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Frail-Looking Picture Of El-Zakzaky, Wife Emerges As Court Adjourns Ruling On Application For Medical Trip Abroad

18 July 2019 - 7:13am


The Kaduna State High Court has adjourned its ruling on the application filed by the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, seeking permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Members of Zakzaky's movement and rights group have raised alarm concerning his deteriorating health in recent months, ChannelsTV reports.

Justice Darius Khobo, the presiding judge, adjourned sitting on the matter to July 29, 2019, to rule on the application.

Counsel for Elzakzaky, Femi Falana (SAN), told the court that the health condition of his client was getting worse by the day, hence the need for him to seek urgent medical treatment abroad.

In a written application filed before the Court, Falana, said his client is in dire need of medical attention, having lost one of his eyes while in custody of the Department State Services.

The lawyer argued that Elzakzaky and his wife, Zeenat had not been given adequate medical care since their detention on December 14, 2015.

The Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution, Dari Bayero, objected Elzakzaky’s application because Nigerian medical doctors had yet to be invited to ascertain if the IMN leader should be treated locally or abroad.

Elzazaky and his wife are facing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of the public peace, among other charges filed against them by the Kaduna state government.

They were first arraigned on May 15, 2018, following their arrest in Zaria, in December 2015.

Justice Gideon Kurada, who is handling the case, had on March 25 adjourned the trial of the IMN leader indefinitely.

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BREAKING: Mikel Obi Retires From International Football

18 July 2019 - 6:53am


Mikel,Super Eagles
Mikel,Super Eagles

John Mikel Obi, Super Eagles Captain, has announced his retirement from his international career after Nigeria’s third-place finish in the 32nd Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.

Mikel’s decision to quit the Super eagles was made known after the victory against Tunisia in the battle for third place at the 2019 AFCON

The Super Eagles captain sustained an injury during the 2019 AFCON competition in Egypt and was only able to play two games during the group stage.

Since August 2005, Mikel has been a key player of the Super Eagles spending 13 years with the team.

Mikel played two FIFA World Cup and four Africa Cup of Nations, where he won the 2013 AFCON and a bronze medal in 2019.

In a post on Instagram, he said: “Egypt is a country where I’ve started and have finished my national career,” explaining that exactly 13 years ago, he started his first competitive match for the Super Eagles in Egypt against Zimbabwe.

"In 2006 I played my first official championship for my country. 2019 African Cup of Nations marks my last championship for the national team with Super Eagles.  

"My national career started in 2003, under 17 World Cup and I’m grateful to the national team for placing me on the world arena and allowing me to show my skill and have an incredible national and international career.  

"At the age of 32, it’s time for me to retire from the national team and let the youth take over, who’ve done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at Afcon 2019.  

"Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my country for all the trust, support and love you’ve shown me over the past 15 years."

John Obi Mikel has scored a total of seven goals and appeared in 94 games for the National team since the inception of his National career for Nigeria.

       
View this post on Instagram                  

Egypt is a country where I’ve started and have finished my National career. In 2006 I played my first official championship for my Country. 2019 African Cup of Nations marks my last championship for National Team with Super Eagles. My national career started in 2003 under 17 World Cup and I’m grateful for the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skill and have an incredible National and International career. At the age of 32 it’s time for me to retire from the National team and let the youth take over, who’ve done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019. Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my Country for all the trust, support and love you’ve shown me over the past 15 years. Mikel am out!

A post shared by Mikel Obi (@mikel_john_obi) on Jul 18, 2019 at 4:33am PDT

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Two Killed, Eight Injured As Ondo Communities Clash Over Land

18 July 2019 - 6:46am


Two people have been killed during a communal clash that broke out between residents of Araromi Obu in Odigbo local council area and the Ikales in Okitipupa local council area of Ondo State.

The two communities have been embroiled in a land tussle for a while.

Properties worth millions of naira like houses and vehicles were badly damaged during the clash as people scampered for safety.

SaharaReporters gathered that an Ondo State High Court in Akure had ruled in favour of Ikale as the rightful owner of the land.

Dissatisfied, the leaders of Araromi Obu later got an injunction stopping the court judgment to take effect.

It was learned that the Ikale people were acting on the court ruling which declared them as the real owner of the disputed land.

Ayokunle Okunomo, a witness, said the people of Ikale invaded the Ago Alaye villages in Araromi Obu and prevented the locals from going into their farms.  

Okunomo said the invaders had to move from house to house to unleash terror on the people and this led to the clash.  

He alleged that the people of Ikale had been threatening to forcefully reclaim the land after the court ruling.

According to him, no less than eight people were attacked and wounded.

Omololu Meroyi, one of the leaders of the Araromi Obu community, said that socio-economic activities had been grounded due to the attacks.

Meroyi claimed that Araromi Obu, which is their ancestral land, had been in existence for close to 500 years.

He said, "A court case gave parts of our land to Ikale people but an appeal has been filed to that effect. We were all  born in Araromi Obu and we have never had any landlord. We have only had people who beg us to give them our land for farming.

