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Hadiza Bala Usman Denies Involvement In The $2m 'Sale' Of Shehu Sani's Ticket

16 November 2018 - 12:02pm


Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), has denied allegations that she was involved in "bribery to circumvent the results" of the primary election for the Kaduna Central Senatorial District of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A source who spoke to SaharaReporters on Friday had said Usman gave the sum of $2million to Farouk Adamu, who collected the cash in Abuja on behalf of Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the party. See Also Elections EXCLUSIVE: How Shehu Sani's Senatorial Ticket Was 'Sold For $2m' To Oshiomhole Through Farouk Adamu 0 Comments 1 Day Ago

However, Usman denied participating in the deal, stating that the claim is "absolutely false".

A statement issued by the NPA MD on Friday read: "My attention has been drawn to a recent report published by Sahara Reporters that I, Hadiza Bala Usman, was involved in bribery to circumvent the results of the primary election for the Kaduna Central Senatorial District. The report alleged that I handed over $2m to Farouk Adamu with the purported aim of buying the said senatorial ticket for Mr. Uba Sani.

"This is absolutely false, reprehensible and a total travesty, which negates every known principle of the noble profession of journalism.

"While I have respect for the role of the media in the development of our country, one would expect that a media platform like Sahara Reporters, whose promoters project themselves as respecters of the rights of the others, would have their facts right and present incontrovertible facts rather than sponsored conjectures that attack the integrity of law abiding citizens.

"I am by this statement, requesting that Sahara Reporters retract this libelous publication or present proof of their allegations within seven days without which I would have no choice than to seek legal redress in a law court."

Elections Politics News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
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FAAN Unveils Five New Steps To Obtaining The Yellow Fever Card

16 November 2018 - 11:56am


The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has unveiled steps to procure the new e-Yellow Card.

The Yellow Card is an official confirmation compulsory for international travellers from risk countries like Nigeria as evidence the carrier is vaccinated against Yellow Fever.

A statement by FAAN on Friday noted that those interested in the e-Yellow Card would pay N2,000 to get the card.

The steps were described as follows: "Get the New e-Yellow card in 5 simple steps STEP 1:Visit http://www.yellowcard.health.gov.ng  or http://www.yellowcardnigeria.com 

"STEP 2: click on Yellow Card Application.

"STEP 3: Fill in your personal information and click on submit button.

"STEP 4: Click on Payment button, generate your Remita Retrival Receipt (RRR) code and pay the sum of N2,000 online (or go to the bank).

"STEP 5: Take the payment receipt along with your international passport to any Port Health Services Office to get vaccinated and obtain the yellow card."

However, a check by SaharaReporters on Friday revealed that the address: http://www.yellowcard.health.gov.ng was not working. Although, the address: http://www.yellowcardnigeria.com connected just fine.

Steps for the e-Yellow Card were contained in a series of tweets by FAAN.

STEP 5: Take the payment receipt along with your international passport to any Port Health Services Office to get vaccinated and obtain the yellow card.

— FAAN (@FAAN_Official) November 16, 2018

International PUBLIC HEALTH News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
Categories: audio

INVESTIGATION: Nigeria’s N392m Waste Recycling Plants In Osun, Ekiti, Kaduna Are In Ruins​

16 November 2018 - 11:34am


There, lie the ruins of multipurpose plastic waste recycling plant


Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril: He is unaware of the state of the plastic recycling plants, yet he told the world they were completed


The moribund Ekiti State recycling plant


Pet bottles take over everywhere in Ado-Ekiti


Indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste is a comm practice in Lagos


At Coker roundabout, Ikeja, plastic waste are not only environmental threats, they are also health risks


INFOGRAPHIC: N392 million plastic waste recycling plant


Abandoned: Kaduna plant has never been operated since it was first test run by the contractor


Wasting away: The N15million plant that the state government keeps budgeting money for without operating it


Failure: Osun State government failed to provide complementary facilities to operate the plant


Untapped revenue: Despite its huge economic potentials, Ekiti State has no budget line for the recycling plant


The copy of the response of the Federal Ministry of Environment to the Freedom of Information Request


Waste to wealth: Oluwalana used to sort plastic bottles at the dumpsite, now she supplies plastic bottles to recycling plants and makes money


In Kaduna, plastic recycling is a booming business


At a private recycling plant in Kaduna, bagged plastic pellets waiting to be transported to final destinations


Huge business: Already, private individuals are making a living out of plastic waste business in Osogbo, Osun State


Plastic waste everywhere: Once it rains, plastic waste takes over everywhere and the government is not dealing with it


Clogged drainage: In Lagos, like many cities across Nigeria, plastic waste clog gutters and waterways, thereby causing floods

There, lie the ruins of multipurpose plastic waste recycling plant YEKEEN AKINWALE

Twenty- six plastic waste recycling plants located in 26 cities across Nigeria, whose contracts the Federal Government awarded in 2009 to eradicate the problem of plastic waste, are at different stages of deterioration, but the government is oblivious of this fact despite the huge investment on the project, investigations by the ICIR have revealed.

Nigeria is not catching up with the movement to eliminate plastic waste, but the government would like the world to believe otherwise.

At the event marking the 2018 World Environment Day, which focused on eradication of plastic waste, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, announced with pride that Nigeria was moving towards eradicating plastic waste with the establishment of recycling plants – perhaps in keeping with Rwanda and South Africa examples: the two countries have banned the use of plastic for packaging and as bags.

“At present, a total of eight plants have already been completed and handed over to the states while 18 others are at various stages of completion,” the minister disclosed at a press conference.

But this statement is grossly inaccurate and the minister seems oblivious of the fact.

Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril: He is unaware of the state of the plastic recycling plants, yet he told the world they were completed

Jibril indeed was unaware that the plastic waste recycling plants he said were completed or ongoing, at different locations were wasting away despite the government’s huge investment in the project.

In 2009, the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan awarded the contract for the procurement and installation of 26 multipurpose plastic recycling plants in 26 cities including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Before the end of that administration− the projects, in 2013 were recorded completed and waiting for commissioning in a document prepared by the Ecological Fund Office (EFO) and submitted to the Presidency.

The contract was funded through the EFO whose mandate among others is to reduce ecological problems nationwide to the barest minimum and ensure judicious and equitable utilization of the Fund.

The government awarded the contract at the sum of N15million each to one contractor, Abdul Essentials Services Limited, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

The 26 plants which were envisioned to take care of plastic waste in those cities, cost  N392 million in total.

When the ICIR reporter visited states like Osun, Ekiti, Lagos and Kaduna, which were among those the government claimed were completed and handed over to state governments, findings reveal typical examples of a culture of waste by both the federal and state government as well as lack of synergy between the tiers of government in project execution and management.

Video of Ruins of Osun State Plastic Waste Recycling Ruins of Osun State Plastic Waste Recycling

With a collapsed roof that has sunk into the building, covering about five different recycling machines floating inside a pool of water that has flooded it due to years of rainfall and negligence, the current state of Osogbo plastic waste recycling plant reveals how government’s investments go to waste in various parts of the country.

Sitting in the midst of a heap of refuse at Osogbo landfill along Iwo road, in Osun State capital, the N15million recycling plant installed in 2013 already has been overtaken by weeds.

To a visitor, there is nothing to suggest that a N15 million worth of a project lie fallow in the bush.

Facilities in the plant included a toilet and bathroom, a changing room for operators and three ceiling fans.

The state government was expected to provide access road, water and electricity to the plant. They were not provided.

Some components of the plants were also vandalized by some unknown persons due to the porous nature of the dumpsite, the ICIR learned from workers at the site.

Like the Minister of Environment, Ganiyu Oyeladun, General Manager of Osun State Waste Management Agency, whose office is in charge of waste management in Osun State, told the ICIR that he was unaware of the plant, and did not know of its sorry state.

All he knew about the only recycling plant in the state was that it “was a project by the Federal Ministry of Environment that was badly executed.”

He told the ICIR how officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment came looking for a suitable place to site the project back in 2009.

“The agency gave out the dumpsite where the machine was installed. That was the level of involvement of Osun State Waste Management Agency,” he said.

For him, the project was poorly executed by the contractor because key components such as cooling system, dryer and water for washing plastic waste were not part of what was installed.

And the state government never operated the plant− to the detriment of the people of the state.

But Yaqub Abdul, a representative of the contractor refuted the claim that the contract was badly done. He told the ICIR that both the Federal Government and Osun State Government abandoned the project.

He insisted that the plant was installed and test run before it was handed over to the state government.

“It is unfortunate the kind of government we have in Nigeria, after handing over they just abandoned the plant. The state did not take over; they did not make use of the machine,” Abdul said.

When asked about the key components that were alleged not to be included in what was installed, he said those “parts were not part of the bill of quantity the Federal Government gave to the contractor.”

