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What Ezekwesili Said At Chatam House By Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 10:36pm

Obiageli Ezekwesili

Al Jazeera

It is frightening how far fake news could go to douse the impact of positive public communication.

As someone who was present when the Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, addressed Nigerians at the Chatam House, I found it odd to believe that some Nigerians could actually twist the facts to suit their personal interests.

In clear and simple language, Ezekwesili stated her determination to foster unity and equality among Nigerians if elected president of the country.

She said she was determined to ensure that the constitutional rights of Nigerians would always be upheld by government, noting that there was a need to address the growing rate of poverty in Nigeria as well as uphold the rule of law in the opportunities available to every Nigerian regardless of race, region, religion, status or gender. 

These were her words: “There is no doubt that Nigeria is a multi-plural nation. We are different people with diverse language, age, gender, religion, beliefs and status. As the president, I promise to play a role that acknowledges our differences yet fosters unity of diversity. All citizens will be accorded the fundamental rights guaranteed within the provisions of our constitution and laws.”

I was therefore flabbergasted to read in some online sites that the ACPN Presidential candidate promised to protect gay rights. As the President she is obligated to protect human rights, which are not equivalent to gay rights.

What Ezekwesili said was that if elected, her administration will work collaboratively with the judiciary and the legislature to safeguard every citizen’s rights as guaranteed in our constitutional democracy and ensure the protection of human rights according to the rule of law.


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Appeal Court: Nigerian Prisoners Have A Right To Vote During Elections

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 2:38pm

A Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City, Edo State, has ruled in favour of prisoners voting during the election.

The ruling was announced on Friday after five prisoners filed a suit asking the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to include all prisoners in the voter register.

Delivering the lead judgment, Justice S. Oseji, behalf of Justice Helen Ogunwumiju ruled in favour of the prisoners, who instituted the case on behalf of other inmates in Nigerian prisons.

According to NAN, those that filed the appeal are Victor Emenuwe, Onome Inaye, Kabiru Abu, Osagie Iyekekpolor and Modugu Odion.

However, Oseji did not grant a declaration that INEC liaise with the Nigeria Prison Service to create a registration centre at various prisons across the country.

Speaking to newsmen after the judgment, Counsel to the appellant, President Aigbokhan of the Initiative for Rural Development, Information and Legal Advocacy (IRDILA), urged INEC to commence immediate registration of inmates across the country to enable them participate in the 2019 general election.

Noting that they would appeal certain aspects of the judgment, he said: “Prison inmates have their community. Polling units should be located there. We believe they have a right to vote in an election so as to decide those who ultimately decide their future.

“When franchise is given to them, attention will be focused there. Their situation and health conditions will be improved.

“In 2014, the Federal High Court granted our prayers that prisoners can vote but narrowed it to the four applicants in the suit even though it was stated there that those applicants were representing other inmates.

“We went to the Court of Appeal and the court agreed that the judgement represented all inmates in the country. That INEC should with immediate effect collate the names of inmates and allow them to vote in 2019.

“The judgment disagreed that INEC should create polling units inside the prison. In 2015, the inmates were over 550,000. All INEC needs to do is to update their voter register and liaise with NGO as volunteers to help them. It is victory for Nigeria’s democracy.”


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Nigerians In Diaspora Won't Vote In 2019 Elections, Says Presidency

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 2:37pm

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Abike Dabiri-Erewa DailyPost

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, has said Nigerians in the Diaspora won't vote in the 201o general election.

She stated this at a meeting with Stanislaus Kamazi, while Rwanda's High Commissioner to Nigeria, in Abuja.

Noting that Nigerians in the Diaspora had contributed significantly to the economy, she said there were ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to ensure that they participate in elections, but this would take place after 2019, NAN reported.

“Nigerians abroad have the touch of the government, Nigerians in the Diaspora have remitted about 22 billion dollars annually. But, beyond the remittance, they also want to vote and efforts are being made to achieve that; though, not in 2019. It is one of what we hope that will happen in subsequent elections,” she said.

In his remarks, the high commissioner said there were a lot of lessons to learn from Rwanda's Diaspora policy, noting that Rwanda’s new administration had created a platform for the Diaspora to be part of the country and enjoy the same right as the citizens in the country.

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Wanted Militant Kingpin, 265 Others Arrested In Bayelsa

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 12:20pm

Brigadier-General John Agim, acting Director of Defence Information, has said since the launch of 'Operation 777', an initiative of the Joint Military Task Force, in the Niger Delta, 266 persons have been arrested for various offences.

He stated this while speaking with journalists on Thursday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

According to Agim, suspects arrested included militant kingpin, Gift Apollo a.k.a. 'Thousand' whose gang is said to be responsible for the attack on soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma creeks in Bayelsa State.

