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Asaba Massacre: Anambra governorship candidate Chidoka urges Nigerian govt to apologise – Premium Times Nigeria


The candidate of the United Progressive Party in the Anambra governorship election, Osita Chidoka, has urged the federal government to issue a public apology over the massacre of civilians allegedly by soldiers of the Nigerian Army during the civil war in 1967.

Mr. Chidoka made the call on Saturday on the occasion of the 50th remembrance of the tragic incident that has gone down in history as the Asaba Massacre.

On that day in 1967, the soldiers reportedly assembled some Igbo-speaking indigenes of the then Mid-Western Region in a market in Asaba and allegedly executed them for supporting soldiers of the Biafra Army who had overran the region.

According to a statement on Saturday issued by the spokesperson of his campaign organisation, Viola Okolie, Mr. Chidoka said such apology by government would heal the wounds left by the incident.

Mr. Chidoka said the fact that Igbo still hold unto the memories of the ugly incident 50 years after was indicative of the dire need for genuine healing.

He said soothing word from the federal government at occasions such as the anniversary of the incident would go some way in mollifying the survivors and relatives of the deceased.

Mr. Chidoka maintained that the Igbo are a peaceful, accommodating and forgiving people whose only demand has been for a fairer Nigerian union founded on justice, equity and fairness, and where no one is oppressed or relegated to the background.

He said a fairer union where obstacles to equal opportunities were removed would calm frayed nerves and ease the pains of the past.

Mr. Chidoka also urged the military high command to release the report of its investigation of alleged abuses and violation of the rights of citizens by security officials involved in the controversial Operation Python Dance in the southeast.

The UPP candidate recalled that the military had stated that it was investigating alleged rights violations including a video indicating the dehumanization of civilians by some soldiers along the Port-Harcourt – Enugu expressway.

Mr. Chidoka, who had condemned the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation by the federal government, urged the military to “accelerate its inquest, make its findings public and apply appropriate punishments on errant officers, while mechanisms are put in place to end such violations.”

The UPP candidate commended Nigerians from other parts of the country who identified with the anniversary of the massacre, including Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, and the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah.

He called for the continued spirit of brotherliness among Nigerians while assuring of his commitment towards the pursuit of the interest of Igbo people through institutionalized legal and legitimate means.
Also on Saturday, Mr. Chidoka revealed his plans to create direct graduate jobs across the state the very moment he is sworn in as governor.

He spoke at the Obiora (New Yam Festival) ceremony in his hometown, Obosi, an event graced by a large crowd of his supporters, volunteers and party members from other parts of the state.

Addressing the ceremony, the UPP candidate also unveiled his plans to bring governance nearer to the people and ease their cost of accessing government services, by creating Government Contact Centres in all the 171 communities across the state.

Stating that the contact centres will guarantee an immediate 1,710 graduate jobs by engaging at least 10 graduates from each of the communities, Mr. Chidoka announced another immediate jobs opening through a special Simultaneous Rapid Development Scheme (SRDS) for accelerated development of all communities across the state. The scheme will ensure that no community is left behind, while providing employment opportunities across the state.

Speaking further, the governorship candidate noted that he is happy that Anambra people have embraced the UPP ahead of the election.

“The UPP is the only party that stands for the people. It is the only party proclaims that Igbos have the right to self-determination; the only party that have declared that Igbos are not terrorists; the party that resisted the recent unconstitutional military invasion of the southeast and the general marginalization of the region”, he said.

Blessing the new yam, the royal father of Obosi, Chidubem Iweka III, also supplicated for the UPP candidate, praying God to grant him success in the election.

Mr. Chidoka also received prayers and endorsements from others who spoke at the event.



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Tourism Drop Means Harvey Still Punishing Texas Beach Towns



Born and raised in this Texas Gulf Coast beach town, James Wheeler Jr. finds himself sawing plywood and hanging sheet rock at a time when he would normally be leading deep-sea fishing excursions, trying to hook tuna or Spanish mackerel by the cooler-full.

Since Hurricane Harvey came through Port Aransas just before Labor Day — damaging or destroying 80 percent of homes and business and wiping out the lucrative summer season’s final weeks — the 38-year-old boat captain has become an amateur builder, working to repair the roof of a sea headquarters building where he and others dock their pleasure crafts.

“Port Aransas is built on the tourist dollar,” said Wheeler, ticking off attractions besides fishing: surfing, nature reserves, seafood restaurants and beaches where it’s always cocktail hour. “That dollar’s not coming right now.”

In many Texas seaside enclaves, the owners of bars and eateries, inns and T-shirt shops are facing a painful paradox: Tourists who are their economic lifeblood likely won’t return until the rebuild is in full swing, but picking up the pieces after Harvey may not truly begin without the profits tourists bring.

“That’s the risk,” said David Teel, president of the Texas Travel Industry Association. “The recovery will come. But it will never be fast enough for these folks.”

Insurance money and support from federal grants will help residents rebuild homes and businesses, and in some cases even cover businesses’ lost income and employees’ lost wages. But that will pale in comparison to what tourists would normally be spending, likely helping ensure that recovery moves more slowly.

Locals expect the normally busy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays to be slow. Even the possibility of getting back to business by spring break looks bleak.

Visitors to Texas’ Gulf Coast spent $18.7 billion last year, according to state estimates, and the region’s tourism industry employed 170,000-plus people. Visitors spent $221 million in 2016 just in Port Aransas, a onetime fishing village that’s now home to around 4,000 full-time residents.

In other years, October is when “Winter Texans” — part-time residents from colder locales — take up temporary residence, while shorter-term tourists come for the weekends. The influx of people is normally enough to keep the economy robust through the holidays and until spring.

Wheeler says he’d usually be organizing large fishing trips nearly every day, but now takes just one smaller excursion a week.

“It’s not that no one wants to come,” Wheeler said. “There’s just nowhere for them to stay yet.”

Drivers entering Port Aransas encounter bulldozers tearing into a roadside mountain of debris more than three-stories high.