"And we have been living peacefully until the unwarranted attacks on us by the ikales. They invaded our lands destroying properties and goods while killing innocent people of the community.

"We are not ready to cede our lands to anybody and we want the people to know that we are the owners of the land. It has never been in the history that we are tenants on our land and our current monarch is the 18th oba. The farmers in our community can not got to their farms again and the workers are also afraid of traveling to their places of work."

He noted that their resolve not to retaliate should not be seen as an act of cowardice.

Femi Joseph, Police spokesman in Ondo State, confirmed the attack in a telephone interview with our correspondent. 

He said police officers had been deployed in the towns to maintain peace and orderliness. The police spokesperson added that some arrests had been made while doing an investigation. 

"Already, our officers have restored normalcy to the town,” Joseph said.

Meanwhile, Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has imposed twenty four hour curfew in the Ago Alaye community.

Akeredolu said the curfew became necessary following the preliminary reports received in the wakes of the violent clash between the locals. 

The governor stated this in a statement by Donald Ojogo, the government's spokesperson.

The statement read, "It [the curfew] is in the overall interest of the inhabitants of the area as well as adjoining towns and villages.  The need to prevent the unfortunate incident from escalating also reinforces this action.

"All inhabitants in the affected area are enjoined to take maximum advantage of this step being taken by obeying the order. Security agencies are by this action mandated to enforce the curfew to the fullest.”

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Stop Writing Rubbish On The Internet, Soyinka Tells Nigerian Youths

18 July 2019 - 6:26am


Prof. Wole Soyinka has said that Nigerian youths are full of spunk abroad, but gas at home.

He advised them to make good use of their time and stop writing rubbish on the Internet.

Soyinka said this at the official launch of Solution 17, in Lagos, Vanguard reports.

He said, “Nigerian youths are full of spunk outside but when they are inside Nigeria, they are full of gas. We are building a generation of illiterates. They are the first to comment on the internet on issues they are ignorant about. When you talk about education, I get texts from the New Generation and can’t believe these texts are from the youth.’

The Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, recounted his experience as a student in the UK saying, “When I was studying in the UK, many of my friends were Nigerians and whenever we were uncomfortable as African students, we asked the Nigerians to speak for us.

"But when I came to Nigeria and saw the kind of life that Nigerians had accepted, I was shocked. I ask why Nigerians accept abysmal conditions with all of Nigeria’s resources”.

“Africa cannot continue to agonise over poverty, colonisation, and slavery. There is a need to wake up and do something. We cannot wait for the government. Every Nigerian is a leader. Leadership not only refers to political leadership, but a leader is a person who excels in what they do.   

“The UN goals are universal and should not be split between developed and developing nations. Do not expect the UN to support you when you have not done anything.”

Kayanja stressed that the UN wanted to mobilise enough Nigerians to make changes using the template of the UN 2030 goals and SDGs adding that the focus should be on mobilising Nigerians who cannot accept to live in pathetic conditions. 

Soyinka tasked Nigerian youth to be proactive in demanding their rights from the government.

He said, “The Nigerian youth schooling outside the country reminded me of what it was like to be a student in racist England in the 50s. You always wanted to have a Jamaican with you when you were in a fight because Jamaicans never understood the term, ‘surrender’. 

Soyinka added, “They are waiting for Wole Soyinka to lead a march to Aso Rock. It is about time to get off your feet and stop writing rubbish on the Internet about things you do not understand. I do not know how to describe the New Generation beyond a generation of Internet trolls.

“When I decided to build my century in the forest, I bought a second-hand diesel generator and asked someone to dig a borehole. I wanted it to be self-sufficient. What I want to pass on to you is that I thought of the possibility of being self-reliant. This entails that I can come to cooperatives with others and demand things from the government by any means necessary.” 

Concerning the details of Solution 17, Soyinka noted that experts have studied the model and it is important that we focus on the details. Quoting the popular phrase, he recalled that “the devil is in the details”. 

Kayanja further disclosed that while Nigeria had yet to adopt the Solution 17 UN-endorsed Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the CEO and Project Director of Creative Youth Community Development Initiative, CYCDI, Mrs. Foluke Michael, it has been approved in India, Morocco, and Switzerland as a model to alleviate the major problems facing today’s society.

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Trump Survives Third Impeachment Vote At Congress

18 July 2019 - 6:04am


A bid to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump has been blocked in the US House of Representatives, the BBC reports.

Texas Democrat Al Green filed the resolution after the House voted to denounce Mr Trump's attacks aimed at four US congresswomen as racist.

But the measure failed to win enough support, with his fellow Democrats voting overwhelmingly against.

Mr Trump said the "ridiculous" attempts to impeach him were now "over".

"This should never be allowed to happen to another President of the United States again!" he tweeted.

Later, at a rally in North Carolina, Mr Trump continued his attacks on the four non-white Democrat congresswomen - Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, known as "the squad".