He disclosed that the operation had helped in destroying about 436 illegal refineries, 609 boats, 1,507 surface tanks and 1,538 drums used for illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.

His words: “Operation 777 has recorded several significant achievements by men and officers of Operation Delta Safe, anti-illegal bunkering, illegal refiniing operation carried out in Okaka community in Bayelsa State which had become notorious for crude oil theft and illegal bunkering/refining activities, and one of the most wanted militants and a member of 'kill and bury' gang by name Gift Apollo a.k.a. 'Thousand' was arrested. The group was responsible for the attack and death of soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma.

“Furthermore, in a bid to eliminate militancy and reduce the spate of incessant attacks on shipping within Joint Operation Areas (JOA) and identified active militant camps at Okparakiri, Sanikiri and Okporama communities on a tip-off, suspected sea robbers/cultists terrorising Abonnema-Buguma waterways were arrested.

“Seven Nigerian Agip Oil Company maintenance workers kidnapped while carrying out an assessment of a blasted well head in Azuama in Southern Ijaw local Government in Bayelsa were recovered and released unharmed. Operation Delta Safe have arrested 266 persons for various crimes and handed over to appropriate government agencies for prosecution. Several dangerous items such as 230 different types of arms, 240 assorted ammunitions, 11 barges, 101 outboard engines, 135 pumping machines were recovered from the criminals."

In his remarks, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, Commander of Operation Delta Safe, said with the operation of the JTF in Niger Delta region, the level of vandalism in oil infrastructures had dropped significantly.

“Our efforts have increased the crude production from 900 barrels per day to 2.2 million barrel of crude oil and we shall continue on our mandates of operation to weed off criminal elements in the area of operation,” he said.

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British Council Trains Nigerian Journalists On Conflict Sensitive Reporting

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 11:49am

Stephen Forbes, Director of Operations, British Council Nigeria

Stephen Forbes, Director of Operations, British Council Nigeria

In the wake of the 2019 elections, the British Council has hosted a workshop to enhance the capacity of journalists.

The British Council, UK’s organization that works in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society, addressed topical issues like Conflict Sensitive Reporting, Equality Diversity and Inclusion in the Nigerian Media and Child Protection, as well as the power of storytelling in journalism.

The workshop had participants from different media organisations across the country.

Stating the reason for the training, Head of Communications, British Council Nigeria, Edemekong Uyoh, said the council recognised that journalists have to continually develop themselves and meet up to the standard and task required of them in the society.

Uyoh added that the British Council had trained more than 300 journalists in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt states in Nigeria.

“In the last two years, we have trained over 300 journalists in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. The British Council has found it necessary to develop the capacity of journalists to deliver optimally and professionally in their career," Uyoh said.

Enlightening Nigerian journalists on the need for collaboration among the media, Adejuwon Soyinka, Editor, BBC Pidgin Service, maintained that collaboration would help the media in uncovering various things that will benefit the country.

He further prompted journalists to leverage on collaboration through the exchange of expertise, infrastructure, manpower and finance across their different organisations and internationally.

On her part, Lauratu Umar Abdulsalam, Communication Specialist and Media Engagement Advisor, Palladium, emphasised the importance of ‘Conflict Sensitivity in Journalism’ and spoke on being ethical, conflict sensitive and avoiding hate speech in reporting the upcoming elections in the country.

She advised journalists to always research the background of stories and avoid stories that could trigger conflict.

“As journalists, you need to do more than write and report what you hear. Go further by investigating what has happened and know the background of every story, especially when it is conflict-related," she said.

Speaking on the role of the British Council in creating opportunities and developing the media, Stephen Forbes, Director of Operations, British Council Nigeria emphasised the role of the media in Nigeria.

“The British Council is the UK’s International Organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities; we are constantly seeking for ways of creating opportunities by providing platforms where knowledge is shared amongst keys stakeholders. This workshop is timely to develop the capacity of journalists around conflict-sensitive reporting and sifting facts from fake news as the election period approaches," he said.

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NBA President Usoro Has Case To Answer On N1.4bn Fraud, EFCC Insists

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 11:39am

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has insisted that Paul Usoro, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has a case to answer.

The EFCC had filed a 10-count charge against Paul Usoro, bothering on allegations of fraudulent dealings involving the Akwa Ibom State Government, among others. See Also Exclusive DETAILS: EFCC’s 10-Count Corruption Charge Against NBA President Usoro 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Citing remarks credited to Usoro on the charges, which he made at the NBA's National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja on December 6, 2018, the anti-graft commission insisted that he had a case to answer.