Power company and internet provider vans are everywhere, as crews repair infrastructure. Golf carts — a favored mode of local transportation — have to avoid shattered glass and mangled light poles. They’re more likely, these days, to be filled with Salvation Army personnel or construction crews than tourists hitting the beach.

“We are Port A Proud and on the Rebound,” proclaims the website of the chamber of commerce, whose office was damaged. It lists six local hotels planning to be open by Christmas.

Sweeping dust out of the gutted Destination Beach and Surf store, Olya Soya said some regular visitors have come as volunteers helping to rebuild, while others simply gawk at Harvey’s wrath.

“They want to see what it looks like now. It’s very different,” said Soya, 24, who instead of working in the air-conditioned store sweats through her days on a makeshift debris removal crew. Beside her is a towering plaster shark that survived the storm despite extensive damage to the store it guarded.

Harvey’s eye passed directly over nearby Rockport, where operators hope to have 500 hotel rooms available by November — down from 1,500 pre-Harvey.

“Yes, we’re open for business. But please be patient,” said Diane Probst, president of the local chamber of commerce, adding that visitors should expect frustratingly slow debris removal.

Back in Port Aransas, dozens of restaurants and businesses have reopened, at least part time. One shop, Gratitude, suffered only light damage, despite being crammed with fragile keepsakes and knickknacks such as wind chimes and oversized wine glasses proclaiming “Summer is for mimosas and mermaids.”

“You almost feel guilty opening because there are a lot of stores and places that can’t,” said owner Sally Marco, 60. “But it’s nice to have people smile when they come in.”

One bright spot is that area beaches didn’t suffer major ill-effects. On a recent, balmy Saturday, seagulls and pelicans outnumbered the few surfers, children splashing in the waves and couples strolling on the sand with dogs.

“As these communities begin to open back up — and little pieces will open — the good part about it is, they’ve got a beach,” said Teel, of the state tourist association. “And it’s a great beach.”



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Suspend Kachikwu, Baru, Senate panel chair tells Buhari – Punch Newspapers


John Alechenu, Eniola Akinkuotu, Ade Adesomoju, Ihuoma Chiedozie, Oladimeji Ramon and Olaleye Aluko

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) Senator Tayo Alasoadura, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately suspend the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru.

Alasoadura specifically stated that Baru’s continued presence at the NNPC could jeopardise the Senate investigation into the allegations that he allegedly approved contracts to the tune of $25bn without the approval of the corporation’s board.

The senator said this during a live programme on Channels Television titled, Sunday Politics.

When asked if they should be suspended, Alasoadura said, “I believe so; especially the man who is doing the day-to-day running of the organisation. In order not to hinder or hamper that investigation, because records will be needed and even from the date of the leakage of that letter, I think action should have been taken to ensure that nothing will be missing when investigations start

“So, I think the two of them should be asked to step aside and when investigation is over, whoever is culpable will go and whoever is not culpable, will continue with his duties.”

The lawmaker, who represents Ondo Central Senatorial District, said one of the causes of the problem was the fact that Buhari doubled as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Describing the arrangement as faulty, Alasoadura said Buhari should step down and appoint a substantive minister who would be able to do the job more effectively.

He added, “Judging from the many problems plaguing our country today, I believe Mr. President should devote more time to other things and let an independent person run the petroleum resources ministry who will then report to him twice or once a week.’’

Alasoadura confirmed an exclusive report by Sunday PUNCH that 40 firms, which received the $25bn contracts would be invited by the Senate.

He added, “We are probing them because we want to get to the root of this matter. If you are doing an investigation, even those who have not been mentioned may have to be invited, but as of today, these are the people that we think should be invited and from there, we may need to invite many more organisations as the probe continues.”

Meanwhile, The PUNCH learnt that the firms to be invited by the Senate include Oando, Sahara Energy, MRS Oil and Gas, AA Rano, Bono, Masters Energy, Eterna Oil and Gas, Cassiva Energy, Hyde Energy, Brittania U, North West Petroleum, Optima Energy, AMG Petroenergy, Arkiren Oil and Gas Limited and Shoreline Limited.

Others are Entourage Oil, Setana Energy and Prudent Energy, Trafigura, Enoc Trading, BP Trading, Total Trading, UCL Petro Energy, Mocho, Tevier Petroleum, Heritage Oil, Levene Energy, Litasco Supply and Trading, Glencore, Hindustan Refinery, Varo Energy, Sonara Refinery, Bharat Petroleum and Cepsa.

The companies are listed on the NNPC website as benefiting from crude term contracts.

In a related development, the OurMumuDonDo group, led by popular musician, Charles Oputa, aka Charly Boy, said it would meet on Tuesday to conclude on how, where and when to stage protests over the $25bn contracts allegedly awarded without due process.

The Publicity Secretary of the group, Raphael Adebayo, revealed this to The PUNCH during a telephone interview on Sunday.

Adebayo said the group was also planning a protest against Buhari’s delay in taking action on the report submitted to him by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on the probe of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ayo Oke.

When asked if the protest would be taken to the NNPC, Adebayo added, “We are looking at staging one this week. We are looking at combining this one and the SGF issue into one protest.

“We can already see the reaction of the Presidency. The Presidency is trying to reconcile both parties (Kachikwu and Baru).

“On Friday, the President and Baru still prayed together at the National Mosque. So, you can see the response. Between now and Tuesday, we will reach a decision on the next line of action.”

Relinquish your post as oil minister, Falana urges President

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to refer the $25bn contract scam allegations levelled against the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Maikanti Baru, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for investigation.

In a statement, the senior advocate of Nigeria stated that during the EFCC’s investigation “into the grave allegations of the reckless contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act”, the President should place Baru on an indefinite suspension.

Also, Falana called on Buhari to relinquish the position of the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources due to the President’s “busy schedule” and appoint another Nigerian of proven integrity and competence to take up the position.

He added that if his advice was heeded, relinquishing the said ministerial position would “remove undue pressure on the health of the President and allow him to attend to urgent matters of the state”.

Falana made these suggestions following what he described as “the embarrassing petition of the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to Buhari pertaining to Baru’s failure to consult the President and substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources” and  “the unilateral award of $25bn contracts” by the NNPC’s GMD.