He was cheered on by the crowd as he again accused the women of hating America. Many began chanting "Send her Back! Send her back!"- echoing the "Lock her Up" chant his supporters used against Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Who are the congresswomen known as 'the squad'?

Ms Omar responded on Twitter by quoting Maya Angelou's poem Still I Rise: "You may shoot me with your words... But still, like air, I'll rise."

Why attempt to impeach Trump now?

Mr Trump's attacks on the women began at the weekend, with a series of tweets telling the then unnamed politicians to "go back" to their countries. All four of the congresswomen are US citizens.

His tweets were widely condemned as racist, and the Democrat-controlled House passed a symbolic resolution denouncing Mr Trump's "racist comments that have legitimised fear and hatred of New Americans and people of colour".

Mr Trump has tweeted he doesn't "have a Racist bone" in his body.

Mr Green appeared to be hoping increasing anger against the president would give him the support he needed.

In his resolution, he argued Mr Trump had "brought the high office of the President of the United States into contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute".

The Democratic leadership has so far refused to initiate impeachment proceedings, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi repeatedly saying she does not want to act until an "ironclad case" has been built against the president.

"We have six committees that are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in. That is the serious path that we are on," Ms Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday.

But while the motion was defeated - with 332 voting against - it did indicate growing support among Democrats for impeachment proceedings.

A total of 95 Democrats voted in favour of the measure - an increase on the support Mr Green got for his two previous attempts, in 2017 and 2018.

Mr Green said after Wednesday's vote that he did not view it as a failure. "We got 95 votes this time, 66 the last time. So that's a plus. But whether we get 95 or five, the point is we have to make a statement."

In this context, to "impeach" means to bring charges in Congress which will form the basis for a trial.

The US constitution states a president "shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanours".

The process of impeachment has to be started by the House of Representatives and only needs a simple majority to pass. The trial will be held in the Senate.

But here, a two-thirds vote is necessary for the president's removal - and this milestone has never been reached in America's history. 

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Madmen Without Specialists By Bayo Oluwasanmi

18 July 2019 - 5:58am


It is sad but true that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.

Like a broken record, we constantly revisit the economic and social quagmire in which the majority of our citizens are trapped. Nonetheless, repetition doesn’t have to be redundant if the motive behind it is to underscore something of great importance.

The long-standing manufactured economic and social problems by the ruling class and in this instance, the governors, continue to destabilize and demoralize the soul and spirit of Nigerians.

One of the unique qualities most of the governors bring into the office is their terrifying ambiguity. They’re not innovative managers.  And they’re having difficulty making up their minds.

Their greatest political indictment is living by abstract rules. Their impoverished imagination continues to haunt and hurt their resolve and decision making to govern like skillful administrators.

Time and time again, the governors return to their foolishness in their embarrassing maturity. They suffer from farfetched imagination. They’re short of inner fuel to move their states forward.

The Jonathan-Amaechi feud became advertised foolery by madmen without specialists at the National Governors Forum.  

The governors are sickening examples of political leaders without political commitment. They lack human solidarity – a typical form of crime- that is morally abhorrent to a failing state such as Nigeria which needs an infusion of a new life.

Political commitment arises from compassion rooted in solidarity with others who are suffering in the same place or in the same way as oneself. Political commitment sides with human suffering.

Political commitment fosters compassion with others whose circumstances are quite different from one’s own. These latter kinds of Nigerians bear the brunt of the madness of the governors.

Throughout history, politics have been left to the few to conduct the business on behalf of the people. It is the expectation of the governed that the politicians would fight on their behalf for their interest at all times.

So far, those entrusted to carry out the business of the people have done such a bad job that even the rest of us who have no political inclinations could hardly have done any worse.

The great lapse of imagination on the part of those in close proximity to the problems of ordinary Nigerians is one of the most dubious blessings of our so-called democracy.

The continuing deprivation of basic necessities of life and fear of unsecured future for our people convinced me there is something radically wrong about Nigeria.

The governors’ actions and surreptitious exploitation of the masses put in glaring contrast the unparalleled resources and revenue never before available to any government in Nigeria.

The NGF should not be an information, fanfare or felicitation session but for the transformation of the people. Instead of chewing on the problems of their constituencies, the governors are busy expanding their power, wealth, rank, and honor.

The National Governors Association (NGA) in the US was founded in 1908. The NGA serves as a key public policy liaison between the state governments and the federal government.

The NGA provides governors and senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and at the White House when discussing federal issues to developing policy reports on state programs.

The NGA Center for Best Practices focuses on states innovations and best practices on issues that range from education and health to technology, welfare reform, and the environment.

The position of NGA chair alternates yearly between Republicans and Democratic governors so that neither party can control the position for two consecutive years. The vice-chair is usually of the opposite party to the chair, and generally assumes the role of chair the following year.

Governors, here are some brainteasers for you:

What is so special about the National Governors Forum? What are the priorities of the NGF?  What are the objectives of the NGF? What impact has the NGF on your constituencies?  

