that can be replicated to a very large extent at national level. I will not say I will not borrow but if they are important things pay themselves, not to borrow to pay salaries, handle current expenditure and so on, I believe there is even more than enough money in this country to handle that,” he added.

Kwankwaso also said that if elected president he would negotiate with Nigeria’s creditors to reschedule payment of debts so that government can have money to take care of other things.

Turkey accuses PKK of Istanbul blast


By Aminu Kutama

Turkey’s interior minister has accused the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Monday of responsibility for a bombing in a busy Istanbul street that killed six people and wounded scores, saying more than 20 people have been arrested.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who landed in the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a G20 summit of the world’s leading economies shortly after his government accused the PKK of being behind Sunday’s blast, which wounded 81.

He had called the bombing a “vile attack” before leaving for the summit and said it had a “smell of terror.”

The explosion tore through Istiklal Street, a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists, on Sunday afternoon. No individual or group has claimed the attack.

“The person who planted the bomb has been arrested,” interior minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement broadcast by the official Anadolu news agency in the early hours of Monday.

He added that 21 others were also detained.
“According to our findings, the PKK terrorist organisation is responsible,” he said.

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara as well as its Western allies, has kept up a deadly insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.

Soylu also accused PKK-affiliated Kurdish militants who control most of northeastern Syria and who are deemed as “terrorists” by Ankara of being responsible for the attack.

“We believe that the order for the attack was given from Kobane,” he said, referring to a city near the Turkish border.

It was also the site of a 2015 battle between Kurdish militants and Islamic State jihadists, who were driven out after more than four months of fighting.

Bird strike: Air Peace aircraft makes emergency landing in Lagos


By Ismail Auwal

A bird strike forced an Owerri-bound bound  Air Peace plane made an emergency landing in Lagos on Saturday.

According to a statement by the management of Air Peace, the flight which was enroute to Owerri failed to land due to the impact of the bird strike, and as such, returned to Lagos for an emergency landing. 

The airline added that the passengers disembarked unhurt. 

“This is to inform the flying public and our esteemed customers that Air Peace flight P47154, which departed Lagos at 12:00hrs today, August 27, 2022, for Owerri, could not land due to a bird strike that got the bird stuck on the left main landing gear,” the statement reads. 

“The strike affected the operating parameters of the landing gear which made the pilots follow regulatory safety procedures by returning to Lagos where they landed the aircraft safely without any incident.

“Passengers disembarked normally and another aircraft has been deployed to operate the flight.

“We apologise for the inconveniences caused to all passengers affected by this situation and be assured of our strict compliance with established safety standards.”

A bird strike is a collision between a bird and an aircraft which is in flight or on a takeoff or landing roll.

Disappearing Palestine and Eretz Israel

By Yakubu Musa

Nothing, perhaps, illustrates the tragedy of the current world’s most enduring struggle, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, than last Friday’s UN resolution for a ceasefire. Curiously, the United States of America voted against it while her number one ally, the United Kingdom, was nowhere to be found during this all-important vote. Both have been part of the problem since the beginning of the 20th century. While the UK, as the Great Britain Empire then, sowed its seed, the Americans have since adopted the pet project and turned it into an obsession. More ironic is that the Americans have often posed as neutral mediators only to shamefacedly act as the defender of a darling side of the protracted conflict.

Yet there is no escaping the sui generis nature of this catastrophe as an ideological one, which explains both its zero-sumness and durability. If there’s any doubt on this, the Israel Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, cleared it up when he told the world that what the country set out to achieve was in fulfilment of a Biblical Prophecy is rooted in Isiah. His officials and their US government counterparts have re-echoed similar sentiments when they openly suggested that they were dealing with animals, not humans, and thus the need for no redline to observe.

This is perhaps the reason the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are behaving like the modern-day Genghis Khan Army. What they currently see in Gazza is what the Genghis cruel soldiers saw in Samarkand, and they have not yet started since Netanyahu charged them with the motivation of Samuel 15:3: “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys”. The IDF is perfectly executing this Al-Qaeda and ISIS style of cherry-picking religious injunctions with the full backing of the West as I type. All these with the approval of global hegemons.