A statement by Tony Orilade, EFCC's acting Head of Media and Publicity, issued on Friday, read: "The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to the speech made by Paul Usoro, SAN, president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA at the Association’s National Executive Committee, which held on December 6, 2018 in Abuja.

"Indeed, the EFCC had invited Usoro in June this year, to explain his role regarding the inflow of N300 million (Three Hundred Million Naira) from the Akwa Ibom State Government’s account into the account of Paul Usoro Chambers, PUC. Usoro was also questioned on the aggregate inflow of N1,110,000,000 (One Billion One Hundred and Ten Million Naira) from the state government’s account into the bank account of PUC.

"Under interrogation, Usoro had claimed that the various sums of money received from the Akwa Ibom State Government, under the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, were payments for 'legal fees' to him and other 'eminent members of the Inner Bar and a host of other members of the Outer Bar that I had engaged to work with me in respect of the Election Petition matter' involving the governor."

The EFCC also noted that Usoro stated that the payments were independent transactions and that the Akwa Ibom State Government’s payments-on-account were in respect of his Firm’s professional services to the state, while the payments to the senior counsel were made by him for and on behalf of Governor Udom Emmanuel, "at his request”.

The statement continued: "Whipping up sentiment, the learned silk then raised the issue of 'client-lawyer privilege', arguing that 'judicially and historically', the 'issues of fees, as between a lawyer and his client, is a matter of privilege'.

"While we do not intend to engage the learned silk on the pages of newspapers, on media landscape, the EFCC wishes to state that it does have regard for the Rule of Law and in this regard, the said 'client-lawyer privilege', but it should be stated that what is at stake, is the legitimacy of the source of the money used for the various payments.

"The learned silk, further accused the EFCC of playing the role of 'Auditor and/or Regulator of Legal Fees'. This is definitely not the case. It is worth reiterating that while the EFCC has 'Special Powers' to investigate suspicious financial transactions, Section 18 (d) of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, empowers the Commission, to investigate and prosecute any person, who 'engages in the concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights, with respect to or ownership of property knowing such property is derived from any offence referred under this Act commits an offence'. From all intent and purposes, payment of over N1.4 billion to Usoro from the accounts of Akwa Ibom State Government for unofficial transaction, is nothing short of criminal diversion of public funds.

"From the foregoing and in line with the mandate of the Commission, the SAN, definitely has questions to answer before a competent court of jurisdiction on allegation of money laundering and no amount of intimidation and or razzmatazz can stop the Commission from carrying out legitimate assignment of investigation and prosecution of financial impropriety.

"The act of making such humongous payment of over a billion naira to an individual from state vault raises reasonable suspicion of money laundering. This may amount to a disservice to the people of Akwa Ibom State, and we shall not rest on our oars and allow such financial crime to continue unabated. Paul Usoro, SAN, surely has a case to answer.

"The allegation of Usoro that the effort of the Commission at collaborating with the National Judicial Institute, NJI on capacity building was an anomaly is likened to a drowning man who holds unto a straw for survival. Let it be known to Usoro that agencies like the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC); Nigerian Institute of Bankers (NIB); the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); and the National Communication Commission (NCC) are among the many government and organised bodies that have been having such collaboration with the NJI on capacity building.

"While we do not intend to engage the learned silk on the pages of newspapers, or the media landscape as the case might be, it should be stressed, that what is wrong is wrong."

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Shiites Hold Procession To Mark 40 Days After 'Barbaric Massacre' In Abuja

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 11:13am

Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shiites, have held a march to mark 40 days since the 'Arbaeen Symbolic Trek’ held in October 2018.

The group also accused the president of ordering security operatives to "kill 52 of its members" during the trek which held in Abuja.

Followers of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky had embarked on the 'Arbaeen Symbolic Trek'. The three-day protest took place from October 28 till October 30, 2018.

The march, however, took a different turn as the Nigerian Army attempted to dispel the protest, which led to a clash and the soldiers opened fire on the Shiites. See Also CRIME 16 Shi'ites Shot 'At Close Range' By Soldiers In Abuja 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

The group, however, held a protest march on Friday, which began from the Central Mosque immediately after the Juma'at Prayer, and ended at Zone 4.

Addressing the crowd, spokesperson of the movement, Ibrahim Musa, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being behind the killings and arrest of members of IMN.

His words: "Till today, the Nigerian government intentionally refused to brief the public on the actual reason behind such a barbaric massacre on its citizens. The military were confused enough to say that they were pelted with stones, which was justified with the use of live bullets.

