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Buhari Renames Airports After Awolowo, Akintola, Danfodio, Idiagbon; Assaulter Of Journalist, Diete Spiff, Others

May 29, 2023

The approval, according to a statement from the Ministry of Aviation and signed by the Head of Press and Public Affairs, Odutayo Oluseyi, was given on Friday.

President Muhammadu Buhari approved the renaming of 15 airports after some Nigerians shortly before leaving office.


The approval, according to a statement from the Ministry of Aviation and signed by the Head of Press and Public Affairs, Odutayo Oluseyi, was given on Friday.


The airports include Akure International Airport named after Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu; Benin International Airport now known as Oba Akinzua II; Dutse International Airport renamed Muhammed Nuhu Sanusi; Ebonyi International Airport Okadigbo now known as Chuba Wilberforce; and Gombe International Airport renamed Brigadier Zakari Maimalari.


They also include Ibadan International Airport (Samuel Ladoke Akintola); Ilorin International Airport (General Tunde Abdullahi Idiagbon); Kaduna International Airport (Gen. Hassan Usman Katsina); and Maiduguri International Airport (President Muhammadu Buhari).


Others are Makurdi International Airport renamed after Joseph Sarwuan Tarka; Minna International Airport renamed Mall. Abubakar Imam; Nasarawa International Airport named after Sheikh Usman Danfodio; Osubi International Airport renamed Alfred Diete Spiff; Port Harcourt International Airport renamed Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo and Yola International Airport now known as Lamido Aliyu Mustapha Airport.

During the military era, a correspondent of the Nigeria Observer, Minere Amakiri, was brutalised in Port Harcourt at the behest of the then military governor of Rivers State, Alfred Diete-Spiff, who was a senior Navy officer.

The journalist was assaulted for reporting teachers’ demand for improved pay.

Diete Spiff ordered that Amakiri’s head should be shaved with a broken bottle.

Okadigbo, a former Senate President was impeached in the climax of a parliamentary inquiry into contract awards. The 109-member Senate voted 81-14 in favour of removing Okadigbo after he refused to comply with an earlier resolution asking him to resign or be impeached.

SaharaReporters on Sunday reported that Buhari conferred national honours on 339 Nigerians.


In the list issued by the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs on Sunday, May 28, 2023, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku was the sole person nominated for Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).




Those listed for the award of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) were Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, Bisi Akande, a former Governor of Osun state and Mamman Daura.


Daura is a nephew and close confidant of the outgoing President.


He is the leader of the 'Cabal', a group of influential individuals around Buhari, who help him make key decisions.




Others include Herbert Wigwe, group chief executive officer, Access Holdings; the late Mohammed Barkindo, former Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary-General; and Chima Nweze, a Supreme Court judge.




Terry Waya, a Nigerian businessman; Wale Edun, an economist and member of the Presidential Transition Committee (PTC), Awele Elumelu, co-founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and chairperson of Avon Medical Practice Limited, were among those listed for the award of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).




Some other prominent women who would receive national honours include Oluremi Tinubu, wife of ‘President-elect’ Bola Tinubu; Owen Omogiafo, President of Transcorp Group; and Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs.




Many others on the list are ministers who served under Buhari.




Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who has been under criticism for bringing hardship to Nigerians occasioned by his Naira redesigned policy was also awarded Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR).




SaharaReporters had exclusively reported how the DSS accused Emefiele of sabotaging the economy, financing terrorism and committing other economic crimes.




Top government sources shared with SaharaReporters how the investigation linked Emefiele to a well-known terror financier, whom the apex bank governor had sent funds for onward transfer to controversial Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.




Gumi is known for hobnobbing with terrorists and bandits and advocating that amnesty should be granted to them.




In 2022, one of Gumi’s associates, Tukur Mamu, was arrested and detained by Interpol at Cairo International Airport in Egypt while awaiting a connecting flight to Saudi Arabia. Upon his return to Nigeria, he was arrested by the DSS over allegations that he was heading to Saudi Arabia to meet with some international terrorists.




Meanwhile, the secret police said their preliminary investigation revealed various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by Emefiele and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension including mismanaging the CBN subsidiary, NISRAL, and the central bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.




The secret police also accused Emefiele of “fraud, money laundering, round tripping and conferment of financial benefit to self and others.”