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Our Abductors Gave Us Their Phone Numbers, Proposed Marriage—Jangebe Schoolgirls

2 March 2021 - 10:11pm

Jangebe schoolgirls' abductors gave out their phone numbers to their victims and promised to visit their parents to seek their hands in marriage.

Several girls who spoke with Daily Trust said their abductors professed love to them and promised to contact them over the phone to find out if they had accepted the marriage proposal.

One student, Hassatu Umar Anka, said their abductors advised them to abandon school to get married.

"When we were about to be released, some of them came and starting pointing at us and saying, 'We love some of you and we want to marry you if you would accept our proposal'. You shouldn't be wasting your time schooling," she said.

She said the armed men are terrified of the military and whenever fighter jets hovered in the air, they sought cover.

"They nicknamed the fighter jet "Shaho" (hawk) and if they see one, they would ask us to hide under caves or trees. It frightens them," she added.

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Ekiti Fences Public School To Prevent Abduction

2 March 2021 - 10:06pm

Governor Fayemi

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that his administration had begun constructing fences in public schools as part of proactive ways to forestall students' abduction.

The governor, who spoke on Tuesday in a statewide radio and television programme tagged 'Media chat', said, "The Government of Ekiti State, in efforts to boost security, has ensured that primary and secondary schools across the 16 local government areas of the state are adequately protected.

"In doing so, school fencing projects are ongoing. Also, the government has improved on the security surveillance across the state, deploying more personnel to strategic locations for effective coverage," the governor said.

Fayemi, who faulted the argument that state governors would deploy state police personnel against opposition politicians, said the country's growing insecurity had made the creation of state police a necessity.

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Nigerian Arrested In S'Africa For Allegedly Holding Girlfriend Hostage, Forcing Her Into Sex Work

2 March 2021 - 10:05pm

Free State police have arrested a Nigerian man for allegedly holding a woman hostage and coercing her into sex work.

The woman only managed to escape after telling one of her clients the story of how she ended up doing sex work. The man then gave her money and helped her escape.

The suspect, Justice Lyke Ikachuku, 37, was then arrested and charged with human trafficking.

According to Captain Christopher Singo of the Hawks in Free State, the 23-year-old woman told them that she met the man when he professed his love for her, asking her to be his girlfriend, IOL reports.

"Ikachuku promised the victim a hair salon and a music studio.

"She indicated that they went together to his place the same day they met.

"He then coerced the victim to work as a sex slave. On several occasions, Ikachuku booked the victim in various guesthouses to meet clients. Ikachuku then collected the money that she received for sexual exploitation.

"She was kept hostage from December 4 last year until February when she was assisted in escaping by a client. She managed to escape after one of the clients gave her R350 to run away. She then ran to the police where a case was opened and reported to the Hawk's Serious Organised Crime Investigation for further probing, which led to the arrest of Ikachuku on Friday, February 26," Singo said.

Ikachuku appeared at the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on March 1. He was expected back in court on March 8 for a bail application.

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Farm Produce Now Sold At Ridiculous Prices In North, Traders Count Losses

2 March 2021 - 10:04pm

Farmers and traders in Kano are lamenting as farm produce, which can't be sent to the South due to the ongoing strike by sellers of cows and foodstuff, are now being sold at the North at ridiculously low prices.

In a video shared by Daily Trust, the farmers and marketers at the Gun-Dutse onion market, Dawakin Kudu Local government Area of Kano State, are seen lamenting the effect of the ongoing strike by the sellers of cows and foodstuff.

SaharaReporters had reported that trucks bringing foodstuff to the Southern part of Nigeria were turned back at Kara Jebba, the last village between Niger state and Kwara state, to prevent them from bringing food to the South.

This strike is connected to an ultimatum given by the national leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to the Federal Government, which demanded compensation for the losses suffered by Northern traders in the recent mayhem at Shasha market in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The strike led to an increase in the price of food commodities in the South, but the prices are plummeting in the north.

According to Daily Trust, farmers said before the protest, they usually transport a minimum of 20 trucks to the southern part of the country daily, but the strike has affected them badly.

The largest bag of onion, sold at N35,000 few weeks ago and as high as N70,000 during the onion scarcity last year, is now being sold for N7,000.

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EFCC Deepens Tinubu Probe, Demands Asset Declaration Form From CCB

2 March 2021 - 10:03pm

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has deepened its probe into All Progressives Congress stalwart Bola Tinubu.

To this end, the EFCC has written a letter to the Code of Conduct Bureau requesting copies of Tinubu's asset declaration form.

A copy of the letter, which was published by an online news medium, The Peoples Gazette, revealed that the investigation into Tinubu began last year after the removal of erstwhile Chairman Ibrahim Magu.

The letter marked CR/3000/EFCC/LS/Vol4/322, dated November 6, 2020, was signed by the then Lagos zonal head, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who is now the Chairman of the EFCC.

The letter read in part, "In view of the above, you are kindly requested to furnish the commission with the outstanding requested information of Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu.

"This request is made pursuant to Section 38(1) and (2) of the EFCC Act 2004."

Attempts to speak with the EFCC Spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls.

However, a senior EFCC official confirmed the letter's authenticity, adding that it was part of a broader probe, Punch reports.

The official, who wished to remain anonymous, said the probe was a sequel to some petitions written against Tinubu since 2018, which Magu had failed to act on.

