JUST IN: Donald Trump revokes U.S. pro-abortion law.

U.S. President Donald Trump has revoked the Presidential Memorandum on Mexico City Policy and Assistance for Voluntary Population Planning, which allowed voluntary abortion in the U.S.

Mr. Trump, who made anti-abortion policy one of his campaign promises, announced the revocation on Monday, according to a statement issued by the White House.

“I hereby revoke the Presidential Memorandum of January 23, 2009, for the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (Mexico City Policy and Assistance for Voluntary Population Planning), and reinstate the Presidential Memorandum of January 22, 2001, for the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (Restoration of the Mexico City Policy).

“I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.

“I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organisations or programmes that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation.”

Mr. Trump said “the memorandum was not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person”.

“The Secretary of State is authorised and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register,” the statement read.

With the revocation, Mr. Trump has barred U.S federal funding for foreign NGOs that support abortion, relaunching a battle that has long divided Americans.

The abrogation came just two days after women led a massive protest march in Washington to defend their rights, including to abortion.

The decision to ban foreign aid to groups that lobby in support of abortion rights is certain to deepen concern among already apprehensive U.S. family planning and women’s rights organisations, according to observers.

Stenny Hoyer, a Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, sharply criticised Mr. Trump for using his first week in office “to attack women’s health”.

“It should be no surprise to the millions of women and men who gathered in protest this weekend across the country and around the world that Republicans are focused more on making it harder for women to access health care than on the serious economic and security challenges we face,” the lawmaker said.

The restrictions imposed on Monday prohibit foreign nongovernmental organisations that receive U.S. family planning assistance from using non-U.S. funding to provide abortion services, information, counseling or referrals and from engaging in advocacy to promote abortion.

They were first put in place in 1984 by Republican president Ronald Reagan.

Later eliminated by Democratic president Bill Clinton, they were reinstalled by his Republican successor George W. Bush, and annulled again after Barack Obama took office.

Galvanised by Mr. Trump’s Nov. 8, 2016 election, abortion opponents in states where Republicans held power moved swiftly in December 2016 to adopt draconian anti-abortion measures that in some cases pose challenges to constitutional liberties.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has pledged to nominate an anti-abortion justice to the Supreme Court, which could lead to overturning Roe Wade, the emblematic ruling that legalised abortion in the U.S. in 1973.


Source: NAN

Senate resumes, begins work on bills to create 7.5m jobs

Eleven economic executive bills being considered by the Senate will create 7.5 million as recession-induced job losses persist, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki…
If the lawmakers successfully pass the bills and things work according to the promise, Nigeria’s surging unemployment rate would be reduced.

Number of Nigerians without jobs rose for the seventh straight quarter to 13.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from 13.3 percent in the previous period. It was the highest level since 2009, as the number of unemployed rose by 5.2 percent to 11.2 million.

Unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for job as a percentage of the labour force. Current efforts at the National Assembly, if successful, will have reduced the number of the unemployed by more than 65 percent.

Lack of jobs averaged 9.52 percent from 2006 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 19.70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a record low of 5.10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Saraki yesterday said the 11 economic bills now receiving accelerated consideration by the lawmakers would help to create 7.5 million jobs and reduce poverty by 16.4 per cent when they become laws.

In his welcome address to the senators on resumption from their Christmas and New Year recess, he urged the relevant committees to speed up work on the priority bills so that they could be passed and submitted to the executive alongside the 2017 budget.

By prioritising the creation of jobs, the Senate has identified a major challenge facing the nation. Most other challenges like insecurity; poor choices by the electorate during elections and even lack of educational opportunities are tied to the economic circumstances of the majority of citizens.

Saraki also stated that the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) would be debated and passed this week to pave the way for the consideration of the 2017 Appropriation Bill, which he said would be debated next week.

The Senate president urged all heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to ensure a prompt submission of their annual budgets within the current budget cycle or risk waiting for the next fiscal cycle.

According to Saraki, “The average annual growth in jobs is estimated at approximately 7.55 million additional employments as well as an average of 16.42 per cent reduction in Nigeria’s poverty rate.

“Over the projected five-year period, it is suggested that the reforms, which these bills will engender, may add an average of N3.76 trillion to national incomes, (National Disposable Income was N85.62 trillion in 2014), equivalent to 4.39 per cent of 2014 figures.

