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BREAKING: Ozekhome Scores One Over Magu As Court Endorses Substituted Service On EFCC Boss

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 7:33am

A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja, has granted leave for substituted service on Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Silvanus Oriji gave the order of substituted service on Tuesday, after listening to the submissions of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), counsel to an Abuja-based lawyer Monday Ubani and former senator Christopher Enai.

On March 26, Justice Orji granted leave to an ex-parte motion filed by Ozekhome for EFCC to charge Ubani and Enai to court or release them on bail on or before March 28.

The judge held that the court had the power to make an order for substituted service of the process where it appears that prompt service cannot be conveniently effected.

”In exercise of the power of the court under Order 7 rule 11, I grant this motion,” he said.

Ishaya Markus, the bailiff, was denied access to Magu by armed security personnel at his office at the EFCC headquarters.

Ozekhome said the operatives told the bailiff that he could only see Magu on an invitation.

In the ex-parte motion, Ozekhome prayed the court to order form 48 and 49 be served on any officer at the mail registry of the EFCC Chairman and the legal department at the headquarters in Jabi.

He also prayed an order of the court to post same at the gate of the EFCC's head office.

Ubani, a former President of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and Enai, the former lawmaker representing Bayelsa, were invited and detained by EFCC operatives on March 19.

They were detained for standing as sureties for Ngozi Olejeme, who once served as the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 till 2015.

They are still yet to be charged to court by the EFCC.

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BREAKING: Senate Confirms Chairman, MD/CEO Of North East Development Commission

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 7:13am

The Nigerian Senate has confirmed the appointment of Major-General Paul Tarfa (rtd) as Chairman of the North East Development Commission (NEDC).

The appointments of Mohammed Goni Alkali as the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NEDC, and nine other members, were also confirmed.

The confirmation of appointments was made at the Senate's plenary on Tuesday.

Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, made a presentation on the nominees of the board.

Other members of the NEDC board are Musa Umar Yashi, Muhammad Jawa B., Omar Maiwada Mohammed, Hon. David Sabo Kente, Asmau Mai-Eka Mohammed, Hon. Benjamin Tilley Adanyi, Hon. Olawale Oshun, Dr. T.E.O. Ekechi and Obasuke McDonald.

In her remarks on the nomination, Senator Binta Masi noted that since the MD/CEO is from Borno State, and the headquarters of the commission is located in the same state, other states affected by insurgency should be considered.

According to Masi, the late Senator Ali Wakili had suggested that the headquarters be in Bauchi State, but was turned down for further negotiations. She, however, wondered why the decision was made in favour of Borno.

Meanwhile, Nyako said Masi's observation was noted but that a decision had been taken at a conference of the Senate and House of Representatives.

“Recall that in our bill, we left that issue open and during the hearing we agreed that if the headquarters should be in Borno, someone from elsewhere should be Chief Executive Officer. It was the House bill that came with zoning within Borno. They had overwhelming votes in support of that during our conference and in the spirit of democracy we had to succumb," Nyako said.

Also responding to Masi's observation, Senator Bala Na’Allah, the Deputy Senate Leader, said: “The citing of the headquarters is because the entire country associated the beginning of insurgency to Borno and other most affected states are Adamawa and Yobe states. So, chairman for the commission is from Adamawa and the choice of Alkali is for certain convenience, which is required to galvanise support with the least inconvenience.

“Also, it should be noted that the action of the Executive led to choice of Alkali, while citing of the NEDC in Borno is legislative action and in the spirit of cooperation among arms of government we should let that go and confirm them.”

After further deliberations, the nominees were confirmed.

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In New Video, Falz Addresses Electoral Malpractice, SARS, Religion And Domestic Violence

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 6:34am

Nigerian rapper, Folarin Falana popularly known as 'Falz', has released visuals for 'Hypocrite', a song by he did with Demmie Vee. 

'Hypocrite' is a single off the album 'Moral Instruction', which was released on January 15, 2019.

The project is the rapper’s fourth studio album, and consists of samples of musical recordings from Afrobeats legend, Fela Kuti. 

Announcing the release of the video in a post on his Instagram page on Monday, the rapper, who is the son of human rights lawyer Femi Falana, called on his fans to watch the video and dwell on the message therein.

The opening scene of the video shows a group of people lined up in front of a toilet as they wait to empty their bowels. Unable to bear the pain of standing, a lady decides to go back home but she is welcomed by a rain of beating from a praying woman.

The video was directed by Prodigeezy, the man who was also the brain behind the video for 'Talk' — a conscious song by Falz that dwells on the need for citizens to speak up when their rights are been trampled upon.

In the video, Falz was supported by actress Kate Henshaw and comedian Ali Baba, who both offered cameo appearances. Falz and Demmie Vee played the role of electoral officials working at a polling unit that was attacked by security agents attached to a politician. 

'Ali Baba' plays the role of a politician and lawmaker who signed a 14-year imprisonment penalty for homosexuals but happens to be gay himself. 

As a politician, in the video, 'Ali Baba' could also been seen buying votes at polling units while making use of security officials to threaten the electorate and snatch ballot boxes. This scene paints a vivid picture of what happened at the just concluded 2019 general election, which was marred with electoral violence. 

Kate Henshaw plays the role a prayerful woman but highly tempered person who maltreats her maid. Touching on the hypocritical nature of religious leaders, a scene in the video shows a man in cassock offering a young child sweet a ploy to lay wth the child. 

In another scene, a married man stops his car midway into a journey and gets down to maltreat his wife.

In general, visuals for hypocrite paints a picture of how humans can be contradictory in the behaviours and beliefs.