What is playing out is therefore another vindication of Noam Chomsky, who said “We can debate the extent to which Israel relies on US support. But there can be little doubt that its crushing of Palestinians, and other violent crimes, are possible only because the US provides it with economic, military, diplomatic and ideological support”.

Indeed, no stone will be unturned in waging this colonial war against the indigenous population, by a variety of parties, “to force them to relinquish their homeland to another people against their will,” as Rashid Khalidi argues.

Everything started with the subterfuge of the Balfour Declaration. When “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object”. Yet the British were not oblivious of the fact everything would be done which would surely “prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

Arthur Balfour too was very much aware of the contradiction in the declaration. After all, the British had another covert agreement with the French to share the Arab lands between themselves—when Mark Sykes and George Picot were redrawing the map of the Middle East in 1916— while a promise was made for an independent Arab state as the carrot dangled for the rebellion against the Ottomans during the First World War.

Perhaps no one captures the debacle of the dubious declaration better than Eugene Rogan in his epic book, the Arabs. “The Balfour Declaration was a formula for communal conflict. Given Palestine’s very limited resources, there simply was no way to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Inevitably the mandate engendered conflict between rival nationalism —the highly organized Zionist movement, and a new Palestinian nationalism forged by the dual threats of British imperialism and Zionist colonialism.

“Palestine would prove Britain’s gravest imperial failure in the Middle East, a failure that would condemn the whole of the Middle East to conflict and violence that persist to the present day,” he wrote in the book.

Many other scholars corroborate this view as the Zionists never miss an opportunity to showcase to the world their impunity to the rest of the “inferior world”. The Zionists had, and still have, the conviction that the Palestinian land— they violently seized— especially after the Nakba of 1948 belongs to them. They seem to have the notion the original C-of-O of the land is attached to the 10 commandments tablets as Annexure 1. But the irony of establishing the Jewish National Fund (JNF) to start purchasing the Palestinian’s land as they escaped pogroms in Europe is never missed by the discerning minds.

As far back as 1895, Theodor Herzl, the leading Zionist movement intellectual looking for a land to call theirs provided an insight into their vision. “We shall have to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries while denying it any employment in our own country. Both the process of expropriation and the of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly!” his diary revealed.

If the project was conceived to be executed discreetly, it took a different turn in 1948 when 780,000 Palestinians were dispossessed and displaced. But Nakba wasn’t the first. It was merely the climax. The British had, after realizing their thoughtlessness, tried to amend the past. But each attempt would confound the situation like in the case of the Peel Commission, whose recommendations left the Palestinians at the receiving end again. The partition proposed gave the Jews statehood in 20 percent of the territories of Palestine. But the bigger bone of contention was that it included most of the coastline and the country’s most fertile land in the Jezreel Valley and Galilee, while the Arabs were consoled with the poorest lands of Palestine, including the Negev Desert and the Arava Valley. If these are criminal, the population transfer recommended is equally no less evil.

But this has always been the treatment of the Palestinians, whether in the hands of the British who started the collective punishment, or in the hands of the favoured settlers later. The only time they were, perhaps, viewed with some favour was when the Americans were truly neutrals. The King-Crane report tried to genuinely remedy the situation at the cradle. Yet it was ignored, shelved, and only made public 3 years after the head had been cut off.

The negotiation tables too have never favoured them. If the Camp David Accords ended in a major disappointment, as Edward Said argued, Oslo was the disillusionment according to Mohamed Heikel, the author of Secret Channels.

“No one commented that Camp David failed to deal with-failed even to mention-the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. It went without a comment that during the Knesset debate on Camp David, Begin’s presentation was made explicitly to depend on an exchange, a deal, which was better for Israel than for Egypt and “the Arabs”: Sinai would be returned to Egypt while Israel would keep the other territories,” wrote Said in his remarkable book, the Question of Palestine.

In the final analysis, what is manifestly clear is that this protracted conflict cannot be resolved by ignoring its root cause, nor will it be cured with the same prejudiced and deceitful approach the global hegemons have so far treated it with. And while any form of Palestinian violence is also condemnable, the world cannot continue to pretend that the Palestinians have not been victims of betrayal, apartheid, and collective punishments. For how long will the world endure the horror of watching as the hospitals, refugee camps and other civilian targets in Gazza being bombed by the IDF?

