Falcons To Storm Aso Rock– Report

The Super Falcons will reportedly  march to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on  Wednesday to protest against the non-payment of their entitlements.

The eight-time African champions, who are owed bonuses and allowances by the Nigeria Football Federation,  have  been  protesting  since they won the  African Women’s Cup of Nations  in Cameroon.

According to  a statement by one of the organisers of the planned protest, Aderonke Bello-Ogunleye, obtained by AfricanFootball.com,  the team are ready to carry placards and proceed on a peaceful protest to the State House, where the Federal Executive Council meeting will take place today.

“This is unfortunately a regular occurrence to female football in Nigeria, we treat our victorious girls with disdain and total disrespect as all the time,” said Aderonke.

“It is inconceivable that the NFF/Federal Government are unwilling to pay the players their dues after winning the trophy. This has to stop and the girls must be paid their dues.

“We are going to protest the unfair treatment meted out to these champions who have won the tournament eight  times, making them the most successful football team in Nigeria, and we hope the federal government will listen to their plea.”

Credit: punchng

How Nigeria’s N53 Trillion Budget Of 18 Years Failed- Report

The controversy over performance of the 2016 budget is just the latest in a series of government’s failed efforts at infrastructure building in the last 18 years despite ambitious budgets totaling N53 trillion within the period.

The nation’s yearly budget, which started from a modest expenditure plan of N948 billion ($3.2billion) — apart from supplementary requests — in 1999, consistently grew to N6.06 trillion ($19.9 billion) this year. The Federal Government plans to spend more than N7 trillion next year.

Experts have said that the combination of frivolous and fictitious heads and duplication of items in budgets have remained major challenges, leading to poor performance, the huge budget provisions notwithstanding.

Besides, high recurrent votes, which partly was paid out to “carefully crafted ghost worker scheme”, non-implementation of capital votes as planned and abandonment of projects after mobilization, helped to bring the country down.

Out of the N53 trillion, the country has budgeted N33.2 trillion in the last seven years, with recurrent expenditures averaging 72 per cent, leaving 28 per cent for capital votes.

But going by the projections of the stakeholders, an average of N900 billion yearly has been made in the last 17 years, while the recent fall into recession showed that it was not really invested.

An economist and fiscal governance campaigner, Dr. Uzochukwu Anakom, while speaking on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, noted that the shoddy work depicts how budgets over the years were used to under-develop the country.

“The macroeconomic targets and figures make no sense to an average Nigerian and can be subject to as many interpretations as there are Nigerians. It commits the government to nothing.

“It raises several questions- what is the inflation target in the next three fiscal years? Will interest be in the single or double digits for it to be consistent with economic growth that can move Nigeria out of recession? Essentially, there are no projections for interest rate and lending to the economy.’’

The immediate past Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement, Emeka Eze, said that the number of government projects currently abandoned across the country stood at 19,000 as at May this year.

He said that besides duplication of office buildings, personnel and overhead cost, there was the tendency for each agency of government to assert its authority in procurement process.

The result, according to experts, has been poor execution or outright non-execution of projects after mobilisation, as well as over-pricing of projects, after delays in preparation and presentation, inconsistencies in timeframe and questionable figures.

Read More:


FG in Secret Talks with Niger Delta Militants Despite Failure to Formally Name Negotiating Team- Report

Despite its reluctance to officially set up a negotiating committee to hold talks with militants in the Niger Delta, the federal government has continued discreet talks with the belligerent groups in the region.

It was gathered that at least three meetings had taken place in the last few months between the militants and federal government emissaries coordinated by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Mohammed Moguno (rtd).

The backroom discussions, which have incorporated other smaller aggrieved groups, are continuing, it was learnt, just as there is growing anxiety among elders and leaders in the region over the inability of the government at the centre to formally name its team of negotiators about six weeks after their meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

All the meetings between the agitators and the office of the NSA, took place in Abuja, after the Joint Task Force (JTF), a special security outfit fighting militancy in the area, cleared and certified the various groups which have attacked oil installations since the beginning of the year.

A source close to the goings-on between the government and the agitators, said government agents reached out directly to the groups instead of going through third parties to learn first hand the underlying reasons for the several attacks on the oil infrastructure aside the ones publicly voiced by the warlords.

To avoid the complaints of exclusion that has continued to trail the amnesty programme, the government was said to have gone beyond only the known violent groups like the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) two groups that have publicly claimed responsibility, to reach out to smaller groups.

But the source added that to avoid making the meetings an “all-comers-affair,” the security agents subjected the groups to serious scrutiny which ensured that ‘portfolio militants’ were screened out.

According to the source, most of the issues being discussed still bordered on the 16-point demand by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), led by Chief Edwin Clark.

However, it was gathered that the Iduwini Volunteer Force (IVF),  one of the groups operating along the coasts of South-western Delta State and North-western Bayelsa State, in the last meeting with the office of the NSA, insisted that one of the conditions for peace should be the direct payment of 13 per cent derivation to the source of the oil, the communities, rather than the state government.

The group reportedly told the government negotiators that it was an aberration to pay the derivation funds to the state governors who were hardly accountable to the oil producing communities in the Delta.

The IVF, led by one Commander Johnson Biboye, it informed, maintained during one of the meetings that the part of the constitution that set aside the 13 per cent derivation specifically said that the monies should be paid directly to the source of the natural resource and not the states where they are found.

Confirming the discreet discussions between the parties, the source  said: “We have been meeting and interfacing with the government through the office of the NSA. We have told them that the last amnesty programme did not carry many genuine groups along. So, after clearance, several groups have been meeting with them, though there is no definitive conclusion on the discussions.

“As far as you are cleared by the JTF, and they (security agencies) know you have antecedents, you are allowed to be part of those they are talking to. But we have also told government to be consistent.

“If they want peace, let them follow through with the withdrawal of soldiers from the creeks. They cannot be looking for peace and deploying soldiers to harass innocent people at the same time,” it added.

On how the talks were progressing, it said that though the federal government has not made any particular concession, it had agreed in principle to allow the Marine University in Okerenkoko, Tompolo’s town to continue as originally planned by the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Read More: thisdaylive

Health Ministry Hires 50 Employees From One Family

The Supreme Court has promised an inquiry on Tuesday after a southern province was found to have employed almost 50 members of the same family in various health ministry jobs, many in the same hospital.

Corruption and nepotism is rampant in Pakistan when it comes to hiring government employees.
But the sheer number of the appointments — from vaccinators to security guards to lab technicians — has attracted the attention of the Supreme Court which will begin a hearing from Wednesday.

The matter surfaced when a man filed a petition complaining provincial health department had recruited some 48 cousins in the Ghotki district of Sindh province.

“Since 2008 till recently, more than four dozen members of Chadhar family have been appointed by the authorities,” complainant Farman Ali Pitafi, a health department employee, told AFP, adding they were all cousins.

He said many of the family members were appointed in subordinate grades but quickly promoted.
The provincial health minister, Sikandar Ali Mandhro, said he was unaware of the matter but would look into it.

Pakistan ranks 117th out of 168 on Transparency International’s list of global corruption, where a higher number denotes greater graft.

Credit: AFP

Hunger Will Not Kill Nigerians, Presidency Faults UN Report

The Presidency says the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible and will not allow starvation to kill millions of Nigerians.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu said this on Sunday in a reaction to the recent alarm by some aid agencies that starvation would kill one million internally displaced persons in the northeast next year.

He said the nation appreciated the increasing humanitarian assistance complementing the federal and state governments’ efforts in the region currently facing humanitarian crisis.

Shehu explained that the crisis was a problem Buhari’s administration continued to handle with great sensitivity.

He stated: “This notwithstanding, we’re concerned about the blatant attempts to whip up a nonexistent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies; a type of hype that does not provide solution to the situation on the ground, but more to do with calculations for operations financing locally and abroad. In a recent instance, one arm of the United Nations screamed that 100,000 people will die of starvation next year. A different group says a million will die.

“The displacement pattern as revealed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with the International Organisation for Migration indicates that there are currently about two million people who are displaced. Only about 20 percent of this is however in IDP camps. This much reduced numbers are in Borno in 13 formal and 16 satellite camps; four of such camps currently operating in Adamawa and about the same number in Yobe. The larger number of the IDP population is living either in self-settled camps or with host communities. The affected states with active collaboration with NEMA and the recently inaugurated Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative are deeply involved in efforts to cushion the humanitarian challenges especially on food security and nutrition.

“Through an ongoing arrangement, NEMA provides raw food items to IDPs at formal camps, self-settled centres, host communities and satellite centres. The states for their part provide condiments, firewood and maintain environmental quality of the IDP camps. Beyond the IDP camps, government agencies are  distributing food in host communities. The T.Y Danjuma-led PCNI is currently doing this in Borno State. In addition to the supply of food, the Federal Government, through NEMA and the PCNI, has made the provision of drugs to some major hospitals in the zone as a priority. These agencies have also been deploying on continuous basis, medical teams and equipment to the North-East to support the provision of medicare to the IDPs.

“This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people. The Nigerian government which has been making the most efforts in the entire endeavour will continue to work closely with the local and international response groups to overcome this humanitarian crisis. At this time when the focus is gradually shifting to towards rehabilitation, reconstruction, resettlement, recovery and the dignified return of IDPs back home, we can do with all the support out there in the donor community.

“We do not, however, see the reason for the  theories and hyperbolic claims being made ostensibly to draw donor support by some of the aid agencies. The situation on the ground, as it exists, provides sufficient motivation to all well-meaning donors to come and do a decent part. The hype, especially that which suggests that the government is doing nothing is therefore uncharitable and unnecessary.”

Credit: dailytrust

Nigeria Ranked Third In The World With Poor Sanitation Access– Report

Nigeria is the third country in the world and the worst in Sub-Saharan Africa where most urban dwellers live without a safe private toilet, the latest report on State of the World Toilets for 2016 has said.

According to the report by WaterAid, a renowned international organization that focuses on improving access to safe water and sanitation in towns and villages, 58 million people in Nigeria out of the 700 million urban dwellers around the world live without basic sanitation.

It said: “The problem is so big that 13.5 million people living in Nigeria’s towns and cities have no choice but to defecate in the open using roadsides, railway tracks and even plastic bags dubbed ‘flying toilets’. Nigeria also ranks top in the countries falling furthest behind in reaching people with urban sanitation.

“For every urban dweller reached with sanitation since 2000, two were added to the number living without, an increase of 31 million people in the last 15 years.”

The Country Representative of the agency, Dr. Michael Ojo, noted that adequate sanitation could create jobs and prosperity directly and indirectly, adding that there exists a potential market of more than $2.6bn in sanitation.

Ojo stated that by increasing access to sanitation through stimulating needs via sanitation marketing and responding to existing unmet needs, untapped business opportunities would open up.

“WaterAid’s State of the World Toilet 2016 report also focuses on some of the jobs that are created when the challenge is addressed head-on,” Ojo said.

The report further noted that an investment in improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene was probably the most effective investment Nigeria could make to grow its economy and better the lives of its people.

On other findings, the report stated that India ranked top for having the greatest number of urban dwellers living without safe private toilet and put the number of persons in this category at 157 million.

“It is also a world leader in having the most urban dwellers practicing open defecation – 41 million,” the report noted.

It said war-ravaged South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, is the worst country in the world for urban sanitation by percentage, adding that 84 per cent of dwellers in its urban centres had no access to a toilet and every other urban-resident practiced open defecation.


