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Pope Francis says he expects to live two or three more years, and may retire

77-year-old says he may ‘soon be off to the Father’s house’ and would retire if he could no longer perform his duties

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Pope Francis has publicly broached the prospect of his own death for the first time, light-heartedly giving himself “two or three years” but not ruling out retirement before then.

Talking to reporters on a flight back to the Vatican from South Korea, the 77-year-old pontiff, who seemed in good spirits, was asked about his global popularity, which was evident again during his five-day visit.

“I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I’ll be off to the Father’s house,” he replied.

The Argentinian pope said he could handle the popularity “more naturally” these days, though at first it had “scared me a little”.

While the pope has not spoken publicly before about when he might meet his maker, a Vatican source said he had previously told those close to him that he thought he only had a few years left.

Pope Francis also mentioned the possibility of retiring from the papacy, as his predecessor Benedict XVI did last year, if he felt he could no longer adequately perform his duties.

Resigning the papacy was a possibility “even if it does not appeal to some theologians”, he told reporters.

He added that 60 years ago it was practically unheard of for Catholic bishops to retire, but nowadays it was common. “Benedict XVI opened a door,” he said.

Francis admitted he had “some nerve problems”, which required treatment. “Must treat them well, these nerves, give them mate [an Argentinian stimulant tea] every day,” he joked.

“One of these neuroses is that I’m too much of a homebody,” he added, recalling that the last time he had taken a holiday outside his native Argentina was “with the Jesuit community in 1975″.

Adamawa by-election: Is Ribadu the issue?

Today, Malam Nuhu Ribadu has thrown his hat in the ring. He has mounted the soap box with those he had hitherto hunted as the Czar. And his meteoric rise in the political space is eliciting mixed feelings in and outside the shores of Nigeria. He shot himself to the top of the ladder by contesting for the presidency in 2011. His effort had a salutary impact as he was roundly defeated by incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. About three years after, he is engaging in a political somersault. He is among the names being touted for the governorship seat in Adamawa State, following the controversial impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako by the state House of Assembly.  To underscore his determination over his latest political ambition, Ribadu has ended his romance with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to enter into political wedlock with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He made the remark against the backdrop of defection of some PDP chieftains to the APC, claiming the party remained the one to beat in subsequent elections in the country. “People are leaving the PDP for the APC because they needed change. The APC symbolises the position of majority of Nigerians,” he reportedly said. He went further: “We are happy to be the platform for change that Nigerians are yearning for…. The APC is going to stop corruption for sure. Corruption is destroying Nigeria and we must put a stop to it.”

Ribadu Speaks At Last: “Why I defected” (Premium Times)

Four days after his defection from the All Progressives Congress [APC] to the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] became public, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], Nuhu Ribadu, has personally given an insight into why he crossed to the ruling party.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page Mr. Ribadu said his “carefully considered decision” to defect to another party was in “in pursuit of a good cause, and never out of any selfish interests”. He did not expatiate on what this good cause is but he said his next step in his political struggle would be made known in due time. “I know how difficult it may be for you to come to terms with my defection to another party,” Mr. Ribadu said. “But I must assure you that it’s a carefully considered decision for which I do not wish to hurt anyone’s feeling. I’ll not embark on a needless animosity with my good friends, irrespective of political, religious, regional and ethnic affiliations. “For now, I wish to assure you that my defection is in pursuit of a good cause, and never out of any selfish interests as portrayed by a section. Thanks for bearing with me on this decision, and for those who have been in solidarity with my struggles and still giving me the benefits of the doubt, I’m most grateful. I’ll never let you down on this new path.”

The former EFCC chairman, who was reacting to a report quoting him as disparaging his former colleagues in the APC, said although he had left the opposition party, he would continue to hold its leaders in high esteem. He said, “Let me quickly make it known that I did not issue a statement disparaging APC and its members, including Governors Amaechi, Kwankwaso… These were clearly fabricated, expected backlash, by mischievous characters interested in misleading the public and drawing a picture of non-existent feuds between me and my good friends. “My defection shouldn’t be seen as an initiation of political antagonism with my good friends in another party. I still hold them in high esteem, and even where there are marked differences, I believe there are decorous and honorable ways of resolving them. So, kindly disregard any statement said to be by me attacking the personality of any politician since my defection. I’ll never allow myself to be drawn into such disrespectful exchange.”

