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Daily Archives: April 8, 2019

Britain plans to make Zuckerberg liable for hate crimes, fake news

In the first of its kind, Britain will make social media bosses, such as Mark Zuckerberg personally liable for harmful content and shut down offending platforms under a government action plan published Monday.

The long-delayed and eagerly anticipated proposals lay the groundwork for legislation that could be passed in the coming months.

They were drawn up after consultations with social media moguls such as Facebook chief Zuckerberg and have faced little resistance from other platforms that have also been blamed for allowing the spread of hate and abuse.

Some of the proposals have sparked concerns from free speech groups.

“What we’re proposing today is that companies that deal with user-generated content should take greater responsibility for keeping those users safe,” culture and media minister Jeremy Wright told BBC radio.

“These are world-leading proposals. No one in the world has done this before.”

The proposed regulations would see social media companies accept “duty of care” obligations that require them to identify and remove “online harms”.

Those that fail would be first issued warnings and then hit progressively with more punitive sanctions.

The government paper suggests that these include “the creation of new liability (civil fines or extended to criminal liability) for individual senior managers”.

The most serious would see internet service providers block non-compliant websites and apps.

“This would only be considered as an option of last resort and deploying such an option would be a decision for the independent regulator alone,” the plan says.

The regulations would only apply in Britain and should have no immediate impact on users elsewhere in the world.

But they may prompt other governments to take notice and follow suit.

Wright suggested the fines would be substantial.

He noted that those available to European Union authorities implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules on data privacy reached “up to four percent of a company’s turnover”.

“We think we should be looking at something comparable here,” Wright told BBC television.

Wright’s office is navigating a minefield of problems regulating an industry that largely functions outside the bounds of existing legislation — and whose harms are open to interpretation and remain undefined.

A joint letter sent by media executives to the British government in February stressed that legislation must be “technically possible to implement in practise… (and) “be targeted at specific harms”.

The government paper lists both “harms with a clear legal definition” and “harms with a less clear legal definition”.

The first include terrorist activity and a range of cyber-stalking and hate crimes.

The second lists disinformation and “violent content” as a whole.

What types of harm fall where would be established by a new regulator whose enforcement powers would be funded by the social media companies themselves.

– Proportionate response –

The social media boom was born in the spirit of a libertarian Silicon Valley ethos of innovation and non-interference from government.

But the industry is now facing a litany of dangers that range from the spread of state propaganda to promotion of teen suicide and — most graphically last month — the live broadcast of the slaying of 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand.

The techUK industry lobby group admitted Monday that platforms’ attempts at self-regulation have fallen short.

But it also urged the government to avoid “creating discrepancies in law between the online and offline worlds”.

“Government have said that this will apply to all user-generated content (and) not only to big tech firms,” techUK policy chief Vinous Ali said.

“If we are going to throw the net out so widely we need to make sure the proposed regulator takes a risk-based and proportionate response.”

Britain’s Article 19 free speech group also warned that the proposed legislation “could violate individuals’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy”.

EFCC busts train ticket racketeering in Abuja, Kaduna, 9 persons arrested

Nine persons suspected of being involved in train ticket racketeering have been arrested in Abuja and Kaduna in sting operation by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Five of the suspects were arrested at Idu and Kubwa stations in Abuja on Saturday. They were identified as Clement Zakka, Udim Sunday Samson, Adams Danladi, Otitomoni Omobolanle and Hassan Dauda.

The Commission swung into action after receiving an intelligence report alleging that some group of people at the Idu and Kubwa train stations have been racketeering train tickets.

Their action made it difficult for passengers to have direct access to tickets, thus sabotaging government efforts in ensuring easy transportation across the country.

They will soon be charged to court.

Arrests of suspected racketeers were also made at Rigasa station in Kaduna on Sunday.

Investigations revealed that some members of staff of the station in connivance with some touts were defrauding unsuspecting travellers and selling train tickets at a higher rate. For economy ticket of N1,300 /N1,500 they were selling at a rate of N2,000 to N5,000 and for First Class which goes for N2,500 was being sold for between N7,000 to N15,000.

Three persons, including a staff of the station and two touts have been arrested.

The Station Manager, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Parcel Booking Officer of the Kaduna Railway Station have also been invited for questioning.

Zimbabwe to compensate white farmers over land seizures

Zimbabwe is to start paying compensation this year to thousands of white farmers who lost land under former President Robert Mugabe’s land reforms, nearly two decades ago, the government said on Monday.

Zimbabwe’s ministries of finance and agriculture said in a joint statement in Harare that the compensation would be paid directly to former farm owners after the registration would have been completed.

