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Ex-defence minister, Domkat Bali, dies at 80

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  • He saved Nigeria from genocide – Buhari 

A former Minister of Defence, Domkat Bali, has died at the age of 80.

Bali, who died on Friday, was minister of defence and member of the Supreme Military Council between 1984 and 1985, and the Armed Forces Ruling Council of 1985 to 1990.

He was joint chief of staff between 1984 and 1985 when President Muhammadu Buhari was head of state.

The octogenarian retired as a decorated military officer in 1990. In December 2010, he emerged as Ponzhi Tarok, paramount ruler of the Langtang in Plateau State.

Buhari, in a condolence statement signed by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, described the retired officer as a man with records of bravery and patriotism.

He said Bali’s records would inspire young military officers, adding that his foundation would always be remembered.

“President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with the people and government of Plateau State over the passing of an illustrious son and highly decorated retired military officer, Gen. Domkat Bali, who served the country as Minister of Defence,” the statement read.

“The President, who spoke with the wife of the deceased, Esther, on Friday, also commiserated with other family members, friends and professional associates of the former member of the Supreme Military Council and Armed Forces Ruling Council, after rising through the ranks, with a distinguished military career, reaching the peak as Chief of Defence Staff.

“President Buhari believes the records of bravery and patriotism of Gen. Bali, the Ponzhi Tarok, will continue to inspire young military officers, while the foundation he laid in all the commands he headed will always be remembered.

“The President has also constituted a delegation led by the Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (retd.) to visit the family, and condole with government and people of the state over the loss. President Buhari prays that the almighty God will receive the soul of the departed and comfort his family.”

President Buhari described him as a loyal soldier who saved Nigeria from genocide.

Bali was loyal to his country and he spent decades in active service proving just that.

Born on February 27, 1940 in Zamko, Langtang, Plateau state, Bali attended elementary schools at Mban and Langtang and the Provincial Secondary School, Kuru, from 1955 to 1960. His military career began when he entered the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna in April 1961. He later attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England in 1961 and had further military training at the Gunnery Staff Course, Larkhill, UK in 1968; Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, and the Royal College of Defence, Cowdon, UK.

 

From his military years in service to serving as the Ponzhi Tarok, the paramount ruler of Langtang people, here’s what we can tell of the octogenarian who died on on Friday.

Bali quit the army in January 1990 under not-so-pleasant circumstances. When Ibrahim Babangida reshuffled his cabinet on December 29, 1989, he removed Bali as defence minister and moved him to internal affairs. Bali, however, refused to accept the position and left.

 

 

Bali rose from a cadet officer in 1961 to the position of army general before he retired

“To be very frank with you, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is a very important ministry, but that was not my problem. My problem was that as a military officer, I was senior both to Babangida and Buhari, but I served under both as Minister of Defence and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. I could accept that they were heads of state. You cannot remove the fact that I was a senior to both of them. And when Babangida came, he said, ‘ok, you are no longer Chief of Defence Staff, but Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.’ If I am not that, then I am also junior to all other military people other than the Head of State, which I would not accept,” Bali said in a 2006 interview with TheNEWS.

“I could accept that I was junior to the Head of State but to accept that I was also junior to other junior officers to me, that was unacceptable. That was the main reason that I had to leave. Not because I was made the Minister of Internal Affairs. Some people said it was because I was taking over from John Shagaya who was also a junior officer. Those were not the issues at all.”

In 2011, Bali rejected the national merit award of commander of the federal republic (CFR) given to him by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. Justifying his rejection of the honour, Bali said he had earlier been conferred a higher title, adding that accepting that of the CFR would amount to demoting him.

“It makes no sense to me. I saw the recent national merit award given to me as an insult to my personality. They told me the 2011 honour awarded me is Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR. But the Federal Government of Nigeria gave me in the past a higher national merit honour as Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, which is the second highest national honour in Nigeria. So what this current government offers me in 2011 National Merit Award is inferior to what I have before now,” he said.

“So I said, let them give the CFR to someone else who deserves that. I don’t deserve that because I had a higher one. That was the reason why I refused to attend the programme because my appearance there in Abuja will mean my acceptance to be demoted.”

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Lagos Gridlock: Fayose Takes ‘Okada’ To Avoid Missing Flight

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it is working with the Lagos State Government to address the traffic gridlock on the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) road in the state.

 

Daily Trust reports that the traffic gridlock has worsened on the airport road in recent times, forcing some travelers to resort to motorcycles in order not to miss their flights.

There were mixed reactions when the former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was sighted on a bike along the airport to catch a flight. It was not clear where the governor was heading to.

 

Our correspondent reports that many passengers on several occasions had to resort to Okada in order not to miss their flights following the hectic traffic gridlock that has become a daily occurrence especially at peak periods on the airport road.

 

The worst hit is the domestic wing of the airport as the gridlock usually stretches from Ikeja under bridge to as far as the airport tollgate.

 

When such happens, commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders usually flood the airport road, charging passengers as much as N1000 and N2000 to convey them to either the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) or the MMA2, a private terminal operated by the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).

 

Though Okada is banned on major roads in Lagos, the riders have continued to defy the law to take over the road leading to the busiest airport in Nigeria.

 

Passengers and airport users have continued to lament the daily traffic gridlock on the airport road where they spend hours commuting from the international airport to the local terminals or the popular Ikeja Under-Bridge.