The source said, "The letter is authentic. The EFCC receives several petitions against Tinubu, including one involving alleged fraud in Alpha Beta Consulting."

Apara had also instituted a lawsuit against Tinubu.

In his statement of claim, he stated that Tinubu controlled the company, receiving 10 per cent of the taxes collected on behalf of the state.

As the head of the company, the former MD began looking into its finances and made many startling discoveries, such as mysterious transfers of over N20bn to various companies.

He stated, "N550m payment to Ocean Trust Ltd vide payment instruction dated the 15/5/18, N850m payment to Ocean Trust Ltd vide payment instruction dated the 14/3/15."

The claimant said N960m was spent on purchasing HITV's 300,000,000 shares.

However, Alpha Beta Tax consultancy firm, Alpha Beta LLP, denied allegations levelled against it by Apara, adding that he had diverted about $5m during his time as managing director by inflating a contract which was worth about $300,000 and then diverted a separate N6bn to personal use.

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Blockade: DAWN Commission Meets South-West Agric Commissioners Over Food Crisis

2 March 2021 - 1:44pm

The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission has met with the Commissioners of Agriculture in the South-West states over the looming food crisis in the region as a result of the blockade of food supplies coming from the North.

The DAWN Commission Director-General, Mr Seye Oyeleye, held the emergency meeting on Tuesday, which was aimed at providing solutions to the food crisis – particularly products coming from northern Nigeria which had stopped due to the lingering herders-farmers’ violence in the region.


“The Director General of DAWN Commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye, attended an emergency virtual meeting of Southwest Agric Commissioners and Southwest Agricultural Company (SWAGCO) convened by the Commission to address food security for Southwest Nigeria,” the commission tweeted on Tuesday.

DAWN was set up by the governments of the South-West states as the institutional and programme management body to midwife their regional integration agenda.

SaharaReporters had on Monday reported that business operators in Kwara and neighbouring states heaved a sigh of relief as free movement of foodstuffs resumed after some hoodlums reportedly blocked the Ilorin-Jebba Expressway over the weekend.

It had been reported that truckloads of food items from the northern parts of the country were denied entry into Kwara State and other states of the South-West zone.

Investigation had revealed that some Hausa youths stationed on the outskirts of Niger State, popularly called Kara-Jebba, near Jebba in Kwara State, last week stopped many truck drivers carrying food items such as tomatoes, beans, yams, cattle, pepper, among others, from going further from Kara into Kwara and other states in the South-West.

The situation, it was gathered, saw the trucks parked along the road, creating gridlock, while it was reported that some of the food items got spoilt.

However, it was gathered that free movement of goods and vehicles resumed on Ilorin-Jebba Expressway early Monday morning to the joy of residents and business people on the axis.

Confirming the reopening of the road in Ilorin on Monday, Prince Ibrahim Adebara, son of the traditional ruler of Jebba, said that a troop of military operatives drafted by the Federal Government effected the free movement.

Adebara, who said that the military personnel had stationed along the road to maintain law and order, added that they threatened to treat anyone that blocks the road as a terrorist.

One of the affected traders, Madam Balogun, said she was happy with the normalcy that had returned. She, however, lamented the loss caused by some perishable items that got bad while the situation lasted.

The Defence Headquarters, in a statement over the weekend by its Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, said it had cleared the Jebba-Kaduna Road of those preventing trucks from going to the South and restore normalcy in the area.

“This is also to give a stern warning to any unscrupulous group or persons who are aiming at disrupting legitimate economic and commercial activities by preventing the free flow of traffic and movement of goods in a bid to generate clashes along ethnic divides to desist from such unpatriotic acts or face the wrath of the law.

“Members of the public are also urged to promptly report anyone found engaged in such atrocious activities to security operatives,” the statement had said.

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Herdsmen: Governors Ortom, Mohammed Reconcile, Blame Nigerian Government

2 March 2021 - 12:58pm

The acrimonious relationship between the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has been amicably resolved.

The conflict was resolved in Port Harcourt on Tuesday following the intervention of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and his Adamawa State counterpart, Governor Ahmed Fintiri.

Briefing journalists at the meeting which held at Governor Wike's private residence at Rumuepirikom, Governor Mohammed described the  outburst between him and Governor Ortom over Fulani herders' profiling as highly regrettable.

"We don't mean to divide the country, to divide our people. We are still friends and brothers and that we will move forward because most of those issues are fully resolved.

"I want to use this opportunity to tell Nigerians that whatever misconception that is there, that me and my brother Ortom are having problem or anybody in Nigeria is not true. What happened was just an explanation that emanated from a larger Governors' Forum that we spoke on the security of the nation and we talked of the failure of security infrastructure which everybody knows is under the purview of the federal government."

Similarly, Governor Ortom appreciated Governor Wike and Governor Fintiri  for arranging the meeting where it was agreed that the outburst between him and his Bauchi State counterpart was  not needed.  

"We have accepted that it was wrong for us to have that kind of outburst that went out, but as from today we have learnt. We are all fallible human beings and we are subject to mistakes and so when we make mistakes, it is a plus for us if we correct them. And I think moving forward, we shall live together. The Fulani and Tiv people have cohabitated for a long time and there is no issue whatsoever."

Ortom blamed the failure of the security architecture of the country, which is anchored by the federal government, for the recent outburst between him and Mohammed.

"We look forward that the federal government should stoop down to conquer by accepting that, yes, they have failed, so that together the state and the local government can come together to find a way of finding a lasting solution to this problem.