Another staff of the contracted company who did not want his name to be mentioned said the government was told of those components by the contractor but was ignored.

“You know that project was done during the time of Jonathan, the kind of project they gave us, they did not complete, they were supposed to include all those things you mentioned; even there was supposed to be dryer,” he says.

“They didn’t put all that in our bill of quantity. We told them all that that time, I think they just use that project to siphon money. We did what we could do, we did our best and we test run the machine. We handed over the project. We completed that of Osun State.”

Some officials of the agency revealed to the ICIR that the plant was indeed test run by the contractor after the installation.

“Yes, the contractor rented a generating set and we supplied him with some plastic bottles and polythene to test the plant,” an official of the agency who did not want his name mentioned said.

It was never used after that day. Nobody bothered to operate it or ask after it, because as the official said, “Since our ogas don’t have interest in it, it has been like that.”

In Ekiti, recycling plant is moribund

The moribund Ekiti State recycling plant YEKEEN AKINWALE

Like its Osun State counterpart, the Ekiti State government does not attach much importance to the plastic waste recycling plant located inside the state’s main dumpsite at Ilokun village.

It is under the supervision of Ekiti State Waste Management Agency, but the plant is not on the priority list of the state government.

Since September 2012 that the plant was handed over to the state government for operation, there has been no budgetary allocation to run it efficiently.

Rather, the plant survives on a pittance from the annual budget.

The Director of Operations at the agency, Osalusi Ayoola who oversees the operation of the plant told the ICIR that the state government has no special budget for the plant. Hence, the plant runs only whenever there is a little fund to buy diesel to power the generator set.

The machine has the capacity to produce three tons (3000kg) of plastic pellets per week which translates to about 12000kg in a month.

The National grid was recently extended to Ilokun area, but the plant is not connected. Presently, only the crusher, a machine that crushes plastic waste, works at the plant because the main recycling machine has broken down over a year ago, the ICIR gathered. The pumping machine that supplies water for washing of plastic waste broke down even earlier.

“There are months that we don’t work,” said Olu Ajayi, the operator of the plant.

Pet bottles take over everywhere in Ado-Ekiti YEKEEN AKINWALE

At the current price per kilogram of pellets which is N150 − the recycling plant can generate as much as N1.8million in a month and N21.6million in a year if well managed according to the operator. Ajayi confirmed that 50 per cent of solid waste generated in the state is plastic waste; he, however, revealed that the plant works only when there is diesel to power the generator.

Scavengers who pick plastic waste from the dumpsite were paid N15,000 by the state government in the beginning. Suberu Umar who had worked there as an operator since 2012 confirmed this. The pay, he lamented,  has since been slashed to N10,000.

Ekiti State government under the former governor Ayodele Fayose was already considering selling the plant to a private investor for better utilisation, according to  Ayoola.

Where is the Lagos N15m plastic waste recycling plant?

Indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste is a comm practice in Lagos YEKEEN AKINWALE

For hours, men of Mushin Local Government sweated in the sun to evacuate the blocked drainage in front of Chief Bode’s house on Coker road at Ilupeju Estate. For each load of waste they evacuated, there were more plastics than any other waste.

By the time, they finished packing the waste,  the roadside was lined with dirty empty plastic waste.

Blocked waterways and canals, and flooding are permanent features of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre. This is a reflection of the waste disposal and collection system in the state.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, says nearly one-third of the plastic packaging “we use bypasses collection systems and ends up polluting our environment.”

At Ilupeju estate, Lagos, a mixture of the residential and industrial estate, residents contend with blocked drainage and flood. “It’s a major source of worry for us here,” Bolu, an Earth Scientist and a resident in the area lamented.

Despite the half-hearted job done by the municipal men, some residents expressed relief that the drainage was free and water could flow freely because each day it rains, the whole road is flooded.

At Coker roundabout, Ikeja, plastic waste are not only environmental threats, they are also health risks YEKEEN AKINWALE

But a resident was indifferent or not so relieved.

“I’m not bothered by those plastics blocking the drainage,” says Chief Bode, “those plastics have always been there and once it rains, yes the road is flooded but the water will go after some time and the plastic will be there.”

He had lived on the street for well over 20 years, and the drainage around there have always been sources of worry. They are always taken over by waste, particularly plastics, thereby causing floods whenever rain falls.

But that’s not Chief Bode’s real grievance. His angst was the failure of the municipal officials to remove the waste from the street after the evacuation.

“Soon, those plastics would still find their way back into the drainage,” he said, “and that’s my anger.” “The plastics have been there and they came to remove them and left them out there. I won’t pack it, let them pack it.”

He admitted that Coker roundabout which is just opposite his house and the drainage is river-like whenever there is a deluge of water from the sky, but “if they had left the waste in the drainage, the water would have been flowing and the plastics would have been there.”

“Municipal do the evacuation and one of the greatest disservices they do is not to pack what they brought out,” Bolu also voiced his discontent about the act.

From Ojodu, Ogba, Surulere, Ikorodu, Egbeda to the eyebrow areas such as Lekki, Ajah, Victory Island and Parkview, Lagos city is plagued by blocked waterways, drainages, canals and other areas that are clogged by plastic waste.

As Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos State hosts over 2000 bottled and sachet water manufacturing and distribution companies.

According to the Head of Lagos State Department of Public Affairs, Mukaila Sanusi, Lagos state houses about 2,000 Industrial complexes, 15,000 commercial ventures, and a burgeoning middle class with high purchasing power.

He discloses that waste generated in Lagos is more than 13,000 tons per day; and 12 per cent of the waste consists of plastic materials in the form of soft drink plastic, water and other consumer goods packaging.

“According to the World Bank, the generation of solid waste is tied to population, income and urbanization. If the report by this body which puts per capita waste generation rate at 1.2 kg per person per day is anything to go by, waste generated in Lagos far outweighs the official figure of 13,000 tons per day,” he says.

Plastic waste management should ordinarily not be a source of worry for Lagosian like Chief Bode and other residents.

A plastic waste recycling plant that was installed in the state some five years ago should have taken care of that worry.

The plant was among those awarded in 2009 which were ready for commissioning in 2013 according to EFO. But it was strange that it could not be traced in Lagos State.

Authorities at the state’s Ministry of Environment and Waste Management agency were not aware of such project in Lagos metropolis or any other places around it.                          

The General Manager, Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), Segun Adeniji, says he was not informed of any plastic waste recycling plant executed by the Federal Government in the state.

“Ha, I’m not aware o, honestly, I’m not aware,” he says. “What I’m aware of is a brisket machine installed by the Federal Government and that one has to do with the wood waste.

“That’s what I’m aware of and I’m not aware of that one, except I will ask from my colleagues. I was not in LAWMA in 2013, I got here in late 2015. If there is anything like that I would have known, having spent more than two years here.”

Asked if the state government has a plastic recycling plant, Adeniji replied, “the recycling plant is a private facility. It is a Public Private Partnership (PPP), West Africa Energy came on board, partners with the state government.

“They bring machinery to do recycling; they sort plastics, bottles and resell to those that require them. The plant is at Igando. They call it materials recovery facility.”

The Contractor confirms to the ICIR that the plant was indeed installed in Lagos state, but he could not state the specific location.

“We installed the plant in Lagos State. But I can tell you that the machine has been removed,” he says.

INFOGRAPHIC: N392 million plastic waste recycling plant

Already, there is a Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) in Lagos that is committed to cleaning up of post-consumer plastic waste in the state. The Alliance consists of Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, the Coca-Cola Company Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited and Nestle Nigeria Plc.

In July 2018, FBRA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Transportation, to rid the state’s waterways of plastic and packaging waste.

The MoU is a three-year partnership between Lagos State and the FBRA to clean-up and prevents waste pollution from plastics and other food and beverage packaging, on Lagos State’s inland waterways.

The programme focuses on evacuation for recycling of packaging waste collected from the four inland waterways: Five-cowrie Creek to Lekki; Marina through Elegbata and Osborne to Oworonshoki, waterways from Apapa through Kirikiri, Mile 2, Festac to Oke-Afa, and the Ikorodu Axis, which covers Ipakodo, Ibeshe, Baiyeku, Ijede and Badore.

Kaduna plant never worked since installation

Abandoned: Kaduna plant has never been operated since it was first test run by the contractor YEKEEN AKINWALE

Like Osun State, Kaduna State plant located inside the Gonigora Kaduna’s main dump site has never worked since 2012 when it was test-ran.

“The plant is dead,” says an official of Kaduna Environmental Protection Authority (KEPA) who is in charge of the dumpsite situated along Abuja Kaduna express road.

“Nothing is there, it has never worked since the day it was tested, adds the official who did not want his name to be mentioned because he did not have the authority to speak to the press.

With some samples of plastic crushed during the test-running still lying at the mouth of one of the machines, probably− the crusher, other machines were covered in dust.

