I will easily defeat Buhari, Atiku says; Buhari replies, Suicide bombers strikes in Borno again

In an exclusive interview with The Boss Newspaper, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar said he will easily defeat Buhari in 2019 and reasons he has not visited the U.S.; PREMIUM TIMES reports on how shared N23 billion is causing fresh crisis in Nigerian universities and much more.

1. I will easily defeat Buhari in 2019 — Atiku

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said defeating President Muhammadu Buhari will be a cakewalk for him if the president runs against him in 2019.

Mr. Abubakar said Mr. Buhari has become politically weak after squandering the goodwill Nigerians accorded him during the 2015 elections.

“I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill,” Mr. Abubakar said.

The former vice-president was interviewed by Dele Momodu for his column which was published Saturday in The Boss Newspaper he publishes.

2. How Buhari was ‘banned’ from entering U.S. for 15 years — Atiku

President Muhammadu Buhari was banned from entering the United States because Americans had reservations about his religious views, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said Friday.

Critics have long accused Mr. Buhari of holding religious views antithetical to modern democratic principles, a charge the president has repeatedly rejected.

In 2001, Mr. Buhari drew nationwide backlash when he was quoted as declaring support for the Islamic doctrine of Shari’a and as calling on Muslims to only vote for their fellow Muslims during elections. The president challenged the report saying he was quoted out of context.

He has also repeatedly denied being an extremist, saying he tolerates other religions as much as he does his Muslim faith.

3. Buhari replies Atiku on U.S. ban claim

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s claims in an interview that for about 15 years President Muhammadu Buhari could not enter the United States on account of his religious considerations is “a fictive concoction”, the president has said.

The response followed Mr. Abubakar’s interview published Saturday.

In a statement Saturday by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, Mr. Buhari said:

“This fictive concoction being passed off as truth is mind boggling, coming from a former Number Two man of Nigeria, who should know the truth.

“At no time was President Buhari, as a private person, ever forbidden from entering any country in the world.

4. Why I’ve not visited United States — Atiku

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has explained why he has been unable to enter the United States in the past few years.

There have been concerns that Mr. Abubakar was avoiding a trip to America because he fears a warrant was out for his arrest there.

But Mr. Abubakar, who is expected to run for president in 2019, said in an interview published by The Boss newspaper that he had actually made attempt to visit the U.S. but was denied on administrative grounds.

“I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process,” Mr. Abubakar told the paper published by Dele Momodu.

5. EXCLUSIVE: How 24 universities shared N23 billion causing fresh crisis in Nigerian universities

PREMIUM TIMES has obtained the full details of how N23 billion disbursed to Nigerian universities to settle earned allowances and arrears was shared among 24 universities.

University staff, members of four unions, are currently engaged in a verbal war over the modalities for sharing the money.

The money was part of the N220 billion the government pledged to the schools, which is an integral part of a resolution reached to address the last strike embarked on by unions over the non-implementation of previous agreements.

The sharing of the money as released by the government has resulted in a crisis among the unions.

6. More Nigerians taking own lives amid ‘economic, mental decline’

Many would perhaps argue that reported cases of suicides across Nigeria in recent months is not a trend but an increasing focus on these tragic occurrences by the media.

However, the cases that have attracted public attention lately seem to be taking a disconcerting trend.

On October 21, the body of Edward Soje, a director in the Kogi state civil service was found dangling from a tree behind the mammy market at the Maigumeri barracks, Lokoja.

Before his shocking death, the 54-year-old civil servant’s family had just been blessed with a set of male triplets, a thing of joy in an African setting especially in the line of reports that the marriage had been without a child for over 17 years.

7. 17 dead as suicide bombers attack Borno market

At least 17 persons, including two female suicide bombers, were killed while as many as 22 others were injured on Saturday when two explosions went off at a crowded market in Biu town of Borno state, witnesses and police said.

A witness, Muhammed Labera, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on phone from Biu said the attacks were carried out by two teenage female suicide bombers who launched attacks at different sections of the market.

“The attacks occurred in two different places in Biu town market. One occurred near the GSM stalls, then another at at the place where chickens are sold,” said Mr. Labera.

The source said he counted up to 22 injured persons at the hospital even as more were still being taken to the hospital at the time he was speaking with our reporter.

8. Why cancer is killing 10,000 Nigerians annually — Minister

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Friday in Abuja said 10,000 people die annually due to agony and lack of basic equipment for treatment of cancer.

Mr. Adewole said at the inauguration of the National Hospital’s Radiotherapy Centre with new Multilleave Lenear Accelerator for cancer treatment.

He attributed the number of deaths to lack of necessarily equipment and resources to attend to cancer patients.

The minister, who described cancer as a worldwide disease that kill more people than the combination of Tuberculosis, infectious diseases and HIV, decried the lack of resources to cushion the effect of cancer.

9. Nigerian troops crush Boko Haram terrorists in Borno village attack

The Nigerian Army said on Saturday that its troops killed three Boko Haram insurgents at Gajibo village in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.

Onyema Nwachukwu, the deputy director, Army Public Relations, Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, disclosed this in a statement issued in Maiduguri.

Mr. Nwachukwu, a colonel, said the troops killed the three insurgents when a group of terrorists attempted to attack Gajibo community on Thursday.

He disclosed that the insurgents, who launched the attack on the village in a Military Personnel Carrier and gun trucks, were repelled by the troops.

10. Poor Nigerians have no business in politics — Former Minister

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Adeseye Ogunlewe, has said that politics in Nigeria does not have room for the poor to participate in it.

Mr. Ogunlewe stated this on Friday during an interview on Channels Television.

He was responding to the speculation that the party delegates may be bought over with money by candidates contesting the forthcoming PDP national chairmanship election.

Mr. Ogunlewe, a former senator and a former minister of works, is backing Bode George for the election.

Mr. George has been the PDP deputy national chairman, South.

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