Nigeria, third in world with poor sanitation access – Report

APC Finally Announces Oyegun’s Replacement- Report

As the agitation for the removal of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Oyegun, continues to grow, the suspended Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Comrade Timi Frank, has said that the South-South zone will meet, to pick Oyegun’s replacement.
Recall, that Oyegun, who had fallen out with the National Leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, is in the good books of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Frank, on Sunday, November 20, in response to the question that the former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has been penciled down to replace the APC National Chairman, maintained that the party would soon announce Oyegun’s replacement.
However, Frank feigned ignorance of such plans of replacing Oyegun with Oshiomhole, but stated that the Zonal Party Committee, would meet to bring a replacement, once Oyegun was removed.
He said: “I don’t know about any plan to replace Oyegun with Oshiomhole, but what l know, is that we have capable people from the South South that can replace Oyegun, and the zone would meet to choose a person that would replace the National Chairman”.
Some party members have called for the replacement of Oyegun with Oshiomhole, even as it is being alleged that Tinubu is in favour of Oshiomhole.
In 2014, when Oyegun emerged as the National Chairman of the APC, he had contested the position with three other aspirants. Among those were: former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi; former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva; and former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja.
Recall, that Chief Ikimi left the APC, for what he considered undue process for the emergence of Oyegun as National Chairman.

NNPC May Adjust Petrol Pump Price On Falling Cargo Rates- Report

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) may undertake a downward review of the pump price of petrol in its retail outlets across the country.

It was gathered from an authoritative source within the corporation in Abuja that this was possible from a reported consistent drop in the historical price of petroleum cargoes from about $600 per metric tonne to an average of $440 per metric tonne.

NNPC had recently adjusted the pump price of petrol at its outlets, thus raising fears of a possible hike. The development also followed claims in August by its former Group Managing Directors that the government’s pricing modulation framework was not economical for the downstream petroleum business.

The source however stated that the cargo price is one of the key elements often considered by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) in its calculation of the template for petrol pump price.

This, he noted, has been on the downward trend and could necessitate the corporation reviewing its pump price to reflect the market realities. The other key element being the foreign exchange has been left floating by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He also explained that the corporation has spent a lot of energies securing its petrol supplies and distribution networks to keep the country from what he described as system sabotage during the yuletide season by some marketers.

“One of the things we wanted to achieve is to ensure that we do not have queues in this time of the year and a lot of the energies have been spent on securing that. If you look at the market trend at the moment, we have been fortunate. Historically, it is this time of the year that cargo prices are about $500 to $600 per metric tonne, and this is one of the two key elements on the PPPRA templates that nobody controls – it is down to market forces,” he said.

According to him, “The cargo price is usually between $500 and $600 per metric tonne, but this year, we have even had cargoes for $440. The pricing has been good. Our network is a mix of the NNPC and others, because of the open market forex policy, the cost of doing business for others is higher. What NNPC retail has done is to adjust the price to accommodate the additional expense of doing business around this time of the year
“The N145 per litre is not just the margin but includes freights and all sorts of other expenses; we did that to accommodate the expenses and as we get cheaper and cheaper cargoes, we will adjust our prices in accordance.”

Read More: thisdaylive

FG Hires Top International Criminal Court Prosecutor Against Indicted Supreme Court Chiefs- Report

Some of the indicted officials of the Supreme Court fingered to have collected money through fraudulent means are in serious trouble as the Federal Government hires a top international criminal prosecutor. The Federal Government has hired a former International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Charles Adeogun-Philips, to lead its team of lawyers to prosecute the Supreme Court Registrar and others for alleged N2.2b fraud.
 The arraignment of the three senior officials of the apex court was stalled by Justice Abba Mohammed of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Jabi, Abuja because one of the Supreme Court officials, Muhammed Sharif, was absent.
The Federal Government on November 3 filed a nine-count charge against Chief Registrar Ahmed Saleh, Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal (who are both officials of the court’s Account Department).
The officials were charged with conspiracy and criminal breach of trust for allegedly diverting N2.2billion belonging to the apex court and receiving gratification as public officers. The three officials are also accused of receiving N74.4m gratification from Willysdave Ltd., Welcon Nig. Ltd., Dean Musa Nig. Ltd., Ababia Ventures Ltd. and MBR Computers Ltd. between 2009 and 2016.
On November 8, Justice Mohammed granted a request by prosecution lawyer Hajara Yusuf for time to produce the three defendants in court for arraignment, following which the court adjourned till November 17 for arraignment.
Saleh and Lawal were in court. Sharif was absent. Garba Tetengi (SAN), who announced appearance for Sharif, said he was ill and was on admission at the hospital. He sought an adjournment, which other defence lawyers – Abdulhakeem Mustapha – SAN – (for Saleh) and I.K Sanusi – SAN (for Lawal) did not object.
The Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation (DPPF), Mohammed Umar, who led the prosecution team, later yielded proceedings to Adeogun-Philips, who spoke for the prosecution.
Umar said the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had in exercising his powers under Section 174(1) of the Constitution, elected to engage an international lawyer to conduct prosecution in the case.
Adeogun-Philips said he was unhappy that Tetengi could not provide any document to show that Sharif was on admission in the hospital. Justice Mohammed rescheduled the arraignment for December 15.

Boko Haram Used Chibok Ransom To Buy Powerful Weapons- Report

The recent ransom paid to Boko Haram in exchange for the release of some Chibok girls have contributed to the recent upsurge in the killings and disappearances of soldiers engaged in the fight against the insurgents, senior military sources have revealed.

The military men said that despite denials by the Federal Government, money was paid to the sect to secure the release of the abducted girls.

   It was learnt that the insurgents demanded for $50m for the release of the girls but about a quarter of the sum was eventually paid.

It was also learnt that the Federal Government paid the cash in two currencies – the naira and the CFA Francs to the leaders of the sect to facilitate the release of the girls.

But, the highly-ranked military men who are engaged in the war, and who craved anonymity because they were not authorised to speak for the military authorities, attributed the recent upsurge in the activities of the insurgents to the huge ransom paid for the release of the girls.

Prior to the current increase in the attacks by the insurgents, it was learnt that the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, deployed in the North-East, had effectively cut off food and logistics supply to the insurgents.

Some of the sources, who are also commanders at the war front, said that the troops had effectively defeated the Boko Haram members, who were on the run while a good number of them had surrendered and taken to a rehabilitation camp established by the Defence Headquarters in Yola.

In October, 83 soldiers were reported missing days after they came under a Boko Haram attack. Though there have been increasing reports of soldiers either missing or killed since the Chibok girls were released, the military initially denied the report, it later said that only 39 soldiers were missing.

Also, on November 4, seven military men, including Lt.-Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali, were killed on their way to reinforce troops at Mallam Fatori during  a Boko Haram attack. Two days later, one soldier was also killed while four others were wounded in the line of duty.

In October, 21 of the over 200 girls abducted from their school in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014 were released by the group.

However, the Federal Government denied exchanging insurgents for the abducted girls and paying a ransom to the sect.

But the military sources insisted that Boko Haram did not release the girls without getting anything in return and that the Federal Government indeed paid a ransom and released some of the group’s strategists that were detainees.

One of the sources said it was sad that the same government that was initially seen as tough enough to end insurgency in the country failed to negotiate with Boko Haram from a position of strength.

“It is unfortunate that in government’s desperation to secure the release of the Chibok girls, it has put our (soldiers’) lives in danger by yielding to the demands of the group to collect a ransom and secure the release of its commanders.

“It is now obvious that the group has reinforced and bought more weapons to fight us.”

According to another source, left to the military, the ransom and the exchange of Boko Haram members for Chibok girls would not have taken place.

 “Funds were given to Boko Haram and now we can all see the result of that action; there have been renewed attacks recently and many of our men have been killed in the process but we will not relent, we will continue to do our best to secure this nation.

“The military had reservations about the arrangement but it was not in our hands; it was a political decision that we had to abide with and it was the DSS that was directly in charge of the operation,” the source added.

Another source, who is also active in the war theatre, said, “They got the Chibok girls and suddenly the Boko Haram that we had beaten and chased out of Sambisa are attacking and killing men of quality.

“It is very obvious that they have used the money they got from the deal to buy equipment and recruit men to carry out their heinous acts.

“The group is still in Mallam Fatori, theyhave infested the entire area and their strongest point into Chad is Abadam. It is from there that they disperse their men to carry out attacks.

“Another thing you must note is that the towns around the borders are occupied by mercenaries from foreign countries. Where did they get the money to fund that?”

Investigation revealed that Boko Haram members,  who were routed out of their dreaded Sambisa enclave by the military, had regrouped at Abadam, and were still holding onto the fringes of Mallam Fatori in the northern part of Borno State.

It was further gathered that the group was engaging the services of mercenaries with their operational base in Abadam in the far north, close to Chad.

The latest incidents contradict President Muhammadu Buhari’s assertion on December 24, 2015 that Nigeria had “technically” won the war against Boko Haram and that the militant group could no longer mount conventional attacks against security forces or population centres.

Read More: punchng

Mariah Carey Begged Nick Cannon For Divorce So She Could Remarry- Report

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon’s divorce was finalized because the singer begged him.

According to the New York Post’s Page Six, the 46-year-old reportedly called her ex-husband pleading with him to sign their divorce papers because she wanted to marry her fiancé the Australian businessman, James Packer. This is believed to have happened just days before she split with the billionaire.

“I want you to sign the divorce papers. I really want to get married to James Packer,” Carey reportedly told Cannon in a phone call.

Carey and Cannon ended their marriage in August 2014 but their divorce dragged on for nearly two years over custody of their twins. However, according to several reports, they finally settled on an agreement.

“Nick and Mariah’s divorce was dragging on and on, mainly because of the back and forth between their lawyers. Mariah’s team brought in [famed L.A. divorce attorney] Laura Wasser, who helped simplify things, but then Mariah called Nick and said, ‘I really want to get married. Will you sign these papers?’ Nick was cool and said, ‘I’m not going to stand in your way. I’ll sign the papers,’” a source told the Post.

But a couple of days later, Carey and Packer’s relationship blew up, and they split.

According to a report by TMZ, Carey and Packer’s lawyers had been negotiating a pre-nuptial agreement, and he was demanding they rush the document after being told it would not be ready in time for a March 1 wedding.

The pre-nup was never signed, and now Carey is demanding Packer pay her a $50 million settlement, because that’s the amount she would have received from the unsigned pre-nup.

Credit: foxnews

FBI Sees No Ties Between Trump, Putin- Report

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has found no clear links between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russia, officials say, proving false allegations by the candidate’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The FBI spent most of the summer to verify claims by the Clinton campaign that Trump was linked to President Vladimir Putin, and Moscow was trying to influence the November 8 vote in his favor.

However, the bureau failed to find any indications of the alleged ties after scrutinizing advisors close to Trump, investigating the real estate mogul’s financial ties and even his emails, the New York Times reported Tuesday, citing law enforcement officials.

Clinton’s campaign voiced concerns about Moscow’s intervention after a series of emails belonging to various ranks of the Democratic Party were released by the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks.

American intelligence officials blamed the hacks on Russia and even threatened to come up with countermeasures of the same nature. President Barack Obama and high-ranking officials in his administration also blamed Russia for the breaches.

Under immense pressure from Clinton’s supporters, who were mad at Trump for calling Putin a great leader, the FBI started its investigation into the claims.

The Clinton campaign has called on the FBI to publicly discuss their findings about the case, as they did with their new investigation into Clinton’s new emails.

FBI chief James Comey told Congress on Friday that he was reopening investigations into Clinton’s emails after finding a trove of new emails on a laptop belonging to former representative Anthony Weiner, who was once married to Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin.

