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Super Eagles Drop Three Spots In Latest FIFA Ranking

15 June 2019 - 2:00am


Super Eagles

Super Eagles

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have dropped three spots to 45th in the latest FIFA ranking.

The Eagles had moved four places in the previous release back in April but now join Guinea, DR Congo, Lesotho and Seychelles as the African teams with the biggest drops in the standings.

Despite the global fall, however, the Eagles remain the third best team in Africa behind first-placed Senegal and Tunisia in second.

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We’re Not Against New Zamfara Governor – Opposition

15 June 2019 - 1:57am


Ten political parties in Zamfara have disassociated themselves from a court action challenging the election of Governor Bello Matawalle said to have been instituted on their behalf by the All Peoples Party (APP).

The governorship candidate of APP in the election, Alhaji Zayyanu Haske, has filed a case at the Zamfara governorship election petitions tribunal sitting in Abuja.

Haske is asking for the nullification of the election that returned Matawalle as governor.

The APP candidate, who claimed to be supported by other political parties in the state, also asked the tribunal to order for a fresh governorship election in the state.

Reacting to the matter, leaders of 10 political parties, led by the Chairman of Alliance for Democracy (AD), Alhaji Musa Mai-mai, said that they were not a party to the case and were not consulted before it was instituted.

“We were not consulted; we believe that the Supreme Court judgment, which gave the mandate to Matawalle, after annulling the participation of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the candidate was in order,” he said.

Briefing newsmen at the AD office in Gusau, Mai-mai said that those challenging Matawalle’s seat were “carrying out a blind opposition which is not right”.

“We are dissociating ourselves from those people and their moves; we want the whole world to know that they are on their own.

“Many leaders and elders from the state have extended their hands of fellowship to the new administration, including the immediate past governor, Yari. So, we believe that everyone should rally round this government to help it succeed,” he said.

The AD official urged people of the state to disregard those challenging the new administration and pray for the government to succeed, especially in its fight against bandits.

Other political parties that signed the document dissociating their groups from challenging Matawalle included PRP, SDP, ID, HD, ASD, MMN, NAC, KOWA and FRESH.

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Over 180 Million Nigerians Require 2 Million Units Of Blood Annually -Ministry Of Health

15 June 2019 - 1:50am


The Federal Ministry of Health has said Nigeria requires an estimated two million units of blood every year to adequately meet the blood requirements of the populace.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Abdullahi Mashi, said at a news conference to commemorate:

He said that less blood was currently being donated thereby leading to avoidable deaths, morbidity or ill health, particularly among the womenfolk, new-born and children, victims of road traffic accidents and insurgencies.

Mashi specifically noted that as long as the demand outstrips the supply, touting and racketeering of blood and blood products would continue to thrive.

He emphasized that the situation could only be improved “If only one percent of the country’s adult population commit themselves to voluntary non-remunerated blood donation on a regular basis”.

According to him, transfusion of blood and blood products save millions of lives every year and in fact, every few seconds, someone, somewhere needs blood.

“The use of blood and blood products has become an integral part of modern medical practice.

“Access to safe blood and blood products is a key component of an effective health system and a significant building block for the successful achievement of health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“With a population of over 180 million, Nigeria’s estimated blood need is about two million units per annum. Unfortunately, much less is currently donated leading to avoidable deaths, morbidity or ill health,” he noted.

The permanent secretary noted that the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has been established to coordinate blood safety activities in Nigeria, adding that the enormous task required the support of all and sundry toward the attainment of its set goal.

The NBTS according to him strives in line with its mandate to provide an adequate supply of screened and safe blood, using a minimum standard of semi-automated enzyme-linked immune-sorbent assay technology.

He noted that the service last year collected about 20,503 units of screened blood from voluntary blood donors through its network of 17 centres, while 16,098 units of blood were issued to various hospitals nationwide for transfusion purposes.

Mashi emphasized that universal access to safe blood transfusion required innovative strategies to ensure safe and sufficient blood supply, which included 100 percent of voluntary blood donation as well as ensuring 100 percent testing of donated blood.

He assured that the service would continue to work hard to increase its annual blood collection, adding that efforts were being made toward expanding the reach of NBTS.

“NBTS is set to migrate its blood screening platform from a semi-automated system to a fully automated system at its centres in Abuja and Jos.

“One Architect 1000SR equipment has been installed at these two centres.

“This equipment has a shorter turn-around time and will ensure the availability of blood units screened for the mandatory four transfusion-transmissible infections (HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Syphilis) within twenty-four hours.

“Considerable progress has also been made in institutionalizing a Blood Rotation Scheme through linkages established with hospitals in both urban and rural communities.

“Therefore, I make a special appeal to our tertiary and secondary hospitals to embrace the Hospital Linkage Programme designed by the NBTS in order to ensure increased access to safe blood and improvement of our maternal and child health indices.

Mashi noted that the theme for the year was adopted to emphasize the vital need for safe blood in the delivery of health care and the crucial role that voluntary blood donations play in achieving the goal of universal health coverage.

According to him, the day was set aside to raise awareness on the need for safe blood and blood products worldwide and also to appreciate voluntary unpaid donors for their life-saving gift of blood among others.

 

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EFCC Unseals Ekiti Properties Linked To Fayose

15 June 2019 - 1:38am


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has unsealed some properties that were erroneously linked to the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

EFCC sealed off the properties on November 22, 2018, and marked them with red ink inscribing: “EFCC under investigation, KEEP OFF ABJ-HQ FAFI,” on them.

Ayo Fayose had reacted through his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, accusing the EFCC of sealing houses belonging to innocent people in the state under the guise that they were linked to him saying it was only in Nigeria that an anti-corruption agency would first go about sealing houses before determining the ownership, which can be done so easily by visiting relevant agencies.