He stated that the $25bn contracts should be revoked once the EFCC investigation confirmed that they were awarded without the approval of the NNPC Board.

Falana stated, “However, apart from sanctioning the officers responsible for creating the wide gulf between Dr. Kachikwu and the President, the allegation of the unilateral award of contracts worth $25bn by Dr. Baru ought to be investigated in line with the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration.

“In order to conduct a thorough investigation into the grave allegations of the reckless contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, Mr. Baru should be placed on indefinite suspension while the Presidency should refer the case to the EFCC.

Governors, elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, are to play a significant role in the election of the next national chairman of the PDP, investigations by The PUNCH revealed on Sunday.

Already, the governors were said to have started informal discussions on the matter and have started looking at the credentials of those who have formally declared their intention to lead the party.

It was also gathered that the governors were not limiting their search to those who had started their campaigns alone.

They are also said to be looking at the antecedents of other notable politicians from the entire southern region where the position was zoned to at the party’s national convention.

The search, it was further learnt, was not being limited to the South-West, which some leaders of the party believed should produce the chairman out of the three geo-political zones in the entire southern region.

However, the governors were said to be focusing their search on the South-West and the South-South.

Leaders of the party in the South-East are said to have ruled the zone out of the race because it had produced occupiers of the office in previous dispensations.

Besides this, the zone is said to be eyeing the vice-presidential slot of the party based on the fact that the presidential ticket has been ceded to the North for the 2019 election.

Those who have declared their bid to lead the party at its national convention, slated for December 9 in Abuja,  are a former Minister of Education,  Prof. Tunde Adeniran; a former Minister of Special Duties, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja; a former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel; and a former National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George.

Those said to be consulting party bigwigs  about their ambition are a former Acting National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus; a businessman and media mogul, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi; a former member of the Senate, Dr. Bode Olajumoke; and a former Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke.

One of the governors, who is playing a prominent role in the search for a credible person to lead the party, told our correspondent on Sunday that he and his colleagues were already consulting on the issue.

The governor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it would be suicidal to allow “just anyone” to lead the party at this critical period.

The source explained that the party needed a honest man, who would be ready to play the role of opposition very well in order to enable the party to strongly compete with the ruling All Progressives Congress during the 2019 elections.

The governor added, “This is the first time that the PDP has found itself in opposition since 1999 when the country returned to democratic rule. Until 2015, when we were defeated, the PDP had always been in government at the centre.

“Because we didn’t know and had never been in opposition, see what we passed through of recent. We need to guard against that in the future. We need a chairman who we all know and can relate with.

“The PDP doesn’t need a chairman who would be afraid of the Federal Government during the day and be the friends of its agents at night.  We need a chairman we can totally call our own.

“That is why we are discussing among ourselves. That is why we will also have a say, just like all other organs of the party. We must agree on a suitable candidate. We need not just anyone to lead us; we need a credible and acceptable person.”

He said there was no way the governors would sit by and watch without showing interest on who would emerge as the next national chairman of the party.

The governor also revealed that he and his colleagues were planning to meet in Abuja and discuss the issue and other related matters very soon.

“We will be in Abuja soon where we shall meet and discuss the issue and other matters. Convention is still about two months away,” he added.

Speaking on the influence of governors in the party, one of the chairmanship contestants, Adedoja, had said, “PDP governors should be commended for their roles. It has been a big financial burden for governors to keep bailing out the party because members are not paying their dues.

“Rather than saying the governors are not doing the right thing, I must commend them for coming to the aid of the party.”

He added that he was already consulting the governors because of the roles they were expected to play in determining the next chairman of the party.

“The governors have a role to play because they are major stakeholders in the party and they are also delegates with voting rights.

“By implications, they are the leaders of the party in their states. That is why I’m already consulting them because I need their support,” he added.

In his reaction, Adeniran also said the governors and all other organs of the party, had roles to play in the election of the next party chairman.

Adeniran, who spoke though his Director of Media, Mr. Taiwo Akeju, told our correspondent on Sunday that he was already discussing with the governors and other caucuses of the party.

“The governors can’t be said not to have any role to play. They are products of the party and should, just like other members of other caucuses of the party, be regarded as the conscience of the PDP.

“They are closer to the grass roots, shapes opinions and also leaders of our party,” Adeniran stated.

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UK rents fall amid property glut in south-east England


Rents in Britain dropped in the final summer months for the first time in at least five years, according to Rightmove.

National asking rents outside London fell by 0.2% in the three months to September, which is one of the busiest times of year for tenants looking for a new home. It was the first fall at this time of year since Rightmove started tracking rents in late 2011.

The decline comes as landlords flood the south-east of England with newly available rental properties, distorting the national picture, as they turn away from a stuttering London property market.

The glut of homes available to rent pushed down rents in the south-east by 2.3% in the period. Average rents rose in every other UK region apart from Greater London and Yorkshire and the Humber.

The biggest quarterly increase came in the north-east, where the average asking rent rose by 2.6% to £564 per month.

Britain’s housing market is looking increasingly broken amid a chronic shortage of new homes. Young people are particularly hard hit, with millennials spending three times more of their income on housing than their grandparents, often for worse quality accommodation, according to the Resolution Foundation.

The proportion of households privately renting in the UK has ballooned in the past 20 years. According to official figures, around 65% of UK households were owner-occupiers at the end of 2016, while 17% were renting from a private landlord and 18% from a social landlord.

Theresa May pledged an additional £2bn a year to councils and housing associations for affordable homes in her speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester last week.

Rightmove’s head of lettings, Sam Mitchell, said more landlords were acquiring homes immediately outside London, therefore increasing the supply of available property and pushing down rents. “Agents are reporting that some investors looking for better yields are shifting their focus from London,” he said.

Areas such as Surrey, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire are among the most popular for landlords seeking investments outside of London. Prices have not fallen as much in areas with good commuter links, where demand remains strong.

Asking rents in the capital fell at an annual rate of 3.3% in September to an average of £1,920 per month. The average asking rent per month across the country in September was £789.