"As at today, there is no equity, there is no fairness , there is no justice in our country and that is why everywhere in Nigeria, there are issues. So we look forward that the federal government will partner with us. This time, we need not to talk about partisan politics. We must come together. We need not to talk about ethnicity or religion. We must come together as brothers and sisters who have no other country other than Nigeria, to work together towards a common cause that will solve the problem that we have."

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Femi Adesina: A Witness In The Court Of Posterity By Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi

2 March 2021 - 11:59am

Femi Adesina

There are majorly three Femis in the Nigeria media space none of who can be ignored.This clarification is however decided by the spectacular with which we view them. The first in line, far from being a journalist even though he bestrides this space like a colossus, is none other than Femi Fani Kayode who it must be said has made his contributions to the society within the propensity of all mortals. 

The other is Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives. Like the first Femi, the law profession is a ground upon which both find affinity. However, Femi Gbajabiamila's presence in the media space is not for the things he is saying or doing, but more for the failure of his leadership of the House elected and inaugurated to ease the pains of Nigerians by making laws that will advance the cause of the people by checking the excesses of the Executive arm of Government. Unfortunately, our House of Representatives has become an extension of the powers that be; a rubber stamp, approving government's afflicting policies.

There is yet another Femi,  surnamed Adesina. Compared to the other two, this one is a media guru of no mean repute. This media man, with "kulikuli" as his cherished pen name was a delight then when soaking his many "garricious" articles with his style and flair. He was one writer firmly entrenched on the side of the people. 

Femi Adesina started his career in journalism as a writer for Radio Lagos. He later joined Vanguard Newspapers. Adesina wrote for Vanguard Newspapers and National Concord Newspapers before joining The Sun Newspaper, where he rose to become editor-in-chief, and later Managing Director. He also served as president of the Nigeria Guild of Editors. Although re-elected for a second term as the Guild's president, he stepped down after receiving his present government appointment. He also stepped down as editor-in-chief of The Sun. He was sworn-in as special adviser on media and publicity to Buhari on August 31, 2015 and thus became the President's mouth piece.

Femi Adesina

The Sun of hope rose with him at the Sun Newspaper where he justified every position he occupied. When elevation came, there was therefore little or no surprise when Buhari, the hero of the masses beckoned on him to become his mouthpiece. The President's choice seems to be one mouth without odour and hearing from Femi shouldn't pose any challenge. 

Femi ("love me" for that in simple terms is the meaning of his name), was indeed loved until the duty of speaking for Mr President began. Somewhere along the line, the ubiquitous Aso Rock demons once again reared their ugly heads! These were the same fiendish entities which according to Dr Reuben Abati, the then spokesperson for the Goodluck Jonathan's government, that emasculated him and made sure that all manner of stumbling blocks were put in the way of performance. This same Aso Rock demons seem to have woken up once again over and against Pastor Femi even though his shout of "tofiakwa",  God forbid could mean nothing. Unfortunately, the prognosis coming from that Rock is to say the least quite chilling. Or could it be the childhood myth of an old classmate name that held me bewildered that circumstances is explaining here. Back in my days at Victory School Oke Ado, Ibadan, I had a classmate whose name was Yinka surnamed Mafe. Yinka had a brother that was fondly named Femi. Until I left primary school in 77/78 though I never met Femi Mafe, but the curiosity stayed with me of how one person will be "love me" don't "love him" at the same time. This is the mystery shared by our once  loved-by-all Femi Adesina.

It is therefore understandable that Pastor Ladi Thompson in the bid to unmask the masquerade that Gumi has become will bring both him and Femi Adesina to the court of posterity. Gumi, as the accused and Femi as a witness.

The rising status of Gumi and the threat he constituted to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria necessitated Thompson's intervention.

In the dock of history, Thompson called Femi to witness against Gumi before a forgetful nation covered by Channels TV. Gumi, our today's hero was yesterday instructor of almajiris who have graduated into today's bandits. The man whose words are laws to the bandits, kidnappers and terrorists stood to answer questions that posterity the judge of our actions of yesterday in the context of the light of the present will pose at him. Thompson reminded us that we are dealing with someone very clever. A young fiery Islamic preacher whose first Tarir (Islamic preaching) threw the nation into confusion in 2004 that it took the intervention of one person to play such roles at stabilising national polity at that time. Femi Adesina it was! In Thompson's words, uniformed opinion only make matters worse and that is the lot of Femi Adesina today. As good as this may sound, it is more of a laundering to how Adesina is perceived. Adesina, he told us, stuck out his neck to say, as the fourth estate of the realm and under our watch, you can't kill people here. Pastor Ladi Thompson believes Adesina hasn't changed, but has only become wiser, knowing influence is meant to be managed. 

In struggling to remind us, Pastor Ladi has forgotten the words of "hasn't changed Adesina" during the land for RUGA and Cattle's colony programme of Muhammadu Buhari's Fulanization agenda. Those words still echo in our ears, "choose between your ancestral land and your lives", Adesina charged at a bewildered nation of over 200 ethnic nationalities. The Adesina who stuck out his neck as a journalist in 2004 couldn't do so 14 years later when he was not the voice of the people but the mouth of the President. 

Adesina can be forgiven and should be, but not by making it look as if he has done no wrong. Posterity today is judging his actions of yesterday, side by side Gumi. While Gumi is condemned Adesina is vindicated. But Adesina should be reminded that his actions today under Buhari will tomorrow stand for judgment in the court of posterity.