Prof. U.G Danbatta: A Visionary Leader of Nigeria’s Telecom Industry

By Sanusi Abdullahi Kiru

In the ever-evolving landscape of Nigeria’s telecommunications industry, there are individuals who leave an indelible mark, reshaping the sector for the betterment of the nation. Among these luminaries, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta stands as a true visionary leader who, during his tenure as the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), set new standards of excellence and innovation. As we bid farewell to this distinguished leader, it is only fitting to acknowledge the profound impact of his leadership on the industry and the nation as a whole.

A Legacy of Transformation and Innovation

Prof. Danbatta assumed office as the EVC of NCC in August 2015, and from the outset, he embarked on a journey to transform Nigeria’s telecommunications sector into a global exemplar of excellence. Under his stewardship, the industry witnessed remarkable progress, growing not only in terms of infrastructure and technology but also in its role as a catalyst for economic growth and social development.

Promoting Connectivity for All

One of Prof. Danbatta’s greatest achievements was his commitment to ensuring that no Nigerian was left behind in the digital age. His policies and initiatives focused on extending telecommunications and broadband services to even the most remote areas of the country. Through programs like the “Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF),” he made sure that the digital divide was gradually bridged, bringing connectivity and opportunities to millions of Nigerians who were previously underserved.

Fostering a Competitive and Thriving Industry

Prof. Danbatta’s leadership at NCC was characterized by a commitment to fostering a competitive and vibrant telecommunications market. He initiated and executed programmes that encouraged investment, fair competition, and innovation, which led to improved services and affordability for Nigerian consumers. His efforts to safeguard the interests of both service providers and consumers established a fair playing field in the industry.

Promoting Cybersecurity and Data Privacy

In an age where the digital realm plays an ever-increasing role in our lives, Prof. Danbatta’s tenure witnessed a strong emphasis on cybersecurity and data privacy. Under his guidance, the NCC introduced policies and guidelines to protect Nigerian consumers’ data and privacy, ensuring that they could participate in the digital world with confidence.

An International Perspective

Prof. Danbatta’s leadership was not confined to Nigeria alone. He actively engaged with international organizations and regulatory bodies, representing Nigeria on the global stage. This helped in shaping global standards and best practices while fostering partnerships that benefited the nation.

A Statesman and Visionary

Beyond his impressive record of achievements, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta was a statesman and a visionary leader who possessed a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of telecommunications with the broader socio-economic development of the nation. His leadership at NCC will be remembered as a period of significant progress and transformation.

As we bid farewell to Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, we reflect on his remarkable contributions to the telecommunications industry and his unwavering dedication to the betterment of Nigeria. His legacy will continue to shape the future of telecommunications in our country, and his vision of a digitally inclusive Nigeria will serve as a guiding light for generations to come.

In the annals of Nigeria’s telecommunications history, the name of Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta will forever be inscribed as a symbol of visionary leadership, progress, and innovation.

In honor of a true luminary, we thank you, Prof. Danbatta, for your extraordinary service to our nation.

Kiru wrote in from Kano

Murjanu Ringim: The Unsung Heroine of Layla Othman’s latest intervention

By Yakubu Musa

Since yesterday, when I shared the video of a giant effort of Layla Othman, my timeline has been inundated with her praises. Ironically, no one even remembers the unsung heroine of this latest intervention, Murjanutu Ringim.
Ringim, the compassionate storyteller behind the “Voice of Bazawara,” was the lady who brought this case to the fore. She uncovered the heartwarming tale of the indigent woman who had not only embraced her own challenging circumstances but also opened her heart and home to an orphaned child. Layla was moved by the story.

Indeed Ringim’s platform has been a beacon of hope, sharing human interest stories that inspire kindness and generosity. She believes in the power of stories to change lives and bring communities together, and Layla found about the story in question through one of her videos.

Yet both deserve our commendations. They have shown to us that this world where compassion and selflessness often take a backseat to personal pursuits, there are still individuals who stand as shining examples of humanity’s better angels.

No doubt, Layla Othman, is a true enigma who has smartly chosen philanthropy and is making a profound difference in the lives of those less fortunate. My friend, Ali Nuhu told me that one of his takeaways from his meeting with Salim Khan, the father of Bollywood true box office king, Salman Khan, was how philanthropy changed the trajectory of Sallu Bai’s career. As the actor was battling all sorts of challenges including box office misfortunes, his dedication to altruism changed everything for good for him.

