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Governor Yari Abubakar Replies Emir Sanusi Over Comments On Meningitis [VIDEO]

When the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, referred to the response of the Governor of Zamfara State over the outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis, it was clear he was stirring up a new debate on the matter.

Governor Abdulaziz Yari has responded to the comments made by the Emir, insisting that the comments were half-truth.

He also maintained that the outbreak of the disease indeed has a spiritual undertone.

“I stand by my words that if people do not change, God will not change for them. Therefore, I will answer the Emir perfectly and give him the Quran content of the Hadith where I belong to and where I have my fact.

“For instance, I made mention that in the past we have Type A, which vaccines have been brought and they have vaccinated over four million doses in 2011.

“We are now having Type B and Type C which they don’t even know. At the Centre for Disease Control in Chicago where we get our vaccines from, they only have five million,” he said.

Emir of Kano had on Wednesday, at the opening of the Kaduna State Economic and Investment Summit, criticised the statement credited to the Zamfara State Governor on meningitis, saying they were horrendous and “Islamically incorrect”.

 

Source: Channels TV

Kaspersky: North Korean hackers attack banks in Nigeria, 18 other countries

A Russian online cyber security firm, Kaspersky, Thursday, alleged that North Korean hackers are allegedly attacking banks in Nigeria and 17 other countries.

The organisation noted in its report that this could be regarded as the biggest bank heist in world history.

Reports said banks and security researchers had previously identified four similar cyber-heists attempt on financial institutions in Bangladesh, Ecuador, the Philippines and Vietnam.

But on Thursday, researchers at Kaspersky said the same hacking operation, known as “Lazarus”, also attacked financial institutions in Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia,
Poland, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay and Nigeria.

But the Central Bank of Nigeria has since said it was not aware of the development.

The new report is coming after more than a year-long investigation into the activity of “Lazarus”, the hacking group allegedly responsible for the theft of $81 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh last year.

The claims that North Korea could have been behind the attack has added to concerns that the country is becoming bolder in its cyber attacks against global financial institutions.

CNN reports that North Korea’s mysterious Lazarus hacking operation has been blamed for several large international cyber attacks in recent years.

Reserchers at Kaspersky said the hackers can be traced back to North Korea, adding that to hide their location, hackers typically launch cyber attacks from computer servers far from home.

The Lazarus hackers, according to Kaspersky, carefully routed their signal through France, South Korea and Taiwan to set up that attack server but a connection that briefly came from North Korea was spotted by Kaspersky.

Vitaly Kamluk, who leads Kaspersky’s Asia-Pacific research team, said, “North Korea is a very important part of this equation,” but the North Korean government has reportedly denied allegations of the hack.

Kaspersky Lab has, however, said despite the evidence of the North Korean IP address, it “is not enough proof to provide definitive attribution given that the connection session could have been a false flag operation.”

 

Source: Premium Times

Naval officers insist Admiral Ikoli’s death was an assassination, not suicide.

The late Rear Adm. Daniel Ikoli, the Fleet Commander, Western Naval Command, Lagos, who was found dead at his Apapa residence on April 5, did not kill himself, contrary to some media reports.

According to authoritative sources at the command, Ikoli may have been assassinated as he had no cause to kill himself.

“Ikoli has been penciled down by the President as the next Chief of Naval Staff; he recently earned a special promotion to his present rank from Commodore.

“Ikoli was a disciplined, gentle, straightforward and honest man, who had no regard for protocol. It is nothing but a murder case,’’ a source told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

The source also said that because of his performance as the Commander, NNS Beecroft, he was loved by all officers and the junior ones.

He said:“Ikoli transformed the place by introducing smart I.D. cards and increasing special duty allowance from N4, 000 to N12, 000.

“Everybody is aware that he was an introvert, but he made sure that things worked properly and he had respect for all and zero tolerance for corruption.

“He really complimented President Buhari on his anti-corruption war and I think that was why he was appointed to serve on the arms deal probe panel.

“His elevation as the next Chief of Naval Staff would have been announced if not for the president’s trip to London for medical checkup.’’

Another officer, who said he worked with him, also told NAN that the late Ikoli was an easy going man who did not believe in bothering people.

“At the close of work, he usually allows his aides to go home and stay with their families.

“In most cases, he will be the one to open the gate of his residence for visitors using a remote control.

“The officer would not have killed himself; it is pure case of assassination.

“There is a mystery surrounding his death; for instance, the two ambulances they brought to take him to the mortuary refused to move.

“It was when they brought his service car and transferred the body into it that they were able to take his corpse to the morgue,’’ he said.

 

Source: The Guardian

Osun Government Donates Opon Imo To Rescued Chibok School Girls

The State Government of Osun as donated Opon Imo ‘Tablets of Knowledge’ to rescued Chibok School girls towards their rehabilitation.
Recall the state government had in 2013 launched a revolutionary tablets of knowledge for senior secondary school students in Osun.
The programme has in the past 4 years placed a computer electronic device in the hands all student, some of which are from poor background and in rural environment where access to such devices would not have been possible.
Performance of students writing the WASSCE examinations has since improved year on year, culminating in a 46% pass rate in five subjects including Mathematics and English in 2016.
Please see below, images of the the Rescued Chibok School girls using their devices.

StarTimes, others move to end SuperSport’s monopoly on TV rights

There is palpable excitement in the sport television market following the announcement of the 2018 FIFA World Cup media rights for Sub-Saharan Africa last week. Alongside the usual suspects SuperSport, newcomers Kwese TV and StarTimes have acquired various rights to screen the 2017 Confederations Cup, the junior men’s tournaments as well as the women’s tournaments.

While SuperSport has held the African pay television market by the scruff of the neck for several years, new players Kwese and StarTimes are flexing their muscles and challenging the monopoly of the South African behemoth.

StarTimes has been puffing for a while now and saw an increase in sales of digital decoders and antennas when it won rights to the 2015 Fifa tournaments (Women’s World Cup and men’s U17 & U20) for sub-Saharan Africa.

Sport has always been a major incentive for the purchase of cable TV subscription. In the United States, ESPN continues to be the most expensive channel to watch. Unlike movies and other programing, sport is unpredictable so it draws large audiences. And because live sport is consumed as it is produced, it has a higher premium than any other kind of TV content. The 2014 World Cup had a cumulative audience of 3.2billion with 98,087 hours of broadcast (FIFA TV Audience Report).

Nigerians love live sport and regularly pack viewing centres and bars in order to watch European football. As the NTA (with average viewership of 16.7m for Brazil 2014) and other national broadcasters have become unable to compete for global sports rights, SuperSport has been the benefactor of the crave for global sport.

While StarTimes’ offering has not been up to the same quality one has come to expect of cable TV, Kwese Free Sports seems to have an ace up its sleeve. It has introduced one free English Premier League game via its mobile app every weekend and is set to expand its reach across the continent through the Confederations Cup and World Cup. From a marketing perspective, it has an opportunity to grow its brand to become an important voice in the African media market.

For advertisers, it is most likely SuperSport would remain the first option with StarTimes and Kwese Sports hoping to take a significant bite of that money. Still, the World Cup advertising market in Nigeria depends very much on the Super Eagles qualifying for Russia 2018. If they do, there would be a windfall like Brazil 2014 where brands fell over themselves to run campaigns in the frenzy of the tournament. With more broadcast rights owners, would top brands spread the money around or remain with their trusted ally?

Kwese Sports’ survival will depend on how much they are able to commercialize their new property. The next several months would confirm if our new found excitement about changes in the sport television market has been worth it.

Police arrest nurse, husband over wife’s death after abortion.

An auxiliary nurse in Sapele (name withheld) has been arrested by the police following the death of one Mrs. Loveth Oke (36), a mother of seven, who she allegedly performed an abortion on.

Also arrested by the police was the husband of the deceased, who allegedly compelled his wife to undertake the abortion.

It was learnt that the deceased on finding out that she was pregnant, had informed her husband, who in turn insisted on having an abortion, since they already have seven children.

The auxiliary nurse was said to have started injecting drugs into the deceased since last December, which led to complications. After taking the deceased to different hospitals, including herbal homes, she finally passed on last Friday.

The news of her death got to her family members, following which the deceased’s mother reported the case at the Sapele Police Station.

However, a police source confirmed that the nurse and husband of the deceased were currently undergoing interrogation, adding that the nurse had allegedly confessed to the crime.

Confirming the arrest, the police image-maker in the state, Mr. Andrew Aniamaka, said the suspects were being detained at the State CID for further investigation.

 

Source: The Guardian

Thousands of angry South Africans demand resignation of President Jacob Zuma

Thousands marched through major South African cities Friday demanding the resignation of President Jacob Zuma after his sacking of the popular finance minister fuelled widespread public anger.

Zuma, who came to power in 2009, has been battered by a series of corruption scandals during his time in office, while the country has suffered record unemployment, slowing growth and stubborn racial inequality.

His removal of finance minister Pravin Gordhan last week unleashed a fresh bout of criticism, as Gordhan was seen by many ordinary South Africans as a bulwark against corruption.

Several thousand people attended the Johannesburg protest organised by the opposition Democratic Alliance party, which hopes to make gains in 2019 elections under its leader Mmusi Maimane, 36.

“We want Zuma to fall. He is too corrupt. Real people are struggling. I voted for Nelson Mandela, but Maimane has a lot of integrity and he’s young,” protester Vanessa Michael, 54, from East Rand, told AFP.

The ANC party led the decades-long struggle against apartheid, and carried Nelson Mandela to power in the 1994 elections that ended white-minority rule.

But the once all-powerful party has lost popularity in recent years and slipped to 55 percent of the vote in last year’s local elections — its worst ever result.

 

Source: The Guardian

Obasanjo’s wife alleges plot to assassinate her over son’s wedding

The wife of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Taiwo, has alleged that some persons have been detailed to assassinate her following a court action she filed last month to postpone her son’s wedding.

She disclosed this in a petition sent to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police on April 4, 2017.

Mrs. Obasanjo alleged that those assigned to kill her include her twin brother, Chief Kenny Martins, her would-be daughter-in-law, Tope Adebutu and mother-in-law, Rosemary Dacosta.

The petition reads: “I was reliably informed that the three person mentioned above have perfected plans to assassinate me because I requested the court to shift the wedding date of my son from the month of May to June 2017.

“They also have a plan to smear my person using various media platforms such as newspaper, Internet etc.”

When contacted, Chief Martins declined to comment on the allegation, saying he is not aware of any petition by anybody against him.

 

Source: The Guardian

Pay salaries, pensions arrears with Paris Club funds, Imo NLC tells Okorocha.

The Imo State wing of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Governor Rochas Okorocha to pay arrears of salaries, pensions, gratuities and other entitlements owed workers with the N13. 5 billion share of the Paris Club loan refund.

The NLC made the demand in a statement jointly signed by the state NLC Chairman, Austin Chilapku, Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Paul Akalazu and Chairman of the Joint Negotiation Council (SJPSNC), Alloy Iwuanyanwu yesterday in Owerri.

They also urged Okorocha to stabilize the payment of their salaries at 100 % from the present 80%.

The Chairman of the NMA, Dr. Darlynton Akukwu, who was accompanied by past chairmen, Hyacinth Emele and Dr. Jide Egwim to Hot FM’s ‘Peoples Assembly,’ said they would not discuss with the Commissioner for Health, Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs. Ngozi Njoku.

They pointed out that the appointment of Ngozi, who is a lawyer as Commissioner for Health instead of Women Affairs was a cause for concern and disenchantment.

 

Source: The Guardian

How teenager’s friend bathed her with acid on her 14th birthday

Family of 14-year-old Victoria Emmanuel is battling to safe her skin after her friend bathed her with acid on her birthday. The incident occurred on March 29, around the night market at Mafoluku, Oshodi area of Lagos State, when the victim’s friends were celebrating her new age.

It was learnt that while her peers were pouring water on her body, one Moshood Yusuf, 13, entered a woman’s shop, brought out a bottle and emptied its content on Victoria.

Yusuf, it was gathered, thought it was a liquid water disinfectant known as Izaal when he poured it on the girl.

Victoria, who just returned from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), where she was being treated, said she told Yusuf not to pour the content of the bottle on her since they did not know what was inside.

“It was my birthday. I had gone to fetch water at the night market when my friends stopped me on the road and started pouring the water on me to celebrate my birthday. Some were pouring dirty water on me and others were pouring sand. That was how Moshood ran into Iyawo pastor’s shop and brought out a container. There was something inside and I told him not to pour it on me because we didn’t know what was in it.

“He opened it and said it was smelling like chemical. We told him again that he shouldn’t pour it on me but he didn’t listen. As I walked pass him, he poured the content on my body from behind. I screamed and ran towards the tap but he got there before me and opened it so that water would pour on my body. While I was under the tap, the woman who owned the place chased us away that I was wasting her water. That was the last thing I remembered. I was later told that I fainted and was rushed to the hospital.

“Although one Ganiyu claimed that he told him he was going to hurt me, I don’t know if it is true. He insisted that he thought it was Izaal that was inside, but the shop owner has denied keeping any acid in her shop. The woman was crying and swearing that she didn’t keep anything like that since she has little children, who could have easily gotten to it.”

The victim’s mother, Mrs. Chidinma Emmanuel, lamented the hardship the incident has brought on her family, adding that she has not been able to concentrate on her petty trade. She said her family was not interested in making a case with the other family, but stated that they would appreciate if the expenses incurred were reimbursed.

Moshood’s mother, Mrs. Ganiyat Yusuf, said they were awaiting the final outcome from LASUTH before knowing what to do. She insisted that the incident was a mistake, adding that her son would not hurt anyone intentionally.

“It was just a mistake. In fact, Moshood also got burnt by the acid on his chest and leg. He didn’t know the content of the bottle and since they were jubilating, he poured it on her without knowing. It’s a regrettable mistake. But what we want is for peace to reign. We don’t want a situation where both families would start fighting over it or the two children becoming enemies.”

 

Source: The Guardian

NDLEA seize 1.3 metric tonnes of marijuana, cocaine, heroin in Lagos in 3 months

The Lagos State command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has apprehended 138 suspected drug traffickers and seized 1,399kg of drugs, which is 1.3 metric tonnes.

The drugs were seized in Ikeja, Oshodi, Mushin, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and other parts of the state within the first quarter of 2017. Those apprehended in connection with drug trafficking include 137 males and one female.

NDLEA Lagos Commander, Aliyu Sule, gave a breakdown of the seized drugs as well as arrests. In his words. “Cannabis had the largest share with 1,390.38kg, Tramadol 9.35kg, Cocaine 23.65 grammes and Heroin 22.8 grammes”.

One of the suspects, Ngozi Owunna, 34, who allegedly distributed cannabis within Ikeja, was caught at Allen Junction with 600 grammes of hemp after close monitoring by undercover narcotic agents.

According to the suspect, “I was a commercial motorcyclist but when the Lagos State government banned commercial motorcycles, I began to sell cannabis. I am from Enugu State. I am married with three children”.

Another suspect, Abdulrauf Oshilaja, 50, who was caught with 50.3kg, said financial hardship made him to deal in cannabis. “I am married to two wives with five children. I used to sell tyres but due to family problem I started selling drugs because there is more profit in it than selling tyres.”

 

Source: The Guardian

Boko Haram fighters raze down military base in Maiduguri

Boko Haram jihadists have torched a military base in northeast Nigeria, a day after the group killed seven people in a separate raid, residents said.

Jihadists believed to be loyal to a Boko Haram faction that is recognised by the Islamic State group on Thursday attacked the base in Wajirko village, 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, forcing the soldiers to flee.

“The gunmen arrived in pickups and engaged soldiers in the base just outside the village in a heavy shootout,” Wajirko resident Bukar Maduye told AFP.

The assailants were believed to be loyal to the faction headed by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf.

Barnawi was appointed last year by the Islamic State group to replace leader Abubakar Shekau.

But Barnawi’s right-hand man Mamman Nur, the alleged mastermind of a 2011 bombing of a UN building in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, is believed by many to be the real leader.

A vigilante assisting the military in its fight against Boko Haram confirmed the incident, adding that the soldiers had moved to a military base 40 kilometres away (25 miles).

“There were no reports of casualties from either side but the (military) base was completely burnt by the Boko Haram terrorists and the soldiers fled,” Mustapha Karimbe said.

In a separate attack on Wednesday scores of Boko Haram fighters rode on motorcycles into Abbati, a farming community outside Maiduguri, where they killed seven men and stole 360 livestock.

“They slaughtered the two men they had forced to lead them to the community and shot dead the five owners of the cattle herds who had confronted them with bows and arrows,” said vigilante Babakura Kolo.

Barnawi and Mamman Nur have previously promised residents in areas under their control they would not be harmed as long as they did not cooperate with Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram.

But in recent weeks the Islamist fighters have intensified raids in areas near Lake Chad, stealing food from residents.

They have also killed several civilians they accused of cooperating with the military.

 

Source: The Guardian

World Leaders voice support for US strike against Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad bears “sole responsibility” for the US strike on a regime airbase, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said in a joint statement on Friday.

“After the chemical weapons massacre of April 4 on Khan Sheikhun in northwestern Syria, a military installation of the Syrian regime was destroyed by a US air strike last night,” the statement, issued after a morning phone call, said.

“President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development.”

They added that “France and Germany, together with their partners and within the framework of the United Nations, will continue their efforts to hold President Assad responsible for his criminal deeds”.

Berlin and Paris “jointly call on the international community to join forces for a political transition in Syria in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique,” they said, referring to a statement issued on June 30 2012 by the UN-backed Action Group for Syria.

Merkel and Hollande were each informed “one to two hours before the strikes,” a source close to the French president’s office said.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel earlier said the strike was “understandable” after the UN Security Council was “unable to clearly and unequivocally respond to the barbaric use of chemical weapons against innocent people in Syria”.

His French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault, with Gabriel on a trip to Mali, said he hoped the strikes would show Syria’s allies Russia and Iran that they should withdraw their support for Assad.

“The Russians and the Iranians must now understand that they cannot prop up Bashar al-Assad’s regime… it cannot go on, it makes no sense,” Ayrault told France Info radio.

 

Source: The Guardian

Dismiss the report, Ahmed Musa is not a wife-beater – NFF

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said media reports claiming that Nigerian international and Leicester City’s record signing Ahmed Musa assaulted his wife Jamila was false.

Media reports in the UK claimed the Nigerian forward was arrested Tuesday “on suspicion of common assault,” hours after Leicester’s 2-0 triumph over Sunderland.

But NFF boss Amaju Pinnick said on Thursday that Musa did not beat his wife.

“Read about the reports regarding Ahmed Musa and I got in touch with the player. He categorically denies them,” Pinnick tweeted.

Leicester City said that they were aware of the investigation, but confirmed that they will not be taking action against the player after the matter was closed.

“We are aware that Ahmed Musa has today cooperated with a police inquiry relating to a disturbance in the early hours of this morning,” a Leicester City spokesman said.

“’The inquiry has since been closed and no further action is to be taken.

“We see no reason for formal action internally, though Ahmed will be given the opportunity to discuss the matter with football management when the squad returns.”

 

Source: The Guardian

US-Russia relations under threat after US attacked Syrian air base

President Donald Trump ordered a massive military strike on a Syrian air base on Thursday in retaliation for a “barbaric” chemical attack he blamed on President Bashar al-Assad.

In a brief televised address delivered hours after the UN Security Council failed to agree on a prove into the apparent chemical attack, Trump confirmed the US strike on Syria and urged “all civilized nations” to unite to end the bloodshed in the country.

“On Tuesday Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent,” Trump said. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.”

“Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end this slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types,” Trump said.

The US military fired dozens of cruise missiles at the Shayrat Airfield at 8:45 pm Eastern Time (0000 GMT), officials said.

A White House official said 59 “precision munitions” had been blasted at the base, while a US defense official said “dozens” of Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched.

The missiles were fired from the USS Porter and the USS Ross, which belong to the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet and are located in the eastern Mediterranean. A US official said the missiles targeted aircraft and runways at the base.

The sudden US military action against the Assad regime marks a stunning development in Syria’s brutal, six-year conflict and a sudden about-face for Trump.

It came despite a warning from Russia of potential “negative consequences” if Washington strikes Syria.

“All responsibility if military action occurs will be on the shoulders of those who initiated such a doubtful tragic enterprise,” Russian Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said.

A US official said Washington had informed Russia ahead of the Syria strike.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had earlier vowed an “appropriate response” to the attack in Khan Sheikhun in rebel-held Idlib province, which killed at least 86 people, including 27 children.

The White House official said the United States assesses that the Assad regime used a chemical nerve agent consistent with sarin in Tuesday’s attacks.

 

Source: AFP

Nigerian Senate move to stop FRSC’s sale of speed limit device

The Senate yesterday began moves to stop the sale of speed limit devices to vehicle owners by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Consequently, it mandated its committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, to look into the matter, to ensure that it did not add to the hardship currently being experienced by Nigerians and report back to it.

This is sequel to a point of order raised by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West).

Melaye said the introduction of the policy would further make life difficult for Nigerians who are already having a hard time coping with the impact of the present recessed economy.

Worried by the brewing crisis in the Niger Delta, the Senate also resolved to launch a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances leading to the funding constraints of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

It equally asked the Finance Ministry to release the balance of N15 billion left in the 2016 budget for the programme.

Adopting a motion sponsored by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, the Upper Legislative Chamber equally mandated its Niger Delta committee to investigate the alleged swapping of names in the list of beneficiaries.

Also yesterday, the Senate received the report of the Joint Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream and Gas on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, 2017.

Among the key aspects of the Bill is the unbundling the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to create a window for further development in the petroleum industry.

The report was presented three months behind the January deadline given by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

 

Source: The Guardian

FG orders 800,000 doses of meningitis vaccines from Europe

The Federal Government says it has put in place a robust response mechanism to tackle the outbreak of meningitis, which has killed over 300 Nigerians since the latest outbreak.

The Minister of State for Health, Mr. Osagie Ehanire told journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, that the government is procuring 826,000 doses of vaccines from Europe, in addition to the number already being administered.

In his words he said, “We have mobilised vaccines to come in from all corners, 500,000 unit doses of vaccines are being distributed and vaccination campaign has started already.

“The government is also getting 826,000 units which is being shipped from Europe to us within the next few days.

“The most affected states has been Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina, together they have 85% of the cases.

“There is reactive vaccination going already and social mobilisation, while the various teams are working on the affected states”.

The Minister further noted that there are two treatment centres being setup in every local governments, with doctors ready available to be able to take blood samples to the laboratory.

Earlier, the Director General Center for Disease Control Chikwe Iheakweazu, had announced that reactive vaccination for meningitis is to commence in Zamfara state from Wednesday April 5.

This was in response to the meningitis outbreak which led to the death of 328 people across the country, with Zamfara state recording the highest number of deaths.

Opinion: The Shame of a Diminished Senate – By Louis Odion

By describing the senators as “childish and irresponsible”, Sagay could, in fact, be accused of being too charitable. By harbouring a nest of former governors standing trial for massive theft while in office, failed contractors, certificate impostors…Nigerians who choose to view the red chamber, as presently constituted, as a den of shifty characters cannot therefore be accused of libel or hyperbole.

Increasingly obsessed with sleaze and scandals, it is unknown how many of our conniving senators still have the presence of mind today to ponder history. Those who do would perhaps have encountered the name Oliver Cromwell, the British general, who turned England into a republic and taught it puritan values.

Convinced the parliament had transmuted into the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah by the middle of the 17th century, the new lawgiver did not hesitate to dismiss the assembly. But not before he made a searing speech at the House of Commons on April 20, 1653, the echo of which must have haunted the buccaneering lawmakers for the rest of their lives.

His words: “It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

“Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

“Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
“In the name of God, go!”

Well, the perfidies and iniquities Cromwell lamented in the Long parliament in 17th century Europe would seem very much alive in Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber today, as personal interests are shamelessly camouflaged as public cause.

To be fair, even in mature democracies often held up as model for the fledgling ones, the legislative chamber is never always the best place to find angels. But elsewhere, there is always a concerted effort to hide, to conceal the dirty linen, out of respect for public sensibilities and shared commitment to preserve the corporate integrity of that space.

Certainly, nowhere is venality and rascality so glamorised as we are beginning to see in the Nigerian Senate lately. Legal titan, Professor Itse Sagay, is the latest to be dragged into the seedy arena.

Whether the Senate sticks to its guns and Sagay resorts to court is, however, not the issue. Rather, what is invariably exposed is the obsession of certain elements at the Senate to impose their own will on the nation and the ridiculous length they will travel in pursuit of a personal agenda.

The chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) on Tuesday took an unprecedented step by issuing the Senate an ultimatum to eat its words, failing which he would slap it with a suit for daring to as much as contemplate subpoenaing him over an earlier comment that the senators acted “childish and irresponsible” by refusing to screen 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners over President Buhari’s retention of Ibrahim Magu as acting head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Predictably, the law professor has meticulously outlined the futility of Senate’s plan in a statement, citing legal authorities to back his argument.

Whether the Senate sticks to its guns and Sagay resorts to court is, however, not the issue. Rather, what is invariably exposed is the obsession of certain elements at the Senate to impose their own will on the nation and the ridiculous length they will travel in pursuit of a personal agenda.

To be sure, I am sold on the imperative of the independence of both the legislature and the judiciary as the surest institutional valves against executive tyranny.

But in the present circumstance, those deploying such fine argument in defence of the ongoing Senate intransigence, however suddenly turn dumb when reminded of the underlining certainty of blackmail in the Magu blockade.

By describing the senators as “childish and irresponsible”, Sagay could, in fact, be accused of being too charitable. By harbouring a nest of former governors standing trial for massive theft while in office, failed contractors, certificate impostors, a practising bearded pedophile, a fugitive who jumped bail in London and one “drug baron” absconding from American justice, Nigerians who choose to view the red chamber, as presently constituted, as a den of shifty characters cannot therefore be accused of libel or hyperbole.

It is, therefore, more in the interests of these “suspects” that a hard-tackling Magu is prevented from continuing at the EFFC than the advertised fixation on the so-called disabling memos by the DSS. To argue otherwise is to assume all Nigerians are big fools.

Last week, Ali Ndume, the senator representing Borno South, was thrown out of the chamber based on the report of the Ethics Committee that he had raised a false alarm over the imported bullet-proof SUV belonging to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Dino Melaye’s counterfeit academic claims. In short, they seemed to accuse Ndume of exaggeration. But exaggeration, as Khalib Gibran tells us, is only a truth that has lost its temper.

To be fair, among the redeemable in the red chamber are a few conscientious senators. But as the upper legislature continues to hobble from one scandal to another, they, unfortunately, are also vicariously liable and so lose respect in the eyes of the Nigerian people.

What’s more, Ndume also happened to be Magu’s only vocal advocate in the chamber. What a clever way to silence that dissent once and for all.

But without Ndume’s raising the red flag, how would we have known that an SUV imported for Saraki was cleared with forged documents? Without Sahara Reporters championing the public scrutiny of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) records, how would we have known that loquacious Dino entered the school with “incomplete” result and spent a record eight years to graduate with a pass, yet again in the most shadowy circumstances, in what would have taken even a poorly endowed student four years to finish?

And that the chain of “Harvard, Oxford degrees” he used to flaunt on social media were actually not more than glossy letters acknowledging attendance of nothing more than a week seminar?

For the temerity to impound, on the highway, the SUV meant for the use and comfort of the Senate president, our almighty senators had summoned Customs boss, Hameed Ali and, to exact a pound of flesh, thought of the harshest humiliation possible for him. He would not even be allowed a seat in the chamber until he wore the service uniform.

Again, the Senate is diminished when the other side of Lawal Babachir’s grass-cutting scam is told. Sure, the yarn spurned by the Secretary to the Federal Government to absolve himself of complicity in the contract scandal is hard to believe.

Conversely, it does our senators no good either when Babachir’s apologists squealed that the Senate chose to blow the bugle and, in fact, asked Buhari to fire the government scribe only because he had insisted it was not the job of federal lawmakers to execute constituency projects.

To be fair, among the redeemable in the red chamber are a few conscientious senators. But as the upper legislature continues to hobble from one scandal to another, they, unfortunately, are also vicariously liable and so lose respect in the eyes of the Nigerian people.

Nigeria Without Dangote?

All said, the new Lagos Refinery is a monument to vision, courage and tenacity of one man – Aliko, whose 60th birthday is, by the way, next Monday. There can’t be a better time to salute a Nigerian patriot, a truly deserving Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

Listening to Alhaji Aliko Dangote speak at a colloquium held penultimate Tuesday in Lagos to mark Asiwaju’s 65th birthday, one could again not help feeling the magnitude of the Nigerian tragedy inflicted by leadership deficit.

He did not feature in the original programme. But who is better qualified to speak authoritatively at a ceremony where entrepreneurship is broached than a person who started humbly as a merchant in his native Kano with a loan from an uncle as capital and, forty years later, is now rated the richest black man on earth?