He condemned the killings in southern Kaduna and said that the Senate would carry out a thorough investigation to unravel the issues and advise the executive appropriately.

Saraki stressed the need for the National Assembly to pursue and conclude the ongoing constitutional amendment. He said the Senate would henceforth not spare any organisation that tramples on rights of consumers in the country, adding that the “current situation where consumers’ rights are violated and treated with indignity must stop.”

On the power sector, Saraki said: “There had been errors in the privatisation process and the model by which the power sector is being operated—whether at generation or distribution—will never take us where we need to be.

Adopting a motion sponsored by Hope Uzodinma (PDP, Imo West) and co-sponsored by five others, the Upper Legislative Chamber summoned the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Muhammad Bello.

Others invited include the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, officials of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), as well as other stakeholders in the aviation sector.

How NPA officials by-passed procurement laws to corner N717 billion contracts.

Officials at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) are brazenly and fraudulently bypassing Nigeria’s public procurement law to award multi-billion naira contracts to handpicked contractors, a month-long investigation by PREMIUM TIMES has shown.

At least N717 billion in juicy contracts have so far been illegally awarded to one contractor alone. Under Nigerian Public Procurement Law (PPA), contracts of such magnitude should go through open competitive bidding.

The PPA Act, enacted in 2007, prescribes principles by which public procurement entities within the various Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies should conduct their affairs.

The principles, which include honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, fair competition, economy and efficiency and value for money, apply to all transactions, large or small, and describe the behaviour expected of every public officer in the conduct of public procurement.

The spirit of the Act is to offer all interested contractors, suppliers and consultants a level-playing field on which to compete and thereby, directly expand the purchaser’s options and opportunities.

It is also to serve as a key deterrent to collusion and corruption, submission of inflated or deflated tenders, followed by delayed or defective performance.

The law also frowns at procurement officials betraying and abusing public trust for personal gain.

To avoid these pitfalls, the Procurement Act stipulates that bids shall be invited only from qualified/approved contractors/suppliers competent to do the work or provide the services to the nominated standards.

It also says that contracts shall be awarded to the lowest evaluated responsive bidder, and shall meet all technical requirements and standards on the basis of competitive tendering unless overriding technical grounds exist to justify any other course of action.

Impunity unparalleled

NPA officials have however ingeniously found a way of circumventing Nigeria’s procurement regulations, carefully engineering what appears a fraudulent process of disguising contracts as Joint Venture projects between the authority and companies of their choosing.

The processes of choosing the joint venture partners are never thrown open, and so also are the procedures for awarding contracts to them.

One company that featured prominently in the so-called joint venture arrangement is Bonny Channel Company Limited.

In its own official document, Bonny Channel Company Limited (BCC) describes itself as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the NPA and The Channel Management Company, through a joint venture agreement signed on June 23, 2014.

The Channel Management Company, TCMC, is itself described as a technical consortium made of Dredging International, Vinci and IPEM. The share structure arrangement gives 60 per cent to NPA and 40 per cent to TCMC.

BCC says it “creates and maintain a safe navigational passage for all marine users to and in the eastern ports of Bonny Island, Onne, Okrika and Port Harcourt”.

For 10 years, beginning from 2006, BCC carried out two major contracts a year; one in Rivers Port and the other in Onne Port. In 2006, the contract sum awarded without passing through the standard procurement process was 127 million dollars.

Total contract figure was 163.2 million dollars in 2007; 195.4 million dollars in 2008; 143.4 million dollars in 2009 and 192.1 million dollars in 2010.

In 2011 the sum of contracts awarded to BCC for projects in Rivers and Onne ports respectively was 327 million dollars. Total contract sum was 300.2 million dollars in 2012; 296.3 million in 2013; 328.6 million dollars in 2014 and 286.2 million in 2015.

Curiously, the same contract of “Capital and Maintenance Dredging” is awarded to the BCC Joint Venture year after year. The company was awarded a total of $2.4 billion (or N717.3 billion) contracts in 10 years, in disregard for the nation’s procurement law.

The Procurement Process

There are nine essentials steps in public procurement in Nigeria. They include (1) efficient procurement plan driven by needs assessment; (2) adequate appropriation; (3) advertisement: (4) transparent prequalification /tender; (5) bid submission /opening; (6) bid evaluation – technical and financial; (7) tender board /FEC approval; (8) contract award /execution; (9) project implementation.

