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BREAKING: INEC Holds Emergency Meeting To Consider Zamfara Supreme Court Ruling

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 8:47am



The Independent National Electoral Commission, has held an emergency meeting over the Supreme Court judgement on the general elections held in Zamfara State.

Festus Okoye,  INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, in a statement on Friday said the meeting is for the body to determine the next course of action. 

The statement reads in part, “Following the Supreme Court’s Judgement delivered today 24th May 2019 on the Governorship, National and State Assembly Elections held in Zamfara State, INEC held an emergency meeting to consider the Court’s decision.”

More to come.
 

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Patrick Ukah, Former Commissioner Of Information In Delta, In Millions Of Naira Scandal

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 8:41am



One of the Cameras Bought By Ukah


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Patrick Ukah,  the immediate past Commissioner of Information in Delta state , is currently enmeshed in a  case of financial malfeasance running into several millions of naira.  Ukah was said to have  gone on a  bogus spending spree  claiming to have purchased  cameras and repaired transmitters for  the Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and Warri.


SaharaReporters reliably learned that Ukah, claimed to have purchased eight cameras for the two state- owned broadcasting outfits at  the sum of N18,721,738.00.
  However, finding  loopholes in Ukah's claim, the state's transition committee  decided  to launch  a probe into his supposed financial transactions,  confided a member of the committee  in our correspondent.


"We received some documents from the commissioner for information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, where huge sums of millions of naira were used to purchased cameras and repairs of transmitters at the Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and Warri. The documents shows huge fraud, corrupt and sharp practices to cover up the looting in the two broadcasting houses in Asaba and Warri.


"How can you purchase eight camera for N18.7 million.? As part of our duty, we as a committee had to carry out a market survey on the cameras. The camera make and model is Sony Digital HXR-NX 100 and with our findings, we discovered that one of the cameras is often sold for less than a N500,000 and the commissioner for information claimed to have purchased one each at the sum of N2.3 million by his calculation.


"Ukah also claimed to have bought four tripods and four wireless microphones at the sum of N9,654,750.00 for DBS, Asaba and Warri. This is nothing but outright fraud. In all the documents presented by Ukah to the transition committee shows that, he only succeeded in using the state owned media houses to corruptly and fraudulently amassed wealth to himself without recourse to improving the deteriorating current status of the broadcasting houses." a member of the committee  stated.

One of the Cameras Bought By Ukah
 In some of the documents presented by the state commissioner for information, Patrick Ukah to the committee and obtained by SaharaReporters, he claimed to have purchased eight cameras for DBS, Asaba and Warri at the cost of N18,721,738.00, repaired the FM coaxial feeder line at DBS, Warri at the cost of N16,620,000.00, repaired the back-up transmitters at DBS, Asaba, Ubulu-Uku and Warri at the cost of N43,000,000.00, as well as mast tensioning, painting and repairing at the cost of N11,150,000.00.


Continuing with the breaking down of the expenses incurred, the commissioner claimed that he purchased some equipment for DBS, Asaba and Warri, which he failed to name, at the cost of N12,553,750.00, provision and installation of antenna and repairs of another transmitters at the cost of N57,240,000.00, briefed governor Ifeanyi Okowa on the 2017 flood disaster in DBS, Asaba and restoration of the station back to air at the cost of N17,000,000.00, repair of faulty back up transmitters at DBS, Asaba, Ubulu-Uku and Warri at the cost of N68,380,000.00.


Meanwhile as mixed reactions have  continued to trail the monumental fraud and corrupt practices linked to the former informer commissioner, some of the addresses of contractors which Ukah claimed to have awarded the millions of naira contracts to, could not be located by our correspondent.


As at the time of filing this report, calls and messages put to the commissioner for information, Patrick Ukah were not responded to, but his Special Assistant on media, Samuel Ijeh, confirmed that the documents obtained by our correspondent were true copies of the documents submitted by his boss to the transition committee, adding that "But we later discovered that there some typographical errors" and when asked why his boss failed to carefully read through all the documents he submitted, Ijeh could not answer.

 

"We received some documents from the commissioner for information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, where huge sums of millions of naira were used to purchased cameras and repairs of transmitters at the Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and Warri. The documents shows huge fraud, corrupt and sharp practices to cover up the looting in the two broadcasting houses in Asaba and Warri.


"How can you purchase eight camera for N18.7 million.? As part of our duty, we as a committee had to carry out a market survey on the cameras. The camera make and model is Sony Digital HXR-NX 100 and with our findings, we discovered that one of the cameras is sold for less than a N500,000 and the commissioner for information claimed to have purchased one each at the sum of N2.3 million by his calculation.


"Ukah also claimed to have bought four tripods and four wireless microphones at the sum of N9,654,750.00 for DBS, Asaba and Warri. This is nothing but outright fraud. In all the documents presented by Ukah to the transition committee shows that, he only succeeded in using the state owned media houses to corruptly and fraudulently amassed wealth to himself without recourse to improving the deteriorating current status of the broadcasting houses." a member of the committee  stated.

