Tuesday, September 30, 2014
An intruder who jumped a fence at the White House made it further inside the building than the US Secret Service has publicly acknowledged, according to reports.
The disclosures in the Washington Post and New York Times came ahead of a congressional oversight hearing with the director of the embattled agency assigned to protect president Barack Obama's life.
The newspapers said Omar J Gonzalez ran past the guard at the front door and into the East Room, which is about halfway across the first floor of the building.
Gonzalez was eventually "tackled" by a counter-assault agent during the incident on September 19, according to the Post.
In the hours after the incident, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told reporters that the suspect had been apprehended just inside the North Portico doors of the White House.
The Secret Service also said that night that the suspect had been unarmed - an assertion that was revealed to be false the next day when officials acknowledged Gonzalez had a knife with him when he was apprehended.
Getting so far would have required Gonzalez to dash through the main entrance hall, turn a corner, then run through the centre hallway half-way across the first floor of the building, which spans 168ft in total, according to the White House Historical Association.
Secret Service director Julia Pierson is scheduled to testify before a House committee for the first time since the incident.
The new details about a far more significant breach were expected to dominate inquiries.
A Secret Service spokesman declined to comment on the latest details because of the continuing investigation.
No-one was hurt in the incident, but it raises the question of whether the latest breach is part of a pattern of delayed reactions to threats to the executive mansion, which the Secret Service denies.
The Post reported over the weekend that the Secret Service did not immediately respond to shots fired at the White House in 2011, amid what the agency describes as uncertainty about where the shots originated. Four days later, it was discovered that at least one of the shots broke the glass of a window on the third level of the mansion, the Secret Service said.
At the time of the 2011 breach, the president and first lady Michelle Obama were away, but their daughters were in Washington - one at home, and the other due to return that night.
Oscar R Ortega-Hernandez of Idaho has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 2011 incident.
Gonzalez, 42, was arrested after agents stopped him inside the White House front door.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: "The president and the first lady, like all parents, are concerned about the safety of their children, but the president and first lady also have confidence in the men and women of the Secret Service to do a very important job, which is to protect the first family."
Ms Pierson has ordered a review of the incident and possible changes to security measures at and around the White House. She briefed the press.
About 600 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislators in the 36 state Houses of Assembly in the country have backed party’s decision to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2015 presidential election.
The legislators, who met on the platform of PDP State Legislators’ Forum at the weekend in Abuja, passed a vote of confidence on the party’s leadership at all levels.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the lawmakers said they have all resolved to endorse the president as the sole candidate of PDP in 2015 based on the success rate of his transformation agenda.
A member of the Benue State House of Assembly,who spoke to journalists alongside his counterparts from Zamfara and Kebbi States, Hon. Muhammad Ahmad and Hon. Kabir Abdullahi Besse respectively, said their group used to comprised 626 nationwide before the defections of some members which had now reduced the membership strength to 615
The forum said after an objective assessment of the president’s performance, the legislators concluded that he had done credibly well to deserve a second term, adding that he has succeeded in implementing a number of projects that impacted on people’s live.
“We said this because if you are changing a winning team, you may not know what it will portend. Also, constant changes in the leadership of the country does not augur well for continuity which is very important for the development of the country. We believe his grand formation agenda is on course and needed more time for him to conclude laudable on going programmes and projects.
“That the forum after careful assessment of Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda and the developmental achievements of his administration do hereby wish to endorse Goodluck Jonathan as our sole candidate for the 2015 presidential election under the platform of PDP,” they said.
The group also passed a vote of confidence on all the PDP governors in the country and commended them for their “numerous achievements” in their various states, while urging all Nigerians to support and vote for the ruling PDP in the forthcoming general election.
He said before yesterday’s forum’s meeting, the state legislators had held series of meetings where PDP state legislators had taken a position.
Defending the position of the state legislators, Muhammadu Ahmad Shinkafi, said of all the contenders for the presidency of the country, President Jonathan is the only clear democrat who has shown an unequalled level of tolerance, accommodating provocative statements and abuses.