However, it was observed that EFCC, in a white bus marked BWR 627 AT, moved from one of the properties to others, erasing the marks in Ado Ekiti.

The buildings that were unsealed are A block of two-storey commercial complex located opposite the Ekiti State Local Government Service Commission, the NTS Event Hall and Hotel, Fajuyi, Our Peoples 104.1FM, Fajuyi, a building beside Spotless Hotel, GRA, Ado Ekiti, a twin-building behind the Government House at the GRA, and a two-storey commercial building at Okesa Market and a petrol filling station.

A two-storey commercial building at the Okesa Market, owned by a medical doctor and former member of the State House of Assembly, Dr. Samuel Omotoso, that was among the properties sealed was unsealed in December last year.

Omotoso, who personally removed the EFCC marks on the building said then that the removal of the markings was consequent upon presentation of documents to EFCC to prove his family’s ownership of the property.

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Nigeria's Education System In Crisis, Says Gowon

15 June 2019 - 12:36am


Nigeria’s former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon has said despite the number of graduates making Nigeria proud globally, the country’s education system is still plagued by inadequate infrastructure and human resources.

Gowon stated this during the 35th Convocation lecture of Bayero University, Kano.

He expressed concerns over the rising numbers of Nigerian Universities and the fact that they might not be able to get funds.

“Even as our universities continue to produce graduates that have done Nigeria proud at the world stage, the country’s education system is still plagued by inadequate infrastructure and human resources to meet global best practices.

“Nigeria now boasts of more than 100 universities, and I understand there are many more still awaiting licensing or are ready to commence operation.

“It is growing too fast and I think too many don’t know honestly, whether we can be able to really fund all these universities adequately,” he said.

He also stated that the problems facing the education sector is more of a socio-economic challenge and the universities can address the issues.

“At home, socio-economic problems continue to grow geometrically whilst actual development only make arithmetic progression, but is the university system alone to blame for this, I think not.

“Issues of corruption and insecurity, for example, are largely of character, not learning, they are issues that the university can confront alone, the society must be mobilized as one to get things right.”

He explained that solutions focused on the re-orientation of values should be at the front burner of discussions.

“We have a good idea of what is wrong, when, where and how it went wrong.

“Whatever solution is proffered will take cognisance of the need to return to the core ideals of re-orientation of values.”

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Man's Girlfriend Kidnaps Neighbour, Uncle's Children

15 June 2019 - 12:30am


The Imo State Police Command has arrested a young woman for child trafficking while rescuing five children kidnapped by a dreaded child trafficking syndicate operating in Imo State.

The children were rescued unhurt.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Rabiu Ladodo, who reunited one of the children with his family on Friday, said his command would continue its crackdown on criminals in the state.

Ladodo said: “On April 24, one Immaculata Edward, a native of Okonde in Cross River State, who is a girlfriend to one Ifara Isong, resident at Eziama Logara in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area, visited the said boyfriend.

“Because she was familiar and well-known in the area, and the children and the neighbours of her boyfriend were all fond of her, they left the children in her custody while they went about their business.

“The said Immaculata waited for when her boyfriend went out to buy something, then she took the five children, namely Somto Ekeh, Kelechi Ekeh, Chisom Ekeh, Ebuka Enwerem, Chioma Enwerem and Lucky Idah, all children of one Reginald Ekeh. She took them to a notorious child trafficker, one Perpetual Iwuji, from Obokwu Ulakwo in Owerri North LGA, who then sold two of the children to one Grace Nwachukwu, another notorious child trafficker, who hails from Isiala Mbutu in Aboh Mbaise LGA but resident at Mpape Abuja.

“Immaculata also kidnapped two of her uncle’s children from Cross River State and sold them to one Ifeoma Ndubuisi from Lokpanta in Umunneochi LGA, Abia State.

“However, following intelligence, systematic, thorough and painstaking investigation, all the children stolen from Logara were recovered.

“Moreover, in the course of the investigation, an additional five children were recovered from Perpetual Iwuji and kept in an orphanage.

“The five children stolen from Logara have been reunited with their families.

“Meanwhile, one of the two children stolen from Cross River State has been recovered from Ifeoma Ndubuisi and efforts are in top gear to recover the remaining one”.

The commissioner of police further disclosed the name of the culprit the as; Perpetual Iwuji, Isong Ifara, Immaculate Edward, Grace Nwachukwu, Ifeoma Nduchukwu and Stephen Ezenwa.

However, the Nigeria Police Force, Eket Police Division, has said it arrested one Rev Akpan of Qua Iboe Church and five others for allegedly swindling over 300 applicants of N32,000 each, running into about N10m, in Ikot Ebok village, Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

The applicants were defrauded by the suspects under the pretext of securing employment for them in an oil company.

Akpan, who claimed to be a pastor in the church, was arrested on Wednesday along with the other suspects within the church premises along Ekpeyo Street, off Liverpool Road Eket, based on intelligence.

It was gathered that the suspects were conducting fake interviews for the affected youths when the police arrested them.

A youth leader of the community Mr. Ubong Edoho, who confirmed the arrest, said he immediately alerted the police when he saw a crowd of applicants gathered for the said recruitment.

The suspected fraudsters had told the unsuspecting applicants about openings in one of the oil companies located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The youth leader on Friday disclosed that it was discovered that the pastor and his syndicate had collected N32,000 from each person before issuing them fake employment forms to fill, preparatory for departure to an unknown offshore location for the job.

He added: “The incident happened here within the premises of Qua Iboe Church, Ekpeyo Street, Ikot Ebok in Eket Local Government Area. We had intelligent information that there are some people in the church compound defrauding some unemployed youths. I informed the police as I went to Eket Police Station with my friends and reported it to the Police Surveillance Team.