To err is human and to forgive is divine. Forgiveness is activated by asking for apology. Adesina knows what to do if he desires it. He remains one of the best things to have happened to the practice of Journalism in this country, that no one can deny, though he didn't leave us with much to celebrate about him as a Presidential spokesman. I for one will continue to respect his astuteness as a journalist.

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Imo Traditional Rulers Endorse Move To Recall Of Ex-governor, Okorocha From Senate

2 March 2021 - 11:51am

The traditional ruler of Amaifeke in the Orlu Local Government Area of Imo state, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, alongside other traditional rulers in the zone and Orlu Zone Political Consultative Assembly, OPOCA, have agreed to activate the recall process of Senator Rochas Okorocha, who represents Imo West Senatorial District.

The decision was taken on Monday after the 48-hour ultimatum given to Okorocha to apologise to Imo people, expired. Okorocha had been asked to apologise for unsealing the Royal Palm Spring Hotel and Apartment linked to his wife, which the government had already sealed. 

In a communique issued after taking the decision, the group called for the recall of Okorocha from the Senate. They pledged their support for the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, in his quest to recover all property and funds allegedly looted and diverted by Okorocha, his family members, and cronies.

It read: “The leadership of Orlu Political Consultative Assembly (OPOCA) ably led by its National President, Chief Barr. Rex Anunobi, after briefing the leadership of Orlu Zone Traditional Rulers, Chairmen of Local Government Councils in Imo West Senatorial Zone (Orlu Zone) and Orlu Zone Council of Elders on recent political developments vis-a-vis the recent invasion of property, Royal Spring Palm Estate & Hotel, located along Akachi Road, Owerri, sealed by the State Government following a gazetted White Paper, by a former governor and senator representing Orlu Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Rochas Okorocha, and after much deliberations unanimously resolved and adopted the following:

“That we have monitored and reviewed series of unprovoked utterances and activities of Senator Rochas Okorocha which no doubt are meant to distract our dear governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma from cleaning up Imo from the mess his administration plunged the state. 

“That the ultimatum issued to Rochas Okorocha by OPOCA which is the apex political body in Orlu Zone, demanding that the former governor tender an unreserved apology to Governor Hope Uzodinma and Ndi Imo over his recent embarrassing and lawless invasion of a properly sealed by the State Government purportedly owned by his wife, is a right step in the right direction. The Orlu Zone Council of Traditional Rulers, Chairmen of the 12 local government council areas in Orlu Zone and Orlu Zone Elders Council hereby adopt the position of OPOCA to commence without delay the recall of Senator Rochas Ethelbert Anayo Okorocha from the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

“That we commend and endorse every action taken by our dear governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, to recover for Ndi Imo all property and funds that were looted and diverted by Okorocha, his family members, and cronies. And that we shall at no time condone or tolerate any ploy aimed at frustrating the 'recovery' drive of the Shared Prosperity Government of Senator Hope Uzodinma. 

See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Police Arrest Rochas Okorocha For Allegedly Destroying Imo Government, Security Vehicles 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

“That we decry the failure of Senator Rochas Okorocha to effectively represent the people of Orlu Senatorial District. It is shameful and regrettable that Okorocha who is yet to brief his constituents, including traditional rulers for over 19 months he has been in the Senate, is rather busy fighting.

“This unfortunate situation is a departure from the quality representation we witnessed during the 8 years (2011-2019) our present Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, represented Orlu Senatorial District before his election as Governor of Imo State. 

“That we hereby renew our earlier call to all sons and daughters of Orlu Zone both at home and in the diaspora to support the Shared Prosperity Government of Senator Hope Uzodimma anchored on Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery (3-R) which has within a short period returned Imo State to the glorious path of development and good governance. 

“That we unequivocally pass an implicit Vote of Confidence on our dear Governor, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma and his team for visionarily displaying competence in governance and selflessly embarking on people-oriented projects and programmes such as massive construction of quality roads across the three (3) Senatorial Zones, skill acquisition and empowerment for the youths and women, health care delivery services, repositioning the civil and public service sectors of the state for improved productivity, among others."

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Six Killed, One Injured As Bandits Storm Communities In Kaduna

2 March 2021 - 11:47am

File Photo

Six persons have been reportedly killed by armed bandits in Igabi and Kauru local government areas of Kaduna State.

In a statement on Tuesday, the State Commissioner for Internal Security and Homes Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the armed bandits barricaded the Birnin Yero-Tami Road, Igabi and killed one Hussaini Suleiman Dari.

File Photo

He said another victim, Dahiru Saidu, was left injured and currently receiving treatment in the hospital.
At Gwada village, Igabi Local Government Area, an attack by gunmen left two persons identified as Yahuza Sale and Garba Sule, dead.

Armed bandits also invaded Ungwan Kure, and killed two residents, Mohammed Sani Suleiman and Yahuza Sale.
In another incident, armed bandits attacked Amawan Dadi Rugan Jauru settlements in the Kauru Local Government Area. One resident, Likita, was shot dead.

Aruwan said Governor Nasir El-Rufai noted the reports with sadness, and sent his condolences to the families of those killed, while praying for the repose of their souls.

He also wished those injured during the attacks quick recovery.