Wasting away: The N15million plant that the state government keeps budgeting money for without operating it YEKEEN AKINWALE

The General Manager of KEPA, Yusuf Rigasa who was appointed on February 9, 2106, by Governor Nasir El-Rufai said the state government has earmarked N19million in its 2017 and 2018 budget to resuscitate the plant.

“The project was handed over to the then Commissioner of Environment,” Rigasa says. He told The ICIR that the Federal Government started the project but did not complete it.

FG, State governments not interested in the project – Contractor

Failure: Osun State government failed to provide complementary facilities to operate the plant YEKEEN AKINWALE

After installing nine recycling plants in nine states, Abdul Ishaq, the Chairman of Abdul Essential Services Limited, told the ICIR that his firm was frustrated by both the agents of Federal and State governments that he could not continue with the project.

He maintained that the failure of the Federal Government to pay according to work done and penchant for demanding kickbacks by officials of Ecological Fund Office, Federal Ministry of Environment, and state governments’ officials were responsible for why the rest of the project was abandoned.

“The frustration on the job was from government officials; they never paid us according to the value of the job done, before they pay us, you have to balance the equation.

“You understand what I’m saying. When you finish balancing the equation and the scatter level they scattered the job to, you are left with nothing.”

They paid over N320million and that is the money for us and money for the consultant, money for the Ecological Fund agency and money for the Ministry of Environment, he told the ICIR.

Untapped revenue: Despite its huge economic potentials, Ekiti State has no budget line for the recycling plant YEKEEN AKINWALE

“I have what is called the Financial Outlay that shows how much they pay us every time. But you know what?  These guys are wicked, in the bill of quantities, what they paid me was not even up to the cost of the machine. The machine alone was over 80 per cent of the job,” Abdul alleges.

He specifically mentioned Rivers, Cross River, Delta and Oyo states where, according to him, state officials were demanding for money before they could allocate land where the plant would be sited.

Abdul revealed that many of the states have the machines installed already. “We have in Borno, Katsina, Oyo, Delta, Rivers and other states.”

But the Federal Ministry of Environment that supervised the project has not responded to all the allegations.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request dated August 29, 2018, and addressed to the Minister of Environment requesting for the contract details of the project was not responded to even at the expiration of the seven working days allowed by law.

However, after a period of two months and a week, the Ministry responded to the FOI request in a four-page document and two Video CDs documenting when Lagos and Katsina states recycling plants were test-run. The document was dated November 5, 2018.

The Federal Ministry of Environment is reputed for its notoriety for not responding to FOI requests.  The Ministry came last in 2016 in the ranking of government ministries, agencies and commissions’ response to FOI request conducted by the Public-Private Development Centre (PPDC). It was second to the last in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

When the ICIR reporter contacted the Ministry’s Director of Public Communications, Mohammed Sagir, for a response on the state of the plants and allegations by the contractor, he simply directed him to write a formal letter.

But when he was told an FOI request was pending in the Ministry, he claimed that such has not been brought to his desk as he is also new in the Ministry.

The following day that this reporter went back to the Ministry with the acknowledged copy of the FOI request, he was told to go and follow it up at the office of the Minister.

“We will treat it whenever it is brought here, but you can go and follow it up at the Minister’s office a female staff at the Public Communications office told this reporter.

Findings by the ICIR revealed that almost all the plants installed by the contractor in states like Lagos, Borno, Ekiti, Katsina, Osogbo, Niger, Kwara, Kaduna, Oyo have either been vandalized, stolen or abandoned to rot away.

In the response to the FOI request which further confirmed that the Ministry was unaware of the state of the project contrary to claims by the Minister, the document stated that all the 26 machines have been delivered to the beneficiary states, noting that 21 equipment buildings were completed.

The copy of the response of the Federal Ministry of Environment to the Freedom of Information Request YEKEEN AKINWALE

It added that the project was completed in nine states − Katsina, Kaduna, Ilorin, FCT, Bauchi, Osogbo, Ado-Ekiti, Ibadan and Lagos, while the training of personnel was also carried out.

Despite claiming that all the 26 machines have been delivered, the Ministry in its response said, three states, Cross River, Delta and Ebonyi were yet to provide land as promised at the beginning of the project.

Twelve states where the equipment buildings have been completed are yet to provide water, electricity for the installation and test running of the machines, the Ministry said in the document but failed to name those states. And it is not clear if the nine states where the government claimed the project was completed were among them.

It confirmed that there is an outstanding of N69.77million debt to be paid to the contractor as it was paid N322.53million, which the document said represents 82.21 per cent of the contract sum.

The revenue potentials that Nigerian government failed to harness

Waste to wealth: Oluwalana used to sort plastic bottles at the dumpsite, now she supplies plastic bottles to recycling plants and makes money YEKEEN AKINWALE

Rachael Oluwalana was once a worker at Saje dumpsite in Abeokuta, Ogun State. She was always sorting out plastic waste for merchants who take it to recycling plants in Lagos.

“I used to work here for like two years, but from my daily contributions I started my own business about three months ago,” she said

Now a plastic waste supplier, Oluwalana sends 5000 kilograms of plastic waste collected at Saje dumpsite to a Chinese owned recycling plant at Mowe, Lagos, Ibadan expressway.

Selling at N50 per kilogram, she told the ICIR that her income in a month revolves around N200,000 and N250,000.

“We used to sell a kilogram at N34 but it has been increased to N50. The buyer used to deduct like 9 per cent or 5 per cent for the dirtiness of the plastic and we pay commission to the owner of the plant, West Africa Energy. We pay N3000 on 2500kg.

In the plastic waste value chain, Oluwalana is just one aside from the scavengers who pick the paste− the loaders, transporters and recycling plants operators and pellets buyers− it has parts of the solution to the unemployment problem in Nigeria which stands at 18.8 per cent as at third quarter of 2017.

Plastic waste recycling is definitely a huge revenue generation potential that government is not harnessing.

In Kaduna, plastic recycling is a booming business YEKEEN AKINWALE

According to Ishaq, the type of recycling plant that his firm installed has the capacity to produce the 10,000 kg of pellets per day and an average of 70,000kilogram in a week noting that the energy requirement of the machine is 200kilowatts and can run on 100kva generator.

At N150 per kilogram of pellets, Nigeria can generate as much as N42million from the sales of pellets in a month and as much as N504billion in a year from just a recycling plant if well managed.

The government is not taking this advantage, whereas other countries of the world are already making revenue out of plastic waste recycling.

In Haiti, the Philippines, and Brazil for example; the Plastic Bank pays people to collect plastic garbage.

They can trade it for groceries, fuel, and even school fees, or receive payment in the blockchain. The goal is to help people out of poverty and combat plastic pollution in the ocean, Forbes reported.

At a private recycling plant in Kaduna, bagged plastic pellets waiting to be transported to final destinations YEKEEN AKINWALE

The bank pays them more than other recycling schemes because it sells the plastic on to corporations at a premium as an ethically sound raw material called social plastic. Since 2014, it has processed 3.2 million kilograms (32,000 tons) of plastic.

Some schools in Haiti, Forbes reports, also accept plastic to be used toward tuition.

“If a family making $1,000 a year gets $60 from plastic, it’s a profound change in their lives,” says David Katz, founder of the Vancouver, BC-based company. (The company’s term for the currency is Social Plastic).

According to Daily Mail, 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year. Eighty per cent of it comes from developing countries like Nigeria.

The Plastic Bank wants to address the root cause of plastic pollution, rather than clean up once it’s already in the ocean.

“We should realize the value of plastic while it’s still on land then transfer that value to the world’s most disadvantaged,” Chikere says.

“Nigerian government needs to be in the mainstream of nations seeking to build a globally functioning recycling economy so that fewer new plastics are created and less are disposed of in an uncontrolled manner,” he concluded

Banning the use of plastic in Rwanda has worked well. And the country is a now used as UNEP case study for other countries to emulate

In 2004,  the  Rwandan Ministry of Environment,  concerned by the improper disposal of plastic bags, as they were often burned or clogged drainage systems, commissioned a baseline study which revealed that plastic bag litter was threatening agricultural production, contaminating water sources, killing fish and creating visual pollution.

In 2008 the Rwandan government banned the manufacturing, use, sale and importation of all plastic bags. Paper bags replaced plastic ones, and citizens also started using reusable bags made of cotton.

Along with the new ban, tax incentives were provided to companies willing to invest in plastic recycling equipment or in the manufacturing of environmentally friendly bags.

Not only can eliminating plastic trash save lives, but it also boosts economies, reports the Global Citizen which chronicles the success recorded by Rwanda after banning plastic.

Rwanda, according to the report, has seen an increase in tourism and compared to Uganda, a much cleaner environment.