However, Mitchell said he expected the cost of renting to increase in London due to the supply of available accommodation decreasing as landlords look elsewhere for investments.



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For Deal on ‘Dreamers,’ White House Will Demand Crackdown on Child Border Crossers


Taken together, the proposals amount to a wish list for immigration hard-liners inside the White House, including Stephen Miller, the president’s top policy adviser, who has long advocated extremely aggressive efforts to prevent illegal entry into the country and crack down on undocumented immigrants already here.

The White House immigration priorities — which will be delivered to Capitol Hill in the coming week — have the potential to scuttle the effort by Mr. Trump and Democrats to reach an agreement on protecting the Dreamers. Immigration activists have long opposed many of the White House proposals as draconian or even racist, and they would most likely urge Democratic leaders to refuse a deal that included them.

But immigration rights advocates are also under pressure to do something for the Dreamers, and privately, many advocates have acknowledged that a negotiated deal with the Republican president is likely to include some increases in security at the border and other immigration changes.

The possibility of a deal emerged shortly after the president ended the DACA program early last month. But even as Mr. Trump kept his campaign promise to halt what he had described as “one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a president,” he quickly added that he would work with Democrats in Congress to replace the executive policy with legislation.

“The president’s position has been that he’s called on Congress to come up with a permanent solution and a fix to this process,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said last week of the effort to help Dreamers.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump views Sunday’s list of immigration demands as absolute requirements for an agreement or the beginning of a negotiation.

But conservatives in Mr. Trump’s administration, many of whom were advocates of his hard-line immigration rhetoric during the 2016 campaign, are clearly maneuvering to ensure that any deal on the Dreamers also results in passage of the tough immigration enforcement measures and border security enhancements that they have been seeking in Congress for decades.

A key part of the administration’s demands is the insistence that something be done about tens of thousands of children who have surged across the border with Mexico during the past several years, many of them seeking to escape gang-related violence in Central American countries. In 2014, about 60,000 children crossed the border without their parents.

Administration officials say the children — many of whom are sent by their parents to live with a cousin, aunt, uncle or sibling who is already living in the United States — must be turned back or quickly deported once they arrive. Under current law, many of them remain in the United States for years during legal proceedings to evaluate their asylum or refugee claims.

If the children are not deported quickly, officials say, many will never leave, eventually becoming a new population of sympathetic young immigrants who seek amnesty to live and work in the United States legally. That could create a never-ending cycle in which illegal immigrants demand to be given a legal status, the officials say.

They argue that allowing the children to stay in the United States simply encourages more to make the journey, believing — accurately in many cases — that they will not be returned home.

The document to be released on Sunday will endorse specific ideas to accomplish the president’s goals: It will call for new rules that say children are not considered “unaccompanied” at the border if they have a parent or guardian somewhere in the United States. They will also propose treating children from Central America the same way they do children from Mexico, who can be repatriated more quickly, with fewer rights to hearings.

Mr. Trump will also call in the document for a surge in resources to pay for immigration judges and lawyers and more detention space so that children arriving at the border can be held, processed and quickly returned if they do not qualify to stay longer.

Critics say the focus on deporting unaccompanied children is heartless and impractical. They say many of the children were sent by their parents on long, dangerous treks across Mexico in the hopes of avoiding poverty, hunger, abuse or death by gangs in their home countries.

A court settlement and a bipartisan anti-trafficking federal law passed in 2008 give the children certain rights when they arrive and require the government to give immigrant children a court hearing to determine the validity of the dangers they are said to face at home. But a shortage of judges and other resources has created a yearslong backlog in those cases. In the meantime, most are eventually relocated to family members or foster homes in the United States while they await their hearings.

Groups that advocate on behalf of the children trying to cross the border say that many of them are not represented by lawyers as they seek to prove in court that their lives and welfare would be threatened if they returned home. Those who do have lawyers are often granted the right to stay permanently in the United States, and eventually apply for citizenship.

Advocates acknowledge that more resources are necessary to speed up those hearings. But they argue that White House efforts to demand quick decisions are likely to merely result in many children being sent back to places where they are raped, beaten or killed.

Sending the children back with just a cursory hearing is “a recipe for disaster in terms of returning people to danger,” said Wendy Young, the president of Kids in Need of Defense, a group that aids young refugees.

Democrats and immigration activists are certain to assail the White House proposal on dealing with Central American children as something they cannot support and little more than a thinly veiled effort to scuttle negotiations between the president and the Democrats even before they begin.

“Promoting the protection of one group of young people at the expense of another is absolutely unacceptable and a nonstarter,” Ms. Young said in a statement.

Some activists have been pressing Democratic leaders not to make any concessions to Republicans. They are urging passage of a “clean” bill that would protect the young immigrants without accepting any new enforcement of immigration laws.

That appears unlikely to win support in the Republican-controlled Congress. But the White House call for an immigration crackdown could also split the Republican Party, where a handful of lawmakers are pushing for a compromise that would include only modest increases in immigration enforcement at the border in exchange for protecting the Dreamers.

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, on Thursday proposed legislation that would protect the immigrants in exchange for much less aggressive enforcement efforts: $1.6 billion in funding for border security measures and new efforts to crack down on members of gangs like MS-13 for deportation.

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President Buhari Has Performed Below Expectation


The Arewa Youth Forum, AYF has expressed its disappointment at the performance of  President Muhammadu Buhari and his team. The group say the administration don’t seem to have genuine solutions to the countrys problems.

Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, AYF National president, in a statement in Kaduna on Sunday said the youths have called for cabinet reshuffle as they posited that those that were expected to assist the President in his change agenda has failed in the discharge of their duties.

He said:

A situation where majority of Nigerians languish in object poverty and penury, where people can no longer eat two times a day not to talk about three square meals a day is a worrisome development and a cause for concern for us and we believe should be for all well meaning Nigerians.

Also Read: Let’s Forget Biafra And Insist On Restructuring – John Nwodo Tells Ndigbo

Time for change is now before it is too late; the alarming situation, however, is that there seems not to be any concrete or genuine solutions coming from government and its agencies on how to ameliorate the present quagmire that is threatening to take the country to the precipice.