“On inquiries, we discovered that they had collected N32,000 from each person. We informed other youth leaders in the area and we resolved that this kind of fraudulent activity should not happen in our village and the police whisked them away to Eket Police Station, where they were interrogated.”

Edoho said the syndicate claimed before the Divisional Police Officer in Eket that they were authorised by an oil company to recruit personnel for work, but failed to produce relevant documents to justify their claims.

“There was no originating document from any oil company to show that they were working for any oil firm. I was with the DPO in his office in Eket and we could not find any paper to prove what they claimed and the police detained them,” he concluded.

Edoho further disclosed that the syndicate had defrauded people at Afaha Eket, Ikot Ekpene and Eastern Obolo through their nefarious activities.

Edoho was surprised on how people could use the name of a church to commit such a crime and not be bothered by the consequences.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Akwa Ibom State, Odikko Macdon, , said though he had not been briefed on the matter, the police would thoroughly investigate the matter to establish the facts of the case and bring the culprits to justice.

“I don’t have that information at my disposal as at now. However, if there is anything like that going on, the police will leave no stone unturned in their bid to get to the root of the matter,” he said.

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No Prepaid Meter, No Electricity Supply, Nigeria's Electricity Company Warns Customers

14 June 2019 - 11:27pm


 

Anthony Youdeowei, Chief Executive Officer of Ikeja Electric, has warned that consumers who fail to procure prepaid meters would no longer enjoy electricity supply.

He said this at the launch of its Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme in Ikorodu, Lagos.

The CEO who was represented  Ugochukwu Obi-Chukwu said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) mandate was for every Disco to meter all consumers under its network, saying Ikeja Disco was all out to carry out the effective implementation of the directive.

MAP is a NERC approved meter vendor whose responsibility is to fund, procure and install meters on behalf of an electricity distribution company. Under the MAP regulation, they are also expected to maintain and ensure the integrity of the meters.

Obi-Chukwu explained that CIG Metering Assets Nigeria Limited, New Hampshire Capital Limited, and Mojec International Limited have been licensed by NERC to procure and install meters for IE customers under the MAP scheme.

He said contrary to insinuations that prepaid meters are free, Obi-Chukwu disclosed that procurement of same remained the responsibility of electricity consumers while customers applying for prepaid meters are expected to visit map.ikejaelectric.com to register.

Giving a breakdown of the cost implication, he said a single phase meter is N38,850 while a three-phase meter would cost N70,350 inclusive of five percent Value Added Tax (VAT) of N1,850 and N3,350 respectively.

He disclosed that the target of Ikeja Electric was to meter about 30,000 consumers monthly which will be in phases, starting with customers under Shomolu, Abule-Egba and Ikorodu Business Units.

According to him, the deployment and installation of prepaid meters to customers in Ikorodu, which will be carried out by one of its MAPs, New Hampshire Capital limited, will commence on June 17, 2019, following the successful registration and subscription for meters by thousands of customers spread across Ikorodu and Epe.

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We'll Seize Diplomatic Passports For Ex-lawmakers, Other At Airport, NIS Warns

14 June 2019 - 11:20pm


Muhammad Babandede

Muhammad Babandede


The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has warned that it would seize, at the airport, diplomatic passports from former commissioners, lawmakers, and ministers who refused to return theirs.

Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of Immigration,  who spoke with Punch Newspaper said lawmakers who refused to return the passport will not receive their severance package.

According to the law, holders of such passports are required to return them to the Nigeria Immigration Service at the expiration of their tenure.

A diplomatic passport holder has free access to diplomatic lounges and consul licence number plate, among other privileges.

It was gathered that top federal civil service officials and council bosses were among those yet to surrender their diplomatic passports.

It was learnt that only former presidents, vice-presidents, and heads of states are qualified to hold on to their diplomatic passports for life.

Other political appointees or officials of government cease to hold the document as soon as they are out of office.

He said he had written to the National Assembly to tie payment of such ex-lawmakers’ terminal benefits to the return of the diplomatic passports issued to them.

Babandede added that the passports  would be seized at the airport from all ineligible persons.

He said, “For the incoming National Assembly members, we have written to the clerk (of the National Assembly) that they should tie their benefits to the return of their diplomatic passports.

“Any member of the Senate or House of Representatives leaving office must return their  diplomatic passport before getting  their  severance benefits. The clerk has accepted the condition.”

When asked about the level of compliance to the directive by ineligible holders of the diplomatic and official passports, spokesman for the NIS, Sunday James, said, “Our lawmakers and officials are responsible Nigerians and we believe that they will return the travel documents as soon as possible.”

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Disclose How Much You Spend On Security Issues, Ribadu Tells Governors

14 June 2019 - 11:15pm


Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says Nigerian governors must make full disclosure of what is spent on security to check financial mismanagement.

The former Petroleum Revenue Task Force said this on Friday during a convocation lecture at the Federal University, Dutsin Ma, Katsina State. 

Ribadu said the huge security votes available to governors and other public officers without accountability is disturbing.

He said: “To the credit of current management of the EFCC, and the political leadership under President Muhammadu Buhari, otherwise unexplored or less investigated areas have now been brought under scrutiny.

“For a long time, security, both in concrete and abstract terms, has been used to conceal expenditures that are largely fraudulent or dubious. If we learn lessons at all from the famous arms probe of the last three years, it is that not everything written in the name of security actually gets spent for the intended purpose.

“We must insist that for accountability and transparency, Nigerians are told what monies are budgeted for our security apparatuses and for what purpose the monies are spent.

“The practice of political leaders spending humongous amounts of money in the name of security votes should also be checked.

“For example, I see no reason for governors and some other office holders to be expending billions of naira without budgetary provisions or accountability under the vague code of security. 

“These are some of the areas that need opening up as a way of demonstrating that no one is beyond reproach. Accountability should be a no-holds-barred affair.”

He pleaded with the Buhari administration to sustain the political will in fighting corruption by stepping firmly on more toes.