The fine details of this process are captured in sections 17 and 24 of the Public Procurement Act. The transparency steps for procuring goods, works and services must begin with the public posting of procurement notices and solicitations on a Notice Board located in a public area.

The Requests for Proposals (RFPs) must also be advertised in at least two national newspapers of general circulation – and the Federal Tender’s Journal. The same announcement must be made in the government official gazette and by placement on the procuring entities’ website.

The name of the procuring entity must be stated; also the name or nature of the contract; items to be procured; contact information for obtaining tendering documents; cost of the tendering documents; place and deadline for tender submission; Required Bid security amount and format; the place, date and time of tender opening; and the minimum qualifications bidders must meet.

Others are transparent pre-qualification of bidders; submission/receipt of tenders; evaluation of tenders; comparison of tenders; recommendation of the winning bid to Tenders Board /FEC; issuance of Certification of ‘No Objection’ to Contract Award by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP); debrief the bid losers on request; resolve complaints and disputes, if any; obtain and confirm the validity of any performance guarantee; announce and publicize contract awards; and execute all contract agreements.

To forestall cases of sweetheart deals and protect the integrity of the process, formulators of the Procurement Act found it pertinent to include a provision forbidding communication with bidders. It says: “At no stage shall the composition, names or any other details of any of the above committee members (the Technical and Financial Evaluation sub-committees) be divulged to the bidders. Other than when direct negotiations are required with the bidders, members of the above named committees shall not communicate directly with the bidders. All such communications shall be done through the procuring entity.

NPA has ‘superior’ ideas to the Procurement Law

The Procurement Act may have spelt out statutory procurement guidelines for all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, but the NPA does not appear to think much of the law. If anything, the parastatal sees it as a clog in the wheel to be avoided as much as possible.

Justifying the joint venture, six reasons are given by BCC (that is NPA top managers and TCMC Consortium), one of which is “the need for an uninterrupted project (that may arise) from frequent bidding and due processes which are common in one-off government contracts”.

The agency gave a second reason for the joint venture saying it “provides the additional technical capacity, mainly with regards to capital and maintenance dredging, bathymetric survey, buoys maintenance and surveillance, continuous monitoring of the access channel, wreck removal, training, planning and management”.

These are supposed to be the statutory duties of the NPA but they are routinely contracted out under a joint venture.

“Given that maritime is the second largest revenue earner for the nation after oil, all NPA contracts should pass through the eye of the needle under the Procurement Act,” an NPA insider said.

“That the NPA has cleverly resisted by resorting to what is called restricted tendering method or in some cases single bid method, none of which subjects the procurement process to any form of competition. The only competition that exists is among the different companies or consortium begging to give an arm just to be NPA’s joint venture partner.”

Although the Procurement Act makes provision for direct contracting, it expects that that would only apply only in exceptional cases. For example when the contractor is needed for early delivery of essential goods in emergency operations. Or when an equipment required is proprietary and there is only one source and no alternative equipment or products with equivalent performance characteristics are available.

Direct contracting is also recommended when there are only a few known suppliers or exceptional reasons such as emergency actions related to a major natural disaster which may justify the waiving of advertising of competitive bids.

Other joint venture partners

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that BCC is not the only joint venture partner the NPA uses in circumventing the nation’s procurement laws.

Investigations by this newspaper showed that the agency arbitrarily awards N750million worth of contracts annually to SeaView Properties Ltd, another so-called joint venture, to provide various categories of environmental services.

The company in turn awards these contracts in batches of N2million to sub-contractors. The contract award by the sub-contractor is done through an internal advert process that is not subjected to the public procurement law.

“The threshold is maintained at N2million to retain the award threshold to domicile with the MD of the company and below what is required for public tender,” a top official of the authority told PREMIUM TIMES.

“The small lots of N2million are inefficient and cumbersome, the scope does not seek to maximize value for money but just to ensure that the contract award is not subjected to public tender.”

The parastatal also set up joint venture structures that gave birth to such companies as Lagos Channel Management (LCM) and Calabar Channel Management Limited (CCM).

