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Sudanese Forces Fire Tear Gas At Protesters Demanding President al-Bashir's Resignation

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 1:28pm


Some officers within the Sudan Army on Monday fired tear gas at protesters who were demanding the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir has been ruling as President of Sudan since October 16, 1993, with Sudanese embarking on protests since December 19, 2018 to demand his ouster from office.

The protests started over an increase in the price of commodities by the government, but security agencies have made it a duty to clamp down on protesters.

According to the Human Rights Watch, not less than 51 people have been killed in a different clash with security agencies, with thousands of people arrested.

The protests, which hit the third day today, witnessed violence as some officers fired tear gas at protesters.

The protesters had gathered outside the Army’s headquarters in Khartoum, capital of Sudan, calling on the Army to join in.

In Sudan, the Army’s headquarters houses the President’s residence and Sudan’s Defence ministry.

Thousands of the protesters could be heard chanting anti-government songs outside the Army’s headquarters.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) had stated that the National Intelligence and Security Service fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition in order to disperse the protesters. Some of the protesters talking after the attack said soldiers were putting up barricades in streets near the compound after NISS personnel and the Police failed to dislodge the demonstrators.

“After that, security forces began firing tear gas at protesters,” a witness said.

Another witness who was not part of the protest said he could feel the effect of the tear gas in his house.

He said: “I stepped out on my balcony hearing the sound of the gas canisters and could feel the gas in the air.”

Bashir, 75, faces genocide charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) relating to extensive human rights abuses perpetrated by Sudanese forces against civilians in Darfur.

According to the United Nations, 300,000 people were killed while 2.7 million have fled their homes.

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Man With 'Roasted', Severed Human Hands Arrested In Ekiti

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 1:22pm


A 23-year-old man simply identified as Nifemi has been arrested for being in possession of a severed human hand.

The suspect was  arrested on Saturday during a stop-and-search operation mounted by the Police along Ijero-Ikoro Road, Ekiti State.

According to a witness, the suspect was nabbed while going to Okemesi Ekiti through Ijero-Ikoro Road.

The source added that the young man was said to have kept the human parts in a polythene bag and was apprehended while taking it to Okemesi.

According to the witness, the suspect said he got the hands at Asa farmstead near Okemesi, and brought them to Ijero to sell to some people.

Confirming the arrest, Caleb Ikechukwu, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command said investigations had begun on the case and how to arrest the suspect's syndicates.

"Our men arrested him during one of our operations," he said. "We are gathering more facts about the case because we are aware he has been operating with some people and they have to be brought to book."

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SUBEB Folds Arms Six Months After Investigation Exposing Massive Malpractice At Lagos Common Entrance Centre

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 1:10pm


The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has kept mum despite investigative evidences showing massive examination malpractice during its state-organised placement examination, also known as Common Entrance.

Six months ago, SaharaReporters detailed how schools in Lagos State connived with Lagos State invigilators to compromise the state’s secondary school entrance exams.

In one of the revelations, an invigilator, identified as Toye Lukmon of Yufaith Private School, was captured on camera dictating answers to the pupils during the placement examination held at Tulabville Private School at 53 Omidindun Street, Lagos Island area of Lagos State.

Similarly, at Wesley Girls Senior Secondary School, Yaba, another Centre for the Lagos State Placement Examinations, pupils were captured cheating during the examination while Lagos State designated invigilators looked away as many of them had been bribed by school owners.

The investigation also revealed how easy it is to enrol children for the examination in different primary schools in Lagos State.

As part of the multimedia investigation, Ajenifuja Kazeem, a staff member of SUBEB, was also indicted as he organised a fake First School Leaving Certificate For the undercover reporter.

The board denied Kazeem, saying the board it had no employee by that name.

However, Ganiyu Oluremi Sopeyin, the Executive Chairman of the board, told SaharaReporters that Idayat Adebule, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, who is also the Commissioner for education, has set up an enquiry panel to look into schools indicted in the investigations.

Six months after the alleged committee was set up, the board has kept mum over the outcome of the committee.

Several text messages and phone calls to the board's Public Relations Officer (PRO) went unanswered.

On Friday, April 5, when SaharaReporters called him, he said he would call back as he was driving. He never called back nor answered follow-up calls to his phone.

He also did not respond to text messages and WhatsApp messages requesting the outcome of the committee set up by the board.

When he was called again on Monday, April 8, his phone rang multiple times without answer. When someone, a woman, finally picked the call, she said the PRO was in a meeting.