Governors, do you really fight for or represent the interest of your constituencies? Are your priorities not in tandem with the priorities of the people?

Are your priorities not centered on the acquisition of jets, real estate, media houses, and globetrotting attending overseas birthdays, funerals, graduations, weddings, lectures, seminars, and conferences? Governors, do you really know what it means to serve? The NGF means so many things to different people. For the majority of Nigerians, the NGF is an insulting oxymoron.

By the way governors, can you explain to us what “security vote” is?  Can you justify the need for such a hefty budget? How do you spend the “security vote”?

How many jobs have you created in your respective states? How many hospitals have you built? How many housing units have you constructed for low-income people?

How many small businesses have been directly financed through government-guaranteed loans? What are your plans to end transportation gridlock in your towns and cities?

Governors, what is the need for a bloated cabinet of 20-30 commissioners? What innovations have you brought to the modern government? How many of the schools in your states are internet wired?

The NGF is supposed to be a sort of pressure group to articulate problems common to their constituencies and present a joint front to the federal government for assistance to finance projects and programs.

After all, hunger, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, disease, and insecurity are equally social and economic destroyers in ACN, Labor, PDP, and GNPP controlled states.

The NGF should be a forum where the governors use their bully pulpit to advocate for moral justice, shared vision of the promise of a better Nigeria, and pursue a remarkable and dramatic shift from a government of fools by fools and for fools.

Because the NGF is a redundant association, Mr. Jonathan, who is busy doing nothing, found an avenue to employ his indolence. Mr. Jonathan’s incursion into the NGF turned the election of a new chair into another debacle of two-thirds of 35 or 36 states! Hello, Chief Richard Akinjide! 

Mr. Jonathan’s candidate, Governor Jang of Plateau State; out of 35 voting governors (one governor was absent) garnered 16 votes while Amaechi pulled through with 19 votes. The winner is obvious. But then, Mr. Jonathan and his PDP declared Jang winner.

The Jonathan-Jang-PDP rewrite of election returns is only possible in Nigeria where voodoo mathematics has always been used as a formula to calculate, rig, and decide electoral victory.

Who cares who chairs the NGF?  What difference does it make to poor Nigerians fighting to stay alive because of the cruel and exploitative economic policies of the governors? What does it matter which looter takes over from another looter as chair of the NGF?

The NGF should be a forum to discuss an economic blueprint of how to eliminate waste in government. For example, get rid of the so-called  “security vote and trim the cabinet size.

How about putting people back to work? How about the fight for state and local government Police for effective community policing? How about turn the forum to a peer review forum?

It is not the human condition that afflicts Nigerians today. It is rather the very specific Nigerian social arrangements and government policies. It is within the capacity of the governors through political power to change such arrangements and policies.

There is no moral excuse for the impoverishment of large numbers of Nigerians. They have been stranded in poverty because of our political leader’s most enduring motive for negative political commitment – participation in the agony of one’s brethren.

It is not all that difficult, in the end, to know the governor or governors of the people!

*** “People’s characters reflect the amount of weeding that was done during the growing season.”

This article was first published on SaharaReporters  June 03, 2013

bjoluwasanmi@gmail.com

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We Killed Nigerian Bar Association Chairman For Cornering N18 Million -- Internet Fraudsters

18 July 2019 - 5:18am


A gang of suspected internet fraudsters has told the Nigeria Police Force why they killed Emmanuel Agundu, a Nigerian Bar Association chairman in Enugu. 

The suspect gave details when they were paraded alongside other criminal suspects, by the Enugu State Police Command, according to Punch.

Kenechukwu Eze, a 39-year-old native of Amoli Edem in the Nsukka Local Government Area of the state, said Agundu was killed for withholding N18 million, the proceed of an internet scam which was paid into his account.

Agundu, who was the Udenu Local Government Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, was shot on August 15, 2018, by gunmen around 7 pm, but he survived the attack.

However, on September 2, 2018, he was trailed to Uru-Uwani Edem in the Nsukka Local Government Area around 2 pm and shot dead.

Although one of the gunmen was arrested and remanded in prison custody, Eze, a member of the five-man gang of Internet fraudsters based in Morocco, was apprehended on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, by the personnel of the Enugu State Police Command.

Suleiman Balarabe, the state Commissioner of Police, said Eze was arrested with the help of credible intelligence.

Balarabe said his arrest was part of the command’s efforts to rid the state of criminals.

“We are also striving towards reducing crime to its barest minimum through proactive measures without losing sight of the respect for human rights and the rule of law,” the police chief stated.

Eze confessed that his group killed the legal practitioner, adding that the person who shot Agundu had been arrested and remanded in prison.

He said, “I didn’t know the lawyer in person, but one of our members brought him to join us in the business. His job was to supply a bank account to pay the money we realised into.

“So, we paid a total of N18 million into the account he supplied and when we asked him to provide the money, he rebuffed us. Instead of making the money available for us to share according to our agreed formula, he started threatening to report the matter to security agents. That was why we decided to end it once and for all.