“The registration process and list of farmers should be completed by the end of April 2019, after which the interim advance payments will be paid directly to former farm owners,” the ministries said.

They said the process to identify and register farmers for compensation was being undertaken by the Commercial Farmers Union and a committee representing the farmers.

The ministries said the initial payments would target those in financial distress, while full compensation would be paid later.

Two decades ago Mugabe’s government carried out evictions of 4,500 white farmers and redistributed the land to around 300,000 black families, arguing it was redressing imbalances from the colonial era.

But land reform still divides public opinion as opponents see it as a partisan process that left the country struggling to feed itself.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government sees the paying of compensation to white farmers as key to mend ties with the West and had set aside $17.5 million in this year’s budget to that end.

A committee comprising government officials and former farm owners is currently valuing improvements made on the farms.

That process should end next month and will determine the full amount due to the farmers.

The government, which maintains it will only pay compensation for infrastructure and improvements on farms and not for the land, is talking to international financial institutions on options to raise the full amount to pay farmers.

Colonialists seized some of the best agricultural land and much of it remained in the hands of white farmers after independence in 1980, while many blacks were landless.

ALERT: Those offering you jobs in Middle East may be after your organs

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM)  has warned Nigerians to beware of some travel agencies promising them employment abroad.

In a statement, Ikechukwu Attah, national protocol officer of IOM-Nigeria, said some agencies assisting people  with travelling documents, get them abroad only to put them in harm’s way.

He said a lot of Nigerians who have gone on the quest for employment in the Middle East have become untraceable to their family members.

He said the body parts’ black market was now booming in parts of the middle east, and advised prospective migrants to always go through proper channels to avoid falling victim.

“Beware of fake foreign agencies that promise work abroad. They process your papers, pay for your tickets and then take you abroad in pretense that they want to get you a job there, Attah said.

“Instead, they end up killing their victims and harvesting all the valuable body parts.

“A lot of people were offered jobs in the Middle East but up till now, their family members cannot trace their whereabouts.

“The body parts’ black market business is booming in Middle East. One kidney now costs $262,000, heart costs $119,000 and liver costs $157,000. Let our children and grandchildren be aware of these evil devices.”

Ndume meets Osinbajo, insists on senate presidency

Ali Ndume, former senate leader and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says he is still eyeing the number one position in the senate.

Ndume, who represents Borno south senatorial district, made this known after meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa in Abuja on Monday.

He arrived at Aso Rock around 3pm before proceeding to Osinbajo’s office for the meeting.

The APC is expected to produce the next crop of national assembly leaders after emerging with the majority lawmakers in the two  the party leadership as well as President Muhammadu Buhari have endorsed Ahmad Lawan as senate president.

But Ndume is still determined to run against Lawan who took over his position as senate leader after the Borno lawmaker fell out with Senate President Bukola Saraki.

At the end of the one-hour meeting with Osinbajo, state house correspondents asked Ndume if he had withdrawn from the race and he asked rhetorically: “Me?”

He declined to comment on the issues discussed with the nation’s number two citizen but said he was still consulting over his bid to head the ninth senate.

“This is not the time to talk now because I am still holding consultation,” he said.

Last week, the senator rolled out a nine-point agenda which he said he would implement if elected the next senate president.

The senator, in the agenda, promised to make the office of the senate president less attractive by reducing the unnecessary privileges attached to it.

World Bank says Nigeria’s economy is performing poorly

The World Bank Group, on Monday, said Nigeria’s economy has performed below par since 1995.

In a classification of growth performance included in the 14th edition of Africa’s Pulse, Nigeria was ranked in the bottom tercile alongside Angola, South Africa and 16 other countries saying these economies did not show any progress in their growth performance.

“These countries did not show any progress in their economic performance from 1995–2008 to 2015–18,” the report read.

Explaining the methodology used in the classification, the report said: “The taxonomy compares the average annual GDP growth rates during 1995–2008 and 2015–18 against predetermined thresholds.

“These thresholds correspond to the bottom and top terciles of the annual average growth rates across 44 Sub-Saharan African countries between 1995 and 2008 (that is, 3.5 and 5.4 percent, respectively).

“If a country’s economic performance declined from 1995–2008 to 2015–18, the country is categorized in the bottom tercile, which includes “falling behind” and “slipping.”

“If a country’s growth rate remained invariant over time, between 3.5 and 5.4 percent in both periods, it is categorized in the middle tercile (or “stuck in the middle”).

“If a country’s economic performance improved from 1995–2008 to 2015–18, with a growth of more than 5.4 percent per year, the country is categorized in the top tercile, which includes the “improved” and “established” groups.”