Rwanda relies heavily on tourism and by eliminating plastics bags can promote eco-tourism and a cleaner greener environment than neighbouring countries. 1.2 million tourists visited Rwanda in 2014–an increase of 4 per cent in the last year.

“Eight per cent (177,000 jobs) in Rwanda are in the tourism sector. And tourism brought in 305 million (USD) last year.

“In addition, Rwanda’s efforts to eliminate plastic bags and overall plastic waste by banning it saved funds that would have been needed to pay government employees to clean up plastic waste.

“So the ban was a pretty smart move economically.”

If Nigeria must get it right the management of plastic waste, Isiaka Amoo, a professor of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, says the Federal and State governments must work together.

Huge business: Already, private individuals are making a living out of plastic waste business in Osogbo, Osun State YEKEEN AKINWALE

“There is no national policy on plastic waste management in Nigeria as of now. I don’t think there is one,” he says.

“At the Federal level, we have the Senate and the House of Representatives, at our local level, we have House of Assembly here. We can have the law at the top and bye-law at the state level so they can work hand-in-hand in order to have effective ways of managing these plastic wastes.”

He says that plastic waste, besides recycling can also be used to generate energy as used in China.

“We can recycle plastic and it can be used again. Apart from this, you can produce energy from it. When you burn plastic, you see the heat that comes out of it. It shows the amount of heat energy in it. I think in China or India, they are using plastic to generate power. And the by-product that comes from it, they use it to tar their road.”

Another problem is that we don’t have a continuous government; if there is continuity, the new government ought to take over abandoned projects and continue with them.

As it is done in Rwanda, Amoo says the Federal Government can also introduce Public Private Partnership (PPP) to the management of plastic waste in the country.

“We need Public Private Partnership (PPP) at all level, it is a menace, Federal Government and state governments cannot do it alone. If the attitude of government workers is nothing to write home about, it is better to have PPP,” he says.

“The policy can be made by the Federal Government and the private people should continue with the policy.”

On his part, Chikere avers that political engagement is a powerful lever for setting the right incentives to change. “Developing a circular economy is just a matter of political will,” he quips.

The plastic waste menace Nigeria is not dealing with

Plastic waste everywhere: Once it rains, plastic waste takes over everywhere and the government is not dealing with it YEKEEN AKINWALE

“It was as if all the plastic in Ife were directed here,” says Adewale Mathew, who for two hours, with the help of his friends and clients, spent two hours picking plastic waste that took over his fitness centre situated along Ede road very close to Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State.

It was after a heavy rainfall. Water flooded everywhere – from Ile-Ife down to Ede road. Roads and houses were all taken over by water.

That day, Monday, July 30, 2018, residents counted their losses but one thing littered everywhere – it was a plastic waste. Pet bottles, take-away foils, pure water sachets and polythene covered the walkways, road and all available space.

“We have to wait for the flood to come down,” he narrated. “Immediately the flood subsided, we have to pick the plastics.”

“I have clients and friends who joined me in picking the plastic, it took us like two hours, we just have to pick and pick, gather them and burn them all,” Mathew told the ICIR, pointing to flooded parts of his fitness centre.

The amount of plastic that came with the flood was unimaginable for him. “I can’t even count, more than 500 plastics covering everywhere because they could not flow under the bridge, so they were washed here and at the edge of the bridge.”

His prayer every time it’s about to rain is ‘for there not to be flood’ because as he said, “Any time there is a flood, we must see plastics.”

Mathew’s experience after the flood underscores the menace of plastic waste which he admits constitutes a serious environmental challenge.

Nigeria has no national policy on plastic waste management− the Minister of Environment of State disclosed that the Federal Government was working on a national policy on plastic waste management to regulate use and disposal of plastic waste in the country.

This is unlike fellow African countries − Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritania and Morocco, that now have a total ban of plastic bags and packaging.

In February 2017, ten countries signed up with the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) to ban the use of plastic bags or containers.

Each year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80 per cent of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic, the UN agency said.

Clogged drainage: In Lagos, like many cities across Nigeria, plastic waste clog gutters and waterways, thereby causing floods YEKEEN AKINWALE

“According to some estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic,” says UN Environment Program in an article titled “UN declares war on ocean plastic.

The threat by plastic waste, environmentalists say is very real.

“If individual countries fail to clean up their plastic waste, our seas will be choked and this will almost certainly affect the world’s ability to generate oxygen, sustain the food chain and indeed all life on the planet,” they said at the UNEA’s #CleanSeas campaign in 2017.

The environmental impacts of plastic waste alongside the looming threat to human survival are many, says Chigozie Chikere, a Training Facilitator at the Institute of Maritime Studies, University of Lagos.

Scientists across the globe are increasingly finding wildlife that has been killed after ingesting or becoming entangled with plastic. Ninety per cent of seabirds, for example, have been found to have plastic in their bellies, The New Republic reports.

It says the estimated 19 billion pounds of plastic that end up in the ocean every year is expected to double by 2025.

“These plastics will not only kill more animals; they’ll decimate coral reefs, and damage human health as microplastics enter the food chain.

“They’ll create more and bigger dead zones where nothing can live, harm biodiversity, and change ecosystems. There will likely be additional, unknown impacts; researchers have only been studying ocean plastics for less than two decades.”

Chikere explained that only one per cent of ocean plastic is actually found floating on the surface.

“In fact, the plastic concentration on the ocean floor is 1,000 times greater than on the surface.”

 

 

This investigation was supported by  John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR.

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Police Arrest Two Members Of A Gang That 'Killed' 16-Year-Old Student In Bayelsa

16 November 2018 - 10:55am



Bayelsa State Vigilante Service has arrested two suspects in connection with the killing of Miss Seiyefa Fred, a student in Bayelsa State.

Fred was shot dead over the weekend at Amarata, a suburb of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, after her mobile phone was snatched. See Also CRIME 'Cultists' Gun Down 16-Year-Old Student For Refusing Attempt To Snatch Her Smartphone 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

While parading the suspects — Junior Danumunabo and Ayibakepreye Idionyo — Parkins Ogede, Chairman of the Vigilante Service, in Yenagoa, said the duo were nabbed in the same vicinity where the crime was committed.

"At about 5am, the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service apprehended two suspects connected to the killing of Miss Seiyefa Fred at Amarata. The names of the suspects are Junior Danumunabo, aged 20 from Nembe, Ogbolomabiri, and resident at Gwegwe street Ovom in Yenagoa, while Ayibakepreye Idionyo, aged 30 years, allegedly supplied the locally-made pistol," he said.

He added the suspects had been handed over to the Police for further interrogation and prosecution.

He urged members of the public to support the Police and the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service with useful information to reduce crime in the state.

Confirming the arrest, Butswat Asinim, the Police spokesman in Bayelsa State, said: “Upon interrogation, Junior Daumunabo confessed to being a member of the Greenland cult group. He also confessed that he was a member of the gang that shot and killed Seiyefa Fred."

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Court Dismisses Contempt Suit Against Lai Mohammed

16 November 2018 - 10:35am


Justice Rilwan Aikawa of a Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed a contempt application filed by a former Minister of State for Finance, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman, seeking to commit the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to prison for the inclusion of her name in the 'looters' list' he released to the public.

In his ruling on Friday, Justice Aikawa said the application was a distraction which could interfere with speedy determination of the matter.

Usman, who is facing allegations of money laundering brought against her and a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, had argued in the application that the inclusion of her name in the list released by the information minister during the pendency of the case against her is contemptuous.

She, therefore, urged the court to commit the Information Minister to prison for contempt of court. The former Minister also argued that Mohammed's action undermines the integrity of the court and is aimed at poisoning the mind of the public against her.

However, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to decline Usman's application, insisting that the applicant was never referred to as a looter by the information minister, as what was published by some newspapers only bordered on allegations and cannot be said to be prejudicial to the applicant's case in court.

His words: "The minister of information is not a party to the criminal proceedings against the applicant. There is no evidence to show that the alleged contemnor works with the various media houses that published the alleged offensive publication. Besides, there were no allegation against the media houses that published the alleged offensive publication.

"There was nothing that connects the ministry of information to the motion which was taken out to annoy the prosecution. The motion is lacking in substance; it is an abuse of court process and should be dismissed."

In his ruling, Justice Aikawa agreed with the prosecution that the right parties to the contempt proceedings were not before the court. According to him, the publications which the applicant complained of was published by media houses and not the alleged contemnor, so the right parties to be joined in this application are the media houses.

The judge also held that a mere publication, which did not go to the substance of the case or directly affect the proceedings before the court, cannot be said to have interfered or influenced the mind of the court. He further stated that the publication is not an advertorial from the Minister of Information, so he can not be held responsible for what was published by the media houses.