PREMIUM TIMES found that the same CCM has a working relationship with another company called Nigeria West Minister Dredging Marine Limited. It is these handpicked companies, some of them amorphous, that NPA parades to give a semblance of compliance with the Procurement Act under its restrictive tendering. Other times it is just single bid process involving only one company.

The Lagos Channel Management Company manages the Lagos Pilotage District. It was incorporated in August, 2005 by NPA with an equity shareholding of 60 per cent and 40 per cent equity to the Joint Venture partner, Depasa Marine International.

Another NPA’s joint venture is called Continental Shipyard Limited. This is described by NPA as a joint venture partnership between the Nigerian Ports Authority and Dockyard Engineering Service Limited of Geneva Switzerland.

“The primary purpose for the establishment of the Joint Ventures is to turn around the Dockyard as a lucrative commercial enterprise through operating, up-grading and modernizing the facility to provide essential support for construction, repair manufacturing and maintenance of vessels, crafts, rigs etc.”, the NPA stated on its website.

The Calabar Channel Management Company Limited is stated as a newly established Joint Venture arrangement between Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited with the Nigerian Ports Authority for what is described as Management Contract on Dredging of Calabar Channel. The NPA holds 60 percent equity while the consortium led by Messrs Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited has 40 per cent shareholdings.

Yet another of NPA’s joint venture, although incongruous with the organization’s core competence, is Agura Hotels Limited in Abuja which is listed as the agency’s joint venture in the hospitality industry.

There are no available information on how much contracts the NPA has so far awarded to the Calabar Channel Management Company Limited under the joint venture arrangement. None too for Continental Shipyard Limited and the Lagos Channel Management Company.

The N717 billion naira is the value of contracts awarded to just one joint venture partner, Bonny Channel Company (BCC) over ten years.

Explaining its joint venture arrangement with the NPA, BCC (NPA and TCMC) says the works it undertook were “carried out at a cost effective way based on the fact that competitive rates charged to NPA are more or less within the same range with that for third-party jobs carried out by BCC …”

Industry watchers queries NPA’s claim to competitive rates saying it is the statutory duty of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), not that of NPA or BCC to determine what is a good price for a contract.

In fact the BPP itself, alarmed by the manipulations and total lack of transparency at NPA has stepped forward to say that the NPA joint venture agreements “contained terms that were skewed and disadvantageous to the financial interest of the Nigerian Ports Authority”.

NPA Reacts

Hadiza bala Usman


In August 2016, the new Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) as saying there was need to look at some of the funds expended on capital and maintenance dredging.

She said the funds used for such dredging projects in the past “should not be that high’’.

“It’s good time for us to compare capital dredging and maintenance dredging,’’ NAN quoted the managing director as saying.

When contacted Tuesday, Ms. Bala Usman said she had been taking stock of affairs at the NPA since she assumed duties in July, and that one of the areas her team was scrutinising was the procurement system in the agency.

“We will surely overhaul the procurement system here to ensure it complies with the PPA and Bureau of Public Procurement’s regulations,” she said.

“For instance, at the second board meeting of Seaview Properties last week, I directed that henceforth contracts will be classified into lots that are efficient and the authority will advertise them in line with BPP and if the subsidiary or joint venture wants to bid, they can, alongside other companies.

“We will commence the process of the new lot sizes and scope. Then we will have a public tender process of awarding the contracts. We believe by 1st quarter 2017 the process will be complete and new contractors that have gone through a public tender process will emerge and take over.

“We are hoping to do that with other joint ventures and subsidiaries going forward.”

Cleric, Daughter Arraigned For Distributing Poisoned Snack To Beggars

A 50-year-old Muslim cleric, Mohammed Yusuf, and daughter, Salamat, 18, were on Tuesday arraigned at a Tinubu Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, for allegedly distributing poisoned ‘akara’, a local snack, to beggars.

The Yusufs, who are facing two charges of conspiracy and attempted murder, were alleged to have inserted needles in the snack before giving them to beggars.

The Prosecuting State Counsel, Barr. Ben Ekundayo, told the court that the defendants committed the offences on August 5 at about 2pm at Offin Street, Balogun, Lagos Island.

He alleged that the man and his daughter carried out the act with intent to endanger the lives of the beggars.

“The Muslim cleric sent his daughter to give the beggars, near the mosque, the bean-cakes, but when one of them (the beggars) opened the bean-cake, he found needles in the middle.