According to the report, the indices used were:

  • Convergence, as proxied by the level of income per capita of the countries in each tercile
  • Structural transformation, as captured by sectoral value-added share and sectoral employment share
  • Capital flows (aggregate value and composition)
  • Level and composition of public sector indebtedness, as captured by: (i) the general government gross debt and its currency composition, and (ii) the outstanding external public debt (and its composition, by creditor)
  • Governance indicators, namely, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, control of corruption, voice and accountability, political stability, and absence of violence and rule of law

The World Bank also cut its growth projection for Nigeria from 2.2% to 2.1%, saying policy distortions and stagnant oil production levels limit investments.

“Growth in Nigeria is projected to rise from 1.9 percent in 2018 to 2.1 percent in 2019 (0.1 percentage point lower than last October’s forecast),” the Bretton Wood institution said.

“This modest expansion reflects stagnant oil production, as regulatory uncertainty limits investment in the oil sector, while non-oil economic activity is held back by high inflation, policy distortions, and infrastructure constraints.

“Growth is projected to rise slightly to 2.2 percent in 2020 and reach 2.4 percent in 2021, as improving financing conditions help boost investment.

“In Nigeria, although the manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs remained above the neutral 50-point mark—which denotes expansion—they fell further in February, due to weaker rises in output and new sales orders across firms.

“Household consumption in Nigeria has remained subdued, while multiple exchange rates, foreign exchange restrictions, low private sector credit growth, and infrastructure constraints have continued to weigh on private investment.”

In a chat with journalists on Monday, Isaac Okorafor, spokesperson of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the bank has shown ingenuity in managing the economy.

“You know the crisis that we’ve faced in the past three years. The bank has shown ingenuity in managing the situation and ensuring that everything is stable.”

Suspected armed robbers raided the only commercial bank in Ido-Ani community in Ose local government area of Ondo state on Monday afternoon, killing six persons.

A resident of the town said that the armed men invaded the bank around 2:30pm.

He said they used dynamites to force the security doors open before attacking customers and bank workers.

The source said four persons were killed at the ATM point while two bank workers were shot dead inside the banking hall.

Another source said a police inspector was killed during the operation.

Some of the persons who sustained injuries in the attack are being treated at Ido-Ani General Hospital.

When contacted, Femi Joseph, Ondo state police spokesman, promised to get back.

Otedola offers to foot Christian Chukwu’s medical bills

Femi Otedola, the billionaire businessman, has offered to foot the medical bills of Christian Chukwu, former Super Eagles’ coach, TheCable is  reporting.

Chukwu, one of Nigeria’s most influential footballers in history who captained the national team to their first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980, is suffering from prostate cancer which has affected his leg.

Although the surgery on his leg has been done, he reportedly needs an additional $50,000 for the prostate operation.

Norbert Okonkwo, media officer of Enugu Rangers, told TheCable that the Enugu state government donated N1.5 million for the leg surgery.

In the first two days, a GoFundMe appeal raised $4,305 of the $50,000 needed for further treatment.

Speaking to TheCable on phone, Otedola said he would foot the entire cost of the operation as a “token of support to a great Nigerian who served his country to the best of his ability”.

Otedola previously settled the medical bills of the veteran actor, Victor Olaotan, who was at risk of double amputation following a ghastly car accident in 2016.

Chukwu lifting the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980 with a smiling President Shehu Shagari watching

A patron of Chukwu’s former club, Enugu Rangers FC, Benson Ezeomeogo Ejindu, broke the news of the ailment at the weekend.

Chukwu also captained the Enugu Rangers FC team that won the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977.

He was nicknamed ‘Chairman’ for his authority on the field as a central defender.

Chukwu also served as assistant coach of the first team to win a FIFA World Cup trophy for Nigeria – the Golden Eaglets that triumphed at the FIFA U16 World Cup in China in 1985.

He was also assistant coach of the team tagged the Golden Generation – the 1994 Class of Super Eagles that qualified Nigeria for her first FIFA World Cup finals.

As assistant coach, he helped Nigeria win the Africa Cup of Nations title and reached the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in America .

Between 2002 and 2005, Chukwu was head coach of the Super Eagles, leading the team to bronze medal at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

Smugglers threaten CBN’s rice intervention, say processors

Local rice farmers have alerted of the dangers posed to Federal Government’s financing policy through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the activities of rice smugglers.

The farmers, under the auspices of Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), lamented that over one million metric tons of rice (about 20,000,000 bags of 50kg or 34, 000 trucks of rice) have been smuggled into the country in the last three months.