He said: “It is important to not only continue to demonstrate the political will but also take steps to intensify it. This government has started well in this regard.

“It can only continue to succeed in the fight against corruption in the eyes of the public if it firmly steps on toes, ensure corrupt people are made to face justice and those who blow the whistle on corrupt acts are fully protected from all kinds of victimization.”

Ribadu demanded more cleansing of the Judiciary for the anti-graft war to have more impact.

He added: “A major step towards attaining sustained result in the fight against corruption is by first cleaning up our entire justice sector. There would only be limited or no success in the anti-corruption campaign if the justice system is not properly sanitized to shoulder that important responsibility.

“Some steps have been taken in the past in this regard, but going forward, a more holistic and strategic approach has to be adopted to ensure maximum impact and meaningful result.

“Every individual within the chain of the justice sector needs to be above board, those who cannot uphold the basic tenets of integrity needed for such a job should be shoved aside.”

Ribadu, however, warned that political hangers-on should not be allowed to use corruption cases for trade-offs and personal gains.

He said: “Public support for the fight against corruption is necessary for its success, but the public too needs to be proven so that those in charge are equally serious about the campaign. We need constant engagement with the civil society and demonstration of seriousness in the anti-corruption campaign.

“This confidence-building is what would garner support and lead to the ultimate success of the whole thing, namely; change in attitude towards corruption and citizens’ takeover of the fight as their own battle.

“One other way of building this confidence, also, is proper management and utilization of recovered proceeds of corruption.

“One fatal action that damages public confidence is political interference. Fighting corruption is a serious business that should be insulated from politics at all times. Anything short of that rubbishes the whole effort.”

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Police Arrest 70-year-old Katsina Bandit, Two Others

14 June 2019 - 11:10pm


 

The Police Command in Katsina State has arrested three suspected bandits and kidnappers, including one 70-year-old Bawa Naganda.

The Katsina State Public Relations Officer, SP Gambo Isa, stated this in a statement in Katsina on Friday and said that the suspects were nabbed Kankara Local Government Area of the state.

According to Gambo: “On June 23, 2019, a distress call was received that about 100 armed bandits were seen around Pauwa village, Kankara Local Government Area, with about 50 stolen cows.

“A joint patrol team comprising Operation Puff Adder and Sharan Daji were immediately mobilized to the scene.

“On arrival, the team engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel which made them retreat and escaped into a rough and hilly mountainous area of Rugu forest.

“One Bawa Naganda, 70-year-old was arrested at the scene,” Gambo state.

Gambo also disclosed that the team extended patrol to other villages and at Danbirgima forest, the operative sighted three persons on a motorcycle.

Exanimating: “The men on a motorcycle opened fire at the team, abandoned the motorcycle and tried to escape.

“The team also engaged the hoodlums and as a result, one person was shot dead while Isa Babai and Ali Beti were arrested by the security forces,” he said.

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2019 Elections: EU Submits Report To INEC, Makes It Public Today

14 June 2019 - 11:06pm


The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has submitted its findings and recommendations on the 2019 general elections to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Maria Arena, EU Chief Observer, while submitting the report to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja, said the union would on Saturday make public the report of its monitoring of the elections.

Maria Arena who did not disclose the content of the report, said that the submission would be made open to journalists and members of the public to seek clarifications on the issues raised in the report.

The EU chief observer said that the union had been part of Nigeria’s electoral process since 1999.

The union deployed 73 observers to 223 polling units and 81 collation centers in 22 states for the 2019 general elections.

Receiving the report, INEC chairman also noted that the EU had been part of Nigeria’s steady progress towards democratic consolidation since 1999.

The INEC Chairman said that the commission had adopted the EU recommendations on previous elections.

Yakubu further said the recommendations included simultaneous accreditation and voting processes on election day, adding that it was first used for the 2015 Bayelsa governorship election and subsequent elections in the country.

He said the observations and recommendations of the EU election observation mission to the 2015 general elections were particularly useful.

Yakubu said the recommendations were used for the design of some important proposals for reforming the electoral legal framework and in improving the electoral processes and procedures.

The INEC chairman pledged that the commission would look into the recommendations of the report.

He gave the assurance that the recommendations on 2019 elections would form the benchmarks in the reform to be submitted to the National Assembly.

“Every election in any democracy around the world is work in progress. We, therefore, look forward to the full EU EOM report and recommendations on the elections. We are confident that there will be useful lessons for the commission as we prepare for future elections.

“Indeed, the report is coming at the right time as it will feed into our ongoing review of the conduct of the elections. Let me assure you that the commission will again quickly focus attention on the electoral legal framework in addition to several other areas of reform. We will study in detail all your recommendations as part of our ongoing internal review of the 2019 general elections which we hope to conclude in the next two months,” he concluded.

The INEC Chairman commended the EU for its interest in Nigeria’s democratic processes.

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Nigerian Politicians Can Sell You For A Plate Of Porridge -Wike

14 June 2019 - 11:02pm


 

It’s almost three weeks after Wike was sworn in for a second term in office as the Rivers State governor, and he pledged not to get carried away by the huge waves of congratulatory and goodwill messages on his victory at the poll.

Governor Wike stated that as a politician, he was aware that people were in the habit of betraying those who trusted them, adding that it was necessary to be careful while dealing with politicians.

Wike made these observations during a solidarity visit by Anglican Bishops of the Province of the Niger Delta, said it was difficult to trust any politician “totally” because circumstances always determined their positions on issues.

Wike: “I am not carried away by all the congratulatory and goodwill messages. The Bishop of Ikwerre knows one man called Mpi; Mpi said when you are moving and you hear footsteps, watch whether the footsteps are with you or they are stepping back.

“So, as a politician, one group of people you must watch very carefully are the politicians. They are easily swayed. Some believe; when they believe, they believe.