In some of the documents presented by Ukah to the committee and obtained by SaharaReporters, he claimed to have purchased eight cameras for DBS, Asaba and Warri at the cost of N18,721,738.00, repaired the FM coaxial feeder line at DBS, Warri at the cost of N16,620,000.00, repaired the back-up transmitters at DBS, Asaba, Ubulu-Uku and Warri at the cost of N43,000,000.00, as well as mast tensioning, painting and repairing at the cost of N11,150,000.00.


Continuing, the commissioner claimed that he purchased some equipment for DBS, Asaba and Warri, which he did not name, at the cost of N12,553,750.00, provision and installation of antenna and repairs of another transmitters at the cost of N57,240,000.00, briefed governor Ifeanyi Okowa on the 2017 flood disaster in DBS, Asaba and restoration of the station back to air at the cost of N17,000,000.00, repaired of faulty back up transmitters at DBS, Asaba, Ubulu-Uku and Warri at the cost of N68,380,000.00.


Meanwhile as mixed reactions  have continued to trail the monumental fraud and corrupt practices linked to the former information commissioner, some of the addresses of contractors which Ukah claimed to have awarded the millions of naira contracts to, could not be located by our correspondent.


As at the time of filing this report, calls and messages put to the commissioner for information,  were not responded to, but Samuel Ijeh, his Special Assistant on media, , confirmed that the documents obtained by our correspondent were true copies of the documents submitted by his boss to the transition committee, adding that "But we later discovered that there are some typographical errors" and when asked why his boss failed to carefully read through all the documents he submitted, Ijeh could not answer.

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Buhari Mobbed As Shi'ites Protest 'Unlawful' Detention Of El-Zakzaky At National Mosque

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 7:56am


Thousands of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and some youth from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, stormed the National Mosque, Abuja, to demand the freedom of Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and wife, Zeenah El-Zakzaky.

President Muhammadu Buhari came to the mosque to observe his Jumat prayer when the youths moved in.

They were, however, blocked from entering the mosque by Police and Soldiers protecting the President. Buhari was smuggled out from the mosque by heavily armed military  men

Speaking at the front of the National Mosque, Engineer Abdullahi Muhammad Musa of the Academic Forum of Islamic Movement said the youths would continue to protest until El-Zakzaky is released.

"We are still here and if you like, you can come and kill us, we are ready to die. We have been killed, we have been oppressed and we have every right to challenge the oppressors.

"We know every one of the Army that came to kill our people. There must be a day that you will face the consequences of innocent people in Nigeria," he said.

El-Zakzay has been in the detention of the Department of State Services for four years after the military stormed his hometown in Kaduna, killing hundreds of his supporters including his children.

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INTERPOL Issues Arrest Warrant For Nigerian Man Over ‘Parental Abduction’ Of A 9-year Old From Brazil

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 7:02am




The International Criminal Police Organization, also known as INTERPOL, has issued a Red Notice against Mr. Michael Olusegun Akinruli, a Nigerian who used to live in Brazil, for parental abduction of a 9-year old girl he had out of wedlock with Ms. Laurima De Jesus Pires, a Brazilian woman.

 

 The notice came 3 months after Mr. Akinruli defied a court order that mandated him to return Atinuke Folasade Pires Akinruli to the custody of his mother in Brazil, on or about February 3, 2019.

 

A Magistrate Court in Minas Gerais, Brazil, granted a 25-day travel authorization to Mr. Akinruli to visit Nigeria with his daughter, Atinuke, between January 9, 2019, and February 3, 2019, but Mr. AKinruli had since remained in Nigeria with the girl, in contravention of the Brazilian Court order.

 

On February 4, Ms. Pires, the mother of the child, said rather than return to Brazil with the child, Mr. Akinruli sent her an email notifying her of a court injunction obtained from a Lagos State Magistrate Court, granting him full custody of his daughter, Atinuke.

 

Ms. Pires, who has now taken residence at the Brazilian Embassy in Nigeria till she locates her child, said she has been denied access to the daughter and has no clue of her ex-lover’s whereabouts in Nigeria.

 

Ms. Pires met Mr. Akinruli in 2005, at the City of Belo Horizonte in the Minas Gerais. Their young love grew and they moved in together shortly after that. During this period of cohabitation, Atinuke was conceived and born in February of 2009.

 

However, three years after Atinuke’s birth, the love the two shared had begun to wax cold. “In 2012 I made a decision to separate because I could not bear to live with so many of his lies,” Ms. Pires said. “Living with someone who lies all the time is not easy at all.”

 

Ms. Pires moved out of their shared apartment with Atinuke, who was then 3 years old and went back to her parents’ house. According to her Mr. Akinruli had full access to baby Atinuke. “Michael always had contact and always participated in the life of our daughter,” she said.

 

In 2013, Mr. AKinruli, still living in Brazil, married a Nigerian woman but Atinuke remained in the custody of her mother. The battle over Atinuke’s custody, however, began in 2016 when Ms. Pires married another man.

 

“In the year 2016, I got married to my current husband,” she said. “In that same year 2016, Michael entered the justice system requesting (for) the guard of Keke was shared and also proposed to assume all the expenses with the studies of Keke”.

 

The court case in Brazil

In accordance with the Brazilian Family law, joint custody of Keke, Atinuke as fondly called by her mother, was granted. Ms. Pires said this was their living arrangement until Mr. Akinruli approached the court for a permit to bring Atinuke to Nigeria to continue her studies.