Though impromptu, Dangote spoke with the depth and clarity of a professor. His facility with statistics is remarkable indeed. His prescriptions: entrepreneurs in Nigeria will do better with stable power supply on the one hand, and policy consistency/coherence on the other.

A doer himself, he has walked the talk in the cement sector. From being world’s second biggest importer of cement a decade ago, Dangote has helped his fatherland achieve not just self-sufficiency in the commodity but also pushed her to become a big cement exporter, thereby earning the much needed forex.

Obviously a pathfinder, Dangote has since shifted his luminous lights towards crude refining. Denied in 2007 the custody of the Port Harcourt Refinery he earlier acquired with his friend, Femi Otedola, through privatisation, Dangote thereafter chose a more tortuous path to make the loudest statement.

He is currently building from the scratch a brand new refinery already rated Africa’s biggest, with the capacity to refine a whopping 650,000 bpd and the largest single train of its kind in the world. (The combined capacity of all Nigeria’s refineries is less than 450,000 bpd with actual utilisation today at less than a miserly 10 percent, despite billions of dollars splurged on them over the years in the name of Turn-And-Maintenance.)

To pull this through, he has had to substantially tap international lenders to raise a colossal $12 billion for the project.

The good news is that, just as we no longer waste forex on cement import, Dangote Refinery located in swampy Lekki, Lagos will, beginning from 2019, ensure that Nigeria no longer wastes forex on the importation of petrol, diesel and kerosene, thereby helping to conserving at least $10 billion yearly. That way, Dangote would, at least, have helped end Nigeria’s shame by lifting the old curse of “a nation importing what it already has”.

The emerging Dangote Refinery will not only save Nigeria $10 billion annually, it will also create 250,000 fresh jobs for Nigerians.

Already, fables and gossips are fast mushrooming around the gargantuan plant currently under construction, day and night. The most widespread being that it occupies a land mass (2,200 hectares) that is six times the size of the upscale Victoria Island in Lagos.

On the mega watt alone, Aliko has, perhaps unwittingly, exposed Nigeria’s culture of waste and systemic theft. Entrepreneurs with depth and creativity, like Aliko and Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr are few.

However, my own take-away is different. To power the humongous plant, Dangote has had to build an independent power plant, just like he did for the Cement factory in Obajana, Kogi State. From records now made public, it costs him an average of $400,000 to build one mega watt. But wait for the figure often quoted by the Federal Government for the same item – $2 million!

What makes it doubly tragic is that with $400,000, Dangote delivers mega watt that brings real electricity. Nigeria squanders $2 million to generate pitch darkness.

Under Obasanjo, not less than $16 billion, according to the House of Representatives reports in 2008, was spent on power projects. A decade later, that colossal expenditure has not translated to a marked improvement in energy generation. Fifty-six years after independence, power generation still oscillates around 4,000MW.

Back in the 70s, a national committee chaired by Chief Olu Falae had projected the nation’s energy need to be 10,000 mega watts by 2000. Sadly, with a population of less than 100 million in 1988, official records indicated NEPA’s generation capacity was 4,000 mega watts.

When Obasanjo left office ten years ago, power generation had fallen to 3,000 mega watts. Ten years later, and with population now around 180 million, we are back to generating 4,000 mega watts.

However, with $16 billion, Dangote would have produced mega watts in excess of 6,000.

Is anyone still wondering why Nigeria remains poor infrastructurally today despite hundreds of billions of dollars received through oil sale and squandered in the last fifty years?

On the mega watt alone, Aliko has, perhaps unwittingly, exposed Nigeria’s culture of waste and systemic theft. Entrepreneurs with depth and creativity, like Aliko and Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr are few.

Theirs is real production and wealth-creation ultimately, not rent-seeking. In their daily grind of turning raw materials into finished good, they send a clear message that the country has no business with poverty; that much more could be attained with far less. Indeed, if any progress has been made in the national economy at all in the last decade, the credit substantially belongs to the patriotic tenacity of a few like them.

All said, the new Lagos Refinery is a monument to vision, courage and tenacity of one man – Aliko, whose 60th birthday is, by the way, next Monday. There can’t be a better time to salute a Nigerian patriot, a truly deserving Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

 

Louis Odion is a Fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (FNGE).

MKO Abiola could not have died the way it was reported – Ishaya Bamaiyi

Ishaya Bamaiyi, a former chief of army staff, says Moshood Abiola, winner of the presidential election of 1993, could not have died the way he reportedly did.

On July 7, 1998, Abiola died under unclear circumstances shortly after the demise of Sani Abacha, former military ruler.

After winning the presidential election, Abiola was thrown in jail when he declared himself president despite the annulment of the polls.

He was supposed to be released the day he died.

The autopsy report showed that Abiola died of natural causes. Another autopsy report which was produced by an international group of coroners was never released.

Hamza Al-Mustapha, former chief security officer to Abacha, had alleged that Abiola was beaten to death.

But in his book, ‘Vindication of a General’, Bamaiyi said when he led a delegation to commiserate with Abiola’s family, he learned that the politician was given a cup of tea.

“His death came as a surprise to me because he had been healthy when we met. One evening, the head of state, General Abubakar called while I was in Lagos to tell me we had a problem,” he wrote.

“I asked what was wrong and he told me Chief Abiola was dead. I was shocked and asked him what we were going to do about it. He told me he was handling the situation.

“Abiola could not have died the way he reportedly died.”

He also noted that the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) was the reason why Moshood Abiola stayed in detention until his death.

Bamaiyi said Abacha was ready to release Abiola on some conditions but NADECO members advised him against taking the deal.

He explained that himself and Ibrahim Gumel, a former chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), were able to convince Abacha that Abiola “was not going to be a threat and could be handled”.

“Gumel and I went to Gen. Abacha and pleaded for Abiola’s release. Abacha agreed to release Abiola with some conditions,” he wrote.

“We conveyed Abacha’s agreement to release Abiola to Bafyau, who briefed some NADECO members on Abacha’s readiness to release Abiola with some conditions.

“These NADECO members advised Abiola not to accept release with conditions and kept him in detention. Initially, Abiola accepted the conditional release, and a judge was brought to Abuja to perfect it.

“The release documents were ready, and Abiola was to go and sign them, but some NADECO members advised him against doing so, and he remained in detention until his death.”

 

Source: The Cable

Ali Modu Sheriff walks out on Jonathan at PDP peace meeting

Ali Modu Sheriff, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Thursday walked out of a stakeholders’ meeting organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sheriff, who got to the venue of the meeting a few minutes after Jonathan, delivered his remarks before departing with members of his national working committee around 4:15pm.

Cairo Ojougboh, deputy national chairman, and Mikko Bernard, publicity secretary, were among those who left with him.

Addressing reporters before leaving, Sheriff expressed displeasure for not being allowed to make the opening remarks.

“We are here for PDP stakeholders meeting and the PDP has only one national chairman, which is Ali Modu Sheriff,” he said.

“There is no PDP meeting that will take place under whatever arrangement that will not open the session as national chairman. Today, I’m the most senior member of this party.”

He also said he would not be party to anything outside the report submitted to him by the national reconciliation committee led by Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa state.

“I think Gov Dickson made a proposal for reconciliation that we have accepted. Some people want to deviate from this programme, to bring agenda which was not part of it,” he said.

“As national chairman of the party, what I told you in my office when Dickson brought the report is the only thing that we have agreed to at this moment.

“I will not be party to anybody using me to do another programme. I’m not going to be part of it.”

Asked about the way forward for the party, Sheriff said: “As the national chairman of PDP, I will move on with the programmes initiated by Gov. Dickson.

“We are continuing with that; anything outside that, I’m not a party to it.”

However, the meeting continued in his absence.

Speaking after the parley, Jonathan regretted the action of Sheriff, but said the issues would be addressed when the committee presents its recommendations.

Sheriff and Makarfi were scheduled to deliver goodwill messages at the meeting.

Some of the members present were Tom Ikimi, a former minister; Uche Secondus, former acting chairman of the party; Olisa Metuh, ex-PDP spokesman; Saminu Turaki, former governor of Jigawa state and Adolphus Wabara, ex-Senate president.

Also present were some PDP governors, former ministers, and the BoT members, among others.

 

Source: The Cable

FG appeals judgement that acquitted Justice Ademola, files fresh corruption charge.

The federal government has filed an appeal against the decision of a federal high court in Abuja that exonerated Adeniyi Ademola, a judge; Olabowale, his wife and John Agi, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Ademola is accused of receiving bribes to give favourable judgements.

On Wednesday, Jude Okeke, a judge, cleared Ademola, his wife and Agi of all allegations.

But according to NAN, a source in the presidency confirmed that government had filed an appeal.

Government was also said to have filed a case in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) against Ademola and wife “for living above their means and failure to declare their assets”.

“Section 53 (1) of the ICPC Act raises a presumption that any gratification accepted or obtained by an accused person must have been corruptly accepted or obtained until the contrary is proved. Section 60 of the Act does not apply to the case,” the source was quoted to have said

“Of interest is the decision of the learned trial judge that the offence of giving and receiving gratification was not made out by the prosecution against the defendants in the face of the evidence held in court.

“Prosecution witnesses gave testimony of the payment of N30 Million in three tranches by Mr Joe Agi (SAN), into the account of Mrs Olabowale Ademola, the wife of Justice Ademola. Agi was a legal practitioner who actually had cases in the court of Justice Ademola.

“The defendants, however, claim that the money was a gift from common friends for the benefit of Justice Ademola and Mrs Ademola to support the wedding of their daughter.”

The source said for Ademola to have two licenses for a firearm ought to have concerns despite the fact that judge dismissed it.

“In this case, a new licence was tendered in a situation where Justice Ademola ought to have tendered a renewal of his old licence. Being in possession of two licences in respect of the same firearm ought to have raised some questions for the defendants to resolve,” the source said.

 

Source: The Cable

Nigerian government set to fund local producers of marble, granite.

The federal government is set to encourage serious local investors and producers of high quality marble and granite products, Abubakar Bwari, minister of state for mines and steel development, has said.

Bwari disclosed this on Tuesday at OFL Fujian Stones Marble and Dimension Stones factory in Mararaba, Nasarawa state, during the nationwide tour of mining sites and host communities.

Bwari said government was not only impressed with the high quality of the company’s products but also its capacity to contribute to a significant reduction of the country’s importation of about four to five million square meters of granite products annually.

He said any organisation that had demonstrated the kind of progress witnessed at the company would be encouraged through the facilities that would be available for sector players’ access.

“We have been giving all our local investors moral support, we want to start giving them financial support, to enable them increase their capacity and productivity. This is a good example. We can attest to the significant progress this company has made since our first visit last year,” he said.

“Many of such serious investors would benefit from the intervention fund and the world bank loan, once they apply and meet all requirements. Through this we hope to bridge the importation gap and work towards self sufficiency.”

The minister also urged the company to ensure that its Nigerian workers were well trained and positioned to become experts in the field, thereby reducing overdependence on expatriates.

Makoji Aduku, the managing director/CEO of Fujian Stones, attributed the success of the company to the enabling environment created by the ministry of mines and steel development.

He also commended the sincerity of the company’s Chinese partners who brought in state-of-the-art technology and machinery, and a well trained workforce, which he said could replace the expatriates in the near future.

He added that the company is investing on its indigenous workforce to ensure knowledge transfer which would also aid their future expansion plans.

Aduku lauded the present Buy-Made-in-Nigeria campaign of the federal government, which according to him has also helped to boost patronage of locally produced dimension and industrial stones.

 

Source: The Cable

XENOPHOBIA: South African mob kills 2 Nigerians

After weeks of assault on Nigerians, which led to destruction of property and severe injuries, aggrieved South Africans have finally killed two Nigerians.

While Martins Cobham, Nigerian high commissioner to South Africa, confirmed the death of a Nigerian mechanic identified as Razak Ajao, Ralph Nwachukwu, a Nigerian in South Africa, said another Nigerian was also killed on Thursday.

Both incidents happened in Polokwane, Limpopo province.

“I can confirm that a Nigerian, Razak Ajao, an auto mechanic was killed and four others injured during a mob attack against foreigners in Polokwane, Limpopo Province of South Africa today (Thursday),” Cobahm said.

“The Nigerian mission has formally registered a protest to the South African ministry of foreign affairs on this sad incident.

“The ministry said they would get back to the mission and that is the situation we are now. The mission has also reported the attacks to the South African police.

“Meanwhile, the mission is meeting with officials of Nigeria Union on the incident to decide on the next line of action.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.”

Cobham said two of the injured Nigerians had been treated and discharged while others were still receiving treatment in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Nwachukwu, who could not give the names of the victims, said the attack started when Nigerians living in that area were holding a meeting.

“They held a meeting on Tuesday and today (Thursday) was supposed to be a follow up,” he said.

“It was at the peak of the meeting that the South African taxi drivers swooped on them.

“They accused Nigerians of peddling drugs and began to attack them with dangerous weapons that led to the death of two while many others were seriously injured.”

Nwachukwu said Nigerians, in a bid to register their complaint, went to police station but the commander at the station drove them out instead of listening to them.

He alleged that the commander threatened to shoot them if they did not leave the station.

 

Source: The Cable

Russia asks court to declare Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organisation

By prohibiting its members from taking blood transfusion, the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a group violates the law on resistance to extremism, the spokeswoman for Russia’s justice ministry told the supreme court on Thursday.

It was on the second day of the hearing.

“Checks have found that the organisation is in breach of the law on resistance to extremism. In particular, the organisation’s religious literature forbids blood transfusion for its members in defiance of the doctors’ recommendation,” the spokeswoman said, providing documentary evidence about one such case.

Also, the justice ministry official said Jehovah’s Witnesses insist on their own exclusiveness, which also contradicts the law on resistance to extremist activity.

“The religious organization Jehovah’s Witnesses has been repeatedly warned by courts of law, but it has taken no required measures to eliminate the violations,” the justice ministry said.

The justice ministry believes that Jehovah’s Witnesses must be outlawed and the organisation’s properties, including those of the 395 regional chapters, confiscated.

“In view of the threat posed by the organisation Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Justice Ministry asks for declaring it extremist and banning its activity,” the justice ministry’s official said.

In its lawsuit, the justice ministry mentions a variety of violations, including those of the federal law on resistance to extremist activities.

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ press-service has told TASS the organisation “finds this affair very worrisome, because the decision may affect 175,000 believers”.

Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman Ivan Bilenko said the organisation was prepared to press for its rights in any courts.

A court in Moscow on October 12, 2016, warned the administrative center of Jehovah’s Witnesses over extremist activities. It said that if the organisation failed to eliminate the exposed violations within the established deadlines, or if new evidence of its extremist activities surfaces, it would be closed down.

The Moscow city court on January 16 upheld the warning over extremist activities.

On Wednesday, when the Russian supreme court began hearing the justice ministry request for the outlaw of the movement, the movement filed a counterclaim demanding the court proclaim the ministry’s actions as political repression.

The court, however, rejected the request.

The supreme court decided that the counterclaim could not be reviewed during the session, as it was filed in an inappropriate court.

“The court ruled to reject the counterclaim taking into account the fact that the party violated the jurisdiction rules,” the judge announced.

The court also refused to let 395 local chapters of Jehovah’s Witnesses participate in the hearings.

Jehovah’s Witnesses had 21 local organisations but three of them were shut down for extremism.

 

Source: The Cable

BREAKING: US military responds to Syrian government with 59 cruise missiles

US President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the launch of airstrikes in Syria.

Trump’s order was in response to chemical attacks allegedly ordered by Bashar al-Assad, Syrian President, against his people.

The chemical attacks killed several persons, including children and women.

The US fired 59 Tomahawk missiles from the USS Porter and USS Ross destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean against the Shayrat air base.

According to the US, the planes that carried out the chemical attacks lifted off from the air base.

The missiles were said to have targeted aircraft and aircraft shelters, ammunition, air defense systems and radars.

“There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council,” Trump said, while speaking at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

“As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.

“Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.

“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

Meanwhile, Russia, Syria’s staunch ally, says the strike violates international law

Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, on Friday said the US strike constituted “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law”.

Nigerian International Ahmed Musa Considers Legal Action Over Wife Beating Reports

Leicester and Nigerian forward, Ahmed Musa is considering legal action after his agent described reports that he was arrested for beating up his wife on her birthday as “inaccurate”.

The Nigeria international, who joined the Premier League champions last summer from CSKA Moscow for £16m, was questioned by Leicestershire police in the early hours of Wednesday morning after they were called to a disturbance at his home in Countesthorpe.

Musa was later released without charge and his agent has insisted reports of the 24-year-old’s arrest hours after he had wished his wife Jamila happy birthday on Instagram had been exaggerated.

“A row ensued between Musa and Jamila which drew the attention of neighbours and the police were notified,” said Tony Harris.

“The police duly spoke with Musa along with a couple of witnesses in the house and have since closed the matter with no further action whatsoever as there is no case to answer. No charges were brought against Musa or his wife.

“It’s normal for a couple to have a bit of a row now and again, however, Musa did not at any point hit his wife nor was he attacked by her. It was a mere domestic issue which has now been resolved and they are now talking again.”

Harris added: “Everyone knows Musa is a jolly good fellow. He doesn’t drink or smoke, doesn’t party and has never been in trouble with the police all his life. He couldn’t harm a fly.”

Musa is understood to be very upset about the reporting of the incident and has been in touch with his legal representatives to discuss potential action.

A statement from Leicester on Thursday said that Musa would be asked to explain what happened when he is due back in for training on Friday.

“We are aware that Ahmed Musa has today [Wednesday] cooperated with a police inquiry relating to a disturbance in the early hours of this morning,” read the statement.

“The inquiry has since been closed and no further action is to be taken. We see no reason for formal action internally, though Ahmed will be given the opportunity to discuss the matter with football management when the squad returns to training on Friday.”

Musa has not started a Premier League match for Leicester since the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United on 5 February having fallen down the pecking order under new manager Craig Shakespeare. Story sourced from ReubenAbati.com

Kaduna: Linking Investment Drive to Development by John Shiklam #KADInvest

John Shiklam writes on the second edition of the Kaduna Investment and Economic Submit which kicked off on April 5, noting that it is the pathway that can lift the state to a higher economic pedestal

Between April 5 and April 6, the Kaduna state government, in a summit, is billed to showcase investment and business opportunities that abound in the state to both local and foreign investors.

The occasion is the second edition of the Kaduna Economic and Investment summit, tagged KADINVEST 2.0. The maiden edition of the summit which was co-hosted by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) held in April, 2016.

Focal Point

The summit, which was conceived in 2016, according to the Executive Secretary of Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), Alhaji Gambo Hamza, is to open Kaduna for business and investment by bringing together the world’s savviest investors to explore the great potentials that abound in the state.

In particular, the summit seeks to broadcast the State’s investment promotion messages to potential investors; to lift the profile of Kaduna State’s economy within the international community; to highlight opportunities for investment, joint ventures and trade in the state; to target investors both locally and globally and engage them for short term, medium term and long term investment partnerships with priority in different investment sectors.

These include transportation, housing, power (renewable energy) Information and Communication Technology (ICT), hospitality and tourism, agriculture, agro-allied, Waste to Wealth, manufacturing and solid minerals/mining.

Pioneer Edition

The 2016 maiden edition was attended by prominent personalities within and outside the corporate world, foreign and local investors, among them Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria, John Coumantaros; Country Head of Olam Nigeria, Mukul Makur; Opeyemi Awoyemi of Jobberman; Audu Maikori of Chocolate City; Uche Orji of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Eme Essien of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Others were the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom, Paul Arkwright; Rachid Benmassaoud of the World Bank; United States Deputy Economic Counsellor, Joel Kopp; Filippo Amato, EU Trade and Economics Department; Country Head, General Electric, Lazarus Angbazo, Ibrahim Boyi of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN), Charles Ojei of Samsung; Harprite Singh of Reliance Rice Mills; Maryam Uwais, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Social Investments, Toro Orero, Draper Dark Flow, Yusuf Bashir of Coders4 Africa and Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT.

Apt Theme

With the theme ‘Making Kaduna a destination of choice’ Hamza said the 2017 edition is expected to be very robust, with the presence of the European Union, the British Government through DfID, the US government, corporate organisations, donor agencies and captains of industry from around the globe.

According to him, Kaduna has demonstrated firm commitment to achieving sustainable economic growth by legislating to make it easier to do business and aligning its budget to capital expenditure to build human capital and infrastructure.

While expressing delight that Kaduna was recently chosen as the best state in terms of ease of doing business by BusinessDay Magazine, Hamza explained that the purpose of KADINVEST 2.0 “is to ensure that we move to the world by the commitment we signed last year”.

“We want to prove to the world that we truly have what it takes to attract investments, based on our areas of comparative advantage. We hope that at the end of the day Kaduna state would be able to achieve its developmental goals as clearly enunciated in the state’s development programme 2016 to 2020.

“We have very significant and important guests to grace this occasion; from foreign dignitaries to local investors that we believe will have a role to play in investing in the state,” the KADIPA boss said.

Consolidation Strategy

Also speaking on the event, a member of the Planning Committee and Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Dr. Daniel Manzo explained that KADINVEST 2.0 is aimed at consolidating on the gains of the 2016 edition.

“As we all know, last year, we made some gains (following the summit) that are very visible on the ground and we will like to showcase those gains. We have the Olam group investing $150 million in the establishment of the largest poultry farm with integrated feed mill in sub-Saharan Africa in Kaduna.

“We also have Vicampo Potato Farm (located in southern part of Kaduna state). These are the gains we made during the last edition of the summit. We hope to have more investments in the state by consolidating on those ones,” Manzo said.

He said state government was doing everything to attract businesses to the state, Kaduna has a population of about eight million people and now the estimated population of the state is about 10 million people; at the growth rate of 3.3 per cent.

“We have to create jobs; we have to create 200,000 jobs annually between now and 2030. If we fail to do that, definitely, population explosion will catch up with us and therefore, we are looking at various sectors of investments. We are looking at agriculture, we are looking at services, and we are looking at e-business. These are areas that we are working seriously to bring our youths and develop their skills to favourably compete.

“We have a lot of initiatives such as Kaduna Start Up and Entrepreneurship Programme (KADSTEP) and others aimed at improving the skills of our youths and sharpen their entrepreneur acumens” he said.

According to the commissioner, one of the new things the government is bringing into its investment portfolio of the state is tourism.

“We have quite a number of interesting tourism sites across the state. For example the Emir’s palace, the second oldest church in Northern Nigeria is in Wusasa, Zaria. We have a castle in Kajuru, the place of abode and retirement of the famous Queen Amina is in Igabi local government with all the materials that she used.

“There is the Nok civilisation, one of the oldest civilisations known to mankind. We have the Gurara dam, the largest man-made water body in Nigeria. These are some of the things that we hope to highlight at the summit,” Manzo said.

Novel Charter

Other events that are expected to feature during the summit include the unveiling of a charter of ease of business in the state by Governor Nasir El-Rufai.

The charter, according to Hamza, is to explain to the world the commitment of various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the state how they would interact with any business entity operating in Kaduna or anyone starting a business in the state.

Also, the state’s infrastructure master plan on how the state wants to deliver on its infrastructure requirements and expectations would be launched. Furthermore, El-Rufai is expected to launch the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) scheme by unveiling the Kawo-Lugard Hall road which was expanded to ensure that bus services are introduced into Kaduna to make transportation very easy.

Similarly, the ICT Centres on Hospital Road and Independence Way, Kaduna which are Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects by Zenith Bank would be unveiled as well as the signing of a donor coordination framework with various donor partners.

New Potential

Kaduna has the potential of becoming one of the business hubs of the country, like Lagos, Kano and Anambra states. No doubt, the initiatives introduced by governor El-Rufai will lift the state in the next five years if they are sustained; given the steps being taken to ensure lasting peace and security.

Kaduna has abundant resources that can propel investments and boost its economy. The state also has mineral resources, especially gold deposit in Birnin Gwari and nickel in Jama’a local government area, as well as abundant agricultural resources.

The temporary closure of the Abuja international airport has also helped to open up the state to more visitors who are afforded the opportunity to view the different pull factors in Kaduna. For the state, the future appears brighter than ever.

This piece was originally published in ThisDay newspaper of 06/04/2017

250 IDPs in Borno state sit for WAEC examinations

250 internally displaced persons are taking part in this year’s West African Examination Council (WAEC) senior secondary school certificate examination.

The SSCE candidates are made up of 94 female and 156 male students.

The students wrote practicals on Wednesday at three WAEC centres, Government College, Government Girls College and ?Mustapha Umar Elkanemi Arabic Teachers College – all in Maiduguri.

Ahmed Satomi, chairman, Borno state emergency management agency, said that the 250 IDP were those who passed a special mock exam conducted for about 1000 IDPs who were in final year at secondary schools before they were displaced.

The IDPs were first evaluated and enrolled into four senior secondary schools to prepare them for the examination.

The schools are Government Secondary School, Jajeri, Govt Girls Second school, Yerwa, Govt College, Maiduguri and Government Girls College Maiduguri.

“Governor Kashim Shettima released funds to the Borno State Emergency Management Agency which we used to paying the WAEC fees of all the students,” he said.

“As you know, in Borno, the State ?Government pays for WAEC but parents pay a counterpart of N6,500 as show of commitment. So, what SEMA paid was the counterpart since the Government already paid for all WAEC students across Borno State.

“Mock exam was organized for over 1,000 IDP’S but out of them, 250 did well and were believed to be emotionally and academically set for this year’s WAEC.

“The Governor also asked us to secure JAMB forms for all of them which is being done, we hope that all of them will do well to become eligible for University admission by end of the year.”

He further said that the governor had authorised the purchase of JAMB forms for the 250 students while some of the 1000 IDPs who showed potential in the mock exams are likely to sit for exams to gain entry into tertiary institutions.

 

Source: The Cable

1,400 prisoners vaccinated in Bauchi against Meningitis

The Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency has vaccinated 1,400 inmates and 240 prisons’ staff against  Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM).

Adamu Gamawa, chairman of the agency, made this known in an interview with NAN on Thursday.

According to him, the proactive measure is to prevent the occurrence of the disease among prison inmates in view of the congestion in the prisons.

He said the measure would be replicated in similar public facilities to prevent the spread of the disease.

The chairman said that the agency had requested for more vaccines from the National Primary Health Care Agency to scale up preventive measures.

 

Source: NAN

JUST IN: Lagos government terminates Badagry hotel project

The Lagos state government has terminated the contract for the construction of a 48-bedroom hotel at the VIP chalets in Badagry.

The administration of Babatunde Fashola, former governor of the state, awarded the contract to Messrs. Anatolia International Limited in 2013.

In a statement on Thursday, Steve Ayorinde, commissioner for information and strategy, said the decision to terminate the contract followed a resolution taken at the state executive council meeting which held on Wednesday.

The statement said the pace of work was not commensurate with the amount already released for the project.

It also cited “inefficiency and overall poor performance” by the contractor as reasons for the contract termination and the subsequent blacklisting of the company.

It maintained that one of the major policy thrusts of the Akinwunmi Ambode administration is tourism and hospitality sector development.

“The inability of Messrs. Anatolia International Limited to key into the vision of the present administration, as part of the efforts to fast-track the development of its tourism sector, necessitated the decision of the state executive council to terminate the contract,” the statement said.

Ayorinde added that the current administration has resolved to bring rapid infrastructural development to the state in a manner that gives zero-tolerance to insouciance and inefficiency.

 

Source: The Cable

Detained ‘UNILAG’ student activists regain freedom

The 14 students? who were detained last week for protesting against the authorities of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, have been freed.

?The students, who were remanded at the Kirikiri prison on Saturday on the order of a court, arrived the mobile court in Oshodi on Thursday morning.

The students arrived in a police convoy, Thursday, chanting solidarity songs.

The 14 students were taken into custody at Kikiri Prison on Saturday, on the orders of the Special Offences Mobile Court, Oshodi, where they were arraigned by the police for “riotous invasion” of Lagos-based Television Continental, TVC.

The management of the station has since denied the allegations, saying the students were peaceful in their conduct.

They had earlier been arrested on the university campus while protesting the suspension of a visually-impaired student and demanding
the reinstatement of all suspended student activists.

The UNILAG authorities had earlier denounced the students saying some of them had been rusticated from the school while others were not students of the institution.

Several groups including the National Association of Nigerian Students and Education Rights Campaign had condemned the detention of the students?.

The counsel to the students, Inibihehe Effiong, said the release was subject to Section 211 of the Nigerian constitutiton.

“The trumped up charges have been struck out and we salute the Lagos State Government for this,” he said.

Aina Tomi, one of the 14 students, disclosed that the students would institute a legal suit against the Lagos state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni.

“We will institute legal action against the commissioner in the next couple of days”, he said.

 

Source: Premium Times

Lagos Ex-Governor, Bola Tinubu denies plot to ‘destroy’ Senate.