“Other beggars were notified; one of them, who knew the daughter and the school where she worked, led them there and she was apprehended.

“She also led them to her father,” Ekundayo said.

Ekundayo said that the offences contravened Sections 228 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Magistrate, Mr Ade Adefulire, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N500, 000, with two sureties each in like sum.

He said that sureties must be blood relations and account owners with a deposit of N100, 000 in their bank accounts.

Adefulire adjourned the case to September 29.

We Are Committed To Anti-Tobacco Campaign – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to the reduction of tobacco use among citizens, particularly exposure of underage children to smoking.


Osinbajo, who spoke at the Presidential Villa yesterday, while receiving leaders of anti-tobacco NGO groups in the country, lamented inadequate information about the dangers of smoking “which has made it difficult to convince many to quit the dangerous habit.”


According to the Vice President, “we need the public behind us in this engagement. We need to change the public perception that smoking is a matter of choice. We also need to be more creative in passing our messages and in developing policies.


While lamenting tobacco products “proliferation” in the country, Professor Osinbajo hinted that government would be exploring strategies on how to reduce tobacco consumption.


The Presidency will give every support that is needed to ensure that tobacco control laws and policies are effectively implemented in Nigeria,” he assured.

He charged the NGOs to work closely with youths to ensure that under-age initiation into smoking was reduced in the country.


Earlier, leader of the delegation, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Deputy Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, urged Federal Government to provide all the necessary support for the effective implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act, NTCA, 2015.


We want the Federal Government to demonstrate that the era of impunity is over by bringing all tobacco companies, flouting our laws, to justice,” he said.


Mrs. Hilda Ochefu of the Washington-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, CTFK, expressed the readiness of her agency and other international NGOs to support Nigeria in implementing effective tax policy for the tobacco industry.

Laws Protecting Rights Of IDPs Will Be Enacted Soon – Dogara

The House of Representatives is putting legislative structures in place to ensure protection of the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has assured.


A statement signed by Turaki Hassan, Special Adviser, Media/Public Affairs to the Speaker, said Dogara gave the assurance when received a delegation from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).


The statement was issued to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.


Dogara said that efforts were on top gear by relevant committees in the House to ensure that Nigeria domesticate and ratify the UN Kampala treaty on the rights of refugees.


He said that the committees would soon conclude work on the document and submit it at plenary for further legislative action.


He said that the bill for the establishment of the proposed North-East Commission and the Kampala Commission were also before the committees.


He added the report of the committees would be brought before the House during plenary for consideration.


“Hopefully we will pass it and in no distant time, it will be ratified,” he said.


The speaker told the delegation that in recognition of the plight of IDPs and the need to rehabilitate and resettle them, the House constituted a committee on IDPs.

He said that the House would not support the call for over 2 million displaced persons to return to their communities until adequate security was provided in the affected areas.


“There is no way we can do that unless we bring the conflict to an end; it makes no sense for anybody to insist that IDPs should go back
to their communities.

“Chances are there that they may be attacked if conditions that gave rise to the crisis are not totally eliminated,” he said.

Dogara said that democracy would not thrive in Nigeria if the lives of the citizens were not secured.


“As it is said, democracy is a promise that deals with life and the pursuit of happiness.

“All other promises of democracy cannot come through unless there is life. That is the most important promise of democracy,” he added.


Earlier, leader of the UNHCR delegation, Mr Volke Turk, stressed the need for the government to find solution to the challenges facing the IDPs.

Turk is the Assistant High? Commissioner in charge of Protection of Rights of Refugees and IDPs.

He urged the speaker to expedite action to ensure that Nigeria domesticate and ratify the UN convention on the protection of the rights of refugees in the

According to him, ratification of the treaty will be `extremely valuable contribution’ to the protection of the rights of refugees.




Two Ghanaians Arrested In Amsterdam For Pounding Fufu In Their Flat On 7th Floor

Amsterdam would pass as second Kumasi—with several Ghanaians having made the place their first home because of the high standard of living and countless economic opportunities the capital of Netherlands presents.

Of course with such great opportunities and order come the laws which make the country attractive; and everyone living in Netherlands, even if from the Amazon forest or Tuobodom must abide by the laws of the land.