The judge therefore held that the publication is not prejudicial to the applicant's case in court and thereby dismissed for lacking in merit.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had re-arraigned Usman, Fani-Kayode, Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited before Justice Aikawa on a 17-count charge of conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.

According to the EFCC, the accused persons on or before January 2015, unlawfully retained the total sum of N4.6 billion, which they knew was proceeds from an unlawful act. While Usman, a former Minister of Finance under the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration, Danjuma Yusuf and Joint Trust Dimentions Nigeria Limited retained the sum of N1.5 billion, Fani-Kayode and Olubode Oke, said to be at large, were accused of retained the total sum of N1,650,650 billion.

The accused persons were also alleged to have made payment of several amounts running to billions of Naira without going through financial institutions.

The offence allegedly committed between January 2015 and March 2015 is said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) & 4 of the same Act.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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Delta Councillors Clash With LG Chairman Over N10m Donated By Okowa 'For No Reason'

16 November 2018 - 10:09am


Uche Osadebe, Chairman of Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State, and his fellow councillors are currently at each other's throats following the N10 million largesse said to have been released to the council boss by Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, for an undisclosed purpose.

SaharaReporters learnt that outside the N10 million-related crisis, the council chairman is set for a a fight to the finish with the councillors over their refusal to pass the 2018 budget presented to the legislative arm of the council since June 2018.

Sources in the council who confided in our correspondent disclosed that for the past six months, the council boss has been running the council without a budget following the delay and refusal of the councillors to pass the budget despite the over N5 million made available to councillors as allegedly demanded.

A Head Of Departments (HOD) in the council who preferred not to be named told SaharaReporters: "There is a serious problem going on in the Oshimili South council area with the council Chairman and the councillors because of budget. Over five months now after the chairman of council presented a budget proposal of over N2 billion to the legislative arm, they have refused to pass the budget.

"The councillors demanded for N5 million from the chairman, which was shared among them, yet they refused to pass the budget. Giving reasons for the delay, the councillors claimed the chairman halted the defence that we, the Heads of Departments (HODs) and supervisors, were supposed to carry out. The councillors said the budget has grey areas to be fine-tuned. However, outside that, the councillors are also demanding to see the N10 million said to have been given the chairman by the governor."

Speaking on the crisis between him and the legislative arm of Oshimili South council, the council chairman, Uche Osadebe, stated that since June 5, 2018, he presented the budget to the legislators who demanded money from him to pass the budget.

"We presented our budget since on the 5th of June. As I am talking to you, they have not passed the budget up till now even after giving them the money demanded for," he said.

Osadebe recounted how the money was disbursed to the leader of the legislative arm, principal officers and other lawmakers in tranches.

“The first money I gave to them was N1,050,000; the whole house was given N900,000, then I later gave principal officers N150,000, and they kept the budget. I was in school and while I was writing exams, they were disturbing me that they must be given more money. I said I won’t give."

According to the council boss, the member representing Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Mrs. Amaechi Mrakpor, had to wade into the crisis, but not without parting with another N3.1 million to the councillors to hasten the passage of the budget.

His words: “The matter got to Ada Anioma, the member representing Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Mrs. Amaechi Mrakpor, she invited all of us and the woman persuaded me and pleaded with me, and we agreed on what to give the councillors and we gave them another N3.1 million.

“After the N3.1 million, they came up again and demanded for another N1.2 million and it was given to them and that was in August. So, first they were given N1,050,000, secondly, N3.1 million and lastly N1.2 million. And when you add up everything, you will see that on the whole we ended up giving them N5,350,000 to pass a budget and till date, the budget has not been passed.

"Till date, the budget has not been passed, and again I still gave N150,000 each that we owed them for May/June that we didn’t give them before the crises started. I gave them that N150,000 as running cost. They have seen the income and expenditure; they are running up and down because when they applied, they didn’t want to say it is for passing of budget. So, I told the treasurer to write it as budget passing. When they applied, they wrote it as town hall meeting. So, if you say it is town hall meeting, go and get all the tapes, go and get all the people you met. All the money I gave them, I said it should be written as for budget passing.

“There is no need for anybody to hide anything. You are fighting me and you want me to guide and protect you? No! I have to fight back. What are you fighting me for? Sharing formula! For me to give you money? Which money am I getting? Even my statutory money, I don’t even collect it. I have my statutory money that I have to collect; the running cost, I give you people. I don’t collect my own.

“I told the SLG to write a letter and forward to the House of Assembly on the delay of our budget that I presented to them since on the 5th of June and up till date, they have not passed that budget. I want the House of Assembly to invite them to explain the reason why our budget will be in their hands for several months now without doing anything. Meanwhile, other local governments passed theirs within one month, yet they are holding onto our budget for several months. That is the issue."

However, on the N10 million allegedly released to him by Okowa, the council chairman declined comment.

When contacted on the allegations levelled against the legislative arm by the council chairman, leader of the legislative arm, Nwosa Peter Chukwuemeka, alleged that the council boss, Osadebe, was running the council as his private business as well as spending the council allocation, awarding and executing contracts without the approval of the house.

He said: "The law clearly states that the chairman is supposed to lay down his budget at the beginning of every financial year which is January. All through January, the chairman never brought a budget to the House. We tried to engage him on reasons why he should bring his budget to the House and we also tried to make him know that it is not possible for him to run projects without a budget; that it is a financial crime as far as the law is concerned.

“Sometime in April, the House wrote him when we noticed he was spending money without appropriation. The House had to write him intimating him that what he was committing was a financial crime, and he never replied the House. We also told him to give us his income and expenditure as stipulated by the local government law. It is mandatory that at the end of every month, he sends his income and expenditure to the House, so that the House can go through it and be sure that he is working in line with and in accordance with the ethics of the local government system, which he refused.

"After writing the chairman twice in the month of May, intimating him why he should do the needful; he was defiant, and the chairman alleged that we the councillors were demanding that he shares the N10 million given to him for projects by the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. We wrote him again later that same May, the third time. At that point, he started alleging that the governor gave him N10 million for projects and that councillors were calling him to share the money. That led to an uproar in the council, because it was surprising to us because we never knew such money was given to him.

"The budget had gone through first and second reading. The budget goes to Finance and Appropriation Committee where every other committee in the house becomes a sub-committee. At that point, all HODs and supervisors would defend the budget at the various sub-committee level. The meeting with the committee was fixed, and only three departments came: Works, Environment and Health and they told us that they don’t know how the budget came about.

"Suddenly a letter came from the HPM, telling us that we have no right to invite anybody to come and defend budget, so the budget was stalled by the executive arm of the government. They stopped the process of the budget; the budget presented to the House is not realistic. The law does not say that the executive presents budget means that the budget must be passed. The House has the right to look into the budget and if it is deemed fit that it is proper, they can pass it. So, what he has just brought as a budget, they have not done the right thing."

On the allegation of N5 million bribery, the leader said: “To me, it will be funny if the executive chairman of a local government can make such statements, because it means he does not know what he is doing. By law, by aiding bribe, you are an accomplice. So, saying he paid legislators to pass the budget for him means that for the budget he brought, he is not sure of it. However, that is not true. No dime was given to this legislative arm to pass budget. He is only trying to be crafty. The N1.2 million he gave us is for our imprest, and that was after so much negotiation."

As of the time of filing this report, our correspondent learnt that the councillors had already commenced impeachment process against the council chairman.

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Judge Orders White House To Return CNN Journalist's Press Pass

16 November 2018 - 9:32am


Timothy J. Kelly , a Federal judge, has ruled in favour of CNN ordering the White House to reinstate chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass.

A lawsuit claiming that CNN and Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights are being violated by the suspension of Acosta's press pass had been filed on November 13, 2018 in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Although Judge Kelly did not give a verdict on the underlying case during his ruling on Friday, he granted CNN's request for a temporary restraining order.

According to CNN, this result means that Acosta will have his access to the White House restored for at least a short period of time. While explaining his decision, the judge said he believes that CNN and Acosta are likely to prevail in the case overall.

Kelly made his ruling on the basis of CNN and Acosta's Fifth Amendment claims, noting the White House did not provide Acosta with the due process required to legally revoke his press pass.

He left open the possibility, however, that the White House could seek to revoke it again if it provided that due process, emphasising the "very limited" nature of his ruling, while noting that he was not making a judgment on the First Amendment claims that CNN and Acosta have made.

A statement read: "We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days. Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press."

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Court Fixes Judgment Date For N11.8m Fraud Case Against PSC Director

16 November 2018 - 9:15am


A corruption case brought by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) against one Emmanuel Ibe, a Director of Finance and Administration of the Police Service Commission (PSC) before Justice Chizoba Orji of the Federal High Court 16, Apo, Abuja, has been adjourned for final judgment on January 28, 2019 after the adoption of the final addresses by both the prosecution and defence counsel.

Ibe was charged under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 for “conferring corrupt advantage” on some staff of PSC as the Director of Finance and Administration of the commission.