 

In a judicial order of a Court of First Instance in Minas Gerais, Ms. Pires claimed that Mr. Akinruli had previously filed for authorization to bring Atinuke to Nigeria for the period of two years. The mother denied to grant the travel's authorization, arguing that the father does not intend to return to Brazil.

 

However, while this proceeding was still on, Mr. Akinruli filed for a new permit, in limine, requesting to bring Atinuke to Nigeria for 30 days for the purposes of “leisure and familiar visit during the period of school vacation”.

 

Most motions in limine are filed by a party to limit or prevent certain evidence from being presented by opposing counsel at the time of trial. The purpose of a motion in limine is to prevent the introduction of matters at trial which are irrelevant, inadmissible or prejudicial.

 

The motion in limine was granted and, according to Ms. Pires, she only got to know of the order through a phone call from Atinuke at the airport. Mr. Akinruli’s Nigerian wife and the daughter he had with the Nigerian woman traveled to join him in Nigeria on February 1, 2019, two days before the mandatory return of Atinuke.   

 

In obtaining the travel relief which was granted in limine, Mr. Akinruli presented to the court a return ticket and evidence that he had enrolled both Atinuke and her stepsister in a school in Brazil.

 

According to the court papers: “The father produced evidence of fixed residence in this Capital, which consisted in an incorporated company legally registered. He, furthermore, proved to exercise the function of consul of Nigeria in Belo Horizonte. He proved to be a graduate student of 'Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais' (PUC-MG). He evidenced enrollment of both daughters (Atinuke and the sister Iwalewa) in a private school (Colégio Santa Maria). He evidenced the purchase of round trip tickets, with departure foreseen for 09.JAN.2019 and return foreseen for 03.FEB.2019.

 

“The Father represented that the purpose of the trip was to provide the conviviality of the daughters with the extensive paternal family and make her participate in the culture, habits, customs, religion, and language of his country. The father had evidenced to be the president of 'Instituto Iorubá', which aimed to promote Iorubá's culture and religion in Brazil. At last, he supplies (sic) the telephone and address of his sister (Paternal aunt of the infant's), where he stated that he intended to be hosted during their stay in Nigeria.

 

“He requested the interlocutory relief, arguing to have to buy the tickets and the need for the occurrence of the trip during the school vacation of the infant. 

He argued that not granting of the interlocutory relief would bring serious financial damages, besides making the trip of the daughter with the father and paternal sister unviable.

 

“The request was considered, in limine, as a leisure travel's authorization, with a familiar and cultural purpose, without intention of fixation of residence abroad. The motives of the request (plausibility of material right) were understood as relevant, as well as there might be the possibility that the occasional granting of the request, only in a final decision, could prevent the intention of the trip. Therefore, the case would stop being useful to the fulfillment of the interest of the requesting party and of the infant's. The effects of the interlocutory relief of the custody was granted in limine, to authorize the infant's trip abroad.”

 

The court case in Nigeria

Upon arriving in Nigeria, Mr. Akinruli, again approached the Lagos State Magistrate Court in Yaba with an ex-parte motion, seeking guardianship of Atinuke.

 

The court, not being aware of the full facts of the case, granted Mr. Akinruli guardianship of Atinuke in an ex-parte order issued on February 4, 2019, a day after Atinuke ought to have returned to Brazil.

 

On March 12, 2019, Ms. Pires filed a Preliminary Objection, praying the court to strike the ex-parte order for lacking in jurisdiction. The mother, through her lawyer, laid bare the fact of the case, while informing the court that there is a joint custody arrangement in Brazil.

 

Mr. K.O. Ogundare, the presiding Magistrate, not minding the plethora of reliefs sought by both parties, thereafter struck out the case for lacking in jurisdiction.

 

The endless battle for the custody of Atinuke has continued in Nigeria with her mother in total darkness about her whereabouts. “I have only spoken with Keke two times since she came to Nigeria,” an emotional Ms. Pires said, unable to fight back tears.

 

On one hand, in the Red Notice issued by INTERPOL, Mr. Akunruli’s home address in Lagos was given as 26 Aladesuru Street, Papa­Ajao, Mushin, Lagos State – Nigeria.

 

Visit to this address revealed that it is in fact not Mr. Akinruli’s current home address but his friend’s apartment where he used to squat until recently.

 

The friend, who refused to give his name, said Mr. Akinruli no longer stays in the apartment. “He has got his own apartment and moved out of here,” he said. Although, neighbors claimed that Mr. Akinruli still visits the apartment regularly and sometimes stays for days.

 

On the other hand, in the court papers filed at the Lagos State Magistrate Court said Atinuke now lives in Akure, Ondo State where she is allegedly schooling.

 

Ms. Pires said she is ready to stay in Nigeria until she finds her daughter and returns home safely with her. 


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JUST IN: Student Dies As School Collapses In Ondo

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 6:47am


 

A section of St Andrew Grammar school, Ondo, has collapsed resulting in the death of one student.