Former Lagos State governor, Ahmed Tinubu, has denied a news report that he is plotting to “destroy” the Senate.

Mr. Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, on Wednesday said a report by ThisDay newspaper, accusing him of conspiring with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to attack the Senate, was an “outright falsehood” and a “bald assault against truth.”

It is the second time in five weeks that Mr. Tinubu would reject a report by the newspaper.

In March, the former governor debunked a report by the newspaper that he was planning to run for president, describing it as a “manufactured tale” “masquerading as professional journalism.”

The latest story, titled: “PDP Caucus Accuses Tinubu, EFCC of Conspiracy to Destroy Senate” said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus of the Senate at its meeting last week accused Mr. Tinubu of working with the EFCC to destroy the Senate by attacking the integrity of its members.

The story, which THISDAY said came from an unnamed source at the meeting, alleged that Mr. Tinubu was acting in concert with the anti-graft agency to destroy key elements in the National Assembly in order to clear the way for his 2019 presidential ambition.

“Constant bashing and campaign of calumny launched against the Senate by a prominent national daily and a frontline television station, believed to be owned by the former governor, is an example of the on-going underground war being waged against the Senate as an institution,” the source allegedly told the newspaper.

But in a statement, signed by his spokesperson, Tunde Rahman, Mr. Tinubu said those behind the report were “practitioners of political libel,” and slammed the newspaper for publishing what it described as “a rotten lie”.

“The story is such an outright fabrication that it claims the PDP Senators held a special meeting to discuss Asiwaju Tinubu. However, PDP Senators claim no such meeting was ever held and that they hold no special animus toward Asiwaju Tinubu,” the statement read.

It added that as a former senator himself, Mr. Tinubu would not never work to tarnish the reputation of the senate.

“We are usually not in the position of agreement with PDP members. But on this rare occasion, we have no contention with them. Asiwaju Tinubu is a former Senator. He has a special affection for the Senate as an institution. It is not within him to belittle the institution or members of that institution who happen to be in the opposing political party.”

The statement said character and personal attacks are not in consonance with Mr. Tinubu’s political ideology.
“The gutter is no place to build a better nation. We seek higher ground,” the statement said.

 

Source: Premium Times

We will not scrap YouWIN – Nigerian government

The Nigerian government, Wednesday, said it would not scrap the Youth With Innovation Entrepreneurship, YouWIN! Connect, programme.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who stated this in a Facebook LIVE interactive session, noted that the scheme would be reviewed in line with the economic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

There have been reports of fraud in the management of the schemes, with top government functionaries alleged to have facilitated slots to their cronies.

The Federal Government launched an investigation into the allegation, leading to speculations of possible outright scrap of the programme by the government.

But speaking during the Facebook LIVE session on Wednesday, Ms. Adeosun said the scheme was being reviewed, adding that the exercise would enable the government to incorporate the initiative into
university curricula across Nigeria.

“The Buhari administration has no plans to scrap it (YouWIN!Connect),” she said.

“The Federal Government has reviewed the scheme and repositioned it as the YouWiN!Connect, which focuses on continuous enterprise education and skills building.

“As part of the restructuring, the YouWiN!Connect now publishes weekly editorials in four national newspapers. The principles of the YouWiN! Connect will be incorporated into university curricula across Nigeria.”

Commenting further, Ms. Adeosun stated that the finance ministry had been supporting small businesses, creating jobs, improving transparency, cutting the cost of governance, and boosting government revenues.

The minister said the current administration was putting in place measures to ensure that the economy would be diversified in a manner that any fluctuation in oil prices would not have significant impact
on government revenue.

“The good news is that we are working through the issues one by one, and trying to ensure that as we rebuild the economy, we get away from the boom and bust cycle of the past; we want to build an economy where, whether oil price is high or low, there’s sustainable growth for Nigeria and for Nigerians,” she said.

 

Source: Premium Times

British Police interrogates Ahmed Musa for allegedly beating his wife

The Nigerian international, Ahmed Musa, was reportedly arrested and quizzed by British police in the early hours of Thursday on suspicion of battering his wife, Jamila.

The news has shocked many fans who view the 24-year-old star as an easygoing person, who always wears a smile.

A report the theSun.co.uk, said: “Nigerian international Ahmed Musa, a £16million forward with champions Leicester City, was nicked at his home at 1am.

Ten hours later two plain-clothed women officers arrived at the £850,000 five-bedroom detached property in the city’s Countesthorpe area.

“It is believed they spent another two hours taking a statement from his wife Jamila, mum to Musa’s two young children Ahmed Jnr and Halima.

“Police confirmed they held Musa, 24, on suspicion of common assault.”

One neighbour told The Sun: “Ahmed is a nice guy. He always has a friendly smile. I don’t know anything about his private life.”

While an update from The Sun confirms that Musa has since returned home after the session with the police, many are still shocked by the news as Musa recently went online to show affection for his wife.

The Leicester City forward took to social media to post a snap of Jamila with a message of love to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday.

Gushing on Instagram, he wrote: “On this special day, may you have: All the joy, your heart can hold; All the smiles, a day can bring; And all the blessings, a life can unfold.

“May God bestow you with His bounties and blessings! Happy Birthday to my Queen.”

 

Source: Premium Times

Lawyer calls for policies to protect physically-challenged citizens

A physically-challenged person and trained lawyer, Mrs Catherine Edeh, has called for the introduction of policies that would carter for the welfare of physically-challenged people in the country.

Edeh, who is the founder of a non-governmental organization, ‘Voice of Disability Initiative’ (VDI), made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

She urged government at all levels, to adequately address the challenges facing such persons to enable them explore their potentials.

Citing herself as an example, Edeh explained that having hearing impairment, she could only practice as a lawyer with the help of an interpreter.

“I cannot practice law now because our courts do not have interpreters and I cannot engage the services of an interpreter due to the high cost.

“I will have to pay an interpreter as high as N15, 000 for one day’s job and I cannot afford it but if our courts have interpreters, I will be able to practice as a lawyer, ’’ she said.

Edeh further called on President Muhammadu Buhari  to sign into law, the Disability Rights Bill passed by the 7th National Assembly, saying  her colleagues would be accorded their rights better under such a law.

According to her, physically-challenged persons are not being treated with dignity in public places, adding that it also is particularly very difficult for them to secure employment.

Edeh identified lack of easy access to public transport and public buildings like the courts, banks and hospitals among others, as some of their major challenges.

“Passage of the Nigeria Disability Rights Bill is very important because if implemented, almost all the basic needs of physically-challenged persons will be taken care of,” she said.

Another physically-challenged person who spoke to NAN, Mr Ezekiel Bende, complained of residential apartments not having facilities to suit their  needs.

Bende said he always encountered difficulties accessing his apartment, adding that his landlord’s response to his complaint over staircase facility was not pleasing.

He therefore urged the government to establish a commission that would handle the affairs of physically-challenged persons in the country.

He said the commission would also handle cases of offenders or violators of rights of such persons.

 

Source: PUNCH

Grief as SARS Police shot Kudirat Adebayo to death in Lagos [GRAPHIC]

Onipanu residents in Lagos and other concerned individuals are currently angered following the passing of a trader who was hit by a stray bullet fired by a SARS Police officer attached to Olosan Police Station, in the Mushin axis of Lagos.

The deceased, Kudirat Adebayo passed away immediately on the spot after she was hit by the bullet near Toll Gate, situated at Onipanu area of Lagos, yesterday April 4, 2017.

Omojuwa.Com gathered that late Kudirat sells ‘ojojo’ (yam cake) along Railway Line, Toll Gate, Mushin prior to her passing. Her remains have been deposited at Isolo General Hospital mortuary, InsideMainland learnt.

It was learnt that the Police officers were after an internet fraudster also known as ‘yahoo boy’ who ran through Ogunmokun/Toll gate end of Mushin on motorcycle while attempting to evade arrest. In the process, a policeman reportedly shot at him before a stray bullet hit late Kudirat who was with her wares by the roadside.

An eyewitness, Chidi Okereke first reported the incident on his Twitter Account.

https://twitter.com/Chydee/status/849310561980616709

The development we gathered led to uneasiness in the area with angered residents mobilizing themselves and headed straight to the Police station.

According to a resident, Ajalamu Saheed said; the residents were dispersed by the Police officers who shot sporadically into the air to chase away the protesters. “The street boys rushed to the Police station demanding that the officer who fired the shots be made to face the full consequences of his actions. The protest lasted for long periods and the Police fired shots into the air after they couldn’t control the crowd,” he said.

Presently, there is calmness in the area as Police officers are stationed at strategic positions.  Also, the Police officers at Olosan Police station have refused comment on the death of Kudirat Adebayo.

Effort to get the State Police PRO, Olurinde Famous-Cole for comment is ongoing as at press time.

JUST IN: Nigerian lawmakers to investigate DSTV Nigeria

The House of Representatives on Wednesday mandated its Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to investigate the ‘exorbitant charges’ and refusal of Multichoice Nigeria, owners of Dstv and Gotv, to adopt ‘Pay As You Go’ package option.

The resolution was due to a motion by Abbas Tajudeen (Kaduna-APC).

Mr. Tajudeen said it has been the company’s practice, to increase the prices of its packages almost on a yearly basis.

“For instance, in 2013, the monthly subscription increased by 7-10%, in 2014 by 10-15% and in 2015 by 10-22%,” he said.

“Just recently, the company sent a notification of another hike with effect from May 1st, 2017,” he added.

He said the increasing prices of the various bouquet offered by the company and its refusal to offer a ‘Pay as you Go’ package option is causing serious financial strain on its subscribers.

He said Dstv does not have a ‘Pay As You Go’ package like some of its counterparts across the world which makes its subscription plan expire at the end of the monthly subscription period, whether or not the subscriber uses the service.

The lawmaker added that the regular increase in the prices of various bouquet and refusal to adopt the ‘Pay As You Go’ package is against all known and fair business practices all over the world.

Mr. Tajudeen expressed his disappointment at the seeming inability of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, Consumer Protection Council and other regulatory agencies to exercise their authority on the company.

There have been calls by Nigerians to compel Multichoice to introduce the ‘Pay As You Go’ package in Nigeria.

The House of Representatives had also in a bid to break the monopoly of Dstv, passed a bill meant to make broadcasting more competitive in the country.

 

Source: Premium Times

Emefiele’s Support For The Naira Is Working – By Nathaniel T. Olufemi

“The fact that we have done this consistently for almost four to five weeks should tell everybody or those who doubt the strength of central bank to sustain this policy that they are taking a risk and they will lose in this bid to want to place a wrong bet on the direction that we are going.”
Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor Central Bank of Nigeria. The series of bullish interventions in the past six weeks by the Central Bank of Nigeria have successfully stamped a significant level of stability in the foreign exchange market after an extended period of volatility.
This is commendable work by the leadership of the apex bank. Most deserving of the plaudits is the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who has since the start of the foreign exchange crisis canvassed for a more context-sensitive approach to handling the crisis.
He took the right initial steps of putting the country’s interest first and rallying critical stakeholders against the idea of taking hook line and sinker the prescriptions of western interest groups and international financial organizations for the full float of the naira.
Emefiele’s refusal to go with traditional prescriptions in dealing with the crisis and insistence on applying practical homegrown strategies within the context of our economic peculiarities may not have delivered results as early as many wanted.
Yet today the measures are indeed working and the results are not in doubt. Roughly three weeks ago, one dollar exchanged for a whopping N550 in the parallel market. Today, the story has changed significantly. In the past few days the exchange rate has come down by about 12% and now ranges between N370 to N385 to a dollar. This means that on the average, the naira has gained about N165 to the dollar in value. This is impressive. And it is looking as if things might improve even further.
What makes this intervention different is that it has not only halted the continued fall in the value of the naira into dangerous territory, but also reversed the negative trend to a positive trajectory of sustained recovery. It marks the end of a painful period of high exchange rates.
While it is true that such gains in recent past did not last and quickly reversed, there are strong reasons to believe that this time around, they are going to stay on for quite some time. Maybe improve even further considering the positive indicators that have so far defined this intervention. To start, the naira is having its longest stretch of recovery and gains over the dollar.
Two, the reversals in gains have been marginal, less frequent and they quickly correct. Three, the interventions of the Central Bank have been intense and expansive targeting commercial banks and Bureau De Changes with consistent sale of forex. The signals from the regulatory institution have been that of a determination to make this work for the long term.
Speaking recently, Mr. Emefiele, the Central Bank Governor promised that the bank will keep the liquidity flow and ensure that currency speculators who are betting on the naira lose money.
Specifically, the Central Bank at the start of this campaign had one clear objective: to close the gap between the interbank exchange rate of N375 and the parallel rate that hovered around N550. The significant gains that have been made by the naira against the dollar in the forex market within the span of five weeks show that progress has been made and that things are actually changing for good at so many levels.
First is the remarkable improvement in forex availability and the ease of access by Nigerians especially for purposes of paying tuition, personal travel and medical expenses. There is a noticeable policy objective to ensure that the process of getting forex for those purposes by Nigerians is friendly and not a sentence to suffering. This might explain why the CBN now sells forex directly to banks for retail purposes.
The banks now have sufficient forex liquidity to treat request by Nigerians. It has instructed commercial banks to ensure that applications are treated within 24 hours and threats of sanctions for noncompliance. These range of measures that the CBN has taken in the interest of ordinary Nigerians deserve commendations.
They have brought great relief. In the past, getting access to forex was a difficult and tiring ordeal. Those who applied for had to wait in line for about a month or two before their applications could be treated. On top of that, there were no guarantees of a positive feedback. More like a gamble.
There have been many sad stories of parents who applied for tuition, sick people requiring forex to travel abroad for better medical treatment but after a month of waiting simply got the information that their bids were not successful. The 24hour deadline for treating applications at the fixed rate of N360 to the dollar is therefore a remarkable improvement. Besides reducing the financial burden for expenses in dollars for regular Nigerians, it has also made life a lot easier.
The gradual rise in strength of the naira against the dollar is also a good signal that prices of essential goods and services are likely to come down, a development that will help to alleviate the suffering of ordinary people. This includes prices of imported goods or items that are critical inputs for production of industrial goods, agricultural inputs such as fertilizer.
Similarly they inspire hope that prices of necessities and items consumed by ordinary Nigerians which have more than doubled within this period will soon come down. Some of these essentials include house consumables, toiletries, health products and medicines.
While it may be too ambitious to hope for instant reductions in the prices of these in the supermarkets or pharmacies, the trend suggests that in time, they will come down. On another front, the improvements are a strong vindication of Emefiele’s nontraditional style of managing the wide-ranging negative effects of foreign exchange crisis. The campaign for him to toe the traditional route was strong and intense.
The pressure came from the organized international investing community, local manufacturers and even members of the Monetary Policy Committee. Yet he stayed true to his convictions and refused to bulge. One, he consistently argued that the demand for forex was being fuelled by speculators and the price was not in fact a true reflection of the value of the naira.
Two, he consistently canvassed that allowing a free fall of the currency would hurt the country given the highly import dependent nature of the economy.
Three, that there really was no easy option given the lack of sufficient savings and low foreign reserves. Four, that if the fiscal policy side complements the actions that he is pushing from the monetary front, the situation could be managed without having to allow the Naira go on a free fall in order to prevent the likely rise in prices of goods and services. While his efforts may not have achieved in full the results hoped for, they helped a great deal in slowing down the escalation and pain that Nigerians would have experienced.
Fact is without Emefiele’s strategic demand management measures which include placing restrictions on access to forex for forty one items and other smart initiatives, the country would have rolled dangerously and faster into recession.
The Naira would have lost even more value earlier and stayed down for much longer than it did. In addition, prices would have shot up much earlier and the suffering of Nigerians as a result would have lasted for a much longer period.
So, on the whole, while it may be fair to argue that Emefiele’s strategy may not have delivered as expected, the other uncontestable reality is that it was effective in preventing the degeneration of the crisis as we have seen happen in other countries like Venezuela. Overall, the pro-people focus of the CBN’s bullish interventions that are being championed by Emefiele inspire a new beginning that is good for the economy. A stronger Naira means higher purchasing capacity.
Ensuring that it stays strong will help to boost efforts of the government to reflate the economy as it works to get the country out of recession. A stable and predictable foreign exchange market is also good for investment. Emefiele and his team deserve commendation for finding a workable formula for keeping the Naira strong.
Olufemi is a public analyst based in Lagos.

BREAKING: INEC Director Pleads Guilty To Receiving Bribe From Diezani

A Director of Administration at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Christian Nwosu, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving 30 million Naira for the purpose of manipulating the outcome of the 2015 general elections.

He allegedly received the sum out of a total of 264.88 million Naira purportedly used by the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to bribe some officers of the electoral body ahead of the conduct of the elections.

The EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the money is a small fraction of a larger sum of $115 million, which the former Petroleum Minister allegedly diverted.

The INEC Director has given useful information to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He also surrendered the title document of a landed property he acquired with the funds for 25 million Naira in Delta State, with another five million Naira already recovered from his account.

After reviewing the facts, Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, subsequently found him guilty of the offence and convicted him.

The judge, however, deferred his sentence till Friday, April 7.

 

Source: Channels TV

Senate calls for reforms in NIPOST, proposes creation of Nigerian Postal Commission.

The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, today 5th April, 2016 at the Upper chamber of the National Assembly led the debate on a Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian Postal Service Act and to enact the Nigerian Postal Commission and other related matters 2017, which he sponsored.

He stated that the Bill when passed into law will establish the Nigerian Postal Commission whose sole purpose will be the regulation and supervision of the postal sector, facilitate investments in and entry into the Nigerian Market, introduce private sector participation in the provision of postal services, promote and protect the interest of consumers against unfair practices amongst so many other things.

Ashafa reminded his colleagues that the legislation currently guiding the affairs of NIPOST, the Nigerian Postal Service Act was promulgated over 20 years ago in 1992. He pointed out that “You may all agree that the current trends in globalisation, digital advancement in all facets of life has been on the fast lane. Thus, the need to keep up with the changing technological trend for the benefit of the nation.”

The Bill will ensure that the Nigeria Postal Service Commission has a proper and robust Legislative Framework in order to open the Commission up to providing bespoke services in line with international best practice.

While underscoring the importance of the Bill, several distinguished senators lent their voice in support of its passage. On his part, Senator Mallam Ali Wakili recalled that he had moved a motion seeking for the reform of the Nigerian Postal Service sometime in 2016. He stated that considering the vast assets base and the economic opportunities that abound in the Sector, the time had come for legislative reform.

Senators Albert Bassey and Stella Oduah also supported the Bill stating that the time had come to re-position NIPOST to meet contemporary international best practices. While Senator Dino Melaye commended the intellectual sagacity” of the sponsor of the Bill, noting that the Bill came at the right time when there seems to be a fresh burst of reforms going on at the Nigerian Postal Service by its new management.

The Bill ultimately passed through the second reading and was referred to the Senate Committee on Communications for further deliberations.

40 Nigerians Deported By Italian Government Arrive Lagos

40 Nigerians have been deported by the Italian government for committing various immigration offences in the country.

This brings to about 70 the number of Nigerians that have been sent back home from the European country since February this year.

The Nigerian Immigration Service said the deportees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at about midnight aboard a chartered foreign-based airline.

It was gathered that one of the 40 Nigerians were deported alleged involvement in drug dealing.

 

Source: Channels TV

Emir Sanusi Raises Alarm Over Increasing Debt In Nigeria

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has raised alarm over the increasing debt in the country.

He stated that among other producing countries in Africa, Nigeria has been on a borrowing bench, “Borrowing domestically to fund current expenditure”.

He added that the growth of Nigeria was driven largely by rising commodity prices and debt, and the module has reached the logical limit such as the collapse in oil price.

He said according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the Federal Government of Nigeria is spending 66% of its interest revenue on debt, which means only 34% of its revenue is available for capital expenditure, recurrent expenditure and development.

The Emir made this known at the Kaduna State Investment Summit with the theme “Making Kaduna Investment Destination of Choice”.

He said the 2017 budget presented by the Federal Government is a budget that goes for more debt.

He noted that, “As a country, we must understand that the module of government borrowing and spending has reached its limit, therefore growth must only come from investment”.

The Emir crtiticised leaders that go to China to sign MoU and come back with debts forgetting their areas of development.

“A nation and a state is only transformed by vision, once that vision is lost every other thing around the vision collapses”.

He added that the growth of an economy will not come by borrowing.

In his keynote address, he urged the northern leaders to focus more on education and health sector especially in the north.

He asked them to use their resources to deal with the issues of poverty in their region.

The occasion was well attended by industrialists, traditional rulers, media owners and government functionaries.

 

Source: Channels TV

President Buhari Launches Nigeria’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan 2017-2020

The much awaited Nigeria’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan 2017-2020 has been formally launched by Nigeria’s President in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari who unveiled the document to the council chambers at the Presidential Villa, said the plan sets out an ambitious roadmap to achieve a 7% growth rate by 2020.

He added that the document brings together all sectoral plans for agriculture and food security, energy and transport infrastructure, industrialisation and social investments.

“I want to assure all Nigerians that we are approaching the solution to our economic challenges with the same will and commitment we have demonstrated in the fight against corruption, and in the fight against terrorism and militancy.”

He appealed to the state governments to draw inspiration and strategic direction from the plan to articulate their economic own programmes, particularly in the development of the real sector.

On Tuesday, the President’s Spokesman, Femi Adesina in a statement said that the launch is “in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and revamping the economy.

 

Source: Channels TV

Will Arsenal ever win the Premier League again under Wenger? – By Baba Grumpy

A few weeks ago, I was asked this question and was tasked to put my thoughts down.

I have not been motivated to write because of our poor form. In the words of a gentleman I respect, the Arsenal Team is like a “seemingly devastated side, shorn of confidence and steering wildly towards a rocky shore”.  May I add very much helped by a misguided section of the fan base that are very much determined to commit mass suicide by jumping off the cliff edge like lemmings.

Following the draw against Man City, I have found some energy and motivation to write.  Prior to Sunday’s match, it was difficult to tell where the next bit of light ahead of the tunnel was coming from. Fortunately we found something and I hope we can build on it. Not that the visitors on Wednesday will be a walk over. There is no ‘gimme’ in the Premier League plus it is a derby.  Desire, talent application, work rate & a bit of luck will do it. Should do it for us.

The simple answer to the subject of this article is: NOBODY KNOWS. Anybody who tells you they know one way or the other is unfortunately telling porkies.

At the start of 2015/16 season, at the mid point and after the Leicester loss at the Emirates that season, not one person knew Leicester will win and they did. Until The Spuds self-combust at Stamford Bridge, it was all ‘can they’? Not ‘they will’.  How many people had Chelsea down as league champions after the chastening defeat at The Emirates early this season? Less than 2 months ago, the Manchester Police Twitter account was bantering away at Liverpool FC’s inability to buy a Premier League point. Today they can’t stop vacuuming up 3 points.

At the start of this season, all the smart money was on one of the Manchester clubs winning league. See how that is panning out. Both clubs have spent close to a billion pounds over the last 2 seasons and are capable of paying over £200k per week wages to several players and are both still nowhere near Premier League winning sides.

Predicting if a side will win the league is not easy or straightforward otherwise Bookies will be out of business. Quoting generously from the same source as earlier “Football is a complex blend of tactics, egos, form and confidence”. Winning a football match is not easy let alone a league of 38 football matches.  The better team doesn’t always win for different reasons: ill luck; wrong bounce of the ball; funny / dodgy referees, injuries etc.

If you were to ask many if Everton or our poor neighbors in Middlesex can challenge for the title, you are likely to find that people are more willing to give them the benefit of doubt while not willing to cut Arsenal under Arsene any slack at all. Many will rightfully point to the last 13 years without a league championship; the inability to compete throughout the whole season, the Champions League Round of 16 exits, the inability to pay top wages, sign the very best players and potentially many more unconnected reasons like ticket prices, a non visible owner etc. as their reason why Arsenal under Arsene can’t win. They have a point. Up to a point.

What many don’t consider in all of their upset feelings on this touchy subject of Arsene Wenger’s continued stay at The Emirates is the subject of money.  The big bucks has simply been the biggest issue here. Until the billions from the Russian owner came in. Chelsea were nobodies. Now they are there or thereabout except when Jose Mourinho does a madness and threatens to bring the whole house down.

Same with Man City. 44 years with big fat zero until the Middle East Oil billions poured in. Money made a difference even in the Ferguson years. United were able to pay bigger wages and bigger transfer fees. When the Glazer debt hobbled United, their ability to compete and dominate was challenged season after season.

At the moment, Arsenal unfortunately can’t spunk money about like any of the bigger boys either for transfer fees or for wages.  Yes we have a billionaire owner. His wife and her family did not make their money from selling state assets to themselves nor did they suddenly discover some viscose liquid in their back garden. Even if the Arsenal owner had a money-printing machine in his cellar, it is his decision how to spend his money and any sane and rational person should not quarrel with that.

If Arsenal FC and its owners were to one day, decide to spend money like Chelsea, Man U and Man City are doing, it will take 2 to 3 transfer seasons of spending before we can draw level with where these troika are at the moment and there would still be no guarantees of success. If however Arsene and Arsenal can somehow contrive to magic this money and spend like Chelsea and Man City season after season, Arsene and Arsenal will compete from August to May every Premier League season, win at least one league title every 3 seasons and match the might of the European footballing elite in the Champions league.

For God’s sake, Pellegrini won the league and got to the Semi Final of the Champions League. What is this nonsense about football has passed Arsene by? What tactics did Pellegrini deploy to win his league title? Why can’t Arsene achieve the same with Arsenal with the ‘unlimited’ resources at the disposal of Chelsea or Man City?

A word of caution though. The day a leader of Russia decides he wants to be petty or the day Roman himself gets bored, what is going to happen to the unlimited resources of Chelsea? What happens when oil sells for single figures or a Mad Mullah is threatening the safety of the Middle East and they are on lockdown unable to ship oil for a few months?  Will the oil money still gush without a tap? People who think spending money like a drunken sailor is the way to go should beware the ides of Portsmouth and many others.

If Leicester is your retort to the issue of money, my simple response is that Leicester’s win was an exception. They waited for 120 years before their first bite of the cherry. Are we willing to wait that long too? I very much doubt that. Yes they did it and fair play to them. The stars aligned in their favor including dodgy refereeing decisions, Man City’s own flirtation with Pep with its detrimental effect on Pellegrini’s team and Arsenal’s own inability to capitalize on our Top of The League position after the New Year Day’s fixtures starting with the disappointing 3 – 3 draw at Anfield.

Leicester were also blessed with the fact that they are club without a playing philosophy until Nigel Pearson introduced a playing style that was adopted by Claudio Ranieri. Arsenal and Arsene have a playing philosophy and this in itself can be something of an albatross sometimes. It is easy for many who see winning as the only thing that matters to disagree with this playing philosophy issue but please listen to top managers including Pep Guardiola and you will appreciate that philosophy and identity are not like clothes that can be taken off willy-nilly. Alex Ferguson in two Champion League finals versus Barcelona did not change his style of play and lost both finals. As far as Arsene sticks to his playing philosophy and as long as we are unable to attract the top talents coming into the Premier League, it will take the same type of stars aligning as it happened for Leicester for Arsenal under Arsene to win the league.

If Arsene were to abandon his philosophy right now and right here. Put 10 men behind the ball, play dirty and cynical, cheat, create an intimidating atmosphere for referees like Ferguson did, I make bold to say we will challenge for the league like Leicester too and maybe like Ranieri achieved one title win in his 30 year managerial career, Wenger can finally add to his 3 titles by wining another one for Arsenal within the next 4 years before he retires.

 

Baba Grumpy works in Financial Services in the United Kingdom. He blogs mostly about football .