I see some parallels with Layla Othman whose acts of kindness are changing opinions about her.

Re: NNPP vs Judicial Arm: Can a political party fight judicial arm of government with derogatory words?


By Kabir Dalha Kabir

This write-up is a response to the article written by Abbati Bako, who, according to what he wrote, was a former Special Advisor to the former Governor of Kano State Dr. A. U. Ganduje on public relations. His article, with the above heading, appeared to be an attempt to justify the ruling of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that heard the petition of APC on the gubernatorial election that returned His Excellency Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf as the elected governor of Kano State.

Ordinarily, the write up deserves no response considering the its quality and misrepresentation of facts. In fact the writer only succeeded in displaying crass understanding of concepts and lack of any knowledge of democracy and its processes.

The writer, weirdly, wrote “Even in advanced Democracies like that of Northern parts of the world….” In the lexicon of world politics there is nothing like “Northern part of the world” what is known is “Western world” He also wrote “…fight Judicial Arm of Government….: This is also alien to students of government or political science. There are “branches of government” and not “arms of government”. Judiciary is a branch of government, in democracy, and not an “arm” To show complete lack of knowledge and history of world politics he wrote “Former (late) President of America George Washington popularize the saying that “Democracy is a game of the people, by the people and for the people.” I am reading this statement for the very first time in my life! The statement that comes close to that is, “Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people” which was from the 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln and not George Washington, the first President of the United State of America.

I decided to respond to the article not to answer the writer’s question, but to correct his misrepresentations, even as there is total disconnect between the heading and the body of the article. Although I am a member of NNPP, I feel duty bound to correct misrepresentations and ignorant rantings first as a social duty and point out an attempt to justify an injustice.

If I were to answer the question asked in the heading, the answer would be a categorical No! That a party would fight a judicial system with anything, other than facts and evidences, and win the fight should not be even a thought that would come to any sane mind. But if the writer is referring to NNPP (as can be assumed from the heading) as a party that is fighting Nigerian Judiciary, then I will say NNPP has never fought and is not fighting the Judicial Branch of government. NNPP is fighting for justice and to defend the mandate that the good people of Kano State gave it at the polls. But if, in the thinking of Abbati and his ilks, that is derogatory then the burden of proof lies in them.

What I believe the writer was referring to was what transpired in Kano prior to gubernatorial election tribunal judgment (remember NNPP won Kano state Governor’s seat with more than one million votes and it is the only State won by the party), where some party members voiced some very harsh words including some official of the government. But to this effect, the whole world is witness to the prompt action taken by the state government of HE Abba Kabir Yusuf by sacking its officials that made those unacceptable statements against the Judges of the Tribunal. This is on record! It was widely acknowledged and commended by many respectable Nigerians and beyond. So for anybody to now say, NNPP as a party, is fighting the judiciary is either being mischievous or only attempting to distort facts.

The government of Kano State and NNPP went ahead to affirm their firm belief in the Judges as impartial umpires. When the judgment was passed, the government and the party still affirm their belief in the judiciary and are both hopeful that justice will prevail at the appellate court and beyond.

So NNPP as a national party believed in and recognized all the three branches of government, namely: the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches as separate entities that work together for a better Nigeria. This is sacrosanct. Anyone that put it otherwise, we believe is just being either mischievous or is misjudging the situation.

For the Kano tribunal judgment, the world is still making analysis of the clearly lopsided election tribunal decision and so far is adjudged to be the most talked about tribunal judgment in the country. For now the ball of justice has moved to appellate courts as the court of public opinion has passed its verdict on 18th March, 2023.

For Kanawa, the judgment of 20th September, 2023 has not killed their belief in their choice at the polls. They have clearly shown who they voted for as their Governor and the Governor is proving his worth and reaffirming the confidence reposed in him by the Kano people.