The partial collapse of the school located at Ondo City, Ondo West LG, happened around 12noon, today, during school hours

A female student of Junior Secondary School 3 whose identity is yet to be confirmed, is the only victim as blocks that fell from the school building landed on her head.

An eye-witness who confirmed the collapse to SaharaReporters said the girl was taken to the Ondo State Teaching Hospital for medical attention.

However, a resident of the community who helped in carrying the student to the hospital said she had breathed her last before getting to the hospital.

The Principal of the school, who was simply identified as Mr Oladunjoye has reportedly fled the school.

Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force have arrived at the school, barricading the entrance and not allowing anyone go in or out.

 

 

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Gbenga Daniel Left Ogun A Failed State, Says Amosun

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 6:36am


Ibikunle Amosun, outgoing Ogun State Governor, has said that his predecessor, Gbenga Daniel, left the state in a 'failed' condition when his tenure expired in 2011.

He stated that when he took over affairs of the state, the economy was very poor and there was a high level of insecurity. 

“When we came in 2011, Ogun State appeared to have failed as a State. Investors were running away from the State because of the high level of insecurity in the State but today, the State is ranked 4th on the list of State with the ease of doing business.

“As at the last count, our activities as a government has attracted 473 mega companies which some investing as much as N2billion. Not only that, we took the IGR of the State from the paltry sum of N700million to N7billion per month," Taiwo Adeoluwa, Secretary to the State Government who represented Amosun said while speaking at the launch of Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency.

Amosun noted that the state is better now and Dapo Abiodun, governor-elect of the state, will inherit an economically viable state.

“But we are not relenting on all these achievements. We know we have been very successful, but we need to consolidate on the success we have achieved and that is why we are establishing this agency.”

He also added that the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state has increased so is the ease of doing business in the state.

 

 

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Fulani Radio Station Is A Validation Of Obasanjo's Fulanization Claim, Says CAN

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 4:57am


The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the Federal Government acquiring a license to set up a 'strictly Fulani radio station'.

Pastor Bayo Oladeji, the special assistant to CAN President Samson Ayokunle, said the plan was a validation of comments attributed to former President Olusegun Obasanjo about the planned Fulanisation of the country by the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

He said, “It was reported in the newspapers that the government planned to give the Miyetti Allah N100bn. The government denied it only for the Miyetti Allah to own up, saying it was approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan. Who is fooling who?

“Why didn’t they set up a radio station for farmers too? Where is the radio station for the bandits in Zamfara, or for the Niger Delta militants? No single person has been prosecuted for the killings in the North-Central. Is the allegation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that there is a planned Fulanisation of the country not playing out now?”

“Every adult in the North listens to the radio, so why can’t they reach the herdsmen on the existing radio stations? Why do they need to set up a different radio station for them? They should stop fooling us."

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Supreme Court Upholds Fayemi's Election

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 3:38am


The Supreme Court on Friday  set aside the appeal filed against Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State by the Peoples Democratic Party  and its gubernatorial candidate in Ekiti state, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka.
The five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Tanko Mohammed, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, while upholding Fayemi's victory at the July 2018 poll unanimously held that the suit challenging the outcome of the poll lacked merit.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress polled a total of 197,459 votes to defeated Olusola-Eleka and the PDP who placed second with 178,121 votes in the July 14, 2018 election.

Not satisfied with the outcome of the election Eleka had  taken his case to both Ekiti state election petition tribunal and Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal and both court dismissed the petition challenging the outcome of the July 2018 poll.
However,Eleka's  dream of being the governor of Ekiti  State has been shattered with the pronouncement of the Supreme Court which has the definitive verdict.

 

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We Must All Be Fulani By Fredrick Nwabufo

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 3:11am


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

Conspiracy theories are the palm oil of Nigeria’s politics. They give taste to falsehood, tension, fear and unrest.  And often, they are ignorantly eaten, regurgitated and spewed by the unwary.

On December 11, 2013, former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote a caustic missive entitled, ‘Before it is too late’, searing former President Jonathan and his administration. He alleged that Jonathan was “clannish” and that he was promoting an Ijaw agenda. He also alleged that the immediate past president was arming militants, and that he had pencilled down 1000 people for crucifixion.  Obasanjo surmised that Jonathan was training a special killer squad like that of Abacha which would dispatch political opponents to the place yonder.

Hear him:

“...Allegation of keeping over 1000 people on political watch-list rather than criminal or security watch-list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his own killers....”

“Mr. President would always remember that he was elected to maintain security for all Nigerians and protect them. And no one should prepare to kill or maim Nigerians for personal or political ambition or interest of anyone.”

Obasanjo’s conspiracy theory turned out to be a hoax of cataclysmic proportions. But it became evident that he conjured this ruse from his pouch of tricks for political reasons, and that it was deployed in the desperation to get Jonathan out of office.

Now, the former president suggests there is a “West African Fulanisation and Islamisation” agenda - by extension Nigeria.

In his words: 
"It is now West African fulanisation, African islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining, and regime change."

Conveniently, Obasanjo's statement resonates with conspiracy theorists who have always accused the Buhari administration of promoting a Fulani and Islamist agenda.