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#WorldHealthDay: Pink Oak Demands Mandatory Insurance Coverage For Cancer Care

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 12:55pm


As the global health community commemorated the World Health Day on Sunday, The Pink Oak Cancer Trust called on the President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors of the 36 states of the Federation to work in synergy and establish a mandatory health insurance to cover cancer diagnosis and treatment.

A statement made available to SaharaReporters by Sr. Laz Ude Eze, the Executive Director, noted that qualitative healthcare should be made available, affordable and accessible to every Nigerian so as to guarantee right to life as provided in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

"Nigeria accounts for the highest number of cancer-related deaths in the world not because the cancer cannot be treated or cured but due to inability of patients to afford care and a lack of adequate facilities and manpower to provide quality care," Eze said.

"The Pink Oak and partners are raising money to fund the treatment of patients in early stages of cancer in Nigeria to provide a short to medium-term solution to the financial barriers to treatment. More so, the Pink Oak calls on well-meaning Nigerians to donate to the foundation to enable it raise N350 million and sponsor the treatment of 100 or more cancer patients this year.

He also enjoined the government at all levels to increase budgetary allocations for health and work towards achieving universal health coverage by 2030.  

Pink Oak co-funds treatment of eligible cancer patients recommended by any of its member-NGOs, namely Breast Without Spot (Enugu), Cancer Aware Nigeria (Lagos), Medicaid Cancer Foundation (Abuja), Pink Africa Foundation (Calabar), Project Pink Blue (Abuja), St. Cyril Cancer Treatment Foundation (Lagos), Sebeccly Cancer Care (Lagos) and Patela Care Foundation (Ibadan). 

The theme of the World Health Day 2019 is 'Universal Health Coverage' — a situation where every citizen has health insurance coverage and can afford quality healthcare without financial difficulty. 

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Nigerians To Enjoy Seamless Mobile Payment And Money Transfer With Disruptive Fintech App 'M-Naira'

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 12:39pm


With the growing level of acceptance and also challenges of mobile payment and digital remittance Nigerians face on daily basis, BeepTool, an indigenous tech start-up based in Lagos, Nigeria, has unveiled the m-naira app, designed to bridge the gap in financial inclusion, mobile payment and remittance space.

The m-naira app is a revolutionary Fintech App with the main aim of helping Nigerians located either inside or outside the country to send, receive, pay or save cash Instantly.

The m-naira mobile app has been described by industry watchers and stakeholders as a timely intervention in the mobile payment ecosystem, contributing to the country’s stride towards a full cashless economy.

As of today, Nigerians in the Diaspora send up to $24 billion annually to Nigeria. At an average cost per transaction of 11.89%, Nigerians are spending more than $7 billion in fees.

"We think we can do better," said Mayowa Ihinmikaiye, Co-founder and Business Development manager of BeepTool CIS Limited.

"The m-naira app is designed to be the fastest and most secure way to send and remit money home directly to a bank account or mobile wallet. The m-naira app is also designed for paying bills for family and friends from any part of the world.

“The app is a value-sharing and money transfer services platform that interconnects all Nigerian bank accounts, mobile wallets, and billing systems to deliver instant remittance services to Nigeria from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re supporting your family or doing business in Nigeria, m-naira app makes it convenient and safer to send, receive, pay and save cash instantly from your phone, at a quarter of the cost of your bank or high street money transfer provider.

“It works directly with service providers to enable remote payment for services such as utilities, healthcare, school tuition, etc. Nigerians living in rural areas are not left out, as we are connecting them to the financial world using nano-satellites. This will allow Nigerians in areas with poor or no connectivity use the m-naira app to send and receive payment for goods and service."

The app has shown a lot of promise, having features such as instant transfer available from any UK, USA and EU-approved countries of the world to Nigeria, with 24/7 delivery, real-time updates on transfer so users know exactly where ytheir money is, without needing credit or debit card fees.

"The mobile app can be downloaded via Google Play Store for now, with the iOS version coming soon or via website," Ihinmikaiye said.

"The m-naira app has a high level of encryption, Know Your Customer (KYC) and security. The developers of the app took it a bit further by helping the unbanked to save money via the m-naira Ajo scheme.  This scheme is a Rotational Savings Club or a group of individuals who save and borrow together in a form of peer-to-peer banking. Group members contribute funds into a pool on a regular basis (daily, weekly or monthly), and then take turns withdrawing funds from the pool. Rotational Savings Clubs are also known as Ajo, Esusu or Otataje in Nigeria."

Further explaining how the app works, he said: "Pay with m-naira feature is a contactless payment method using a QR code scan from the m-naira app; users can make mobile payments at stores and to merchants.