May Almighty Allah help My City, My State, the Kano state.
May the State and the government prosper.
May He do it to His Excellency Abba Kabir Yusuf and his government.
May He help our country Nigeria, Amin

Kabir Dalha Kabir wrote from Kano

Maulud: The Birth of Prophet of Justice

By Yakubu Musa

The theme of my this year’s essay to commemorate the birth of the most remarkable human being ever, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) cannot be more deliberate. The idea is to remind the people in desperate need of a renaissance about the most significant ingredient they are missing in their quest to remodel their society.

When the prophet warned his companion about that “Many a community ruined itself in the past as they only punished the poor and ignored the offenses of the exalted.” he was obviously talking to all of us. Perhaps this and many of his sayings as well as the numerous injunctions in the Holy Quran prompted the position of the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate, Sheikh Usman Bin Fodio, on leadership. According to him, society thrives with justice even if it is full of disbelief but crumbles under the weight of injustice even if it is full of faith.

Undoubtedly, the concept of justice played a central role in the life of Prophet Muhammad. He is revered for his unwavering commitment to justice, fairness, and equality throughout his prophetic mission. Yet, his sense of justice extended to various aspects of his life, and his teachings continue to serve as a model for ethical and moral behavior for Muslims around the world. As both a religious and political leader in Medina, Prophet Muhammad established a legal system that was based on principles of justice and fairness. He encouraged the use of arbitration and mediation to resolve disputes and emphasized the importance of treating all individuals, regardless of their social or economic status, equally under the law.

Perhaps what is more remarkable is his social justice. Prophet Muhammad was deeply committed to it and he championed the rights of the marginalized and vulnerable in society, including widows, orphans, slaves, and the poor. He emphasized the importance of caring for the less fortunate and admonished those who mistreated them. His famous saying, “The best among you are those who are best to their families,” underscores the importance of justice and kindness within the family unit.

In his last sermon, he famously declared, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; none have superiority over another except by piety and good action.” This proclamation laid the foundation for the rejection of racism and the promotion of racial and ethnic equality in Islam.

Great leaders model the way, they live what they preach. Prophet Muhammad exemplified the principles of justice he orated. He was known for his honesty and integrity even before he received his prophethood, earning him the title of “Al-Amin” (the trustworthy) among his contemporaries. Today, his unwavering commitment to justice, his dedication to the poor and the marginalized, and his teachings on the sanctity of human life are beacons of hope and guidance for humanity in a world often beset by turmoil and division.

Little surprise that Prophet Muhammad’s legacy extends far beyond the borders of his era, resonating across centuries and touching the hearts of diverse nations.

As we commemorate his birth, let us rededicate ourselves to the path of his justice, compassion, and righteousness that he illuminated.

Nigeria’s Telecom Sector: A Beacon of Hope amidst Challenges

By Johnson Ademola

In the midst of political tumult and upheaval, there is a tale of remarkable progress emerging from Nigeria’s telecom landscape. It’s a story that should be celebrated, for it signifies a beacon of hope in a time of widespread despair. At the helm of this transformative journey is Umar Garba Danbatta, a professor of telecommunications engineering, and the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The numbers tell a compelling story. Since the advent of GSM and the expansion of broadband infrastructure, Nigeria’s telecom sector has attracted a staggering $77 billion in investment. What’s even more impressive is that $39 billion of this sum flowed into the sector during Danbatta’s eight-year tenure as the regulator. Moreover, the sector now contributes a substantial 16 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a remarkable increase from the 8 percent it contributed in 2015 when Danbatta assumed the role of EVC.

This meteoric rise in the telecom sector reflects the surging demand for telecommunications services across various sectors of the Nigerian economy, from agriculture and commerce to education. It’s a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the industry, which weathered global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recessions while maintaining its bullish stance.

Danbatta credits this remarkable journey to “thorough sustained regulatory excellence and operational efficiency” by the NCC. Indeed, telecom has become a shining example of local content development, with significant growth in digital innovation, human capital development, and skills acquisition among Nigeria’s youth. This has enabled them to compete on a global stage, earning recognition from multinationals and international agencies alike.

In financial terms, the telecom sector continues to make a significant contribution to the national economy. A report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that telecom and information services added a substantial N2.508 trillion to Nigeria’s GDP in the first quarter of 2023, representing 14.13 percent.

One of the sector’s forward-looking strategies is the adoption of 5G technology, positioning Nigeria as one of the early adopters in the global digital economy. This bold move paid off handsomely, generating $820.8 million for the federal government from 5G spectrum license fees paid by operators like MTN, MAFAB, and Airtel.