Since it is not possible for the over 600 state legislators to gather at every moment for meeting, Shinkafi said a representative group decided to meet in Abuja to make known to Nigerians the resolution reached to endorse President Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election.
The forum also passed a vote of confidence on all PDP state governors for their performance during the period.
The forum resolved to push for financial autonomy at the constitutional conference.
He said the state legislators had resolved to support the Speakers of the state Houses of Assembly in making sure that the assemblies gets greater autonomy.
The statistics of the population of PDP legislators nationwide are, North west, 138; North-central -109, South-west, 16 North-east ,-187; South-east-87, South-south,162
Monday, September 29, 2014
President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has assured that he will continue to advance the course of peace, unity and progress of Nigeria no matter the circumstances.Senator Mark said at the weekend in Otukpo, Benue state that " i will remain steadfast and committed to the ideals of nationhood in a manner that would give every citizen a sense of belonging .
"Responding to the resolution by the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) Benue South Senatorial district endorsing him as the sole candidate for the 2015 Senatorial election, Senator Mark said " as long I live, I will continue to serve my people diligently and with the fear of God".Senator Mark who spoke through the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro assured that he will not deviate from his avowed principle of fairness, honesty and justice to all irrespective of ethnicity or religion.
He told his people, " I am humbled by your desire for me to continue to serve. This resolution by you is historical and monumental. It has reinforced me to continue to do all that is right to the glory of God and to the benefit of mankind."" With God and the overwhelming support of you all, I will not fail .
You have proven to be my pillar . You have found me worthy of this Honour. I will not rest on my oars until the society becomes a better place for all."In his remark, Deputy Governor of Benue state, Chief Stephen Lawani said the people of Benue south have reaffirmed the position of the state government that Senator Mark is the sole candidate of the PDP in the zone for the 2015 Senatorial polls.He noted Senator Mark represents the best and only the best can represent Benue in the Senate.Chairman of the PDP in Benue, Dr. Emmanuel Agbo and vice chairman zone C, Moses Ajima in their separate comments said the people cannot afford to substitute Mark in view of his overwhelming contributions to the development of Benue state.Deputy Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly Dr. Steve Onmeje had moved a motion that was unanimously adopted upon which the people resolved to endorse the Senate President as the only candidate for the 2015 Senatorial election.
Governor Gabriel Suswam had last week announced that the state government has endorsed the Senate President to return to the Senate in 2015.
Hello Big Brother Africa fans,The second representative from Nigeria to this year's season of Big Brother Africa was revealed by the organizers today.His name is Tayo, and he's 28 years old.Tayo will join Lillian (another Nigerian contestant) and they will compete with other house mates from other African countries for the grand price.
TAYOA 1.93m-tall model with a Higher National Diploma in Maritime Studies, Tayo, from Nigeria, certainly stands out in a crowd. He lists his favourite foods as Eba an Okra Soup mixed with fish stew, his favourite musicians as 2Face Idibia, Beautiful Nubia and D’Banj.Tayo and LillianTayo says his favourite place in Nigeria is Oyo Town, his place of birth. “That’s my home, where I started life. It reminds me of who I am now and how far I’ve come in life,” he says. He says the best thing about Africa is “culture and pride” and that his favourite place outside of Nigeria is South Africa, which he calls his “home away from home“. He entered Big Brother Hotshots because he believed in himself, and was also encouraged to enter by others. “I like to be seen and to be heard,” he says. Tayo says he’s not willing to change who he is or disgrace his family and friends to impress viewers or his fellow Housemates. If Tayo wins the grand prize, he says he’ll, set up his life and give himself a life of luxury.