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'Up NEPA' By ‘Tope Oriola

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 5:53am

I am happy to report that after 12 years, three months and 22 days of living in Canada, I have finally witnessed power outage. My first reaction to the power outage was “God don catch this Oyibo people”. It was an entertaining anti-miracle. At least, the ministry of darkness can point to that as evidence that Nigeria is not the only country where there are problems with power supply. You see, I have come a long way in my attempt to shout “Up NEPA” in Canada. It was becoming unfair to my made-in-Nigeria sensibilities. Electricity was always annoyingly constant unless you failed to pay your bill for several months. Therefore, I meant to fully enjoy the rare moment. I was in a furniture store with my friend, Donald Fajemisin. Donald was visiting from British Columbia. You may be aware of this friend. I wrote about him nearly three years ago. He was the one who renounced his Nigerian citizenship in 2016 in order to take up Venezuelan citizenship. He was already a Canadian citizen, previously lived in Venezuela and also married a Venezuelan in 2015. As a Spanish and Portuguese speaker, he was very much at home in Venezuela. Venezuelan naturalization laws allowed dual citizenship but no more than that. There was no way Donald would give up his Canadian citizenship for reasons you already know, therefore, his green passport was the sacrificial lamb. Where were we on the power issue?

You see, I was denied the pleasure of a proper power outage back at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. I was in my department’s computer lab with several other graduate students. There was “low current” and the brightness of the electricity bulbs reduced but never went off completely. All the other students ran out of the lab. Yours truly was the only one who remained in the lab. The computer backup power was on, so I continued working. The issue lasted less than a minute. Only a few of the students returned to the lab. They were apparently “too scared” to return to the lab that day. One of them in fact never returned to that lab until she graduated as she was “traumatized” by that experience. Some of the “brave” oyibo students returned to the lab. One of them was an acquaintance. She sat next to me and asked if I noticed what just happened and how everyone was scared and ran out. “Did you notice the power issue? Why did you remain in the lab”, she asked. In my head, I said “ma koba mi, arabinrin yi” (sorry, that does not translate well. I tried). I wanted to tell her how accustomed Nigerians were to power outages and how millions would be generally pleased with low current and had elaborate power stabilizers to boost power supply. I wanted to tell her that such could have been viewed as the answer to the request of prayer warriors all over Nigeria. I wanted to tell her that young children in Nigeria would not have been scared and would have instead shouted “Up NEPA”. I wanted to tell her that my fellow Nigerians would have seen nothing wrong with that and would be pleased to at least not sleep in darkness. I wanted to tell her that my people neither demanded nor expected anything significant from their government and public and private institutions. I wanted to tell her many things. But I thought to myself “shame on my enemies; why would I embarrass Nigeria and myself?” Therefore, I told her: “I didn’t think it was a big deal. It seemed to me like a massive overreaction to a minor issue”. In other words, the problem was with my fellow students who could not bear a moment of near institutional failure.

I returned to my room at Tache Hall that night and had a good laugh. I shook my head in pity at how I had been socialized to what was clearly an abnormality. I shook my head at the conditioning of my reflex reaction. I shook my head at the conditioning of my psyche. Why did I not run out like others in the lab? I told myself that I too would run out next time anything close to a power outage happened.

That was early 2006. Fast forward to 2019. I was surprised that as power went off at this furniture store, my friend and I did not react in horror. We had seen that multiple times before. Even though we had between us over 30 years of diaspora living and transnational lifestyle the conditioning of our psyche remained. One guy took out his phone and snapped pictures of the power outage. It was new and entertaining to him. The guy was probably in his 30s. It was his first time of witnessing power outage.It became clear that the effects of where children are born and/or raised last through the life course. Even reflex reactions are shaped by early socialization experiences.

Before anyone decides to use that to excuse incompetence in Nigeria be mindful that this was localized to no more than a 500-metre radius. The incident reminded me of the endless days of power outages, praying for electricity, and my church binding and losing principalities and powers to ensure that the “special” program (all the programs were “special”) would not be interrupted by NEPA. Of course, NEPA was a stubborn entity and most of the prayers offered to make it behave were never answered. It felt normal in those days to have to pray to have electricity.

To my fellow Nigerians, I am pleased to be able to solidarize with you on the perennial power issue after over 12 years. I must point out though that there is no one here fasting and praying for regular power supply. The saints of God over here have other serious issues to deal with. Power is regular over here because of the level of social organization, a no-nonsense attitude towards incompetence and institutional failure, punishment for bureaucratic malfeasance and willingness (or inability to be unwilling) to pay for services. If you are reading this where there is no power supply, you are in my thoughts but not my prayers. God is not an electrician.

Follow Oriola on Twitter: @topeoriola

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Former Head Of Department Explains Why Late University Of Ibadan Lecturer Spent 22 Years On PhD

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 5:33am

Professor Ezekiel Olusola Ayoola, a former head of the Department of Mathematics, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, has explained why Aminu Othman Zubairu, a former lecturer of the university who died last week under circumstances suspected to be suicide, spent more than two decades on his PhD programme without completing it.

According to Ayoola, when the PhD work of Zubairu dragged on for many years, the postgraduate committee asked him questions. He said Zubairu exonerated his supervisor, putting the blame on himself for his dissatisfaction with the level of results he had obtained

He also described Zubairu as “a kind of perfectionist who possibly was eyeing some mathematics laureate at the doctoral level”.

Ayoola made the comments on Monday after Samuel Edet, an alumnus of the department, put up a Facebook post blaming the institution for Zubairu’s PhD travails.

“I knew Aminu Othman Zubairu, he was my algebraic topology lecturer. There is no question as to the depth of his understanding of his field. He was an astounding teacher, a good examiner, a good-hearted easy-going man, and one you can reliably have a conversation with,” Edet had written.