“Something can entice politicians and they can change. If you watch what happened at the National Assembly, you can see that this is the attitude of politicians. You see the party has a position; before you know it, they are selling out themselves for one plate of porridge. This one has a case and he wants them to withdraw the case.”

Governor Wike said that some persons were lacking principles and they simply used politics as a cover-up for their unprincipled acts.

Speaking further, Wike said: “These things we know and we are guided by it. I will never let my guard down to say everybody is with me. The only person I can be comfortable with at all times is God. If it is a human being, no. It is difficult for me to give 100 percent trust that a man will continue to be like this or like that. The only person that cannot change is God.

“For human beings, they can always change. That is why they are human beings. You can trust a human being, but be careful to open your eyes because anything can happen.”

The Rivers governor state pointed out that in protecting the interest of Rivers State, he would never bow to anybody.

“I will not go to bow to anybody; I will defend the interest of our state. As far as God lives, this state will remain a Christian State,” he added.

The Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the Niger Delta, Most Rev Tunde Adeleye, said the battle was not yet over, hence Wike must always remain vigilant.

According to the Archbishop, Adeleye: “When you are winning a battle and the people are drumming and you are dancing, my people say look back from time to time whether the drummers are following you or you are just hearing the sound of the drum. The battle is not complete until it has been completed.”

 

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Herdsmen Attacks: 2,000 Children Out Of School In Nasarawa

14 June 2019 - 10:57pm


A total of 2, 000 children of school age from about a total of 20 primary schools in Nasarawa State were attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Akwanga Local Government Area of the state.

Nothing less than 20 people lost their lives and property due to the herdsmen's attack in the communities in Akwanga between March 2018 and April 2019.

The communities affected include; Manter, Katanga, Numan, Nidan, and Kochu.

The Education Secretary, Akwanga LGA, Doko Kiga, explained that at the moment, pupils from 11 primary schools had been out of school as a result of the attacks on their communities.

The information has it that, in Nidan community, the primary school there had been deserted, with weeds and reptiles taking over the buildings.

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Law School: NOUN Graduates Write Buhari, To Opt For Mass Protests

14 June 2019 - 10:43pm


NOUN graduates

NOUN graduates

Law graduates of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) have rejected excuses given for delaying their admission into the Nigerian Law School for vocational training six months after President Muhammadu Buhari gave assent to NOUN (Amendment) Act.

The presidential assent was given to remedy the claimed irregularities in the NOUN Act as pointed out during a public hearing by the Senate Committee on Public Petitions.

This was contained in a communiqué to Buhari by the aggrieved students under the umbrella of Law Graduates Forum, which was signed by its chairman, Carl Umegboro and Secretary, Ado Garuba, on Friday in Abuja.

The reactions came after a reliable source from the Nigerian Law School alleged that the protracted crisis needed more time to resolve without a definite timeframe for admission quota for NOUN graduates.

The communiqué read in part: “Your Excellency, Sir, may we inform you that despite your applauded assent to the NOUN (Amendment) Act on 7 December 2018 to remedy the claimed irregularity in the NOUN Act hindering its law students from admission for vocational training, we are helplessly, still roaming the streets after 6 months without any indication to practically resolve the issues”.

“Your Excellency, Sir, may we also inform you that despite the fact that admission of thousands of NOUN law graduates are pending for no justifiable reasons 6 months after Your Excellency’s presidential intervention through assent to NOUN (Amendment) Act, the Council of Legal Education is currently advertising for admission-applications for law graduates from foreign universities while Nigerian citizens that studied in a federal government’s accredited institution are roaming the streets since 2013, and being subjected to depression."

The group added: “The recent excuses as reported by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on June 9, 2019: “We are working on it and trying hard to resolve the issue. It was a problem that has long lingered so we need time to get things done right”, is indeed unfortunate, prejudicial and unacceptable. Such statements coming six months after presidential assent and gazette to resolve a matter which has lingered for almost six years is clearly a premeditated delay tactic.

“We have unalloyed confidence in your sense of justice, fairness and honesty, and therefore look forward to your further intervention particularly for stakeholders meeting without further delays as we have been subjected to sundry and unbearable hardships for no just cause. And we will have no other option than to embark on mass protests if the premeditated delay continues” the group stated."

Umegboro appealed to President Buhari to intervene urgently stating that their utmost confidence is in God and also that the powerless cannot be emasculated under President Buhari’s watch as the leader of our dear country, and that this consciousness has kept them from not reacting negatively as many students would do under such circumstances and provocations since your assumption of office in 2015.

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The Case For Transformational Leadership In The Nigerian Public Sector: Our TETFUND Experience By U. B Jubril

14 June 2019 - 1:01pm


TETFUND Intervention building

TETFUND Project building

Over the last 11 years, we have worked as technical support providers in the Nigerian public sector. In that time, we have had first-hand experience of individuals and institutions at every level of government in more than 70% of the country. As an organisation, we pride ourselves that we are defined by certain fundamental philosophies; one of them being a strong sense of belief in the entity that is Nigeria, and the subsequent belief that individual and institutional actors must do all they can to further the growth and advancement that can lead to our greatness. This has driven us to strive for and show excellence in whatever we do, whenever possible.

Most Nigerians are aware of the numerous challenges being faced in the Public Sector, from crumbling infrastructure, to corruption, to low morale stemming from (with due respect to all well-meaning administrators past and current) overwhelmingly poor leadership. Our interactions with people at every level of the Nigerian public sector very often brings to light interesting lessons but this is the first time we’ve ever felt compelled to share with the general public one of those experiences.

Prior to this, we exclusively shared our experiences within our circle of colleagues and friends and most times we were left depressed and the air in our balloon of patriotism usually deflated; but then, this is still our country and our recent experience was akin to fresh air on our often-patched backdrop.