Mr. Ribadu formally joined the PDP in Bako ward of Yola South Local Government on Saturday, to the chagrin of the APC, whose National Chairman, John Oyegun, described the development as “very terrible”. The Chairman of Youth for Good Governance in Adamawa State, a PDP Pressure group supporting Ribadu’s candidature, Isa Toungo, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Ribadu was given a membership card with registration number 1933795.

On Monday the former EFCC chairman obtained the expression of Interest and nomination forms to run for Adamawa Governor in the October 11 election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. One of his associates, Hamidu Mahmud, who led the team that went to the national headquarters of the PDP in Abuja to obtain the forms, said contrary to reports, the former APC presidential candidate did not join the PDP just to pick automatic governorship ticket. He also said Mr. Ribadu had already applied for waiver in line with the party’s constitutional provision to enable him qualifies and participates in the election.

Mr. Mahmud also dismissed the notion that Mr. Ribadu was in the contest at the behest of President Goodluck Jonathan. “The framers of the PDP Constitution did not insert the waiver clause in anticipation of Nuhu Ribadu; it is a principle of general application. So, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, having joined the party, is expected to enjoy this waiver clause that is in the PDP Constitution,” Mr. Mahmud said. “We have applied for the waiver and we are awaiting the decision of the party on that. We are not aware that the President wants Ribadu, it was some PDP Chieftains in the state that called on Ribadu to come and contest for the governorship of the state. So, the question of the President wanting Ribadu does not arise in this case.”

READ MR. RIBADU’S FULL STATEMENT BELOW: My good friends, I know how difficult it may be for you to come to terms with my defection to another party. But I must assure you that it’s a carefully considered decision for which I do not wish to hurt anyone’s feeling. I’ll not embark on a needless animosity with my good friends, irrespective of political, religious, regional and ethnic affiliations. Let me quickly make it known that I did not issue a statement disparaging APC and its members, including Governors Amaechi, Kwankwaso… These were clearly fabricated, expected backlash, by mischievous characters interested in misleading the public and drawing a picture of non-existent feuds between me and my good friends.

My defection shouldn’t be seen as an initiation of political antagonism with my good friends in another party. I still hold them in high esteem, and even where there are marked differences, I believe there are decorous and honorable ways of resolving them. So, kindly disregard any statement said to be by me attacking the personality of any politician since my defection. I’ll never allow myself to be drawn into such disrespectful exchange. As for my next step in this political struggle, this would be made known in due time. For now, I wish to assure you that my defection is in pursuit of a good cause, and never out of any selfish interests as portrayed by a section. Thanks for bearing with me on this decision, and for those who have been in solidarity with my struggles and still giving me the benefits of the doubt, I’m most grateful. I’ll never let you down on this new path.

Thank you! Nuhu Ribadu -

Advantages of a stronger naira by Henry Boyo

IN an article earlier this month, we explained why further naira devaluation would constrain demand and economic growth, and also add millions more to the population of impoverished Nigerians, who are currently unemployed or live on less than $2 per day.  In a subsequent article, we identified the unyielding, suffocating self-inflicted burden of surplus naira as the primary cause of continuously depreciating naira despite bountiful dollar reserves since the return to civil rule in 1999.

    The narrative, this week, will answer questions on the impact of a stronger naira exchange rate such as N80:$1 on critical economic indices like inflation, interest rate, fuel subsidy, national debt and job creation.  The discussion is as follows:  

Protest of soldiers’Families…..Vanguard

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THE ongoing war against Boko Haram insurgency recorded another mutinous oddity recently when wives and children of army troops barricaded Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, thus preventing them from being moved to the war front.

They claimed that the soldiers were poorly equipped and were only being sent to die at the hands on the insurgents. It would be recalled that some months ago, a senior commander was shot at by unruly soldiers, who felt he gave orders capable of exposing soldiers to unnecessary harm.

Although the military authorities were able to manage these unfortunate and unusual events quite unbecoming of a disciplined army, it is yet another indication of the strange terrain that the insurgency has plunged the nation into. We are seriously worried that these troubling signs within our armed forces – the defenders of the citizenry and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – indicate that all may not be well within.

EFCC Arrests Four 1st Bank staff for ATM Fraud

Four bankers: Mansur Danlami, Ejiro Eborikpo, Nina Stephen and Samson Nwodo have been arrested by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for conspiracy to steal the sum of N5, 100, 000 (Five Million One Hundred Thousand Naira Only) from a customer’s account.