“I remember at some point during my undergraduate thesis, he was very supportive, always meeting during early hours of the day in his office to talk about possible areas of my thesis I could explore, despite not being my supervisor. I hope his children grow up with the understanding that their father was a genius. A genius with an unwavering principle, that could not be dwarfed by a shameful system, an inept institution and a culture of mediocrity. 

“A genius who did not believe in the subjugating mantra of untoward ‘Patient, Humility and 'Dobale' in exchange for PHD." Let the University of Ibadan know that an institution that glorifies itself in mediocrity is a danger not just to itself but also to the society. Spending 22 years or any other insane number of years working towards a doctorate degree is not a marker of a sane intellectual community.”

In response, Ayoola wrote:

“I feel so sad reading this post by one of our former mathematics students describing our university as a shameful system, an inept institution with a culture of mediocrity. So, so sad. Never in all the 70 years that UI has been in existence even with Mathematics department being a foundation department of the university had someone described our institution that way. The statement is full of contradictions itself. 

“An institution full of mediocre as alleged will not harbour academic staff whose recommendation would be accepted in support of admission of her former students outside the country. I know Samuel Edet must have been a beneficiary of such recommendations. It was so unfortunate that Mr. Zubairu died that way. 

“He came to the department sometime in the year 1992 for a Master’s degree from Bayero University and did well in our programme in Ibadan. That qualified him to be appointed an Assistant Lecturer. We believe so much in merit and openness that he was appointed without any culture of DOBALE as Edet put it. He was subsequently recommended for ICTP diploma programme in Italy, which he completed in 1995 and came back to resume his job and his PhD studies. He was attached to one of the best African professors of Algebraic Topology, an Oxford-trained unbiased professor who would not hurt a fly, the professor that had produced many PhD holders who are themselves professors in many universities in Nigeria and abroad. 

“However, the PhD work of Mr. Zubairu dragged on for many years, leading to the postgraduate committee asking questions at some point. Mr. Zubairu exonerated the supervisor, putting the blame on himself for not being satisfied with the level of results he had obtained. I was the Head of Department at that time. I am a Christian and a pastor, I will never lie against the dead. Of course, the supervisor could not be forcing the student to write up when the student himself was not ready. So he had to re-apply for admission at the PG school on many occasions, having failed to satisfy the maximum years to be on the programme on many occasions. 

“Some of us intervened on many occasions without success. Zubairu was a kind of a perfectionist who possibly was eyeing some mathematics laureate at the doctoral level. There was nothing any one can do on that occasion. The university was even magnanimous by allowing him to stay on the programme for that long. There were many opportunities for doctoral studies abroad which he did not take advantage of. His case was strange. 

“Then the issue of his family dispute cropped in. He eventually resigned his appointment in protest against the deduction of his salary as ordered by a competent court for his children and family care in May 2017. The department again intervened by persuading him to have a second thought. The legal department and the highest administration in the university intervened without success. So sad. He kept on living in the university apartment for almost two years after his resignation. The cause of the strange fire is still subject to university enquiry.”

Zubairu's body was discovered at his staff quarters located on Phillipson Road last Tuesday, with his body covered with thick smoke from a fire. He was rushed to 'Jaja', as the university's clinic is widely known, and subsequently transferred to the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, where he died the following morning.

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SaharaReporters Ousts Seven African Organizations To Win First Mo Ibrahim Editors Lab Hackathon

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 4:23am

SaharaReporters has emerged winner among eight African newsrooms at the just concluded first Mo Ibrahim Editors Lab Hackathon, which took place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The three-man team led by Seun Akinfolarin, Director of the MacArthur-funded Civic Media Lab, built a promising solution to stop the myths and misinformation around African migrations.

The occasion, one of the side events at the 2019 Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Ibrahim Governance Weekend (IGW), involved newsrooms from Congo DRC, Senegal, Burundi and the host Côte d’Ivoire.

Sahara Reporters Media Foundation’s Africana platform is set to get stakeholders in the media to work with newsrooms for a more unbiased reporting of African Migration stories. Africa Check and ESMA came second and third respectively.

The SaharaReporters team also added that they would work with organisations such as the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and United Nations, and use their data to generate the visualisations that would go into the website.

And the winners are:

1️⃣ @SaharaReporters
2️⃣ @AfricaCheck
3️⃣ ESMA

🏆 #EditorsLab #MIFAbidjan #AfricanMigrations

— Mo Ibrahim Fdn (@Mo_IbrahimFdn) April 7, 2019

Other projects pitched by other organisations include an interactive and infographic-based information application, which will include data, testimonials from migrants, and media articles in order to correct narratives and make information about African Migrations more accessible to the public. proposed developing an application that will inform youth between 18 and 40 about the topic of illegal migrations.

Ivoiresoir's 'Point Focal' addresses the lack of work security in Côte d'Ivoire. A questionnaire would be put forward to Ivorians to identify their challenges and help direct public policies for more work security.

Next up is @habariRDC from #RDC🇨🇩 with their project Migrator: a plugin to be installed on information websites in order to direct users to other pages where they can get more accurate data about #AfricanMigrations. #MIFAbidjan

— Mo Ibrahim Fdn (@Mo_IbrahimFdn) April 7, 2019

Habari RDC, an organization based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, proposed “project Migrator”, a plugin to be installed on information websites in order to direct users to other pages where they can get more accurate data about African Migration.

ESMA pitched an idea to develop a website, 'Young people, come build your country', which will share accurate data and testimonials to encourage the African diaspora youth to return to their countries & invest in the continent.