#BATC17: Use what we make, make what we use – Bola Tinubu [Full Speech]

 

It is more than gratifying to mark my birthday in this good way. To all of you –  many who have traveled great distances –  I am honored that you joined me today. Though the event banners speak my name, this gathering is not about me. It is about what a people united in purpose must do to improve their beloved country. Though our roles may be different, some may work under the public glare and others labor without fanfare, we are all but servants to that goal.
In this noble pursuit, no person is greater than any other. For this is the nation that we seek. We build that nation by forcing ourselves to become that nation, day by day, difficult step by difficult step. We do so by casting aside the prejudices and biases of the past in order to forge a more progressive and just society where no Nigerian is pushed down because of his place of origin, his faith or social station.  And where every Nigerian has a fair chance to rise to his potential by dint of honest labor and constructive enterprise. This is as God intended us to be. We have no choice but to achieve this good destiny.
Before we go further, I must give special thanks to Vice President Osinbajo. As this is my birthday, I am afforded some latitude. For a moment, may I dispense with the formality of titles and protocol. Yemi Osinbajo is many good things. Today, may I simply call him my friend and brother.
Leading a group of fellow commissioners who worked together during my time as governor of Lagos, Yemi and this creative group turned the idea of this event into an annual reality.
This colloquium gets better by the year because of the commitment to excellence of those organizing it. Each year, they assemble creative minds to address the issues that stand in the way of our national greatness.
In this and so much else, the VP has proven himself a true servant of the Nigerian people. While our dear President needed to be away, the VP performed admirably as a loyal subordinate.
We must applaud President Buhari. He meticulously followed our constitution in temporarily transferring the helm to the VP.  As such, these two excellent men exemplified teamwork and the true meaning of unity of purpose.
Showing himself to be a selfless leader, President Buhari set the stage by giving strategic policy guidance and direction. Showing himself to be equally selfless, our VP, as acting president, worked as the faithful arm of the President, by diligently putting in action what President Buhari had directed him in word to do.
We are happy indeed that President Buhari is back, No one is happier than the VP for he has personally experienced that the burdens of high office are heavy and severe. The yoke of responsibility for an entire nation is not a light one.
Yet, this recent episode gives a constructive lesson. Two men, although of different backgrounds, faiths and professional experiences, have forged themselves into a team that manages complex matters of state and governance in a seamless and smooth manner.
Try as critics might, they could neither detect nor create any space between the President and his deputy. This is how things are when people are united in vision and joined in purpose. As President Buhari and his VP have been, we all must now be.
I have been told that I must utter some brief comments. Given that this event has rendered you a captive audience and that my birthday affords special privileges that disappear the next day, I will take undue advantage to give more than brief comments.
ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY
Tomorrow, I shall be 65. The years have taught much. What I say is based on this inventory of experience.
More than any hour in our recent history, Nigeria stands at a defining juncture. Our challenges are manifold and profound. Yet, so are our collective abilities and talents. The balance will then tip in favor or against us as our commitment and political will to succeed dictate.
The topic of today is thus germane. The central theme focuses on what Nigeria makes and what it uses. Implicitly, it asks if our political economy is properly structured. To answer this, we must dig a bit deeper to ask an even more fundamental question rarely examined.
Is our our political economy structured for the benefit of man or is man to be subservient to the benefit of the impersonal political economy? Much depends on how we – in both word and deed —  answer this question.
The answer seems self evident. Of course, the political economy should be for the benefit of man. Yet, this is not how we act. In reality, we do not first try to bend and mold the economy to extract the optimal benefit for the people. Instead, we have been conditioned to demand that the people to bend and twist themselves to fit what the economy is or what it is not.
If we truly believe the economy is to serve the people, we will seek creative ways to gainfully employ people and improve their living standard by increasing their material and psychic wealth.
If we give only lip service to the primacy of the people, then we shall implement policies that sacrifice the people’s welfare on the altar of some callous ideology that defines economic balance as the unbridled greed of the market place. A place where it is every man for himself and government does much of nothing except watch the economic carnage that will visit the majority of the people in such a heartless circumstance.
I reject this merciless way of thought and of life. It violates the tenets of morality and of sustainable economics itself.
Thus, we must begin and end our pursuit of economic balance with the great volume of the precious things this nation produces and how to put those most special assets to work.
You see, Nigeria is actually a prolific manufacturer. It has produced and is home to 170 million of the most adaptive,  industrious economic units on earth.
I talk about our people. Our task is not to lament their great numbers but to reform the political economy in a manner that puts them to productive work.
Our aim must be to properly employ the maximum number of people for a sustainable period. If we achieve this, the GDP numbers and the rest of the economic indices will follow suit.
However, if registering high aggregate economic figures is the goal without adequate recourse to the people’s well-being then we sorely miss the mark. We will sustain neither the high economic figures nor the welfare of the people.
The old model upon which this economy has so long sputtered, has crashed right before our eyes. We must retool ourselves. A new outlook is needed.
We allowed the economy to atrophy into one too dependent on oil revenue and on the rent-seeking behavior such revenues encourage. Even at the best of times and with the highest of oil prices, we barely survived as an economy.
Widespread poverty, gross inequality and high unemployment of man, machinery and material described our condition.
The decline in oil prices turned our extant economic model into rubble overnight. If we continue in this broken way, we have done nothing less than enter into an economic suicide pact with ourselves.
We must break free of this fate. Fortunately, the current government has begun the sometimes painful process of salvage and reform.
I offer a few personal insights, hoping they may be of some help in this vital economic reformation.
DIVERSIFICATION/INDUSTRIAL POLICY
We are one of the most populous nations in the world. Moreover, a larger percentage of that population becomes urban with each passing year. In the city, there is no such thing as living off the land. One must live by the labor of his brain and hand. Jobs and wages are to the city dweller as fields and crops are to the farmer.
Study the expanse of economic history. No populous modern nation has attained prosperity without creating an industrial base capable of employing great numbers of the urban population and of manufacturing significant quantities of goods for domestic consumption or export.
We cannot simply talk about diversifying the economy. Practical cooperation between government and the private sector are needed.
Again, we take recourse to history to guide us. We must learn from England which barred the migration of its master craftsmen and the export of textile looms at dawn of the Industrial Revolution, to America and the high tariffs it imposed on foreign manufactured goods for over 150 years from its independence until after WWII. To China which implemented a most radical and comprehensive protectionist regime to become the world’s most prolific manufacturing nation.
These three nations represent the past, present and immediate future of national economic achievement. A strong common thread is their policies of encouraging and buffering strategic industries in their early stages so that these pillars of their economies may strengthen and the economy consequently  flourish.
These nations have achieved the greatest growth among all nations. This has been their practice in doing so. Yet we depart from doing what has proven effective. The manuals of mainstream economics tell us not to do as these nations did. We strangely choose to believe the false words written in the books at the expense of the truth of what has been achieved on the ground.
A rich man scarcely reveals to another man the secret of his success. As with men, so with nations. Those nations that have forged ahead will not tell another countries how to echo the same feats. Rich nations seek to maintain their high place, not instruct poorer nations how to supplant them.
Like those developed nations, we must press forward with a national industrial policy fostering development of strategic industries that create jobs as well as spur further economic growth. Whether we decide to focus attention on steel, textiles, cars, machinery components, or other items, the truth is that we must focus on manufacturing important, useful things.
And we must partially reshape and guide the market place to accomplish this aim. Because, if the unbridled free market could have achieved this, it would have already done so years ago.
As part of this plan, government should institute a policy of tax credits, subsidies and the insulation from the negative impact of imports for critical these sectors.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND POWER
Closely complementing the industrial plan, we need a national infrastructure plan. Existing roads, ports, bridges and railways need enhancement. New structures need to be built so that we enjoy a modern, coherently planned and integrated infrastructural grid. A national economy cannot grow beyond the capacity of the infrastructural that serves it. Excellent infrastructure begets a functioning economy. Weak infrastructure turns the economy into an orphan. Government must take the lead in this endeavor. The private sector has not the wherewithal in and of itself to do the necessary.
Such efforts would echo what America and Germany did to help free themselves from the Great Depression. China embarked on an exercise of an even more massive scale to transform itself from an impoverished agrarian backwater into a formidable economic agency within a generation.
Moreover, expenditures for well planned infrastructural spending have empirically proven to boost recessionary economies and provide employment when sorely needed.
Of utmost importance in this regard, we must conquer the economic, political and bureaucratic bottlenecks preventing us from achieving affordable, reliable electrical power.
This is perhaps the single greatest impediment to economic advancement. The lack of power places our businesses at profound disadvantage, driving up costs, impeding productivity and dousing overall economic activity and job creation.  This places us literally and figuratively in the dark with regard to our economic condition.
The problems are not technical in nature as reliable electricity is a staple of economic life in nations less endowed than Nigeria.
We must persuade and convince those factors that currently impede our national quest for reliable power to move aside so that we can achieve this crucial precursor to economic vitality.
As we move on, the nation should consider an infrastructural bank that can attract foreign investment for major projects.
CREDIT, MORTGAGES AND INTEREST RATES
Modern economies are built on credit. However, credit for business investment and consumer spending is too costly in Nigeria to be of much help.
The Central Bank has worked hard to alleviate the exchange rate differential and bolster the Naira. Its efforts in this regard must be sustained to bear the fruit we seek.
However, the long-term economic strength of the nation, is not so much dependent on these exchange rate exercises. It is more dependent on how well we deploy now idle men, material and machines into productive endeavor.
The interest rate has more influence on economic health than does the exchange rate. We dare not confuse ourselves on so vital a point. A “strong” Naira does not beget a strong economy. It is a strong economy that begets a well valued Naira.
The CBN needs to resolve the puzzle of our interest rates. Lower rates are required so our industrialists may borrow to invest more in plant, equipment and jobs.
Our consumer credit mechanisms must be more accessible to the average consumer. Prevailing custom still requires a consumer to purchase in one, up-front lump sum a house, a car, a refrigerator. In a word, this is oppressive. It defeats the average consumer and significantly dampens sales of real estate, vehicles and appliances that could otherwise help energize then sustain our economy.
Moreover, this systemic credit malpractice pushes some toward corruption. People may manage to survive off their wages. Hardly any can save so much that they are able to pay for a house or car all at once. To acquire the lump sum amounts, decent people are tempted to do what they would not even consider if consumer credit was practically at hand.
A vital step we must take is to revamp our government-backed home mortgage system.  Mortgage loan agencies must be better funded, must liberalize their eligibility requirements so that more people qualify and they must provide longer-term mortgages with manageable interest rates.
In this manner, we spur the overall economy by enhancing construction activity and the industries allied to it.
The private sector must make similar adjustments regarding car and appliance sales.
AGRICULTURAL REFORM
We must help the farmer by improving rural output and incomes.  This is best done via ensuring minimum prices for crops strategic to food security. Thus, we must establish commodity exchange boards which will allow farmers to secure good prices and hedge against loss. Complementing this, improved warehousing will enhance food security and lower prices while improving farm incomes. Farmers will receive warehouse scrip or tickets for their products. They can use the scrip to borrow money in the short-term to purchase inputs needed to increase yield. An agricultural mortgage loan corporation should be inaugurated to further promote these goals.
At last year’s colloquium, we discussed various innovations such as establishing a commodities futures market. We must do more than talk. We must have the heart and courage to implement these ideas that have consistently proven themselves in other countries. If we try, these measures will ably acquit themselves here.
CONCLUSION
As I  conclude, I beg your forgiveness for holding you captive so long. But we stand at a moment where history will be made, either for better or worse.  Take a few extra minutes to express some ideas that might help write that history in the correct way is not such a heavy price to pay.
One more thought shall suffice. Here I add a third part to this year’s theme. Not only must we use what we make and make what we use. We must fix our minds to make what the world values. It does little good to expend our finite productive capacities on things that bear little profit.
A nation does itself better in manufacturing a good and affordable appliance or car than in cultivating a sublime mango or perfect banana. We must not allow our present comparative disadvantage in manufacturing and industry to keep us from pursuing a tomorrow where that disadvantage is abolished.
Consequently, we must use our creative insight to peer into tomorrow and see what the rest of the world may want to buy, then devote ourselves to making these products.
Neither Japan nor South Korea had significant iron ore deposits. Yet they built steel industries as the foundation for their impressive rise as manufacturers of cars and other durable goods. They developed these industries because they saw the advantageous value in them.
Nigeria must act in the same manner. We must remember nothing that any other nation can do is beyond our grasp even if we do not currently have the thing in hand. This is the change that we can and must achieve.
God bless you and God bless Nigeria.
Thank you.

Navy admiral found dead in his home in Lagos

Teikumo Ikoli, fleet commander of the Western Naval Command, Nigerian Navy, was found dead in his Lagos home, on Wednesday.

Chinwe Umar, spokeswoman for the Western Naval Command, said the cause of Ikoli’s death had not been known, but investigation was going on.

“In the early hours of Wednesday April 5, 2017, gunshots were heard in the vicinity where Rear Admiral Teikumo Daniel Ikoli resides in Apapa, Lagos,” she said in a statement.

“When his room was opened, he was found dead.”

He said the police had been invited for investigation into how the naval chief died, adding that more “updates would be given when the situation is clearer.’’

Ikoli, a rear admiral, was commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT and later appointed into the presidential committee on the probe of arms deal before he became fleet commander, Western Naval command.

 

Source: The Cable

Court acquits Justice Ademola on 18-count corruption charge

Jude Okeke, justice of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) high court, Abuja has acquitted Adeniyi Ademola, a suspended federal high court judge, of corruption charges.

The judge declared Ademola not guilty on an 18-count charge of corruption and illegal possession of firearm brought against him by the federal government.

Okeke in his ruling on the no-case submission of the defendants, held that the prosecution did not adduce enough evidence to warrant the defendants to enter defence.

He said the prosecution did not establish a prima facie case against the defendants, and held that no iota of evidence to prove that the defendants were guilty of the charges levelled against them.

Okeke told the prosecution to carry out proper investigations before suspects are arraigned.

The Department of State Services (DSS) had raided the Abuja residence of Ademola in October, and the attorney-general of the federation filed a suit against him and Olubowale, his wife, few weeks later.

The government had alleged that Ademola abused his position as a judge, and that he received monetary favours from lawyers who had cases at his court.

During his trial in February, a witness claimed that Kola Awodein, one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyers, gave the judge N500,000 during the “missing certificate suit” of the president.

Although, Buhari’s lawyer admitted to giving Ademola the money, he said it was a gift for his daughter’s wedding.

On Wednesday, the court acquitted him of all the charges.

The government has also filed charges of false asset declaration and abuse of office against Ademola at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

#KadInvest: Statement claiming Meningitis is God’s wrath is horrendous – Sanusi

Muhammad Sanusi II, the emir of Kano, says statements made by Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state, on meningitis are “Islamically incorrect”.

Yari had said “stereotype C” meningitis is God’s way of pouring his anger on Nigerians for their “nefarious activities”.

But speaking in Kaduna at the #KadInvest 2.0 on Wednesday, Sanusi said as a man who is well read in Islamic law, he knows that Yari’s statements are incorrect.

“For us to address social policy,we have to reclaim our religion, we have to know what our religion actually says, as opposed to what culture says, and we have to have the courage to go through the path that all societies went through, which is to stand and challenge intellectually, world views,” Sanusi said.

“Some of the examples are horrendous. I’m sorry about a current issue yesterday. 200 people died of meningitis in a state, the governor was asked and he said it is God’s curse on us for the sin of fornication, which apparently does not happen in America, which is why they don’t have meningitis.”

The revered monarch went on to say that 90 percent of the problems around the north are self-inflicted and can be solved.

“How have we reduced ourselves, what have we done as a people, that we have placed ourselves in a situation where simple things, a medical issue…you don’t have vaccines, say you don’t have vaccines.

“Treat those who have contracted it, don’t give these kinds of explanations. But this the mindset. I have a degree in Islamic law, and I can tell you that is not an Islamically correct statement to make.

“These are the kinds of things that we have; and when we talk about a difficult environment, we realise that 90 percent of that difficulty, we can address, because it is self-inflicted.”

Diezani in fresh money laundering case

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday charged Diezani Allison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum resources, and three others with money laundering.

Others charged alongside Allison-Madueke, who was described in the charge as “still at large”, are: Christian Nwosu, Yisa Olarenwaju and Tijani Bashir.

The three men are officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The charges were read over to the three accused, who were present in court, and Nwosu, pleaded guilty to the charges, while Adedoyin and Bashir pleaded not guilty.

Rotimi Oyedepo, the prosecutor, then informed Mohammed Idris, the trial judge, that Nwosu had elected to enter into plea bargain with the EFCC.

Oyedepo added that already Nwosu had made a refund of N5 million and surrendered the title document of a landed property he purchased for N25 million in Delta state.

Reacting, Nwosu’s lawyer, Adeku Nbangba, confirmed the position and pleaded with Idris to temper justice with mercy in deciding the fate of the accused.

The judge adjourned till April 7, for sentencing and ordered that Nwosu be remanded at the EFCC custody.

Meanwhile, the judge granted bail in the sum of N50 million each to Adedoyin and Bashir, adding that they should deposit their international passport with the court’s registrar.

The prosecution had alleged that the accused committed the offence on March 27, 2015 by accepting bribe from the ex-petroleum minister.

They were also alleged to have conspired to take possession of the sum of about N264 million which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of gratification.

The accused were also said to have made cash payments of the sum of about N235 million, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law, without going through a financial Institution.

EFCC further alleged that Bashir (fourth accused) also made cash payment of about N70.1 million to Adedoyin (third accused) without going through a financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law.

The prosecution also alleged that Bashir also directly took possession of the sum of about N165 million which sum he ought reasonably to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.

In count seven, Nwosu (second accused) was alleged to have directly used the sum of N30 million which he ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.

The offences are said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3), 16 (2) and 18 (a) of the money laundering prohibition amendment Act, 2012.

 

Source: The Cable

EFCC Arraigns Sa’ad Ahmed Madaki For N200m Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today, April 4, 2017, arraigned one Sa’ad Ahmed Madaki before Justice Jude Daggard of the Federal High Court, Kano on one count charge of obtaining money by false pretense.

The charge reads, “That you, Sa’ad Ahmed Madaki, sometime in 2011 at Kano within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N200,000,000 (Two Hundred Million Naira Only) from one Auwal Abdulkadir on the pretext that you would produce industrial plastic and sack packaging machinery and equipment for the said Auwal Abdulkadir, which pretense you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offense contrary to section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act”.

After listening to the charge, the defendant pleaded not guilty and the case proceeded to trial with the prosecution calling the nominal complainant as a witness.

According to the complainant who was led into evidence by the prosecution counsel, N.K Ukoha, the defendant induced him to part with the sum of N200,000,000 (Two Hundred Million Naira Only)  under the pretext that the money was for the establishment of Polythene Bag Making Company. He disclosed to the court that the defendant collected the money from him in tranches between 2000 and 2011.

The second prosecuting witness, an operative of the Commission who is the investigation officer of the case, told the court that the defendant was transferred to the Commission by the Department of State Services who arrested for alleged terrorist activities.  The DSS released the defendant to the Commission upon realizing that his activities verged on financial crimes.

PW2 further informed the court that upon receipt of the case, the case was assigned to his team and the team immediately swung into action by inviting the complainant, Auwalu Abdulkadir, who reported and gave a statement. The defendant also volunteered a statement and reduced same into writing. The witness revealed that on conclusion of their investigation, it was discovered that the defendant fraudulently obtained the sum of N200,000,000 from the complainant under the pretext that the money was for the establishment of Polythene Bag Making Company.

Prosecution counsel N.K. Ukoha showed the witness the DSS referral letter and the statements made by both complainant and the defendant at the EFCC and DSS respectively for identification. The witness identified same and Ukoha applied to tender same in evidence.

The defense counsel objected to the admissibility of the statement. He argued that they were not made voluntarily but under duress.

Ukoha, in his response, said the statement were not even confessional, that it is only when statements are confessional that the admissibility issue could be raised.

The court ruled that the referral letter from DSS was not objected to and since it was attached with the statement of the defendant as well as the nominal complainant’s, both documents were admitted into evidence and marked exhibit P1.

In respect of the statement made to the EFCC,  Justice Daggard ordered for a conduct of trial within trial and adjourned the matter to May 15th 2017 for continuation of trial.

 

Source: Sahara Reporters

Abia police arrest suspected killers of Bakassi vigilantes

The Abia state police command has arrested three kidnap suspects involved in the killing of four members of the state vigilance group known as Bakassi in Aba, says Leye Oyebade, Abia police commissioner.

The deceased were reportedly attacked in February by the assailants who allegedly ambushed them on Aba-Owerri road in February.

The Bakassi men were said to be returning to their office in their operational van when the hoodlums reportedly opened fire on them, killing three of them on the spot, while the fourth person died later in the hospital.

The vigilance group allegedly vexed the hoodlums, after it reportedly thwarted their attempt to kidnap a prominent businessman in the city.

Oyebade told journalists in his office in Umuahia, that two of the suspects — Chimezie Ezeigbo, alias landlord, and Emeka Ukaegbu, alias smallpin — were arrested while guarding a kidnap victim, one Christopher Duru.

Oyebade said Duru, a resident of World Bank estate, Aba, was kidnapped on March 17 but rescued by operatives from Ndiegoro divisional police station and the Aba area police command.

He said the suspects, which included one Julius Nnachi of Amaetiti Ekoli in Ebonyi, had confessed to the crime.

The police commissioner said his men recovered one pump action rifle, one English-made pistol, seven live cartridges, one .9 mm live ammunition and five cellphones from the suspects.

 

Source: The Cable

How Saraki and friends will plunge Nigeria into its next recession – By Mayowa Tijani

Dear Bukola Saraki, Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Just in case you have not got anyone real enough to tell you the truth, here it is — for free. The chamber you lead is on its way to plunging Nigeria into its second economic recession in three years, and here is how.

When Nigeria was officially announced to have got into an economic recession in August 2016, I ran a study on all economic recessions in the history of Nigeria and the United States of America. One thing was striking: the US has had more recessions on the average than Nigeria has. Nigeria has been through seven economic recessions in its 56-year history, and World Bank data show that the current economic recession is raising that tally to eight.

According to National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the private firm known for monitoring recessions in the United States, the world’s largest economy has been through recession, at least 49 times in 240 years. In context, US has had at least, one recession in 5 years, while Nigeria, on the average, records one in seven years.

This goes on to show that recessions are normal phenomena, even for the best economies in the world. But the reason for every recession must be well understood, and avoided for in years to come. When in period of boom, countries with foresight prepare for the days of bust. They save, they build, the invest in the kind of infrastructure and fiscal buffers that can keep them afloat when the rainy days come.

WHAT HISTORY TEACHES ABOUT NIGERIAN RECESSIONS

According to World Bank figures, Nigeria’s first economic recession is what everyone will call a pardonable recession; the nation experienced an economic crunch between 1966 and 1968, which was as a result of the tensions around the nation’s civil war which ran through 1967 to 1970.

After the war, which claimed between one to three million lives, Nigerians returned to their quarters, everyone knew the next thing for a nation as this was to build up itself from the relics of war. By 1970, the economy recorded growth of 25 percent – the highest in the country’s history throughout the 20th century. Within these period, oil prices declined by over 12 percent (1966 to 1970) yet the economy grew massively. A nation was riding on the wings of her industry and the brains of a teeming youth population.

From 1970 to 1973, oil prices soared from $3 per barrel to $11 per barrel on the global market. Petrodollar began weaning Nigeria off Agriculture. In 1975, oil prices dropped by a few cents, from $11 to $10.43, but Nigeria could not weather the storm, which was accompanied by some political undercurrents. The nation fell into its second recession.

Within 1978 and 1983, Nigeria was at the mercy of falling oil prices and political instability. The country therefore recorded five annual gross domestic product (GDP) decline. Some economist argue that the country plunged into a depression at the time.

From 1984 to 2016, Nigeria’s economic recessions had always been tied to one oil slump or the other. Once, there is an oil slump, a recession is just a few months away — with the exception of 2008, which was averted by the fiscal buffer built by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. This is the story of Nigeria’s recession.

SARAKI’S STROLL INTO A RECESSION

With a clear history and vivid pattern of Nigerian recession, the easiest thing for Nigeria to do is to avoid wars, political instability and pray against an oil slump.

As a nation, we can be resolute in our resolve to avoid wars, we can be determined to avert political instabilities, but we have no control over oil prices on the international markets!

In view of this, and the lessons from 2016, Udo Udoma’s ministry of  budget and national planning worked with an oil benchmark of $42.5 per barrel in planning the 2017 budget. The ministry, in conjuction with the private sector went a step further to strategically craft an economic recovery and growth plan, with the view of recording economic growth in the territories of seven percent by 2020.

The ministry engrafted all  ministries, agencies and departments of government into a plan that seeks to move Nigeria away from its oil addiction, and redirect the country’s recession pattern. But Saraki and friends do not see the urgency of now.

The senate raised the 2017 oil benchmark from the prudent $42.5 by the Udoma’s ministry to $44.5. With an increase in US shale supply on the global market, there are fears that oil prices may fall below $44 before the end of 2017. This will drive the nation’s budget further into huge deficit territories.

As if that were not enough, while the nation was being distracted by the certificate scandal of one of Saraki’s closest “friend”, the senate also decided that the 2017 budget which was presented in December 2016, will not be passed until May — nearly six months after presentation.

Saraki and friends, who are also expected to be deliberating the speedy passage of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB, anaspect of PIB) are busy debating the regalia of the customs boss, who is enacting a controversial law that makes life less desirable for the average Nigerian.

Need I speak about the laws to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria? Since it does not “embarrass” him and his friends, it does not need the speed used in “dealing” with Ali Ndume, who was suspended for embarrasing Saraki and friends.

Here, there is no middle ground. If these senate does not help Nigeria with the kind of laws and urgency that can help us move away from oil, then we would, once again, be victims, strolling with eyes open into an oil-driven economic recession.

We will reopen Maiduguri orientation camp soon – NYSC DG

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) said on Tuesday that it was working towards re-opening its orientation camp in Maiduguri following the return of relative peace to the state.

Suleiman Kazaure, director-general of NYSC, gave the hint while speaking with journalists in Maiduguri.

Kazaure said NYSC was eager to re-open the camp following the return of peace to the state ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“There is relative peace now in the state, so we will like to come back as soon as possible. Remember, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are still occupying the Orientation Camp,” he said.

Kazaure said the camp would be re-opened once the IDPs were evacuated from it.

“It is only in Borno that our corps members have yet to have their orientation camp in place. We are ready to start our orientation the moment the State Government releases our camp to us,” he said.

Kazaure commended the corps members serving in the state for their dedication and resilience.

“If you notice, I asked them about their morale and they responded by saying morale high. That is how we measure the psychological frame of the corps members.

“Minus the camp, every other thing is in place for them. This means that they are in good spirit, they are doing well,” he said.

Kazaure thanked the state government for providing enhanced welfare and security for the corps members.

“I am happy that the state government has been assisting in ensuring the welfare of the corps members.

“I thank Gov. Kashim Shettima for that and implore other states to emulate the gesture by ensuring adequate welfare for corps members serving in their localities,” he said.

Kazaure said the NYSC was working toward setting up six skills acquisition centers across the country to empower corps members with necessary skills.

“We identified lack of trading skills as the major problem causing unemployment among NYSC members.

“So we embarked on establishment of six skills acquisition centers in all the geopolitical zones of the country to help in training these young graduates to become self-reliant.

“We have almost completed work on the center in Gombe which will serve states in the North East.

He said the NYSC authority was also working on five other centres which were near completion.

The director-general said the essence of the innovation was to produce corps members that would eventually become job creators rather than being job seekers.

 

Source: The Cable

13 years after, NNPC gets $100m reprieve from UK supreme court.

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in a unanimous judgment, granted a reprieve to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over a $100 million bank guarantee in a case involving the Corporation and a service company, IPCO (Nigeria) Limited.

The reprieve was the latest in the protracted dispute arising from the contract between NNPC and IPCO for the construction of the Bonny Export Terminal (BET) Project in Port Harcourt, Nigeria — which had been on for about 13 years.

According to a statement signed by Ndu Ughamadu, group general manager, NNPC public affairs division, IPCO had referred its claims to arbitration in Nigeria and obtained an Arbitral Award of US$154 million in 2004, with annual interest running at 14 percent.

Maikanti Baru, NNPC GMD, said he was delighted on the new development, commending the efforts of the legal team that secured judgment in favour of the Corporation.

Baru said no stone would be left unturned to extricate NNPC from encumbrances that may impede the corporation’s access to hard earned funds which are much needed to execute developmental projects by the various tiers of government in the country.

“The development is a significant decision in the history of the case as the English Supreme Court has not only discharged NNPC from the responsibility to sustain the additional security of US$100million in favour of IPCO but it also further reiterated the finding of the English Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal that NNPC has a good prima facie case that IPCO procured the Arbitral Award by fraud,” NNPC said.

“Additionally, the decision of the Supreme Court has clarified conclusively the limits of an enforcing Court’s power to order security as a condition on the right to have a decision of a properly arguable challenge under the New York Convention 1958 and the English Arbitration Act 1996.”

Since 2004, IPCO has repeatedly sought to enforce the award in England prior to the conclusion of NNPC’s challenge of the Arbitral Award in Nigeria.

“It would be recalled that in 2008, during one of IPCO’s attempts to secure an order for the enforcement of the Award in the UK, NNPC discovered evidence that IPCO had forged documents relating to the claims and the related arbitration in Nigeria, and as a result, the parties agreed in 2009 to adjourn the enforcement proceedings in England, in order to await the determination of the fraud allegations in Nigeria.

“In 2012, IPCO again applied to the English Commercial Court to enforce the award despite the agreement on the adjournment of the enforcement action. IPCO’s application was however, dismissed on March 14, 2014, holding inter alia that NNPC had made out a good prima facie case of fraud giving NNPC a realistic prospect of proving that the whole award should be set aside. IPCO however appealed to the UK Court of Appeal.