But Ghanaians love their fufu and light soup and though the Dutch do not really have a problem with Ghanaians eating their local dishes, the cooking/preparation must all be done within the laws of the

The people of Netherlands are extensive liberal and that explains why for many years, places like Bijlmer Arena with a huge Ghanaian population, literally and metaphorically constantly filled with the aroma of ‘Prekese’ still has several whites living there.

In spite of the liberal mindset and the immeasurable hospitality of the Dutch, they do not joke with their nuisance laws—the reason why Holland is peaceful, clean and orderly.

For two Ghanaians living at Bijlmer Arena in Amsterdam, the Neat Fufu which almost every Ghanaian abroad have to eat in place of the actual pounded fufu Ghanaians enjoy back home is not enough—to be frank, it does not taste and feel like the real fufu.

So after many years of struggling to eat Neat Fufu and their Prekese soup, the satisfaction kept depreciating and the hanker for the real pounded fufu kept growing.

Therefore, during their recent visit to Ghana, they managed to bring fufu Mortar and Pestle via KLM to Amsterdam—and around 10pm last week after they returned from work, they started their fufu pounding in their flat on the 7th floor.

According to police sources, about 15 neighbours who were being disturbed by the heavy pounding kept calling to report the nuisance.

Eventually when the police stormed the apartment, the two had finished pounding their fufu and were settled, ready to eat.

They were arrested for nuisance—a warning was not enough, because these same couple had already been warned 3 times, 2 for playing loud Amakye Dede songs at night—and the other, for unnecessary car beeping when they drive pass their friends.

During the arrest, ScrewLife.Com is told the couple begged the police to allow them to at least finish eating their fufu and Prekese soup, with crabs swimming all over in the soup.

But the police refused because they did not have time to wait around. The two will soon appear before a judge with a short prison sentence and fine hanging around their necks.

Source: Screwlife.com

Court Jails Bus Conductor For Stealing Phone

A 21-year-old bus conductor, Shedrach Ezekiel of Mararaba, Abuja, was on Tuesday sentenced to 18 months in prison by a Mararaba Grade 1 Area Court for stealing a phone valued at N11,000.

The presiding judge, Albert Maga, convicted Ezekiel after he pleaded guilty for the offence of conspiracy and theft.

The convict, who pleaded for leniency, said, “I don’t have anybody here, I came to this town to look for job but it has not been easy for me.”

Maga said the accused had not been able to give tangible reasons to the court on why he should not be punished for the offence.

He said the sentence would serve as deterrent to other offenders of like minds.

“However, the prosecutor was unable to prove the charge of conspiracy as the other suspect was still at large.

“The court hereby discharge the accused on the charge of conspiracy and sentence him to 18 months imprisonment for the offence of theft,” Maga said.

The judge, however, gave the convict an option of N4,000 fine and also ordered him to pay the complainant N11,000 as compensation for the stolen phone.

Earlier the prosecutor, Cpl. Friday Adaji, told the court that the convict was first arraigned on August 14 but remanded in custody for his accomplice to be arrested.

Adaji said Ezekiel stole a Nokia phone valued at N11,000 from the bag of one Luka Ruth at Brother Plaza, Mararaba.

He said when the convict was caught in the act, he threw the phone to his accomplice, who is now at large.

The prosecutor said the convict contravened the provisions of sections 97 and 287 of the Penal Code.

We Will Make Benue State Uncomfortable For Homosexuals – Governor Ortom

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has declared that the state government will not spare anyone caught in gay activities in the state.

Governor Ortom made the announcement yesterday at the old banquet hall of the Benue People’s house in Makurdi during a courtesy call on him by the Prelate of the Anglican Communion of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.

Governor Ortom said gay lifestyle which was being promoted in the Western world was alien to the customs, lifestyles, and the belief of Africans and the church.

He prayed that what he described as a revival would spring from the state and produce evangelists that would drive evangelization in Africa and the Western world, saying the personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus was the solution to the decadence sweeping across many nations.

He commended the Anglican Communion in Nigeria for its stand on gay marriage and pledged his support.

Governor Ortom reiterated that his administration, which was anchored on the fear of God would ensure due process and zero tolerance for corruption, even as it would entrench core values that would enhance the socioeconomic wellbeing of the people.

The Governor assured the Prelate of his readiness to personally participate in the scheduled programme of the Anglican Communion taking place in the state next year and wished them well in their current conference in Zaki-Biam.