.@AfricaCheck's team pitched a platform to aggregate official statistics & accurate data and make them easily accessible to users. By sharing information about who the migrants are and where they come from, they hope to address misperceptions about #AfricanMigrations. #MIFAbidjan

— Mo Ibrahim Fdn (@Mo_IbrahimFdn) April 7, 2019

Also, Africa Check proposed a platform to aggregate official statistics & accurate data and make them easily accessible to users. By sharing information about who the migrants are and where they come from, they hope to address misperceptions about African Migrations.

Lastly, Lexpression Info pitched an idea on developing a Migration Dictionary. The dictionary will provide users with data and research on African Migrations through clicking of letters or numbers.

The Judges at the #EditorsLab hackathon who gave a unanimous vote for SaharaReporter’s Africana platform are Cyriac G. Gbogou, co-founder of Ovillage; Bertrand Pecquerie, CEO of Global Editors Network; and Adebola Williams, CEO of Red Media Africa and Daouda Coulibaly.

The Global Editors Network Editors Lab programme is a worldwide series of hackathons hosted by leading news organisations. Editors Lab brings together developers, journalists, and designers from top newsrooms to build news prototypes during an intensive two-day competition.

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Soldiers Shoot, Arrest One 'Of The Seven Armed Robbers' Who Killed Seven At Ondo Bank

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 4:15am

Officers of the Nigeria Army have nabbed one of the daredevil armed robbers who invaded the First Bank branch in Idoani, Ondo State, on Monday.

SaharaReporters gathered that the hoodlums came in a utility vehicle and stormed the city in commado style, shooting sporadically into air.

The robbers, numbering at least seven, forcefully gained entry to the banking premises after scaring people away on their arrival around 2:30pm.

They carted away money from the bank's vault, using dynamites to blow if up. 

Our correspondent reported that the financial institution is the only one located at the the Isewa quarters of Idoani in Ose Local Council Area.

Different locals said Monday's robbery incident would be the first of such in the sleepy community in recent years. 

During their operations, no less than seven people were gunned down by the robbers, including a police inspector whose identity is yet to be revealed.

Also killed were two staff of the financial institution and two customers transacting business on the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), among others.

Five other persons who sustained varying degrees of injuries were all rushed to the General hospital, Ido-Ani, for immediate treatment. 

Soldiers deployed to man security in Isua-Akoko say they have nabbed one of the robbers.

A local vigilante in the community disclosed this to SaharaReporters in a telephone conversation, saying arrested robber is in custody of the military.  

"The robbers wore black and drove into the town in a utility vehicle; they ransacked the bank before entering the vaults," said the vigilante.

"Their operations lasted close to an hour before the military men posted to Isua-Akoko boundary could race to the scene of the robbery and also engage them in gun duel.

"At the end, some of the robbbers, who were about seven, escaped through the bush path with the money, but one of them was unlucky as he was caught and shot by the soldiers and they immediately handcuffed him to the back of the military van."

Femi Joseph, the Spokesperson of Ondo State Police Command, also confirmed the arrest of the robber in a phone chat on Monday evening.

Joseph, a Superintendent of Police, said investigation had started on the incident and vowed that other members of the robbery gang would be arrested. 

"Yes, one of the armed robbers was arrested during the operation while his other colleagues fled the scene," he said. "Investigations have started on the incident, and I can assure you that we shall arrest the remaining gang of the group," he said.

Meanwhile, Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of the state, has mandated all security agencies in the state to go after the armed robbers.

Akeredolu gave the directive while paying a condolence visit to Alani of Idoani, Oba Olufemi Olutoye, at his palace.

The Governor, represented by his deputy, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, described the incident as unfortunate but implored the security agents to fish out the perpetrators.

"We are glad that a suspect has been nabbed and I am very sure he will create a channel that will lead to the arrest of those criminals," he said.

Oba Olutoye said the bandits also came into his compound, damaged his door and by the time they gained entrance, they discovered it was a fruitless effort. He appealed to the State government to assist the bereaved in order to lessen the burden the incident had caused them. 

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Military Ejects 5,000 Occupants Of Borno Village For 'Harbouring Boko Haram'

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 3:56am

Evicted Borno villagers

Not fewer than 5,000 residents of Jakana town in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State were forcefully ejected from their home on Monday night, security and residents have told SaharaReporters.

According to an emergency aid worker, dozens of trucks started arriving Bakassi IDP camp at about 11:30pm on Monday bearing people from Jakana although there was no evacuation plan on ground at all.

Astonished and unable to fathom the reason for the military evacuation, residents protested that they would not stay in the camp.

A SaharaReporters correspondent visited the camp but was barred from enetery by soldiers and mobile police stationed at the entrance.

Women and children were seen seated on the ground under the sun, crying, while military patrol vehcles were stationed near them.

"We are not going to stay here," one of them, Musa Kolomi said. "Why are we being treated like animals in our own country? The Federal Government should call the Army to order. 

"They came and said we were harbouring Boko Haram in Jakana but we told them that we did not have any Boko Haram member in our midst. The next thing, they came back with trucks and forced us to come here; this is not acceptable. We were not allowed to come along with any of belonging."

A military source told SaharaReporters that the evacuation was done in the overall intrest of the villagers.

"We have reliable information that they shelter terrorists. We had told them that they should surrender the suspects but they refused; also, there is intelligence report that terrorists are planning to attack that axiz. So, the evacuation was done for security reasons," the source said.

Both state and national emergency staff were allow to go into the camp to register the Jakana residents.

Abdulkadir Ibrahim, Informarion Officer of the northeast zonal office of the National Emergency management Agency (NEMA), said confirmed on Tuesday morning that "residents from jakana town of konduga local Government Area, situated along the Maiduguri Damaturu Highway, have been evacuated to Bakassi IDP Camp in Maiduguri by the military for their safety as a result of ongoing operations to flush out insurgents in the area".