“In 2015, the UK Court of Appeal decided that the delays in the Nigerian proceedings required the English Court to lift the adjournment and to decide whether to allow enforcement following a trial of the fraud allegations in the English Court.”

Both the commercial court and, the court of appeal concluded that the fraud allegations against IPCO were made bona fide, that NNPC has a good prima facie case that IPCO practised a fraud on the Arbitral Tribunal, and that NNPC has a realistic prospect on that basis of proving that the whole award should be set aside.

However, the UK Court of Appeal ordered NNPC to provide an additional security of US$100 million (NNPC having previously provided security of US$80million) as a condition of being entitled to advance a defence that enforcement should be refused because the award had been procured by IPCO’s fraud.

Subsequently, NNPC appealed to the UK Supreme Court to decide whether the English court, as an enforcing court, is empowered to require security for money payable under the award (or any part thereof) from a party resisting enforcement of such award as a condition for being entitled to advance a good and arguable defence that enforcement would be contrary to English public policy because the award was procured by fraud.

On March 1, 2017, the UK supreme court unanimously set aside the Court of Appeal’s Order, allowing NNPC to advance its defence in the English Commercial Court free of any such conditions.

NNPC was represented by the UK law firm of Stephenson Harwood LLP, and Nigerian law firms of “Babalakin & Co.” and “Abdullahi Ibrahim & Co.”.

 

Source: The Cable

Hausa singer, Sadiq Zazzabi, facilitated the freedom 35 prison inmates.

Pro-Kwankwaso Hausa singer, Sadiq Zazzabi says he facilitated the release of 35 inmates who were either wrongly detained in prison or could not meet up with their bail and fine terms.

The award-winning singer who was detained for seven days at a Kano prison for allegedly violating the Kano State Censorship Board Law, disclosed this in a chat with PREMIUM TIMES shortly after his release.

The law states that every song or movie must be screened and approved by the state censorship board before it can be released.

The 38-year-old artiste failed to get the approval of the censorship board before releasing his controversial song, “Maza bayan ka” (All Men Behind You).

“While I was in detention, I met many prisoners who were wrongly detained and some could not just afford a simple bail pledge. After I regained my freedom I was determined to make sure such people get their freedom back. I quickly mobilized for their release by paying their fine and bail terms,” he said.

Mr. Sadiq said he got some form of support from his friends and bosses.

“Many of the inmates only required less that N10,000 to regain their freedom while others were wrongly arrested and detained during a raid by security operatives. One of the victims Ali Mai Shayi, is a tea seller who was wrongly arrested by security operatives during a raid around his tea joint,” he noted.

PREMIUM TIMES spoke with one of the beneficiaries of Sadiq’s benevolence, Manu Sambo, in Kano.

He said, “I am a shoe seller who was also wrongly arrested by security operatives at night on my way to my abode in Gidan Murtala along with other people. We were asked to pay a fine of N5000 before we could be released.

“Some people got their friends and relatives to pay for them while I had nobody to pay for me. I kept praying until God sent Sadiq Zazzabi to help secure my release.”

But the singer told PREMIUM TIMES he was being targeted because of his support for Mr. Kwankwaso. He maintained that he was charged because the song expresses open support for former Kano governor and criticises the incumbent, Umar Ganduje.

The Kano State government has since denied the allegation.

Sadiq said he has since moved although he is still facing trial at a Kano court for the offence.

Sadiq is a talented R&B singer in northern Nigeria who is popular for his songs about love, social issues and politics.

He was taken to court in the city of Kano on a two-count charge of releasing a song which the prosecutor described as “containing immorality by featuring seductive dance(s) by women”.

Kano’s censorship board was set up in 2002 to regulate the city’s booming film and music industry popular among Hausa speakers.

 

Source: Premium Times

Lawmakers ask JAMB to extend 2017 UTME registration deadline

The House of Representatives has urged the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB to extend the one month deadline given to applicants for the 2017 UTME exercise by at least another month to create more space for prospective applicants.

The call was contained in a motion on Tuesday raised by Danburan Nuhu (Kano-APC)

Mr. Nuhu said during the 2016 UTME exercise, about 1.6 million applicants registered out of which about one million passed while the 2017 exercise might reach 2million across the country given the growing number of applicants.

“Some of the approved centres are registering 250 applicants at a time and most of them are not spacious, do not have adequate number of computers,” he said.

He urged the examination body to specify the requirements including safety measures, which qualify any centre to participate in the conduct of UTME Computer Based Test.

He also urged JAMB to deploy safety equipment to each centre to forestall any incidence of stampede due to overcrowding.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the House and the committee on basic education was mandated to direct JAMB to comply with the resolutions.

The JAMB has repeatedly said it has no plans of extending the April 19 registration deadline for the UTME.

On Monday, the agency said it had registered about 600,000 applicants already.

 

Source: Premium Times

Reps urges Nigerian government to constitute Customs board

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to constitute the Nigerian Customs Service board.

This was sequel to a motion raised by Kingsley Chinda (Rivers-PDP).

He said since the powers exercised by the Customs, Immigration and Prison services Board to appoint, promote and exercise disciplinary control over staff of the Nigerian Customs Service, are vested in the Board, there is need to urgently constitute the board.

“Absence of the Nigerian Customs Service Board is a contravention of the provisions of the Act and thereby affecting the effective functioning of the Customs Service,” Mr. Chinda said.

He maintained that unless the anomaly in the non-composition of the board was urgently addressed, the essence of the Act would be defeated.

He expressed his displeasure over the continued failure by the Finance Minister to constitute the Board.

The house unanimously adopted the motion and resolved to forward the resolution to the Senate for concurrence and urge the finance minister to urgently constitute the Board of Customs.

The committee on Customs and Excise was mandated to ensure implementation and report back in four weeks for further legislative action.

President Buhari had at the inception of his administration, dissolved all Boards of Federal Government Parastatals leaving only those of tertiary institutions.

The president had in the past week constituted boards for some parastatals under the ministry of Information and Culture.

 

Source: Premium Times

President Buhari to inaugurate economic recovery plan Wednesday

President Muhammadu Buhari is to inaugurate the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 on Wednesday, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, disclosed in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mr. Adesina, who is the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, said the inauguration of the plan was in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and re-revamping the economy.

According to him, the formal inauguration of the plan will take place in the council chambers of the presidential villa, Abuja, at 11 a.m.

The Medium-Term ERGP was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) during one of its meetings in 2017.

It has among its strategic objectives is plan to restore sustainable, accelerated inclusive growth and development; invest in the people and build a globally competitive economy.

The plan was specifically designed to take the country out of the recession and in the long term, continue to grow the economy while planning of the 2017 was also based on the ERGP to accelerate speedy recovery and development of infrastructure.

 

Source: NAN

ASUU begins one-week warning strike in University of Ibadan

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan (UI) Chapter, has declared a one-week warning strike over illegal pension deductions, fractional salary payments and non-payment of supervision allowance.

The decision was taken on Tuesday at a congress convened by the union and presided over by its Chairman, Deji Omole.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members also complained about excessive deductions in their March salaries.

The management of the university was also alleged to have failed to declare the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) profile of the university.

According to Mr. Omole, the warning strike is, therefore, to compel the university administration to address the issues which ASUU said bordered on the welfare of her members who are being owed since 2010.

“The congress of ASUU, UNIBADAN, at its meeting of 4th April, 2017, having received permission from the national body of the union, hereby, declare a one-week warning strike.

“The warning strike will commence from 12:01 midnight of Tuesday, 4th April, to 12:00 midnight of Tuesday, 11th April, 2017.

“The congress of the union maintains that the failure of the university administration to satisfactorily resolve all the issues, will force the union to proceed on a comprehensive and total strike,” said Mr. Omole.

The congress, which was well attended, was also addressed by the national delegates of ASUU, which included Mahmood Lawan, from Kano; Tony Monye-Emina, from Benin and Bebe Sese, from Port Harcourt.

NAN recalls that the union had in a congress resolution in March warned the university management to address its grievances, bordering on reversal of illicit deductions and non-payment of promotion arrears.

The three non-academic staff unions of the institution had also been on strike since March 13, grounding administrative activities in the institution.

 

Source: NAN

Syria ‘chemical attack’ kills at least 35 people in Idlib province

Dozens of people have been killed in a suspected chemical attack in rebel-held northern Syria, in one of the largest mass casualty incidents using a toxic gas in the six-year conflict.

The death toll rose to 67 in the hours after the attack on Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province on Tuesday morning. Doctors said the victims exhibited symptoms apparently matching those caused by exposure to deadly sarin gas. Scores more people were injured.

The raids were carried out by planes believed to be loyal to the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Later, a series of airstrikes on the same town targeted a hospital and two emergency response centres that were recovering and treating victims of the initial strike.

The attack came a day after the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the US government was no longer focused on Assad’s removal from office, and as a two-day conference on Syria’s future, hosted by the EU and UN, began in Brussels.

The international chemical weapons watchdog said it was gathering and analysing information. The French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, demanded an emergency UN security council meeting.

Khan Sheikhun houses thousands of refugees from the nearby province of Hama who have fled the fighting there.

“In this most recent attack, dozens of children suffocated to death while they slept,” said Ahmad Tarakji, the head of the Syrian American Medical Society, which supports hospitals in opposition-controlled areas in Syria. “This should strike at the very core of our humanity. How much longer will the world fail to respond to these heinous crimes?”

SAMS said its doctors had determined that the symptoms of the patients were consistent with exposure to organic phosphorus compounds like the nerve agent sarin, which is banned by the chemical weapons convention.

“Everyone is horrified and the children are in total shock,” said Mohammad Hassoun, a spokesman for civil defence rescue workers in the nearby town of Sarmin, which received 14 of the wounded.

Senate calls on Health Ministry to act fast over spread of Meningitis

Worried about the recent outbreak of Meningitis, the Nigerian Senate Tuesday, 4th April, 2017 passed a resolution directing the Federal Ministry of Health, National Centre for Disease Control and other relevant agencies to carry out a nationwide immunization of children and adults who are susceptible to the disease of meningitis. 

The attention of the Senate was drawn to this outbreak by a motion titled “Outbreak of Meningitis. Need to Curb the Spread and stop further deaths” sponsored and moved on the floor of the upper chamber by Senator Gbenga Ashafa , representing Lagos East Senatorial District, with 16 other Senators as co-sponsors. 

The Senator expressed his worry over the outbreak of the disease, which has claimed several lives in the North especially, Zamfara Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger States and has recently spread to the Federal Capital Territory as well.

He noted that this particular disease is a new strand of meningitis and as such its vaccines are not commercially viable. 

Some of the other Senators who contributed to the debate on the floor of the Senate include Senators, Sabi Abdulahi (Niger North), Tijanni Kaura (Zamfara North), Ali Wakili (Bauchi South), Mao Ohuabunwa (Abia North), Abdulfattah Buari (Oyo North), Sam Anyanwu (Imo East) and others.

The Distinguished Senators in their contributions called on the Federal Ministry of Health to be Pro-active in tackling issues of this nature and not wait for such outbreak to happen before steps are taken to prevent same.

The Federal Government was also called upon to provide the Ministry of Health with sufficient funds to engage in Nation wide immunization of citizens against such diseases like meningitis and prevent same from ever occurring.

The Senate thereafter resolved that the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies/parastatals to work closely with the World Health Organization and UNICEF to acquire more vaccines to protect Nigerians against the spread of the disease while also advising the Nigerian Police, Prison Authorities, NEMA and IDP camps to concrete steps to prevent an outbreak of meningitis in their prisons, police cells, detention centres and IDP camps. It was also resolved that the vacinnes should be administered freely in all public health institutions.

In conclusion the President of the Senate, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki commended the steps taken so far by the Federal Ministry of Health and urged that the process of Nationwide vaccination should be expedited. He also assured that more funding would be made available to the Ministry for disease control and prevention in the 2017 Budget.

South Africa’s top trade demands President Zuma’s resignation

South Africa’s powerful trade union federation Cosatu, a key coalition partner of the ruling ANC, on Tuesday called for embattled President Jacob Zuma to resign following a deeply unpopular cabinet reshuffle.

Union general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said it was time for Zuma to “step down” after his purge last week of cabinet critics, which included the removal of the respected former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan’s sacking contributed to a credit ratings downgrade to junk status on Monday by Standard & Poor’s as pressure on Zuma grew over his move to oust opponents within the cabinet.

“The president was careless and reckless,” he said, adding that the downgrade would “cost the country a lot”.

Cosatu, along with the South African Communist Party and the ANC, was at the forefront of the effort to dislodge white-minority rule in South Africa that led to non-racial elections in 1994.

It has openly backed Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who led Cosatu during the anti-apartheid struggle, to succeed him in 2019 when the president must stand down.

“Even if it means marching into the street we will do that to make our point. We believe in this alliance led by the ANC but we want a reconfiguration of this alliance,” said Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini.

Cosatu’s intervention came as South Africa’s new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said that Monday’s downgrade to junk status was a setback for the economy.

“We acknowledge yesterday’s announcement was a setback… but now is not a time for despondency,” he told a media conference.

“What these reviews highlight is that we need to reignite our nation’s growth engines.”

S&P said the cut to below investment grade reflects “heightened political and institutional uncertainties” following Zuma’s shock purge of critical ministers.

 

Source: AFP

Jesus returns to training

Brazilian sensation Gabriel Jesus boosted Manchester City’s trophy hopes as he returned to training earlier than expected on his 20th birthday, the club revealed on its website.

The striker — who joined City in the January transfer window after they paid Palmeiras an initial £27 million ($33 million, 31 million euros) — made a sensational start to his English career with three goals in five matches.

His hot streak was stopped in its tracks when he broke a bone in his foot against Bournemouth in mid-February — he was expected to be out for between two and three months.

“The early prognosis (of the injury) suggesting he could be out until the end of the season.

“He recently began working in the gym in a bid to keep his fitness levels high -– and this afternoon, on his 20th birthday, he returned to the training field just seven weeks after his initial setback.

“And although he didn’t take part in full training, focusing instead on some light ball work, it’s a sight City fans will nonetheless have been pleased to see

“We wish Gabriel well in his continued recovery and hope to see him back in a blue shirt as soon as possible.”

His return comes at a timely moment for City manager Pep Guardiola, who is desperate to maintain his record of never going trophyless through a season with any club he has managed.

City’s best hopes of ensuring that proud record stands is perhaps in the FA Cup where they face Arsenal in the semi-finals later this month. In the league they are 11 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

 

Source: The Guardian

Nigeria needs 23.4 billion naira to procure vaccines to curb meningitis outbreak

The scarcity of the needed vaccines to stem the growing epidemic of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) is causing more deaths and spread of the disease to more states.

The new outbreaks are caused by new strains of CSM, Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C (NmC), the vaccines for which are not commercially available and need to be acquired through a special process managed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As the country does not have enough vaccine doses to deal with the deadly meningitis outbreak, and the drugs are too expensive at the cost of $50 (N18,000) per dose, more Nigerians may die from the disease. This is especially so since the means of livelihood of the majority of the citizens have been eroded by the current economic recession and the $50 which is the cost of the meningitis drugs per dose is the national minimum wage.

This means that the country needs to spend not less than $65 million (N23.4 billion) to meet its needs.

Ihekweazu said the coordinating agencies would be meeting Monday afternoon to assess the situation and official statement would be released later in the evening.

The last official figures from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and NCDC put the death toll in the current meningitis epidemic at 328 ( as at Saturday) from 278 on Thursday last week even as 2,524 persons were affected (as at Saturday) from 1,966 people on Thursday. Also, the epidemic had spread from six states on Tuesday last week to 16 states by Saturday, four days later.

There is the fear that the epidemic might have spread to more states and killed many more Nigerians because of the delay in deploying the vaccines and the conditions of living in most communities in the country that encourage the transmission of the disease.

According to the WHO, the bacteria are transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers. Close and prolonged contact – such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters (such as a dormitory, sharing eating or drinking utensils) with an infected person (a carrier) – facilitates the spread of the disease. The average incubation period is four days, but can range between two and 10 days.

Neisseria meningitidis infects only humans; there is no animal reservoir. The bacteria can be carried in the throat and sometimes, for reasons not fully understood, can overwhelm the body’s defences allowing infection to spread through the bloodstream to the brain. It is believed that 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the population carries Neisseria meningitidis in their throat at any given time. However, the carriage rate may be higher in epidemic situations.

The most common symptoms are a stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches and vomiting. Even when the disease is diagnosed early and adequate treatment is started, five per cent to 10 per cent of patients die, typically within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. Bacterial meningitis may result in brain damage, hearing loss or a learning disability in 10 per cent to 20 per cent of survivors. A less common but even more severe (often fatal) form of meningococcal disease is meningococcal septicaemia, which is characterised by a haemorrhagic rash and rapid circulatory collapse.

Acting Director-General of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Emmanuel Odu, said $1.1 billion was required for the vaccination of 22 million persons in the states affected.

Odu who briefed the Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases on efforts being made to contain the outbreak, said each vaccine could cost between $30 and $50.

The committee declared that the spread across the country was caused by poor awareness campaigns of relevant government agencies. It promised to provide the necessary support to the Ministry of Health to contain and end the outbreak.

At another meeting with Ihekweazu, the Senate committee chairman, Mao Ohuabunwa (Abia North) lamented that awareness remained low across the country.
“If this had been detected early, then we would have had rounds of vaccinations and would not be having this epidemic,” he said.

Senate President Bukola Saraki has assured that the upper chamber would provide the necessary support to the Ministry of Health to end the outbreak.

Saraki, in a series of tweets on his twitter handle, said he had spoken with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to assure him of the Senate’s commitment to help end the epidemic.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said that no case of CSM has been recorded in the state contrary to media report. “However as a responsive government, we deem it fit to alert the public,” he said.

In a statement, Idris noted that though, seasonal meningitis outbreak usually affects the mainly Northern states that fall within the meningitis belt of the country, it is not impossible that outbreaks can occur in any part of the country, Lagos inclusive, in view of the phenomenal climatic change as well as the high human migration.

The Kwara State government has deplored epidemiologists to all its local government areas in readiness for any outbreak of the Meningitis in any part of the state.

At least two epidemiologists were sent to each council just as the government has rejigged its Notifications and Surveillance Unit in Ilorin, which at present is headed by the Commissioner for Health Alhaji Atolagbe Alege.

 

Source: The Guardian

32 died in Lagos prison in 2016 due to poor living condition

At least, 32 prison inmates died in one year in one particular prison in Lagos owing to their inability to access funds for good medication and drugs, the Lagos State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Olumide Tinuoye, has disclosed.

He made this known yesterday when the Prerogative of Mercy Committee led by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, visited the Ikoyi and Kirikiri Prisons on a fact-finding mission to access and have a first-hand information of the conditions under which the inmates live.

The visit of the committee was also intended to determine what measures could be taken to decongest the facilities, which are presently over-populated.

He said often times, prison officials used their personal money to buy drugs for the inmates while others live on the philanthropic gestures of churches and mosques, which had been assisting to provide medication for the inmates.

The state Controller of Prisons stated that there were 7,714 in all the prisons across the state; 6,047 of them were awaiting trials, 1,390 convicted, 202 already condemned while 75 were serving life sentences.

He stated that for instance, Ikoyi prisons which had a capacity of 800 presently has a total of 2,508 inmates, 461 of which were convicted while Kirikiri Medium prisons with a capacity of 1,700 has 2,979 inmates out of which 2,634 were awaiting trials while 345 were convicted inmates.

The Attorney General, Kazeem, while answering questions from journalists after the visit, disclosed that there was hope in the horizon for the inmates as the government had set up a committee headed by the Director, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Mrs. Salami, to review the cases of awaiting trials with a view to ensuring that the inmates did not continue to stay in prison unjustly or die in the process of waiting.

Kazeem, who said he had taken note of the drug situation of the clinics in the various prisons, promised to seek the support of the state’s Ministry of Health for provision of drugs to the sick inmates.

He emphasized the need for the federal government to show more interest in the prisons and to work out a system to assists those who were sick, particularly to prevent an epidemic like meningitis likely to be occasioned by severe heat currently being experienced in the state.

“We don’t want to experience a prison break in Lagos, The prisons is supposed to reform inmates and not to make them want to make them want to break out on the account of ill-health”, he said.

 

Source: The Guardian

“We won’t be part of Army chief’s panel of inquiry” – IPOB

Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have faulted the purported panel of inquiry set up by Gen. Tukur Buratai to investigate the multiple killings of unarmed civilians. They vowed not to participate in such a panel.

In a statement yesterday, spokespersons of the group, Dr. Ikenna Chinaka and Iyom Grace Ukpai, advised Buratai to disband the panel.

They said the action of the Nigerian army in setting up the purported panel of inquiry was apparently compelled by the widely published report of the Amnesty International (AI) on the gruesome and odious massacre of over 1,000 IPOB members, especially in the South-South and South-East regions of Nigeria within the last one year.

“Despite overwhelming evidence that the Nigerian security forces have committed human rights violations, including extra-judicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, there has been no action by the authorities to hold them accountable. This report includes evidence of 87 videos of the events showing the killings of pro-Biafra activists and the immediate aftermath of these fatal shootings,” IPOB noted.

 

Source: The Guardian

NANS gives ultimatum for release of detained UNILAG students

A faction of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given a 24-hour ultimatum to the University of Lagos to release the 13 students detained at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons.

The President of NANS, Chinonso Obasi, who spoke with journalists in Abuja yesterday, condemned the court’s ruling, which remanded them in prison custody.

He threatened to relocate NANS headquarters to the prisons if the students were not released.

He said: “After a painstaking review of the circumstances surrounding the draconian ruling, we have resolved to demand the unconditional release of these students within 24 hours.

“Consequently, we boldly state that if these students are not unconditionally released at the expiration of our ultimatum, the prison authorities should be prepared to expand its facilities to detain all of us.”

Obasi stressed that the offence allegedly committed by the students does not equate the court’s ruling to imprison them because they could be radicalised in the process.

According to the NANS leader, the court could have cautioned them to be of good behaviour since they were first-time offenders.

“In saner climes, what the judge should have done was to certify that the suspects were truly students of the university and release them to the school for appropriate disciplinary action. In the alternative, they could have been warned to change and freed,” he said.

He added that the manner the sentence was done showed that some hidden forces were behind it.

 

Source: The Guardian

Meningitis Outbreak: Kaduna State Embarks On Awareness Campaign

As at 31st March the outbreak was recorded in 15 states and the FCT; 2,524 cases with 328 deaths. The States are Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Nassarawa, Taraba, Plateau, Yobe, Lagos, Cross River, Niger, Osun, Rivers, Gombe.

The causative bacteria is Neisseria meningitis, serotype C in the affected states.

OUR STATE OF PREPAREDNESS IN KADUNA
Disease Surveillance and Notification Offficers (DSNOs) in all the 23LGAs have been put on alert to increase CSM surveillance.

Medical Directors of our General Hospitals have also been put on alert to treat and report any case’

The Drugs Management Agency has been directed to procure ceftriaxone, the parenteral antibiotic of choice, and intravenous fluids to be pre-positioned in all public General hospitals by today and tomorrow.

Airing of Radio Jingles for public awareness was started last Saturday (01/04/17)

WHO has agreed to provide us with specimen containers, lumbar puncture sets, Rapid diagnostic test kits and to transport positive samples to the reference laboratory in Lagos.

VACCINATION
What is done is reactive vaccination; it is carried out when the epidemic threshold is passed, that is 3 cases per 100,000 population per week.

SYMPTOMS
Depends on the age of the patient but generally, children above 1 year and adults will have severe headache, stiff neck, fever >380c , nausea and vomiting;

In severe form there may be altered sensorium, seizures and coma

Children less than 1 year; will appear sick, irritable with fever or low temperature, poor feeding, bulging frontanelle when crying etc

WHAT TO DO
Go to the nearest hospital without delay, avoid self medication

PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES
Proper ventilation, avoidance of overcrowding, proper respiratory sanitation i.e proper disposal of respiratory secretions (cover mouth, nose when coughing and sneezing respectively), Regular hand washing. etc

Dr Paul Manya Dogo
Commissioner of Health and Human Services
April 3, 2017

#KADInvest: How Kaduna State is investing in its Future by Abdulhassan Rabiu

When she was 7, Amina watched her father lament of financial woes as he sat by the fireplace, it was also there he shared his plan to ensure financial gain by withdrawing her from school and gifting her in marriage to a much older rich man. She watched on silently as her life automatically became one of endurance. In that instant, her chances of completing an education diminished, her father’s decision put her at higher risk of being abused by her much older rich husband or developing fistula during labour and even dying in pregnancy or child birth.

 

It is for the reason that the above scenario can easily be any Northern Nigerian girl that the El-Rufai led Kaduna State Government considered it a priority to domesticate the Federal Child Rights Act 2003 and make it state law. The law was passed by the Kaduna State House of Assembly and assented to by the State Governor in March 2016.

 

Over 3 million children live in Kaduna and as opposed to being in school gaining knowledge that ultimately will benefit society, a good number of them work as street hawkers, child labourers or are being used for criminal activities. At its very core, the Child Rights Act aims to ensure that the dignity and right to a decent living, education and protection is restored to these children.

 

After all, if we expect these children to grow into law abiding citizens, it is only required that society provides them with every necessary protection.

 

Make no mistake, there is a direct correlation between violence and poverty, Kaduna State knows this and is therefore committed to creating economic options that lift families out of poverty. The thinking is that as more families are lifted out of poverty and conditions that allow violence thrive are diminished, relevant laws are alongside enacted to ensure accountability.

 

Northern Nigeria has the highest rate of child indignities anywhere in the country, particularly street begging and hawking, this rate has dropped in recent time due to increased sensitizations and concerted efforts at speaking out against this injustice by community leaders and social media influencers.

 

As at 2011, 24 Nigerian States had domesticated the Child Rights Bill and 12 were yet to develop a Child Rights law.

Of these 12 states, 11 are Northern and would not even consider this bill as it was seen to be at odds with religious and cultural provisions. The twelfth is the South-Eastern state of Enugu.

 

Now, there is still much more progress to be made but seven of the 12 states are studying the bill with a view to domesticating it. While Kaduna State has passed the bill, Kaduna is one of only 2 North Western States that have domesticated the bill, the other is Jigawa State.

 

In addition to prohibiting child marriage and child betrothal, the Child Rights Law categorically states that the best interest of the child shall be of paramount importance in all considerations. The law emphasizes the child’s right to survival and development, its right to a name and registration at birth, and the right to protection and all necessary care.

 

The law also provides for freedom from discrimination on the grounds of community, ethnicity, origin, sex, religion or the circumstances of birth.

 

The goal for the Kaduna State Government is to reduce the infant mortality rate by providing adequate medical and health care, improved nutrition and safe drinking water. These efforts will lead to hygienic, better sanitized environments and a reduction in disease prevalence and malnutrition.

 

For the Kaduna State Government, enacting such a law that is beneficial to child development is an investment in its future: safer, more accessible and free education translates as more children in school and therefore a more knowledgeable population capable of contributing to the growth of society. Also, when you empower children with knowledge, they are less likely to be abused or be abusers themselves.

 

This is where Kaduna heads with its future, a state where every child is empowered, informed and protected to the extent that they have all the opportunities they need to ensure that there is no limit to their aspirations.

 

Abdulhassan Rabiu is an architect based in Abuja (rabiuabdulhassan@gmail.com)

India rejects charges of racism over attacks on African students

India on Tuesday rejected charges made by a group of African envoys who termed recent attacks on African students in the country as “racial and xenophobic”.

The envoys also slammed New Delhi for inaction on the issue.

African missions in India on Monday condemned the “racial, xenophobic” attacks on their students near New Delhi and called for an international inquiry.

Mobs in Delhi’s suburbs of Noida had last week thrashed several Nigerians after a local teenager died of a suspected drug overdose.

Residents blamed some African students for plying the youth with drugs.

A statement issued by Eritrean ambassador and dean of the African group of mission heads, Alem Woldemariam, had said that India had taken “no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures” to prevent the violence.

The envoys called for a probe by UN’s Human Rights Council into the attack.

However, Indian Foreign Ministry officials rejected the claim that African nations had spoken with one voice as a very small number of envoys were consulted for the statement issued by Woldemariam.

“It is unfortunate that a criminal act triggered following the untimely death of a young Indian student under suspicious circumstances has been termed as xenophobic and racial,” the ministry said.

It said that the local authorities had expeditiously arrested suspects, and the Indian government had also condemned and described the attack as unacceptable.

Authorities had also taken measures for the safety and security of African students and were holding meetings with local residents and students.

In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN was not involved in the case, but it wanted the perpetrators of the attack to be brought to justice.

 

Source: dpa/NAN

BREAKING: Plateau House Deputy Speaker Impeached

The Plateau State House of Assembly has impeached its deputy speaker, Yusuf Gagdi.