But that’s not all. The recent launch of Starlinks broadband services, a satellite-based wireless broadband offering with nationwide coverage potential, is another feather in Danbatta’s cap. This service, made possible by the NCC’s issuance of a license to Elon Musk-owned SpaceX, is already available in various parts of the country.

Under Danbatta’s leadership, the number of telephone users in Nigeria has surged to 218.9 million, while internet subscribers and broadband users now stand at 159.5 million and 88.7 million, respectively. These figures, coupled with the creation of jobs, both direct and auxiliary, during a period when other sectors were shrinking, have earned Nigeria the respect of international bodies like the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The telecom sector’s growth, as evidenced by its consistent 16 percent contribution to GDP, demonstrates its resilience in the face of socio-economic and political challenges. It prompts us to ask how such growth was achieved in an environment plagued by erratic electricity supply, ethnic and religious divides, Right of Way (RoW) disputes, fiber cuts, high capital requirements, multiple taxations, infrastructure vandalism, and regulatory hurdles. The answer lies in Danbatta’s unwavering commitment to innovation and active engagement with stakeholders, all for the betterment of the sector and the nation’s economy at large.

Nigeria can draw inspiration from the telecom sector’s success story. If the goal is to elevate Nigeria into the ranks of the world’s top 20 economies, the federal government must replicate the triumphs of the telecom sector in other industries. Danbatta’s leadership has shown that with vision and dedication, Nigeria can indeed achieve greatness.

In the grand scheme of economic transformation, the telecom sector’s journey under Danbatta’s stewardship has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Beyond its undeniable contributions to the GDP and job creation, it has paved the way for profound advancements in entertainment, banking, agriculture, e-commerce, and various primary sector frontiers. The steady rise in quarterly GDP contribution, now at a phenomenal 16 percent, means that the telecom sector has successfully insulated itself from the socio-economic and political vagaries that have stymied growth in other sectors.

So, how did Danbatta and other stakeholders in the telecom industry achieve this remarkable feat? It’s a question that warrants deeper exploration. How did telecom transition from mere kilobytes to terabytes in growth, market size, and innovativeness in an environment where electricity supply remains horrendously erratic? How did it rise above the divisive forces of ethnicity and religious affiliations that have plagued the nation’s public discourse and rendered it ineffective? The telecom sector’s resilience in the face of challenges like Right of Way (RoW) disputes, fiber cuts, high capital requirements, multiple taxations, infrastructure vandalism, and complex regulations deserves a closer look.

The answers to these questions lie in the unwavering commitment of Danbatta and his team to finding innovative solutions and actively engaging stakeholders for the greater good of the sector and the larger economy. They have demonstrated that a robust regulatory environment, coupled with visionary leadership, can lead to extraordinary growth and prosperity.

Nigeria now stands at a pivotal crossroads. The success of the telecom sector serves as a blueprint for what can be achieved in other industries. If the vision is to leapfrog Nigeria into the exclusive club of the world’s top 20 economies, then the federal government must replicate the summer success recorded in telecom across various sectors. Danbatta’s leadership has shown that with dedication, innovation, and visionary leadership, Nigeria can indeed become a global economic powerhouse.

Nigeria’s telecom contribution to GDP rises to 16%

The telecom sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has shown significant growth, reaching 16 percent in the second quarter of 2023. This data, computed by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and reported by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), reflects a substantial increase from the first quarter of 2023, where it contributed 14.13 percent, and surpassing the previous all-time-high record of 15 percent in the second quarter of 2022.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, delivered this information during a keynote address at the annual Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum (TERF), hosted by the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos.

Danbatta highlighted the remarkable progress made in the telecommunications sector since he assumed the role of EVC in 2015 when it contributed about 8 percent to the GDP. He emphasized that the sector’s growth has positively impacted various aspects of the Nigerian economy.

He attributed the industry’s success to effective regulatory practices and operational efficiency maintained by the NCC, along with support from stakeholders. Danbatta acknowledged that barriers such as right-of-way issues, fiber cuts, high capital requirements, multiple taxation, and regulations exist in broadband deployment. However, he expressed the NCC’s commitment to addressing these challenges through regulatory excellence and collaboration with stakeholders like ATCON.