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How Ex-President Jonathan Used N74billion Recovered By Maina To Finance 2012 Budget —Witness

2 March 2021 - 11:45am

Ngozika Ihuoma, the first defence witness in the ongoing trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), told a Federal High Court on Tuesday that N74 billion recovered by the PRTT was used by the Nigerian government to finance the 2012 Budget.

Ihuoma, a management consultant, whose firm, Crincad & Cari Nigeria Ltd was contracted by the PRTT for consultancy service, told Justice Okon Abang when he was being led by Maina’s lawyer, Adeola Olawale.

He said Maina recovered N282 billion.

Justice Abang had, on February 25, ordered the former PRTT chairman to open his defence in the charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after the prosecution closed its case.

The witness, while testifying, said the task team recovered N282 billion cash and 222 choice property as proceeds of fraud valued at N1.6 trillion.

He explained that the said money was warehoused at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

According to the witness, out of the money, N74 billion was used to finance the 2012 national budget as passed by the National Assembly.

Ihuoma noted that a presidential directive was issued by the then president, Goodluck Johnathan, that 2.5 per cent which amounted to N7.05 billion of the recovered money be used to run the PRTT’s official duties but was never released despite several requests and a reminder to the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly.

“Former President Jonathan ordered N7.05 billion to be released to the task team to offset the fees of their consultants, ICT experts, etc.

“That has not been honoured till today, instead, the EFCC was mobilised against Maina,” he said.

Justice Abang adjourned until March 4 for trial continuation.

Maina was arraigned before the judge on October 25, 2019, by the EFCC alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd.

Although he is facing 12 counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2 billion, he had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Maina was extradited to Nigeria after his arrest in Niger Republic last Monday. He had jumped bail, leading to the arrest of Ali Ndume, a serving senator, who stood as his surety.

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Woman, Four Children Burnt To Death In Plateau While Husband Was At Football Viewing Centre

2 March 2021 - 11:40am

Nigerian woman, Ebere Precious Ogbodo and her four children, Rejoice, Merkel, Harmony and Engel were killed in a fire incident in Jos, Plateau state.

The tragic incident occurred in Gyel community, Jos South Local Government Area of the state on Thursday night, February 25. 

The fire, whose cause could not be ascertained as at press time, reportedly lasted for several hours.

While the four children died instantly, their mother, Ebere was rushed to Dee Medical Centre in Bukuru, but unfortunately died the next day. 

Philip Ogbodo, the husband of the 35-year-old woman, who is also the father of the children, said the incident happened after he went out to watch a football match.

Ogbodo said he was on his way back from the football viewing centre when he saw neighbours trying to put out the fire in his house.

The burial arrangement has been announced as the deceased persons will be laid to rest on Thursday, March 4, 2021, at Ndiagu Amodu Awkunanaw in the Nkanu Local Government Area of Enugu state.

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Ransom Payment'll Prosper Kidnapping; Go After Abductees —Buhari Orders Police, Military

2 March 2021 - 11:27am

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the police and the military detectives to go after the abductors of the schoolgirls from Zamfara State and bring them to justice. 

The President warned that ransom payments would continue to prosper kidnapping. 

He also called for greater vigilance by residents of Zamfara State and the North-West so that human intelligence could be collected early enough to nip the bandits’ plans in the bud.

President Buhari stated this on Tuesday hours after the release of 279 schoolgirls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, by their abductors.

A statement by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity quoted Buhari as having expressed “overwhelming joy” over the release of the abducted female students.
“I join the families and people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of these traumatized female students,” the statement read.
“President Buhari said he was excited that their ordeal came to a happy end without any incident, adding that being held in captivity is an agonising experience not only for the victims but also their families and all of us.
“However, while celebrating the release of the students, the President called for greater vigilance by the people so that human intelligence could be collected early enough to nip the bandits’ plans in the bud.
"He warned that the time has come to reverse, completely, the grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping.
“Ransom payments will continue to prosper kidnapping,” Buhari warned while urging the police and the military to go after the kidnappers and bring them to justice.

Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, said the use non-kinetic approach (dialogue) ensured the safe release of the schoolgirls.

Responding to questions from journalists in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital on Tuesday, the governor said the release of the girls was made possible by dialogue.
He said the state will continue to dialogue with other bandits who have not accepted the peace deal.
“Without the non-kinetic approach, we would not have been able to secure the release of the children. And we’re going to continue with that non-kinetic approach so we can make those that did not accept the peace deal to accept our initiative,” the governor said.
“We’re going to try and re-strategise the best method so that we can bring everybody on board and they can understand this peace reconciliation.”
According to Matawalle, the schoolgirls recently released will undergo counselling.
“I’m very exhausted and very devastated. I haven’t experienced this kind of situation but this is what God has destined to happen during my time and I thank God that with the prayers of Nigerians and other good citizens, we were able to secure their release,” he said.
“We have a counselling department and we are going to invite them, they are all here with us. They are going to undergo counselling.” 

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Petroleum Industry Bill: Bayelsa Governor Rejects 2.5 Percent Revenue Proposed For Host Communities

2 March 2021 - 11:16am

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has said the 2.5 per cent revenue proposed for host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is grossly inadequate and unacceptable to the people of the Niger Delta.

Diri stated this on Tuesday during a town hall meeting on the bill with members of the National Assembly and stakeholders in Yenagoa.

The governor, who proposed that 10 per cent be provided for host communities, contended that if National Assembly members see firsthand the level of environmental degradation and its attendant effects on the people, they would not hesitate to make it more than 10 per cent.