Their chairman, Muhammed Abubakar, told reporters in Abuja at the weekend that the government was losing a lot of money.

He said: “Nigeria currently loses huge revenues, foreign exchange and jobs to this menace of smuggling while Nigeria rice processing companies are shutting down because of their inability to gain market access and more painfully millions of small-holder farmers are stuck with their paddy because the millers can no longer afford to buy from them.”

He warned that if the menace of rice smuggling “is not tackled with appropriate dispatch, the magnitude of loss to Nigerian rice stakeholders, starting with the Federal Government, Integrated Rice Millers, funding banks, CBN, rice farmers, mill workers, rice consumers, etc. would be too devastating to cope with in an economy that is fledgling.”

He urged the government to take urgent action “to avert eventual national food emergency by combating smuggling so that we can continue to grow our local rice industry and the economy.”

Investigations, according to him, have, shown that “all our international borders have been converted to smuggler routes and our markets are filled with smuggled foreign rice.”

To address the scourge, the RIPAN chair called on the government to immediately raid the various rice smugglers market, sanction officers and employees of government agencies saddled with responsibilities of curbing smuggling.

He listed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Agency for Foods Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), among others, as such agencies that have abandoned their enforcement duty but compromise their offices.

Abubakar said: “These officers must be fished out and punished by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for economic sabotage.

“Particularly, the government must fish out and punish multinational companies who play on both sides of the border; – those who actually drive the syndicates (the promoters).

“It is absolutely vital for government to sustain the current drive for greater investments, strengthen the policy environment and continue to implement policies and strategies that grow local capacity and protect local value chain.”

The rice processors appealed to the government to, “as a matter of urgent national importance, take strong diplomatic action with our neighbouring countries who allow parboiled rice into their country for final destination to Nigeria. The government may consider closing the borders for some time if diplomatic overtures fail.”

They also called on state governments to build relevant agricultural infrastructure that permit more one season farming such as irrigation facility, rural access roads and electricity.

He said the government should train and equip extension officers and agents so that they can provide quality training to the farmers.

“Inadequate, well trained extension agents and poor farmers training or practical guidance on good agricultural practices are undermining farming practices in Nigeria,” he noted.

He urged the government to deploy the funds from Rice Import Levy and long-term loans from multinational agencies to drive the rice production initiative.

“Such funds can be effectively deployed and limited to areas of land clearing/development, irrigation mechanisation and improved direct credit to farmers. This will reduce farmers’ production cost and invariably impact paddy cost and millers output,” Abubakar said.

Lawmakers refuse to consider govt audit reports

No auditor-general’s report has been fully considered by the National Assembly since 1999, it was learnt at the weekend.

The Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF), Anthony Ayine, urged members of the National Assembly to clear backlogs of audit reports submitted to them.

In a paper titled: “The role of National Assembly in promoting public accountability”, which he presented at the ongoing orientation programme for senators-elect/members-elect of the Ninth National Assembly in Abuja.

Ayine said that to the best of his knowledge, none of reports submitted to the National Assembly for consideration since 1999 has been fully attended to.

He explained that for audit report to be seen to have been treated after submission, a resolution of the National Assembly must be transmitted to the Executive for necessary action.

Ayinye explained that for audit report to be submitted to the National Assembly, “we work with the financial report of the Accountant-General of the Federation’s financial report.”

According to him, his office has started work on the 2017 financial report for submission to the National Assembly for consideration, adding that the last report submitted was for 2016.

“Good governance”, he said, “will remain a mirage in the country, without transparency (openness) and accountability.”

Ayine said: “Corruption has stifled economic growth and development in our country. I am therefore optimistic that collaborative effects of efforts of the three arms of government in ensuring openness and accountability can put Nigeria on a good pedestal and enable her attain her place in the comity of nations where corruption is despised.

“The two Public Accounts Committees (PACs) (of the National Assembly) should draw up time table for clearing backlogs of audit reports.

“Accountability has to do with stewardship while openness is important because nothing is hidden, a situation that makes corruption impossible.”

Ayine, who stressed the need for a paradigm shift in the country, noted that the National Assembly could lead the way in being transparent through a demonstration of public accountability in handling its affairs, including finances.

He noted that “transparency allows access to information, reinforces accountability and makes corruption difficult to be successfully perpetrated because corruption is usually a hidden affair.”

The AGF insisted that the Public Accounts committees should ensure timely consideration of audit reports as well as take a dim view of late responses to audit queries by ministries, departments and agencies.

For the AGF, public accountability will be greatly enhanced, if those in public positions begin to see governance as a social contract for the people they represent and realise that they are responsible to the public.