The issue of right-of-way was highlighted, with Danbatta mentioning that the telecom sector currently faces approximately 46 different taxes, imposed by various agencies and tiers of government, especially at the state and local levels. These charges ultimately place economic burdens on telecom subscribers.

Regarding connectivity, Danbatta noted that while access gaps were identified in various parts of the country, substantial progress has been made in reducing them. This has been achieved through government commitment to a digital economy, robust policy frameworks, infrastructure development, digital literacy, competition promotion, spectrum allocation, and the advancement of the e-government ecosystem.

Danbatta expressed confidence that the NCC’s ongoing regulatory efforts would lead to achieving the 50 percent broadband penetration target by the end of 2023 and potentially surpassing the 70 percent broadband penetration target set in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 by 2025.

He commended ATCON and its members for their collaboration and constructive engagement with the Commission to address industry challenges. Danbatta emphasized that the success of Nigeria’s digital aspirations extends beyond technological advancements and includes transforming lives, driving economic growth, and enhancing the nation’s global competitiveness.

He encouraged all stakeholders in the public and private sectors to remain committed to building a more connected and prosperous future for Nigeria.

Coup attempt thwarted in Burkina Faso

Soldiers have been apprehended by the National Gendarmerie’s research division on the orders of the Military Prosecutor, accused of offenses including “military conspiracy, violation of orders, conspiracy against state security, association of criminals, and endangering the life of others.” This information was disclosed by Magistrate Commander Alphonse Zorma, the Military Prosecutor, on Friday, September 8, 2023.

The individuals involved are “Adjudant Windinmalégdé Kaboré, Sergeant-in-Chief Brice Ismaël Ramdé, and former Corporal Sami Dah,” who, according to the military prosecutor’s statement, “readily admitted” their involvement.

Per the prosecutor’s statement, these “military personnel and former servicemen had strategically identified sensitive locations and residences, including that of the Transitional President and certain civilian and military authorities, with the intention of disrupting the Transition process.”

“Currently, three (03) individuals in custody have been arrested and brought before an investigating judge who has examined them and ordered their detention on charges of military conspiracy, violation of orders, conspiracy against state security, association of criminals, and endangerment of others’ lives,” reported Magistrate Alphonse Zorma.

The Military Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that investigations are ongoing to ascertain “all potential implications and legal consequences.”

Furthermore, the Military Prosecutor’s Office encourages anyone possessing information relevant to this investigation to come forward directly or make the information available to the Research Section of the Ouagadougou Gendarmerie.

NCC, CBN, resolved 120 billion naira USSD debt impasse

The lingering matter of the N120 billion debt owed by banks for the use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) provided by telecom operators has been resolved, according to Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Danbatta disclosed that, following the intervention of the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Folashodun Shonubi, banks have agreed to settle the outstanding debt and continue to pay for the USSD service under corporate billing terms.

This announcement was made during the Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum (TERF) held in Lagos. Danbatta explained that the issue was successfully resolved during a recent meeting involving the Acting CBN Governor, the NCC, telecom operators, and the banks. The resolution was based on the recognition that financial inclusion cannot be achieved without telecom services.

The origin of the problem stemmed from the banks’ preference for end-user billing, whereas the telecom operators believed the service should be billed to the banks as part of corporate billing. The disagreement led to the accumulation of a substantial debt, exceeding N100 billion. Despite the debt, the banks continued to provide USSD services to their customers using the telecom infrastructure without compensating the telcos.

The situation remained unresolved until the intervention of the Acting CBN Governor, who emphasized the vital role of the USSD service in achieving digital financial inclusion. He recognized that without it, the penetration of financial inclusion would be significantly limited. The resolution included acknowledging the debt’s existence, committing banks to pay for the service through corporate billing going forward, and addressing the accumulated debt.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), representing telecom operators, had previously threatened to disconnect banks from the USSD service due to the outstanding debt, despite several failed interventions by the former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

Ahidjo: Transforming Maiduguri Teaching Hospital into Healthcare Hub

By Yakubu Musa

One big paradox about our dear country, Nigeria, is the size of the population of her unsung heroes and her under-celebrated celebrities. My recent trip to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State exposed me to another champion making a difference for the nation. Professor Ahmed Ahidjo, the Chief Medical Director of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, hosted us to a sumptuous dinner at his residence, and while we were  busy savouring the delicious meal, our conversation centered on the challenges of medical care in Nigeria. This led to a spontaneous invitation to see the silent revolution he was doing in that part of the country.