Governor Diri, in a press release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, stressed that the PIB was critical in addressing issues such as unemployment, lack of transparency in the oil and gas sector, militarisation of oil production, skills acquisition and marginalisation of oil-rich states.

He said: "I restate our earlier submission that the 2.5 per cent proposed for the oil producing communities is grossly inadequate and unacceptable to us as a people. In our proposal to you, we asked for 10 per cent for the host communities. 

"When you visit some of the sites where oil is being explored; that bring multi-million dollars to this country, you will even agree with me that we should increase it further from 10 per cent.

"This PIB would cure the unemployment that the oil producing communities cry about. This bill would create jobs, accelerate skills acquisition and remove the opacity that we are seeing today in the oil and gas industry. The whole industry is shrouded somehow in secrecy."

Diri, who decried the undue delay in the passage and implementation of the bill for about 14 years, urged members of the National Assembly to ensure its passage to engender peace and development in the region and the country as a whole.

"If this bill had been passed, billions of naira used in safeguarding oil facilities would have been deployed for development purposes."

He expressed regret that oil communities that bear the brunt of oil production were given no consideration while multinational oil companies and the Nigerian government were given more attention in the bill, stressing that such a situation was not in the interest of the people.

In his speech, Deputy Chairman, House Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, Victor Nwokolo, said the PIB was from the executive arm, aimed at reforming the oil and gas industry.

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Employment Scandal: Delta Health Commissioner, Board Chairman Accused Of Favouring People From Their Area

2 March 2021 - 11:00am

Delta State Commissioner for Health, Mordi Ononye, and the state chairman, Hospitals Management Board (HMB), Austin Obidi, have been accused of hijacking the recruitment of 40 pharmacists by the board to favour only people from the Delta North senatorial district of the state.

The scandal is currently rocking the recruitment exercise which some health and government officials from other senatorial districts in the state have described as pure bias and nepotism. 

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had in September 2020 approved for the employment of 40 pharmacists to bridge the manpower deficiency of pharmaceutical personnel in government hospitals across the state. 

According to him, 39 out of 64 government hospitals in the state have no pharmacists. 

He said the development was not healthy to health care policies and the programmes of his administration.

Condemning the way the employment was done, a top management staff member of the state Hospitals Management Board, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being sanctioned, said the whole exercise was carried out fraudulently as Delta North district was allegedly mainly favoured.

"You know the governor, Okowa, the state Commissioner for Health, Ononye, and the HMB chairman, chairman, Obidi, who also doubles as a special adviser to the governor, are from Delta North senatorial district. The entire recruitment exercise was politicised and they favoured their people more, including some who could not meet up the examination requirements for the employment. 

"This is the same nepotism we are crucifying President Muhammadu Buhari for. They were busy calling their girlfriends, lovers, and cronies to come to pick up their letters of employment when they never took the examination. The selection examination was held on Saturday, December 5, 2020. But some top management of the board, aided by the state Commissioner for Health and the board chairman, jettisoned the release of the results and allocated nearly all the positions to their Delta North people."

Also speaking against the employment, an applicant who simply gave her name as Elizabeth, expressed displeasure over the exercise. 

She said after the examination, she was not shown her scores, "only to hear that those who did not even take the examination are being called on to come and pick up their employment letters just because they are from Delta North.
They alleged that "in order for people not to see that the whole exercise was one-sided, the governor reluctantly gave three slots to the Delta Central".

"Even some of the persons given employment are still in school. They were just called to come and pick up their employment letters because those in charge are their kinsmen," Elizabeth said. 

“It would have been better if the state government had quietly done the recruitment in secrecy just as it has done in other ministries without coming to the public to make us believe that they were going to provide a level playing ground for all applicants. The nepotism is too high, this is bad and must be condemned in its entirety."

Our correspondent gathered that the three slots given to the Delta Central were given to two Urhobo leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who in turn gave out the slots to their girlfriends’ relations in Delta North and South senatorial districts.

An impeccable source familiar with the issue confided in our correspondent that “After the governor has given the three slots to the two Urhobo chiefs, one of the chiefs gave his girlfriend’s brother from Delta North his own slot. The second chief gave his slot to his girlfriend who is an Ijaw while the third Chief gave his slot to his own cousin; this was how the three slots the governor reluctantly gave to the central were shared.

"This is very shameful, after everything, the HBM will come out and begin to tell Deltans that the exercise was credibly done when in the real sense of it, it was employment done for only the Delta North people. I challenge the state government and the board to be bold enough and publish all the names of those who were given the employment."

All calls and messages sent to the state Commissioner for Health, Ononye, were not responded to but the Special Adviser to the governor and state chairman, Hospitals Management Board (HMB), Austin Obidi, debunked all the allegations saying there was no iota of truth in them.

"There is no iota of truth in the whole allegations. The interest of the three senatorial districts was represented. We are expecting more than 20 pharmacists to be employed. Very soon the governor will give approval for employment in the health sector and those who could not make it in the pharmacy employment, as well as other districts, will be considered as well," Obidi said.

When asked if he could make available the list of the 40 pharmacists that were employed to clear doubts, Obidi, vehemently refused.

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Senate Bars Sex Offenders From Working With Children, Imposes N2million Fine On Persons Discriminating Against Elderly Persons

2 March 2021 - 10:13am

The Nigerian Senate on Monday passed an amendment to the Child’s Rights Act 2003, barring persons convicted of sexual offences from working with children.