It is because of this we are calling on the President to immediately undertake a cabinet reshuffle and bring in capable Nigerians who can assist him in changing the present status quo.

“As an organization with affiliates across the 19 Northern states and Abuja and as working stakeholders across the whole country, there is a concensus that the ship of state is in dire strain.

The bottom line is that Nigerians standard of living is at one of its lowest ebb in history and as a government that campaigned on the mantra of change, the time to change things cannot be better than now.

As the umbrella organization of all youths in the north and committed to the wellbeing of Nigerian youths as a whole, we are worried about the prevailing situation in the country.

Also Read: Ooni Of Ife Coins New Name For IPOB, Faults Proscription

But instead of solutions, we are daily inundated with news on alleged graft, in house fighting and at other times mundane issues from this government that was given so much by Nigerian people who are yet to see the fruit of their sacrifice and battle to root out the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) that failed to live up to the expectations of the people after 16 years in power.

The AYF President said Nigerians we are not unaware of the rot and desolate situation that the All Progressives Congress met on ground but also said Nigerians expected better performance from the PMB led administration more than two years in the saddle.



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Las Vegas concert-goers claim personal items left after massacre


LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – The FBI on Sunday started returning thousands of purses, phones and other property left behind by concert-goers in Las Vegas fleeing the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, as the Red Cross stepped up efforts to reach those traumatized by the Oct. 1 massacre.

Investigators still lack a clear reason why Stephen Paddock, 64, unleashed a torrent of gunfire into a crowd of 22,000 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. The suspect shot himself to death before police stormed his 32nd-floor suite in the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort, high above the concert venue.

“We’re past the response portion of this horrible incident,” Clark County Emergency Manager John Steinbeck said at a news conference. “We’re moving into the recovery now.”

Fifty-eight people died and nearly 500 were injured.

Unlike so many other perpetrators of deadly mass shootings before him, Paddock left behind no suicide note, no manifesto, no recordings and no messages on social media pointing to his intent, according to police.

Paddock used a device known as a bump stock to make 12 of his rifles operate more like automatic weapons, which are outlawed in the United States. On Sunday, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, said it would oppose an outright ban on bump-stock devices.

On Sunday, teams of counselors fanned out across the city, attending church services and gathering at a family assistance center set up at the Las Vegas Convention Center as the Red Cross set out to find those in need of comfort. Spiritual and legal advisers were also available.

“A week into this, a lot of people have been numb,” said Red Cross spokesman Bill Fortune, who flew in from Colorado to help with the recovery effort. “Some of those emotional crises are just showing up today, where people can’t get out of bed. People have called saying they can’t be in crowds.”

The process of returning items left behind by those who fled in the chaos could take weeks, authorities said.

So many phones, backpacks, lawn chairs and other items were left behind that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has divided the huge crime scene into four quadrants, releasing items from only one of them at a time, starting Sunday, FBI Victims Services chief Paul Flood said.

Before release, the items had to be cleaned of blood and other substances, as well as categorized, Flood said. Property from just one quadrant of the scene filled seven delivery-sized trucks, he said, and required the attention of dozens of investigators.

Authorities began returning vehicles left at the concert-grounds to their owners last week.

Editing by Frank McGurty and Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Manchester City to pay Sergi Roberto’s release clause in January? Transfer news and gossip from Monday’s papers


Manchester City will pay the release clause of Barcelona star Sergi Roberto.

That is according to Don Balon, who say the Blues are ready to fork out the €40million required to take prise midfielder Roberto away from the Nou Camp.

The 25-year-old came through the youth ranks at La Masia, making his senior debut in 2010.

Roberto has proved his worth with his versatility, featuring both in midfield and at left-back and right-back with regularity during his time in Catalonia.

See the rest of the transfer stories from Monday’s papers below…

Stories from Monday’s Daily Mirror

Pirlo has called time on his playing career

Andrea Pirlo refuses to rule out Chelsea coaching role after announcing he will retire at end of MLS season

Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne complains he hasn’t played on a pitch so bad since he was 7 after thrilling win in Sarajevo

Holland boss Dick Advocaat’s arrogant prediction comes back to bite him with World Cup exit imminent

Former Russia star sends message to England fans about hooliganism ahead of Russia World Cup 2018

Why Harry Winks is already an England fan favourite and a trend-setter after impressive debut in Lithuania

Transfer news and gossip from other sites and papers

Juve are reportedly plotting to give Sandro a new deal

Chelsea target Alex Sandro is being lined up for a new deal at Juventus (Gazzetta)

Manchester United face competition from PSG to keep hold of David De Gea (Le10 Sport)

Arsenal are keen on Paraguay international Miguel Almiron, currently playing in MLS (Calciomercato)



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A Government Divided Against Itself


Monday Discourse

The hostility between the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, is the latest in a series of embarrassing  in-house fighting within the All Progressives Congress-led administration, writes Segun James‎
 
Governments worldwide crave hidding information from the public they govern. Not even the advent of the ‎freedom of information regime has changed this fundamentally.

It is therefore a welcome development when memos or details of happenings in government are leaked to the public.‎ Although, those who choose to leak such memos have their own agenda other than the need for the public to know, citizens are always excited by such leakages.

It is in this sense that journalists, bloggers and the entire citizenry welcomed the memo to President Muhammadu Buhari by‎ the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu accusing the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, ‎of insurbodiation among others.

While leaking government’s memo to the public thrill the citizens, government officials on the other hands don’t like it because the contents of leaked memos are usually a source of embarrassment to those in government.

Obviously, the Kachikwu memo‎ is an embarrassment to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. What the government does not want the people to know has been released to them effortlessly.

Curiously, this is becoming a recurrent decimal in this administration. Perhaps, something is wrong with the channel of communication with the president. ‎There are many memos sent to the president which he did not get to read. Somewhere along the line, the memo got stuck somewhere. Except it is leaked as is the case with the Kachikwu memo, the president may never see such memo.

One thing that is clear is that the communication between the president and members of his cabinet is not serving him well. It is also not serving the country right. He either overhauls the system now or waits to be embarrassed ‎the more in the future. Had he received the Kachikwu memo and acted on it promptly, his government would have been saved the humiliation. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party has latched on to it and is now accusing the APC government of corruption.