"Blink with m-naira feature is mobile payment method available in the m-naira app, allowing users to make payments (in-store and online) with the use of a one-time password (OTP) pin eliminating the use of ATM cards for shopping online, withdrawing and depositing cash at agent locations. The m-naira BLINK can be used by m-naira app users and customers of m-naira app partner banks. All banks and stores in Nigeria are in the m-naira app network."

 

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Kebbi Spends N280m Monthly On School Feeding, N2bn On Furniture

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 12:28pm


Mohammed Magawata, the commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education in Kebbi State, has disclosed that the state spends a sum of N280 million monthly on school feeding programmes so as to "enhance enrolment, retention  and completion in public schools across the state". 

Speaking, on Monday, at a training on Cash Transfer Programme organised  by the United Nations Children  Education Fund (UNICEF), Magawata said this was done to reduce the number of out-of- school children in the country.

"Every month, Kebbi State spends over 280million on feeding," he said. "This, we give for free to improve interest in going to school and also retention of children in school."

He added that the state has spent "over N2billion for providing only furniture in our schools this year".

The commissioner ascribed the increase in the number of out-of-school children in the state to the influx of people from neighbouring countries such as Niger, Chad and Benin Republic. 

"We are doing very much to sustain the programme, even after UNICEF completes the programmes in the northern part of the country, we can still continue our own programmes to ensure those who are in school remain," he said.

"We have schemes in place to assist children in their education. We have our own local programmes of assisting children. We do this by helping in the payment of school fees and school feeding."

Magawata also noted that the state had been able to absorb over 500,000 beneficiaries, adding that an additional 40,000 beneficiaries had been added recently during its mopping exercise.

However, he expressed satisfication in the training, believing it might help change the mindset of parents who may want to prevent their children from attending conventional schools.
    

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BREAKING: INEC Set To Announce Timetable For Governorship Elections In Kogi, Bayelsa

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 12:14pm

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the schedule of activities for the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, slated for later in 2019, will be released during the week.

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, stated this on Monday when he appeared before a joint session of the Senate Committee on INEC and House Committee on Electoral matters to defend INEC’s 2019 budget proposal.

According to Yakubu, the total figure for the Commission’s 2019 budget proposal is N45.4billion.

Addressing the committee, he said: “This year, we are going to conduct two end-of-tenure elections into the offices of the governors in Kogi and Bayelsa States.

“Let me seize this opportunity here to say before the end of this week, INEC will issue a timetable and schedule of activities for the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

“For 2019, we were presented with an envelope of N45.5billion as our regular budget. This is the same envelope as in 2018, only slightly better than the envelopes of several years before them.

“In 2017, it was N45billion; in 2016, it was N45billion, and in 2018, it was increased marginally to N45.5billion and the same envelope was presented to the Commission in 2018 and 2019. I will say for the 2018 financial year we were fully funded. We were on the first line charge, so in terms of the releases from the executive to the Commission, we were fully funded."

Giving a breakdown of the budget items, he continued: "The first one is personnel cost and in 2019; the commission is proposing the sum of N21.8billion to cover consolidated salaries for 16,455 career employees of INEC and 51 political office holders, making a total of 16,506 employees of the commission in 2019.
 
“The personnel cost is broken into two subheads. You have the consolidated salary of N17.5billion and you have the social contribution, National Health Insurance, contributory pension, and employee compensation of N4.3billion.”

Noting that the overhead cost is N4.2billion, while the third budget head is for electoral expenditure, he added: “The Commission is proposing the sum of N17.7 billion under the electoral expenditure to cover such activities as monitoring party primaries, conventions, voter education, stakeholder meeting legal expenses and others."

N1.6billion was proposed to cover capital expenditure.

In 2015, governorship election in Bayelsa State was held on December 5, but it was declared inconclusive.

After a rerun in January 2016, Seriake Dickson, incumbent Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), polled 134,998 votes to defeat Timipre Sylva, a former Governor of the state and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 86,852 votes.

The Kogi State governorship election had held earlier, on November 22, 2015, but it was also declared inconclusive, necessitating a rerun, at the end of which Yahaya Bello of the APC was declared winner after securing 247,752 votes while Idris Wada, the incumbent Governor and PDP candidate, polled 204,877 votes.

It wasn't Bello who on the election in practice, though; he was only declared winner, being the runner-up in the APC primary, following the death of Abubakar Audu, the authentic candidate of the party, on November 22, 2015.

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'APC Will Lose 2023 Election If It Disrespects Zoning Of Presidential Ticket To The South-West'

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 11:46am


The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been warned not to renege on its zoning formula that cedes power to the South-West in 2023, else it risks quitting the political stage after just two terms.

Umar Duhu, pioneer National Vice Chairman of APC (North-East), dropped the warning in an exclusive chat with SaharaReporters on Monday.