This followed the presentation of a report by the Chairman of the Committee on Women Affairs, Betty Apiafi, on the Child’s Rights Act amendment.

The lawmakers said the amendment will further give protection to the Nigerian child from sexual violence and abuse suffered in the hands of caregivers and similar persons responsible for their well-being.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said, “This is a very important amendment. This amendment is meant to cure those kinds of societal ills and keep away those rapists from our children.”

The Senate also passed the Older Persons Rights and Privileges Bill which seeks to address the social and economic challenges triggered by ageing.

The bill also addresses the need for the government to formulate policies that will incorporate the elderly and cater to their well-being.

It provides for a fine of N2 million for organisations and N200,000 for individuals found discriminating against older persons. 

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Workers In Oyo Higher Institutions Begin Indefinite Strike Over 'Exorbitant' Charges By Consultant Hired By Makinde's Govt

2 March 2021 - 9:57am

Workers of Oyo State-owned higher institutions on Tuesday protested against what they termed as a tyrannical operation on the part of Platinum Consultant engaged by the state government.

The governor of the state, Seyi Makinde, on assumption of office, introduced Platinum Consultant, to collect tuition from students of state-owned higher institutions and oversee the expenses of those schools.

Workers in the institutions have however alleged that the consultant is collecting N500 on each student while staff members are not allowed to access the school account without the consent of the consultant, which they claimed is against the edict that established the schools.

The Joint Action Committee of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics in the state which include Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo; Oyo State College of Education, Lanlate; Adeseun Ogundoyin Polytechnic, Eruwa on Tuesday after its emergency meeting, ordered all workers of the affected institutions to embark on industrial action. 

The communique which was signed by its chairman, Mr Oyewumi Olusegun, said the unions frowned on many issues ranging from alleged tyrannical operation of Platinum Consultant, which is described as an attempt to subvert the sanctity of the sector by introducing measures alien and inimical to the smooth-running of the schools, failure to defray the accrued minimum wage arrears from January to November 2020, minimum in not more than three (3) installments and actions of the incumbent administration to force each institution to be responsible for continual defrayment of the monthly arrears of salaries.

The communiqué reads: "Following the expiration of the three-day ultimatum, after the initial seven-day ultimatum issued to the government on the demands for the reversal of the aberrations of the operations of Platinum Consultants and refusal to pay accrued 11 months minimum wage arrears, among other issues; and after exhaustive deliberations, the body considered issues thus:

"Operations of Platinum Consultants—
Members of the general public should please recall the patriotic efforts of JAC in raising her voice against the tyrannical attempts of the previous administration to destroy the tertiary institutions' sector. JAC is not relenting in any way in her determination to continue to resist any attempt to subvert the sanctity of the sector by introducing any measure that is alien and inimical to the smooth-running of the schools. One of such aberrations and threats to the smooth-running of the institutions is the illegal operations of the Platinum Consultants as an authorising body for every spending by the institutions - a practice that is unknown to all laws establishing and guiding the smooth-running of the institutions.

"JAC as a civil body of erudite persons had made several entreaties to the present administration of Engr. Seyi Makinde to correct this abnormality in the past, all to no avail. Aside from the several independent civil approaches by JAC, we are also aware of similar fruitless efforts by other stakeholders in the sector.

"JAC noted that the operations of the consultant is crippling academic activities in the institutions and might deny the teeming youths of the state access to sound and qualitative education if this current trend is sustained.

"Accrued 11 Months Minimum Wage Arrear—
The body noted that the government has failed to pay or give any committal towards the fulfillment of the contents of the January 13, 2021 agreement to totally defray the accrued minimum wage arrears from January to November 2020 minimum in not more than three (3) installments.

"Salary Augmentation—
The reality of the overwhelming negative effects of the actions of the incumbent administration in forcing each institution to be responsible for continual defrayment of the monthly arrears of salaries incurred during the dark era of the previous administration and the new minimum wage is dawning on all of us, as a yoke that will eventually cripple the sector if not nipped in the bud. Against the misleading advice of Platinum Consultants to the government, the reality is that no institution can barely survive under this burden.

"Having fulfilled the requisite procedures for embarking on legitimate industrial such as seven and three-day ultimatums to the government and respective Governing Councils on the 15th and 24th of February 2021 respectively, it is rather unfortunate that despite all efforts by JAC to sustain the existing industrial harmony in the institutions, the government is frustrating all efforts as it remains both unperturbed and unresponsive to all agitations up to the close of this meeting.

"Following the foregoing, extensive consultations and arising from its meeting of Monday 1/3/2021, JAC hereby declares the immediate commencement of an indefinite total strike action of all its members viz: ASUP, COEASU, SSANIP & SSUCOEN in TOP Shaki, EACOED Oyo, AOP Eruwa, OYSCATECH Igboora, and OYSCOED Lanlate."

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ACF To Northern Food Suppliers: Nigeria Not At War, Lift Ban On Blockade Of Food To South

2 March 2021 - 9:05am

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged the leadership of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers to stop the blockade of foodstuffs from the North to the South.

In a statement issued in Kaduna, the group's chairman, Audu Ogbe, said the action of the AUFCDN will only complicate the socio-economic and political problems of the country.

Ogbe, who is also a former Minister of Agriculture, said the move by the AUFCDN is not only unprogressive, it is also counterproductive.

The statement read, “The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) shares the concerns of Nigerians over the decision of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers to stop movements of needed food from the North to the South.