Astatement by the EFCC says the suspects, all staff of Zoo Road Branch of First Bank Plc allegedly conspired among themselves to issue ATM card to an impostor, in the name of Samuel Omede, a bona fide customer of the Bank in Bayelsa State.
After the issuance of the purported ATM card, the impostor used the card to steal N5, 100, 000 (Five Million, One Hundred Thousand Naira Only) from Samuel Omede’s account.

The suspects are still being interrogated in the Kano Zonal office of the EFCC and will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.

DSS Marilyn Ogar on Osun State elections on Channels tv.Watch carefully and draw your conclusions

Poor 2014 SSCE result…Daily Independent

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It keeps deteriorating, year-in and year-out, and for the umpteenth time in the last three years, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) has cried out yet again about the massive failure of students in this year’s Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) held in May/June. The result released recently at the WAEC headquarters in Yaba, Lagos, had just 31.28 per cent of the total number of candidates that took the examination scoring the mandatory five credits – inclusive of English and Mathematics – for eligibility to gain admission into Nigerian Universities.

According to the Head, WAEC National Office, Mr. Charles Eguridu, the candidates’ performance in the May/June WASSCE was on a decline when compared with previous years. Giving a breakdown, he noted that in 2012, 38.81 per cent out of the total number that sat for the examination made five credits including English and Mathematics, while in 2013, 36.57per cent of the candidates made the expected five credits mandate. 

A PREMIUM TIMES EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian military to court-martial over 100 soldiers for cowardice

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The Nigerian military is in the process of constituting a trial panel to try over 100 soldiers said to have exhibited “acts of cowardice” and “disobeyed deployment directives” in Maiduguri on Saturday, reliable military insiders have told PREMIUM TIMES.

The soldiers were among several hundred troops being deployed from the army’s 7th Division in Maiduguri to locations in Damboa and Gwoza for major operations planned to significantly rout the extremist Boko Haram sect from the areas.

“But as we were about to depart, some of the soldiers began to behave funny,” a witness said. “They were acting in ways that were delaying the movement. This was a movement that had been timed and we had to arrive locations at a time that should coincide with other operational arrangements. And then these guys were slowing us down.”

The witness said at a point, the commander of the troop became fed up with the antics of the “lazy soldiers” and he immediately ordered that they be disarmed, stripped of their uniforms and dropped from the operation.

The rest of the detachment then continued the journey, our sources said.

Other witnesses corroborated these disclosures.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, [an Air Marshall] the Chief of Army Staff,  Kenneth Minimah [a Lieutenant General], as well as other service chiefs have been briefed on the development.

The military chiefs, insiders say, have since ordered the arrest, interrogation and court-martial of the erring soldiers, some of whom are said to have gone into hiding.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the Defence Headquarters, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, said he was yet to be briefed on the matter.

He however said, “Military personnel should be reminded that persons subject to military law risks death if found liable for refusing or inciting failure to perform military duties against the enemy in the course of the ongoing military operation.”

Mr. Olukolade said any soldier or officer who fails to perform military duties or deserts his duty post risks dire consequences.

“The military is a disciplined organization and we do not have room for indiscretions. Anyone who disobeys deployment directive or deserts his duty posts would be made to face due justice.

“Indeed such deserters would be considered to have done evil similar to what terrorists are doing against the nation’s security. Act of cowardice and related indiscipline will not be condoned in the Nigerian armed forces.

“While efforts are ongoing to improve on the available stock of weapons and equipment, no soldier or officer has been assigned to any duty without being duly armed.

“Any soldier who subscribes to the excuse being peddled by some indiscipline ones would have himself to blame.

“Soldiers are therefore warned that anyone who allows himself to be misled by enemies of the nation who have been trying to incite mutiny by various methods would face appropriate legal actions without any form of sentiment.”

Mr. Olukolade urged the Nigerian media and Nigerians in general not to celebrate incidences of indiscipline within the nation’s security services, saying the security of all citizens depend significantly on the stability and discipline of the agencies.

The Nigerian Army had in early July began the court–martialling of another 18 soldiers involved in an alleged mutiny in May, in which revolting troops opened fire at a car carrying the commanding general of the army’s 7 Division in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Military sources had told PREMIUM TIMES at the time that the General Officer Commanding, GOC, of the newly-created 7 Division, Ahmadu Mohammed, a Major General, was targeted by soldiers who blamed him for the deaths of their colleagues.

The attack in Maimalari cantonment, on May 14, angered the Nigerian military at a time the force came under international spotlight over the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Chibok by the extremist Boko Haram sect.