"When somebody dies in Islam, after 40 days there will be a prayer and remembrance for the person. So, today is 40 days after the President of Nigeria ordered the army's 'Guards Brigade' to kill followers of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky during their Arbaeen Symbolic Trek here in Abuja. It is the Guards Brigade that came out and opened fire on unarmed citizens with live ammunition, including tankers and all sorts of arms and weapons they used against us. They killed 52 people and went with so many."

He said the movement lost another member who had been receiving treatment in the hospital, as a result of the torture she experienced, adding that 70 per cent of the young people who lost their lives during the protest were graduates and students of various higher institutions of learning.

"They were mercilessly killed by the Guards Brigade ordered by the president. Remember, the Guards Brigade is answerable only to the President of Nigeria. They are yet to come out and tell us why they killed 52 followers of El-Zakzaky," Abdullahi added.

The group said it would continue to carry out its daily protest to demand justice and unconditional release of their leader.

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Investigation: Presence Of Birds On Runway Caused Sao Tome Plane Crash

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 10:35am

The Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has disclosed in its accident report of the July 29, 2017 aircraft crash at the Sao Tome International Airport that the presence of birds on the runway was the causal factor of the crash.

The bureau also identified failure of the crew to deploy interceptors (speed brakes/spoilers), inadequate flight crew training on details of rejected take-off procedure scenarios, omission of the take-off briefing in CAVOK’s Normal Operations checklist and poor Crew Resource Management (CRM), especially in a multi-crew flight operation as some of the contributory factors to the accident.

A statement by Olayinka Olakangudu, AIB Public Affairs Officer, noted that the aircraft, an Antonov Model AN-74 TK-100, registered UR-CKC, owned by SWIFT SOLUTION FZC, operated by CAVOK Airlines LLC had overrun runway 29 during a rejected take-off at the airport.

The report stated that the captain, the first officer, the flight engineer and two maintenance engineers on board were rescued unhurt except the flight navigator who sustained an injury to his left foot and some minor bruises.

The report explained that the intended non-scheduled return flight to Accra was initiated in accordance with appropriate regulations, adding that visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed by the pilot before the crash.

The report read: “Due to the presence of birds on the runway, the take-off was rejected at a speed above decision speed V1, which was inconsistent with CAVOK’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).”

AIB also made safety recommendations to the Instituto Nacional de Aviacao Civil (National Civil Aviation Authority of STP), calling on it to improve the habitat management programme, including reduction or elimination of trees, shrubs and other plants which provide food, shelter or roosting sites for birds.

The body was also advised to enhance its aerodrome grass management appropriate to the prevalent species and the degree of risk that they pose, adding that it should also liaise with local inhabitants to limit the attraction of birds to fields in the vicinity of the airport.

AIB also said the authorities “should install specialized ground-based radar equipment used for tactical detection of large flocking birds. Should adopt and extend Runway End Safety Area to conform to ICAO standards. Should include the information about the ravine at the end of RWY 29 into the AIP and Send it as Notice To Airmen (NOTAM).”

To the Ukraine Civil Aviation Authority, AIB recommended that it should enhance its oversight functions by reviewing all safety related items pertinent to operators’ checklists and manuals, while CAVOK Airlines was recommended to review its Rejected Take Off (RTO) training syllabus to incorporate robust RTO training plan for both initial and recurrent aircraft type simulator training and assessment to include unexpected scenarios and stop-and-go decision making.

The Ukrainian body was also advised to review its Normal Operations (NO) checklist in order to include take-off briefing as an item for each flight.

It is the first time AIB would be would be invited by other country to investigate accident in its domain.

The Commissioner, AIB, Engineer Akin Olateru, said the investigation was able to be carried out as a result of effective collaboration and corporation the bureau had garnered in the last 24 months with aviation stakeholders.

The Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA) had invited AIB Nigeria to conduct an investigation into the crash, which by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 was the responsibility of the state of occurrence.

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Seun Kuti Gets Grammy Nomination For Best World Music Album

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 10:18am

Seun Kuti, son of late Afrobeats Maestro, Fela Kuti, has been nominated for a Grammy Award.

The list was published on Friday on the Grammy Awards' website.

Seun Kuti was nominated for his album, 'Black Times', which was released on March 2, 2018. 

According to the Grammy Awards website, the nomination for 'Best World Music Album' recognises "albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental World Music recordings".

Seun Kuti was nominated alongside Bombino (Deran), Fatoumata Diawara (Fenfo), Soweto Gospel Choir (Freedom) and Yiddish Glory (The Lost Songs of World War II) for Best World Music Album.

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Call EFCC To Order, Zamfara Group Tells Buhari

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 10:04am

The Zamfara Unity Forum has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to order.