Closely related to the above is the issue of lack of co-ordination ‎within the government. Perhaps, because it is difficult to reach the president, those in government often express their frustration in the public to the consternation of the president.

Professor Itse Sagay’s Endless Tirades
If he is not taking on the National Assembly he will be casting aspersions on the leadership of the ruling party. Even the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has not been spared of his attacks. Worst still, it appears the president enjoys all these and has refused to call him to order.
Among others, he had accused the APC-controlled National Assembly of undermining the anti-corruption war.

In May, while reacting to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara’s claims that the anti-corruption was ineffective, Sagay accused the lawmakers of failing to rid the country of corruption.

He said they refused to pass key anti-graft bills and failed to confirm Ibrahim Magu as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman.
He said: “In fact, the National Assembly has constituted itself into an opposition to the anti-corruption struggle. It has mounted a war against the anti-corruption struggle. It has decided to obstruct it at every stage.

“For example, the bill for a special criminal court is not moving. And we saw the way they tried to stop Magu from being chairman of EFCC just because they found out he was effective, determined and incorruptible.

“So they really want to weaken it, destroy it and bring it to the level it was when Jonathan was in power. So, they’re enemies of the anti-corruption struggle, there’s no question about that.”

Last month, Sagay claimed that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay in a speech he delivered at the Nigerian Society of International Law public lecture in Lagos
He said: “From the information I have gathered, a Nigerian Senator earns about N29 million a month and over N3 billion a year,” the professor said.

“Basic salary N2,484,245.50; hardship allowance, 1,242, 122.70; constituency allowance N4, 968, 509.00; furniture allowance N7, 452, 736.50; newspaper allowance N1, 242, 122.70.
“Wardrobe allowance N621,061.37; recess allowance N248, 424.55; accommodation 4,968,509.00; utilities N828,081.83; domestic staff N1,863,184.12; entertainment N828,081.83; personal assistant N621,061.37; vehicle maintenance allowance N1,863,184.12; leave allowance N248,424.55; severance gratuity N7, 425,736.50; and motor vehicle allowance N9, 936,982.00.”

The claims did not go down well with the Senators who thought they had had enough from the Senator. They fired back accusing him of making hate speech. They also described him as a “senile, jaded, rustic and outdated Professor of Law” who may be “under influence of substance.”

Still in September, Sagay took on the president’s political party, APC. In what some described as the most scathing criticism by a high-ranking member of the APC government, Sagay had in a press interview described the leadership of the party as the most unprincipled group of people who were encouraging and accepting rogues into its fold. As rightly interpreted by the party, that included the president himself.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, APC said there was no way Sagay could call out the leadership of the party as “weak” and “unprincipled” without indicting the president.

It said: “In his sheer arrogance, he forgets that it is impossible for him to call out the leadership of the party as ‘weak’ and ‘unprincipled’ without indicting the president, who is the leader of the party and has the fundamental responsibility to build the party.

“If Sagay had any iota of respect for the man who dug him back from inevitable oblivion and put him in a position in which he now feels superior to everyone, he would channel his opinions and advice to the president on how to make the party stronger and more principled.”
In the interview, Sagay described the leadership of the APC as “the most unprincipled group of people” who are “encouraging and accepting rogues” into the party.
He said: “When I say ‘rogues’, I don’t mean stealing. In literature, when you say someone is a rogue elephant, it means people who are running riot and destroying the party.”

Before then, Sagay had attacked Malami of not leading the fight against corruption properly. After the Code of Conduct Tribunal had dismissed the case against Saraki, Sagay descended on the justice minister.

To say that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN frowns at the statement is an understatement. In fact, he is highly disappointed that such accusation and statement could be made by those who ought to know better.
“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is saddened and flummoxed at the attempt to cast aspersion on his integrity, dedication and commitment to the war against corruption which undoubtedly is one of the major cornerstones of the present administration.
“There is no gainsaying that the incumbent Attorney General of the Federation has shown and demonstrated so much passion, drive, will and enthusiasm in prosecution of transgressors of the law ever seen in the annals of this country. He doubted the commitment of the justice minister to the anti-corruption war.
The minister quickly responded thus: “The truth of the matter is that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is totally, fully and completely committed, dedicated and supports the war against corruption in all its form and ramification.”
“Towards this end, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, since his assumption of office, has initiated numerous reforms and programmes to drive the war against corruption, including the recently launched National Anti-Corruption Strategy, 2017.
“And to those in a hurry to condemn due to the temporary setbacks recorded lately, they should tarry awhile because a legal process is deemed not concluded until it terminates at the Supreme Court which is the highest court of arbitration in Nigeria.”

Malami Vs EFCC
The recurrent disagreement between the justice minister and the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has also been another source of embarrassment for the government.
Even though the President is eager to blame the wobbling anti-corruption war on judges, defence lawyers and the accused persons, it had refused to see inter-agencies rivalry as a clog in the wheel of progress.
The Justice Ministry had openly accused the EFCC of frustrating the prosecution high-profile cases. It accused the commission of breaching the rules guiding prosecution of high level corruption cases being handled by the commission.

The minister’s office in a letter to Magu sought for the compliance with the regulation on the prosecution of “serious” cases, usually understood to mean high-profile investigations.

Malami accused Magu of breaching section 10(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Enforcement) Regulations 2010 which mandates the EFCC to forward the outcome of investigations along with its recommendations to the AGF in cases or complaints that are “serious or complex”.
A case is considered “serious or complex” if it has significant international dimension, involves money or assets of a value exceeding N50 million or requires specialised knowledge of financial, commercial, fiscal or regulatory matters such as the operations of the markets, banking systems, trusts or tax regimes.

It is also considered serious if it involves allegations of fraudulent activities against numerous victims, involves a significant loss of money by a ministry or department or public body, is likely to be of widespread public concern or involves an alleged misconduct which amounts to economic sabotage.