A Virus Called Ebola and The Secret Club From Hell, By Femi Fani-Kayode

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I disagree with those that have described Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian/American that single-handedly brought the deadly ebola virus into our shores, as a madman. He was not mad at all but just evil. He was a man that was on a mission. That mission was to spread the ebola virus to Nigeria and to infect and kill as many people as possible with it.

He was an evil man with an evil intention and purpose. Worst still he was not working alone. Some people, and I mean rich, powerful and well-connected people, were working with him. As a matter of fact they sent him on the mission.

They cultivated him, took care of him, paid him, brainwashed him, gave him all that he wanted in life and finally asked him to go on a suicide mission to destroy the lives of others and spread the deadly disease.

Jonathan on free and fair elections..Guardian

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IF there is any comfort to draw from the political development in the country, it is probably that elections have been conclusively held in five states in recent months, and each of them tended to appear better than the previous one, while the ruling People’s Democratic Party has been unable to dominate all the polls. President Goodluck Jonathan may claim credit for this state of affairs, but he should also recognize that this has come at a huge cost, with the massive deployment of the military, police, state security and civil defence outfits, among others. In each state, it looked as if the country was preparing for war and not election.

    It may be argued, of course, that security units are needed to avert crisis, and that they have always been part of Nigeria’s elections. But the expectation at this stage is that elections should be dominated by civil authorities and not the military whose presence tends to convey more fear and less confidence to the electorate.

Jonathan’s hooded democracy….Nation

•Nigerians should be asking questions about this dangerous dimension in the country

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ALTHOUGH the August 9 governorship election in Osun State  has come and gone, we note with consternation how the election was crudely militarised. Shockingly, an elevated record of impunity, far above the awful Ekiti State election example, was set when a hooded cast of men in military uniform, Department of State Services (DSS) and policemen manned checkpoints and raided designated homes of politicians, to illegally harass, intimidate and psychologically traumatise opposition politicians. This does not speak well of the country in the comity of civilised democratic nations, especially coming from an administration that touts itself as out to promote credible elections.

The Gestapo-like hooded security style is alien to our democracy even as it clearly underscores a low in the savage and abysmal practice of the rule of law under President Goodluck Jonathan. Notable politicians of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and their supporters were harassed by military, police and DSS men, while a flabbergasted nation watched. Suspicious men in military and DSS uniforms; their faces shielded behind black cloths and well fortified with assorted rifles such as AK-47 assault rifles, pistols and other weapons terrorised the people before and during that election.

Ebola: Migrant bats return to Benin

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Migrant bats have started to return to Benin City, the Edo State capital few weeks after the outbreak of the Ebola virus.

The bats which nested in their thousands on trees at the Oba of Benin palace and surrounding trees around the city centre are also a delicacy for some persons.

It was learnt that the bats started returning last week.

A photographer, Stephen Idoni, runs a shop at the premises of the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre. The shop is under a tree currently housing thousands of bats.

Stephen told the Nation that the bats used to nest at what is now known as Ugbowo but said the bats have now moved to the city centre.

Sona Agro Allied Foods Expands Biscuit Production Facility

Sona Agro Allied Foods, a leading manufacturer of biscuits, Cream Wafer, Seasoned Puff Corn, Multi Cereal Bars in Nigeria has boosted its production capacity in Biscuits with the installation of a new soft and hard biscuits production lines from Europe to meet the growing demand of its customers.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new production lines at the company’s factory in Ota factory, Managing Director, Sona Agro Allied Foods, Mr. Subramanian Murugesan said “We are pleased with the high demand we’ve seen for our quality products over the past few years. This demand which keeps increasing year upon year has necessitated the expansion of our lines to meet demands. With this development, we will also be to increase our product variety to Nigerian consumers.”

2015: I’m still consulting –Tambuwal

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The Speaker of the House of Representa­tives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has said he is still consulting with his primary constituency on whether to contest the Presi­dency in 2015 or the gover­norship position in Sokoto State.

Tambuwal, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also said he was yet to make up his mind on whether to defect to the All Progres­sives Congress (APC) or stay put in the PDP.

Speaking yesterday, shortly after collecting his Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) at Tam­buwal town of the state, the Speaker said he would make his final stand on the topical issues known to Nigerians at the “most appropriate time.”

His words: “I am still con­sulting my primary constitu­ency on these crucial matters, which affect me, Sokoto State and Nigeria generally. I will come back and engage my people. All Politics is local.”