They accused EFCC of "arresting and detaining Mallam Daudu Lawal, the consensus governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State for more than one week", without reason.

A statement by Comrade Usman Bungudu, Convener of the Zamfara Unity Forum on Friday, noted that EFCC "is being used by influential politicians to influence the outcome of the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara State".

The statement read:"The incumbent Governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, has allegedly been unable to get his Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Mukhtar Idris, to be the party’s candidate.

“It is unfortunate that the EFCC will allow itself to be used to influence the outcome of the Zamfara governorship election with the arrest of Mallam Lawal for reasons nobody has been told up till now. His friends and associates have reported that all efforts to reach him have proved abortive, meaning he is being kept incommunicado. How can EFCC keep someone for a week without giving information to his family?

“Information reaching us now suggests that the EFCC is planning to resurrect charges that had been dispensed with years ago, just in time to pressurise him to drop out of the governorship race in favour of the anointed candidate or somebody else. This is definitely a threat to this democracy. Institutions of state, such as EFCC, should never allow themselves to be used to further the political interests of certain sections."

The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to "call the EFCC to order so that the credibility of the 2019 general election is not called to question," noting that “today former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, is being respected both locally and internationally because he is believed to have allowed credible elections to hold in 2015. If President Buhari does not call EFCC to order, as we are seeing in Zamfara State, then his legacy will be questioned and this will haunt him".

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NNPC Tanker Develops Brake Failure, Crushes 'Newly Married' Motorcyclist In Ondo

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 9:48am

Tragedy struck on Friday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, as a tanker fully loaded with petrol crushed a commercial motorcyclist to death.

SaharaReporters gathered that the fully-loaded petrol tanker belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) developed brake failure and rammed into Kayode Esan, who died on the spot.

The incident happened at the popular Iye-Oma Plaza Junction at the Alagbaka axis of Akure and caused traffic gridlock for several hours.

It was learnt that Esan, who hailed from Iju/Ita Ogbolu in Akure North Local Government of the state, got married recently.

Several eyewitnesses who spoke to our correspondent said the distressed tanker driver had noticed the mechanical fault and tried to alert road users.

"The incident occurred around 9am today when there was traffic on the road. The petrol tanker driver had noticed the mechanic fault and having seen the traffic, he started shouting about his brake failure. However, the traffic warden did not immediately see the tanker driver who was on high speed, and he passed others on the other side of the road.

"The 'okada' man was so unlucky as he got trapped in the middle of the road. He was crushed and died instantly."

After the death of the motorcyclist, other commercial motocylists attempted to set the petrol tanker on fire and lynch the driver. It took the timely intervention of security agencies, mostly officers of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in the Ondo State Sector Command, to prevent the angry road users from taking laws into their hands.

Still dissatisfied, the motorcyclists embarked on a protest within the state capital, causing traffic jam and assaulting traffic wardens stationed at Alagbaka and en route the Ilesha park axis. They blamed the traffic warden for the accident and untimely death of their colleague.

Speaking on the incident, Olusegun Ogungbemide, Deputy Corps Commander and Head of Operations of the FRSC in Ondo State, blamed the petrol tanker driver for the accident. He also noted that the corps was able to swing into action after receiving a distress call from members of the public.

"The incident was very sad, but our men were able to rush down to the scene after the motorcylists threatened to take laws into their hands. We have moved the corpse to the morgue of the Specialist Hospital in Akure, Ondo State and the Police have taken over the case," he said.

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'Let Me Be On The Right Side Of The People' — Sylva's Ex-Commissioner Dumps APC

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 8:58am

Silva Opuala-Charles, former Commissioner for Finance and Budget under the administration of Timipre Sylva, former Governor of Bayelsa State, has dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and joined the Accord Party.

Opuala-Charles, a popular APC aspirant for the Bayelsa East Senatorial seat for the National Assembly election was reported to have lost out during the hamonised primary election of the party in Bayelsa East Senatorial district, which saw Bishop Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo emerge as the party's candidate.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, he premised his decision on the need to fulfil his aspiration to represent his people in the 2019 general election.

The statement read: "Some people will wonder why this eleventh hour decision after the earlier announcement of maintaining the status quo. This new stance is borne out of a further review of the contextual and conceptual flaws in the decision that was taken and the pressure from constituents and beyond till this moment.

"Moreover, we must respect the rights of the electorate to decide who should represent them and not the privileged class. This is the crux of our mindless underdevelopment and the despondency. Hence,I have to make this people-oriented choice for the good of our people. As Hilary Rodham Clinton puts it, 'along the way, I have tried not to make the same mistakes twice, to learn, to adapt and to pray for the wisdom to make better choices in the future'.