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) is a critical institution in the national landscape in every sense of the word. It was setup to stop the “rot” in the Tertiary Education Sector and has had (depending on who you ask) ‘relative success’ in doing so over the last decade.

Our interactions with TETFUND began while the institution was under its previous leadership (and with all due respect to that Executive and his office) the difference at the institution and the one that we interacted with recently is like a very dark night and a very clear day.

Some of us might have seen videos on social media of jubilant scenes at the TETFUND’s headquarters when the current Executive Secretary was returned to office. We saw them too but dismissed them as an over-expression of emotions by sycophantic civil servants who were desperate for a change in leadership.  Our recent experience with the institution and its current Executive Secretary has proven us otherwise.

Our experience began whilst in the Executive Secretary’s waiting room, we were reminded at sensible intervals by courteous staff (who were working after work hours in the month of Ramadan) to be patient and that we would be seen. We then noticed that everyone else in the waiting room were being ushered into his office in the order that they had come and not by their titles, positions or previous relationships.

We were given dates and bananas by the staff to break our fast, not on instruction, but by what seemed to be a result of the general atmosphere of polite professionalism in the office. When we eventually entered to meet with the Executive Secretary, he had the sense of decency to stand at his desk and firstly apologise for keeping us waiting and then the humility to listen and engage us in productive conversation.

James MacGregor’s concept of transformational leadership readily comes to mind. Transformational leaders are said to exhibit certain traits and behaviours which inspire and motivate a team or organisation to rally around a common vision or goal. These behaviours and traits include charisma, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and individual consideration for each team or group member. One is left with no doubts that Prof. Suleiman Bogoro is a transformational leader and his presence and actions have had a profound ripple effect on a whole institution. Not only does he and his staff deserve commendation, they also deserve to be acknowledged and emulated, ideally right across the public sector. We sincerely believe that speaking out about this not only reinforces their positive behaviours but also engrains it in the fabric of their institution and hopefully makes a mark on the public sector and all the individuals who come in contact with them. Afterall, this is what best practices are supposed to be about; a sort of framework for collaborations and learning exchanges.

We walked away from our meeting not only enlightened but slightly elated. Our interactions with Prof. Bogoro and the staff of his ``’transformed” institution left us hopeful that the kind of change we as Nigerians desire and must work towards still exists.

In the face of the weight the public sector in Nigeria carries, our observation may amount to tokenism. We are however guided by a sense of responsibility and the belief that the public sector space in Nigeria owes it citizens success. After all, the world is witness to how transformational leadership has shaped post-genocide Rwanda’s civil service and prior to that, that of countries like Namibia and Madagascar.

U. B Jubril is a public sector consultant in Abuja, Nigeria.

Over the last 11 years, we have worked as technical support providers in the Nigerian public sector. In that time, we have had first-hand experience of individuals and institutions at every level of government in more than 70% of the country. As an organisation, we pride ourselves that we are defined by certain fundamental philosophies; one of them being a strong sense of belief in the entity that is Nigeria, and the subsequent belief that individual and institutional actors must do all they can to further the growth and advancement that can lead to our greatness. This has driven us to strive for and show excellence in whatever we do, whenever possible.

Most Nigerians are aware of the numerous challenges being faced in the Public Sector, from crumbling infrastructure, to corruption, to low morale stemming from (with due respect to all well-meaning administrators past and current) overwhelmingly poor leadership. Our interactions with people at every level of the Nigerian public sector very often brings to light interesting lessons but this is the first time we’ve ever felt compelled to share with the general public one of those experiences.

Prior to this, we exclusively shared our experiences within our circle of colleagues and friends and most times we were left depressed and the air in our balloon of patriotism usually deflated; but then, this is still our country and our recent experience was akin to fresh air on our often-patched backdrop.

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) is a critical institution in the national landscape in every sense of the word. It was setup to stop the “rot” in the Tertiary Education Sector and has had (depending on who you ask) ‘relative success’ in doing so over the last decade.

Our interactions with TETFUND began while the institution was under its previous leadership (and with all due respect to that Executive and his office) the difference at the institution and the one that we interacted with recently is like a very dark night and a very clear day.

Some of us might have seen videos on social media of jubilant scenes at the TETFUND’s headquarters when the current Executive Secretary was returned to office. We saw them too but dismissed them as an over-expression of emotions by sycophantic civil servants who were desperate for a change in leadership.  Our recent experience with the institution and its current Executive Secretary has proven us otherwise.

Our experience began whilst in the Executive Secretary’s waiting room, we were reminded at sensible intervals by courteous staff (who were working after work hours in the month of Ramadan) to be patient and that we would be seen. We then noticed that everyone else in the waiting room were being ushered into his office in the order that they had come and not by their titles, positions or previous relationships.

We were given dates and bananas by the staff to break our fast, not on instruction, but by what seemed to be a result of the general atmosphere of polite professionalism in the office. When we eventually entered to meet with the Executive Secretary, he had the sense of decency to stand at his desk and firstly apologise for keeping us waiting and then the humility to listen and engage us in productive conversation.

James MacGregor’s concept of transformational leadership readily comes to mind. Transformational leaders are said to exhibit certain traits and behaviours which inspire and motivate a team or organisation to rally around a common vision or goal. These behaviours and traits include charisma, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and individual consideration for each team or group member. One is left with no doubts that Prof. Suleiman Bogoro is a transformational leader and his presence and actions have had a profound ripple effect on a whole institution. Not only does he and his staff deserve commendation, they also deserve to be acknowledged and emulated, ideally right across the public sector. We sincerely believe that speaking out about this not only reinforces their positive behaviours but also engrains it in the fabric of their institution and hopefully makes a mark on the public sector and all the individuals who come in contact with them. Afterall, this is what best practices are supposed to be about; a sort of framework for collaborations and learning exchanges.