The Prelate of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Okoh had appealed to the Governor to do everything possible to help the church fight against gay marriage in Nigeria.

He noted that Christians, animists, agnostics, and Muslims in the Country were united against such

Archbishop Okoh said they were in the Governor’s office to identify with him and invite him to their annual programme holding next year in the state and pledged that the Communion would continue to pray for the Governor to succeed in the task of governing the state.

Oshiomole Advocates For Stronger Penalties Against Rape Convicts

The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has called for stiffer penalties for persons convicted of rape, defilement and other forms of child abuse to serve as a deterrent to others. He said this was necessary so that rape will be drastically reduced through out the Federation. Here’s what the governor said.

“We have discussed this, time and again at our Executive Council meetings. And at a point, we asked the Attorney-General to review the laws such that the number of years a convict gets will commensurate with the severe nature of rape and defilement.We are concerned; we have discussed this and we have a feeling that the number of reported cases are on the increase. We also know that, because of the nature of our environment, there will be several others that may not even be reported at all.

“When you look at the sheer number of rape cases that are recorded, it is clear that across the country both rape and defilement cases are increasing. Therefore, this calls for tougher measures on the part of those strengthening the law and providing for stiffer and harsher punishments than what is currently obtained and to also ensure that the few cases that are reported are properly prosecuted with a view to securing conviction.”

Kaduna Governor El-rufai Announces Autonomy For Local Councils, Swears-in Sole Administrators

The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, monday announced autonomy for local governments in the state, abolishing the joint state and local government system, which had stunted development at the grassroots.

The governor also said 10 per cent of internally generated revenue (IGR) would be remitted to local government councils in the state.
Speaking while swearing-in sole administrators for the 23 councils in the state yesterday at the Government House, the governor said with this development, council chairmen cannot afford to fail the people.

He warned the sole administrators to desist from residing outside their localities, declaring that
anyone who cannot live within the locality should vacate the office.

“You have no excuse to fail. Perform and bring real development to our state at the local government level. I am using this occasion to fulfill our campaign promise. During the campaigns, we said we will not hold local government funds if elected.

“Therefore, I am happy to inform you that the government under our watch has formally abolished joint account in Kaduna State, there will be no more holding local government funds hostage under the pretence of joint account.

“I also wish to inform you that the government will do its best to be remitting 10 per cent of the state’s IGR to the local government areas. Like I said, we must deliver, we can’t let our people down.

“In addition, you are to swing into action and commence carrying out meaningful projects in all the wards in your council. Already there is a blueprint of proposed development which you will see and work with as a guide to taking development to our communities,” the governor said.

He further charged the council sole administrators to take the issue of security very seriously by partnering with traditional and religious leaders and the entire stakeholders.

“Don’t be arrogant to your people, you are assigned to serve them and nothing more than that. We will not hesitate to call you to order if you think you will play with our people and the trust vested in you,” he warned.

He directed the council officials to submit within two weeks a list of government assets such as schools and hospitals that have been encroached into by trespassers.

“We did not appoint you because of your religion, ethnicity or where you come from. You have been appointed to work and bring positive change,” El-Rufai declared.

UN Urges FG To Relax Abortion Laws For Boko Haram Victims

UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Al-Hussein, has appealed to Nigerian authorities to ease abortion restrictions for women and girls who had been sexually enslaved, raped and forced into so-called “marriages” by Boko Haram fighters.

He said this on Thursday in New York while discussing with the Human Rights Council on Boko Haram’s rights violations and abuses, the findings of a 12-member team to Cameroon, southern Niger and the north-eastern regions of Nigeria on Boko Haram.

Al-Hussein said interviews had confirmed that during their captivity lasting for months or even years, women and girls were sexually enslaved, raped and forced into marriages.

The Rights group chief said as a result of this, many survivors of the horrific experiences are now pregnant for their rapists.

Al-Hussein also drew attention to the situation of many formerly captive women and young girls, who are pregnant and their reported wish to terminate these unwanted pregnancies.

“I note that abortion is legal in Nigeria only when the life of the woman is at risk. Human rights mechanisms have consistently called for ensuring access to safe abortion services beyond the protection of the woman’s life, including in cases of rape, and to preserve the health of the woman,” he said.

Read More: punchng