“I was arrested because of the death of that lawyer that we did a fraudulent transaction together. He spent N18 million and was killed because of that. The person, who shot him, is already in prison. We were five in number; Emmanuel Ebonyi, one Valentine and his younger brother, Agundu and I.

“It was an online business, but the barrister supplied the account that we paid into. We paid a total of N18 million into his account and he kept all the money.”

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Nigeria Customs Intercepts Ambulance Laden With Tramadol

18 July 2019 - 4:57am


The Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted a Hyundai ambulance conveying cartons of 225 miligrammes of  Tramadol.

Muhammad Abba-Kura, the Controller of  Apapa Area Command of NCS, stated this while showing the seized vehicle and the drugs to journalists in Lagos.

The officials of the NCS intercepted the drugs while the driver was trying to smuggle them out using the ambulance's siren as a distraction. 

According to Abba-Kura, further investigations revealed that the drugs were stolen from a container waiting for examination inside the port.

“It is regrettable to state that while the Nigeria Customs Service is working to free this country of illicit goods, some unpatriotic citizens are not relenting in their desperate urge to sabotage our efforts,” he said.

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I'll Arrest Fulani Parents Who Refuse To Educate Their Children -Yoruba Monarch, Oluwo Of Iwo

18 July 2019 - 4:30am


The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale, has called on Fulani parents to ensure that their wards are given quality education. 

Oba Adewale, during his congratulatory visit to Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyateola, on his election victory at the Supreme Court said “the future is in the classroom, not in the bush".

The Yoruba monarch, who alongside over 20 traditional rulers, made the trip to Osun state capital, lamented the deplorable state of nomadic schools built by past governments. 

The Oluwo of Iwo also decried how the schools built for Fulani now lie fallow due to the refusal of the Fulani to enrol their children.

He said: “I’ve visited the Fulani under my watch. We are intimate since time immemorial with understandable symbiotic relationship. We understand each other to date. I did not only appeal, but also threatened to arrest their parents for refusing to give quality education to their children. 

“Lack of quality education will unavoidably breed banditry. Strict penalty for kidnappers is a short-term solution, while mandating quality education is a long-term panacea.The government should design a modality for preferential monitoring to ensure Fulani herdsmen are in school.”

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Ebola Outbreak In Congo, An International Emergency - WHO

18 July 2019 - 4:25am


The World Health Organization has declared Ebola in Congo as a case of a public health emergency of international concern.

The declaration was disclosed by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO at a press conference today.

Tedros stated that the declaration concern is not a reflection on the performance of the Ebola response team in Congo but “a measure that recognizes the possible increased national and regional risks and the need for intensified and coordinated action to manage them".

He stated that the decision was made following the IHR Emergency Committee’s recommendation citing concerning the geographical expansion of the virus.

Robert Steffen, Chairperson of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, moved for the declaration of Congo as a case of international concern today.

The Emergency Committee emphasized the importance of continued support by WHO and other national and international partners in Congo towards the effective implementation and monitoring of these recommendations to the Ebola response.

Tedros said: "Although there is no evidence yet of local Ebola transmission in either Goma, Congo or Uganda, these two events represent a concerning geographical expansion of the virus. Dr Tedros referring to the recent Ebola cases: the priest in Goma and the woman who went to Uganda.

"Our risk assessment remains that the risk of Ebola spread in Congo and the region remains very high, and the risk of spread outside the region remains low.

"WHO does not recommend any restrictions on travel or trade, which rather than stopping Ebola, can actually hamper the fight. Such restrictions force people to use informal and unmonitored border crossings, increasing the potential for the spread of disease.

“Travel or trade restrictions will serve no useful purpose – already there have been more than 75 million screenings for Ebola at Congo border crossings and other checkpoints.

“The government of Congo is showing exceptional transparency in sharing information every single day. They are doing everything they can. They need the support of the international community. That includes its financial support.”

The Director General of WHO urged all countries to support DR Congo, stressing that now is the time for the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of DR Congo and not to impose punitive and counter-productive restrictions that will only serve to isolate the country.

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Steer Clear Of Three Arms Zone, Police Warn Nigerian Protesters

18 July 2019 - 2:11am


The police have restricted all forms of protests within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to the Unity Fountain, Central Business District, Abuja.

According to a statement, the Force Public Relations Officer Frank Mba said the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, gave the order on Wednesday.

He explained that the directive was in furtherance of the efforts by the police at ensuring the security of life and property, free flow of traffic, and protection of economic activities.

Mba added that the force was committed to ensuring more coordinated handling of peaceful protest in the FCT.

He said, “By this directive, intending protesters are requested to steer clear of all critical national infrastructures, especially the Three Arms Zone and other sensitive security areas.

“They are, however, at liberty to assemble and conduct peaceful protests within the Unity Fountain (the authorized protest zone).

“The restriction is sequel to a series of protests, such as the one on 30th October 2018 in various parts of Abuja, which brought the capital city to a standstill, crumbling economic activities and inflicting untold hardship on motorists and the general public.”