Mr. Gagdi, who is of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, was removed from office on Tuesday after the majority leader, Henry Yunkwap, read the impeachment notice signed by 18 of the 24 members of the House.

According to the majority leader, the impeachment notice followed a vote of no confidence on Mr. Gagdi.

The clerk of the assembly, Ayuba Gongu, confirmed verification of the signatures of the legislators who signed the impeachment.

Mr. Gagdi was immediately replaced by Sale Yipmong, a member from Dengi constituency, southern Plateau state.

Commenting on his impeachment in an interview with journalists shortly after Tuesday sitting, Mr. Gagdi said he was happy that his removal was not linked to any fraud, saying he believed it was done in good faith.

Mr. Gagdi represents Kantana constituency in the House.

Similarly, the new deputy speaker pledged to work for the progress of the entire state.

 

Source: Premium Times

Jigawa district head bans night parties in Fulani settlements

The District Head of Jeke in Suletankarkar Local Government Area of Jigawa, Alhaji Alassan, has banned Fulani local traditional wedding ceremonies and other festivities in the night in his domain.

The Information Officer of the local government, Daudu Sulaiman, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse on Tuesday.

Mr. Sulaiman said that Mr. Alassan, who is also the Dan Isan Gumel, gave the directive during a meeting with village and ward heads in his domain.

According to Mr. Sulaiman, the district head explained that the ban was to check unnecessary fighting during such ceremonies.

He said the traditional ruler said such quarrels among Fulani men usually led to lost of lives and property.

The information officer said the district head had also warned residents of the area to desist from attending ceremonies and other social gatherings as well as going to markets with weapons.

 

Source: NAN

PDP Women Urge Jonathan To Resolve Party Crisis

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Women’s Forum has appealed to the former President, Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the party’s leadership crisis.

The women, led by Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, made the appeal on Monday at a meeting with the former President in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Ambassador Toyo stressed the need for a peaceful resolution of the crisis which according to her, threatens to polarise the party.

“The PDP Women’s Forum is a forum that has been in existence since October last year, and it’s been building its constituency, holding women together.

“We come from all sides of whatever divide you think exists or struggle that exists, because we don’t believe that we have a faction, we are united as one body.

“We remain a very formidable constituency and we recognise the fact that we represent one strong constituency; one that can build the peace of the party,” she stated.

The Deputy Senate Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi, also stressed the need for an amicable resolution of the crisis ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Senator Olujimi explained that they have decided to seek former President Jonathan’s intervention in the crisis, because they believe he is the only  only voice that can bring all warring factions together.

“He is the leader of the party. As it is, he is the only former President still within the party and alive. So we believe that he is the only voice that can bring all warring factions together and that’s exactly what he has decided to do.

“He even told us that there is a major stakeholders’ meeting on Thursday, whereby most of these issues will be resolved,” the Senator said.

 

Source: Channels TV

Senate Committee Meets With CDC Over Meningitis Outbreak

The Director General Center for Disease Control Chikwe Iheakweazu, has announced that reactive vaccination for meningitis is to commence in Zamfara state from Wednesday April 5.

This is in response to the meningitis outbreak which has led to the death of 328 people across the country, with Zamfara state recording the highest number of deaths.

Speaking at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care, Mr Iheakweazu lamented that his organization has been dealing with the problem of insufficient funds, as the agency’s 2016 budget was not sufficient to effectively handle the recent outbreak of meningitis in the country.

He asked the National Assembly to intervene in the area of providing access to vaccination for meningitis.

 

Source: Channels TV

Fire guts WAEC office in Kaduna state

A section of the Kaduna Zonal Office of the West African Examination Council, WAEC, was on Tuesday engulfed by fire.

A senior security source told our reporter that the fire started around 9:10a.m at the zonal office along Kaduna/Zaria Road, Kawo, Kaduna.

“We received a distress call this morning of a fire incident at some offices of the Kaduna WEAC zonal office this morning.

“Four offices were affected by the fire, which has been put under control by the combined efforts of the fire service and other security outfits.

“We suspect the fire was caused by electrical problem,” the source said.

An official of the WAEC office who did not want his name mentioned because he has no authority to speak to journalists, said the exams and administrative offices were affected.

The spokesperson for the police, Kaduna command, Aliyu Usman, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to him.

Daily Trusts quotes WAEC’s deputy registrar, and zonal coordinator, Fidelis Gaya, as saying the fire razed down eight offices in the examination record section and administrative office.

 

Source: Premium Times

It’s a fact Arsenal are bigger, better club than Chelsea – Gary Neville

Manchester United legend, Gary Neville has risked a huge backlash from Chelsea fans after claiming that Arsenal are a bigger club than their west London rivals, reports mirror.co.uk.

Neville’s comments look certain to anger the Blues faithful once again as they remain seven points clear at the top of the table and are 18 points ahead of the Gunners.

Arsenal have faced nothing but turmoil both on and off the pitch in recent months with Arsene Wenger’s future dominating the headlines on a regular basis.

But despite all the drama that surrounds the north London club, Neville is still adamant that Arsenal are a much bigger club than Chelsea and feels they will still attract better quality players during the summer.

“This is a better club than Chelsea,” he said on Sky Sports after Sunday’s draw with Manchester City.

“Why wouldn’t players come and play here? Look at this stadium, it’s unbelievable.

“Chelsea are a fantastic club but you’ve got to say, even Chelsea fans wouldn’t argue that Arsenal are a bigger club than them.

“Arsenal are a bigger club than Chelsea. They are, it’s a fact.

“That’s not a criticism of Chelsea. Chelsea are a club that’s really only grown in the last 10 or 15 years. They’ve done brilliantly well.

“But they’re not as big a club as Arsenal.”

Neville was one of the analysts of the match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates on Sunday.

 

Source: The Guardian

CJN Onnoghen pledges to tackle infrastructural deficit in lower courts

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has pledged to address poor infrastructural facilities, currently militating against the smooth flow of judicial proceedings in lower courts across the country.

Mr. Onnoghen made this known at a national workshop for judges, in Abuja with the theme: “Enhancing Administration of Justice in the Area, Sharia/Customary Courts”.

The CJN, who was represented by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Olu Ariwoola, also advised judicial officers in the lower courts to not allow themselves to be deterred by the current facility situation in the respective courts.

“We cannot behave like the proverbial ostrich and hide away from the fact that there are major issues plaguing the lower courts,” he said.

“I am aware that these courts have poor infrastructure and can be very uncomfortable to sit in for long period of time.

“Bathroom facilities are non-existent, stationary and basic office equipment are also not available and welfare is generally considered inadequate.

“You are usually the first point of contact the public has with courts. This negative perceptions can only be redressed when we act according to the dictates of the law, ethics and our conscience,” he said.

Mr. Onnoghen noted the indispensable role of the lower courts towards ensuring the adequate and efficient dispensation of justice in a democratic setting and urged the staff to remain dedicated to their duties.

He reiterated the commitment of the NJC towards ensuring that new polices and laws are put in place to bridge current challenges experienced in the course of justice.

 

Source: Premium Times

NNPC resolves union, tanker drivers crisis.

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has suspended its nationwide strike which began on April 2.

The suspension followed the intervention of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation( NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru.

In a statement by Mr Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division on Monday in Abuja, Baru said his intervention was in the national interest.

Baru further approved the increase in bridging costs from N6.20 to N7.20.

Bridging is money paid tanker drivers per kilometer for trucking petroleum products from depots to final destinations.

‘Mediating between the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Baru said ”we understand the difficulty of NARTO to go into negotiations which has to do with the level of bridging allowance.

”I am happy to announce that the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has given his approval to increase the bridging allowance from N6.20 to N7.20”, Baru said in the statement.

He said the review should give NARTO the breathing space to engage with PTD to immediately discuss and resolve as many of the issues as possible, adding that the gesture was expected to normalise relations between the unions.

Baru explained that NNPC intervened in the face-off between the unions to ensure the energy security of the nation, adding that ordinarily the dispute was only between PTD and its employer, NARTO.

Announcing the suspension of the strike, the NUPENG National President, Mr Igwe Achese, said with the intervention of Kachikwu and Baru, NNPC ”has done so much to ensure efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country, hence, the strike is hereby suspended”.

Responding, the National President of PTD, Mr Salimon Oladiti, applauded the NNPC for the ”timely intervention and urged them to address the unruly behavior of security agencies towards the members”.

Also, the National President of NARTO, Alhaji Kassim Bataiya, assured Baru that ”with his intervention, the condition of service document would be reviewed to improve the drivers’ welfare”.

Joseph Akinlaja, Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Downstream, who represented Speaker Yakubu Dogara, commended Baru for his intervention, saying it had saved the country a lot.

The drivers downed tools due to unresolved issues concerning their welfare, poor remuneration, insecurity and bad roads. They also complained of harassment by some members of the security forces on the highways.

 

Source: Pulse

Nigerian government to commence registration of unemployed citizens

The Nigerian government is set to begin online registration of unemployed Nigerians from April 5, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

A statement released, Monday, by the Deputy Director, Information and Public Relations of the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, Edmund Onwuliri, said the registration was aimed at collecting up-to-date data of unemployed Nigerians.

Mr. Onwuliri said the registration was in compliance with NDE’s mandate to obtain and maintain a data bank on unemployment and vacancies in the country.

The deputy director, according to the statement, said the exercise would enable the directorate to serve as a clearing house linking job seekers with existing vacancies in government agencies and the private sector.

“The online portal which goes live on Wednesday April 5, 2017, is designed to capture the relevant details of any unemployed person,” he said.

“It will equally serve as a job exchange portal that will link job seekers and employers,” he added.

The NDE chief also reiterated that there will be a practical demonstration of the workings of the portal at the NDE stand at the ongoing 28th edition of the Enugu International Trade on Thursday.

“The directorate sees this initiative as a bold step toward deepening the effectiveness of its employment creation strategies and a critical input into the process of designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes and schemes,” he added.

Mr. Onwuliri explained that the online portal would henceforth serve as a meeting point for millions of job seekers and their prospective employers.

He also added that the initiative would go a long way to eliminate the cumbersome process of recruitment by employers of skilled labour in private and public sectors.

The address of the portal, the statement noted, is www.jobsforall.ng

ONGOING: Protest at National Assembly over Ndume’s suspension by Senate

Thousands of protesters have blocked the entrance to the National Assembly in Abuja, demanding the immediate reinstatement of Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south in the Senate.

Mr. Ndume was suspended last week by the Senate for triggering investigations into allegations of forgery against the senate president, Bukola Saraki, and Kogi senator, Dino Melaye.

News reports accused Mr. Saraki of importing a Range Rover SUV without paying appropriate import duty, and attempting to clear the vehicle with falsified papers.

Mr. Melaye was accused of falsely claiming to have graduated from Ahmadu Bello University.

The Senate dismissed both allegations, and sanctioned Mr. Ndume by suspending him for six months.

There have been moves by Borno politicians to get Mr. Ndume reinstated.

Protesters arrived the National Assembly gate early Tuesday, with placards lambasting Mr. Saraki and the Senate.

“Saraki is a curse”, one placard read.

Many of the protesters said they were natives of southern Borno, Mr. Ndume’s district, but mostly live in Mararaba and Masaka areas of Abuja.

A PREMIUM TIMES’ correspondent at the scene said the protesters did not immediately appear like the usual “rented crowd”.

REVEALED: Russian citizen behind St. Petersburg attack

The likely suspect in Monday’s deadly blast in the Russian city of St. Petersburg is a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen, Kyrgyzstan’s security service said on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the GKNB security service identified the suspect as Akbarzhon Jalilov, born in the city of Osh in 1995. He provided no other details.

Kyrgyzstan, a predominantly Muslim Central Asian nation of six million, is Russia’s close political ally and hosts a Russian military airbase.

Monday’s blast on board a metro train in St. Petersburg killed 11 people and wounded 45.

Interfax, quoting security sources, reported that the suspect had links with radical Islamist groups banned in Russia.

The source added that remains found at the scene of the blast suggested that a suicide bomber was responsible but that final conclusions would be made after DNA tests had been conducted.

 

Source: The Cable

Dino Melaye: The making of a brand – By Reuben Abati

It is a sign of the times, and a tragedy that the most popular senator in the Nigerian national assembly at this moment is not the person who has moved the most impactful motion, not a lawmaker who has proposed a thought-provoking bill, and certainly not any senator who has given any impressive speech debating a matter of national importance.

What we get, most of the time, in place of legislative responsibility, prudence, accountability and distinction is burlesque, farce, Japanese-styled Bungaku-Bunraku enactments, a dose of medieval commedia d’ell arte and an enormous supply of Yoruba Alarinjo with a bit of the Akata from Efik and Ibibioland. And the star in this comedy of errors that the Nigerian national assembly has become is a gentleman called Dino Melaye.  He is the perfect archetype of all that is wrong or right with the Nigerian legislature, a fine representation of contradictory binaries, and a lesson unto the rest of us.

I am not condemning Dino Melaye. I am in fact just about to say that we created a man like him, just as before him, we needed a Busari Adelakun, and a Lamidi Adedibu to show us the true character of Nigerian politics. And to those who think Dino Melaye is something of an aberration, I say to them that Dino Melaye is indeed a true picture of Nigerian politics. He is much smarter and far more politically savvy than those who condemn him. His Wikipedia profile announces that his ambition is to be Nigeria’s president someday, maybe he won’t become president, but he may suddenly show up in the future as something close to that high office.  He is far more Nigerian than those who criticize or condemn him. He knows the system. He plays the system. He has the capacity to beat the system. Most people who get to the top in Nigeria beat the system, and when they do so, they flaunt their smartness in the people’s face. The pundits write their articles but nothing changes, because a man like Dino Melaye can get a whole vice chancellor of a university created under the act to do his bidding, and a National Assembly to queue up behind him.

I read one piece in which the writer was wondering how on earth we ended up with a Dino Melaye in the National Assembly: A man like that whose brand raises too many questions.  His school certificate result is not exactly impressive.  His year of graduation from Ahmadu Bello University has been controversial, even with the sitting vice chancellor’s needless testimony. Nobody is sure whether a BA or a BSc is the appropriate description of a degree in geography. Dino’s name is allegedly missing in the university’s graduation year brochure, an omission that nobody has been able to explain. There is an NYSC group photograph but he is just about the only person not properly dressed. Former classmates have confirmed that he was actually a university student and that he graduated, and the vice chancellor says he got a third class. Third class!

I have never seen any student so proud of a third class like Dino Melaye. To celebrate his third class he wore to the national assembly, a doctoral candidate’s gown, and thus insulted the entire academic establishment. I have a Ph.D gown and the full robes of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, but no form of temporary insanity will make me wear either of both robes to a wedding party. Dino Melaye is a Nigerian senator; nobody should be surprised if one of these days he wears his distinguished borrowed robes to a funeral just to convince everyone that he has a university degree. No serious person advertises a third class degree, but Dino Melaye says on top of that, he has acquired six additional degrees, including certificates from Harvard and the London School of Economics. The lesson from this is that the certificates of everyone who aspires to lead Nigeria at any level must be carefully verified henceforth. Only God knows how many persons at the highest levels in Nigeria are parading certificates and qualifications that should form the subject of scrutiny. A nation that is led by the least educated and the most ignorant of its population is definitely in trouble.

In the United States, a man like Dino Melaye would probably never win an election. His former wife, Tokunbo accused him of battery and domestic violence and showed pictures to prove her point. Her short-lived successor made similar claims, spent six months and fled. There was another lady, one of those “man-eating” Nollywood girls who entertained us with her misery and the story of a child and DNA tests.  If the wives and the baby mamas were wrong, Dino Melaye soon had a tiff with senator Remi Tinubu and what he said about her menopausal status, we don’t have to repeat.  He even went to the front of Remi Tinubu’s house in Lagos to pose for a photograph, daring her husband to do his worst. Senator Tinubu’s husband, the Jagaban of Borgu, Asiwaju of Lagos, former governor of Lagos and national leader of the APC knew better. The last time Dino Melaye got into a duel, he came out of it with torn clothes, which he proudly advertised.

Dino Melaye poses as an anti-corruption crusader. He rides some of the most exotic cars in Nigeria, all labeled Dino 1 to 5 or whatever. He is loud, flamboyant, and unconventional. He can talk, which means he is articulate, he is fearless, he is also fiercely and stubbornly loyal to the incumbent Senate President Bukola Saraki. He can sing. He can dance. He obviously has no respect for women because he is a macho-man, an alpha male. He can also fight, and he considers journalists the scum of the earth. That is why when Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters digs into his past and qualifications, his immediate response is to say that he is being stalked and to go after the investigative journalist with everything that he can deploy. Melaye was elected as a senator to make laws for good governance, but he has been busy acting like he is an awada kerikeri actor on loan to the national assembly.

I am not condemning him. He won an election. In fact he has won many elections. The people who voted for him must see something in him. The man who represented Kogi west before him used to make useful contributions that made the headlines, he was respected for his informed interventions; there was never a time he wore torn clothes to the red chamber, but the people voted him out and elected Dino Melaye and since he started ruffling things up, nobody who voted for him has questioned him. You actually get the impression that Melaye is considered a hero in his Kogi west constituency. This should explain why he enjoys being the drama king of the national assembly.

To politicians of his type, every kind of publicity is good publicity.  It is better to be heard and known, for whatever reason, than to be unknown and unsung.  In Melaye’s mind, he is obviously having fun. The kerfuffle over his academic qualification is probably as far as he is concerned, a joke, because afterall, he doesn’t need more than a secondary school certificate to be a member of the national assembly. When we write about him, discuss his politics, interview him, project him in the media, we are actually promoting his politics and brand.

His kind of brand works in Nigeria. What was the value of Busari Adelakun’s politics or that of Lamidi Adedibu? But both men ended up being more prominent in their constituencies than other politicians of their time. Lamidi Adedibu, the exponent of Amala politics, was so powerful, when a certain governor refused to pay him godfather-rent, he got him removed from office and as they say, nothing happened. Adedibu derived his power from being close and loyal to a bigger man of power. He could sing too. And he could dance. And that is perhaps why Dino Melaye should be taken seriously when he breaks out into a song:

A je kun iya ni o je

A je kun iya ni o je

E ni ti o to ni na, to n dena de ni

A je kun iya ni oje

That song is now top of the charts in Nigeria today, with a remix and multiple parodies by other public figures. The only man who is probably yet to learn that song is senator Ali Ndume, but it is a song that speaks to him directly and accounts for his six-month suspension from the senate.  It is also a song about power and dictatorship. There is nothing in it about values or fairness, or justice. It is a might-is-right composition, about the mighty punishing and oppressing the powerless. “A je kun iya” emphasises the severity of punishment, “eni ti o to ni na” underscores the imbalance of weight, and the lack of equality in strength.  It is a song of intimidation, threat and abuse, completely arrogant in tone and sense.

Dino Melaye knows how to taunt his critics. I visited his website: dinomelaye.com.  There are nice photographs and links to other sites including his Facebook page, projecting him as a courageous and outspoken anti-corruption crusader and a political activist. We do not find any information about the bills and motions that he sponsored, or projects that he has embarked upon, or his relationship with his Kogi west constituency. This may be an oversight on the part of those who manage the site for him, but their omission is perhaps in order, since Dino Melaye is better known for the drama that he creates.

His Wikipedia profile offers nothing more impressive other than the notably juicy details about his marital life, his threat to “beat and impregnate another man’s wife”, and his monumental contribution to legislative debate about how Nigerian men should stop “importing” wives from foreign countries. To this should be added his promotion of the “aje kun iya” folk song into a quasi-national anthem. Elsewhere, a lawmaker’s profile online would refer to his or her electoral history, committee assignments and ideological positions on key national issues. What constitutes a lawmaker’s brand is what he stands for and how well he has served the people.

Dino Melaye’s brand is peculiar: he can sing, dance, fight and speak out loud.  He is an artful master of form. But what exactly does he stand for? What is his position on national security, healthcare, federalism, social security or agriculture? I don’t know.  But I won’t condemn him, because he is a well-made product of Nigerian politics. It is after all, difficult to know what most contemporary Nigerian politicians stand for. He is in addition, probably much better than half of the national assembly. He is more attentive at least than all those other senators who don’t attend plenary, certainly better than those who have spent more time there dozing off, or the ones who have spent years in that assembly and have never uttered a word, or sponsored a bill, support a motion or do anything of note. The pity is that many of such are now running up and down, seeking to become governors in their states in 2019. So, why won’t Dino Melaye nurse the ambition of becoming president someday?  A je kun iya ni o je…

“ISIS luring foreign students with money”, Lai Mohammed warns Nigerians.

The federal government has said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now recruits foreign students into their organisation using financial inducements.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, raised alarm over the new recruitment strategy.

He urged parents and guardians to monitor the activities of their children and wards in order to prevent them from being recruited.

The minister appealed to Nigerians, especially those who have children and wards in foreign academic institutions, to pay more attention to their activities.

He also urged schools across the country to enlighten their students on the new ISIS’ recruitment strategy.

The minister cited the recent recruitment into ISIS of 27 medical students of the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Sudan as an example of the new strategy being used by the organisation to recruit more members.

Quoting a report received by the Nigerian intelligence community, the minister said 22 of the 27 students, who travelled to Syria to join ISIS, are Britons.

“According to the report, the students were recruited by one Mohammed Fakhri Al-khabbas, a former UMST student from Middlesborough, United Kingdom.

“Many of the students are children of reputable doctors in the UK. Their Social Media accounts also revealed them as praising Jihadists and championing ISIS’ cause,” he said.

 

Source: The Cable

British government moves to reveal Nigerian property owners

The British government will release information about Nigerians who own property in that country next year.

Bolaji Owosanoye, executive secretary, presidential advisory committee against corruption, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that negotiations on this had reached advanced stage.

Owosanoye said the measure being taken by the governments of both countries was a step up the fight against corruption.

“There’s no doubt that rogues in government oppress and impoverish their people by corruption and this must be sanctioned by collective action.

“We need to make sure that there is no safe haven for corrupt officials to run to. Britain has promised that by 2018, she will provide Nigeria with the information about who owns what and where; that’s very helpful.

“These include all the houses that have been bought by public officials or accounts that are held by public officials on which they are right now not paying taxes or which they cannot explain the sources.

“So if you cannot buy a house in England, you have to look for somewhere else. But if all countries criminalise this, then it becomes much more difficult unless you want to buy the house on Mars,” he said.

The presidential aide also explained that Nigeria and other African countries, who are victims of illicit financial flows, must challenge developed countries to block illicit financial flows from developing countries.

“Receiving states – the countries of the North – need to be proactive to block the proceeds of crime even before a request is made by victim countries.

“This is because, in many situations, it is clear that illegality is taking place.

“We think that reversing the burden of proof to improve the confiscation of criminal proceeds of crime would help, especially when we are going after the asset and not necessarily the person.

“If the person who claims to own the asset would not cooperate in giving information, then this should be a point in favour of the state,” Owosanoye said.

He contended that the burden of proof for criminal proceeds should shift to the suspects and not the government, citing the case of a former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“A former Managing Director of the NNPC was found with nine million dollars cash and over 70 million naira in his house in a small place he has built.

“He said the money is a gift. He was asked if he could tell the very generous angels who gave him this money.

“He’s not been able to provide that information. That sort of disposition should be used to penalise a claimant of asset who cannot justify the origin of the asset.

“The proposed “Unexplained Wealth Order in England,” which hopefully we were told would pass through the legal process this year, should really help to deepen the conversation in this regard.

“It (Unexplained Wealth Order) would help to quickly recover assets,” the presidential aide said.

Owosanoye said available research records showed that about 60 per cent of capital flight from Africa came from Nigeria because of the size of its economy.

 

Source: The Cable

Police Amend Seun Egbegbe’s Charge, Arraign Three New Suspects.

The State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) of the Lagos State Police Command in Panti, Yaba presented an amended charge before Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos on Monday to enable the police to arraign three other suspects arrested in connection with the criminal offenses levied against Olajide Oluwaseun Kareem, popularly known as Seun Egbegbe.

The suspects – Lawal Kareem, Olalekan Yusuf, and Muyideen Shoyombo – allegedly aided Mr. Egbegbe in carrying out his criminal activities.

According to the amended charge sheet, the trio were involved only in counts one and two, which accused them of conspiring to obtain the sum of N2,450,000 and 3,000 pounds sterling from one Alhaji Isa Adamu. The offenses contravened the provisions of section 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

Mr. Kareem, who is reportedly the younger brother of the Nollywood producer, told reporters when he was paraded at the police command in Ikeja that he knew nothing about his brother’s criminal acts, adding that Mr. Egbegbe only wanted to incriminate him for reasons best known to him.

He added that Mr. Egbegbe sent him a text while in prison custody.

“On the day Seun was arrested at Ikeja, it was my boss that told me that he saw the story on Facebook and went to Area F to see him,” Mr. Kareem said. “But after then, he was charged to court and I didn’t go to see him, only for me to receive an SMS from him saying that he heard I was partying while he was languishing in prison?,” he continued.

At the resumption of the trial, the judge scolded the prosecutor, Anyigor Innocent.

“I don’t have the luxury of the time you have, I am not a police woman. You have to make up your mind on who to charge. You cannot be taking us back and forth like an Abiku,” she warned the prosecutor.

Mr. Egbegbe and one Oyekan Ayomide were first arraigned on February 11, 2017 on a 40-count charge to which they pleaded not guilty. They have since been held in prison custody as they were unable to perfect their bail condition.

 

Source: Sahara Reporters

In Case You Missed It: All The Top Stories In The NEWS Today.

In Case You Missed It: Omojuwa.Com brings you a recap of top stories in the NEWS today 3rd of April, 2017.

 

DStv, GOtv to increase subscription tariff from 1st of May

MultiChoice, owners of DStv and GOtv, has increased subscription rates by five percent, with effect from May 1, 2017.


I cannot reverse Ndume’s suspension – Saraki

The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has said that he has no power to reverse the suspension of the former Senate leader, Ali Ndume.


Dog pays the ultimate sacrifice after stopping suicide bomber in Maiduguri

A dog died saving dozens of people at a wedding party in Maiduguri after it attacked a suicide bomber, an official said. The dog stopped the teenage suicide bomber from detonating her explosives in the crowd.


Hours after election, new Ondo assembly speaker decamps to APC from PDP

The newly-elected Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun, representing Ifedore Constituency, has decamped to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.


Dogara, Saraki in closed-door meeting with President Buhari

The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, has arrived the presidential villa for a meeting with President Muahammadu Buhari.


School Principal admits having sex with 16-year-old female student

A Minna Magistrates’ Court on Monday ordered the remand of a 51 year-old-man, Mohammed Kuyizhi, in prison for allegedly impregnating a 16-year-old student.


Armed robbers attack Katsina information commissioner

Armed robbers believed to specialize in terrorizing people along the Katsina-Kano highway have attacked and dispossessed the Katsina State Commissioner of Information, Home Affairs and Culture Hamza Borodo of some valuables.


CBN floods FOREX market with $240 million, directs cash payments

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Monday injected $90 million to meet requests by bank customers, in its bid to sustain the supply of foreign exchange and ensure liquidity in the market.


Police lied, Unilag students protested peaceful and orderly – TVC

The management of Lagos-based television station, Television Continental (TVC), on Sunday disputed police claim that 13 students of the University of Lagos were remanded in Kirikiri prison over unlawful invasion of the television facility at the Ikosi neighbourhood of Lagos.


FG Seeks Arrest Warrant On Former AGF, Mohammed Adoke

The Federal Government is seeking an arrest warrant on a former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.


Two ECWA clerics die in auto crash along Okene-Lokoja road

Worshippers of the First Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) at the weekend could not hide the puzzle on their faces, which could only read one thing: “Why, God why?” Their faith appear to be failing them as their body language seem to give vent to the question on the minds of many, but which could not be expressed.


Lawmakers Express Mixed Reactions Over Electoral Act Amendment

Some members of the House of Representatives yesterday expressed mixed reactions to the Senate’s approval of electronic voting and the use of the card reader in future elections under the amendment of the Electoral Act, 2010.


CBN’s Emefiele vows to continue FOREX intervention

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sunday reiterated its determination to sustain the provision of foreign exchange with a view to ensuring liquidity in the market and enhance accessibility and affordability for genuine end users.


ISIS’ deputy commander, Ayad al-Jumaili killed in air strike

Ayad al-Jumaili, believed to be a deputy of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in an air strike on Friday, an Iraqi intelligence spokesman said on Saturday.


City People Magazine’s Minister of the Year Award goes to Babatunde Raji Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing has won the Minister of the Year Award organised by City People Magazine.


Court lifts restriction on Mike Ozekhome’s account

Abdulaziz Anka, a judge of the federal high court sitting in Lagos, has lifted the temporary forfeiture order on the account of Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).


African envoys hit out at India over attacks on Nigerian students

African envoys in Delhi on Monday called the recent mob attacks on some Nigerian students near the national capital as “racial” and “xenophobic acts”.