Indeed, amidst the complexities and triumphs that define this vibrant part of the country, this medical visionary has been working diligently to revolutionize healthcare.

Ahidjo, from what I observed, has spent the last four years of his tenure as the CMD leading this institution toward an extraordinary transformation, one that is not only making it a beacon of hope for patients in the region but also positioning it as a national healthcare powerhouse.

Under his visionary leadership, the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital is evolving into a medical Mecca of sorts, particularly for its exceptional cancer care. The hospital’s journey towards excellence in healthcare began with the establishment of a world-class cancer center, boasting state-of-the-art facilities that rival some of the best in the world. This cancer center, featuring four cutting-edge treatment bunkers, is a testament to Prof. Ahidjo’s unwavering commitment to advancing medical care in Northern Nigeria.

One of the crowning jewels of this transformation is the hospital’s acquisition of the HD Versa, a sophisticated cancer treatment machine only available in Kenya in the entire African continent. This cutting-edge technology allows for precise and effective cancer treatments, sparing patients the need to travel abroad in search of advanced care. The addition of the Linear Infinity and other state-of-the-art equipment further enhances the hospital’s capabilities, ensuring that cancer patients receive world-class treatment within their region. This development alone has alleviated the financial and emotional burden on countless families and is a shining example of what we need to be doing to make this country great.

But Prof. Ahidjo’s vision extends far beyond the realm of cancer care. The hospital’s kidney clinic, equipped with 84 beds and top-notch facilities, is also becoming a regional hub for transplantation and advanced surgeries. Patients suffering from various kidney ailments no longer need to embark on arduous journeys to seek specialized care. Under Ahidjo’s leadership, the hospital has become a haven for those in need of critical medical attention, offering advanced treatments including endoscopic procedures for kidney stones.

A testament to Prof. Ahidjo’s commitment to holistic healthcare is the magnificent 150-bed Child Center, an autonomous facility comprising 12 specialized clinics catering to the unique needs of pediatric patients. This center is not merely a medical facility but a sanctuary of healing and compassion for young patients and their families, embodying the hospital’s commitment to comprehensive care.

In an extraordinary collaboration, Prof. Ahidjo successfully attracted the establishment of a prosthetics center by the Red Cross, a facility that required a substantial investment of 3.6 million USD.  This center provides life-changing services to those in need, further solidifying the hospital’s status as a comprehensive healthcare provider with a focus on improving the quality of life for its patients.

One cannot discuss Prof. Ahidjo’s transformation of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital without acknowledging his dedication to sustainability. The hospital now generates 0.8 megawatts of electricity from its solar power source, ensuring that essential units such as the cancer center and others have a reliable power supply. This sustainability initiative not only reduces operational costs but also reflects Prof. Ahidjo’s forward-thinking approach to healthcare infrastructure and his commitment to environmentally responsible healthcare practices.

Beyond the remarkable facilities and initiatives, Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo’s leadership at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital has cultivated a culture of excellence, compassion, and innovation. His tireless dedication to improving healthcare services in the northern region of Nigeria is an inspiration to all, reminding us that visionary individuals can indeed make a profound difference, regardless of the challenges they face.

In a world where healthcare disparities persist, Prof. Ahidjo’s transformative leadership serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when passion, innovation, and a deep commitment to humanity converge. The University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, under his guidance, stands as a testament to what can be accomplished in just four years when visionaries like Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo embark on the journey to transform a local hospital into a regional healthcare hub.

As we celebrate the remarkable progress achieved thus far, it is evident that Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo’s path to transforming the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital into a regional healthcare powerhouse is far from over. His unwavering dedication to advancing healthcare in Northern Nigeria continues to inspire us all, reminding us that the pursuit of excellence in healthcare knows no boundaries and that the future holds even greater promise for this remarkable institution and the patients it serves. Prof. Ahidjo’s legacy is one of hope, healing, and boundless possibilities.

Yakubu Musa writes from Abuja.