In a nine-count charge, ICPC had stated that N11.8 million was fraudulently paid to some selected staff of PSC in March 2015 as airfares and airport taxi allowances to travel from Abuja to seven states within Nigeria on official duties even while there were no connecting flights from Abuja to any of those states.

The defendant gave no explanation for the payments, hence was charged for committing an offence.

According to a statement by ICPC on Friday, after the adoption by both parties, the ICPC prosecution counsel, Zainab Nass, and the defense counsel, M.G. Eugene, agreed to the date fixed for the final judgment. 

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'Anti-Student' Osinbajo Not Welcome On Our Campus On Saturday, Say OAU Students

16 November 2018 - 8:24am


The Students' Union Action Committee of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) has said Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo should not bother to honour the invitation to attend a programme at the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, scheduled for Saturday.

A statement issued by Gbenga Von, Pro tem Chairman of the Students' Union Action Committee on Friday, noted that the invitation by the department was "condemnable" as Osinbajo is a "prime figure behind the underfunding of education".

According to Von, the presence of an "anti-student" figure like Osinbajo in an academic arena is a "rape of our collective intelligence in a university where students activities are currently battered by the nationwide industrial action of ASUU".

The statement read: "The attention of the student populace has been drawn to the invitation of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to a public programme by the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, at Oduduwa Hall of the university on Saturday, 17th November by 12pm.

"Firstly, it is condemnable that the Department of Fine and Applied Arts of the university itself is a victim of the negligence of government on education by the virtue of the fact that the department, just like the faculty of Law, FNC, Nursing, Dentistry etc., lost accreditation to National University Commission (NUC) in the last conducted accreditation exercise in the university. To invite such a prime figure behind the underfunding of education to be honoured among students is a mockery of students and education itself.

"Apart from the fact that Nigeria is at a period of economic and political bondage as a result of the anti-masses policies of the Federal Government on the people as piloted by the Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo-led Presidency, it is also alarming the ridiculous manner in which education has been drastically neglected leading to incessant hike in fees across several institutions that has made it difficult for average children to access qualitative education, and the struggle against these by students has led to grievous victimization of students and repressions on students' unionism even on Obafemi Awolowo University.

"It is therefore surprising how Professor Yemi Osinbajo would be able to speak about 'Freedom On Leash' as the theme of the programme, when the Federal Government is at the height of the leash on mass of people. At this period where the Academic staff union of universities (ASUU) has been on strike across universities including OAU over the rotten state of university education, it is still a shock to us that the only solution provided by the government is for tertiary students to begin to pay N700,000 as tuition fee per session.

"We, therefore, see the presence of such anti-student figure of the government in an academic arena to be a guest speaker, as a rape of our collective intelligence in a university where students' academic activities are currently battered by the nationwide industrial action of ASUU."

Citing the conditions on which the vice-president would be welcome in the institution, the organisation said Osinbajo should firstly: "Initiate the adequate funding of education by committing at least 26% of the country's budget as against the paltry 7% to the education sector; immediately yield to the demands of ASUU on university education and earned workers allowance; and immediately effect the lift of the workers wage beyond N30,000minimum wage to alleviate the striking poverty level in the country".

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Egbokhare, UI’s Professor Of Linguistics, Elected President Of Nigerian Academy Of Letters

16 November 2018 - 7:45am

Francis Egbokhare, a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ibadan, has been elected President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL).

Until his election as President at the 20th NAL Convocation, Scientific Session and Investiture of New Fellows, held recently at the University of Lagos, Egbokhare was Vice President of NAL.

In a communique signed by Egbokhare at the end of the convocation, the autonomous and non-political body of scholars in the humanities supported calls for restructuring of the country, describing it as "long overdue".

NAL noted that while restructuring the country should not necessarily amount to "dissolution of the federation", there should be dialogue because "nation-building is a collective affair".

“The recent litany of massacres in Nigeria and its handling by the Federal Government are disturbing. It is apparent that Nigeria is witnessing socioeconomic and political travails and her national harmony has never been more bedevilled with agitations and frightening descent into dystopia and anomie than in this present decade,” it added.

“Nigeria’s corporate existence, like that of any modern state, is subject to negotiation in a rational way (and such remains the inalienable right of Nigerians).

“Nigerians of all professions and ethnic groups have a stake in the development of the country, and are entitled to its dividends. Thus, they must be allowed to contribute to her evolving political and cultural frameworks.

“A nation achieves unity, not through dictatorship, infringement on citizens’ rights or brute force but by negotiation and respect for the humanity of its citizens."

The NAL event was attended by 112 professors, and it also featured the convocation lecture entitled ’Plural Loyalties and Multiple Identities in Post-independence Nigeria’, delivered by Professor Siyan Oyeweso, a Professor of History at the Osun State University and substantive Director of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, Osun State.

The convocation and investiture of new fellows was presided over by Professor Olu Obafemi, the then NAL President, while Professor Egbokhare, the then Vice-President who succeeded Obafemi, presided over the scientific session.

Twenty-eight new members were inducted and four new regular fellows (Professor Raufu Adebiyi Adebisi, Olutayo Charles Adesina, Isaac Deji Aiyegboyin and Godwin Sogolo) were admitted into the NAL College of Fellows.

Egbokhare, the new President of NAL, is one of UI’s fearless, upright and most respected professors.

Once the university’s youngest professor, Egbokhare was Director of UI’s Distance Learning Centre (DLC) between 2004 and 2010. 

A Linguistics professor since 1999, he was an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung fellow at the University of Hamburg, Germany, between 1996 and 1997. He was also visiting scholar to Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville from 2002 to 2004.

A key feature of his sterling service to the academia is helping to attract grants to UI, chief of which is his role as Principal Investigator/Project Leader in the $1.2m grant awarded to the DLC over nine years by the John D and Catherine T Macarthur Foundation.

Egbokhare was inducted into the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ), UI, in 2006, and has been a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters since 2012. He currently has 102 publications (books, monographs, journal articles and book chapters) to his name.

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Ijaw Youth Council Backs Ex-Militants' Protest Over Pipeline Surveillance Jobs

16 November 2018 - 7:28am


IYC members demonstrating

IYC members demonstrating IYC Worldwide

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has thrown its weight behind former militants and youth from the 111 communities under Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30, Delta State.

The youth had stormed the Delta State Government House, Asaba, to protest the "violent infringement and deliberate attempt" by one Captain Hosa Okunbo, chairman of Ocean Marine company, to "render thousands of Delta State youth jobless by taking away pipeline surveillance jobs from them. See Also Jobs Ex-Militants In Delta Protest 'Deliberate Attempt' To 'Snatch' Pipeline Surveillance Jobs From Them 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Speaking on the protest carried out by Delta State ex-militants and youth, IYC warned that it will not condone a situation where the interest of the people of Niger Delta region are "tampered with" especially.

In a statement signed by the IYC National Legal Adviser, Igbeta Ayebakuro and its national spokesman, Daniel Dasimaka, obtained by SaharaReporters, the organisation stated that it will not be party to any agenda aimed at "conning the people out of opportunities".

The statement read: "The statement that came out of the council in the last two days, on the choice of some group of youth and former agitators from communities that fall within OML 30, who had embarked on a protest taking their plea to the Delta State Government over their fears of being displaced and deprived of their legitimately guaranteed daily bread, by forces they consider to be using all means, including unlawful and brutal means, was not issued with an intent to support injustice against our own.

"Though, as we earlier noted, Ocean Marine and its owner, Captain Hosa Okunbo, are also from Niger Delta and we do not believe they should be discriminated in any form, but we must state, unequivocally, that the initial information provided by Ocean Marine and its drivers was less than truthful and we are of the view that inadequate information was provided to mislead the council.

"To this end, it is the opinion of the IYC that no genuine Niger Delta person or group should do anything to hurt the interest of the people of the region and in this instance, the hard-working youths and ex-agitators from the OML 30 communities in Delta State.

"This message is directed to Ocean Marine and its management to back off from using the current unwholesome and illegal methods they are employing to forcefully seize the pipeline security jobs from the current operators. We will not be used to validate oppression of our brothers."

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Appeal Court Uphold's Jolly Nyame's Jail Sentence — But Only For 12 Years

16 November 2018 - 6:56am


The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has reduced the 14-year jail term of Jolly Nyame, a former Governor of Taraba State to 12 years.

In May 2018, Nyame was charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 41-count of allegedly diverting N1.64billion during his eight-year governorship tenure between 1999 and 2007. He was sentenced to 14 years in jail. See Also Corruption BREAKING: Court Jails Jolly Nyame, Ex-Taraba Governor, For 14 Years Over N1.64bn Fraud 0 Comments 5 Months Ago

However, the three-man panel of the court led by Justice Abdul Aboki, reduced the sentence to 12 years.