Mother dies, daughter injured as vehicle plunges into Ogun river

A woman has died while her daughter was injured in an accident which occurred along the Ijebu-Ode-Benin Expressway in the Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State.

The fatal accident occurred when a Lexus SUV with the two occupants plunged into the Ososa river in Odogbolu due to loss of control of the vehicle.

The state Public Relations Officer of Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Agency, Babatunde Akinbiyi, confirmed the accident.

He said the accident occurred at 2:40pm on Sunday and was as a result of speeding, causing the vehicle with registration number JJJ 930 FL to fall into the river.

According to Akinbiyi, the vehicle was coming from Lekki in Lagos and heading to Ijebu-Ode when the accident happened.

The TRACE spokesperson further said, “There were two occupants in the vehicle; the driver, who is a woman, and her daughter, who is a student of Tai Solarin University of Education.

“The woman was taking her daughter to school.

“As a result of speeding, the woman lost control of the vehicle and plunged the vehicle into the river.”

Akinbiyi said the survivor was receiving treatment at the Ijebu-Ode General Hospital while the vehicle had been removed from the river and deposited at the TRACE’s Motor Traffic Division in Odogbolu.

UNILAG women school suspends teacher over pupil’s alleged molestation

The management of the University of Lagos Women Society Nursery and Primary School, Akoka, Lagos, has suspended a class teacher, Mrs Charity Madumere, over alleged molestation of a four-year-old pupil in her class.

The decision was made known to parents during an emergency meeting of the Parent-Teacher Forum on Saturday following The PUNCH’s report.

PUNCH Metro had reported that the victim was allegedly molested on the school premises by a driver identified as Abiodun Matthew.

Matthew, it was gathered, was picking two pupils at the school after closing hours on the instructions of their parents.

The driver, in the course of time, was said to have become close to the class teacher of the victim.

Madumere reportedly sometimes left the pupils in the care of the driver.

During the period, the suspect was alleged to have molested the kindergarten pupil.

The victim’s father, Ade, said he had noticed the closeness of the suspect to the teacher and complained to the school authorities.

He claimed that his warning was ignored until his daughter became a victim of molestation.

Matthew, the class teacher, the assistant class teacher and the supervisor were subsequently arrested and detained at the Sabo Police Station.

In a footage of the meeting made available to our correspondent, the management of the school said there was no attempt to cover up the case, adding that the class teacher had been suspended pending the conclusion of investigation.

A source in the school, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, said the teacher was due to retire in July 2019.

The source said “The school never tried to cover up the case; it was the school that reported the case to the Lagos State Ministry of Justice and everything we were asked to do has been done. We did not plead that any of those who were arrested should be released. The school will never support injustice and if we try to cover up, nemesis will catch up with us.

“The class teacher was suspended on Thursday pending the conclusion of investigation. The teacher’s only offence was that she was negligent. Unfortunately for her, she was supposed to retire in July after 19 years of service. We did not go to the victim’s father to beg him; we only went to sympathise with him. We were not trying to cover anything.”

When the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, was contacted, he said investigation was still ongoing and the case would be charged to court at the end of investigation.

“Four suspects, who were arrested, are still with the Gender Unit of the command. Investigation is still ongoing and we will charge them to court as soon as we conclude our investigation. We are doing our best on the matter to arrive at the truth without any sentiment,” he stated.

Lagos, Edo, Kaduna, Cross River owe over half of states’ foreign debt

Four states of the federation — Lagos, Edo, Kaduna and Cross River — dominate the list of sub-national governments indebted to foreign bodies, statistics obtained from the Debt Management Office, has shown.

Analysis of the DMO data show that the four states have combined foreign debt of $2.12bn, out of the $4.23bn owed by the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory Administration as of December 31, 2018.

This means that the four states hold more than half of the foreign debt owed by the sub-national governments. Precisely, the four states owed 50.08 per cent of the sub-national foreign debt.

Expectedly, Lagos is on top of the list with a foreign debt portfolio of $1.43bn which represents 33.81 per cent of the foreign sub-national debt portfolio.

Lagos is followed by Edo State with a foreign debt portfolio of $276.25m representing 6.53 per cent of the sub-national foreign debt portfolio.

Following Edo is Kaduna State with a foreign debt portfolio of $227.25m representing 5.37 per cent of the country’s sub-national foreign debt as of December 31, 2018.

Cross River State completes the list of the top four on the foreign debt with a portfolio of $188.77m representing 4.46 per cent of the sub-national foreign debt portfolio.

Other top debtors in the foreign debt category include Bauchi $133.93m; Enugu $126.18m; Anambra 107.04m; Ekiti $106.21m; Oyo $105m; Ogun $103.26m; Osun $99.08m; Abia 98.58m and  Adamawa $97.79m.