We walked away from our meeting not only enlightened but slightly elated. Our interactions with Prof. Bogoro and the staff of his "transformed” institution left us hopeful that the kind of change we as Nigerians desire and must work towards still exists.

In the face of the weight the public sector in Nigeria carries, our observation may amount to tokenism. We are however guided by a sense of responsibility and the belief that the public sector space in Nigeria owes it citizens success. After all, the world is witness to how transformational leadership has shaped post-genocide Rwanda’s civil service and prior to that, that of countries like Namibia and Madagascar.

U. B Jubril is a public sector consultant in Abuja, Nigeria.

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National Assembly Will Pass Budget Within Three Months – Lawan

14 June 2019 - 12:08pm


Ahmed Lawan

Ahmed Lawan ChannelsTV

Nigeria’s Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, says henceforth the National Assembly will ensure the passage of the nation’s appropriation bill within three months of its submission by the Executive arm of government.

Lawan stated this known when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after joining President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the weekly Friday’s Juma’at prayer at the Aso Rock Mosque, Abuja.

He, however, expressed the hope that the executive would always ensure early submission of the budget enable the assembly deliberate and pass it in good time.

“Well, this is a crucial thing that worries everyone, every Nigerian wants to see the National Assembly passes the budget in good time and what we have in mind we’ve campaigned with that and it’s something both of us in the National Assembly have bought into – that we’ll pass the budget within three months by the grace of God.

“But I want to say here that it takes two sides of government to pass the budget in good time.

“I am sure that the executive side of the government would like to present the budget before the National Assembly in good time – in September or early October.

“By the grace of God, we in the National Assembly will ensure that we carry out the budget defence and do the remaining parts of the processes and before we leave for Christmas break, the budget would have been passed and Mr. President would have the budget before him to assent,’’ he said.

The senate president, therefore, called for sacrifice by both the assembly and the executive so as to create “a window for budget defence only, a dedicate period and timeframe- say a month of which only budget defence will be carried out in the national assembly.

“It is our desire in the National Assembly that every minister, every chief executive officer of every agency comes to the National Assembly and defence the budget of his agency or her agency before going out of the country.

“That window is going to be available within the one month but that is the only window that is going to be available.

“After that for example, every minister or head of agency who did not come to defend the budget of that institution, the National Assembly would go ahead to work on such a budget appropriately.’’

According to Lawan, the national assembly is in a hurry and thirsty to perform and will support President Buhari in his efforts to transform the nation’s economy for the benefit of all citizens.

He added “I believe that nobody would take pleasure in wasting the time of this administration.

“We are in a hurry, we are thirsty to perform, we want to support Mr. President, we want to see Mr. President achieve those legacies dreams that he has and we are going to work full course and full time to ensure that we give him the maximum support that he requires.’’

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Lampard Favoured To Land Chelsea Coaching Job

14 June 2019 - 11:48am


Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has hired some of the world’s highest-profile managers during his 16-year reign, but relative rookie Frank Lampard is emerging as the favourite to occupy the Stamford Bridge hot seat.

With Italian Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus being imminent, club talisman Eden Hazard already departed to Real Madrid and a FIFA transfer ban looming, Chelsea have arrived at a crossroads.

Derby County boss Lampard is adored by the Chelsea faithful for his record-breaking goalscoring exploits during a trophy-laden 13 years in west London.

The ex-Chelsea player could be the ideal candidate to lead them in a new direction.

The 40-year-old earned plaudits for taking Derby into the Championship playoffs in his first year as a manager.

Lampard team side Derby missed the opportunity on promotion to Aston Villa, for whom former teammate John Terry is part of the coaching staff.

During a playing career in which he won 11 major trophies with Chelsea, Lampard always stood out as a smart cookie.

He has taken his inquisitive mind into the managerial ranks and proved a fast learner at Derby where his blueprint was an intelligent passing game and a trust in youngsters.

Three of them — Chelsea loanees Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham — were involved in the playoff final at Wembley and could all be back at Stamford Bridge next season.

With teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi having made the breakthrough under Sarri last season.

Lampard would appear the ideal choice to construct a Chelsea side based on youth, perhaps with Derby assistant and former team mate Jody Morris, alongside.

 

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CBN Economic Intelligence Department To Investigate Oil Palm Importers

14 June 2019 - 11:41am


Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said in a meeting with executives of indigenous oil palm producers in Abuja Friday that the bank has begun the investigation of the accounts of companies importing the cash commodity into the country. 

At the meeting which was attended by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, Emefiele said N30 billion has so far been disbursed to palm oil producers.

“We have started, our Economic Intelligence Department has started investigating the accounts of some of you or those of you who are involved in smuggling or dumping palm oil into Nigeria.

“We feel that before any action are taken against you in terms of blocking you from the foreign exchange market or blacklisting you from doing banking in Nigeria that we first invite you to say that we are drawing a line that importation of palm oil in Nigeria must stop.

“But stopping also means that we must as Central Bank and Deposit Money Banks create an opportunity for you to access credit to grow your plantations,” the returning CBN governor said. He further revealed that the bank has received a Presidential Order to blacklist any firm or individual that imports any of the 43 items on the foreign exchange banned list into the country.

“Part of that presidential directive so says that we should blacklist from the foreign exchange market and the banking industry all firms, their owners and their top management caught smuggling or dumping any of the restricted 43 items into Nigeria,” he told the gathering. The governor also informed them that the Presidential directive mandates the bank to expand access to credit for nine other crops besides palm oil.

“The presidential directive that we have received is not about palm oil alone. We have received a presidential directive to focus on the production of ten different commodities.

“And this is the programme we will be embarking upon in the next couple of years. The ten different products are rice, maize, cassava, tomatoes, cotton, oil palm, poultry, fish, livestock dairy and cocoa.