The police spokesman noted that a similar protest in the same month led to the setting ablaze of a police patrol vehicle at Banex Plaza in Abuja.

He stated, “This year, on the 9th of July, another protest at the National Assembly, Abuja, led to an unprovoked attack on police officers on legitimate national assignment, injuring nine of them and causing massive damage to public and private property.”  

Mba added: “Needless to state that it is within the prerogative of the police to regulate activities of protesters who have the tendency to cause damage to life and property, particularly to innocent and non-protesting citizens, who also have equal right to exercise their freedom, unmolested by the protesting group.”

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Oshiomhole Chartered Plane For Federal Lawmakers To Cause Mischief In Edo, Edo Speaker Alleges

18 July 2019 - 2:05am


The Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, says National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, chartered a flight for House of Representatives lawmakers to cause mischief in a bid to have the state parliament shut down.  

“Considering what we came to know in the course of this process, the recommendation of the ad hoc committee does not come to us as a surprise.

For example, the chartered plane marked 5N FCT, which brought the committee members to Benin City, was paid for by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is a major party in the disagreement.

“Also, the younger brother to the national chairman, Seid Oshiomhole, in a recent leaked audio conversation, revealed the underhand dealings in Abuja regarding the matter,” Okiye said in a statement.

Earlier, Okiye told Channels TV on Wednesday that a court had restrained any security agencies from sealing off the House of Assembly complex.

“Here, there is peaceful conduct of our operation here and the people that are in the National Assembly do not have such powers to issue out such orders.

“I repeat they do not have it. So, it is condemnable and should be resisted,” he said.

At the end of his interview with the TV station, Okiye issued a statement.

FULL TEXT Of Statement

It has come to our knowledge that the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating issues surrounding the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly has recommended that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and Department of State Services (DSS) should seal up the Assembly.

Considering what we came to know in the course of this process, the recommendation of the ad hoc committee does not come to us as a surprise.

For example, the chartered plane marked 5N FCT, which brought the committee members to Benin City, was paid for by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is a major party in the disagreement.

Also, the younger brother to the national chairman, Seid Oshiomhole, in a recent leaked audio conversation, revealed the underhand dealings in Abuja regarding the matter.

He stated that Oshiomhole and his proxies have been having meetings with the committee members and other actors in the issue in Abuja and doling out money to ensure the issue goes in their favour. 
With all these, it was clear that the ad hoc committee was up to no good. Their report was always going to be biased.

Moreover, we want to draw the attention of the general public and the police to a subsisting court order restraining the Police, headed by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the National Working Committee of the APC; the DSS and their agents, from interfering in the affairs of the assembly, as the house has been going about its activities peacefully and without rancour.

The national assembly must take note that they are expected to act as agents of peace and not merchants of crisis.

Edo State has always been peaceful and any attempt for them to carry out this order will certainly disrupt the peace that is currently being enjoyed in the state.

In a time like this in which the nation is being engulfed in one form of violence or the other, it is unfortunate that the house of representatives is seen to be promoting violence and exacerbating the tension in the country.

Signed
Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye
Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly
 

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Shut Down Edo Assembly, Federal Lawmakers Tell Inspector-General Of Police

18 July 2019 - 2:03am


Nigeria’s lawmakers in the House of Representatives have asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, to shut down the Edo State House of Assembly.

This followed an adoption on Wednesday of a report of the house’s ad hoc committee set up to investigate the crisis rocking the state assembly.

On July 9, members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly considered a motion seeking to take over the functions of the Edo Assembly, in line with the Constitution.

They also constituted a committee to investigate the crisis and recommend actions to be taken by the federal parliament.

Shortly after considering the report on Wednesday, the lawmakers asked the police and DSS to seal off the crisis-ridden state assembly.

The federal lawmakers said the state governor, Godwin Obaseki “should issue a fresh proclamation within one week in line with Section 105(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), stating the date, time and venue (of the inauguration), and publish in any national daily and television station.”

They added, “That all actions taken by the 7th Assembly members should be declared null and void pending proper inauguration.

“That all members of the Edo State House of Assembly, both those who have been inaugurated and those who have not been inaugurated should dissolve their factions in the interest of peace and stability of the House, with the view to moving the state forward.

“That the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of Department of State Services should shut down the Edo State House of Assembly and provide adequate security to allay further fears of intimidation and threat as alleged by members-elect.”

The lawmakers also resolved that “where recommendations 1, 2 and 3 above fail, the National Assembly should invoke the provisions of Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to take over the state House of Assembly until the situation normalizes”.

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Anambra State To Sack Teachers Without Qualification

18 July 2019 - 1:34am


Gov. Willie Obiano

Anambra State government has given December 31 this year as the deadline for teachers without the requisite qualification to either acquire it or be given the boot.

The state Ministry of Basic Education in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnaemeka Egwuonwu, for the Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, gave the warning on Wednesday.

Omenugha said it was in line with an earlier directive of the Minister of Education to disengage teachers without the right qualification by December.