As of December 31, 2018, the country’s total external debt stood at $25.27bn. This means that the sub-national governments held 16.74 per cent of the country’s external debt. This leaves the Federal Government with a total external debt portfolio of $21.04bn representing 83.26 per cent.

On the domestic scene, Lagos is also the most indebted state of the federation with a total domestic debt portfolio of N530.24bn. It is followed by Delta and Rivers states with domestic debt portfolios of N228.81bn and N225.59m, respectively.

Other highly indebted sub-national governments (in terms of domestic debts) include Cross River N167.96bn; FCT N164.25bn; Ekiti N118.01m; Kano N117.08bn; Plateau N100.37bn and Imo N98.78bn.

The sub-national governments (the 36 state governments and the FCT administration) owe N3.85tn in domestic debt.

This represents 23.15 per cent of the country’s domestic debt portfolio of N16. 63tn, leaving the Federal Government with N12.77tn representing 76.84 per cent of the domestic debt portfolio.

How father, son raped, impregnated 13-yr-old girl

The Lagos State Police Command’s Gender Unit has arrested a 44-year-old man and his 19-year-old son for allegedly raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl.

The Lagos State Police Command’s spokesperson, DSP Bala Elkana, said in a press statement that the case was reported at the gender unit of the command by the mother of the victim.

He said that the unit received a complaint that a minor was being defiled by her sister’s husband identified as Kabiru Oke of No. 1, Olatikupo St, Egbeda and his son, Oke Faruq,19, living within the same premises with his father.

He said that the girl had been living with the suspects for some time now, and that her sister’s husband started having carnal knowledge of her since last October.

“The second suspect, being the son of the first suspect, started having unlawful carnal knowledge of the same minor on January  10, 2019.

“The suspects have constantly threatened to kill the victim if she ever tells anybody about the affairs. The victim exposed them when her mother suspected some changes in her and discovered that she was pregnant”, Elkana said.

The PPRO said that the girl had been taken to Mirabel Centre by the gender unit of the police command for medical examination, while the two suspects had been arrested and charged to a magistrate court .

“The case was, however adjourned till May 13, 2019 while the suspects were remanded in Kirikiri Prisons.” he said.

In a related development, the PPRO said that one Marainerume Alfred, 45 ,of Oke Itunu Church Close, Ejigbo, a suburb of Lagos had also been arrested for defiling a 14-year-old girl.

He said the matter was also reported to the gender unit of the police command by the mother of the survivor.

“The complainant stated that they were living in the same street with the suspect.

“That the suspect usually invited the survivor into his shop while on her way from school, along Iyana Ejigbo road, where he was selling Nigerian Films and would have unlawful sexual intercourse with her.

“The suspect committedc the crime between May 2018 and March 27, 2019.

“The suspect in his statement to the police said that he turned the survivor into his sex partner after he divorced his wife in May 2018.

“The matter was discovered on March 27 , 2019 at 2p.m., by the survivor’s grandmother who perceived some odours from the survivor’s body when she returned home and subjected her to questioning.

“The survivor opened up to her grandmother and narrated the whole story.

“She further stated that, the suspect threatened that she would die if she ever disclosed it to her parents.

“That the suspect usually gave her some drugs to take and equally mixrf salt and water for her to take after sex to prevent her from getting pregnant.

The PPRO said , “Investigation is ongoing, and the suspect will be charged to court for defilement after its completion.”

RMAFC to recover N100bn unremmitted stamp duty funds from banks

Commercial banks are to be probed over stamp duty collections, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has said.

A statement by the Commission’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Mohammed, said the probe would involve a forensic investigation of the funds collected as stamp duty by 22 Deposit Money Banks (DMB) between 2000 and last year.

RMAFC is the only constitutional body vested with the powers to monitor all revenue accruals into the Federation Account.

The statement reads: “The commercial banks have been deducting the sum of N50 on every deposit with a value of N1, 000 and above since January 2000. At the moment, the total sum of N33 billion has been realised through the collection of stamp duties which falls far below the expectation of stakeholders. It is expected that at the end of the exercise, over N100 billion would be recovered.

“Arrangements have been made to engage the services of reputable forensic audit firms to carry out the probe of the banks. The probe will be comprehensive as it will cover the affixed stamp used on cheque books prior to the introduction of electronic transactions.”

In the same vein, the Commission observed that “if NIPOST is properly repositioned through appropriate legal and regulatory framework and the introduction of appropriate technology, the Agency can generate over N500 billion.”