"It will be most unfortunate for me to be found on the wrong side of history by ignoring the stringent calls of the people and, thereby, inadvertently contributing to the further degeneration of our senatorial district. All sensible mortals must endeavour to leave society better than the way they met it and not for any reason reverse the gains already made and those in sight. Let me be on the right side of the people to deepen democracy no matter what it takes and that is my resolve.

"To my colleagues, friends and members of the All Progressive Congress, Bayelsa State, as I leave you to pursue this dream, I call for understanding on the part of those who may feel offended by my decision as it does not take away our brotherhood and friendship. It is a decision borne out of an unquenchable vision for the good of society and to deepen our democracy.

"As you know very well as politicians, there are neither permanent enemies nor friends in politics but permanent interests. Therefore, I look forward to alignments where possible for us to give the best to our people and change the narrative in one ACCORD!!!"

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He Owns A University But Doesn't Understand Satire, Seun Kuti Taunts Oyedepo

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 8:32am

Nigerian singer, Seun Kuti has taken a swipe at Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, over his comment on the possibility of an impostor taking the place of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a video that went viral on social media earlier this week, Oyedepo had commented on an article written by Dare Olatunji in The Nation Newspaper, where the writer ridiculed the notion of a body double for Buhari.

Olatunji wrote: "I can report authoritatively that representatives of the Jubril family, having discovered the gigantic swindle, suddenly showed up in Abuja the other day and demanded to be compensated with a power-sharing arrangement at the federal level in perpetuity, plus 50 per cent of Nigeria’s oil revenues for ten years in the first instance. Failing this, they warned, they would tell their story to the whole world.

"I can also reveal that the Nigerian authorities have entered into frantic negotiations with Jubril’s family to head off what is sure to earn a double entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s Dirtiest and Worst-kept Secret. The UK authorities are mediating.

"Meanwhile, dependable sources tell me that Abuja is close to unraveling the true identity of the fake Jew parading himself on faked foreign soil as Nnamdi Kanu."

However, Oyedepo appeared to have misjudged the writer's intentions, as he quoted parts of the article, stating that "So far, to my knowledge, no official statement has refuted this claim, which simply implies that Nigeria may truly be up for sale".

Commenting on Oyedepo's sermon on Friday, Seun Kuti, son of the late Afrobeats Maestro, Fela Kuti slammed the bishop for his inability to “understand satire”.

Alongside a picture that read: "Oyedepo owns a university but doesn't understand satire!! Ifa take the wheel, please!!" he wrote “ You can be 'dangerously rich' doesn’t mean you can buy enough knowledge to understand satire. Someone that doesn’t pay tax is dangerously rich and Lagos State is chasing me up and down.”

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Many Feared Dead As Boko Haram Attacks Rann

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 8:07am

An unconfirmed number of persons have been killed, after an attack by Boko Haram terrorists in Rann, Borno State.

The insurgents attacked Rann in Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno State on Thursday night, shooting indiscriminately and torching buildings, including a UNICEF clinic.


The attack occurred at about 8:15pm on Thursday.

According to a source, many people lost their lives, but the casualty figure hadn't been confirmed at the time of filing this report.

The source said the insurgents were, however, repelled by officers of the Nigerian Army stationed in Rann.

UNICEF is also said to have started evacuating their staff as result of the security situation.

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FAAN Threatens To Withdraw Services To Bi-Courtney Over N1.9bn Debt

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 7:31am

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has again accused Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos, of owing N1,943,516.50 since it commenced operations on September 8, 2007.

The alleged sum is, however, different from the over N2bilion FAAN accused the company of owing it as at June 2017.

In October 2017, FAAN through the industry unions, claimed the management of the terminal operators owed it about N2billion, arising from the non-payment of electricity, rent and conference and hotel. The sum is apart from the five per cent revenue generation expected to be remitted to FAAN.

This time around, in a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BASL, dated November 3, 2018, signed by its Managing Director, Engineer Saleh Dunoma and exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters from the Ministry of Transport, FAAN claimed that since the organisation commenced operations in 2007, it was yet to remit any money to its coffers as contained in the contractual agreement.

The breakdown of the latest sum indicated that BASL as at July 31, 2018 owed FAAN N1,444,044,893.83 for provision of Aviation Security (AVSEC), another N143,466,896.96 for Fire/Safety Cost.

Others were for marshalling, N2,168,058.21 and management cost, which it put at N1,943,323,516.50.

FAAN also threatened to withdraw the services of its personnel from the terminal with effect from December 3, 2018 if the debts were not remitted, but at the time of filing this report, the services were yet to be withdrawn even though a source in FAAN confided in our correspondent that BASL hadn’t replied the letter.