He added that "camp management officials consisting various stakeholders in humanitarian response are mobilising resources to cater for their basic needs after registration and profiling".

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Strange But True. Lagos School Now Takes Waste Plastic Bottles In Lieu Of Fees

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 3:22am

In Kaduna, plastic recycling is a booming business

An agreement has been reached between parents of students of Morit International School, Ajegunle, Lagos, and the school management to pay their wards' fees with waste plastic bottles.

This became possible after the school adopted the RecyclesPay Education Project, an initiative of African Clean Up Initiative (ACI), an environmental non-governmental organisational in Lagos.

The school management embraced the initiative to ease the burden of parents finding it hard to pay their wards' fees.

Over 25 parents of the low-income school have reportedly embraced the initiative whereby parents bring plastic wastes on designated days.

Wecyclers, the recycling company attached to the project, comes to collect the plastic bottles after getting a substantial amount of the plastic wastes. The amount given to parents are determined after weighing what each of them has brought.

Speaking on the development, Partrick Mbamara, Proprietor of the school, described the effort as a welcome initiative, as it is helping to mitigate the financial burden of many parents.

"It is helping to cushion the financial burden of parents in the school. We have a history of parents finding it difficult to pay each term school fees of N7,500," he said.

"The money from the PET bottles is not much but it balances for what the parents can pay. My staff and I are happy  with this initiative. It has improved parents' payment of school fees and it teaches the children how to manage their waste and promote a cleaner environment."

Stressing the significance of the initiative, Alex Akhigbe, Chief Environmental Officer of the ACI, noted that the money realised by each parent might look small but it is of value too. He explained that a kilo of the sorted palstics goes for N20 to N25, adding that little drops of money realised help make up for the balance of the school fees.

"PET bottles in the past were seen as waste but they are not anymore," he said.

"Parents can raise money from collecting them and making them available to recyclers. They in turn convert them to other products usable by man.

"The recyclers weigh the plastic bottles and pen the kilogramme each parent brought. A kilogramme goes for N20 to N25 per kilo, depending on the recycler. If a parent comes with 10kilo, he or she will get N200 to N250. It looks like a huge effort is required. However, it's a valuable to the environment and parents struggling to pay their children's fees.

"Wecyclers come two times a week to collect the sorted waste from the parents. This is to encourage parents who do not have space in their homes to be storing the waste."

The project, which started last year, was first introduced to Morit International School, Agege, but more schools across the country will soon embrace it.

Recently, the management of the Miss Earth Nigeria surprised 20 of the parents with active participation in the project by awarding their wards scholarship during the 'Pick that plastic and stay in school' project, held in the school.

The scolarship served as part payment of the school fees. The gathered recyclable brought by the parents will be used to complete the school fees for the term.

Explaining the reason for the 'Pick a Plastic and stay in school' project, Maristella Okpala, Miss Earth Nigeria 2018, said Nigeria is a consuming nation and some people are not aware they cand benefit from the littered PET bottles, hence the need for the sensitisation.

Showing her appreciation to the school mangement for embracing the initiative, Mrs Agnes Frances, 31, whose child in Primary 1 benefited from the scholarship, said  they had been struggling to pay school fees.

The Recyclepay Educational programme is running presently at Morit International School, Ajegunle, Lagos and Road 12 Learning Centre, Ikota, Ilaje Ajah, Lagos.

Next term, it will start at Monarch Base Private School, Alagbado Lagos and some other schools. 

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Atiku Pays $30,000 To Foreign Law Firm To Lobby US To Recognise Him As 'Authentic' Winner Of Nigeria's Election

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 2:13am

Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria's former Vice-President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is currently lobbying the United States of America for support in his quest to challenge the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declared President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the election, announcing he polled 15,191,847 votes while his closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar, secured 11,262,978 votes.

However, according to a report by the Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP), a research group dedicated to tracking money in US politics and its effects on elections and public policy, published on Monday, Atiku has enlisted the assistance of two high-powered lawyers in Washington DC, to "help in his legal challenge after his election loss".

Atiku had filed a suit before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal challenging the outcome of the election and insisting that he won the election.

According to the report, "Abubakar has ties to those in Trump’s orbit, having hired political consultants like Riva Levinson, who worked with Paul Manafort, and Brian Ballard, a major Trump fundraiser."

Reference was also made to Atiku's much-publicised visit to the US, during which he stayed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. His visit to the US made major news since there were allegations that he could not step on the shores of America as a result of corruption-related issues.

A Senate subcommittee report on foreign corruption had referred to a transfer of millions of dollars into the U.S. through shell companies by Atiku, although he didn't face prosecution. In 2009, the FBI alleged that he demanded bribes from former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who was convicted of corruption charges. Jefferson stored $90,000 in cash for Abubakar in his freezer at some point.

Filings accessed on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by CRP's Foreign Lobby Watch on March 24, showed that former Justice Department official Bruce Fein and his firm, Fein & DelValle PLLC, registered as foreign agents on the PDP presidential candidate's behalf.

"Fein, the associate deputy attorney general in Ronald Reagan’s administration and general counsel to the FCC, played a significant role in the repeal of the FCC’s 'Fairness Doctrine'. He also later worked with then-Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) in drafting articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton. Joining Fein in the effort is his partner at the firm, W. Bruce DelValle, who according to an online biography has a varied background tackling civil rights and constitutional law issues, litigating intellectual property and liability disputes, along with representing a number of sports and entertainment personalities," the report noted.