It added that a reminder had earlier been addressed to the chairman of the Post Primary Schools Service Commission (PPSSC), Anambra State Universal Basic Education (ASUBEB) and Education Secretaries.

The state also referred to the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria’s (TRCN) letter of April 24, regarding the minister’s directive.

The reminder urged teachers to be registered and licensed by TRCN in line with section 17, Sub-Section 2 of the enabling law establishing the council.
 

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Nigeria Loses N1.4 Trillion Annually To Violence Against Children – UNICEF

18 July 2019 - 1:33am


UNICEF

The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says Nigeria loses over N1.4 trillion every year to violence against children.

A consultant with Bauchi Field Office of UNICEF, Mrs. Rita Pele, stated this at the inauguration of the reports on Financial Benchmark and Economic Burden of Violence Against Children in Nigeria in Jos on Wednesday.

The documents were for Gombe and Plateau states.

According to Pele, the figures represent 1.6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She explained that the figures were based on the survey conducted in 2019 by the federal government in collaboration with UNICEF.

“On average, deaths, and disability resulting from acts of violence against children cost Nigeria N1.42 trillion annually.

“This is equivalent to 1.6 percent of Nigeria’s GDP. This includes physical, sexual and emotional violence against children in the country,” Pele said.

In his address, the Chief of UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, Mr. Bhanu Pathak, called for increased funding by the government at all levels to end violence against children in the country.

Represented by Mr. Amos Kudzala, the Officer-in-Charge of the field office, Pathak said the launch of the two reports provides first-hand information on the high economic cost of violence against children in Nigeria.

“The launch of these reports today affords us the opportunity to know firsthand what we are putting into child protection as well as its high economic cost.

“The report points out clearly that there is a huge financial loss from cumulative loss earnings due to loss of productivity as a result of sufferings associated with various degrees of violence,” Kudzala said.

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Ruga: Don’t Sell Land More Than 5 Hectares, Abia Government Warns Citizens

18 July 2019 - 1:31am


Abia state government says it has introduced a policy directing relevant agencies to scrutinize and ascertain the purpose behind the sale of lands more than five hectares in the state. 

Mr. Uche Ihediwa, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, said the policy made it mandatory for applications for Certificate-of-Occupancy for such a purchase.

He said: “With the present dispensation, any request for land will have to be scrutinized.

“The state government’s policy is to scrutinize it and make sure that it is not something that is convertible into Ruga. We have gone ahead to sensitize our communities to be sure that nobody sells a large quantity of land.

“There is a standing instruction in the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning that sale of any land above five hectares will be scrutinized."

Ihediwa added, “Sometime in September 2014, the Federal Ministry of Works, Transport and Housing requested land to build a trailer park.

“There was nothing untoward about the request by the federal government under the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

“They were looking for 50 hectares of land in that place but we went round and discovered it was only 20 hectares.”

According to him, the negotiation was subsequently aborted and the land penciled down for a car assembly plant.
 

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OPL 245 Scandal: Eni Tried To Tamper With Witness In Nigeria, Prosecutor Claims

18 July 2019 - 1:29am


Officials from Eni sought to convince a witness, a former Eni manager, to withdraw some statements he made during investigations into a Nigerian corruption case involving the Italian oil group, a court heard on Wednesday. 

Prosecutor Fabio De Pasquale made the comment in a trial hearing into the case, during a legal debate over a request by Eni lawyers to adjourn proceedings to give more time to consider evidence in a related obstruction-of-justice investigation. 

"We have become aware that Eni, through its managers, would have tried to influence and would have approached the defendant (Vincenzo) Armanna to convince him to withdraw some of his statements," De Pasquale told the court without elaborating. 

Armanna is both a defendant and a prosecution witness in the corruption trial. 

Eni has denied any wrongdoing in the trial, in which it is accused of buying a Nigerian offshore oilfield licence in the knowledge that most of the $1.3 billion purchase price would be siphoned off to agents and middlemen in corrupt payments.  See Also Sahara Reporters Nigeria: Oil Giant, Eni CEO Sues Lawyer For Defamation 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

Oil major Shell, which jointly bought the offshore field with Eni, is also on trial for corruption over the deal.  

It too denied any wrongdoing. 

Eni also denied any wrongdoing in relation to a separate investigation where prosecutors are looking into allegations that Eni sought to obstruct justice in the Nigeria case, Reuters reports.

Armanna, who led Eni's project to acquire the OPL-245 field in 2011, has told investigators he was informed by a security official for the then Nigerian president that $50 million had been set aside for top Eni management under the deal. 

Later on Wednesday, the Milan trial court denied Eni's request for an adjournment, clearing the way for Armanna to take the stand. However, it ruled that for now he could only be asked about the graft case, not allegations of obstruction of justice.  See Also Sahara Reporters Nigeria’s OPL 245 Scandal: One Of World’s Biggest Oil Industry Corruption Trials 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

Eni said in a statement on Wednesday it had declared itself an offended party in the obstruction-of-justice investigation. Prosecutors have not laid any charges against Eni officials or the group itself in this widening investigation. 