The letter with the title: ‘Outstanding Personnel Cost for FAAN Staff Deployed to the Bi-Courtney Terminal – Final Demand and Notice of Intention to Implement Sanctions,’ noted that FAAN, in line with its statutory responsibilities to provide security and safety services at all airports and aerodromes in Nigeria, has continued to fulfill its obligations and wondered why BASL reneged on its own.

FAAN insisted that non-payment for the services of these personnel, leading to shrinking financial resources, had started to impact negatively on its ability to continue to effectively and efficiently deliver on its services.

The letter added: “We are therefore using the opportunity of this final demand notices to inform you that the Honourable Minister of State for Aviation has directed the grace of period of one month to be given to you to settle the outstanding debt of N1,943,323,516.50, failure which appropriate sanctions as stipulated in the authority’s Credit Policy Manual will be applied to extract payment.

“Meaning that in this case, the services of our aviation security, fire and rescue personnel will no longer be available for the operations of your terminal with effect from Monday 3rd, 2018 in compliance with the directive of the Honourable Minister; and more so as we no longer posses the financial muscle to keep these personnel in your terminal working without payment.”

Attempts to get BASL to comment on the issue proved abortive as the phone number of the media manager of the terminal operator was switched off, while a text message sent to his mobile line did not receive any response.

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Nigerians Unveil Oyi-1, Smartphone For Low Income Earners

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 7:11am

Oyi-1, a smartphone running on Android operating system, has been unveiled.

The smartphone, which targets low income earners, is the brainchild of Beeptool Communications and Integrated Services Ltd.

Speaking on the inspiration for the mobile device, John Enoh, Chief Executive Officer of Beeptool Communications and Integrated Services Ltd, said himself alongside two others — Michael Ige, the Chief Operations Officer and Mayowa Ihinmikaiye, in charge of the company's Financial Technology, came up with the idea of Beeptool Communications and Integrated Services Ltd to support efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa., using digital technology.

According to the Enoh, the smartphone is aimed as making digital services such as financial inclusion, telehealthcare, smart farming and communications affordable and accessible to  the lower class.

The phone was unveiled in Abuja on November 30, 2018.

Explaining the peciliarities of the phone, Enoh said: "The phone is actually for the end user who is qualified or eligible for the affordable smartphone which is actually Africa’s first. It is a crowd-funded smartphone and pre-financed by donor agencies, organisations and individuals who want to really help to alleviate poverty. The cost of the phone is really high if we decide to go by the market price, but somebody somewhere crashed the price using our technology.

"So, for the end user who is qualified — and these end users are people who must not earn more than N15,000 per month. We are looking at people who are not able to afford $2 per day. If you earn more than N15,000 per month, then you’re not qualified to get the phone at N1,000. However, people who earn more than N15,000 can get the phone at the normal market price which is N25,000. Our target for this is not the people who can afford smartphones. This is really for those who cannot afford smartphones; those who are in rural areas. In Nigeria for instance, we have about 40 million Nigerians in that range."

Highlighting the benefits of Oyi-1, he said: "The Oyi-1 smartphone is an affordable smartphone and it is a smartphone as a service not a smartphone as a device. It’s as a service to the end user and we provided applications such as financial applications so that they’ll be able to have a small daily contribution platform and they’ll be able to request micro loans from the Ministry of Agriculture; they’ll be able to pay little money and still be connected to the financial economy."

There are also applications for health challenges as well as farmers.

He continued: "Apart from that, we also have the M-health application. This is basically for people in the rural areas that are not able to go to hospital, so that they’ll be able to reach a group of doctors, call them up and access medical care remotely.

"Apart from that, for farmers, we have an app called M-farm. M-farm is an application that connects rural farmers to the city where they can check up the prizes of agricultural produce like yams for instance in Benue State and the cost of the same yams in a city like Lagos. It maps the producer of the yam and the buyer in the city. Those are the things we’ve built into it to keep these people were targeting busy, to create prosperity for them. Not only giving them money, but a tool in their hands that they can use to make money.

"So it’s not just a smartphone for making calls. You can make calls with it quite alright, you can do any other thing like you do with any normal smartphone, but that’s not the target. There are smartphones everywhere but Oyi-1 is a smartphone as a service, one of its kind in Africa and in the world in general.

"What makes our phone very unique is that it comes with a dual SIM capacity and it uses dual connectivity; dual connectivity in the sense that it uses the traditional GSM service providers, but above that we have connected our device and applications to a nano satellite, which is the world’s first nano satellite that will also bring connectivity to those rural areas to enable them use our phones, not by using codes like USSD or sending SMS, but just pressing a button to carry out transactions."