Three suicide bombers killed by their own bombs in failed Borno attacks

Three suicide bombers were on Sunday killed in unsuccessful attacks on Muna general area and Dusuma village.

Charles Okah to know fate on “no-case-submission” on May 16

The Federal High Court, on Monday in Abuja fixed May 16 to rule on the application for no-case-submission filed by Charles Okah and Nwabueze Obi, to dispel terrorism charges brought against them.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the applicants were alleged to be the masterminds of the 2010 Independence Day bombing in Abuja.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed the date to rule on the motion after counsel to parties had canvassed their arguments. Okah, a younger brother of Henry Okah, the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation Niger Delta, (MEND) and others standing the trial are expected to open their defence.

The applicants argued that the charges and the evidence presented by the prosecution so far had not established prima facie case against them. At the resumed hearing, counsel to Okah, Mr Emeka Okafor, told the court of his client’s motion of no-case-submission.

“It is our final submission that Okah does not need to go through rigorous trial as the prosecutor has no evidence to prove any ingredient of offence he is charged with,” he said.

Mr Oghenovo Otemu, counsel to Nwabueze, aligned himself with the submission of counsel to Okah. Otemu said the prosecution had failed to link the second defendant with the alleged offence he was charged with.

He said prosecution’s inability to link the second defendant with offences was fatal to the prosecution of his client, urging the court to uphold the no case submission and dismiss the charges against him.

On his part, Dr Alex Iziyon (SAN), the prosecuting counsel asked the court to dismiss the motion, saying the prosecution had sufficiently linked the 2010 bombing to the applicants. Iziyon pleaded with court to order the applicants to open their defence, adding that the no-case-submission was aimed at wasting the time of the court.

The prosecuting counsel said the essential element of evidence required in the trial of the applicants had been established. He said it was established that the applicant had links with the vehicles and explosive materials used on Independence Day in Abuja.

“One of the applicants confessed he drove the vehicle into Abuja and the other linked with the money used in purchasing the vehicle,’’ he said. The prosecution therefore, urged the court to dismiss the no case submission and ask the defendants to enter their defence.

 

Source: The Guardian

254, including 43 children, die in mudslides in Colombia.

Devastating mudslides in the Colombian town of Mocoa killed at least 254 people including 43 children, President Juan Manuel Santos said Sunday, as survivors described gruesome scenes amid the ruins.

Santos, who traveled to the southern town to personally oversee relief operations, warned the toll could keep climbing.

“Unfortunately, these are still preliminary figures,” he wrote on Twitter, after giving an earlier toll of 210.

More than 200 were injured in the disaster.

Survivors and rescuers kept up a bleak search for victims in the muck and debris.

Covered in mud, 38-year-old Marta Gomez told of going to search for her missing niece — and making a chilling find instead.

“I went to look for my niece, but I couldn’t find her. I dug and dug and found what turned out to be a baby’s hand. It was horrible,” she said in a shelter set up for the newly homeless.

As she stood in line waiting to register for government assistance for those who lost their houses, Gomez told AFP she had given up on finding her niece.

“The mud took her away. I’ll never see her again,” she said, clinging to the leash of her equally muddy German shepherd.

Rescuers worked in stifling heat under a cloudy sky in the remote Amazon town, the capital of Putumayo department.

The debris left by the mudslides was everywhere: buried cars, uprooted trees, children’s toys and stray shoes sticking up out of the mud.

 

Source: AFP

CBN floods FOREX market with $240 million, directs cash payments.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Monday injected $90 million to meet requests by bank customers, in its bid to sustain the supply of foreign exchange and ensure liquidity in the market.

The spokesperson of the bank, Isaac Okorafor, who confirmed the figure, said the fresh release is to meet invisibles such as basic and personal transport allowances, medical bills and school fees.

Invisibles are those items in the export trade that are untouchable, like movement of money and family, including BTAs, medical bills, plant and machinery as well as finished products.

Besides, Mr. Okorafor said the CBN also offered additional $150 million to authorised FOREX dealers in the interbank wholesale auction window to meet their customers’ demand.

Last week, the CBN had announced the adjustment of the bureax de change, BDC sale days to Tuesdays only, to reduce logistical difficulties, while the apex bank would henceforth sell $10,000 only to low-end FOREX dealers once every week.

To further ease the access of customers, Mr. Okorafor said the CBN had also directed all banks to pay cash over the counter to interested forex customers.

Urging the banks to oblige the genuine requests from their customers, the CBN spokesperson advised customers to report through available platforms any bank refusing to cooperate with the CBN.

The CBN spokesperson said the bank was optimistic that latest $150 million offered to authorised FOREX dealers in the interbank wholesale window would be enough to meet the requests of genuine wholesale customers.

During the last auction on March 28, 2017, customers had fully subscribed to the auction, clearing every dollar at stake.

Mr. Okorafor said on Sunday the CBN would disabuse the notion by some market speculators that it would not be able to sustain its FOREX intervention efforts.

To further strengthen the Naira value, which plunged to about N394 to a dollar on Friday, about 10 per cent depreciation from what was recorded earlier in the week, the spokesperson said the CBN would again inject more foreign exchange into the market early this week in an attempt to further weaken the dollar.

 

Source: Premium Times

Police warn masquerades against reckless behaviour

The Police Command in Enugu State has warned masquerades and their assistants against assault, molestation and intimidation of Nigerians in the state under whatever guise.

The command’s Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, gave the warning in a statement in Enugu on Monday.

Mr. Amaraizu said that the police would arrest anyone caught committing any offence under the guise of masquerade shows.

He said that the command had continued to say that people’s rights should not be infringed upon in any show or festivity.

He advised communities to celebrate their culture and masquerade festivities within the confines of the law.

“The Police have frowned at the report received concerning the alleged recklessness of some masquerades and their assistants on the issue of assault, molestation and intimidation of good people of the state.

“Anyone caught committing offence or wreaking havoc on members of the public under the guise of masquerade festivities will be promptly arrested and prosecuted,’’ he said.

In a related development, the command through its operatives in Nsukka Police Divisional Headquarters, nabbed one of the assistants of Oriokpa Masquerade, Nnamdi Okoro, in Nsukka on March 26.

Mr. Okoro was alleged to have assaulted Ezeugwu Lawrence, which caused him injury on his head at Ugwuoye axis of Nsukka.

“Okoro is now helping police operatives in their investigation.

“He will be arraigned properly in court after investigation,” the police spokesperson said.

 

Source: NAN

Nigeria’s Cultural Heritage Has Huge Export Potential – Ooni

The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has described Nigeria’s cultural heritage as a huge export potential, capable of igniting economic rejuvenation.

Ooni Ogunwusi said this at Ile-Ife during the joint celebration of Alafere, Oya and Ijugbe festivals which attracted a huge crowd of participants from within and outside Ile-Ife, especially the Bariba and Nupe people in Niger and Kwara states of Nigeria.

The African foremost monarch who is the spiritual leader of Yoruba race stated that the celebration is to give glory to God Almighty who he described in Yoruba language “Oba ti a ko ri, ti a n ri ise owo e”, meaning “The unseen God but whose impact is being felt always”.

The Ooni wondered why cultural festivals and heritage are not getting necessary attention from citizens of the country, saying this has been affecting the growth of the local festivals and culture in the country.

He also expressed displeasure that foreigners were beginning to appreciate the African culture, mysteries and festivals than indigenes of the continents.

“Our heritage is so strong. All the things that we are celebrating may be strange to a lot of people living in Nigeria and Yorubaland but in the Western World, I just returned from the UK where I met with the British Royal Family and visited the British Museum, they don’t joke with our culture. All these things are so important to them.

“They traced the origin of mankind to Africa and all these facts are displayed in their libraries and museums. They believe in the potency and power of all these festivals. It is about time for us (Africans) to nurture what we have.

“We should celebrate what nature has given to us. Our culture is a very huge export potential and tourism is one of the biggest trades in the world. It is bigger than a lot of investments that you can think of because it has a lot of people’s movement.

“With tourism, people are able to establish a common heritage and ancestral background”, Ooni said.

He called on government at all levels to improve the level of infrastructure, noting that the government needs to support the drive to project the Yoruba culture to the world.

“It is about time for us to focus on tourism by improving our infrastructure and for us to package these entire heritages. Most of the heritage and festivals are very timely and yield benefits.

“The government should pay serious attention to our heritage. We are blessed here because our tourist centres and attractions are natural.

“We don’t need to create any form of artificial tourism. They are very natural tourism potentials and that is why we need to display them.

“We hope that at one point, the government will appreciate us.” He added.

 

Source: Channels TV

Roger Federer To Skip Clay Court Season

After wins at Indian Wells and Miami, Roger Federer says he will skip the clay court season to rest, but will probably play the French Open.

Federer who has moved up to world number four following his win, defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4 for his third title of the year.

The 35-year-old Federer becomes the tournament’s oldest men’s champion.

He also won the Hard-Court event in 2005 and 2006.

 

Source: Channels TV

11 Killed, Several Injured In St. Petersburg Metro Station Blast.

At least nine people were killed and 20 were injured when an explosion tore through a train carriage in the St. Petersburg metro system on Monday, the Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee said.

Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying the blast, which occurred when the train was between two stations, was caused by a bomb filled with shrapnel.

President Vladimir Putin, who was in the city for a meeting with Belarus’s leader, said he was considering all possible causes for the blast, including terrorism and was consulting with security services.

Ambulances and fire engines descended on the concrete-and-glass Sennaya Ploshchad metro station. A helicopter hovered overhead as crowds gathered to observe rescue operations.

“I appeal to you citizens of St. Petersburg and guests of our city to be alert, attentive and cautious and to behave in a responsible matter in light of events,” St Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said in an address.

An attack on St Petersburg, Russia’s old imperial capital, would have some symbolic force for any militant group, especially Islamic State or Chechen secessionist rebels. Attacks in the past have largely concentrated on Moscow, including an attack on an airport, a theater and in 2010 a metro train.

Video showed injured people lying bleeding on a platform, some being treated by emergency services and fellow passengers. Others ran away from the platform amid clouds of smoke, some screaming or holding their hands to their faces.

A huge hole was blown open in the side of a carriage with metal wreckage strewn across the platform. Passengers were seen hammering at the windows of one closed carriage. Russian TV said many had suffered lacerations from glass shards and metal.

Russia has been the target of attacks by separatist Islamist Chechen militants in past years. Islamic State, which has drawn recruits from the ranks of Chechen rebels, has also threatened attacks across Russia in retaliation for Russian military intervention in Syria.

The Russian air force and special forces have been supporting President Bashar al-Assad in fighting rebel groups and Islamic State fighters now being driven out of their Syrian strongholds

 

Source: Channels TV

Libya to send 10,000 immigrants home

Up to 10,000 migrants stranded in Libya will be flown back to their home countries this year, but the returns can only play a limited role in tackling migrant flows toward Europe, the head of the U.N. migration agency’s Libyan office said.

The International Organization for Migration program is one of the few ways EU states can fund action inside lawless Libya, which has become the main migration departure point for Europe, as they scramble to stem record flows across the central Mediterranean.

Other plans have been held up by poor security, political resistance and a lack of government control in Libya, where powerful militias and smuggling networks act with impunity.

The IOM scheme is meant to offer a way out to those stuck in Libya without money, work, or a means to move on, said Othman Belbeisi, the agency’s chief of mission for Libya. It is voluntary, with each migrant interviewed individually and able to change their mind at any time.

“This program provides a window or an option for these people to go back home and start a new life,” Belbeisi told Reuters.

“It is a contribution to a solution, mainly for the migrants. We don’t believe in closing borders, stopping movement or stopping migration.”

Some of those who opt to return have been intercepted by the Libyan coastguard at sea and sent to detention centers. Some leave without trying to reach Europe. Most do not have documents.

The IOM flew 2,775 migrants back last year, and is expecting to increase that number to between 7,000 and 10,000 in 2017, with new European funding.

This year, 1,795 migrants have already been sent back, and another 5,000 are seeking assistance to return. The agency has received a higher rate of requests since late 2016, something Belbeisi attributed to worsening conditions inside Libya.

Most are flown to West Africa, with Nigeria, Senegal and Mali topping the list. There have also been returns to East Africa and Bangladesh.

Because returning can be seen as a failure, the IOM supports reintegration in home communities, Belbeisi said, with half those returned last year receiving such help.

The average cost of returning and assisting a migrant is about 2,000 euros ($2,135). Funding for the program comes mainly from European states.

The agency still faces challenges interviewing migrants, checking their identity, and transporting them across and out of Libya. It plans to raise awareness about the returns program in the coming months, without actively promoting it.

“We are not promoting a return home because we know sometimes the situation back home can be even worse … and we do not want to promote shifting a problem from one side, or country, to another,” said Belbeisi.

“That’s why we don’t advertise the program or promote it as a solution for migration to Europe.”

 

Source: Reuters

Nollywood actress Dayo Amusa survives car accident after movie premiere

Nollywood actress, Dayo Amusa, on Sunday survived a car accident without as much as a scratch.

The accident took place along Ibadan-Ijebu road while Amusa was returning from the premiere of new movie ‘Pathetic’ in Ibadan, Oyo state.

The actress was in the vehicle with Yemisi Jacobs, a producer/director, and Dami Adenuga, a public relations executive.

Adenuga shared a video from the aftermath of the event on Instagram.

Amusa also reposted the video below:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSa96J3BEyb/?taken-by=dayoamusa

Nigerians may need NDLEA clearance to visit Indonesia

Nigerians with new passports seeking to travel to Indonesia will need to include a certificate of recommendation from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) among the documents needed to process their visas.

Harry Purwanto, Indonesian ambassador to Nigeria, disclosed this to NAN in Abuja on Monday, saying the new visa policy was in line with global measures to promote safety.

He said the visa conditionals were reviewed in October 2016.

Purwanto said it was easier for those with frequently used passports to get visas.

He explained that applicants seeking to travel to Indonesia also need to be invited or have certain recommendations to visit that country.

The envoy said the policy had made visa application process for Nigerians “quite tough” but added that it was for the safety of all.

“We (the embassy) could authorise the issuance of visas without having to get in touch with Jakarta; but since October 2016, we have to send visa applications from here to Jakarta for approval.

“We here can make only recommendations on visa applications, especially if applicants have programmes to undertake in Indonesia, but it is at the discretion of authorities in Jakarta to approve the visas that will be issued.”

He also said about 2,000 visas were issued to Nigerians in 2016, and the same number in 2015.

Purwanto said that both countries were working on programmes that could enhance people-to-people relations, adding that such relations would promote understanding between both cultures.

“We have about 50 Nigerian students in Indonesia, some under scholarship, and they serve as ambassadors for Nigeria there,” he said.

“The Nigerian community in the country is not so large, that is why crimes committed by a few could tarnish the image of others.”

Many Nigerians have been involved in drug trafficking in the Asian country.

 

Source: The Cable

Court lifts restriction on Mike Ozekhome’s account

Abdulaziz Anka, a judge of the federal high court sitting in Lagos, has lifted the temporary forfeiture order on the account of Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

The account, which had N75 million, was frozen in February following an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had claimed that the said money was a proceed of crime.

Anka said going by what was before the court, he found it “doubtful if the objection of the EFCC can be lawfully sustained.”

“Considering the order above quoted and the depositions, I do not understand or comprehend why the applicant/respondent’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, would still argue and stand his ground that the same account has not be unfrozen by the federal high court sitting in Ekiti state,” he ruled.

“In both the order and the depositions, the account numbered 1000312625, was evidently and manifestly unfrozen, such an argument, therefore, by Mr Oyedepo Esq cannot hold water.”

“From the circumstances and facts as outlined above, my decision is based on the following considerations: considering the fact that the source of the fund of the respondent/applicant is derivable from an unencumbered account; considering also the fact that such account has also been unfrozen via the order of the federal high court sitting in Ado-Ekiti; considering also that the amount has been dissipated.

“Put into consideration also was the fact that the funds are monies paid for the services rendered by the respondent/applicant in prosecuting various actions before various courts. I find it very doubtful if the objection of the EFCC can be lawfully sustained.”

The judge also held that the section of the money laundering Act dealing with disclosure of lodgements of N10million and above, cited by the EFCC in support of its case, does not apply to a private legal practitioner such as Ozekhome, especially where the N75million was paid from a court-ordered defrozen account.

He berated Oyedepo for approbating and reprobating, “when in one breadth, he called the fees proceeds of crime, and in another breadth”, he agreed that Ozekhome had actually worked for the fees and was thus entitled to it.

The judge held that filing an application to set aside an earlier ex-parte order of injunction as done by Ozekhome cannot in anyway amount to attempting to shield himself from investigation.

 

Source: The Cable

School Principal admits having sex with 16-year-old female student

A Minna Magistrates’ Court on Monday ordered the remand of a 51 year-old-man, Mohammed Kuyizhi, in prison for allegedly impregnating a 16-year-old student.

The Magistrate, Fati Auna, ordered that Kuyizhi, the Vice Principal, Government Day Secondary School, Tunga-Minna, be remanded after he denied committing the offence.

She adjourned the case till April 5 for further mention.

The prosecutor, Abdullahi Maiyaki, had told the court that the complainant, a junior student in the school, alleged that the defendant had sex with her three times in his office.
“The defendant always give her between N50 and N100 for her transport after the sexual intercourse,’’ he said.

According to the prosecutor, the matter was reported to the Child Right Protection Agency by a teacher, after the girl’s guardian informed the school that her ward was pregnant for the teacher.

Mr. Maiyaki said that the accused admitted that he penetrated the girl, but did not release sperm and could not be responsible for the pregnancy.

Mr. Maiyaki said that the offence contravened Sections 19 and 25 of the Child Rights Act.

 

Source: NAN

South Africa Parliament To Debate President Jacob Zuma’s Future

The Speaker of South Africa’s Parliament, Baleka Mbete has said the request from the opposition party to hold a “No confidence” vote on President Jacob Zuma would be considered.

The Speaker who is also the National Chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), cut short her trip to ensure the opposition requests were given the appropriate consideration.

 

Previous no confidence motion filed against Zuma failed as the ruling ANC has a commanding majority.

There has also been a growing backlash against Zuma from within his party and its allies after a string of missteps which culminated with the firing of the Finance Minister that rocked markets.

Analysts say the sacking of the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan last week may trigger damaging credit downgrades from ratings agencies, which would drive up the government’s borrowing costs.

Hours after election, new Ondo assembly speaker decamps to APC from PDP.

The newly-elected Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun, representing Ifedore Constituency, has decamped to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Oleyelogun was controversially voted as the new speaker of the Assembly after he polled nine out of 13 votes against Mr Olamide George, representing Akure-North, who got four votes.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how 13 other members of the 26-member Assembly were absent from the sitting and said they were not told the sitting would hold. The 13 have vowed to remain in the PDP and include Jumoke Akindele, the former speaker.

Mr. Oleyelogun, accompanied by some principal officers of the House, made the announcement at a news conference on Monday in Akure.

He added that he would be decamping officially with some other members on Tuesday, on the floor of the house.

“We are here today to signify our intention to join the ruling party, APC. The other ceremony will be done tomorrow (Tuesday).

“At the national level, they have factionalised our party. The same scenario is also at the state level. This declaration is for our followers and those we represent.

“We are ready to work with the executive without any problem, and all necessary things to be done are in place. Be rest assured that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is ready to work and we are ready to support him,’’ he added.

Ogundeji Iroju, the newly-elected Deputy Speaker, representing Odigbo Constituency II, said people should not be surprised by their move to cross to the ruling party.

Mr. Iroju said it became imperative for them to cross to the ruling party because the PDP was in a serious mess.

He added that it was the APC that could deliver good governance to the people of the state.

The Secretary to the State Government, Ifedayo Abegunde, who received them on behalf of the state government, said he was happy they were increasing the party at the state level.

Mr. Abegunde said the more the members of the party in the state, the more the party would be growing in confidence, to deliver the electoral promises to the people.

 

Source: Premium Times

FG re-arraigns El-Zakzaky’s chief security officer, two others.

The Federal Government on Monday re-arraigned Haruna Abbas, the Chief Security Officer to Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and two others before Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court Abuja.

The Federal Government had arraigned Haruna Abbas, Ibrahim Musa and Adam Suleiman, before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The defendants were arraigned on an amended 8-count criminal charge for allegedly supporting terrorism between 2009 and 2013, by sending people for terrorist training in Iran.

The offence contravened the provisions of Section 4, of the Terrorist Prevention Act 2013.

At the commencement of hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Chike Nnenna, informed the court that the matter was starting afresh as the charge was dated November 5, 2014.

She urged the court to accept the charge and allow same be read to the defendants to enable them take their plea.

When the charge was read, the defendants pleaded not guilty.

The prosecuting counsel made an oral application that Ibrahim Musa (the 2nd defendant) who is still in the custody of the State Security Service, be remanded in prison.

The counsel to Mr. Abbas, Aliyu Musa, informed the court that he wished to make an oral application on the health condition of the defendant.

Justice Chikere, however, refused the oral application made by Mr. Musa and told him to file a motion which will be heard on the next adjourned date.

The judge adjourned the case till May 11 for hearing of the motion and ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.

The three persons being prosecuted are among scores of members of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, who were arrested after the December 2015 attack that saw soldiers kill over 300 Shiites.

Their leader, Mr. El-Zakzaky, has been held in prison without trial since then despite a court order and calls for his release by local and international rights groups.

 

Source: NAN

NNPC to meet with union leaders over tanker drivers’ strike.

The leadership of the state oil firm, NNPC, has scheduled a meeting with striking tanker drivers whose strike is already affecting the distribution of petroleum products across Nigeria.

The Petroleum Tankers Drivers, PTD, section of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, commenced the strike on Monday.

The spokesperson of the NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, told PREMIUM TIMES that the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, has scheduled a meeting with leaders of the oil workers for Monday afternoon.

Mr. Ughamadu said representatives of the National Association of Transport Owners, NARTO, the employers of the drivers, would also be attending the meeting scheduled for the NNPC Towers in Abuja.

The tanker drivers had said at the end of their Central Working Committee, CWC, meeting in Lagos on Friday that their demands included a reminder to the federal government on some unresolved issues bordering on their welfare.

The NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, had said the welfare issues included the perennial problem of bad roads, poor salaries and other conditions of service, insecurity and alleged high-handedness of some security operatives against their members.

But, Mr. Ughamadu said the NNPC management was uncomfortable with some underlining issues about the strike, which appeared beyond what the tanker drivers have given as reasons for their latest action.

Although Mr. Ughamadu refused to expatiate on these underlining issues, another senior official of the national oil company said they may not be unconnected with an attempt by some union leaders to politicise the NNPC management’s recent decision to recover huge debts from some products marketers.

The official, who requested that his name should not be revealed, as he does not have the permission to speak, said it appeared some oil workers were sympathetic to the travails of the chairman of Capital Oil & Gas Limited, Ifeanyi Ubah.

The official said the oil workers, particularly in the south-west zone, were pushing for the current strike to arm-twist the NNPC to abandon its resolve to recover its debt from some oil marketers.

“It is clear that the tanker drivers’ union has been infiltrated by members sympathetic to Mr. Ubah, particularly in the South-West led by the Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Tokunbo Korodo.

“But, we should guard against politicising the issue. We should try to divorce genuine issues affecting the welfare of members from those affecting NNPC’s legal effort to recover its debt,” the official said.

Recently, the NNPC petitioned the State Security Service, SSS, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as well as the committee in charge of the downstream oil industry in the National Assembly to facilitate the recovery of the ‘missing’ 130 million litres of premium motor spirit, PMS, popularly called petrol.

The missing product, valued at about N11 billion, was owned by the NNPC Retail, a downstream subsidiary of the NNPC, but stored in the products depots belonging to Capital Oil & Gas and MRS Petroleum as part of the NNPC national strategic reserve.

The products stored in the companies’ private facilities under a throughput arrangement was used in controversial circumstances without proper authorisation from the NNPC.

In the past one week, Mr. Ubah has been reporting to the SSS headquarters in Abuja twice daily to hold discussions expected to culminate in an agreement on a debt repayment schedule.

So far, sources close to the security agency told PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Ubah was unable to come up with an acceptable schedule on when he would repay the debt, blaming the NNPC for refusing to consider several written requests for full reconciliation of accounts for debts owed his company over the last two years.

 

Source: Premium Times

JUST IN: I cannot reverse Ndume’s suspension – Saraki

The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has said that he has no power to reverse the suspension of the former Senate leader, Ali Ndume.

Mr. Ndume was suspended for six months last week after he asked the Senate to investigate media reports alleging that Mr. Saraki failed to pay requisite import duty for an SUV vehicle he imported.

He also requested investigation into reports that a Kogi state Senator, Dino Melaye, may also have not graduated from Ahmadu Bello University.

Both Senators were eventually cleared by the Senate committee on ethics and privileges. The committee also recommended the suspension of Mr. Ndume for one year.

Since the suspension, various groups have reportedly been meeting with Mr. Saraki to plead for the recall of the Borno south senator.

Governor Kashim Shettima had on Friday led a delegation to see Mr. Saraki on the matter.

Speaking to State House correspondents shortly after emerging from a meeting with President Buhari, Mr. Saraki said “I wish I have such powers”.

He said the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are just first among equals and cannot do anything that the two chambers do not want done.

He said all he can do is to report to the Senate what he discussed with the Borno governor and allow the Senators to take a decision.

Mr. Saraki also spoke about some of the issues he discussed with Mr. Buhari.

 

Source: Premium Times

JUST IN: Armed robbers attack Katsina information commissioner

Armed robbers believed to specialize in terrorizing people along the Katsina-Kano highway have attacked and dispossessed the Katsina State Commissioner of Information, Home Affairs and Culture Hamza Borodo of some valuables.

The state commissioner of Police Usman Abdullahi who disclosed this, said the robbers who wore Nigerian Army uniform blocked the highway around  Kukar Kwaida Kankia, and carried out the attack.

He said the robbers stole four GSM handsets and N9,000 cash from the commissioner, but that the command was able to apprehend them.

He said the same gang stormed the residence and bakery of one Alhaji Nura Halliru at Kafin Soli Kankia and robbed him of undisclosed amount of money.

“Another was at Soro Daya Kankia Katsina where they shot and killed one Suleiman Adamu, a tanker driver, and stole his belongings,” he added.

He reiterated that the Police had been able to bust the gang, giving the names of those of them arrested as Saminu Ibrahim, Yahaya Ibrahim, Bello Abdullahi, Suleiman Abubakar, Abdurrahaman Dahiru and Hassan Nasiru. Others are Kabiru Isyaku, Surajo Ibrahim, Ibrahim Yunusa,  Usman Isah,  Yusuf Suleiman and Muntari Abu Garba

 

Source: Daily Trust

Former EFCC boss Ribadu to speak on Panama Papers

A former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, will on Thursday be part of a panel to discuss the Panama Papers leak as they affect Africa.

The forum is organised by the European Parliament Inquiry Committee, PANA, following revelations published by a consortium of international media, including PREMIUM TIMES, showing secretive offshore companies used by powerful individuals and criminals to hide wealth, evade taxes and commit fraud.

The event will hold in Strasbourg France on Thursday, April 6.

The committee, which had been working since July last year had held a series of public hearings with the journalists who revealed the Panama Papers, representatives of international organisations, academics, the business society.

The Members of the Committee have now decided to hold a hearing on “The impact of the schemes revealed in the Panama Papers on developing countries”.

Information from the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, reveals that members of the PANA Committee will use the meeting to get a better understanding of the impact of money-laundering and tax evasion on developing countries.

“The Members of the Committee will hear about the experience and findings of relevant stakeholders (journalist and experts in taxation and money-laundering) in this area, with a focus on the level of cooperation between EU and African authorities, the difficulties faced by them and the deficiencies observed in the existing legal framework in this field (including, if appropriate evidence of no respect of EU law),” one of the released information said.

Mr. Ribadu will be part of a panel that will discuss Panama Papers and Africa alongside Carlos Lopez, a former UN representative, as well as Alvin Mosloma, the founding executive director of Tax Justice Network Africa.

Others are Jean Ziegler, an author from Switzerland, Will Fitzgibbon, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ICIJ, reporter focusing on the Panama Papers impact in Africa and De Pasquale, an Italian prosecutor.

 

Source: Premium Times

FLASH: Dogara, Saraki in closed-door meeting with President Buhari

The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, has arrived the presidential villa for a meeting with President Muahammadu Buhari.

Mr. Buhari is currently meeting with the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

Mr. Dogara went into the president’s office at about 11:57 a.m.

Sources at the villa had said Mr. Saraki was also expected to meeting with Mr. Buhari.

The meeting is coming on the heels of apparent Executive/ Legislative rift following the refusal of the Nigerian Senate to consider and approve the list of 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners, REC.

The Senate said it is stepping down the confirmation hearings in protest against the continued retention of Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the EFCC by Mr. Buhari in spite of the lawmakers’ refusal to confirm him twice.