"Eni is dealing with the (trial) proceedings with the utmost serenity and is confident that the deliberations underway will continue to confirm the company's total non-involvement with facts that never happened and have nothing to do with the group," the company said in a statement. 

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Nigeria’s OPL 245 Scandal: One Of World’s Biggest Oil Industry Corruption Trials

18 July 2019 - 1:25am


Dan Etete

Dan Etete

According to Reuters, one of the oil industry's biggest corruption trials revolves around a Nigerian offshore licence known as OPL 245, which Royal Dutch Shell and Italy's Eni bought in 2011.

Italian prosecutors accuse former and current executives of the two energy giants of paying bribes to secure the licence.

Shell and Eni, and their executives have denied the accusations and any wrongdoing.

Below are a list of legal actions that have arisen from the award of OPL 245:

* Some key issues related to the OPL 245 case came to light in two separate civil suits filed shortly after the 2011 deal by a Nigerian, Emeka Obi, and a former Russian diplomat, Ednan Agaev, who said they were owed millions of dollars by a Nigerian company, Malabu Oil and Gas, for arranging meetings with Shell and Eni in relation to the licence, court filings show. Obi was awarded at least $100 million for his work as a "dealmaker", the court records show. Agaev reached an out-of-court settlement.

* Nigeria filed a case in London against U.S. bank JPMorgan for its role in transferring more than $800 million of government funds to Malabu. JPMorgan acknowledged it knew former minister Dan Etete would benefit when it transferred the funds to the company, according to a court document seen in April 2018. JPMorgan did not provide a comment on the filing. Etete, who was convicted of money laundering in France in 2007, could not be contacted for comment and his lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

* In May 2018, Nigerian civil rights group Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) launched a legal case aimed at forcing the government to revoke the award of OPL 245.

* In May 2018, the main trial in Milan started, in which Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi, former Shell exploration chief Malcolm Brinded and 11 other defendants, as well as the two companies, were accused by Italian prosecutors of paying bribes to secure the licence. All the accused denied wrongdoing.

* In September 2018, in a separate trial in Milan, Emeka Obi and Italian Gianluca Di Nardo were sentenced to jail in a corruption case related to OPL 245. Obi and Di Nardo appealed the ruling.

* In December 2018, Nigeria filed a $1.1 billion lawsuit in a London commercial court against Shell and Eni in relation to the oilfield deal. Shell said the transaction was fully legal and Eni said it rejected any allegation of impropriety or irregularity.

* In March 2019, Dutch prosecutors said they were preparing criminal charges against Shell over OPL 245.

* In April 2019, a Nigerian judge issued arrest warrants for Dan Etete, another former minister and an Eni manager over the sale of OPL 245. Eni called the move disproportionate and detrimental to the rights of its manager. Etete could not be contacted for comment and his lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

* In July 2019, Eni Chief Executive Descalzi sued a former legal adviser to the Italian company for defamation after excerpts of the lawyer's written testimony relating to the Nigerian case were published in several newspapers.

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Fulani Herdsmen: Buhari Blasts Northern Elders Forum

18 July 2019 - 1:21am


President Muhammadu Buhari has slammed the prominent Northern Elders Forum for urging Fulani herdsmen to return home to northern Nigeria if they feel unsafe and insecure in the southern region of the country.

Buhari said such a call was political and needless.

According to a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday, the president said all citizens of Nigeria were free to move and live within any part of the country they please, whether or not they are originally from there.

“In line with our country’s constitution, the government of Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will protect citizens of Nigeria wherever they find themselves.

“No one has the right to ask anyone or group to depart from any part of the country, whether North, South, East or West,” the statement stated.

It added: “They have no one’s authority to make such pronouncements. “The polarising role of the Northern Elders Forum and all those other groups dabbling into issues of security to score cheap political points has for long been a sore point in Nigeria’s body polity.  

“They should not be allowed to mislead anyone, least of all the Fulani herders. “The Buhari administration is fully devoted to finding a lasting solution to the herder-farmer clashes in different parts of Nigeria – one that would be acceptable to all the parties involved.” 
 

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Nigeria: Oil Giant, Eni CEO Sues Lawyer For Defamation

18 July 2019 - 1:20am


The head of Italian oil group Eni has sued a former legal adviser to the company for defamation after excerpts of the lawyer's written testimony relating to a Nigerian corruption case were published in several newspapers on Wednesday.

Eni said Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi had taken the legal action after newspapers quoted from the testimony, which was given by Piero Amara in an investigation into allegations of obstruction of justice in the corruption case.

Eni described the allegations as baseless.

The group has always denied any wrongdoing in relation to the Nigeria case, in which it and oil major Shell are accused of acquiring an oil field in the knowledge that most of the purchase price would be siphoned off to middlemen in corrupt payments.  

Shell also denied any wrongdoing in the deal, Reuters reports.
 

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