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BREAKING: Petrol Station In Lagos Airport On Fire

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 6:58am

Forte Oil petrol station located inside the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos is currently on fire.

At the time of filing this report, the cause of the fire had not been ascertained, as firefighters are currently on ground trying to put out the flames.

Staff of the airport told our correspondent that there would have been more damage but for the swift response of Fire Service of the Federal Airports Authority of NIgeria (FAAN).

"Officials of the FAAN Fire Service were the first respondents about eight minutes into the incident. The fire was curtailed from spreading to more buildings around it," a staff member told SaharaReporters.

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BREAKING: Again, Buhari 'Rejects' Electoral Bill

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 6:18am

President Muhammadu Buhari has again declined assent to the amended Electoral Bill by the National Assembly.

Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Senate) on National Assembly Matters, disclosed this to state house reporters on Friday.

According to Enang, the president has communicated his decision to the National Assembly.

He, however, said the president has assented to the amendment made to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Act.

With the assent, NOUN can now operate like other conventional universities in the country.

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NMEC: About 70 Million Nigerians Cannot Read Or Write

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 6:07am

Professor Abba Haladu, the Executive Secretary for the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) has said about 70 million Nigerians cannot read or write.

He stated this in an interview with NAN in Kano on Friday.

According to Haladu, the commission is focusing on strategies to increase literacy level, as more than 38 per cent of Nigerians are illiterate.

His words: “The available statistics with us shows that 62 per cent of Nigerians are literate and 38 per cent are non-literate. The out-of-school children are 11 million, while the non-literate Nigerians, that is the youth and adults are about 60 million, so put together.

“We have about 70 million citizens of Nigeria who cannot read and write or who lack basic skills for modern living. That is a big challenge for any nation, and that is why we are trying to sensitise and mobilise all stakeholders, including government at all levels, federal, state and local, Non-Government Organisations and international development partners, so that together we should do the needful to ensure literacy is provided to this large number of Nigerian citizens, so we can have even development and ensure our people are well-equipped and empowered to face the challenge of becoming the third most populous country in the world in the next 32 years.’’

Highlighting the resources needed to provide literacy in the country, he continued: “This requires a lot of things in terms of planning, budgeting — that is, allocating the necessary resources, in terms of mobilisation and implementation of tangible programmes, that will lead to educating the people or making them literate and also ensuring they acquire the necessary skills.

“The programmes include for instance, basic literacy, where people learn to read and write equivalent to primary three, then post literacy were people continue and learn to the level equivalent to primary education and there after continue in education programmes for completion of post literacy.

"There are various programmes targeting youth, adults and out-of-school children, which are being implemented by state agencies for mass education, National Commission For Mass Literacy, National Commission For Nomadic Education and indeed other partners.

“What we are saying is that there is need for the resources to continue to implement these programmes, so that the reach out will be wide enough to cover everybody."

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Reekado Banks Parts Ways With Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records

Sahara Reporters - 7 December 2018 - 4:59am

Nigerian singer, Ayoleyi Solomon, popularly known as Reekedo Banks has parted ways with Mavin Record, a music company owned by Don Jazzy.

Announcing his departure from Mavins Records on Instagram, the singer who celebrated his 25th birthday on Thursday, thanked Don Jazzy for the opportunity he gave him when he signed with the record label in 2013.

The post read: “Today I write in tears, not from a place of pain, but of joy and gratitude. A place of bliss and satisfaction because I am more than contented with how far this opportunity has brought me. The last five years have been the most blissful years of my career. The journey has been extremely wonderful and filled with the best experiences.

“I’ve learnt that family is not just about blood ties but about the love, sacrifices and friendship that exist amongst its members. The relationships I have fostered has proved to me that love is thicker than blood. Joining the @mavinrecords family was the best thing to have happened to me in the last decade. @donjazzy took me in and treated me like his own son. I'll be eternally grateful to him for sacrifices he made towards the growth of my career.

“His selflessness and efforts towards me and the entire Mavin crew is one that is admirable and worthy of emulation. A true KING with a large heart, full of kindness and ready to accommodate even more people. And to the rest of the crew, Our family is a clear example of the saying, 'We rise by lifting others'. Thank you all for all the times you've lifted me at my lowest moments, for the support, the amazing hits and most especially, the LOVE. Taking this bold step and moving on from Mavin Records onto bigger opportunities is something that, though not easy, is absolutely necessary because of my growth. I am very ecstatic about what the future holds and I cannot wait to share with everyone what new opportunities have come. Long Live Mavin Records.”

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