LILLIAN Known as ‘SexyLeeLee’ to her friends, Lillian is a model, actor, presenter, and tax collector! She entered Big Brother Hotshots for ‘the platform it provides and the publicity that comes with it,and the money’. She’s not willing to sell herself short to win the grand prize. If she does win, she’ll invest in her talk show, which is about ‘helping upcoming talents’ and get herself a house. Lilian’s favourite foods are rice and plantain and she likes watching Baggage on TV and listing to 2Face Idibia. She doesn’t have a favourite book, but likes movies like Think Like A Man, Blended, Friends With Benefits, Bridesmaids and Twelve Years A Slave. Her favourite actor is Angelina Jolie, because ‘she’s creative and can switch between roles’.Her favourite place in Nigeria is Lagos, and she says the best thing about Africa is its cultural diversity. Outside her home country, she’d like to visit California for the opportunities she believes it would provide her to improve her career.Lilian’s role model is Oprah Winfrey, because of her strength, and the person who has most influenced her life is her mother, ‘because she has always believed in me and encouraged me to follow my dreams’.She describes herself as ‘spontaneous, easy-going, focussed and confident’ and says her best assets are that she’s ambitious, a good listener, flexible, persuasive, competitive, independent and original.
Do you think Lilian and Tayo are strong reps for Nigeria to push for the prize?
As if the President heard our grumblings about his pauper steward,in an unprecedented move, on Monday he did the unexpected when he announced surprising goodies for four “ordinary Nigerians” recipients Nigeria National Honours in recognition of their exemplary conduct, dedication and service to the country.
Three of four Nigerians- Michael Onuh, a presidential steward, Imeh Usuah, a taxi driver, Corporal Solomon Dauda, a traffic warden were ordered to be given a house each while Taiwo Akinkumi, the designer of Nigeria national flag was ordered to be placed on the salary of a special assistant to the President by Jonathan. The houses (flats) were to be given to the honourees by the Alhaji Bala Mohammed, the minister of federal capital territory.
The gifts are in addition to the national awards of Member of the Order of the Niger conferred on the four honourees. The four honourees were among the 313 “Nigerians and friends of Nigeria” who received national honours on Monday, received the goodies, in the words of the President for displaying “the true Nigerian spirit.”
President Goodluck Jonathan conferred Nigeria National Honours award on 313 Nigerians and foreigners who have contributed to the development of the country in one way or the other.
Leading the pack of 25 honourees awarded the Commander of Federal Republic, CFR, the highest honour given out this year was the Air Chief Marshall Alex Sabundu Badeh, the Chief of Defence Staff, the three service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police.
A total of 60 persons were conferred with Commander of the Order of Niger, 54 got the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic; 63 received the Officer of the Order of the Niger; 53 were presented with Member of the Order of the Niger; and 56 got Member of the Order of the Niger while there was one recipient each for the Federal Republic Medal (First Class) and Federal Republic Medal (Second Class) respectively.
The recipients include serving Judges and Supreme Court Justices, top lawyers, incumbent and former governors, traditional rulers, politicians, businessmen athletes, entertainers and other distinguished Nigerians. Also, members of the 2013 world cup winning Nigeria under 17 team, their coaches and management team as well as gold medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games are also scheduled to be conferred with national honour at the ceremony.
Leading the pack of friends of Nigeria honourees at this year award in the category of friends of Nigeria was a Saudi Arabian investor, Prince Al-Waleed Bin Tawal who was conferred with the award of CFR, though he was listed in the OFR category.
President Jonathan had insisted on the conferment of the national award on the Saudi Arabian Prince who had invested over $100 billion in Nigeria.
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who was listed for the award of Commander of Niger, CON was absent and not represented at the ceremony. It was not clear whether he deliberately kept away at the ceremony because of the current crises rocking his State.
Speaking after conferring the award on the recipient, President Jonathan said the national honours ceremony is annual ritual of renewal through which the country connects with its higher values. “A nation is void and soulless if it does not have those sacred values that it holds dear and individuals which project them,” said the President who added that the problems facing the country is as a result of neglect of value system.
“I believe one of reasons our society is not at peace is that we have neglected our ennobling traditional value system. We must get back those time honoured values so that we can live right. This is what the nation honour seeks to do,” he added while asking the honourees to continue to lead exemplary lives, as receiving the national honours award was an added responsibility.
Senator Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation had earlier explained that the number of honourees for this year award was high because the investiture did not hold last year.
Justice S.M.A Belgore, the Chairman of National Awards said recipients for the award were carefully selected in appreciation of their invaluable contribution to the country.