 

Speaking with Daily Trust, General Manager, Corporate Communications of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a chat with Daily Trust said Okada remain banned on the airport road and vowed that the authority would continue to clamp down on the riders.

 

She, however, said the authority was working with the state government to address the gridlock on airport road while further clamping down on Okada riders.

 

Asked on what FAAN is doing on the Okada menace, she said, “Of course we are doing something. We usually arrest them and take them to the Police station. We impound their bikes. Only recently we mounted signages warning them on the use of bikes on our access roads. There’s a fee of 50k if caught.”

On the worsening gridlock, she said, “FAAN is working with the LASG to address the traffic gridlock. It starts from under the bridge and the government promised to do something.”

 

Aviation analyst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, decried the situation, saying it was wrong for Okada to be operating a shuttle on airport service road. He charged FAAN to urgently do something about it.

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Why We Attacked Goronyo Market – Banditry Kingpin

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Bandits operating between Sokoto and Zamfara states have taken responsibility for the attack on Goronyo Market in Sokoto State, where 49 villagers were killed on Sunday, describing it as a reprisal.

 

One of the kingpins, who is close to both Kachallah Turji and Halilu Sububu – the two notorious warlords in the area – Shehu Rekeb, said the attack was carried out to avenge killings of “innocent Fulani” in the area.

Daily Trust had on Tuesday reported that the attack was a joint one with the attackers storming the market on over 100 motorcycles.

 

They surrounded the place and opened fire on buyers and sellers that led to the death of 49 people.

 

“We heard those who attacked Goronyo being described as criminals. They were not.”

 

“The president (Muhammadu Buhari) came out to say so. Those people (of Goronyo) have killed so many people, so they would have to be attacked and killed,” he said.

 

Citing the killing of some Fulani Muslim worshippers at Unguwar Lalle, Rekeb said, “When those people (Fulani) were killed, the president did not say anything but he is now coming out to react to this one.”

 

A resident had on Monday told Daily Trust that, “The recent attack could be a misplaced reprisal by ‘Yan Sakai’ because of the recent killing of 11 herders at Mamande Market in Gwadabawa Local Government Area.

 

“This outlawed group is arresting and killing Fulani men unjustifiably,” he said.

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NNPC Spent N1.1tr On Subsidy, Oil Exploration, FAAC Remittance In 7 Months

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent N1.165 trillion to subsidize petrol, for oil exploration and remittance to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in seven months of this year.

According to NNPC monthly FAAC report for September, the three expenditure items gulped 57 per cent of the total revenue distribution of N2.043 trillion done by the national oil company in the first eight months of 2021. The balance of N878bn was distributed for other expenditures including crude oil lifting inspection expenses.

On subsidy which NNPC describes as under-recovery of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) value shortfall, the corporation spent N714.791bn within seven months, from February to August.

 

While there was no subsidy spent in January, NNPC spent N25.37bn in February and that figure rose by nearly three times in March to N60.396bn. The corporation then spent N61.966bn in April which more than doubled to N126.298bn in May, following a reported higher rise in the landing cost of imported petrol.

 

The national oil company further incurred a higher cost in petrol subsidy of N164.337bn in June but declined to N103.286bn by July; however, by August, the gain was reversed when subsidy cost rose to N173.132bn, the highest figure published so far.

 

The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has continually reiterated that the government was committed to ensuring the total removal of subsidy from next year especially with the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as Nigerians await the impact of the decision.

 

Frontier exploration gulps N20bn

 

NNPC also spent N20.681bn on frontier oil exploration in seven months with the highest expenditure done in August. While it spent N1.964bn on exploration activities in January, the bill slightly dropped to N1.920 in February but rose to N2.250bn in March. There was no expenditure on oil exploration in April but the figure rose to N3.216bn in May, and dropping to N2.715bn in June. While oil exploration expenses dropped to N2.443bn in July, it rose by three times in August to N6.167bn.

 

This expenditure on oil exploration is being made at a time when global leaders are shifting from the use of fossil fuel to renewable and clean energy. However, Sylva recently said Nigeria will gradually lead its energy transition by focusing on gas exploration towards reaching a cleaner energy goal.

 

More so, in the recently signed PIA, 30 per cent of oil proceeds has been pegged for oil exploration activities at the frontier basins with concerns that these activities are concentrated in the north.

 

However, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, at an oil and gas union gathering last week in Abuja, clarified this misconception saying what refers to as frontier encompasses all new exploration areas including the Niger Delta, with the Benue Trough exploration reaching Calabar, the Cross River State capital. He also said it includes the Benin Basin and some undeveloped offshore areas in the South-South.

 

FAAC gets N429bn in 7 months

 

The corporation also remitted N429.284bn oil proceeds to the FAAC for seven months during the period as it skipped remittance in April.

 

The breakdown of the remittance shows that NNPC remitted N90.860bn in January, but that dropped to N64.161bn in February, and further depleted to N41.184bn in March 2021.

 

There was no remittance in April which was said to have gone for subsidizing petrol pump price per litre to keep it at the 162 to N165 price band.

 

By May, the remittance to FAAC dropped to N38.608bn but rose significantly to N47.162bn in June and higher to N67.280bn in July before climaxing at N80.030bn in August.

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