He was also asked to pay a fine of N495million.

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Kim Porter, Mother Of Three Of Diddy's Children, Found Dead

16 November 2018 - 5:32am


Kim Porter, former girlfriend of American rapper Sean Combs, popularly known as Diddy, has been found dead.

Although the cause of her death is still a mystery, she was mother to three of the rapper's children and was aged 47 at the time of her death.

Kim Porter dated Diddy from 1994 till 2007.

News of her death was announced by TMZ Magazine on Thursday night.

Celebrities around the world have taken to social media account to pay tribute to her.

Reacting to the news, Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage, wrote on Instagram: “You just don’t know the hour the Lord will call you back. RIP. May God protect your babies".

In a post on Instagram, American singer, Rihanna, wrote: “This is heavy, heartbroken about this man. We lost a real one today; beautiful inside and out. So many will be affected by this, some won’t even know why...but the whole world was graced by the vibrance in your spirit. My deepest condolences to the ones that were blessed enough to know, meet, and love her! Such a special soul man! This don’t even feel real! May God comfort and protect her children and loved ones! RIP @ladykp”.

A tweet by Missy Elliot read: "My heart just aches so much for her children. She loved them dearly; she was proud of her kids and they loved their mother so much. Prayers for @Diddy during such a difficult time. #KimPorter, those that know you will always remember your SMILE, your LAUGH and KIND HEART.”

America comedian Kevin Hart described her as a “beautiful person inside and out".

“RIP Kim... You were a beautiful person inside and out. My prayers go out to the entire family. @diddy you & your family are loved by so many... You are God's child and he will see you and your entire family through this. Stay strong man....Nothing but love for u,” his post read.

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BREAKING: Appeal Court Reduces Dariye's 14-Year Jail Term To 10 Years

16 November 2018 - 3:58am



The Court of Appeal in Abuja has commuted the sentence of Joshua Dariye, former Governor of Plateau State, from 14 years to 10 years.

The court held that since Dariye is a first-time offender, the 14-year jail term was excessive.

Dariye was sentenced to two-year and 14-year jail terms to be served concurrently without an option of fine in June 2018.

More to follow...

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EXCLUSIVE: How Shehu Sani's Senatorial Ticket Was 'Sold For $2m' To Oshiomhole Through Farouk Adamu

16 November 2018 - 3:47am


Details have emerged of how the Kaduna Central Senatorial District ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was sold for $2million to Uba Sani, Political Adviser to Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State.

A source privy to the deal spoke exclusively to SaharaReporters in Abuja on Friday.

According to the source, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, singlehandedly gave the money to Farouk Adamu. He said Adamu collected the cash in Abuja on behalf of Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He revealed that the sum of N50million was offered to the Assistant Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, by Uba Sani, which he turned down. The source also noted that Nabena had issued several press statements that Shehu Sani remained the only candidate cleared for the zone, and Nabena had insisted he would only do what the National Working Committee (NWC) asked him to do, as he had no power to upturn their decision.

Hadiza, however, threatened to do everything possible to stop Shehu Sani from getting the automatic ticket, whether the NWC liked it or not.

SaharaReporters gathered that after the failure of a series of attempts by the proxies to get Nabena's cooperation, Hadiza decided to channel it through Farouk, who collected the cash.

The source also narrated how the Governor El-Rufai slept in the National Chairman's office, and threatened to pitch tent with Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), if Shehu Sani's name was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the APC candidate for Kaduna Central Senatorial District.

Farouk, who headed a presidential committee on the APC primaries, collected the money without the knowledge of other members. Members of the committee include Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

"He ignored the report of the committee and took charge of making phone calls to senators to inform them who made the list and who did not. Why is it that those who got the tickets have not come out to defend Oshiomhole against the myriad of allegations of bribery levelled against him?" the source queried.

Investigations revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Sani Mustapha, the senator representing Niger South Senatorial District, to return to the party.

Mustapha had announced his resignation from the party on October 22, 2018, stating that his decision to leave the party was due to the injustice done to him by the substitution of his name with that of Bima Mohammed, who was not cleared by the panel. See Also Elections After Shehu Sani, Another Senator Dumps APC 0 Comments 3 Weeks Ago

According to information obtained by SaharaReporters, the president has asked him to go to court to challenge the injustice, and promised that he would get his (president's) support.

"As I am talking to you now, Senator Sani Mustapha has returned to APC and gone to court to challenge the manipulation of the results of the primaries," the source revealed.

The backlash that followed the bribery allegations levelled against Oshiomhole compelled his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, to issue a statement on Thursday, in which Oshiomhole threatened to take legal action against further allegations. See Also Elections 'Enough Is Enough!' — Oshiomhole Brands Bribe-Taking Allegations As 'Nonsense' 0 Comments 1 Day Ago

However, Nabena has asked Ebegbulem to stop the media propaganda and face the reality on ground, as it had affected the party negatively.

He stated this while reacting to a statement on the Whatsapp group platform of APC Press Corps.

"Simon, please stop all this media propaganda and face the reality on ground; the damages affecting the party," he wrote.

Some members of the National Working Committee are said to be pleased with the fact that the amount allegedly paid by the candidates to Oshiomhole is in public domain. A member, who preferred not to be named, said many of the committee members were oblivious of those deals, as they were sidelined from the beginning of the entire process.

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ASUU, FG Meeting Ends In Deadlock

16 November 2018 - 1:41am


The five-hour meeting held Thursday between the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), and the federal government with a view to ending the 12-day old strike embarked upon by public university lecturers ended in a deadlock.

This is coming as the Chairman of the FGN/ASUU Renegotiation Team, Dr. Wale Babalakin, has disclosed that the purported agreement by the federal government to release N220 billion annually into the university system was an unsustainable arrangement that did not emerge from the current renegotiation team or from that of the immediate past administration.

The federal government and ASUU teams , however, agreed that the negotiation will resume next week.

National President of ASUU, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, who spoke briefly to journalists immediately after the meeting ended last night, said the strike was still ongoing and would not be called off as ASUU’s demands were yet to be met.

According to him, “We have just started the discussions; we have not really gone far. So, what we have done today is just to open up the issues. So, the strike still continues. “We have not fixed a date for the next meeting but by tomorrow, we should know,” he added.

Ogunyemi while reacting to claims of the federal government over the ongoing strike before the commencement of the meeting, said universities in Nigeria had been subjected to 20 years of continued re-colonisation under alleged democracy.

According to him, this has further retrogressed the economy in all spheres.

He buttressed the necessity of the strike and questioned the offer of N20 billion revitalisation fund despite the fact that the same government released N1.3 trillion to a distressed bank recently.

ASUU boss further reiterated that the strike is total, comprehensive and indefinite as members have withdrawn their services until government fully implements all outstanding issues as contained in the MoU of 2017, and concludes the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements.

“This strike is total, comprehensive and indefinite. Our members shall withdraw their services until government fully implement all outstanding issues as contained in the MOA of 2017, and concludes the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements.

“We have been subjected to 20 years of continued re-colonisation under alleged democracy in which all that the ruling circle have been regrouping among themselves in their various faction they called political parties.”

Ogunyemi also argued that the government was not interested in public universities as the children of the top politicians and rich men in the society patronise private universities to the detriment of public institutions.

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‘Evangelist’ Kills Pastor, Wear Victim’s Clothes, Answers His Calls

16 November 2018 - 1:31am


The chilling story of the coldblooded murder of Pastor Blessed Kelechukwu Iwuanyanwu aka Apostle Blessed Kizito of Wind of Glory International Church, an Umuahia-based Pentecostal church, at first sounded like an episode in one of the Nollywood movies. But it turned out to be true.

The pastor was murdered along with his assistant, Pastor Ikeagwu Kalu aka Ambassador, and women leader, Ruth Andrew Eze.

The Wind of Glory International Church where Iwuanyanwu presided before his gruesome murder is a church of not more than 200 members.

It is behind the Ohokobe Hall on Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road. Part of the wall of the church is not yet plastered. The back of the church rests on the fence. It has an entrance without door, so it is always open.

As at the time our correspondent visited the church, it was empty.

The incredible murder of the pastor and his lieutenants was uncovered when operatives of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Patrick Edung, on October 20, 2018, discovered the decomposing bodies of the victims.

They were found in Iwuanyanwu’s residential apartment. The pastor lived at Umuobia Housing Estate, where the other two had gathered for prayers.

It was right there in that apartment that the three met their untimely death. While the police were sniffing for clue to the murder case, the daughter of Ruth, Sweeney Andrew Eze, reported the disappearance of her mother to the Zone 9 Police Command Headquarters, Umuahia.

Sweeney reported the matter on October 16. She alleged in the report that on October 12, about 11p.m., Iwuanyanwu, who happened to be the founder and owner of Wind of Glory Ministry, came to their residence at Ehimiri Housing Estate, with her mother and shortly left with her in his SUV Infinity Jeep, marked RSH 583 HZ, to an unknown destination.