One thing is clear, Nigeria is a deeply fractured country; so fractured that the ethnic group of the leadership and other nationalities will always be at one another’s jugular.  In fact, there will always be recriminations and accusations of ethnic dominance for as long as the present unwieldy structure is propped up.

As a matter of fact, fears of ethnic dominance are as old as Nigeria’s politics. It was one of the reasons for the 1966 coup; it was one of the reasons for the pogroms in the north; it was one of the reasons for the civil war, and it is the reason for the groundswell of conspiracy theories today.

If tomorrow, there is a president of Igbo extraction; naturally, there will be accusations of “Igbonisation and Christianisation” of the whole country and institutions. This is how divided Nigeria is.

However, there have been crimes – kidnapping and banditry - perpetrated by some persons of Fulani extraction across the country. But sadly, this criminality has been shaded as the “invasion and expansionism agenda of the Fulani”.  Really, what has given voice to this flawed theory is the ethnicity of the current leadership of the country.     

I think it is injudicious to link these criminals to a grand plot of ethnic colonisation hatched by the government. However, I must admit, these suggestions have been enabled by the poor handling of the security challenge by the leadership.

By and large, as I said in my interview on Newsday on BBC World News Service, London, in January, the Fulani common folk have been largely abandoned on the fringes of society for so long.  Some of them are without knowledge of government or any institution. How do we integrate them into society? How do we make them functional members of society? We cannot keep ignoring and stereotyping them? We must think Fulani and understand that all Nigerians matter. We will only kindle the fire if we keep spinning theories of hate and fear.

The Fulani herder who takes his cattle on a stroll in the field is not your enemy; your enemy are those who pit you against the herder, but sit in the national assembly raking in millions without making laws that will make the country workable.

Fredrick is a media personality.

Twitter@FredrickNwabufo

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BREAKING: Theresa May Announces Resignation

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 2:55am


Theresa May has confirmed that she will resign as leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June in order for a leadership election to take place this summer.

Speaking in Downing Street, May said it had been “the honour of my life” to serve as Britain’s second female prime minister. Her voice breaking, she said she would leave “with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love”.

The prime minister listed a series of what she said were her government’s achievements, including tackling the deficit, reducing unemployment and boosting funding for mental health.

But she admitted: “It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.”

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A Vote For Plastic Ban In Nigeria By Chinedu Asadu

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 2:50am


On Tuesday, Nigeria’s house of representatives passed a bill banning the use and sale of plastic bags in the country. According to the legislation, anyone that fails to provide customers with paper bags in place of plastic ones risks three years in jail or a fine of N500,000 - or both at the worst case scenario. The bill would have to be worked on by a conference committee of the house and senate before being sent to the president for assent to become law.

As expected, concerns are being raised as to whether the planned ban on plastic bags is necessary and if it’s ever going to be feasible in a country like Nigeria. To put this in proper context, the United Nations estimates that up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. Can you then imagine a Nigeria, the most populous black nation, without plastic bags? How is the trader down the street going to cope? Or the hawker in Lagos traffic?  A friend asked out of frustration: “Is this Nigeria’s greatest problem at the moment? These lawmakers don’t have anything else to do!” And hey, I totally get it.

BUT HERE IS WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES:

Limiting or prohibiting the use of plastic bag would have two major effects: Minimise the creation of waste, much of which ends up in the world’s oceans, harming wildlife, (the UN estimates our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050)  and reduce the air pollution that comes with burning single-use plastics. Take note also that about 12 percent of most solid waste is made up of plastic of one kind or another, and around 40 percent go up in flames, according to a recent study.

The study found that when plastics are burnt, toxic gases like dioxins are released into the atmosphere, posing serious threat to vegetation, as well as human and animal health. How? Dioxins settle on crops and in waterways from where they eventually end up in your jollof rice you would eat and finally, in human bodies. The end game is that they are discovered to be potentially lethal organic pollutants that can cause cancer and disrupt thyroid and respiratory systems.

Secondly, phthalates, the very chemicals that give plastic their desirable qualities are associated with lots of health problems, including infertility issues, neonatal impacts on babies, allergies and asthma. According to the study, “burning of plastic waste increase the risk of heart disease, aggravates respiratory ailments such as asthma and damages the nervous system” in addition to releasing black carbon (soot), which contributes to climate change and air pollution.

Thirdly, because of their nature, producing plastics typically requires a lot of fossil-fuel-derived energy. The fact that the world uses up to 5 single-use plastics means millions of barrels of oil and natural gas go down for a convenient way to package a few goods.

In March, the United Nations Environment Assembly passed a resolution on “addressing single-use plastic products pollution,” in which it pointed out that “only nine per cent of the nine billion tonnes of plastics ever produced have been recycled” and that “by 2050 there will be around 12 billion metric tonnes of plastic litter in landfills and the environment.”

WHY THIS SHOULD CONCERN YOU

Waste is usually a major problem in countries and cities where the use of plastic bags are without any restriction. Lagos, for instance, is Nigeria’s commercial centre, but a large chunk of the city’s environment is a mess as a result of poor or non-existent waste management -- from clogged drainage in highbrow areas like Lekki to refuse dumps sharing lanes with drivers in Ikeja. Because plastics are non-biodegradable, they are often burnt, exposing the 17.5 million residents in the city to health risks.