At some point during its investigation, the FBI questioned Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign boss, who has reportedly had extensive business ties in Russia and other former Soviet states, especially Ukraine, the Times noted.

The bureau’s agents also investigated an email channel between Trump and the Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s biggest banks.

After weeks of detailed investigation, the FBI concluded that the connection was nothing more than marketing emails or spam

Trump has rejected Clinton’s allegations against Russia, and has pledged to work with Moscow and earn Putin’s respect.

Credit: presstv

Report Claims Nigerian Security Officials Are Sexually Exploiting Women, Girls Displaced By Boko Haram

Government officials and other authorities in Nigeria have raped and sexually exploited women and girls displaced by the conflict with Boko Haram, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

The rights group said in a statement that the government was not doing enough to protect displaced women and girls and ensure that they have access to basic rights and services or to sanction the abusers, who include camp leaders, vigilante groups, policemen, and soldiers.

Human Rights Watch said in July, it documented sexual abuse, including rape and exploitation, of 43 women and girls living in seven internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The victims had been displaced from several Borno towns and villages, including Abadam, Bama, Baga, Damasak, Dikwa, Gamboru Ngala, Gwoza, Kukawa, and Walassa. In some cases, the victims had arrived in the under-served Maiduguri camps, where their movement is severely restricted after spending months in military screening camps.

“It is bad enough that these women and girls are not getting much-needed support for the horrific trauma they suffered at the hands of Boko Haram,” said Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It is disgraceful and outrageous that people who should protect these women and girls are attacking and abusing them.”

Four of the victims told Human Rights Watch that they were drugged and raped, while 37 were coerced into sex through false marriage promises and material and financial assistance.

Many of those coerced into sex said they were abandoned after they became pregnant. They and their children have suffered discrimination, abuse, and stigmatization from other camp residents. Eight of the victims said they were previously abducted by Boko Haram fighters and forced into marriage before they escaped to Maiduguri, the group said.

Women and girls abused by members of the security forces and vigilante groups – civilian self-defense groups working with government forces in their fight against Boko Haram – told Human Rights Watch they feel powerless and fear retaliation if they report the abuse.

 A 17-year-old girl said that just over a year after she fled the frequent Boko Haram attacks in Dikwa, a town 56 miles west of Maiduguri, a policeman approached her for “friendship” in the camp, and then he raped her.

“One day he demanded to have sex with me,” she said. “I refused but he forced me. It happened just that one time, but soon I realized I was pregnant. When I informed him about my condition, he threatened to shoot and kill me if I told anyone else. So I was too afraid to report him.”

Read More:


Chibok Girl’s Baby Not For Boko Haram, Report Says 21 Released Girls Were Not Sexually Abused

One of the Chibok schoolgirls that came back with a child was already pregnant before she was abducted along with 219 other girls by Boko Haram gunmen on 14 April 2014.

A source close to negotiations to free the remaining schoolgirls told newsmen that there was no truth whatsoever in stories making the rounds that the girl was impregnated by one of her Boko Haram abductors.

The informed source clarified that contrary to some media reports, the girl had conceived before her abduction after being properly married.

“The girl and her parents have confirmed this. The child is not a Boko Haram Child,’’he said. The source also debunked stories that one of the girls came back pregnant, with some reports specifically saying one was four months pregnant.

“None of the girls released was sexually harassed or abused while in captivity by their abductors,” he said. “The current state of the girls is a source of joy as they are receiving the best medical, psychological and other forms of support from the authorities as directed by the Federal Government “All groups including the families, The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) and Chibok Community are happy with their condition as medical experts work to address their health conditions.

“The girls have been visited by members of International Committee of the Red Cross, which played a great role in getting the girls freed. “It is obvious to everyone that having been in captivity, the girls were traumatised but since their release, they are showing signs of recovering well,’’he said.

Rumours, speculative reports about the state of the 21 released Boko Haram captives, are said to be creating stumbling blocks to further talks with the insurgents. The insurgents were said to be angry with Government for breaching some understanding reached with them when the 21 girls were being handed over 13 october.

However, government sources have denied any link with various speculative reports, especially in the social media.




Arms scandal: Panel submits final report, indicts top FG officials.

After 14 months of painstaking work, the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces (2007-2015) has submitted its final report to President Muhammadu Buhari.

It was gathered from highly placed sources that Buhari received the final report at the presidential villa on Sunday from the Air Vice Marshal J.O.N Ode (rtd)- led panel.

It was authoritatively gathered that the report, a copy of which was made available to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), indicted some influential officials of the administration.

Also indicted in the report, according to sources, are former ministers of defence, senior military officers, a permanent secretary and top officials of the Ministry of Defence.

A former Chief of Army Staff, an erstwhile Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) and some former service chiefs were indicted in the final report.

Some firms, which executed contracts with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Ministry of Defence, were also recommended for prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for various infractions.

The probe cut across the Ministry of Defence, Nigerian Army (NA), Nigerian Navy (NN), and Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

One of the sources, who spoke on the final report, said: “I can reveal to you that the 13-man panel, which was set up in August last year, submitted its report to the C-in-C on Sunday.

“A copy of the report was given to the NSA, having regard to the fact that he inaugurated the panel.

“The report is very weighty, as it indicted and recommended for further investigation, a very officials in the current government, a former minister, who was very influential in the last administration, and a permanent secretary.

“Some top officials of a strategic ministry were also indicted and recommended for further probe by the EFCC.”

The source added that recommendations were made for the recovery of huge sums of money from individuals and firms indicted. It was learnt that some top government officials were indicted for “sharing” money meant for procurement of equipment among themselves.

The arms panel established that the procurement processes were arbitrarily carried out and generally characterised by irregularities and fraud. A highly placed source said the panel had interrogated some of the indicted officials, serving and retired officers, and some contractors. The Federal Government is expected to release the final report any moment from now.

Three months after he assumed office last year, Buhari had inaugurated a 13-man panel to probe procurement of arms and related military contracts, between 2007 and 2015.

Before the final report,the panel had turned in two interim reports, which indicted serving and retired military officers. Before the final report, the 13-man panel had released two interim reports, wherein it indicted a former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd); former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd); former Chiefs of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Azubike Ihejirika (rtd), and Lt.- Gen. Kenneth Minimah (rtd); and ex-Chiefs of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal M.D Umar (rtd), and Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd).Other serving and retired senior officers earlier indicted were: Maj.- Gen. E.R. Chioba (rtd), AVM I.A. Balogun (rtd), AVM A.G. Tsakr (rtd), AVM A.G. Idowu (rtd), AVM A.M. Mamu, AVM O.T. Oguntoyinbo, AVM T. Omenyi, AVM J.B. Adigun and AVM R.A. Ojuawo. Also indicted were: AVM J.A. Kayode-Beckley, Air Cdre S.A. Yushau (rtd), Air Cdre A.O. Ogunjobi, Air Cdre GMD Gwani, Air Cdre S.O. Makinde, Air Cdre A.Y. Lassa, Col. N. Ashinze and Lt Col. M.S. Dasuki (Rtd). Many contractors, former ministers and government officials are facing prosecution in respect of the arms scandal. The panel had said at the time that:

“The procurement processes were arbitrarily carried out and generally characterised by irregularities and fraud. “In many cases, the procured items failed to meet the purposes they were procured for, especially the counter insurgency efforts in the North-East.

“A major procurement activity undertaken by ONSA for NAF was that concerning the contracts awarded to Societe D’ Equipment Internationaux (SEI) Nig Ltd. between January 2014 and February 2015, NAF awarded 10 contracts totalling $930,500,690 to SEI Nig. Ltd. “Letters of award and End User Certificates for all the contracts issued by NAF and ONSA respectively did not reflect the contract sums.

Rather, these were only found in the vendor’s invoices, all dated 19 March 2015.” A statement by presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, had said the Ode-led panel “comes against the background of the myriad of challenges that the Nigerian Armed Forces have faced in the course of ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North-East, including the apparent deficit in military platforms with its attendant negative effects of troops’ morale.

“The committee will specifically investigate allegations of non-adherence to correct equipment procurement procedures and the exclusion of relevant logistics branches from arms procurement under past administrations, which, very often resulted in the acquisition of sub-standard and unserviceable equipment.”

Arms Scam: FG Converts Badeh’s N1.1bn Mansion To Office- Report

A N1.1bn mansion seized from the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), has been converted to an office to be used by the Federal Government.

Reporters who visited the property located on Plot 6 Ogun River Crescent, Maitama, a highbrow area in Abuja, learnt that the property is being used by the Presidential Committee on the North-East Intervention headed by Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, a former Minister of Defence.

It was observed that the warning, ‘EFCC, Keep Off!’ which was written in red ink on the fence, had been wiped off.

However, a second building (although uncompleted) seized from Badeh, which is located directly opposite the one converted by the Federal Government, still has the EFCC inscription on its fence.

Some gardeners and other domestic workers were seen clearing the grass and sweeping the compound. Reporters  who entered into the main building, noticed that the rooms had been converted into offices while desks had been set up at strategic positions.

 One worker who was approached said, “The property was given to us by the government to work. I know that the EFCC seized the property some months ago but it was given to us to work.”

The EFCC is prosecuting Badeh alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on 10 counts of money laundering bordering on alleged fraudulent removal of about N3.97bn from the Nigerian Air Force account.

Read More:


Baby Traffickers Thriving In Nigeria As Recession Bites- Report

As 16-year-old Maria strained under the anguish of labor in southeastern Nigeria, a midwife repeatedly slapped her across the face – but the real ordeal began minutes after birth.

“The nurse took my child away to be washed. She never brought her back,” the teenager said, gazing down at her feet.

Maria said she learned her newborn daughter had been given up for adoption for which she received 20,000 naira ($65.79) – the same price as a 50 kilogram bag of rice.

And Maria is far from alone.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigative team spoke to more than 10 Nigerian women duped into giving up their newborns to strangers in houses known as “baby factories” in the past two years or offered babies whose origins were unknown.

Five women did not want to be interviewed, despite the guarantee of anonymity, fearing for their own safety with criminal gangs involved in the baby trade, while two men spoke of being paid to act as “studs” to get women pregnant.

Although statistics are hard to come by, campaigners say the sale of newborns is widespread – and they fear the illegal trade is becoming more prevalent with Nigeria heading into recession this year amid ongoing political turbulence.

“The government is too overstretched by other issues to focus on baby trafficking,” said Arinze Orakwue, head of public enlightenment at the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Record numbers of baby factories were raided or closed down in the southeastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo this year, NAPTIP said.

A total of 14 were discovered in the first nine months of 2016, up from six in 2015 and 10 in 2014, the data showed.

But despite the growing number of raids, the scam exploiting couples desperate for a baby and young, pregnant, single women continues with newborns sold for up to $5,000 in Africa’s most populous nation where most people live on less than $2 a day.

Cultural barriers are also a factor in the West African nation, with teenage girls fearing they will be publicly shamed by strict fathers or partners over unwanted pregnancies if they do not give up their children, experts say.

“In southeastern Nigeria a woman is deemed a failure if she fails to conceive. But it is also taboo for a teenager to fall pregnant out of wedlock,” said Orakwue.

Maria said in the home in Imo state where she gave birth pregnant teenagers were welcomed by a maternal nurse who liked to be called “mama” but went on to sell the babies they delivered.

“(After I gave birth) somebody told me that mama collected big money from people before giving them other people’s babies,” Maria told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the grounds of a school compound in her village.

“I do not know where my baby is now,” said Maria, using a false name for her own protection.