According to CRP, the agreement notes that Lloyd Ukwu, “a Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant [of Abubakar],” is assisting “in the operations of the U.S. Situation Room.” Ukwu, referred to as a critic of Buhari and founder of a group called We the People of Nigeria which claims to be an advocate for “free and fair elections", recently led a delegation to meet with a variety of government officials in the State Department, Congress and “delivered a letter to the [acting] United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen, in New York to ensure the success of the Nigerian elections".

According to the filing, Fein will be paid $30,000 over a 90-day contract to provide “legal, consultancy and public advocacy services to encourage Congress and the Executive” to wait on recognizing a winner of the Nigerian election until after the legal challenge is “impartially and independently resolved".

Another filing states how the influence campaign will be conducted, noting that lobbyists will meet with members of Congress and their staff to persuade them to pass resolutions in the House and Senate “to forebear from a final declaration and recognition of a winner” until after Abubakar’s appeals are decided fairly and independently. Additionally, the firm will “draft articles and op-ed pieces” about the issues surrounding the election and appear on television and other media programmes.  

In the contract, Fein’s firm is explicit in promising to “obtain official recognition that you are the authentic President of Nigeria based on an accurate counting of legal ballots". The goal of the effort is straightforwardly described as “to convince the United States that your presidency would open a fresh and new chapter in Nigerian politics".

The filing also asserts that the lobbying effort will demonstrate that an Abubakar presidency is “the will of the people", warning that if Abubakar is denied a victory, problems like genocide, poverty, corruption and strife will “undoubtedly continue".

The US has long had close relations with Nigeria and is the country’s largest foreign investor. American troops work alongside the Nigerian military in an international effort against the Boko Haram terrorist organisation. Additionally, the incumbent Buhari visited the White House and met with President Trump in 2018.

Fein did not respond to a request by CRP for comment.

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FG Acquires $532.8 million Grant From Islamic Development Bank

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 1:25am

Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, has secured a $532.8 million grant from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on behalf of the Federal Government. 

Ahmed sealed the deal in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Monday, describing it as meant for "technical assistance" with the ISDB Group.

The Minister said the TA agreement grant would be used to address capacity building/equipment and logistics upgrade in the Hajj Commission and for the improvement of cotton, textile and garment value chain in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

According to a statement by Paul Ella Abechi, Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance on Media and Communications, "the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) gets $243,823.0, and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment gets $280,000 respectively".

There is also the Technical Assistant Agreement Grant of $243,823.0 to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria for capacity building/equipment and logistics upgrade, and the TA grant of $280,000 to the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment for the improvement of cotton, textile and garment value chain.

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Iran Designates US Central Command 'Terrorist Organisation'

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 1:20am

In a retaliatory decision amid palpable tension between Iran and the United States of America, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has designated the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) and all its military forces as a terrorist organisation.

On Monday, President Donald Trump had designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organisation.

Iran announced its own response by the country's official news agency, the IRNA, minutes later.

Trump had said that the US “recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”

Iran has since described the move by Washington as "illegal and foolish act".

IRNA said in a statement that It “declares that it considers the regime of the US a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ and ‘the Central Command of America, known as CENTCOM’ and all forces related to it "terrorist groups.'"

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Ignore PDP's Evil Machinations On Our Exclusion From Rivers Elections, APC Tells Nigerians

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 12:22am

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has told Nigerians to ignore the "evil machinations" of the opposition party on the exclusion of its candidates from the elections in Rivers State.

APC also accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of attempting to intimidate and blackmail Supreme Court judges over the exclusion of Rivers State APC candidates from the elections.

Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC's National Publicity Secretary, made the party's position known in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Monday.

PDP had earlier accused Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria's Minister of Transportation, and Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney-General of the Federation, of working to cause a constitutional crisis in the state.

Refuting the claim, Issa-Onilu said: “We are, however, well aware of the PDP’s intent to hoodwink and deceive the public; and most importantly, intimidate and blackmail our eminent Supreme Court justices into doing their bidding in respect of the matter of the purported exclusion of Rivers State APC candidates from the last elections, before the apex court.

“Again, for the purpose of clarity, it needs restating that the Supreme Court has not made any pronouncement on the purported exclusion of APC candidates from the just concluded governorship, National Assembly and state House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.

“Hence, the cheap attempt by the PDP to ambush the Supreme Court with their cock and bull conspiracies should be seen for what it is, hogwash!

“We urge Nigerians to completely ignore the evil machinations of the PDP as contained in their ludicrous and false statement on the matter of the purported exclusion of Rivers APC candidates in the last elections before the Supreme Court.”

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20 Dead, Scores Injured As 'Men In Military Uniform' Invade Kaduna Community

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 12:14am

Twenty people have been killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Ungwan Aku Village, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State. 

According to Punch Newspaper, scores of persons also sustained gunshots wounds.

The community was attacked by persons in military battle dress at about 7pm on Monday.

The attackers carried weapons such as AK47 guns and machetes, and shot indiscriminately.

One of the eyewitnesses, who preferred not to be named, said: “As they shot sporadically, some of us escaped into the bush. The attackers were in military uniforms and bullet-proof vests.” 

A source added that the Police came into the village in eight Hilux vans, but could not enter the bush to fish out the attackers.

Danladi Yarima, a former President of the Adara Development Association, also confirmed the killings.

The police spokesperson in the state is yet to confirm the incident, as calls and texts sent to him were yet to be responded to.

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Three TASUED NASU Executives To Spend 15 Years In Jail Over N6.6m Fraud

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 12:11am

Main entrance of Tai Solarin College of Education.

Three Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) executives of Tai Solarin College of Education, would spend 15 years behind bars as a Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has upheld the 15-year jail term earlier handed to them by an Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta.