He was reacting to media comments credited to Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), as saying "there's no law that mandates the ceding of power to the South-West".

Duhu also spoke on a wide range issues, and accused President Muhammadu Buhari of self-centeredness and failure to provide the right leadership for the party.

He expressed dismay at how candidates of the party contesting at various levels worked for the President's reelection, but he could not return same gesture, only asking the electorate to vote according to their conscience irrespective of party divides.

On the raging crisis involving the selection of National Assembly leadership, Duhu feels Buhari, rather than Adams Oshiomhole, should be blamed for APC's plans to foist Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila on the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.

"I don't see Oshiomhole as the originator of the problem; I've alluded that to the Commander in Chief, who is the National Leader of the party," he said.

"It is very unfortunate for anyone to think you can cow people elected as legislators, people who are seasoned administrators in their own rights. The attempt to foist leadership on members of the National Assembly is undemocratic.

"I believe if APC does not play carefully, and use persuasive diplomacy, it is going to lose, and in the end we're likely going to vote in a PDP President of the Senate."

On Babachir's "no power shift" saga, a statement widely considered as flying a kite on behalf of some hardcore northern elements, Duhu counselled them to perish the idea. 

Babachir had absolved the APC of any commitment to any such obligation of respecting rotational presidency agreement, and hinted he was also a ready presidential candidate in 2023.

Duhu therefore reacted in a stern warning that any attempt to retain power in the north beyond 2023 would be resisted by all democratic forces in the country.

"I'm not a prophet of doom, but I can confidently say that given my over three decades experience, I'm afraid if the APC decides to retain power, not only the party but northerners would lose woefully," he said.

Tracing the history of rotational presidency to late President Umar Yar'Adua, he highlighted that former President Goodluck Jonathan was ousted because he reneged on an earlier zoning ceding power to the North.

"In 2010 when President Yar'Adua of blessed memory passed on, the indication that power should remain in the North was on the front burner.

"But the North was persuaded to allow the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to be, on condition that power would return to the north in 2015.

"That political diplomacy was prelude to APC's victory. It was not as if we were more popular or more strategic than the PDP; the overriding sentiment was that power must shift to the north for eight years."

He described as unfortunate, Babachir's attempt to chart a wrong course for the party, saying: "It beats my imagination that B. D. Lawal is making such postulations, because here is a man standing a trial bothering on credibility."

Duhu consequently charged the party's national hierarchy to discountenance Babachir's comments and continue to pursue principles of fairness, equity and national unity.

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Deadline Extended For Anthology In Honour Of Pius Adesanmi

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 11:17am


The editors of the proposed poetry anthology, 'Wreaths for a Wayfarer: A Poetry Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi' have announced that Daraja Press (Canada) will publish the North American edition while Narrative Landscape Press (Nigeria) will publish the African edition.

The anthology is expected to be published later this year.

While appreciating those who have submitted their poems for the anthology, the editors said they had extended the deadline from April 8 to April 22, 2019, to allow for more submissions in memory of Pius Adesanmi. 

As part of the guidelines, the poems must be original.

They should either celebrate Pius Adesanmi and his work or philosophically reflect on existence, mortality, immortality and/or offer hope for the living.

"Poets who know (or did not know the poet) should exorcise the pains of loss through provocative poems that pour out their beating hearts with all-consuming passion," the organisers said. 

"Poems will be assessed by their poetic quality, thematic relevance, technical competence, and emotive force.

"Submissions must be original, previously unpublished poems. Submissions attached to emails may consist of ONE to THREE poems of no more than FIVE pages maximum. Submissions must be single-spaced and page-numbered.

"Contact information (name, mailing address, and email address) must appear on the first page of the submission. A short, third-person biography of no more than 100 words should be included.
Preferred file formats: Word doc, docx (please no PDFs)

"Submission deadline: April 21, 2019. Please note: Any poems received after the deadline will not be considered. All submissions to be sent to The Editors via wreathsforawayfarer@gmail.com

The editors of the anthology are Nduka Otiono of the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, and Uchechukwu Umezurike, Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

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Kachikwu Under Fire For 'Provoking' Bayelsa Communities With OML 29 Comments

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 10:42am


Ibe Kachikwu

The Opu-Nembe Kingdom of Bayelsa State, one of the host communities of OML 29, has described as shocking the "provocattive statement" credited to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that the legal redress sought by the community in Bayelsa over renewal of the OML 29 lease would not affect the licensing process or disrupt oil production.

Kachikwu who spoke on the sidelines of the just concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunities in Yenagoa noted that he was yet to be served the court processes.

He said the disagreement between the operators of the oil bloc and members of the host communities had no bearing with the licencing process.