RMAFC appealed to the National Assembly and the Federal Government to initiate measures for the amendment of the NIPOST Act to enable it to expand the economy and attract more revenue.

Besides the planned probe, RMAFC has also embarked on the reconciliation of signature bonuses and other miscellaneous revenues from the oil and gas industry “to enable the Commission engage other stakeholders with a view to reducing revenue leakages and enhance remittance into the Federation Account.”

The Commission has approached other stakeholders, especially the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for support.

Eligibility case: Oni’s lawyer accuses Fayemi’s supporters of preempting judgment

Counsel for Segun Oni, Chief Ademuyiwa Adeniyi, has accused supporters of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State of preempting the judgment of the Supreme Court in the suit filed by Oni to challenge Fayemi’s eligibility.

After Oni lost at the Court of Appeal, he approached the Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the decision of the appellate court which affirmed Fayemi’s eligibility to stand for election.

The Supreme Court heard the appeal on April 2 and reserved judgment till April 18, 2019.

However, Oni’s lawyer, Adeniyi, in a letter dated April 5, 2019 written to Fayemi’s lawyer, R.O. Balogun, complained about some social media reports making the rounds, suggesting that the Supreme Court had delivered its judgment and had dismissed Oni’s appeal against Fayemi.

Adeniyi made reference to one such report, tagged, “Breaking News: Supreme Court dismissed Engr. Segun Oni case & affirmed the Court of Appeal judgment in favour of Dr Fayemi.”

According to Oni’s lawyer, the social media reports were “sponsored and promoted by supporters of Dr Fayemi.”

The lawyer accused one Osika Seyi Ayeleso of posting on the Ekiti First Whatsapp platform on April 4 at 12.30pm that Oni lost to Fayemi at the apex court.

He said the same post was placed on the Ekiti First Whatsapp platform by one Oluwaseun Famiodu (popularly called ejanafish) from Ode Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government.

Adeniyi alleged that it was the same way Fayemi’s supporters flooded the social media with similar reports shortly before the decision of the Court of Appeal, which went against his client.

He said, “Ordinarily, I would have counseled my client and his advisers to ignore and or discountenance this, but for the fact that prior to the pronouncement of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in CA/EK/94/2018, this same scenario occurred and indeed, excerpts of the judgment yet to be delivered were posted on the social media – only to be taken down shortly before my client could capture and print.

“It behoves me as counsel to draw the attention of their Lordships at the Supreme Court to this development, but I shall refrain from doing so for now.”

Adeniyi, however, said if Fayemi’s supporters did not desist from posting the stories complained about, he would ensure that Oni report the issue to the Supreme Court Justices.

Trump fires Nielsen, Homeland Security Chief, announces replacement

U.S. President Donald Trump has fired his Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and has replaced her with Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner.

Her sack has brought to an end her turbulent tenure in charge of the border security agency that had at times made her the target of the president’s criticism.

Trump wrote on his twitter handle: “Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service….

“….I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for . I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!”.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service….

29.3K people are talking about this

The move comes just two days after Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly expressed anger at a rise in migrants at the southwestern border, withdrew his nominee to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement because he wanted the agency to go in a “tougher” direction.

The president said in a tweet that Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, will take over as the acting replacement for Ms. Nielsen, who took over the agency in late 2017.

The decision to replace Ms. Nielsen comes as little surprise.

She was long expected to be fired as Mr. Trump’s dissatisfaction grew over an increase of migrants illegally entering the United States at the southwestern border.

Last May — six months after taking over at the department — The New York Times reported that Ms. Nielsen had drafted a resignation letter after being berated for what the president called her failure to help stop illegal immigration.

Mr. Trump and Stephen Miller, his top immigration adviser, have privately but regularly complained about Ms. Nielsen. They blamed her for a rise in migrants entering the United States and not finding more creative ways to secure the border.

JAMB warns UTME candidates as countdown begins

As the countdown begins for the 2019 UTME, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has urged candidates to adhere strictly to the printing order of their examination slips, to avoid unnecessary issues.

The warning was given by the Head, Media and Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin, according to the board’s weekly bulletin, ‘JAMBULLETIN’.

According to the bulletin, printing of the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) notification slip is on-going, as the board has since made it ready for all candidates who registered for the examination.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 1.8 million candidates registered for the examination which has been scheduled to commence on Thursday, April 11.

“The notification is to allow candidates know their examination schedules, which includes time, date and venue of the examination.

“Candidates are therefore advised to take the printing order seriously in order for them to have an idea of the location of their centres, well ahead of the examination.

“It is also to enable them prepare for all necessary logistics of being at their respective centres on time,” the bulletin stated.