A lot of the trade is carried out in Nigeria but authorities suspect babies are also sold to people from Europe and the United States because many foreigners continue to seek infants there despite the controversy around Nigerian adoptions.

Read More: reuters

FG Slams Economist Magazine Report On “Change Begins With Me” Campaign

The Nigerian government has slammed United Kingdom-based magazine, The Economist, over its report on the government’s anti-indiscipline campaign: Change Begins With Me.

President Muhammadu Buhari launched the campaign on September 8, calling on citizens to imbibe new values and change attitudinally before demanding the “change” which he had promised.

But in a report titled: ”Nigeria’s war against indiscipline, Behave or be whipped” – on September 24, The Economist blistered the new campaign.

Locally, the campaign had met with criticisms that – the idea was not original; Mr. Buhari plagiarized parts of his speech during the launch; and that the President was trying to shift burden of “change” promise.

Days after the magazine’s critical report, Nigerian government through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, reacted on Wednesday. Mr. Mohammed described The Economist’s as “racist” and one characterized by “embellishment”.

“Contrary to the newspaper’s self-professed belief in ”plain language”, the article in question, from the headline to the body, is a master-piece of embellishment or dressed-up language,” said Mr. Mohammed.

“It is loaded with innuendos and decidedly pejorative at best, and downright racist at worst.

“The Economist wrote that President Buhari wants to ”tame” Nigerians with the ”Change Begins With Me” Campaign. For those who are the owners of the English language, the use of that word is unpardonable, “The verb ”tame” suggests that Nigerians are some kind of wild animals that must be domesticated, and the usage reveals the mindset of the authors of the article: a deliberate put-down of a whole people under the guise of criticising a government policy,” he added.

Read More:


Report Lists U.S., Germany, France As Custodians Of Stolen Money From Nigeria

A report by London-based Public Service International Research Unit (PSIRU) has listed United States, Spain and France as countries that keep illicit funds from Nigeria.

The group, which investigated the impact of privatisation and liberalisation on public services, also named Japan and Germany as the other nations where money stolen from Nigeria is kept.

Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its civil society allies are planning to stage a protest in Switzerland for the repatriation of stolen funds kept in the country’s banks.

Disclosing its plan to stage a protest in Switzerland yesterday at a workshop in Abuja organised by Public Service International (PSI) on tax justice in Africa, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the congress would also stage similar protests in countries that are believed to be harbouring illicit funds from politically-exposed persons from Nigeria.

Unveiling the details, the PSI Director of Policy and Governance, Daniel Bertossa, said reports indicated that between 1980 and 2009, about $1.4 trillion was lost by Africa from illicit financial flows.

Bertossa, who also quoted from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) report, added that Nigeria also lost over $3 billion annually to tax incentives and import waivers.

He said while the country loses $2.9 billion to corporate tax incentives, it also loses $327 million annually to import duty exemption.

Read More:


Infographics Report Reveals Buhari, Osinbajo, Ministers, Presidential Aides’ Earnings

Inforgraphics as reported by The Punch reveals the earning of President Mohammed Buhari, Vice President Yomi Osinbajo, the 36 ministers and 15 presidential aides. See Infographics below:




Akwa Ibom Denies Report Of Ex-militants Invasion

Government of Akwa Ibom State has described has false, recent media reports that ex-militants invaded Akwa Ibom State Government House, Uyo.
Responding to the report, carried in national, local and online media, the state Commissioner for Information and Social Reorientation, Mr. Aniekan Umana said  that some persons claiming non payment of amnesty entitlements  emerged along Wellington Bassey road to the Government House, to seek the intervention of the state government over the non payment of their outstanding allowances by the Amnesty office of the Federal Government.

Mr. Umanah said the peaceful emissary of the ex-militants was however, infiltrated by hoodlums, but was promptly controlled by law enforcement agencies.
According to the him, “To maintain law and order, the unruly behaviour of the infiltrators was met with necessary and adequate control by the State Command of the Nigeria Police, who ensured  the hoodlums beat a retreat.”

The information boss who reiterated the commitment of Governor Udom Emmanuel to ensuring the safety of lives and property, maintained that “everywhere in Akwa Ibom State is calm and peaceful.” He called on all law abiding citizens and residents to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation from any quarters.



Herdsmen Attacks Claim 1,269 Lives In Benue- Report

Attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the North-central Nigerian state of Benue has led to the killing of at least escalated 1, 269 persons.

Out of the 23 local government areas in the state, the rampaging herdsmen have invaded and occupied 14 and may invade the remaining nine unless urgent measures are taken to curb the menace, authorities said.

Our findings, confirmed by residents, security officials and the state governor, also showed that in the North-east Senatorial District of the state, the herdsmen have invaded Katsina-Ala, Kwande, Logo, Ukum; leaving out Vandeikya, Konshisha and Ushongo.

In Benue North-east Senatorial District, the killer herdsmen have attacked all the other local government councils except Gboko.

The council areas invaded and occupied by the killer herdsmen include Guma, Gwer-West, Gwer-East, Buruku, Tarka and Makurdi local government councils.

The invasion of Ogbadibo, Agatu and Apa local government areas in Benue South Senatorial District are however believed to be the most brutal.

On February 29, for instance, the herdsmen invaded several Agatu villages and farm settlements in broad daylight, gunning down children, women, men and the elderly.

At the time the gunshots subsided, over 500 villagers were reportedly massacred and over 7000 were displaced in 10 villages including Aila, Okokolo, Akwu, Adagbo, Odugbehon and Odejo.

Read More:


Nigerian Refugees ‘Brainwashed’ By Boko Haram To Become Suicide Bombers Head For Europe- Report

Thousands of Nigerian refugees indoctrinated in Boko Haram camps are heading to Europe’s shores as a famine intensifies, security sources have warned.

Five children are dying an hour with 250,000 at risk of starvation while parliament remains hamstrung in a political wrangle.

Despite being Africa’s oil-rich country Nigeria’s civil war with Islamic terrorists has left the north-east Borno region devastated with three million refugees.

Britain has committed to spending £860 million in foreign aid to Nigeria, which now boasts Africa’s largest economy, to help support the country’s efforts to crush Boko Haram terror group, which has been responsible for a spate of outrages, including the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls.

But intelligence sources report human traffickers from the ISIS-backed terror group are transporting girls and young men across the Sahara into Libya.

Some trained suicide bombers and militants are heading for Europe while others are travelling to fight for Islamic State in Syria.

‘They will soon start showing up on the Mediterranean’s shores,’ a source linked to Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency said.

‘Some of these people are trained suicide bombers and fighters, including children as young as ten. They have all been indoctrinated by Boko Haram and they could soon turn up in Europe’s capitals.’

Meanwhile Nigeria’s parliament is struggling to pass legislation as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration presses ‘politically motivated’ charges against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Read More: DailyMail

Mass Sack Imminent In NIPOST Over Reforms- Report

A radical reform of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) in which many of its staff may lose their jobs will soon begin.
But the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said that there would not BE any retrenchment in the NIPOST, “at least, for now”.

A top federal government official said in Abuja, yesterday, that the new Postal Master General (PMG), Asiwaju Bisi Adegbuyi, had been given directive to reduce, at least, 1000 workers from the agency’s workforce.
NIPOST has a workforce of about 10, 500 and 2, 500 post offices and postal agencies across the country.
The official, who pleaded anonymity because he was not cleared by his superiors to speak on the matter, said that staffers who had put in 30 years, or close to that, in service, and those working in inactive NIPOST post offices would be largely affected.
“We are looking at some of them who are already old and have put in up to 30 years, or close to that, and some of them who are at the offices which are inactive,” the source said.

“At least, a thousand of them may be affected for now, but government would pay them all their entitlement as they exit. It is a reform government must embark upon to bring NIPOST back to real business.”
However, Shittu denied that  the government would sack NIPOST staff, saying: “There is nothing like that, at least, for now”.
The minister, who spoke through his media aide, Victor Oluwadamilare, said: “We are not aware of that. Whoever told you may not be telling you the truth. A number of reforms will take place there but I don’t think the government is thinking of sacking any staff.”

Read More: dailytrust

Top Pope Aide Investigated For Australia Child Sex Abuse- Report

Vatican finance chief George Pell is being investigated by Australian police over child sexual abuse allegations, a report by the national broadcaster said Thursday, as the leading Catholic cleric denounced the claims as “totally untrue”.

The new allegations against Pell being probed by police in Victoria State span two decades, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported, and came just months after the cardinal admitted he “mucked up” in dealing with paedophile priests in the state. When he was the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney in 2002 Pell was accused of historic sex abuse claims but was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

The ABC said it had obtained eight police statements from complainants, witnesses and family members helping the police investigation. The report included claims Pell touched two boys inappropriately in a pool in the late 1970s. But the 75-year-old strongly denied the allegations in a statement to the ABC, saying “claims that he has sexually abused anyone, in any place, at any time in his life are totally untrue and completely wrong”.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman told AFP they would not be making any comments. The national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is ongoing in Australia and was established after a decade of growing pressure to investigate widespread allegations of paedophilia.

The police investigation is part of a wider probe into complaints that emerge out of the royal commission. The commission’s hearings are covering harrowing allegations of child abuse involving places of worship, orphanages, community groups and schools.

Pell previously told the commission he was not aware of offences that had occurred in Victoria, where paedophile priests abused dozens of children in the 1970s and 1980s.

Credit: Vanguard

FRSC Creates Data Bank For Road Traffic Accident– Report

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says the need to have a unified road accident data in the country informed the creation of the “National Crash Report Information System (NACRIS)’’.

According to the corps 2015 annual report, the NACRIS is a committee responsible for the collation and harmonisation of road traffic accident data from all agencies generating data on accident.

The report said the FRSC and Ministry of Health serve as Secretariat of the NACRIS due to the fact that accident “is a health burden’’.It said other members of the committee are: Police, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), WHO, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Also in the committee are: Federal Fire Service (FFS), Military, Directorate of Road Traffic Service (DRTS) and the National Insurance Commission.

The report said that the Committee met in 2015 and took far reaching decisions on action necessary to have “all data from all generating agencies on road traffic accidents harmonised’’.

It added that a sub-committee with representatives from NBS, FRSC, Police and DRTS had been established to harmonise road traffic accident data quarterly.

Meanwhile, the report said to ensure quick response to accident victims, the corps had introduced two units – Zebra and Road Traffic Crash (RTC) Clinic intervention rescue squad.

“These two special units which are located at critical corridors are injected into the corps to fulfill its mission and vision of ensuring crash-free road and prompt rescue services,’’ the report said.

Credit: Guardian

Why Buratai, Danbazau Were Not Indicted In Arms Scandal Report – FG

The Muhammadu Buhari administration says the report of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces (2007-2015) was not doctored to remove some names.

A statement issued in Abuja on Friday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, dismissed claims that the arms report was doctored as “untrue”.

The statement was signed by the Special Adviser to the Minister, Segun Adeyemi.

The report, released Thursday, indicts former chiefs of army staff, Kenneth Minimah and Azubuike Ihejirika, and other senior past and serving military and civilian officials.

But the findings, approved by President Buhari, have sparked widespread allegations of bias.

Many Nigerians accuse the government of being selective and refusing to indict key members of the current administration, believed to have played questionable roles in military procurement since 2007.

Critics cite the Minister of Interior, Abdurrahman Danbazau, who was the Chief of Army between 2008 and 2010, as an example.

In his statement, however, the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, said what had been released in the arms report so far was the report of the audit covering the period 2011 to 2015.