Reacting to a question on the position of the government on the litigation, kachikwu had said the process would go on as scheduled.

“To start with, I have not been served with the court processes and the case cannot affect oil production," he had said. "We cannot halt oil production because there is a disagreement with the community."

But the legal counsel to Opu-Nembe Kingdom, Iniruo Wills, faulted the Minister's claim.

Wills, who is also President of the Ijaw  Professionals Association (Homeland chapter), said: "That is a careless lie and a shocking disregard for the legal process and rule of law. 

"It unveils the Minister's sheer contempt for oil producing communities of the Niger Delta, and is extremely insensitive coming from such a highly placed public policy executive, especially a very senior lawyer, for its obvious potential to provoke host communities to take matters into their own hands, which we do not encourage and must do everything to avoid, including the plaintiff communities' adoption of the legal process that Ibe Kachikwu is now thumbing his nose at."

It would be recalled that the people of Opu-Nembe (Nembe-Bassambiri) in Bayelsa State on March 26 urged the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, to halt the renewal of lease for OML 29 to Aiteo pending the outcome of a substantive suit before the court.

The development is sequel to plans by the Minister of Petroleum Resources to renew the lease of OML 29 oil block to Aiteo for $82 million without regard to the position of the community in Suit No. FHC/YNG/CS/62/2015.

The plaintiffs are Ikaonaworio Eferebo-Igoma, Iyerite Chiefson Awululu-Atubu, Ayebaesin Edoghotu-Omoh, Markson Amaegbe-Orutari, B.C. Benwari-Yousuo and Doibo Evans representing OML 29 host communities.

The defendants are Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.

Others are Aiteo Exploration and Production Ltd, Attorney-General of Bayelsa State and The Deeds Registrar, Bayelsa State Ministry of Lands.

The application sought an order restraining the Minister of Petroleum Resources from granting any application for the renewal of OML 29 “beyond the subsisting 30-year term".

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Moulded By Auchi Poly, Trained By Oxford, Harvard... Meet Ebenezer Onyeagwu, The New MD/CEO Of Zenith Bank

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 10:34am


The management of Zenith Bank Plc has announced that Ebenezer Onyeagwu as its new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

According to a notice sent by the bank to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday, the appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The tenure of Peter Amangbo, who is currently the bank’s MD/CEO, expires on May 31, so Onyeagwu is expected to take over from June 1, 2019.

Onyeagwu, a vastly experienced banker and financial expert, trained in reputable institutions of learning in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and United States of America. 

He is a graduate of Accounting from Auchi Polytechnic, where he obtained the Ordinary National diploma in 1984 and Higher National Diploma in 1987. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1989 while still undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) post-graduation, and was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) in 2003.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious University of Oxford, England, from where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Strategy, and certificate in Macroeconomics. He also undertook extensive executive level business education in Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School of Columbia University, the Harvard Business School of Harvard University (all in the United States) and the Lagos Business School of the Pan African University, Nigeria.

He has nearly 30 years experience in the Nigerian banking industry. He joined Zenith Bank Plc in 2002 as a Senior Manager, in the Internal Control and Audit Group of the bank. His professionalism, competence, integrity and commitment to the set objectives of the bank saw him rise swiftly between 2003 and 2005, first, as Assistant General Manager, then Deputy General Manager, and eventually as General Manager of the bank.

In these capacities, he handled strategies for new business and branch development, management of risk assets portfolios, treasury functions, strategic top level corporate, multinationals and public institutional relationships, among others.

As Deputy Managing Director, Onyeagwu has oversight over the bank’s Financial Control and Strategic Planning, Risk Management, Retail Banking, Institutional and Corporate banking business portfolios, IT Group, Credit Administration, Treasury and Foreign Exchange Trading, as well as general administration of the bank, among others. 

He was named Executive Director of the bank in 2013, and put in charge of Lagos and south-south zones as well as strategic groups/business units of the bank, including Financial Control and Strategic Planning, Treasury and Correspondent Groups, Human Resources Group, Oil and Gas Group, and Credit Risk Management Group, etc. He was named Deputy Managing Director of the bank in 2016.

Onyeagwu has been on the board of Zenith Bank Ghana, Zenith Pensions Custodian Limited, Zenith Nominees Limited and African Finance Corporation (AFC) within the last six years.  In AFC, he serves on the Board Risk & Investment Committee (BRIC) and Board Audit & Compliance Committee (BAAC).  At Zenith Bank Ghana, he chairs the Board Credit and Governance Committees.  

He brings to his job strategic thinking, inspirational leadership, energetic and entrepreneurial skills. He is married with children.