It added that the e-slips of the candidates had been placed on their JAMB profiles created at the point of registration.

“For those who are unable to access their slips through their portal at www.jamb.org.ng, the board has provided a step by step process of making the printing easy.

“First, they should go to the official JAMB portal, www.jamb.org.ng/efacility /printexaminationslip.

“Next, candidates would be required to enter their registration number, telephone number used in vending the pin at the point of registration or email in the appropriate column and follow the next command,” it said.

“Candidates are advised to print two copies of the examination slip in full, as one copy will be submitted at the centre while the second copy will be kept by the candidates for reference purpose,” it said.

The bulletin added that it was important to note that there would be no rescheduling of the examination, no matter the reason.

It added that all candidates must ensure that they are verified using the Biometric Verification Machine.

Meanwhile, the board has also warned candidates and parents or guardians to desist from paying UTME application fees to schools or tutorial centres.

It said that the warning became necessary owing to the growing practice of some elite schools/colleges and tutorial centres that collect money in bulk from candidates to register them en masse.

According to the bulletin, through diligent investigation, the board discovered that schools involved in the practice usually levy candidates exorbitant sums running into millions of Naira for the purpose of the UTME registration.

“In this regard, it should be reiterated that the board does not do group registration, as candidates are required to do individual registration.

“The board has noted with displeasure a series of some of the unfortunate situation some of these schools, especially the elite ones, have put some candidates through.

“In their bid to make money, they engage in series of infractions in the name of group registration and other acts inimical to the interest of the candidates and the sanctity of the examination.

“This kind of fraudulent registration end up distorting candidate’s data,” it said.

It warned the public to be mindful of such unscrupulous schools or centres who more often than not, register candidates at unauthorised centres.

According to the bulletin, the board’s examination is not a school based examination and therefore does not require candidates registering in groups.

Prince William ends secret attachment with UK’s intelligence agency

Britain’s Prince William has concluded a three-week attachment with the country’s security and intelligence agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, his office has said

William started his assignment at the Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, followed by a week at security service MI5, ending at GCHQ, which gathers communications from around the world to identify and disrupt threats to Britain.

“Spending time inside our security and intelligence agencies, understanding more about the vital contribution they make to our national security, was a truly humbling experience,” said William, the Duke of Cambridge.

He ended the top-secret attachment — which also included a week with domestic intelligence service MI5 and cybersecurity agency GCHQ — on Saturday, according to Kensington Palace.

Spending time inside our security and intelligence agencies, understanding more about the vital contribution they make to our national security, was a truly humbling experience,” William said in a statement.

“These agencies are full of people from everyday backgrounds doing the most extraordinary work to keep us safe.” The prince, who has a military background, began the secondment at the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) — better known as MI6 — whose spies work around the world gathering information and furthering British interests.

William, 36, “got to see first-hand how SIS helps the UK identify and exploit opportunities as well as navigate risks to its national security, military effectiveness and economy,” Kensington Palace said.

Excess crude account depletes amid oil price volatility

Programme Coordinator of the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC), Tengi George-Ikoli, has expressed fears that the dip in oil prices could send the country back to recession going by the depletion of the Excess Crude Account (ECA).

Recalling the calls for transparency and accountability on the running of the account, she, however, noted that the $183 million in the purse as at last month going by the revelation of the Director, Funds in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mohammed Usman, notwithstanding, she insisted that the country’s economy remained in danger.

According to her, Nigeria must use all its natural resources to develop others sectors of the economy to make its revenue base independent of fluctuations associated with commodities like crude oil.

Established in 2004, the ECA is operated by the Federal Government to save revenues – in excess of budgetary benchmarks from crude sales.

As of 2005, the ECA, one of Nigeria’s key external reserves, had a balance of about $5.1 billion. It went up to about $20 billion in November 2008 thereby accounting for one-third of the country’s external reserves.

In mid-2010, the account was depleted to less than $4 billion. In April 2018, the balance stood at only $1.8 billion. Last December, its content fell from $ 2.319 billion the previous month to $631 million.

The account has repeatedly faced a series of allegations bordering on poor public accounting, especially as it relates to corruption, opacity, mismanagement and gross abuse amid countless lawsuits.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, had told journalists at the end of the December FAAC meeting that the withdrawals were made to settle the last tranche of the Paris Club refund.

In a related development, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to account for the N360 billion allegedly withdrawn from the account for security.

In a statement, he claimed that there was no noticeable improvement in security nationwide amid the alleged huge withdrawal.

The Bayelsa-born political activist blamed “corrupt practices for the increasing spate of killings, banditry and kidnapping across the country.”