“The presidential directive that we received said that we must expand, seek to give support to people who want to expand the production of these products in Nigeria.” Nigeria has not yet attained sufficient production in lots of the items banned from accessing forex.

An outright ban of these products from accessing forex and blacklisting the companies doing so could lead to scarcity in the availability of these products pending the success of the government’s expansion programme. In March 2019, Emefiele said Nigeria’s spent $500 million annually importing palm oil. This implies that there could be a rush to the black market for forex as happened in 2016 before the set-up of the investment and Export window.

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$8m Fraud: Ajudua Swore On Son’s Life Not To Defraud Me –Bamaiyi

14 June 2019 - 11:39am


A former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, on Friday, told an Ikeja High Court that Fred Ajudua, an alleged serial conman, defrauded him in spite swearing on his son’s life.

Bamaiyi made the disclosure while being cross-examined by Ajudua’s counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, at the resumed hearing in allegedly swindling Bamaiyi of $8.4 million at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons by Ajudua in 2004.

“I trusted him completely; you don’t understand the concept and level of trust I had. I’m a father and a grandfather. I understand these things. If as a father he (Ajudua) swears that his only son should die if he should defraud me; that is more than sufficient receipt.

“When he defrauded me, I initially kept quiet. It was after he ran away for six years that I decided to complain. By God, I never knew I will find myself in court,” Bamaiyi said, responding to a question on why he did not ask for receipts from Ajudua as proof receiving the funds.

Friday’s session was the fifth in the proceedings in which Bamaiyi was cross-examined by the defence since giving his evidence-in-chief on Nov. 26, 2018.

The former army chief said the funds given to Ajudua for payment for the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) were brought to him in prison by family members, friends, and staff.

He said prison rules allowed money meant for the payment of legal representation to be brought into the premises of the prison, adding that he recorded all money brought to the prison in his diary.

“Sometimes money was put in our food containers. The money is counted in the presence of the prison officers, so it was not hidden.

“My lord, I said it before and let me repeat it, when visitors come with the food containers, he who brings the food will taste it so that they will not poison the inmate.

“The food container has food on top; that is the one they will taste. Money is kept underneath the container.

“To me, the counting of the money is a record; the prison authorities knew about this money and constitute records to the prison authorities.

“I can remember the specific amount each person brought; my former ADC, Timothy Chechet, brought $1 million on two different occasions,” he said.

He said the individuals who brought some of the foreign currencies, gave statements to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) confirming that they brought money to the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons.

Explaining the source of the funds, Bamaiyi said the money was given to him by friends who did not want their identity disclosed.

He added that the funds were sourced from his personal savings, property and farming businesses, pointing out that some of the funds were withdrawn from his account at defunct Nal Merchant Bank.

Following the revelation, Ojo requested for a copy of Bamaiyi’s statement of account, saying that the prosecution had not frontloaded a copy of the statement to the defence.

On his part, the prosecuting counsel for EFCC, Mr. Tope Banjo, said an additional proof of evidence containing the requested bank statement would be filed in court by the prosecution at an adjourned date.

The judge, Josephine Oyefeso, adjourned the case until September 16 and 19, 2019, for a continuation of trial.

According to the prosecution, Ajudua was incarcerated at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons over alleged fraud while Bamaiyi was incarcerated over alleged involvement in the attempted murder of Mr. Alex Ibru, the late publisher of The Guardian Newspaper.

The prosecution alleged that Ajudua had alongside some accomplices, approached Bamaiyi in the prison in 2004.

The defendant had allegedly convinced Bamaiyi that he could hire the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to help secure his freedom from Kirikiri, and Ajudua allegedly fraudulently collected 8.4 million dollars as the legal fees.

When the alleged fraud came to light, the law chambers of Afe Babalola and Co. issued a disclaimer disassociating itself from the case.

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Orji Kalu Was My University Roommate in 1980 –Senate President Lawan

14 June 2019 - 10:54am


Nigeria’s new Senate President, Mr. Ahmad Lawan, says Abia State former Governor, Orji Kalu, was his roommate at the university.

Lawan and the Senate Deputy President, Mr. Ovie Omo-Agege, were on Thursday hosted to a dinner by Kalu, who has now joined the league of former-governors-turned-senators.

The event, which took place at Kalu’s residence in Abuja, was also attended by some senators, members of the diplomatic corps, among others.

Lawan disclosed that the two-term governor of Abia, Kalu, was his roommate at the University of Maiduguri in 1980.

Delivering his welcome remark, Kalu urged all lawmakers to see themselves as brothers by giving the necessary support that would help move Nigeria forward.

”We have the assemblage of men and women that know Nigeria very well. At the chamber, we are going to be voting on a bipartisan basis to ensure a better life for Nigerians,” he said.

Kalu added: No motion is going to be moved here and no motion is going to be seconded here. All we are here for is to eat and drink.”

Senator Ken Nnamani, who said the presiding officers of the 9th Senate were elected in a transparent manner described the senate as “an assembly of elders.”

”Nigerians are looking forward to a different outcome this time around because of the way you were elected,” he stated.

Nnamani, who congratulated Lawan and Omo-Agege said the nation’s interest, rather than the party’s interest, must prevail at all times at the assembly.

He urged the lawmakers to always ensure the quick passage of the budgets.

”If President Muhammadu Buhari succeeds, you have succeeded yourselves. Therefore, there is no more excuse,” he told them.

Speaking on behalf of the diplomatic community, the Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, Shimon Ben-Shoshan, called on the lawmakers to put aside party differences and work for Nigeria’s progress.

The senate president, who thanked Uzor-Kalu for organizing the dinner, said: ”The Nigerian project is a project of the Nigerian people and not a political party’s project and everybody must ensure that it works.

”In the 9th senate, we are going to work together and we will distribute functions across party lines.”

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