NIGERIA IS NOT ALONE

Bangladesh was the first country in the world to ban thinner plastic bags in 2002. Today, various types of similar bans -- from partial to complete -- have been instituted at various countries. In fact, as at July 2018, at least 127 nations have either banned or taxed plastic bags, according to a UN study. The European Union’s parliament already took steps to ban plastics by 202

Rwanda is a leading example when it comes to environmental sustainability. The country which placed a 2008 ban on non-biodegradable plastic, is aiming to be the world’s first plastic-free country. Its capital Kigali is dubbed Africa’s cleanest city, thanks to the ban and to a tradition in which people across the country commit time to projects aimed at improving the country’s public spaces every last Saturday of each month, in a mandatory practice called Umuganda. Of course we have such last Saturdays’ practice in Nigeria but how effective is it?

RECYCLING IS NOT AN OPTION

Recycling polyolefins - the most common type of plastic - has proven to be a challenge owing to collection and cleaning problems. Oxygen and heat cause chain damage during reprocessing.

A World Economic Forum (WEF) article shows that new findings are coming with advanced grades of polyolefins with enhanced strength and durability, but these grades cannot always mix with other ones during recycling. The major challenge perhaps is that polyolefins are often combined with other materials in multi-layer packaging, and while these constructs usually work just fine, they are impossible to recycle.

WHAT THEN ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

Some of the credible alternatives to plastic bags as listed in this 2018 article include:

Paper bags: The house of representatives had also suggested paper bags which by the way are 100% biodegradable, recyclable, and reusable. They are also capable of withstanding more pressure or weight than plastic bags.

Canvas bags: Made of cotton, these are more durable than plastic bags  and can be washed regularly and reused as many times as possible.

Cotton bags: These bags are also more beneficial for the environment due to their re-usability and biodegradability. In addition, the raw material generates from farming the cotton which makes it renewable.

Jute bags: These too are also a good alternative to plastic bags for various reasons: They are strong, biodegradable and compostable.

WHAT MUST BE DONE

Critics are already pointing out the essentials lacking in the bill for it to become a law. For instance, there are concerns over the lack of enough alternatives to plastic bags; only paper bag was mentioned as an alternative. Paper bags too has its own lows so having it as the only alternative doesn’t address the problem squarely. Also, it appears there is no measure in place to ensure it would actually work: no provisions to ensure these alternatives would be in abundant supply when it becomes law, there is also no mention of enforcers such as the agencies that would be charged with the responsibility of seeing to it that citizens abide by the law.

This, however, does not dispute the fact that the bill is a step in the right direction and is long overdue. It is then hoped a final draft of the bill being sent to the president reflects all the essentials else it may end up not seeing the light of the day. That would mean another delay for such a key global action and more harm to human lives and our environment.

Chinedu Asadu covers development and politics for TheCable. He can be reached on Twitter via @chinedu_asadu

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BREAKING: APC Had No Candidates In Zamfara For 2019 Elections, Supreme Court Rules

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 2:40am



The Supreme Court has declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State had no candidates in the 2019 general elections. 

The five-member panel of justices, in a unanimous judgment on Friday, held that the party the state failed to conduct primaries in accordance with the party rules.

In the lead judgment by Justice Paul Adamu Galinji, the apex court held that all votes cast for the APC as "wasted votes" and declared that all political parties with the second highest votes in the elections and the required spread, are elected to the various elections.

The panel also awarded cost of N10m against APC in favour of the Kabiru Marafa faction of the APC and other respondents in the appeal. 

More to come.

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I Wonder If It's Worth Taking Pains For APC, Says Okorocha

Sahara Reporters - 24 May 2019 - 1:13am


Rochas Okorocha, outgoing governor of Imo state, has been questioning his decision to pitch his tent with the All Progressives Congress(APC). He made his misgivings about joining the ruling party known on Thursday during the visit of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to Imo state.
Speaking when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo inaugurated some projects in the state on Thursday, the governor said he had worked passionately for the ruling party but what he got in return was constant hounding by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“You may not know what this visit has done to us because out there, people never believe our story that we have done more than one thousand projects,” Okorocha said.

“Our political detractors have never spoken anything good about us. The impression out there that this government has done nothing but believe me, what you are seeing here is one out of such 1000 projects.

“One of the things EFCC is investigating is N500million …that has made them close down the account of Imo state for the past three months and no activity is going on in the state and I think that is not good to a state that has performed and upgraded the name of APC.

“Since I became governor, I have not had one minute of my life; I have worked for this government but what I got at the end of it all was the seizure of my certificate, and the harassment of the EFCC. This does not give me joy but makes me wonder if it is worth taking the pains for APC.”

Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari in the state, commended Okorocha for the infrastructural development.
 He said by his action, the governor has shown that he is a  conscientious politician committed to the development of the state and  well-being of its  people
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had withdrawn the certificate of return of the governor for Imo west senatorial district, saying the returning officer for the election declared Okorocha winner under duress.

The governor, who denied the allegation, is currently in court over the issue.

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Court Fixes June 24 For Hearing Of Saraki's Suit Against EFCC

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 10:18pm


Following an order by the Federal High Court Abuja for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to halt probe of Bukola Saraki earnings as Governor of Kwara, the court has said a hearing of the case would begin on June 24.