He added that the committee would commence the audit of procurement from 2007 to 2010 as soon as the necessary documents were available.

“When the documents regarding procurement from 2007 to 2010 are available and scrutinised, the committee will then issue its report on that.

“The audit is being done on phases, and the report that was released on Thursday is the third of such,’’ he said.

Mr. Mohammed said the federal government’s anti-corruption fight was non-discriminatory and called on Nigerians to keep an open mind as events unfold.

“No one should attempt to distract from the seriousness of the issues involved in this audit of defence equipment procurement,’’ he urged.

The minister said with more than N185.8 billion and 685.3 million dollar spent on procurement and operations within the period, the irregularities in the awards denied the military from getting value for money.

He emphasised that the corruption in the defence sector had very serious consequences for the country.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Panic As Presidential Arms Panel Prepares To Submit Report

There is tension and frantic scheming among former army chiefs and other top officers of the Nigerian Army as the Presidential Committee on Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces has concluded its task and is set to submit its report to President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming days.

A reliable source close to the committee, which was set up by President Buhari to probe the procurement of arms, ammunition and equipment in the military from 2007 to 2015, said that that several top retired army officers were indicted, with some already scheming to suppress the content of the report. “The committee members are putting things together and will present their findings to the President next week or so,” a source said.

The source explained that the committee uncovered a lot of things, including the outright stealing of money meant for equipment for the army, inflation of contract, diversion of money for soldiers’ welfare, money for the rehabilitation of barracks and military facilities and many other corrupt practices.

In March 2016, the committee, predominantly made up of retired military officers, had summoned 292 retired and serving top army officers. Last August, President Buhari directed the National Security Adviser, Mohammed Monguno, to set up a 13-member investigative committee on the procurement of hardware and munitions in the Armed Forces from 2007.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, stated that the investigative committee’s mandate was to identify irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the armed forces.

Credit: Vanguard

Saraki, Dogara Hire 282 Aides- Report

The National Assembly management has requested the presiding officers to reduce the number of their aides by at least 60 percent as part of cost cutting measures.
Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and their deputies have hired over 400 aides, sources said.

Saraki is said to have over 112 aides, Dogara about 170, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu 60 and Deputy Speaker Yusuf Suleiman Lasun 58. But the assembly bureaucracy has lately asked the presiding officers and their deputies to reduce the figures drastically.

Sources said Saraki and Dogara have been requested to cut down the numbers to 25 each while Ekweremadu and Lasun should have 17 each.

The aides are in three categories – Special Advisers (SAs), Senior Special Assistants (SSAs) and Special Assistants whose salaries range between N700, 000 to over a million naira each.

The special advisers earn about the same salaries as federal permanent secretaries while the others earn higher than directors in federal government establishments.

Daily Trust reports that two weeks ago over N10bn was paid as severance package to Senate and House legislative aides that served in the seventh assembly.  The severance pay was 300 percent of their annual basic salary.

In January, the presiding officers met with the National Assembly management on how to cut down on expenditures. Sources said the management intimated the presiding officers that they could not guarantee regular payment of salaries to such aides, especially when most of them were placed on higher grade levels.

Findings revealed that the salaries of all the political appointees have not been paid since January. It was gathered that the last time the aides collected their salaries was in December. Most of the aides are said to have little or even nothing to do. They hang around the National Assembly complex or stay in their colleagues’ offices as they have no offices of their own.

A source close to the office of the Senate President explained that most of the appointments were mere ‘political patronage.’ “The appointments are political patronages; it is an avenue to settle supporters politically. Most of them will be collecting salaries without doing anything. I know only last week two persons were recruited. They showed me their employment letters,” he said.

Credit: dailytrust

EFCC May Go After Ex-First Lady- Report

The wife of a former president may soon be invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to explain her role in the sourcing and disbursement of huge funds spent by the Presidency in the last two weeks before the general elections.
The fund, estimated at over a trillion naira, was routed and disbursed through the Amnesty Office to some notable politicians in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Investigators of the disbursement noticed that the release of about 40 per cent of the funds was authorized by the former First Lady.
Also under investigation by operatives of the anti-graft agency, is the source of the funds, which has not been established due to the Amnesty office’s boss departure from the country.
According to sources, the failure of the former head of the presidential Amnesty Programme to return to the country has slowed down investigations of how the funds were sourced, “because he allegedly disbursed the bulk of the money, which was not part of the funds allocated to his office.”
It was gathered that the suspected Amnesty boss who will face 14 petitions written to the EFCC against him, left the country soon after preliminary investigations into the sourcing and disbursement of funds for the elections.
“Ordinarily, he should have been here to defend himself against the petitions, but he has refused to show up. It is highly suspected that he is not in any hospital. It was all a dummy be sold to Nigerians. He left this country as soon as he sensed the EFCC may invite him to explain his role in the funds disbursement”, a source said.
Already, some of his aides, including personal assistants and driver, have been interrogated on the matter. The investigating team would also want to ascertain his interest in an airline that operates in South Africa with about 12 aircraft.
EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujare, could not be reached for comments on the matter before Press time.
However, a source who did not want his name in print, said efforts were being made to get him back to the country for interrogation.
In the past few months, the present administration has increased the tempo of its hunt for public funds suspected to have either been looted from government coffers, especially during the immediate past administration.
Already, many serving and retired military officers, including former service chiefs as well as top politicians have been interrogated by the anti-graft agency.
Government sources have since disclosed that some of those involved have returned part of their loots in a bid to escape prosecution and public ridicule. Similarly, many push buildings belonging to some of those under investigation have been sealed in many parts of the country.

Credit: Sun

Supreme Court Sacking Report Entirely False- Stella Oduah

Anambra Senator and Former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, has debunked reports that the Supreme Court has nullified her election into the Senate.

There had been reports earlier on Friday that the Supreme Court had sacked two Senators from Anambra State, Stella Oduah and Andy Uba, nearly two months after a third Senator from the state, Uche Ekwunife, was sacked.

This was following the Supreme Court ruling which re-affirmed the chairmanship of Ejike Oguebego as the authentic State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State.

The Supreme Court also declared the list of candidates submitted by the Ken Emekayi-faction illegal.

But in an interview with Channels Television to clarify the implication of the judgement on her election into the Senate, Oduah said, “In all its entirety, it is false.

“I have gone through the court judgment and the judge clearly did not give any judgement to that effect.

“Indeed, what the judgment and the case is all about is state exco and as we all know, state exco do not do election, neither do they submit list.

“So the issue of emergence of candidate, and the issue of candidates that won election was not the issue of this particular case.”

She added that there is a “sister case” for which the Supreme Court has given a similar judgment but they were not related.

“The Judge was very clear on its judgment and it clearly says its not about who emerges or the election but about the legality of the excos,” she said.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Apology To Buhari: Kanu’s Family, Lawyer, IPOB, Dismiss Report As Big Lie

The father of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and the traditional ruler of Afaraukwu autonomous community, His Royal Majesty Eze Israel Kanu has dismissed the report that his son has apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari for calling him a terrorist and a pedophile. Also, Mr. Vincent Obetta, the lawyer to the detained IPOB leader, on Wednesday, said it was impossible that the Radio Biafra director tendered an apology to President Buhari.

The IPOB on the other hand on Wednesday also refuted media reports that its detained leader, and director of its radio had apologised to President Buhari. Kanu’s father described the alleged apology as the handiwork of the enemies of the struggles for Biafran emancipation, saying that his son has never regretted his actions for the liberation of his marginalized people. Eze Kanu said this in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, on Wednesday, adding that his son has no reason to apoligise to anybody as he was fighting a just cause and has not has violated any law.

The monarch added that he was not surprised at such fabrications and reiterated his son’s resolve to not give up the fight for a sovereign state of Biafra particularly as it was the wish of the people. He restated his unwavering support for his son and advised those in authority to stop trying to project him in bad light through the internet even as he warned media houses against collaborating with the Federal Government to portray his son in a bad light and ultimately frustrate the agitation for independent Biafra.

He maintained that such efforts will fail. The traditional ruler used the opportunity to renew his appeal to President Buhari to free his son, insisting that his son has done nothing to warrant his unlawful detention even against the judgments of courts of competent jurisdiction. Meanwhile, Mr. Vincent Obetta, lawyer to the IPOB leader, while denying that Kanu apologised to President Buhari, said reports of the IPOB leader’s apology were proof that government was trying to use all instruments at its disposal to “puncture” the campaign for the actualization of Biafra. “The alleged apology is not true. The government is using every instrument to puncture what we are doing,” he said.

Similarly, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra [IPOB] has refuted media reports that its detained leader, and director of its radio had apologised to President Buhari for allegedly referring to him as a terrorist. IPOB in a press statement issued in Umuahia, dismissed the media report as a blatant lie and cheap propaganda by its sponsors to create the wrong impression that Kanu is backing out of the Biafran project. The statement which was signed by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, accused the Federal Government of planting the said report to dampen the morals of Kanu’s followers and other Biafran agitators.

The IPOB spokesman said: “It is an insult to the entire Biafran Republic for anyone to expect any apology from Kanu over his activities towards facilitating Biafra’s autonomy”. The group also accused the media outfit which carried the said report of serving as a propaganda machinery of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to cause disaffection among Biafrans.

Credit: DailyTimes

How Ekweremadu Others Withdrew N8 Billion In Failed Constitution Amendment- Report

Fresh details have emerged on how members of the National Assembly Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution withdrew N7.75 billion purportedly to amend Nigerian constitution.

A report by Premium Times had last week exposed how the federal lawmakers collected the money in tranches to purportedly alter the document between 2011 and 2015, but which former President Goodluck Jonathan refused to sign into law.

While the 49-member Senate Committee on Constitution Review led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, withdrew a total N4,500,000.00 for the exercise, the 53-member House of Representatives Committee headed by the former Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, spent N3,250,000,000.00.

The documents, exclusively obtained, also showed that the Committee withdrew money from its account few days before the 2015 general elections. The presidential and National Assembly elections held on March 28.

While on March 2, it withdrew N83.33m, it withdrew the same amount 21 days later, precisely on March 23. Yet, on April 13, two days after the governorship election, it withdrew another N83.33m.

The fresh documents exclusively obtained which exposed bank transactions showed that the two committees transferred various sums of money from two National Assembly accounts – 321/212/606/1/1/0 and 321/212/606/1/1/3 domiciled in Guarantee Trust Bank to their own accounts in different banks.

While the House Committee transferred funds to its account in Zenith Bank, its counterpart in the Senate transferred monies to its three accounts domiciled in Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank), Oceanic Bank (now EcoBank) and United Bank for Africa.

According to the documents, the House Committee transferred to its Zenith Bank account N500m on December 16, 2011; N500m on May 17, 2012; N250m on August 6, 2013; and N250m on November 11, 2013; N250m on February 20, 2014; N250m on May 27, 2014; N250m on August 21, 2014; N166.5m on a date not specified; N83.5m on December 5, 2014; and N83.33 on March 2, 2015.

The committee, on different occasions, also withdrew huge amounts in cash, serially violating Nigerian money laundering law.

Part 1, Subsection 1 of the Money Laundering Act 2011 provides that “No person or body corporate shall, except in a transaction through a financial institution, make or accept cash payment of a sum exceeding- (a) N5,000,000.00 or its equivalent, in the case of an individual; or (b)N10,000,000.00 or its equivalent in the case of a body corporate.”

It withdrew N250m on October 29, 2012; N250m on May 8, 2013; N83.33m on March 23, 2015 and another N83.33m on April 13, 2015.