 

Source: Premium Times

African envoys hit out at India over attacks on Nigerian students

African envoys in Delhi on Monday called the recent mob attacks on some Nigerian students near the national capital as “racial” and “xenophobic acts”.

In a statement, the heads of African missions slammed the Indian government for failing to adequately condemn the violent incident.

“No known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken” by the Indian government, they said.

“These reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities,” the group said.

It has agreed to “call for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies”.

The mob attack on the Nigerian students took place on March 27 and it coincided with a protest that was organised by online groups who blamed the unexplained death of a teenage student on the African community.

The protesters had alleged that the student, identified as Manish Khari, was supplied drugs by Africans who live in the area.

India has described the attack on Nigerian students as “deplorable” and said it was committed to ensuring the safety and security of all foreigners in this country.

“People from Africa, including students and youth, remain our valued partners,” the External Affairs Ministry has said.

The police had said that some seven people had been arrested in connection with the mob attack so far, adding that efforts are on to arrest the other suspects.

Attacks on Africans in and around Delhi is not uncommon.

In 2016, several Nigerians were beaten up in Delhi’s Chhatarpur area.

 

Source: Xinhua/NAN

BREAKING: Ondo Assembly Elects Bamidele Oloyelogun As New Speaker

Bamidele David Oloyelogun, the lawmaker representing Ifedore Constituency on Monday morning emerged the new Speaker of the crisis-ridden Ondo state House of Assembly, SaharaReporters can authoritatively report.

Mr. Oloyelogun became the new speaker of the Assembly with nine votes after beating Olamide George from Akure North Constituency ‘I’ who polled four votes during an election described by critics as shady.

Thirteen rebel lawmakers who suspended former female Speaker, Jumoke Akindele, from the Ondo State House of Assembly conducted the election of Mr. Oloyelogun,

SaharaReporters correspondent reported that Mr. Oloyelogun, who is presently a two-term member of the parliament, was favored by in the voting after the acting speaker, Malachi Coker, voluntarily stepped down from the seat in an apparently acting on a script.

During the election, Ogundeji Iroju, from Odigbo Constituency also emerged as the new Deputy Speaker, unopposed.

Mr. Ogundeji was the former spokesman of the rebel lawmakers opposed to Mrs. Akindele style of leadership in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, factional lawmakers loyal to the formal Speaker, Jumoke Akindele, has said they have not been carried along in the election conducted in the hallowed chamber of the Assembly today.

The faction explained that they didn’t boycott the election of the House of Assembly as currently being insinuated by the rebel faction, they claimed that they were not notified of any sitting scheduled for Monday.

Siji Akindiose, the spokesman for the faction, disclosed this in a terse message obtained by SaharaReporters.

“No notification was sent to us that there would be a sitting today and the House does not usually sit on Mondays and Fridays, which are reserved for committee activities,” he said.

Akindiose further disclosed that the factional lawmakers had on Sunday held a meeting with a senior aide to the governor on Legislative Matters, Abdusalam Taofeek to resolve the lingering crisis in the House.

He revealed that the faction loyal to Mrs. Akindele was surprised by the announcement of a new speaker this morning (Monday) without being carried along in the election.

 

Source: Sahara Reporters

Lawmakers Express Mixed Reactions Over Electoral Act Amendment

Some members of the House of Representatives yesterday expressed mixed reactions to the Senate’s approval of electronic voting and the use of the card reader in future elections under the amendment of the Electoral Act, 2010. The mixed opinion of the lawmakers was across party lines in the All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, dominated chamber.
House of Representatives The House is expected to give its concurrence or otherwise to the amendments before they can be forwarded to the president for assent before the amendments can have the force of law.
Leading in the opposition of the introduction of Card Reader is the Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, who described it as a fraud, although he was supportive of the introduction of electronic voting.
“The card reader is a fraud, but I support electronic voting,” Ogor said as he described the amendment carried out in the senate as a welcome development but tagged the card reader as an instrument of rigging as according to him it disenfranchised many Nigerians during the 2015 general polls.
He explained that “we must sit down to perfect the electronic voting in our electoral process but I’m totally against the card reader because it’s a clear instrument of rigging. “The card reader is not in the best interest of Nigerians and should be thrown over board and electronic voting should mount the centre stage as it ‘ll benefit all and sundry.”
There is nothing with Card Reader — Gogo, PDP Rep But Rep. Bright Gogo, representing Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency of Rivers State on the platform of the PDP on his part said there was nothing wrong with the new amendments as they would reduce fraud and introduce transparency. Gogo said, “what we are all looking at is a credible election and if we must have a credible election, then we must have to change from this traditional methods of manually doing things. The world is going digital.
“Though human beings will still have to operate the machines, but electronic voting will to an extent, eliminate some of the ills we cry about, those collation fraud and all that.” He, however, expressed concern about the level of literacy and power infrastructure needed to push through electronic voting. “If these things are strengthened, all these issues of power, issues of proper education of voters, it will be a good development.
I see nothing about it, especially the collation because most times, rigging or electoral fraud is perpetuated at the point of collation at the LGA level, at the state level. If these things are electronically done, there will be a degree of assurance.” On the fears expressed by some members of the PDP, he said, “I am of the PDP and I am not kicking against it.
Elections are local, provided you know where you are coming from and you have your electorate behind you and with one man one vote, there will be nothing strange to you. Nigeria not matured for electronic voting, card reader —Maren In his own reaction, the member representing Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency of Plateau State, Rep Solomon Bulus Maren said Nigeria with epileptic power supply was not ripe for electronic voting. Maren said, “The issue of electronic voting is even constitutional.
So there is the need for us to first do the amendment of the constitution before we can further go ahead to talk of electronic voting. “In the first place, the use of card reader is another illegal way of voting even though some people are arguing that it is not used for voting, it is only used for the accreditation of voters, but voting is not only one activity, it is a process. “It starts from the verification of voters list up to the thumb printing, counting and even declaring of results.
All these are parts of voting. We need to understand it in that manner before we can now begin to say that yes, we can actually allow the issue of electronic voting.”

FG Seeks Arrest Warrant On Former AGF, Mohammed Adoke.

The Federal Government is seeking an arrest warrant on a former Attorney
General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.

This request was presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) which today charged the former Attorney General, with illegal transfer of more than 800 million Dollars for the purchase of Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245 to a former Minister of Petroleum, Don Etete and Malabu Oil.

At the commencement of trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the EFCC informed Justice John Tsoho of an application for a warrant of arrest of the former AGF, seeking an advice on whether the application could be made orally or by way of a motion.

Justice Tsoho however refused to grant the arrest warrant, saying it would not be proper to do as the defendant was not before the court.

The counsel to the EFCC, Johnson Ojogbane said he asked for a long judgment to enable him bring the defendants before the court, adding that he intends to also amend the charges.

The Federal Government is embroiled in a legal tussle over the ownership of OPL 245, which claims was transferred to international oil giants, Shell and ENI in questionable circumstance.

 

Source: Channels TV

We will quit begging if empowered, beggars tell government.

The Arewa Freedom of Blind Association of Nigeria (AFBN) at the weekend said their members are ready to quit begging on Kaduna streets only if the state government would empower them to be gainfully employed, since many of them are educated.

The plea by the beggars to be absorbed into the government’s workforce was made at Ungwan Rimi, Darika Mosque. They also said some members of the association have learnt one or two crafts and would only require grants for business startup.

One of the physically challenged persons, Mallam Muhammad Usman, who spoke to The Guardian, said: “We came to this place in order to pray to God to help Kaduna State government to have the interest of vulnerable people in mind. I don’t know why the state government holds us in high disdain. Anytime we go on the street either to beg or for something else, the next thing you will see are three to four buses, whisking us away.

“This is why I am calling on the state government to remember the time we stood in the rain and sun to elect them into office. If they don’t want street begging, they should help our people, because among us here, we have degree holders, secondary school leavers and diploma holder.”

In his remarks, the Public Relations Officer of the association, Mallam Muktar Salleh, lamented the constant harassment of beggars and destitute citizens in the state, which he condemned as inhumane.

“Recently in Kano, a man came and agreed to pay the fine for any one charged to court for begging on the street. Upon realizing this, the Kano State government quickly changed the penalty; saying that whoever is found begging on the street will henceforth receive 30 lashes of cane. That is not the solution, governments at all level must have human face to their policies,” he said.

He added that the body decided to embark on the prayer session as an alternative to confronting the state government, by praying for God to make the government change its hostile attitude to their members.

“We are calling on the government to fear God, because no condition is permanent. Even those who call for our evacuation today can fall into the same position we find ourselves tomorrow,” he said.

 

Source: The Guardian

South East governors move to curb pro-Biafra agitations

A fresh move to contain the agitations by pro-Biafra groups, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), was launched yesterday by governors of the South-East region.

The move, which will see the governors meeting with leadership of the pro-Biafra groups, would also seek ways of ensuring the release of the detained leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, from detention as well as other members of the groups in various prisons nationwide.

The Guardian gathered that the move was part of the efforts by the governors to address some issues of interest in the zone that have hindered its economic growth and development.

Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, told reporters at the end of their meeting in Enugu yesterday that the governors were committed to addressing issues concerning the groups as well as the release of Nnamdi Kanu.

In another development, the Igbo Ekunie Initiative (IEI), which comprises individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora, has called on the governors of the South-East region to float a regional investment corporation. It said that through this, a renascent East would be ushered in.

The group also said that the last time quantum development was heralded in the East was during the First Republic when the defunct Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC) built many landmark development projects across the then eastern region.

A statement by the president of the group, Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, stated: “We note that the world over, provinces, states, regions and nations are coming together to create economic blocs and integrated development agencies.

“The regional investment corporation like the defunct ENDC will then invest in major capacity-building generative infrastructure across the region such as super-highways with toll-gates, real estate with particular emphasis on high density buildings/skyscrapers (for population management).”

Ezeoke also said that all the proposed projects would be “generative” infrastructure that would bring returns as soon as possible so that dividends from revenues earned at the end of every year could be paid to all share and bond owners at the end of every fiscal year.

The group, which also called for an enlightenment programme to encourage maximum participation of all stakeholders, stressed: “In order to encourage maximum participation by a broad spectrum of south-easterners and other interested parties at home and in the Diaspora, a public enlightenment programme should precede the floating of the regional investment corporation possibly to be known as Oriental Investment Corporation or East Niger Investment Corporation (ENIC).”

 

Source: The Guardian

Depression now leading cause of ill-health, disability globally – WHO

Ahead of the World Health Day (WHD) 2017 on Friday, April 7, 2017, depression has been identified as the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide with more than 300 million people now living with condition, an increase of more than 18 per cent between 2005 and 2015.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its latest estimates released over the weekend said lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

WHO also identified strong links between depression and other non-communicable disorders and diseases. It noted that depression increases the risk of substance use disorders and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease; the opposite is also true, meaning that people with these other conditions have a higher risk of depression.

According to the health organisation, depression is also an important risk factor for suicide, which claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year. It said increased investment is also needed because in many countries, there is no, or very little support available for people with mental health disorders.

Depression is a common mental illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that people normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for 14 days or longer.

In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

The high point in WHO’s year-long campaign, WHD, is “Depression: Let’s talk”. The overall goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help.

WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, said: “These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves.”

Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO, Dr. Shekhar Saxena, said one of the first steps is to address issues around prejudice and discrimination.

“The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign depression: Let’s talk, “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery. A better understanding of depression and how it can be treated, while essential, is just the beginning. What needs to follow is sustained scale-up of mental health services accessible to everyone, even the most remote populations in the world,” Saxena said.

 

Source: The Guardian

Dog pays the ultimate sacrifice after stopping suicide bomber in Maiduguri

A dog died saving dozens of people at a wedding party in Maiduguri after it attacked a suicide bomber, an official said. The dog stopped the teenage suicide bomber from detonating her explosives in the crowd.

The dog, according to the police, belonged to a resident of the neighbourhood where the wedding took place. The suicide bomber was about making her way into the gathering at the wedding before the dog pounced on her.

The girl, whose original mission appeared to have been thwarted, detonated her explosive while battling to wriggle herself from the canine grip of the dog. The gallant dog paid the supreme sacrifice as it died alongside the suicide bomber.

Spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force in Borno State, Victor Isuku, said the incident happened around 7:30a.m. in Belbelo community of Jere Local Council in Borno State.

“Information just received indicate that today (yesterday) around 0733hours (7.33am), a female suicide bomber with IED strapped to her body, attempted to infiltrate a wedding ceremony in Belbelo community of Jere LGA She was, however, prevented by a watchdog, so she had to detonate the IED to kill herself and the dog,” said Isuku, a Deputy Superintendent of Police.

Isuku said normalcy has since been restored in the area and “no further casualty was recorded apart from the dog.” The incident occurred few hours after three suicide bombers blew themselves up at two different locations not far from the spot where the wedding took place.

 

Source: The Guardian

Two ECWA clerics die in auto crash along Okene-Lokoja road

Worshippers of the First Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) at the weekend could not hide the puzzle on their faces, which could only read one thing: “Why, God why?” Their faith appear to be failing them as their body language seem to give vent to the question on the minds of many, but which could not be expressed. In unison, they seem to wonder aloud why God would allow the death of their two beloved pastors to occur in one day.

Even when a minister mounted the rostrum with some soothing words of comfort, admonishing the congregation to bless God in all things, the Lord gives and he takes, faint hisses broke the serenity of the hitherto cold silence.

Their misery began on Friday, March 24, when their pastor, who had prayed against accident in an early morning prayer before embarking on the journey to renovate his house in his village where his late mother would be buried, met his death along with his assistant.

Revd. Elijah Jonigbosaye was until his death the head pastor of the First Evangelical Church of West Africa, Lokoja. He was assisted by Pastor Sunday Obadofin. Jonigbonsaye was preparing for the burial of his late mother scheduled for April 20. He was travelling home with two workers to renovate his house ahead of the burial. According to the Church Secretary, Obadofin decided to seize the opportunity of the trip to check on his family at Mopa.

About 20km from Lokoja, at Itakpe Irepeni, along Okene-Lokoja road, the car they were traveling in had a burst tire and their Mitsubishi Lancer rammed into a motorcyclist from where their car veered off to have a head-on collision with an oncoming Toyota Siena bus.

The four occupants of the Mitsubishi Lancer all died on the spot as the car was damaged beyond repairs. The two workers traveling with the pastors were immediately buried same day according to Islamic rite, while the 52-year-old Jonigbonsaye and 36-year-old Obadofin were laid to rest on Friday, March 31.

In another development, the Catholic Church yesterday confirmed the death of Rev. Sister Christiana Umeadi, Health Coordinator, in an auto crash.In a statement signed by the Director of Communications, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Reverend Father Christian Anyanwu, Umeadi, until her death, was a member of the Sokoto Diocese.

Anyanwu said Umeadi, who was returning to her station after participating in mass cerebrospinal meningitis immunisation, was involved in an auto crash at Bakura, in Zamfara State.

He said the medical team had covered several parts of Sokoto diocese for the immunisation in the last one month and as the outbreak got worse, the team intensified their efforts. The states they covered, he said, include: Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara and Kebbi.

Anyanwu explained that Umeadi led her team to Zamfara State for the immunisation exercise in March, where they were billed to spend just a day in Gusau town.Anyanwu noted that her remains had since been deposited in the morgue at the Usmanu DanFodio Teaching Hospital (UDUTH) Sokoto, adding that her immediate family, the Dominican Congregation, the Diocese of Sokoto and all her patients were left in utter shock and disbelief.

“We all resign to the will of God and trusting that our Sister will rise again at the resurrection,’’ he said.Until her death, Umeadi was the Assistant Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Gusau, and Zamfara State. The church is yet to announce a date for her burial.

 

Source: The Guardian

Latest Episode Of #TRCWithOmojuwa: Suicide Prevention And Facts.

On the lastest episode of The Real Conversations With Omojuwa, Japheth Omojuwa talked about suicide.

Considering the fact that the rate of suicide cases in Nigeria is on the rise, this is conversation that has to be had. For every death caused by HIV/AIDS globally, there are two deaths related to suicide. Suicide is a life and death issue and we need to pay more attention.

In this video, Japheth spoke extensively on the facts about suicide and also hinted on prevention of suicide. He gave in-depth analysis of how to watch out for signs on a suicidal or depressed individuals and how to help such people first hand.

Watch Video Below:

Do not forget to Subscribe to the Channel.

Adefarati: Untold Stories of Political Repression And Inherent Lessons for Akeredolu, SAN & Other Incumbents – Kayode Ajulo

Like an eclipse, swiftly, the years passed. And it’s striking to know that it’s exactly 10 years that we lost a political juggernaut in the person of Chief Adebayo Adefarati, former governor of my dear State, Ondo.
Baba Adefarati, as I knew and addressed him, even before his ascendance to governorship of Ondo State, was appointed twice as a commissioner under the late Yoruba and Afenifere Leader, Pa. Michael Adekunle Ajasin. He was the State Commissioner for Works and that of Ministry of Transport between 1979–1983). Baba was also a prominent member of the then dreaded NADECO that fought against the military during the slippery General Sani Abacha days.
He reigned as a governor between 1999-2003 and lost his re-election bid, majorly due to separation from many of his associates and lieutenants such as  erstwhile comrades, major supporters and the stars of his administration, namely Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, Late Chief Rufus Giwa, Dr. Akerele Adu, Dr. Olu Agunloye, Chief Yele Omogunwa, Senator Nimbe Farunkanmi, Dr. Awolowo Ajaka, Dr. ‘Tayo Dairo, Chief Bamidele Awosika, Col. Akin Falaye (Rtd.) etc which gave Dr. Olusegun Agagu leeway to defeat him when he ran for re-election in 2003.
In 2007 Baba Adefarati was the presidential candidate for the Alliance for Democracy (AD). He died at a ripen age of 76 after a brief sickness few weeks before the election.
Baba Adefarati, indeed, lived a life worthy of emulation. He was an astute leader of men, effective manager of resources and passionately in pursuit of peace in our society.
Commemorating Baba’s after life, especially the 10years anniversary of his departing the earth as political titan that he was, his kins and associates led by the incumbent governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, last week roll out drums to celebrate Baba Adefarati.
Much as I recognize the full worth of Governor Akeredolu and others for playing  significant roles as we all remember Baba. I feel a strong urge, as a conscripted actor in the history of his life after leaving the seat of power, to do a quick review into the latter life of the deceased old man and leader. In addition, I will also point out an important lesson from this for the wielders of might and  holders of power of our days.
I grew up to know Chief Adefarati as one of the school Principals that are close friends to my late father, S. A. O. Ajulo, a book merchant. He was a frequent caller at the CSS Bookshop, Aminigun, Ibadan and sometimes, being an Anglican, he worshiped with us at The Cathedral of St. James, The Great, Oke-Bola, Ibadan.
He was one of the ‘very few’ visitors, who called my father by his corrupted first name, Solo (from Solomon).
I had hearty curiosity about their cordiality which got me to know after insistent enquiries that their friendship dated back to their primary school days as young schoolboys at Oka-Akoko. They became close till deaths despite the fact that Baba became a governor and  my father was apolitical with no political value in the scheme of things. Baba Adefarati cherished old and good friends irrespective of the gains involved.
Baba Adefarati, a progressive politician of the old order lived a simple lifestyle and cannot be accused of using his office to acquire wealth for himself. I have, up to now, my strong doubt, as to whether or not he used the seat of power to amass wealth for himself  as such possibility has pointedly was cleared when I became the Head of Chambers of the law firm of Tunji Abayomi & Co., Abuja in 2003.
Dr. Tunji Abayomi, the Founder and Principal Partner of the firm was Baba Adefarati’s lawyer. Three months into his exit as governor, the law firm was briefed on the need to ensure the payment of Baba Adefarati’s severance entitlements. Pursuant to the brief, I visited Baba at his home town, Akungba and I became a front row witness of Baba’s spartan lifestyle, travails and philosophies of life.
During one of our discussions, in his house, he narrated his ordeal with his then successor – the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu, particularly on the fact that his successor has refused to pay his severance entitlements and that he is left broke. He urged that the law firm expedite action to get this money paid. I can remember vividly his word; “Kayode, as you can see now, I have no drink to offer you as my visitor in this house, because there is no money to buy”. I was shocked to my bones and couldn’t believe my ears.
Again, I had my first practical experience of Political Repression, when after few weeks of taking up the case as the head of chambers, my boss’s Abuja chambers, a rented office apartment located inside the Owena House owned by Ondo State Government was burgled, all the books and furnitures inside thrown out, and we were forcefully evicted from the building by the then new government of Ondo State for no just cause than the fact that Dr. Tunji Abayomi belonged to Baba Adefarati’s old order.
I was however surprised, when the same Dr. Agagu-led State government rolled out drums to celebrate the life and death of Baba Adefarati at the announcement of Baba’s demise. The governor allegedly spent over 150 Million Naira on baba’s burial arrangements, and invited one of Baba’s wives to his office despite his outright neglect when he was alive.
Thorough study has revealed that political Repression although takes various forms, it however points toward an end. It is the systematic hostility or ill-treatment  of an individual or group within a society for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take part in the political life of a society, thereby reducing their standing among their fellow citizens. This,  weighing the issues about Baba after office as governor, can be said to have been meted out on him.
Political persecution can manifest, beyond and besides shades of political persecution, in deliberate discriminatory policies, such as human rights violations, states sponsored media trials, malicious prosecution, imprisonment, state agents brutality, unlawful removal or suspension from office, denial of entitlements, extra judicial punishment and its likes.
Baba Adefarati, as history points to, did his best for Ondo State as he did for the County -Nigeria. Whether he was done a commensurate honour after exit or not is a debate that will last the length of time.  However, as we celebrate Baba, it is only proper that we learn from the significances of his successful life and glorious exit. It is imperative that freedom from disturbance; and tranquility reign in the conduct of the affairs of men. Peace must be made a pivot in our art of politicking if we must genuinely celebrate and honour of departed leaders,as this was the hub of the late governor’s philosophy of life.
Political repression must cease to be part and parcel of governance. it was a cheering that the immediate past administration in Ondo State, against all odds, gave the new administration of Governor Aderedolu, SAN ultimate cooperation, in a committed, seamless and historical transition procedures that made the inaugural ceremony of the incumbent one of the best in recent time. This was exemplar, and it’s hoped that this will be nurtured as a tradition.
Justice and fairness is the ultimate panacea for peace, it will be therefore instructive and wise for Governor Akeredolu, SAN and others in power to learn and imbibe the lessons of living in harmony and tolerance with their political rivals in steering the ship of their States to the full benefit of all.
What is good for the goose, the wise say, is also good for the gander. In governance, and in accordance with the dictates of their oath of office is to do right to all manner of people, irrespective of their political lineage of inclinations.
As it is certain that he who is incumbent today, one day, would become a former someday. I agree with the insightful words of Jacques to Duke Senior in Act II, Scene VII of Shakespeare’s  As You Like It;
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances”.
Peace, one palpable beauty for which Ondo State is reputed, is debatably a legacy seeded by late Chief Adebayo Adefarati. It has since endured through the years to this time of Arakunrin. While we extols the greats feats and ideals of this giant son of Ondo State, we indulge in the hope that under governor Akeredolu, Baba’s legacy of peace and tolerance will not only be preserved but also be taken for granted.  That, for me, is the minimum we must do to immortalise Chief Adefarati.
Dr. Ajulo is the Principal Partner, Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, Executive Director, Egalitarian Mission for Africa and was the National Secretary, Labour Party.

Help Save Peter Kenyrichi, a Kidney failure patient.

Peter Kenyrichi is 41 years old, he is married and has one son, his son Chimaham Kenyrichi will turn 2 in July this year.
He has been diagnosed of Kidney failure and urgently needs a kidney transplant to survive as he is at the last stage of the disease.
We urge Nigerians to support and come to his rescue as his wife and son need him to live, his family has spent all they have on dialysis which is run twice a week and cost about N100,000.00.
He needs eight million Naira for his dialysis apart from getting a donor which costs 1.5 million Naira.
His account number  is:
0230688424
Peter Kenyrichi
GTB
You can reach out to jenniferuchendu@gmail.com if you have questions or require more information about his situation.
God bless you.

BREAKING: One case of Lassa Fever confirmed in Kogi State

This is to inform the General public that there has been a confirmed case of Lassa Fever in Lokoja, Kogi State.
The confirmation was done afterwards a patient (male) who is a resident of Angwan Kura, Lokoja reported at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja, with signs and symptoms suggestive of haemorrhagic fever.

The State Epidemiologists immediately responded by sending the patient’s blood sample to the designated Laboratory at Federal Specialist Hospital Irrua, Edo State for analysis, which came back positive for Lasser fever.

The patient was eventualy transfered to Federal Specialist Hospital Irrua, Edo State for optimal care.

The State Rapid Response Team was summoned by the Hon. commissioner for Health *Dr Saka Haruna Audu* and provisions were made for source/contact tracing and prophylactic treatment for medical personel who had contact with the patient before transfer. All these have been concluded as all those who have had contact with the patient  are currently being closely monitored.


It is important to note that it was discovered that the patient had travelled to Illorin, Kwara State where he had stayed for two weeks. He only developed symptoms of haemorrhagic fever two days after his return. We are therefore uncertain whether he contracted the virus there or here in Lokoja.


All hands are on deck to prevent further spread of the disease as jingles and other means of public enlightenment are currently ongoing.

Any suspected case of Lassa Fever or any one with useful information related to this subject matter should call
08030607102

 

Audu Haruna
PA. To Hon. Commissioner for Health

JAMB arrests 25 persons for extortion, sale of UTME materials.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, on Saturday announced the arrest of about 25 persons throughout the country for extortion and illegally selling registration materials to the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, candidates.

The culprits, according to the Registrar/Chief Executive of JAMB, Is-haq Oloyede, were apprehended by a combined team of its Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit, ACTU, members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and the Nigeria Police Force, following a tip-off.

He said that the e-Brochure and e-Syllabus which were meant to be free were being sold by the culprits as high as N800 each nationwide, while at the same time also extorting money and inflating cost of registration from candidates.

Among the registration materials being sold by them include copies of the UTME e-Brochure and e-Syllabus.

Speaking with journalists in his office in Bwari, Abuja, shortly after the arrests, Mr. Oloyede, a professor, said the people that were caught were those who were on illegal pilgrimage.

He said, “Our quality assurance unit, particularly the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit had to go out to see what is happening, following reports of extortion. We were having reports that candidates are paying more than the N5,500 that is required. The perpetrators have been cautioned and are presently under surveillance. For many of them that have been caught, I don’t think they will want to be caught for the second time in the future after serving the severe punishments awaiting them.

“We keep on telling people that they are to pay just N5,500, which is N5,000 to JAMB and N500 for the book (e-Brochure and e-Syllabus) and that is all. But for the centre where they register, the owner of the centres will get a maximum of N700. We have arrested about 25 persons, all over the country. They are those who are doing what they are not supposed to do, by charging the candidates higher than expected. They will not escape justice, they will appear in Court.”

According to him, JAMB has not asked anybody to pay extra money or asked anybody to go to any business centre for the creation of profile.

Mr. Oloyede said the banks and Computer-Based Test centres have reached an agreement with JAMB, that they would create the profile for the candidates.

“And whether you go to the banks, NIPOST or anywhere to buy the pin, it is part of their responsibility to create the profile for the candidates. Nobody is expected to pay more than what we have specified. But what we have found out is that many people are gullible. What we have done is that the ACTU had gone out and raided the centres. We found out that many of the centres are playing on the ignorance of the candidates. We have advertised in 10 national newspapers, yet they still allow themselves to be extorted”, he emphasised.

Mr. Oloyede also faulted claims by many of the candidates who have the impression that it would be better for them to register only in JAMB-owned centres.

He said, “It is not true, whether you register at the JAMB centres or in any accredited centres, there is no difference. But we have large number of people in CBT centres owned by JAMB. I think that is unnecessary. You can go to NIPOST, you can go to other accredited CBT centres.

“People are saying that there is poor connectivity, I don’t know what they mean by that. May be, they are using old terms. Many of the business centres who want us to return to the old practice or those who are producing the scratch cards and want to continue extorting money from people are the ones echoing this noise and creating unnecessary problem for the candidates.”

While assuring that every eligible candidate would be registered before the end of the one month exercise, the JAMB CEO, cautioned against panic registration, adding that “if anybody stresses himself or herself, it is because they want to do so.”

“In some cases, we rush to something that we do not need to rush for. There is also this argument that banks are having problems, if you have problems going to banks, why can’t you go to NIPOST? Why can’t you go to online for interswitch or remitter? We have sold our pin to all these people for the candidates to access all these online. We have shouted and made the noise. When people are not listening, what can we do?”, he stressed.

He commanded members of the NSCDC and the Nigeria Police who, he said, have been very wonderful.

 

Source: Premium Times