“We call on the leadership of the union to put a halt to their so-called embargo and blockade.

“Nigeria is not at war with itself and such a drastic action is not necessary.

“It will only further complicate the socio-economic and political problems facing our country today.

“The members of the union are said to have suffered severe losses during the #EndSARS riots and the recent violence in Sasha in Oyo State targeted against northerners.

“We believe that whatever may be the difficulties of their members in operating in other parts of the country, ACF leadership, led by me, is willing to help them solve these by talking to security agencies and the government.

“There is no need to mount a blockade by one section of the country against the other.

“Whatever may be our differences, the ACF as an ardent believer in free trade believes that goods should be allowed to move freely.

“This extreme measure is not progressive and even counterproductive. This is not the way to go.”

The cattle and foodstuffs' dealers under the aegis of AUFCDN, commenced a nationwide strike on Thursday, following the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum given to the Nigerian government to attend to their demands.

The union demanded protection of its members, payment of N475 billion compensation for lives of members and properties lost during the #EndSARS protest and Shasa market crisis.

The union also demanded that the government should order the dismantling of all roadblocks on federal highways due to problems its members are subjected to when carrying out their duties.

The Grand Matron of AUFCDN, Hajia Hauwa Kabir Usman, while giving an update recently warned the police not to disturb the task force of the union who would carry out enforcement of the strike by ensuring that no food and cattle were moved from North to the South.

Usman said, “The leadership of the union has already made a strong plan to ensure that all our exits (our borders) between the Northern and Southern part are closed.

“Every truck that will go out has to be checked. If you carry any food or cattle, you cannot take it out except you take it back or be destroyed there. None of the security agents should dare intimate our task force members because if they do, we will fight it legally.”

Usman vowed that the union would not compromise until the Nigerian government acceded to their demands, saying they had earlier given a 21-day ultimatum without any response from the government.

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Nigerian Government Declares Zamfara No-Fly Zone, Bans Mining Activities

2 March 2021 - 8:59am

The Nigerian government has instituted a no-fly zone above Zamfara State as part of efforts to tackle the security challenges being witnessed in the state.

National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Monguno, the government has also banned mining activities by non-state actors.

The NSA also revealed that all non-state actors had been placed under surveillance, adding that the Nigerian government would not hesitate to use kinetic means to restore normalcy in the country.

“The President has approved, based on our recommendations, the imposition and enforcement of a ban on all mining activities in Zamfara with immediate effect until further notice,” he said.

“He has directed the Minister of Defence and the National Security Adviser to deploy the massive military and intelligence assets to restore normalcy to that part of the country.

“He has also approved that Zamfara State should be declared ‘a no-fly zone” with immediate effect.

“We can no longer avoid to lose lives while operating within the legalities. We are not going to be blackmailed. The government has the responsibility to assert its will.

“Citizens can reside wherever they want to reside. Anybody who is a criminal should be brought to book. The president has also warned against ethnic profiling.”

The development comes amidst the rising cases of kidnapping and banditry in Zamfara state.

For instance, 279 schoolgirls were kidnapped by bandits from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State last Friday. 

The state government on Tuesday announced that they had been released, saying no ransom was paid. 

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Kidnapping: Lagos School Owners Tighten Security, Install CCTV Cameras In Schools

2 March 2021 - 8:50am

The Lagos State chapter of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in Nigeria, has said it has improved the security measures put in place in schools within the state.

Speaking with SaharaReporters on Tuesday, its President, Chief Yomi Otubela, said there are concerns and apprehension amongst parents whose wards are enrolled in boarding schools within the state.

He, however, said the body had tightened security measures around the schools.

He said, “There are concerns and apprehension among parents in particular while for the children because they are under us, they are from time to time, encouraged that the security of their lives and property of the school is totally under the control of our security apparatus and human resources that we have put together.

“For the children, their mindset is okay, it's fine, they are ready to learn, they are not bothered but for their parents who are reading the dailies, some of them are apprehensive and we can only but encourage them and that is what we think currently.”

On steps taken by the association to ensure the protection of the schoolchildren, he said, “We have created an alliance with the Nigerian police, especially the command and stations that are close to areas where the private schools and especially boarding houses are available.

“We have gotten an understanding with them to come around, patrol the areas, especially at odd hours. We also have security training for all our guards to gather information and look for any persons hibernating around the schools. They have also been taught how to raise the alarm in case of an emergency and we have provided phone numbers to call for an emergency.

“All these have been done as training for security personnel that will be on duty and aside from that, we have told all our members to install CCTV cameras with solar energy to ensure that we can capture all movements in real-time and this is connected to the mobile phone of the chief security officers, the principal and at times, the proprietor of the school. These are the things we have done. We also have some arrangements with some local vigilantes who also give backup security.”

In a report by Daily Trust, the Lagos State Police Command said it had deployed some policemen to tighten security around primary and secondary schools in the metropolis.

It said the deployment was to prevent the abduction of schoolchildren in any part of the state.

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, at a press conference held on Monday at the Command Headquarters, Ikeja, explained that those in boarding schools would begin to witness an increasing number of policemen around their schools.

Odumosu, who also allayed fears of any attack, assured parents that the deployment was a proactive step. The Lagos police boss, who also warned those in the business of kidnapping to stay away from the state, insisted that anyone or groups arrested over their alleged involvement in abduction in any part of the state would be brought to justice.

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