She added that the next day, October 13, when Ruth did not return as expected, she called her two mobile phone numbers, but the numbers were unreachable. It then dawned on her that something was amiss.

On October 20, she called the police and informed them that her mother had been murdered, along with Iwuanyanwu and Kalu Ikeagwu.

On October 26, detectives at Zone 9, Umuahia got information Iwuanyanwu’s SUV Infinity Jeep was sighted at the Mechanic Village, Ohiya, Umuahia South Local Government Area. The policemen swung into action.

One of the police investigators said: “The mechanic, Mr. Chibuike Peter, who was in custody of the vehicle for repairs at Ohiya, was traced to Umuokpara Police Station where he was detained over a Road Traffic Act (RTA) case. He identified the duo of Prosper Akachukwu Peter, Ikechukwu Nnadi and Fidelis Akubuokwu as those that gave him the car to repairs. They were arrested.”

During interrogation, one of the suspects, Prosper, confessed to killing the victims. He disclosed that he killed them with the assistance of three other men, who were at large.

The police found that Prosper also removed some of the personal effects of Iwuanyanwu in addition to his vehicle.

“The suspect removed the pastor’s shoes and footwear, three gold plated wristwatches, phones, dresses and cash, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards of different banks and three plasma television sets,” said the police.

Prosper said that he and the late Iwuanyanwu were from Imo State. But while he is from Mbaise, Iwuanyanwu was from Mbano. He said that the two of them were best of friends.

Prosper said: “We both attended the same secondary school and started our gospel ministries together. We were both preachers. Iwuanyanwu was my childhood friend and we were also co-pastors. When he was having challenges in growing his church I took him to a native doctor in Ondo State to get charms to attract members to his church. The charms also help him to perform miracles. I also gave him N100,000 to support him during the trip.

“We started the process in 2013 and we have been going to the shrine to renew the charm every year since then. But when the charm started working and Iwuanyanwu started making money, he forgot me. Whenever I called him for financial assistance, he would tell me not to disturb him, which was why I decided to attack and collect some of his personal belongings.”

According to him, he sat down and planned how to get back at Iwuanyanwu. He hit on a plan and decided to see it through. He hired three assassins from Aba to help him execute his plan.

“I hired three boys from Aba to attack the pastor. We trailed him to his house when he was going home and laid an ambush for him. We waited until midnight, when we knew he would return home,” Prosper said.

The suspect contradicted himself when he said: “I was outside when the boys started the operation. They invited me in when they were through with the operation. I entered and found out that they had killed Iwuanyanwu and the two other people in the house.”

He had earlier said: “When I was about attacking the pastor, the assistant pastor saw me. He called my name and asked me why I was doing that. I went after him in the other room because he saw me. I also went after the women leader because she heard when the assistant pastor called out my name.”

According to people that know Prosper, he is the only son of his parents, but is disposed to criminal ways. It was further alleged that Iwuanyanwu started avoiding Prosper because he was no longer comfortable with his criminal ways.

It was learnt that because of pressure from Prosper, Iwuanyanwu finally agreed to meet him at Shoprite Umuahia, from where Iwuanyanwu took him to his house and fed him with noodles.

After Iwuanyanwu took Prosper to his home, it was easier for the latter to later trace the house.

After murdering Iwuanyanwu, Ruth and Kalu, the suspect helped himself to some of Iwuanyanwu’s property. He took some of the items to his father, presenting to him as gifts. The father, a battery charger, based in Aba, refused to accept the ‘gifts.’

After he was rejected by his father who doubted the source of the sudden change of fortune, he went to his father-in-law at Obowo in Imo State and invited his in-laws to celebrate with him.

There, he left two of the Plasma television sets, rice and cash for his father -in-law and his (Prosper’s) wife, Precious, who he does not live with.

A police source disclosed: “The suspect had no residential address. He lives in hotels and moves from place to place. After killing the victims, Prosper went to Iwuanyanwu’s house the next morning with the bodies still lying in their blood, took his bath and changed into Iwuanyanwu’s clothes. He was answering calls to Iwuanyanwu’s phone. He posed as Pastor Iwuanyanwu, replying to inquiries about his whereabouts and health. He told callers that he was praying or attending to programmes. That was why Iwuanyanwu’s church members could not discover on time that he had been killed. By the time the members discovered Iwuanyanwu’s corpses and the other two, they were already decomposing.”

Police further found out that Prosper, after the murder, threw his footwear over the fence of Iwuanyanwu’s house. The footwear was discovered by the police search team. He was also discovered to have calmly gone through the collection of Iwuanyanwu’s clothes after the murder, picked one tickled his fancy and wore it.

Prosper then went out to bring an auto electrician to start the SUV for him.

“He lied to the auto electrician that the SUV key fell into dirty water. This was probably to cover the fact that the key fell into the blood. He was shamelessly using the pastor’s SUV, dresses, including his shoes, crucifix and staff before he was arrested,” the source said.

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Shittes: Why El-Zakzaky Can’t Be Released – Gov. El-Rufai

16 November 2018 - 1:24am


The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai has provided reasons detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, also known as Shittes, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, cannot be set free.

El-Rufai said that El-Zakzaky was not being held illegally as widely reported.

Recall that the Shittes leader was arrested in 2015, after a confrontation between members of the group and the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai.

According to the Governor, the IMN leader was detained on the orders of a competent court, being a suspect standing trial for multiple murders and other related criminal offences.

Governor El-Rufai stated this yesterday in Kaduna, when he received management team of The Sun Publishing Limited.

Although there was an order by a Federal High Court in 2016 that he be released, El-Rufai revealed that the said order had no bearing on El-Zakzaky’s current case.

The governor said the state government took time to investigate the Shi’ite leader and discovered that his activities for more than 20 years had caused several killings.

He said having concluded investigation, the state took custody of El-Zakzaky from the DSS and duly charged him with multiple murders.

Explaining the alleged daily expenses of about N3.5 million on El-Zakzaky, he said the money was not on feeding of the Shi’ite leader but on everything related to his protective custody.

El-Rufai said El-Zakzaky is guarded by a detachment of soldiers and DSS operatives who live in the place he is being kept and who are maintained by the state government.

He said, “The N3.5 million monthly feeding on El-Zakzaky is not only about his food, but other expenses on security men attached to him.

“The security men are permanently stationed with him, they surrounded where he is kept.

“He is in custody because he is facing murder charge which is not bailable, among other charges.

“As a government, we decided to proscribe Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) of which El-Zakzaky is the president because it is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

“So, any procession in the name of IMN is illegal, as far as Kaduna State government is concerned.”

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Vote Out Govs Opposing N30,000 Minimum Wage, NLC Tells Workers

16 November 2018 - 1:16am


The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Thursday asked its members to vote out state governors opposing the proposed N30,000 minimum wage.

It added that would not be intimidated by threat from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to sack workers if the new national minimum wage is implemented.

NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said this in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja.

The governors had said paying N30, 000 new minimum wage would lead to bankruptcy, adding that only Lagos and Rivers States could afford it.

The Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman of the NGF, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, also said it was impossible to implement the N30,000 minimum wage without downsizing the workforce all over the country.

Reacting to the governors’ stance, Wabba said Nigerian workers would vote out any governor, who refuses to implement as the new minimum wage.

He said threat to sack workers is not new to the union, “therefore, the current one by the governor of Zamfara cannot be used to intimidate labour.”

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S’Africa Fears Nigerian Fans Will Outnumber Hosts At Stadium

16 November 2018 - 12:41am


The chief executive officer of South Africa stadium management body, Jaqcues Grobbelaar has expressed worries that Nigeria’s football fans could outnumber those from his country in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, footballlive.ng reports.

Although Bafana Bafana will be at home for the match, from which they won the reverse fixture 2-0 away, Grobbelaar reckons that the fact of a large population of Nigerians in South Africa and their renowned love for football means they could throng the arena more than their hosts.

Facts show that Nigeria has a high presence in Johannesburg and areas in and around the city, such that Bafana will need all the number they can get of their home fans to root behind them.

Last month, Bafana played in an almost empty stadium when they faced Seychelles, such that Grobbelaar and his staff at Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA) are urging their compatriots to buy tickets, then troop out to support the team on match day.

Grobbelaar has now admitted that the situation has led to awareness campaigns and offer of freebies, to ensure South Africans show the same zeal they give to matches between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

He confessed: “We are worried by the low numbers. We are playing against one of the best teams on the continent and our biggest rivals.”

“There is no greater game to go out there with friends and family and enjoy’ but at the moment the numbers are not looking good.

“We are selling about 2,000 a day which is not bad and our projections are that we will reach about 20,000 by Friday.

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