The Senate Committee, the documents revealed, transferred the sum of N125m on April 21, 2010 to Bank PHB; N250m on June 10, 2010 to Oceanic Bank; N125m on a date not specified; to Oceanic Bank and N250m on October 13, 2010 to Bank PHB. The transactions were made before the Committee was inaugurated in the 7th Assembly in 2011

It also transferred N250m on a date not specified to Oceanic Bank; N250m on February 9, 2011to Bank PHB; N500m on December 16, 2011 to Bank PHB; N250m on May 17, 2012 to Bank PHB; N250m on July 23, 2013 to Keystone Bank, N250m on November 5, 2013 to Keystone Bank; N250m on February 5, 2014 to Keystone; N250m on May 22, 2014 to Keystone; N250m on August 18, 2014 to Keystone; N166.6m on November 25, 2014 to Keystone; N83.4 on December 5, 2014 to Keystone; and N83.33m on February 27, 2015 to Keystone.

It further withdrew N250m on April 20, 2012; N250m on February 27, 2013; N250m on May 8, 2013; N83.33m on March 17, 2015; and N83.33 on a date not specified, in cash.

This again was a clear violation of Nigeria’s money laundering law.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Report Uncovers Shocking Figures Allegedly Embezzled Out Of Nigeria In 9 Year

Over $7.8 trillion was siphoned from the world’s developing and emerging economies between 2004 and 2013, and over $17.8 billion (about N3.4 trillion) of that amount, was from Nigeria, a new report on global illicit financial flows has said.

Nigeria is among the world’s top 20 countries with the biggest losses from skewed financial transactions, the report noted.

South Africa leads the pack in Africa with $209.22 billion lost over the period. It occupies the seventh position on global ranking.

Globally, China leads with $1.39trillion, followed by Russia ($1.05trillion), Mexico ($528.44billion), India ($510.29billion), Malaysia ($418.54billion) and Brazil ($226.67billion), Thailand ($191.77billion) and Indonesia $180.71billion.

Others include Kazakhstan ($167.40billion), Turkey ($154.50billion), Venezuela ($123.94billion), Ukraine ($116.76billion), Costa Rica ($113.46bilion), Iraq ($105.01billion), Azerbaijan ($95.00billion), Vietnam ($92.94billion), Philippines ($90.25billion) and Poland ($90.02billion).

Illicit financial flows are transactions involving the transfer of the proceeds from the exploitation of the resources from a particular region to another, either through money laundering and other illegal means, or commercial activities, without the commensurate value in returns.

The report published on Wednesday by Global Financial Integrity, GFI, a Washington DC-based research and advisory group, said illicit financial flows from developing and emerging economies, which stood at just $465.3 billion in 2004, rose sharply to $1.1 trillion in 2013 alone.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Report Accuses Okonjo-Iweala For Illegally Approving Sum From Abacha Loot To Dasuki Few Weeks Before Presidential Election

The immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, illegally approved the transfer of at least N61.4 billion ($300 million and £5.5 million) from funds recovered from late dictator, Sani Abacha, to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, few weeks to the 2015 presidential election, Premium Times report.

The former Minister signed off on the transfer but then closed her eyes to how the funds were spent, requesting then President Goodluck Jonathan to directly demand accountability from Mr. Dasuki, according to documents seen by this newspaper.

The funds were never appropriated before they were transferred, a clear violation of Nigeria’s fiscal responsibility law.

Mr. Dasuki, alongside the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and founder of DAAR communications, owners of Africa Independent Television and Raypower radio network, Raymond Dokpesi, are being investigated for their roles in the disbursement of $2.1 billion and N643 billion meant for the procurement of arms to fight the raging insurgency in Nigeria’s north east region.

The recovered Abacha loot are funds returned to the Nigerian government from monies stolen from the country’s treasury by Mr. Abacha.

It is not clear whether these funds in question were part of the arms procurement funds for which Mr Dasuki is being investigated.

But a letter signed by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, seen by Premium Times, showed that 50 per cent of the recently recovered Abacha loot was allotted for “urgent security need” such as the procurement of arms and ammunition while the other half was set aside to be used for development purposes.

The letter, dated January 20, 2015, which was addressed to Mr Jonathan revealed that the money was transferred following a January 12, 2015 request by the office of the NSA under Mr Dasuki for funds for the procurement of arms and ammunition as well as intelligence equipment.

“Please find a request by the National Security Adviser (NSA) for the transfer of $300 million and £5.5 million of the recovered Abacha funds to an ONSA [Office of the National Security Adviser] operations account,” the letter read.

Credit: PremiumTimes

“Jay Z Tired Of Being Beyonce’s Bi*ch”, Report Gives Exclusive Insight Into New Divorce Rumour

Beyonce and Jay Z have been the victims of divorce rumors for years, and a new report suggests they could be true by revealing they are living in separate areas of their new Beverly Hills mansion.

A member of their staff told Radar Online: “Jay Z and Beyonce each have their own bedrooms. They are on opposite sides of a long hallway with Blue Ivy’s room in between them.”

Perhaps one of them has a snoring problem and the other one really needs to sleep? Separate bedrooms don’t necessarily mean there’s a relationship problem.

The pair was inundated with divorce rumors during their “On The Run” tour in 2014. Queen B’s father, Matthew Knowles, claimed the pair was in on the gossip in order to sell more tickets. Beyonce and Jay Z wed in 2008, and the songstress gave birth to their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, in January 2012.

When the couple moved into their new Beverly Hills rental home in November, the staff witnessed them having “explosive fights,” according to the publication.

An insider previously told Radar: “Beyonce blew up at Jay Z for no reason and was barking orders at everyone like she was the first person to ever move into a new home.

“They got into a huge fight in front of everyone over how he is handling the move. He told her that they only reason they chose this place to begin with is because it is what she wanted, not him. He told her that he is really sick and tired of being her b***h.”

Credit: starpulse

Lion Escapes Unfenced Jos Zoo During Feeding Routine

A tweep reports that a lion is on the loose in Jos. The tweep claims that the lion escaped from his confinement at the Jos Wild Life Park, in Jos South local government of Plateau State.

Mr John Doy, the Acting General Manager, Plateau Toursim Corporation,  confirms the report saying the lion escaped “at about 8 a.m. while it was being fed”.

Doy said that the lion, which had been caged since 1972,“ slipped through the gate of the cage when it was opened for its routine feeding”.

“The animal is still within the vicinity of the Park but our fear is that the Park is not fenced.

“We are struggling to recapture it, but we want members of the public to be vigilant,” he said.

Weapons Used In Paris Attacks Bought From German Dealer- Report

Four assault rifles used in the deadly Paris attacks were allegedly purchased from a trafficker in Germany, newspaper Bild reported Friday.

Quoting documents from the Stuttgart prosecutor’s office, the newspaper said two AK47s and two Zastava M70s were sold on November 7 by the arms dealer to a customer in Paris.

“French investigators believe that the weapons were allegedly used in the attacks in Paris,” said Bild.

The Stuttgart prosecutor was not immediately available for comment.

According to Bild, German police on November 16 arrested a 34-year-old man named Sascha W. from the southern city of Magstadt on suspicion of the illegal weapons trade.

The suspect is accused of having hawked the weapons on Darknet — a hidden network used for both licit and illicit ends — using the name “DW Guns”.

Four emails on his smartphone show that he sold “four Kalashnikovs assault rifles to an Arab in Paris”, added the newspaper.

During a raid at the suspect’s house, police also found 16 other firearms, Bild said.

Credit: Vanguard

Nigerian Army Confirms Missing Soldiers Report, Says Report Is Faulty

Premium Times reported that at least 105 soldiers including their commanding officer were feared missing after the attack on Wednesday.

The spokesperson for the Nigeria Army, Sani Usman, is said to have called a PremiumTimes reporter to confirm the incident.

“I want to confirm the incidence at Gudunbali but the details you provided were not correct, and Baga has never been attacked,” Mr. Usman said on telephone.

“The unit attacked is within the area of responsibility of the MNJTF and troops are now organizing to counter the attack,” he said.

He said the Theatre Command of the 7 Division would provide the details of the attack during a press conference arranged later today in Maiduguri.

Credit: PremiumTimes

At Least 105 Nigerian Soldiers, Commanding Officer Feared Missing After Fierce Gun Battle With Boko Haram- Report

Premium Times reports that at least 105 soldiers of the 157 Battalion, including their commanding officer, are feared missing after they came under intense attack from Boko Haram insurgents at Gudunbali, Borno State, on Wednesday, military sources say.

According to one of our sources, the terrorists also captured a T-72 tank as well as several artillery weapons from the unit.

“Gudunbali was attacked this morning and some weapons were captured from the battalion. Two officers and 105 soldiers are still missing,” our source said.

“They captured a T-72 tank from the unit and some artillery weapons were also captured. The commanding Officer (CO) of the battalion is yet to be seen but no one has been confirmed dead yet,” the source added.

Another source however said the T-72 tank was recovered after a prolonged fight with Boko Haram insurgents. The gunner and tank commander were injured in the process, he said.

Also reportedly captured by the insurgents were eight vehicles, a truck loaded with 60,000 rounds of AA ammunition and three artillery pieces.

Similarly, soldiers of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) stationed at Baga, Borno State also recently came under attack. The attack occurred in Geringiwa at about four kilometres to the headquarters of MNJTF.

According to a source, the military has been unable to completely clear the insurgents from Baga and nearby towns due to inadequate equipment.

Source explained that the equipment recently provided by the military hierarchy were inadequate and were not enough to go round to all units involved in the war against the insurgents.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Report Reveals Salary Of ISIS Fighters As French Jihadists Narrate Life In Islamic State

A new report compiling testimonies from French jihadists about their life with the Islamic State has revealed what salary ISIS pays its fighters, what a combatant’s daily life looks like and why some chose to return to Europe.

The document, named Recruitment, Itinerary and Activities of French Fighters was sent to every magistrate investigating terrorism in the country at the beginning of October.

In it, officers of the Direction des Affaires Criminelles et des Grâces (the department of criminal matters and pardons, DACG), have compiled testimonies of French fighters being investigated after their return from the Iraqi-Syrian region, according to Le Monde.

Jihadists described how routes into Syria have widely diversified since the conflict began. In order to “cover their tracks” some French jihad candidates now fly to Istanbul from neighboring countries such as Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain.

Others travel by road to Antakya (also known as the former town of Antioch), a city in south-east Turkey, just 12 miles from the Syrian border.

On arrival at the Turco-Syrian border, the future jihadists explained how they were taken care of by either other jihadists – some French – or most commonly by smugglers, who they pay between €100 (£74, $114) and €200 to take them either by foot or in a van into Syria.

According to the testimonies, the border crossings “do not seem to pose any difficulties other than climbing barbed wires.”

Read Morebusinessinsider

Buhari Withdraws Ministerial Nominee

President Muhammadu Buhari has withdrawn the name of immediate past Deputy Governor of Niger State, Ahmed Musa Ibeto.

The President has sent a letter to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, notifying him of the withdrawal of Ibeto.

Exclusive report provides that the letter will be read at the floor of the Senate before screening commence on Wednesday.

Ahmed Musa Ibeto (Santurakin Kontagora) was born on January 15, 1959 at Ibeto headquarters of Ibelu District of Kontagora Emirate in Niger State.


Chris Brown Spits Fire On TMZ’s Boss Over Gay Pride Gig Report

Ok guys, CB is not happy this time.

Chris Brown expressed utmost displeasure over a report on TMZ regarding a beef between him (his agency) and a gay pride organization. Click here to read full report.

