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Tucano Jets: We Saved the Government Embarrassment – Saraki

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Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has responded to the Buhari Media Office (BMO) allegation that he attempted to scuttle Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram.

BMO accused the 8th National Assembly of frustrating Nigeria’s purchase of Super Tucano fighter jets from the United States in 2017.

The group also said Saraki and others planned to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari over the acquisition.

A statement on Saturday by Saraki’s spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu called it a “revisionist antic” of an “empty propaganda machine whose members lack understanding of the American system”.

Olaniyonu explained that the US had refused to sell equipment because Nigeria was then categorized as one of those nations whose military engaged in rights abuse, a violation of the Leahy’s law.

He said whatever discussion former US President Donald Trump had with his Nigerian counterpart was not binding on the US Congress..

Responding to BMO’s claim that Trump, in February 2017, promised that the US would sell the jets to Nigeria by April 2017, Olaniyonu recalled that the US Congress got the notice in August, after which Buhari wrote to the Senate on August 25, 2017.

The statement said the accusers did not do enough research to find out that as far back as April 12, 2017, Saraki had held a closed-door meeting with then US ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington where the sale of the Tucano Jets was discussed.

“Also, on August 28, 2017, three days after Buhari notified the Nigerian Senate of the proposed sale of the Tucano Jets and three weeks after the Trump government briefed the American legislature about it, Saraki again received in the audience an 8-man US Congressional delegation headed by Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware in the National Assembly.”

Olaniyonu stressed that the 8th Senate Saraki gave support to the transaction and guaranteed to the visiting Congressmen that it would intensify oversight over the military to ensure there was no repeat of violation of citizens’ rights.

He said Saraki further the Buhari administration to speedily conclude all the formalities and make payment in respect of the 12 A29 Super Tucano Aircraft so that the military could be stronger in confronting insurgents.

On Buhari’s “impeachment plot” for granting anticipatory approval for the payment of $496,374,470 without legislative consent or budgetary provision, the aide maintained it was a grave violation of the law.

Olaniyonu said no responsible legislature would ignore such infraction and that when the point of order was raised by Sen. Mathew Urhoghide to discuss it, Saraki didn’t allow “to save the President any embarrassment”.

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Aspirant Confirms Receiving Refund From Delegates After Losing Primaries 

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Adam Namadi, son of former Vice President Namadi Sambo, has confirmed receiving a refund from delegates after losing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives ticket for Kaduna North Federal Constituency.

Reports earlier emerged that drama ensued when Namadi who allegedly gave each delegate N2 million and promised to add N1.5 million if given the ticket, asked them to refund the money.

Reacting, in a statement on Wednesday, the former aspirant justified his action, saying “there was nothing dramatic about the request, and it is unfortunate the media has been purporting it as such”.

According to him, there was an agreement between the delegates and stakeholders in the constituency prior to the primary election that those not favoured by the outcome of the election should be refunded.

He said, “Delegates themselves are aware of the directives given by the major stakeholders of the PDP in the Kaduna North constituency, that any sums given to delegates by various aspirants for their support should be returned to those unsuccessful in their primary elections.

“This was done to encourage delegates to vote for the aspirants based on their qualities and not just their perceived spending power and to hold them accountable for the candidates they put forth.

“As a mark of respect for that agreement, some delegates in the Kaduna North constituency started to reach out to the unsuccessful State House of Assembly aspirants whose elections were held before ours, followed by my fellow contender, Shehu Usman ABG and I.

“Therefore, I am not acting in isolation or making any ludicrous demands.

“I take their decision in good faith and will continue to labour with the PDP and do all my best to protect its good fortunes”.

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“Absolute Agony” says Alex Ferguson, As He Presents Manager of the Year Award to Jurgen Klopp

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Sir Alex Ferguson joked that it was “absolute agony” to have to present Jurgen Klopp with the trophy named after him at the League Manager’s Association (LMA) awards last night.

Liverpool boss Klopp was named Manager of the Year after guiding the Reds to League Cup and FA Cup glory, plus second in the Premier League and this weekend’s Champions League final.

Klopp was presented with the Alex Ferguson Trophy by the man himself – who admitted, with tongue in cheek, that doing so was especially painful.

Watch: Ferguson in “agony” as he honours Klopp

Why would that have pained Ferguson?

As manager of Manchester United, Ferguson made them undisputed kings of English football, overtaking Liverpool as the club with the most national league titles – as the Scotsman once put it, knocking them off their perch.

The balance of power has shifted in recent years, however, with Ferguson retiring and Klopp being appointed at Anfield, with the German bringing consistent domestic and European success back to Liverpool.

United have not won the Premier League since 2012-13 – Ferguson’s last season in charge – or any trophy at all in the last five seasons, while Liverpool won the league in 2019-20 and the Champions League the year before.

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Nigeria lauds improved collaboration in AFI Region, signs MoU with Sierra Leone, Rwanda

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MINISTER of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has commended International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) stressing that it’s leadership stance in collaboration has led member states of the African Indian-Ocean ( AFI) region to pool resources in resolving challenges and enhance safety in the Sub-region.

Sirika made this known at the 7th AFI Aviation Week in Abuja, Nigeria holding from 16th – 20th May where the nation signed Memorandum of Understandings, (MoUs) with Sierra Leone and Rwanda for technical support to enhance safety and security of Civil Aviation in the region.

According to him, ICAO’s leadership has set the bar for Member States to collaborate in resolving challenges particularly in the area of enhancing safety in our Sub-region.

He explained that one of the outcomes of such collaboration is the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa, which metamorphosized in the West Africa region into the Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (BAGASOO), in Abuja, which is hosted and substantially funded by Nigeria stating that this organisation has continued to support the Member States in improving their safety oversight capabilities and human resource development.

On the MoUs, Sirika said they will aid to strengthen safety and efficiency of the sector as well as cooperation in the region.

The Aviation Minister stated that, aviation being an enabler and a positive factor for growth, development and robustness of the economy, informed the sector to enter into partnerships with other countries.

From left, Commisioner Banjul Accord Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), Engineer Charles Irikefe Erhueh with Minister of Aviation, Nigeria, Senator Hadi Sirika and Commissioner Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria, Engineer Akin Olateru at the opening ceremony of the 7th AFI Aviation Week in Abuja, Nigeria holding from 16th – 20th May

“This is the only way to continue to make these initiatives relevant and sustainable, while contributing to the strengthening of safety, security and facilitation in the region, bearing in mind that a safe, secure and efficient air transport system is a natural impetus for socio-economic development of the region and a means to support trade and tourism”.

The MoUs were signed by the Nigeria’s Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu and representatives of the two countries at the opening ceremony of the Conference in Abuja.

Explaining further, the NCAA Director General, Captain Nuhu said, the partnership with the two African countries is to assist each other where there are gaps or deficiencies in the system, adding that no civil aviation authorities globally have the capacity to do everything.

The experience of the last two years, Captain Nuhu emphasized has underscored the fact that overcoming challenges and achieving meaningful growth in the industry, can only be done through cooperation, collaboration and co-ordination amongst stakeholders.

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