Saraki had approached the court to stop the anti-graft agency from investigation his earnings and emoluments while he was the Governor of Kwara from 2003 to 2011.

He had also branded the investigation as witch-hunt with the EFCC asking him not to be afraid as long as he has no skeleton in the cupboard.

At the hearing on Thursday, all counsel informed the presiding judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, that all notice has been served to the respondents.

Mr. Sunday Onobi, counsel to Saraki, “We have served all the respondents the originating process and the order of the court and we have also received the fourth respondent’s (EFCC) counter affidavit to which we need to respond.”

Similarly, Dayo Apata, Solicitor -General of the Federation, told the court that he had filed a counter affidavit to the originating summons filed by Saraki.

Chile Okoromma, counsel to EFCC, also said that he had filed a counter affidavit and a written address in response to Saraki’s suit. He added that all parties in the processes would be served.

Justice Taiwo ruled that all processes should be served and replied to before the next adjourned date to enable hearing to begin.

The trial judge adjourned the matter until June 24.

 

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Angry Commercial Motorcyclists Storm Police Station, Set Patrol Cars Ablaze

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 10:05pm


Some commercial motorcyclists, angered by police officers' extortion and brutality against civilians, attacked Zuba police post in Niger state, setting it ablaze. The irate motorcyclists also burnt patrol vehicles.

The motorcyclists were reported to have launched the attack after a team of police personnel brutalized a motorcyclist who was unwilling to part with cash to bribe the officers.

The incident, which happened between 8am and 10am on Thursday, crippled commercial and business activities in the area. Normalcy was restored to the area when police reinforcements team arrived and brought the situation under control.

One of the motorcyclists who spoke to the Punch newspaper lamented the daily extortion by the Police.

He said, “The policemen have been disturbing the peace of okada riders on this road for long. They also collect money from us and the taxi drivers.

“We are their Automated Teller Machines. This cannot continue. They may kill some of us but this will not continue.”

Confirming the attack on the Police post, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, FCT Police Public Relations Officer, said the Police would conduct an investigation to arrest those involved in the attack.

Manzah said, “The miscreants attacked police personnel on their legitimate duties and set observation posts belonging to the police and the FRSC on fire as a result of which four vehicles parked within the premises were also burnt.

“The command would carry out discreet investigation that will lead to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the act.”

Bala Ciroma, FCT Commissioner of Police, visited the scene in company of some senior police officers, visited the scene to assess the situation and ensure normalcy was restored to the area.

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APC Planning To Incriminate Me By Masterminding Crisis, Atiku Cries Out

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 9:48pm


Atiku Abubakar, former Vice president and 2019 Presidential candidate  of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), has spoken of an ongoing plan by the All Progressives Congress to stage-manage a crisis in order to implicate him.

He said that the  purpose of the stage-managed crisis would  be to provide evidence for allegation by Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Culture and Information, who claimed Atiku was planning to topple the Buhari-led government.

Atiku, in a statement to journalists by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, also said APC is also trying to frame top PDP politicians in different criminal acts.

He said, “We wish to blow the whistle as an early-warning alert of the grandiose scheme being put together by some unscrupulous elements aimed at jeopardising the reputation of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar in the coming days and weeks.

“By the merit of what is beginning to unfold, there are plans to create some upsets across the country whereby alleged perpetrators of such crimes will engage in phantom names-dropping of Atiku Abubakar and some senior personalities in the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Already, we are abreast of some other plans to plant fictitious stories in some mushroom media outlets aimed at discrediting Atiku and his political party, the PDP.

“It, therefore, becomes preponderant that we alert the public of this demonic plan and to say that it will be imprudent to compromise the peace and security of Nigerians in order to score a cheap political goal.

“It is very unsettling that senior administration officials, especially those who are the mouthpiece of government will make reckless but calculated comments to tarnish the image of Atiku Abubakar and government will sit idly on it.

“With the conclusion reached by relevant security outfits that there is no evidentiary proof to back the claim by Lai Mohammed that the opposition was planning to upstage the government, we demand that the information minister should be arrested for a breach of security and an apology rendered to Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.”

Atiku urged the federal government to be awake to its responsibilities of providing security and ensuring peace, and also to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of exposing our fault lines.

 

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140 IPOB Members Remanded In Prison For Treason

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 9:35pm


140 members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) have been ordered by Magistrate A. N. Chioke of the Enugu East Magistrates Court to be kept in prison for an alleged treasonable felony offence.

The offence is punishable under Sect. 516 (A) of the Criminal Code CAP C38, Laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Enugu State.

The Magistrate answered the prayer of Paschal Nwachukwu, prosecuting counsel, who asked the court to remand the defendants in prison.

However pleading not guilty, Osita Abalu, one of defense counsels said the prosecutor lacks evidence to back up the case and keep his client in prison.

He noted that Sect. 234 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws (ACJL) of Enugu State, 2017 demanded that a reason must be provided before a defendant must be kept in prison.

He said that though the offence “for which the defendants were charged was punishable with life imprisonment, Section 88 of the ACJL, the Magistrates Court was qualified to grant bail.”