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Six Gunned Down As Robbers Hit The Only Commercial Bank In Ondo Community

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 10:14am

At least six people have been killed by suspected armed robbers in Ondo State.

The incident happened on Monday afternoon when the armed men attacked the only commercial bank in Ido-Ani community in Ose Local Government Area of the state.

A resident of the town said the armed men invaded the bank around 2:30pm.

He said they gained entrance into the bank by using dynamites to force the security doors open before attacking customers and bank workers.

A witness said the robbers first killed four persons at the ATM point before moving into the banking hall where two bank workers were shot dead.

More to follow... 
 

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JAMB Records 4.01 Per cent Drop in Applications

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 9:50am


Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) recorded a 4.01 percent drop in the applications received in 2018. 

The NIBS, in a statement on its website, based on its JAMB Applications and Admitted Candidates by State and Gender within Faculty Data (2017-2018), stated that applications received in 2018 were 1.65 million as against the 1.72million received in 2017.

This, it said, represented about 4.01 per cent drop in comparison to the total applications received in 2017.

According to the figures, candidates admitted in 2018 were 549,763 as against the 566,719 admitted candidates in 2017.

The report said the fall in total admitted candidates in 2018 was about 2.99 per cent, compared to the  total admitted candidates in 2017.

A further breakdown of the data based on gender showed that 902,176 applications received in 2018 were males, while 750,951 applications received were from female applicants.

However, in 2017, according to the bureau, 952,436 applications received in 2017 were from males while the remaining 769,833 appliccations received were from female applicants.

in 2018, the bureau also said 302,183 male candidates were admitted as against 315,678 male candidates admitted in 2018 and 251,041 female  candidates admitted in 2017.

Data for the report was supplied administratively by JAMB, while it was verified and validated by NBS.

NBS, however, made it clear that data in the report is restricted to test-based admissions and does not cover admissions not determined by official tests and examination conducted by JAMB.

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‘Me? Step Down?' — Osinbajo Fails To Convince Ndume To Withdraw For Lawan Despite Meeting

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 9:41am

He may have privately met with Vice President Osinbajo on Monday, but Borno South senator Ali Ndume is not giving up his ambition of becoming the Senate President when the ninth National Assembly is inaugurated in June.

Ndume, a former Senate Leader, has so far rebuffed all efforts of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to make him withdraw for Ahmed Lawan, the Yobe North senator chosen by the party. 

Even Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the party, has tried and failed, while lead backer Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State stylishly avoided being caught in Maiduguri for a meeting with visiting pro-Lawan senators over the weekend.

Ndume declined to speak with the media as he arrived at the Vice-President’s office for a meeting on Monday, and did the same on his way out. But when asked by State House correspondents if he had agreed to withdraw from the race, he couldn’t help replying: “Me? Step down”?

APC is desperate to avoid a repeat of the 2015 scenario, which saw Bukola Saraki enter an alliance with Peoples Democratic party (PDP) senators to emerge Senate President against the party’s wish. As a consequence, Ike Ekweremadu, despite being in the opposition, emerged Deputy Senate President.

At the time, Lawan was also the party leadership's choice.

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Adamawa Election Petition Tribunal Begins Sitting Without Governorship Petition

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 8:47am


The Adamawa State Election Petition Tribunal began its inaugural sitting in Yola on Monday, warning the public that it "will not condone interference from anybody".

Presiding over the inaugural sitting, Justice S. M. Akanbi said a total of 19 petitions were received, two for Senate, seven for House of Representatives, and 10 for State House of Assembly.

However, he announced that the tribunal was yet to receive a petition arising from the conduct of the governorship election concluded on March 28, 2019.

Justice Akanbi solicited the "cooperation of the bar, media and security agencies for the success of the tribunal".

Aji Kamale, Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Adamawa State chapter, pledged the cooperation of the bar, while Barr. Tahir Shehu, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), prayed the tribunal to ensure justice for all.

Bala Silas Sanga, Adamawa State Commissioner of Justice and Attorney-General of the state, was conspicuously absent at the sitting.

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Osinbajo In Closed-Door Meeting With APC Rebel Ali Ndume

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 8:34am

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has met with rebel senator Ali Ndume behind closed doors.

Ndume, a former Senate Leader and senator representing Borno South at the National Assembly, is keen on contesting for Senate President against the wishes of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which favours Ahmed Lawan, Yobe North senator. Lawan was also the party's choice in 2015, but he eventually lost out to Bukola Saraki, who stunned his party men by entering an alliance with the opposition peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

SaharaReporters learnt that Ndume arrived at the Vice President’s office at about 2:30pm, and refrained from saying anything to the media.

The meeting was still going on as of press time.