Chris Brown took to his instagram page to spit fire on TMZ’S boss, Harvey Levin, who is also gay. He frowned at their “effort” to make him seem homophobic and said he has no intention to run for president anytime soon, hence no need for scandals. See his Instagram post below:


Buhari Demands Detailed Report On NITEL Sale

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday demanded a comprehensive report on the sale of the Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd (NITEL).

The president, who gave this directive when the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Communications Technology, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, and some top officials of the ministry briefed him in Aso Rock, said he was concerned by the continuing protests of former NITEL employees and other Nigerians over the manner in which the company’s assets were sold.

Read Moreleadership

Study Shows West African Diet Is Healthiest In The World

The people of West Africa do not have enough food to eat. The percentage of the population that is malnourished is higher in Sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world. But when it comes to quality, a new study has found that the West African diet is healthier than the diets of many other places on the planet. And it’s one point that the rest of the world should look at more closely.

For the study, researchers ranked self-reported diet surveys from 187 countries on the basis of nutrition. They evaluated the surveys based on the consumption of healthy foods — fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish and milk — as well the prevalence of unhealthy foods such as red meats, processed meats, sugary beverages, saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium.

The result? As a whole, the world is eating more healthy foods than ever before. But we’re also eating a lot of foods that are horrible for us. And the winner for the diet with the most healthy components and the least junk goes to the nations of West Africa, namely Chad, Gambia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire. It turns out, the West African diet of lean meats, vegetables, beans, legumes and rice trumps the kale chips and asparagus water sold as “health foods” in many developed nations. The nations of West Africa ranked better on the survey than wealthier countries across North America and Europe.

To be sure, we are doing a better job in this country of eating healthier foods like fruits, veggies and lean meats. But we cancel out those healthy foods every time we serve them up with a side of bacon or hit the drive-thru for fries after work. And it’s not just our American penchant to super-size our meals that has us in trouble. The same pattern was seen in developed nations around the world. Consumption of healthy foods has increased, but it can’t compete with the skyrocketing demand for junk food.


Transition Committee Lied on Report, Says Jang

Former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah David Jang has described the report of the transition committee set up by the incumbent Governor of the state, Mr Simon Lalong, in which he was alleged to have left a debt of N222.3bn as untrue.

He insistied that he left debts and liabilities of N103.9b.Observing the new debt figure paraded by the committee as mischievously manufactured, a statement signed by Barrister Olivia Dazyem, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, said the comprehensive breakdown of the debt is well documented in the handover notes and leaves no one in doubt.

He therefore urged the committee to go back and study the handover notes properly.

Describing the committee’s report as “a clear distortion and manipulation of facts, aimed at personal vendetta, witch-hunt and smearing the good name and achievements of the outgone PDP government led by Dr. Jonah David Jang”, Dazyem said “a quick look at the compositions of the committees reveals that they were deliberately selected and made up of persons that have grudges with the immediate past administration.”


New Governors To Watch- Report

Nasir el-Rufa’i (Kaduna State)

Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i of Kaduna State is one of the new governors that the citizenry is expecting to make serious impact in governance. Apparently aware of the huge responsibility that rests on his shoulders, the governor declared during his swearing -in that “We pledge to avoid ostentation and foolish bigmanism, and to value transparency, modesty and accountability.”

He kick-started by forfeiting 50 per cent of his salary pending when the financial situation of the state improves, the pay cut also affects the Deputy Governor, Mr. Barnabas Bala, while cutting down on the number of commissioners including the declaration that the administration would “guarantee free and compulsory basic education for every child up to JS3, regardless of gender, religion or ethnicity.

On security, the governor promised to work with law enforcement officials to drastically reduce violent crime in the state including “communal violence, cattle-rustling and armed robbery.” if the successes recorded during his time in the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and Ministry of the Federal Capital is anything to go by, the people of Kaduna state are in for a big treat.

Abdullhai Umar Ganduje (Kano State)

Since the return of democracy in 1999, the name of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has always been heard in corridors of the Kano state government House. Having been a two-time deputy governor in the first and second coming of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2015, a lot is also expected of him.

In view of the dwindling resources and as part of efforts to reduce cost of governance, the governor is rationalizing Ministries and other agencies in the state in order to reduce the cost of governance, as well as to increase its internally generated revenue.

Ganduje has promised that his administration will complete all inherited on-going projects and initiate new ones even as he added that priority attention would be given to environmental sanitation in view of its importance in the scheme of things. This has led to a contest between local governments across the state to contest on which will emerge the cleanest.

Muhammadu Abubakar (Jigawa State)

Governor Muhammadu Abubakar’s private sector background may be a breath of fresh air for Jigawa state as he is eager to justify the mandate given to him. After his swearing in, governor Abubakar declared that he is going to ignore the debt profile inherited from the past administration asserting that “debt should not hold down government and governance.

He also invited technocrats and business tycoons, notable is Aliko Dangote, who has even promised to start a Sugar and rice factory which will create jobs and boost internally generated revenue for the state. The vibrant youths in the state are not left out as the administration is re-engineering the youth empowerment programme so that it trickles down to the very people it was intended for, irrespective of political affiliations and without unnecessary protocols.

Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar (Bauchi State)

In what looks like taking a leaf from his counterpart in Kaduna state, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, after taking over the reins of government, in a state-wide broadcast announced 50 percent reduction in his salary alongside that of his deputy Engineer Nuhu Gidado. This, he said, is done in good faith as a mark of leadership by example apparently to provide the best leadership to the people of the state and in keeping with his campaign promises.

He also dissolved the council care-taker chairmen of 20 LGAs including heads of boards and parastatals, froze all government accounts in every bank, suspended pending transactions except for MDAs with essential services who were, directed to apply from the governor’s office, and suspended the resignation of civil servants from the services of Bauchi state government all in a bid to ensure equity and accountability in the business of government.

While promising to tackle the enormous challenges facing the state, the governor said he will institute a robust monitoring and evaluation framework in the areas of both service and project delivery audit to ensure better planning, prioritization and implementation of policy and programmes of the government.

Simon Lalong (Plateau State)

One Governor who is likely to bring the desired democratic change to his state in no time from now is Simon Lalong of Plateau State. Lalong, whose emergence as governor of the state marked the end of the over three-decade rule of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), spoke hope into Plateauans when he said “The policy thrust of our administration will anchor on peace, security and good governance, human capital development and social welfare.”

Lalong is one of the governors who inherited huge debt and social crisis; yet he appeared undeterred in his resolve to bring the state of peace which has not known peace for a long time out of the wood: in his inaugural speech, he urged the unpaid striking workers to suspend their action, promising them a better deal from his administration.

Without wasting time, Lalong has swung into action; he has appealed to the police as well as the Fulani and Berom community leaders to end the incessant attacks on innocent citizens in the state. And the State has enjoyed relative peace in the last three weeks of Lalong’s reign.

If his grand plan for commerce and trade in a peaceful atmosphere is prosecuted to the latter, there is no way Lalong will not make the list of best governors at the end of his tenure.

Darius Dickson Ishaku (Taraba State)

To say that there are high expectations before Governor Darius Ishaku is an understatement owing to the state record in the past few years. Infact, Ishaku had, on one of his campaign tours across the 16 local government areas of the state, assured the people he would ‘rescue Taraba’ from its socioeconomic, infrastructural and security challenges if voted in.

Ishaku promised to rescue Taraba State from the stranglehold of illiteracy, disease, poverty, unemployment and social vices while assuring that his administration will harness the potentials and endowments in agriculture, tourism and commerce and industries, as well as pay attention to education, health, water and sanitation and strategic infrastructure, using leverage from development partners and engaging public-private-partnership (PPP) option.

Abubakar Bello Sani (Niger):

Given the inaugural speech and the commitment of a true compatriot professed by the just sworn in Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, immediately he took the oath of office exactly three weeks ago, many would have been convinced that the people of the 39-year-old state will be among the top beneficiaries of the political wind of change that have started blowing across Nigeria.

Referring to himself as a change agent, Governor Bello says his immediate concern is to make an impact: “I see myself as a Change Agent-whose primary mission is to chart an effective and sustainable development path for the State….”

Bello made passionate promises of a better living standard for the people of the state which include among other things, charting an effective and sustainable development path for the state, running a transparent and people focused government, leading by example, proper assessment and management of the state’s resources, repositioning the civil service for optimal performance.

His determination to bring to an end the 16-year rule of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, with a focus on Education, Healthcare and Youth empowerment, will definitely place him among the best performing governors in due course. Now the die is cast; the Governor has started with appointing principal officers of his administration. Nigerians are eagerly waiting and hoping for the best that is to come.

Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos State):

it is not in doubt as to the fact that Ambode ran one of the most vibrant campaigns in the view of many stakeholders in one of the largest states of the federation. In an interesting twist of fate, the governor, born on June 14, 1963, became the 14th governor of Lagos State. Even though he inherited what is arguably one of the best performing states before the general elections, the reality that poverty still pervades the land is not in doubt.

On assumption of office, Ambode created three totally new offices to project his development plan for the state; the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment and Office of Civic Engagement came into being.

Going forward, he has promised to “run an open government of inclusion that will not leave anyone behind. No matter your age, sex, tribe or any other status, as long as you reside in Lagos”, knowing how fierce the period of politicking was, he also pledged to make Lagos work.

Read Moreleadership

Osinbajo Was Never Excluded From National Security Meetings- Report

More details are now emerging about the purported exclusion of the Vice President from some National Security Council meetings held so far, days after the presidency formally denied the false speculations describing them as “the creation of someone who just wanted to write something”.

Informed presidency sources said the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo was actually informed and invited to the meeting by the President himself, and that due to other pressing engagements and commitments of the presidency, the VP had to be present at other events, including a foreign trip to Sudan.

According to sources, “there was no way the Vice President would be excluded from a meeting for which it was the President himself that told him about it and requested him to attend in line with the law of the land, but as things turn out there were other events requiring the attention of at least the President or the Vice President at the same time.”

Some of the media outlets that reported and republished the false story includes naij.com, dailypost.ng and a foreign paper, International Business Times.

No major Nigerian or international media organization published the story

Sources close to Mr. Osinbajo said they believe some outgoing political appointees of the PDP administration still in the presidency were responsible for planting the falsehood in the media in order to cause disaffection among the Nigerian people, hoping to spur an early crisis for the new Buhari presidency.

Read Morepremiumtimesng

Former Gov. Lamido Of Jigawa Returns To Report At EFCC On Thursday

Alhaji Sule Lamido, the immediate past Governor of Jigawa, on Monday, returned to the country from his foreign trip and promised to visit the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Thursday.

Lamido stated this while speaking with newsmen in his Bamaina village in Birninkudu Local Government area of the state. He said that EFCC was anti graft agency of the government, recognised by law, therefore, he would not shun the invitation. “I am aware of the invitation.’’

According to him, he is always willing to honour this kind of invitation even when he is a governor that enjoys immunity. Lamido, however, said he would not join issues with the incumbent governor on the debt he left before leaving office.

It would be recalled that there was a conflicting figure on the debt inherited by APC-led government in the state. The former governor said that while leaving office, he held a special council meeting, where he briefed the press on the liabilities he left.


Group Wants Badeh, Minimah To Step Aside Over Amnesty International Report

A human rights advocacy group, Access to Justice, has called on the Chiefs of Army and Defence Staff to step aside to allow an impartial investigation into allegations of war crimes levelled against the Nigerian military in a new report by Amnesty International.