But the EFCC chairman allegedly ignored the Attorney General. The commission’s officials believe Malami is seeking to take over the prosecution of cases handled by the commission in order to water down the anti-graft war, an allegation which the minister denied.
At a point, the dispute between Malami and Magu degenerated further when the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, said that Malami would report Magu and Ekpo Nta, chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to the Presidency for breaching the rules.
He accused the agencies of withholding the case files of more than 35 former governors and senators from the AGF.

Obono-Obla said the failure to forward the files to the AGF since July 2016 when the request was made had caused a setback to the anti-graft war, blaming the strings of losses recorded in high-profile cases on the “breach”. He also accused the EFCC and ICPC of failing to cooperate with Malami, which had led to the loss of some high-profile corruption cases.

But EFCC’s head of legal department, GK Latona, denied the allegation of not cooperating with the AGF, maintaining that “we are not working at cross purposes with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation; we are cooperating with them. We have a wide range of corruption cases in concert with state agencies.”

He also said the Attorney-General’s office has the right to initiate new high-profile corruption cases and investigate them without waiting for cases initiated by the EFCC.

The suspension of Nigeria from the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units has been another source of disagreement between the EFCC and the justice minister.
Since 2006 when the Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit was established, it had been under the EFCC. Although it was expected to be independent of the EFCC, this however was not the case. While Malami is making effort to remove the unit from the EFCC in compliance with the Egmont Group’s standards, the leadership of the EFCC appeared to favour the present status quo.
Section 1(2)(C) of the EFCC Act stipulates that the commission is the designated Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Nigeria, which is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the various institutions involved in the fight against money laundering and enforcement of all laws dealing with economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.
The spokesman for the justice minister, Mrs Salihu Isah once wrote a piece where he accused the EFCC of frustrating his boss’ efforts to make the NFIU an independent institution.
According to him EFCC is the NFIU. Without a clear legal framework, it is obvious that the NFIU, cannot function independent of the EFCC as required by the Egmont Group.
He said: “It is in line with the new trend and in consonance with international best practice, that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN through a memo numbered HAGF/SH/2016/Vol.1/2 sent to President Muhammadu Buhari dated 5th January, 2016 and titled, ‘Request to Transmit Two (2) Bills to the National Assembly’ referred Mr. President to the bills.”
He then went ahead to accuse Magu of frustrating efforts to liberate the NFIU from EFCC’s claws.
He said: “However, it is sad tale to tell how the Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu-led EFCC has frustrated these efforts and even had to resort to blackmail in some instances oftentimes, alleging that the AGF and the Ministry were all out to impede the government’s anti-corruption drive. Magu and other EFCC officials; and atimes through online publications; had at one time or the other accused the minister of trying to compromise the war. They have always perceived the office of AGF as a threat instead of addressing the issues related to the best strategy to fight corruption advocated by the AGF.”
He noted that during the House of Representatives Committee review session on 18th April, 2017, Magu vehemently rejected the new Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2016 submitted by the President.
He said that EFCC was in a state of paranoia, dreading the effort of the government to have an independent NFIU.

He said: “As it presently stands, the NFIU staff are all deployed by the EFCC to serve in the interest of whoever is its current Chairman. This has to stop if it must conform to the new thinking and global best practice. Nigeria cannot be an island of its own. It cannot fight corruption in isolation. The threat of expulsion from the Egmont Group calls for a thorough review of the NFIU and the manner in which the EFCC leadership has manipulated and mis-used intelligence to the detriment of the fight against corruption and financial crime in Nigeria.”
How did things get this nasty between the justice minister and the EFCC Acting Chairman? Why could the Presidency not stop the open war between the two?

A coalition of Civil Society Organizations decried the face-off between the minister and Magu, saying it was an embarrassment to the Federal Government. The coalition warned that the war against corruption must not be allowed to suffer over the face-off.

equally urged Malami not to yield to fifth columnists in the war against corruption.
The statement, which appeared to side with the EFCC was signed by Chido Onumah (African Centre for Media & Information Literacy), Olanrewaju Suraju (Civil Society Network Against Corruption), Anwal Musa Rafsanjani (Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre), Mohamed Attah (Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative), George-Hill Anthony (Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group) and Ibrahim Modibbo (Democrats of Conscience).

The statement, titled: “Civil society position on the relationship between the AGF and the EFCC,” reads: “The attention of the under listed civil society organisations has been drawn to the needless rift between the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which further deteriorated with the recent ill-advised statement by Salihu Othman Isah, media aide to the AGF, pointing to the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, as the one undermining the war against corruption of the current administration.

“We see the deepening disharmony between the two government institutions as an embarrassment to the federal government and it is capable of weakening its anti-corruption efforts. We are alarmed that someone in the office of the AGF could be making such sweeping and grievous allegation without an atom of proof. We want to believe that Mr. Isah did not speak the mind of his boss given that the AGF himself had dismissed any notion of quarrel or disagreement between him and Mr. Ibrahim Magu as widely reported in the media a couple of weeks ago.

“The story of what led to the suspension of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, an informal network of national financial intelligence units, is already well known and has nothing to do with the person of Ibrahim Magu or the EFCC. Since the government has set up a committee to address the issue, we urge that the committee be allowed to do its job without interference, though we believe the committee has already been infiltrated by fifth columnists who are using the committee’s name to push personal objectives.

“By calling for all case files of politically exposed persons, we see the desperation of the AGF to assert his position as Chief Law Officer of the Federation. That position is not in doubt and we don’t want to believe the EFCC as an institution has given any indication that it was unwilling to yield to the directive. We are reliably informed that a good number of cases have been sent by the agency to the AGF, including the controversial Malabu case which sources in the AGF office confirmed receiving in January this year. As at the time of this release, the AGF has done nothing about the case?

“We also want to draw the attention of the public to the fact that even in cases such as the ones involving judges arrested for alleged corruption by the Department of State Security (DSS), the AGF has not fared well in prosecuting them. We would like the AGF to tell Nigerians the successful convictions his office has secured in the fight against corruption in the last 2 years. On the other hand, this year alone, the EFCC going by records available to the public, secured 124 convictions as at the end of July.