Ndume has so far rebuffed all attempts of the party leadership, including that of Bola Tinubu, National Leader, to convince him to shelve his ambition for Lawan.

Over the weekend, some pro-Lawan senators were in Maiduguri, Borno State, in an attempt to persuade Governor Kashim Shettima, believed to be one of Ndume’s top backers, to have a rethrink.

However, getting wind of the visit, the Governor travelled out of town.

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BREAKING: Fire Breaks Out At Imo Airport

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 7:59am

There is an incident of fire outbreak at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, also known as Imo State Airport.

Facebook user Owell Chukwu confirmed the incident, sharing a picture revealing thich flames over what appeared to be the arrival hall of the airport, with a few passengers seen scampering to safety.

An airport subsequently told SaharaReporters that the fire began at about 2pm and lasted almost an hour.

"It happened at the arrival department of the airport," said the cource, "but Fire Service offcials arrived early enough to prevent loss of life, even though some equipment were damaged."

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Supreme Court Ends Magnus Abe’s Dream Of Toppling Tonye Cole As Rivers APC Gov Candidate

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 7:54am


The Supreme Court of Nigeria has dismissed the suit filed by Senator Magnus Abe challenging the outcome of the primary election of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.

Abe had rejected the ruling of the Federal High court in Port Harcourt on January 7 nullifying the elections conducted by the two factions of the party in the state.

The court also ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission should not accept the candidature of both Abe and Tonye Cole to represent the party on the basis that they were not conducted according to the law.

In a fresh and unanimous ruling on Monday, Tanko Mohammed, acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, struck out the case on the basis that it lacks merit.

The court also pronounced that the “suit is incompetent and a gross violation of order 2 rule 8 of the Supreme Court rules”.

The case was presided over by a seven-man panel headed by the acting CJN

Abe prayed the court to make a pronouncement on the legality of the primary election conducted by the two factions of the APC in Rivers.

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The Sham Called The Nigerian Civil Service By Abdullah Abdulganiy

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 7:41am


Federal secretariat

Federal secretariat The Nation Newspaper

Praise the Lord! Today is a departure from the norm. I want to give the Nigerian political space and the politicians a breathing space. Nonetheless, there may be cause to throw jibes at them in the long run. But verily, the nitty-gritty of this piece does not really concern the political class. It is for the sham called the Nigerian civil service and its occupiers called the Nigerian civil servants.

More often than not, a sizeable amount of Nigerians tends to blame the woes and misfortune plaguing Nigeria on the political class --- myself inclusive. On rare occasions do we put the blames on ourselves, majority of whom populate the Nigerian civil service. Indeed, if there is anything that can explain the place of Nigeria in the comity of nations today --- away from the politicians and politics --- it is the sham (scam if you like) called the Nigerian civil service.

The civil service is the backbone of any nation. It represents the mechanism of governance and is the platform for the manifestation of governmental policies. If a nation maintains its rightful place, disturb yourself not, check the organization and composition of its civil service. The Nigerian civil service is, however, the opposite or the caricature of what an ideal civil service is and should be. From the recruitment exercise to the retirement exercise, scam is the word that best defines the Nigerian civil service.

An average Nigerian civil servant --- local, state or federal --- is a serial offender of rules and regulations that guide the civil service. He comes to office at will. He resumes late to work. He disdains his duties and obligations. He tells unpalatable lies in a bid to deceive the populace. He sleeps on duty. He takes his job with levity. He is not committed. He takes bribes, engages in sharp practices and involves in all manner of shady deals. He conducts himself when under supervision. When there is no supervision, he goes back to his normal self. Worse still, he is unfit and unqualified.

He is there in our ministries handling what he has no knowledge of. He is there in our various commissions cutting corners to feather his nest at the peril of dear country. He is there in our various departments sacrificing merit on the altar of nepotism and sheer loyalty. He heads a unit and has been blocking the ways of those who uphold the ideals and are bent on sanitizing the system among his subordinates. He is there in our public schools evading classes and teaching what is not clear to him in the first place. He is virtually everywhere ruining the system. Ironically, at the end of the month, he gets his take home. Is take home not supposed to be for those who worked for it?

A case in point is JAMB. JAMB, as you may know, stands for Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board. Since the birth of this board, it is not on record that it remitted close to a billion. It kept on remitting the same amount every year --- the increase in the price of form and admission seekers notwithstanding. Definitely, something is wrong somewhere!

Until recently when a new head took over the mantle of leadership of this board, a snake continued to swallow money incessantly by crook. Prof. Oloyede, the current registrar of JAMB, shocked his vociferous critics with his positive deviance of remitting the three-fold of what JAMB had been remitting to the federal government in the recent past. What am I driving at?