Similarly, F.C. Okeke, counsel to the 107 defendants, labeled the charges as trumped up while praying the court to respect the fundamental rights of the defendants by granting them bail.

Okeke also said the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case and the Magistarte should thereby order their bail.

Magistrate Chioke, in her ruling, stated that the charges are trumped while admitting that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter.

“The only document against them before the court is the charge sheet. This looks to me like a trumped up charge.

“The charge the defendants are remanded for is treasonable but the prosecution did not list any exhibit of weapon of warfare against them,” she said.

She, however, ordered that the defendants be remanded while the defense team make an application in the appropriate court.

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Police Arrest Six Soldiers For Robbery

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 9:11pm


The Borno State Police Command has arrested six soldiers and 83 other suspects for armed robbery and other criminal offences in the state.

The suspects were arrested by operatives of “Operation Puff Adder’’ in the state between May 3 and 23.

Mohammed Aliyu, Borno State Commissioner of Police, while speaking to journalists on Thursday said a Kolawale Samuel, Lance Corporal, was able to evade arrest and still at large.

“Hilary Oziama, a corporal, with Force number 09NA/63/3117, was arrested on May 13 after he allegedly conspired with Kolawale Samuel, a lance corporal, still at large and robbed one Ibrahim Mohammed of his tricycle worth N600, 000.

“Two other soldiers, Mohammed Abubakar with force number 17NA/76/15521 and Ibrahim Musa, 17NA/76/4381, conspired with Mohammed Mustapha and Sani Abdullahi to rob one Sani Musa of his cell phone worth N5,000.

“A soldier, Tgwe Sylvester (15NA/73/0510), conspired with one Nnamani Micheal and stole a car from its owner at Bayo in Bayo Local Government Area of the state. Two locally-made pistols were recovered from the suspects.”

Aliyu also said that the command also infiltrated the activities of a kidnap gang at Askira Uba after they abducted and collected a ransom N1.6 million from their victim, Sale Hamman.

Those arrested from the kidnap ganga are Ibrahim Usman, Ahmadu Hammsn, Sule Hamman and Hamman Abdulrahaman.

The Police Commissioner also said that a drug peddler, Charles Noah, was arrested by the police in Maiduguri in possession of narcotic substances worth N2 million, while a large quantity of drugs were seized and many suspects arrested.

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Court Revokes Bail, Orders Arrest Of Former Governor Aliyu, Nasko For Contempt Of Court

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 1:02pm


Justice A.B Aliyu of the Federal High Court in Minna, Niger State on Thursday revoked the bail granted to Babangida Aliyu, former Niger State Governor and Alhaji Umar Gado Nasko, former Gubernatorial candidate on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).
The presiding judge was visibly angry over the absence of the defendants despite the issuance of hearing notice. Justice Aliyu ordered bench warrant against the duo for contempt of court.
 Aliyu and Nasko are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over their alleged involvement in about N2 billion money laundering and other financial crimes.
The accused persons were formerly arraigned before Justice Bogoro Yelin where they pleaded not guilty to the alleged offence.

But Justice Yelin has been transferred to another jurisdiction while he is presently part of judges handling disputes at the Elections Petitions Tribunals.

The matter was later assigned to Justice Aliyu who is handling the matter de novo (afresh) while the hearing notices were issued to the parties over the fresh arraignment of Babangida Aliyu and Nasko.

When the matter came up today, none of the accused persons were not present in court just as their lawyers were absent.
Mr Osuman Mamma(SAN), lawyer to one of the accused persons, was said to have written to the court that he would be absent as he had another legal engagement with elections petitions tribunal
However, the  senior advocate did not send a  representative to stand in for him.
The development prompted the judge to revoke the bail granted to the defendants and later ordered the warrant of arrest against the accused persons.

The judge consequently adjourned the case till Monday, May 27, 2019.

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NNPC Fixes June 1 For Aptitude Test In Continuation Of Recruitment Exercise

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 12:00pm


The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in continuation of its recruitment exercise, has fixed Saturday, June 1, 2019 as the date for the compulsory  aptitude test that shortlisted candidates must undergo.

In a series of tweets via its verified Twitter handle @NNPC group on Thursday, the Corporation said the recruitment exercise, which kicked off via nationwide adverts in the national dailies and online media on March 13, 2019, and followed by the shortlisting of qualified candidates which commenced from about 27 March, 2019, has entered a third phase.
The Corporation, through a Press release, stated that the shortlisting of candidates for the exercise had been concluded, and that shortlisted candidates have been scheduled to sit for Computer Based Test on Saturday, 1st June, 2019 across the country.
 
“Notification of progression to the next stage has been sent to all shortlisted candidates via text and e-mail, while other details such as test centre and time will be sent on or before the 27th of May, 2019,” the release stated.

 Mr. Ndu Ughamadu,  General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division said that verification of credentials of candidates would be a continuous process throughout the exercise, stressing that candidates discovered not to meet the requirements or who had presented false documents at any stage would be withdrawn from the exercise.

It added that the CBT would be administered in about 50 centres across the country, saying those who emerge successful in the test would subsequently be invited for oral interviews for final selection

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