Samuel Adeyemi, Chairman of the union in the school, Tosin Amuludun, the union secretary, and Mrs. Temilade Yusuf, the treasurer, accused of converting the sum of N6.6million belonging to the union for personal use and were arraigned before an Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for the crime.

ICPC revealed that Adeyemi got N3.3million from the amount mismanaged; Amuludun received N1.88million, with Yusuf pocketing the sum of N1.3million. They were sentenced by the Ogun State High Court.

Yusuf, however, decided to approach a Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment.

A statement issued by Rasheedat Okoduwa, the ICPC spokesperson, read: “One of the convicts, Temilade Yusuf, who was dissatisfied with the sentencing, had approached the Ibadan Division of the Court of Appeal asking the appellate court to dismiss the judgment secured against her by the commission.

“But the Justices of the appellate court agreed entirely with the submission of the ICPC, presented by Enosa Omoghibo, and unanimously affirmed the convictions and sentence of the High Court, Abeokuta.”

The anti-graft agency said the three NASU officers colluded to commit fraud by converting the money kept in First City Monument Bank (FCMB) by NASU for personal use. 

This is contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same section.

“Omoghibo convinced the court that the accused persons’ actions were a breach of trust and pleaded with the court to mete out appropriate punishment in accordance with the provision of the law, to serve as a deterrent to other public office holders and people in positions of trust," ICPC said.

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Ooni’s Brother, Ex-NUJ Chair, Others To Appear In Court Over 'Bungled' Housing Scheme

Sahara Reporters - 9 April 2019 - 12:03am

Prince Tunji Ogunwusi, a brother to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has been summoned to appear in court by Justice K.O. Dawodu of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere.

Tunji was summoned in connection with the role his company, Prime Waterview Holdings, played in a housing scheme by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).

More than 800 persons applied to the housing scheme, which was supposed to be carried out by Ogunwusi’s company. 

However, years after the money was paid, individuals involved are yet to get their properties delivered, which prompted that the case to be taken to court.

The case was instituted by 26 of the subscribers, who want a refund.

Ogunwusi is not the only person summoned by the court. Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole and Mrs Tosin Odusola, the NAWOJ President and National Treasurer, respectively, were also summoned. Mr Deji Elumoye, the immediate past NUJ Chairman, Lagos State Council, was also ordered to appear before the court. 

Reports reaching SaharaReporters have it that Omowole in collaboration with Odusola and Elumoye initiated the idea, first tagging a housing scheme for female journalists, then for both male and female journalists, before it was finally made open to all Nigerians.

The respondents are to appear before the judge on April 10 at 2pm “to give reasons for their refusal to submit".

A date had earlier been fixed for March, but the respondents, through their counsel, begged for a change of hearing date to April with the promise that their clients would be available on the new date.

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Buhari Laments Use Of Cyberspace To Manipulate Elections

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 11:50pm

President Muhammadu Buhari says the cyberspace is now being used for election manipulation, subversion of the democratic rights of citizens, as well as propagation of violence among the populace.

The President said this while delivering a keynote speech at the 2019 Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Dubai.

He said a level of regulation was required in order to protect the misuse of cyberspace and preserve the integrity of the digital economy, noting that Nigeria is taking the lead in cyber policing in West Africa due to its collaborations with regional and global partners.

Buhari restated the need for collective efforts by the public and private sector to deal with these threats to cyberspace. 

He said: ”Today, we have a cyber-world that is intangible but real. This borderless world is powerful, and it impacts the lives of billions of people, no matter how remote their physical locations are.

“People work in it. People socialise in it. And people invest in it. This presents enormous opportunities. But it also remains a constant threat if left unregulated.

“On the one hand, it has made the human race more productive and more efficient. Today, we have digital banking, virtual currencies and many social platforms that connect people and cultures. On the other hand, we have seen platforms hijacked and manipulated as evidenced by the steady rise in fake news and cybercrimes.

“More recently, we are also witnessing the use of the cyberspace to manipulate elections, subvert the democratic rights of citizens as well as propagate violence.

“In effect, the digital world has become the new frontier for both good and evil. Therefore, the challenge for world leaders must be to ensure that this space is inclusive, accessible and safe,”

“In Nigeria, our mobile phone penetration exceeds eighty per cent. This means the majority of Nigeria’s 190 million citizens are fully connected to this new digital world, especially our youth.

“Sixty-five per cent or 170 million Nigerians are under the age of 25 years. These bright minds are the drivers of this emerging digital sector. Today, Nigeria has close to 90 technology hubs and every day, new ones are coming up and they are all developing solutions for Nigerian, and indeed global problems.

“Already, these young entrepreneurs have attracted investments of over $100million dollars, a sizeable amount from overseas, including Silicon Valley. As many of you from this region are aware, Nigerian start-ups always have a very impressive outing at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX). Many have won prizes.

“When we came in 2015, we immediately agreed that any future economic growth must be inclusive. As the Nigerian youth population is fully digitalised, it is clear that the idea of having an inclusive economy cannot be achieved without digital inclusion.”

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Buhari Owes Nigerians Explanation For N24trillion Debt, Says PDP

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 11:43pm

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says President Muhammadu Buhari has exhibited a culture of unexplained borrowings since he assumed power in 2015.

In a statement issued on Monday by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, the party called on the National Assembly to probe the rise in debt of the current administration.

The PDP said the country’s debt profile which used to be at N12.12trillion in 2015 has grown to N24.38 trillion due to the President's culture of heavy borrowings and the lack of initiative to think up ideas that would make the economy productive. 

The leading opposition party called on the National Assembly to limit the Buhari administration's ability to take loans for the country if explanations are not given for how previously borrowed funds were handled. 