The JAMB of yore is a replica of what an average Nigerian civil service stands for. Corruption-laden. Nepotistic. Less concerned about merit. You may add. It doesn’t matter that a professor heads it. Whither the sanity in the Nigerian civil service? It is only in Nigeria you walk into a local government office like many other public offices, and you find out that most of the workers are nowhere to be found. Not even the head of the office. It is only in Nigeria you agree on following due process and you won’t get what you want in 5 years to come until you cut corners.

It is only in Nigeria you send an email to a ministry requesting one or two things, and surprisingly you won’t get a feedback. It is only in the Nigerian civil service that ghost workers continue to get salaries they did not work for. Only in Nigeria you find civil servants that are double paid. No consequence for bad behavior. Rather you are patted at the back and told to ride on!

So, when I see civil servants throwing all manner of salvos at the government for the misfortune plaguing Nigeria, I laugh and laugh. This is a case of a pot calling a kettle black. An average politician loots, an average civil servant loots; an average politician engages in sharp practices, ditto an average civil servant… Two is dividing four in this scenario. But there is the concept in social psychology: fundamental error of attribution. What it says is that we tend to justify our misdoings and are quick to blame others for their misdoings.

Yes, the minimum wage is low and the salary structure of the Nigerian civil servants is not encouraging. But you knew this from the outset before enrolling for the job. I am not in any way absolving the government of blames. In fact, 70% of the blames should go to it. Nonetheless, it is not a justification for your dereliction of duty, non-commitment to work and scorning of civil service rules and regulations.

The Nigerian civil service can work. JAMB is a testament. In fact, we have, in spite of the anomalies that have come to define the Nigerian civil service, public officers that are committed to work. We only need good heads to preside over these public offices and thorough inspection on a daily basis to get the “theory x” acclimatized into the system. If we can still have more Oloyedes, more Bolaji Abdullahi's --- I mean the former commissioner for education in Kwara State and not his body double “Kofi el-Ghanawiy” that had sacrificed integrity for blind loyalty in recent times; I don’t know what has become of him these days --- the Nigerian civil service can still be redefined.

It’s possible the Nigerian civil service works; just let the change begin with you. Start by upholding the ideals in your office. You will be hated but you will conquer. Oh! I have stirred the hornet’s nest, apologies folks. The truth must be told no matter how bitter. But again, this is not purposefully written because of you. Yes, I mean you! Should it, in any way, appears like that, it is the handiwork of that cliché called coincidence. It is, indeed, a macro problem. But micro approach can be adopted to tackle it. Let the change begin with you. Nigeria shall rise again!

Abdullah is a public affairs analyst. Reach him via 08090637356 or olamilekanhalarho@gmail.com.

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Two Nigerians Stabbed To Death In South Africa

Sahara Reporters - 8 April 2019 - 7:13am


Two Nigerians have been killed in fresh xenphophic attacks in South Africa.

It was gathered that the latest victims were stabbed to death during a renewed wave of xenophobic attacks that swept through Johannesburg and Cape Town on April 5 and April 6 2019, respectively.

Mr  Odefa Ikele, the  Assistant Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Union in South Africa(NUSA), confirmed the sad news to journalists on Monday.

"The Nigeria community lost two citizens to gruesome murders over the weekend," he said.

"Mr Bonny Iwuoha, 48, from Ihitte/Uboma in Imo State, was stabbed to death at about 11:45pm on April 6, 2019 in Johnnesburg, South Africa.

"We gathered that his assailants followed him from 152 Hay Street Turffontein, and thereafter stabbed and killed him in front of his gate at Turf Road, Turffontein. The killing was witnessed by Mr Izochukwu Nwokocha, also known as, Nwa Father."

Ikele said the killing had been reported and a case of murder opened at the Booysens Police Station in Johnnesburg.

He said another Nigerian, Goziem Akpenyi, had been killed in a similiar circumstance a day ealier.

"Akpeyi was allegedly stabbed to death by three unknown coloured South African men after an argument with the deceased," he said.

"The incident took place at Cape Town at about 1pm on Friday, April 5, 2019. These latest killings add to four other Nigerians who were shot dead in March. Three of the victims were murdered in Sunnyside, Pretoria, and one in Balfour park, Johannesburg."

Ikele expressed the concerns of NUSA over the incessant kiling of Nigerians and worried that the perpetrators had not been brought to book.

According to him, the arrest and prosecution of the  cususpects by the South African Police would put a stop to the daily killings of Nigerians.

"We call on the Nigerian Government to impress on their South African counterpart that the killings have to be investigated and the culprits prosecuted," he added.

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