“The challenges being faced by EFCC in the prosecution of high profile cases are well-known. They include blackmail, intimidation and petitions against some judges who are trying corruption cases by the defence counsel who are mostly SANs.
“Once these counsels perceive that the odds are against their clients and the judges are not yielding to their delay tactics, they attack the judges.

“Instead of engaging in ‘petty shadow boxing,’ what the country needs at this moment, particularly in the war against corruption, is focused leadership. In our opinion, this is no time to give in to the wiles of inordinately ambitious fifth columnists.

“We can’t afford to allow emotions ruin the fight against corruption. We don’t think the action of the AGF is in tandem with the anti-corruption agenda of Mr. President!”

Back to Kachikwu, Baru Face-Off

Under normal circumstances, a nasty power struggle between a minister and a manager of a parastatal under him would have ended with the manager being humbled. But in the face-off between Kachikwu and Baru, it was the minister who ended with a bloodied face, the aura of his office demystified, his reputation hanging in the balance and his person, humbled.

Welcome to the world of President Muhammadu Buhari, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Buhari began his government two years ago with an impassioned plea to Nigerians for understanding and that he wanted to clean the Augean Stable of corruption in the system that had almost made the country a pariah nation in the comity of nations.

In asserting his independence of mind and actions, he made it clears that he would be his own man belonging to everyone and belonging to no one. One of his first actions was to head hunt a seasoned oil industry executive, Kachikwu to head the NNPC which had been enmeshed in web of corruption.

To most Nigerians, this was the first sign that the promised change of the APC was truly serious. But two years down the line, no one is sure that is still the case.
Today everybody is complaining about the dysfunction in the system. A government divided against itself, a political party that is not coordinated, Nigerians as a people exasperated by a president that is totally distant from the state of affairs in his government and the reality of things in the country.

While Presidency officials were unwilling to react to the issue, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) saw the embarrassment as an opportunity to attack the ruling party. To PDP, this shows total confusion in APC says PDP’s spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye.

While affirming the confusion in the ruling party and government, the PDP said: “This shows total confusion in the party, both in its officials and appointees in government. The government is in disarray, the party is in disarray, there is no common position between the party and the government and that is why nothing seems to be moving in the country.
“That is why their run has been that of dismal failure; whether in the area of the economy or any other sector. That is what happens when a party comes to power without a clear agenda, without a genuine interest in the affairs of the people.

“The APC desperately came to power just to take power for the sake of it, not to do anything and what is manifesting now is total confusion; because if there was a programme, all of them could have seen where they were headed. That is why everyone has his own different approach to issues.

“All these things are happening at the expense of the development and even the unity of the country which is unfortunate. The APC enlisted the likes of Itse Sagay because of his capacity for rabble rousing just to attack PDP.  I see more of these coming ahead of 2019.”

While the president deserves commendation for stepping in quickly (some say he has no choice) to resolve the dispute between Kachikwu and Baru, he should immediately intervene in many other internal frictions within his government.



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Exclusive: Trump seeks border wall, crackdown on unaccompanied minors for ‘Dreamer’ deal


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, who pledged to work with Democrats to protect “Dreamers” – young people brought illegally to the United States as children – called on Sunday for money to fund a border wall and thousands more immigration officers to be part of any deal.

Trump’s list of immigration “principles,” laid out in a document seen by Reuters, is likely to be a non-starter for Democrats, who are seeking a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Trump ended last month.

The proposal includes a crackdown on unaccompanied minors who enter the United States, many of them from Central America. The plan was delivered to leaders in Congress on Sunday evening.

The White House wants the wish list to guide immigration reform in Congress and accompany a bill to replace DACA, an Obama-era program that protected nearly 800,000 “Dreamers” from deportation and also allowed them to secure work permits.

The inclusion of border wall funding in the list could prompt Democrats to accuse Trump of rowing back earlier suggestions that he would keep the wall issue separate from an initiative to help DACA recipients. The White House priorities, if enacted, could result in the deportation of Dreamers’ parents.

The proposals also include a request for funds to hire 370 more immigration judges; 1,000 attorneys for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency; 300 federal prosecutors and 10,000 additional ICE agents to enforce immigration laws.

“The president has made clear he wants Congress to act and pass responsible immigration reform in conjunction with any legislation related to DACA,” said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.

Trump told Congress it had six months to come up with legislation to help Dreamers, who are a fraction of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, most of whom are Hispanic.

The document calls for tighter standards for those seeking U.S. asylum, denial of federal grants to “sanctuary cities” that serve as refuges for illegal immigrants, and a requirement that employers use an electronic verification system known as “E-Verify” to keep illegal immigrants from securing jobs.

HARD LINE

Trump campaigned for president on a pledge to toughen immigration policies and build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. He vowed repeatedly that Mexico would pay for the wall, but began prodding Congress earlier this year to approve funding. Mexico has said it would not pay for the wall.

Trump’s suggestion after a meeting with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives that wall funding would not have to be part of a DACA fix alarmed some of his supporters.

A White House official told Reuters on Sunday the principles were a guide for the legislative process it hopes Republicans and Democrats will take up.

“Funding for the wall is a priority for the administration. Whether it is part of DACA or there is a different pathway to get it done, it will remain a priority,” he said, adding it would be up to Trump to determine what was negotiable and what was not in a future deal.

The official said the White House would be pushing for “legal status” for the Dreamer population but would not be advocating for citizenship.

Republicans in Congress have introduced several bills that would include aspects of Trump’s priorities, but many Democrats and immigration groups see the proposals as too harsh.

The White House’s wish list targets the flow of unaccompanied minors into the United States. It would require such children to be treated the same, regardless of their countries of origin “so long as they are not victims of human trafficking and can be safely returned home or removed to safe third countries,” the White House document said.

It would also expand the list of “inadmissible aliens” to include members of gangs, those who have been convicted of an aggravated felony, and former spouses and children of drug and human traffickers if they receive benefits from such behavior.

Trump’s White House so far has not been able to achieve a major legislative victory, casting doubt on the potential for a breakthrough on immigration reform, which Republican and Democratic presidents have tried before without success.

Trump’s Republicans have failed so far to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and a White House plan for tax reform still needs more support.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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