The party said: “Since President Buhari assumed office in 2015, there has been a culture of unexplained borrowings leading to a steep rise in the debt stock from N17.5trillion in 2016 to N21.72trillion in 2017 and a huge N24.387trillion in 2018.

“It is shocking and completely insupportable that our nation’s debt had risen from N21.72trillion in December 2017, to N24.387trillion in December 2018, showing an accumulation of a whopping N2.66trillion in the space of one year.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, therefore, has a huge explanation to make to Nigerians for its borrowing spree, especially as it cannot point to any meaningful development project into which the borrowed funds were invested.

“This is particularly against the backdrop of allegations in the public space that the borrowed funds, which were taken as development funds, were diverted to 2019 general election campaign activities of the APC, a huge part of which ended in private pockets of corrupt APC leaders.

“This is, in addition, to direct frittering of public funds through the alleged N1.4trillion sleazy oil subsidy regime, the looted N9trillion detailed in the leaked NNPC memo, the alleged N33billion fraud in the handling of funds meant for the welfare of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East, among other sleazes.

“Nigerians cannot afford to continue to bear the burden of an incompetent and insensitive administration and that is why they eagerly await the retrieval of our stolen mandate at the Presidential election petition tribunal."

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Innoson Tells GTB: Stop Wasting Your Time... Convert The N8.8bn Debt Into Shares And hand It To Us

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 1:51pm

Innoson Motors Limited in Nnewi has advised Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) to stop deploying more resources into stopping the execution of the court order made against it.

The motor company said the refusal, last Friday, of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan to hear or grant the bank an injunction to restrain Innoson from continuing to levy execution against it is a clear indication that the bank had nothing more to do.

Speaking about the case on Monday, Cornel Osigwe, Public Relations Officer of Innoson, advised the bank to convert the debt into shares for Innoson insteading of engaging in wasteful  and desperate means to prevent the execution of court's verdict.

"GTB’s bid to stop Innoson from taking it over nosedived last week Friday, April 5th, 2019 as the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan refused to hear or grants it an injunction to restrain Innoson from continuing to levy execution against it; the court also refused to stay execution," he said.

"Despite the decision of the Supreme Court on February 27th 2019 dismissing the appeal by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and affirming thereby the concurrent judgment of Court of Appeal, Ibadan division and Federal High Court Ibadan which ordered GTB by way of Garnishee Order Absolute to pay Innoson Nigeria Ltd the sum of N2.4 Billion with a 22% interest, per annum, on the judgment sum until the final liquidation of the judgment debt, the bank is yet to comply with this order.

"In order to stop Innoson from continuing with taking over its assets in execution of the aforesaid judgment GTB approached the Federal High Court, Ibadan on Friday, 5th April 2019 and requested the court, through a motion, to stay execution and or for an injunction restraining Innoson from continuing with executing a judgment which the Supreme Court has affirmed when it dismissed the GTB’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision affirming the High Court’s judgment and order in favour of Innoson.

"We have previously stated that in a garnishee proceedings, once an order of garnishee nisi is made, the garnishee is required by law to set the amount involved aside and will not allow the judgment debtor to withdraw from it; and if the order is made absolute, the garnishee pays the money to the judgment creditor and incurs no liability for doing that but if the order is not made absolute the garnishee returns the money to the judgment debtor.

"It will be recalled that the order was made absolute since 29th July 2011 and GTB held unto the money from that time and is using it for its business. It follows that by the time the order was made absolute it was no more the judgment debtor’s money but rather that of Innoson Nigeria Ltd who is the judgment creditor; if a garnishee refuses to comply with the order, then, it becomes a judgment debtor, as GTB has become in the present case, against whom execution of the order will issue.

I"nnoson Nigeria Ltd is aware that GTB had earlier deposed to an affidavit in the court that its banking operation will be seriously and adversely affected, and also its capital base eroded if it complies with the order of the court.

"Based on the foregoing and in furtherance of the letter to GTB by Counsel to Innoson Nigeria Ltd, McCarthy Mbadugha & Co on March 25th, 2019 that it pays the N2.4B Judgment debt to Innoson Nigeria Ltd with the accrued interest of N6,717,909,849.96, Innoson Nigeria Ltd therefore demands from GTB that if it’s banking operation will be seriously and adversely affected, and its capital base eroded as a result of the N8.8bn judgment debt, that it should as a matter of utmost urgency convert the said sum or part of it into shares and allot same to Innoson Nigeria Ltd. This will save taking it over in the manner Innoson is doing."

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Abductors Of Lagos Fire Service Director Demand Ransom

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 1:38pm

The family of Rasaki Musibau, Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, has been contacted by his kidnappers.

Musibau was kidnapped alongside six others persons along the Epe-Itokin Road, Ikorodu, Lagos, on Saturday night, while they were returning to Lagos from Epe.

SaharaReporters had reported on Sunday that the kidnappers blocked the Itokin bridge end of the road before abducting the occupants of the three vehicles.

Bala Elkana, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and spokesman of the Police in Lagos, had also confirmed the incident, noting that seven people were kidnapped.

”Those abducted include: Rasaki Musibau (Director of Fire Service in Lagos State), Mufutau Adams (a management staff of the Fire Service), Mrs. Funmilayo Adelumo and Asiogu Martha. Others are, Lasisi Muka, and two others. Vehicles recovered from the scene include a Toyota Sienna, a Toyota Corolla and an Opel Jeep. The CP in company with Tactical Units Commanders visited the crime scene in the early hours of Sunday," the Police spokesman said.

Sources close to the family told SaharaReporters on Monday that Musibau's abductors had contacted the family to demand a ranson, but they did not want to reveal the details in order not to jeopardise his freedom.

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