In a statement Sunday, the group called on Alex Badeh and Kenneth Minimah, the Chiefs of Defence and Army Staff respectively to immediately step down from office or proceed on compulsory leave to make way for investigations into the allegations contained in the AI report.

“All the serving military officers named in the AI report (must) proceed on compulsory leave from their current duties to safeguard against risks of interference with any investigations that would be conducted into the allegations,” Access to Justice said in the statement signed by Joseph Otteh and Jessica Imuekemhe, Executive Director and Programme Officer respectively.

Read Morepremiumtimesng

Nigerian Military Blasts Amnesty International, Says Report Is “Concocted, Biased”

The Defence Headquarters has noted with dismay the gruesome allegations made by the Amnesty International against some senior military officers serving and retired of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

It is unfortunate that all effort made in the allegation was geared towards continuation of blackmail against the military hierarchy in which the organisation had embarked upon as far back as the inception of military’s action against terrorist in the North East.

The officers mentioned in the report have no reason, whatsoever, to indulge in the allegation made against them. It is unfortunate that the organisation just went out to gather names of specified senior officers, in a calculated attempt to rubbish their reputation as well as the image of the military. The action, no doubt, depicts more of a premeditated indictment aimed at discrediting the country for whatever purpose.

Each of the previous allegations had been thoroughly responded to and cleared in the public and officially. The title down to the body of the allegation smacks of the extreme bias, which is disturbing coming from an otherwise reputable organisation that is expected to be just and fair to all. Unfortunately in this case, has taken a premeditated position, which is far from noble.

It is curious that a body that has never been able to seriously condemn terror in Nigeria now claims to have done an extensive research with the aim of discrediting the nation’s effort at curtailing terror.

It is clear that Amnesty International (AI) becomes more active in presenting distractive allegations whenever the terrorists are losing ground in the battle. It is very unfortunate that Amnesty International has used this report to further confirm its questionable interest in the counter-terrorism effort in Nigeria.

It will be recalled that the Joint Investigation Team was set up by the Defence Headquarters as part and parcel of efforts to ensure that no detainee suffer unjustly. The detention facilities were thrown open for visits and inspections by independent bodies such as International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international organisations and personalities.

Amnesty International is advised to stop playing the role of an irritant coming up loudly only when the terrorists are losing out and remaining silent or complacent whenever the terrorist heightens its atrocities. It is unfair to persist in effort to discredit Nigerian military by seeking all avenues to stigmatise individual officers of the nation’s military purely to satisfy an agenda against the security agencies and image of Nigeria before the international community.

The Nigerian Armed Forces is quite conscious of the fact that the operation has prompted the need to save citizens from abuse of their rights by mindless terrorists. Accordingly, the forces have continued to state and restate its commitment to the rights of Nigerians and all its citizens while prosecuting its anti-terrorism campaign. It is very unfortunate that Amnesty International has chosen to ignore all the responses and clarifications provided to its enquires by the authorities.

It is unfair to rely on records or reports provided by certain disgruntled elements or faceless collaborators who have axe to grind with the system as evidence against officers who have been conscientiously doing their duty to defend the nation and her citizens.

For avoidance of doubt, the Nigerian military does not encourage or condone abuse of human rights neither will any proven case be left unpunished. The kind of impunity being alleged by Amnesty International has no place in the Nigerian military. Every officer in the field is responsible for his action and is duly held accountable. So far, no allegation has been sufficiently proved against those whom Amnesty International is so desperate to convict.

The statistics are largely spurious or manipulated to satisfy a clandestine motive. Indeed, the loud publicity given to these damning allegations suggests an intention to blackmail the military and particular senior officers rather than a sincere advice to the government. This cruel tendency is not new, despite the timing.

The Nigerian military therefore rejects the biased and concocted report provided by Amnesty International. Additional definite response will be provided subsequently as deemed necessary.


Jonathan Has “Great Interest” In NNPC Audit Report- Auditor General

The Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), Samuel Ukura, on Tuesday blamed the inability of his office to publish the report of the forensic audit on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the missing $20 billion oil fund on presidential interest.

He said the the Goodluck Jonathan presidency had far more special interest in the matter than his own office and the auditors. Several months after PriceWaterhouseCoopers Limited completed investigations into the allegation of unremitted oil revenues, the report was not released to the public despite demands by Nigerians.

On Sunday, April 27, President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, had threatened that his administration would probe the allegations on assumption of office. Apparently reacting to Mr. Buhari’s threat, President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday ordered immediate release of the report to Nigerians.

Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, said the decision to release of the full report was to demonstrate that the present administration had nothing to hide over the matter. But in a response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by PREMIUM TIMES, the AuGF blamed the long delay by his office in releasing the full audit report on the Presidency.

In response to this newspaper’s request for the document, days before the presidency released it, Mr. Ukura said he was not in a position to release the report because the presidency has “great interest” in the information contained therein. “After a careful review of the information, it is my considered opinion that the Presidency has a great interest in the information,” the auditor general said through his representative, Uche Okafor-Agbi.

He therefore advised PREMIUM TIMES to redirect its request for the report to the presidency which had custody of the document. “You may wish to channel your application accordingly,” Mr. Ukura said.

Mr. Ukura’s letter to PREMIUM TIMES was apparently dispatched hours before the presidency released the audit report but it arrived this newspaper’s office hours after the document had been made public.

Although the Constitution does not provide for the AuGF to submit audit reports to any arm of the executive, but to the National Assembly, Mr. Ukura, on February 5, presented highlights of the report, on the orders of the president.

Apparently deferring to the presidency, he failed to forward the report to the National Assembly as demanded by the Constitution.

The highlights had indicted the management of NNPC, demanding the refund of $1.48 billion by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NNPC upstream subsidiary, for various unreconciled transactions.

In his letter to PREMIUM TIMES, the auditor-general said under the Federal Civil Service Rules, the audit report was carried out by PwC as an assurance engagement in which the reporting channel was duly spelt out in the international auditing standard.

Under the circumstance, he said neither his office nor the auditing firm had greater interest in releasing the information in accordance with the FOI Act 2011.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Our Report Is A Review, Not A Forensic Audit- PWC

The forensic audit conducted by Price WaterhouseCoopers, PWC, on NNPC to ascertain the veracity of the alleged missing $20 billion from the Federation account is generating furore and counter claims among stakeholders. PWC had qualified the audit saying it did not obtain needed information from NPDC a subsidiary of NNPC.

The qualification of the audit report has cast doubt on the reliability of the report. A source who has a working knowledge of the audit report at PriceWaterhouse told Vanguard that what the auditors did was a review and not a forensic audit. He said “It is not an auditing job.

It is a review of what has happened and you are expected to present a report. The qualification in the audit report is a normal qualification. When you are given a job there are procedures for doing the job based on agreement with the client.

So you want to put a caveat so that others would not use  it or rely on it for decision making. It is also to protect the company from any legal  action that may arise from the job.”

President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, Mr. Chidi Onyeukwu Ajaegbu (FCA) told Vanguard that an account is qualified when the auditors do not agree with the auditee on some issues. He said there are two levels of qualifying an account: modification and actual qualification.

He said the qualification could be expressed on strong terms or mild terms, adding that a qualified account calls for further instigation. Ajaegbu said the NNPC case is that of material qualification where a unit being audited did not provide the needed material substance.

He said the reason given by PWC was enough to qualify the account, adding that auditors qualify accounts to shield themselves from blame by potential users of the account when they discovered some misstatement or representation in the account.

Read More

Missing $20billion: Our Audit Report Not Reliable- PricewaterhouseCoopers

The much anticipated report of the forensic audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, operations on the missing $20 billion oil money may not amount to much after all, with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the audit firm that conducted the probe, saying it cannot vouch for the integrity of its findings.

In a startling introductory letter addressed to Nigeria’s Auditor General, the audit firm said findings in its 199-page report were limited to available information and did not constitute a review in accordance with generally accepted standards.

“The procedures we performed did not constitute an examination or a review in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards or attestation standards,” the firm said.

“Accordingly, we provide no opinion, attestation or other form of assurance with respect to our work or the information upon which our work was based,” it added.

The report and all accompanying deliverables, the company pointed out, were “solely for the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation, for their internal use and benefit and not intended to, nor may they be relied upon, by any other third party.

The firm concluded that the NNPC should refund to the government a minimum of $1.48 billion of missing oil funds, a figure many Nigerians believe is smaller than the likely actual figure.

The report however gave no strong and independent opinion of its findings despite saying the investigation was carried out using forensic techniques.

The firm instead listed a series of potential factors that could render its findings implausible, saying it had no access to the full account of some relevant agencies like NPDC, the upstream petroleum industry subsidiary of the NNPC.

The firm said where it lacked data, it turned to details of earlier investigations carried out by the Nigerian Senate, which all but cleared the NNPC, and the petroleum ministry of any wrongdoing.

“We did not obtain any information directly from NPDC, but in accordance with NPDC former Managing Director’s (Mr Briggs Victor) submission to the Senate Committee hearing on the subject matter, for the period, NPDC generated $5.11billion (net of royalties and petroleum profits tax paid),” the firm said.

Read Morepremiumtimesng

Jonathan Orders Release Of Missing $20 bn Report

President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the immediate release of the full audit report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, accused of diverting $20 billion oil money.

The president gave the directive Monday, a day after the president-elect Muhammadu Buhari, pledged to launch an investigation into the claim made by a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi.

The government immediately released the report following the president’s directive. The presidency criticised the All Progressives Congress, APC, for accusing Mr. Jonathan of indulging in last minute illegal acts ahead of handover of power on May 29.

“President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 Billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure,” said a statement by presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati.

“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter.”

Read full statement from the president’s office:

We have noted with concern, the allegation by the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lai Mohammed that officials of the Federal Government are engaged in “last minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatization of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service”.

We also consider as most unfortunate and uncharitable, the suggestion by Mohammed that the Jonathan Administration is trying to “tie the hands” of the incoming government merely by continuing to discharge its constitutional responsibilities until the end of its tenure.

The Jonathan Administration which continues to do its best to ensure a smooth and peaceful handover over of power to the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, deeply regrets the unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in Mohammed’s statement.

President Jonathan has done his best in the past five years to discharge his constitutional responsibilities for good governance and effective leadership of the nation.

Without any prejudice whatsoever to the freedom of the incoming administration to do as it pleases, within the confines of extant laws when it assumes office, the Jonathan Administration will continue to discharge its responsibility to govern until May 29, 2015.

In continuing to fulfil the obligations of his office however, President Jonathan has not, and will never condone any form of unscrupulous conduct on the part of state officials.

President Jonathan will also never authorise any attempt to create any problems for the incoming administration as the APC spokesperson, who ought to know that the outcome of the March 28 presidential elections does not imply a cessation of governance, unjustly alleges.

As Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit.
We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present Administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation.

President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 Billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.

To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter.

Reuben Abati
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 27, 2015

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Granted 1Week Ultimatum to Report Forensic Audit

 Miffed by the uncounted $20 billion, the House of Representatives has Wednesday issued a one week ultimatum to the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to submit the report of the forensic audit.

The mandate followed a resolution, passed last week by the House at plenary which directed its Committee on Public Accounts, otherwise called PAC, to investigate the matter.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Solomon Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Lagos) while briefing Journalists on the matter stated that the report “must include the Initial Draft Report, the Executive Summary and Management/Internal Control Letters.”

Olamilekan noted that the “condensed version” of the report released to the public through a press conference addressed by the Auditor-General of the Federation with the highlight that Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should remit a minimum of $1.48 billion to the Federation Account had rather prompted the demand for complete report.

Credit: Vanguard