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Daily Archives: September 18, 2019

I deserve more Ballon d’Or awards than Messi, says Ronaldo

Juventus forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, said he deserves to end his soccer career with more Ballon d’Or awards than his Barcelona counterpart, Lionel Messi, and hopes to establish himself as the greatest player of all time.

Ronaldo, 34, has won the renowned France Football magazine trophy for the world’s best player five times – as many as Messi – but is eager for more as he moves into the twilight of his career.
“Messi’s in the history of football,” Ronaldo told broadcaster Piers Morgan in an interview with Britain’s ITV on Tuesday.

“But I think I have to have six or seven or eight to be above him,” he said, referring to the Ballon d’Or awards.
“I’d love it, I think I deserve it.”

The Portugal captain said he was no friend of the Argentine, but credited his rival for helping push him further in his own career.

“My relationship with him is, we are not friends, but we have shared this stage for 15 years,” Ronaldo said.

“I know that he has pushed me to be a better player and I have pushed him to be a better player as well.”

Ronaldo, who also played for Manchester United and Real Madrid, has five UEFA Champions League winners’ medals, and led Portugal to victory at the 2016 UEFA European Championship and 2019 UEFA Nations League tournaments.

“I don’t follow the records, the records follow me. I’m addicted to the success, and I don’t think it’s something bad, I think it’s good,” Ronaldo said.
“It motivates me. If you’re not motivated, it’s better to stop.”

I’ve been unable to serve my wife divorce papers, Obasanjo’s son tells court

Mr Olujonwo Obasanjo, son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, told an Ikeja High Court that he has been unable to serve his estranged wife, Temitope, divorce papers.

Temitope (nee Adebutu) is the daughter of popular Premier Lotto magnate, Sir Kessington Adebutu (Baba Ijebu).
The couple were, however, absent in court, while there was also no legal representation for Temitope.

Counsel to Olujonwo, Mr Olayinka Kujembola, informed the court that several fruitless efforts had been made to serve Temitope.

“We have made several attempts to serve her in Abeokuta, Ogun State, but failed.
“Even at her residence located within an Estate in Ikoyi, the court Sheriff complained that he was unable to effect service because of the tight security,”Kujembola said.

Justice Bisi Akinlade noted that proceedings in the divorce suit were always reported in the media and that efforts should be made to serve Temitope in Ogun where she works and resides.

“The issue between this couple is always reported in the papers.
“The respondent stays in Ogun State, why do you want me to grant an Order for substituted service for Lagos where she does not stay?

“I will adjourn this case to ensure that the bailiff serves her personally so that we can be sure that we have exhausted all options.

“This is a very simple matter, it is a very simple divorce. This case is adjourned till October 2 for hearing of pending applications,” Akinlade said.

During proceedings of May 23, Olujonwo’s counsel, Ms Omo Omofoma, also told the court that Olujonwo had made several attempts to serve Temitope to no avail.

Justice Akinlade had noted during the proceedings that other means of service like an alternative address and courier service should be explored by the petitioner (Olujonwo).

Olujonwo and Temitope got married on May 11 and 13, 2017 in a grand wedding which attracted the ‘creme de la creme’ of the society. The marriage, however, came to a halt a few months later.

Weeks leading to the May 2017 wedding, Olujonwo’s mother, Mrs Taiwo Obasanjo, had filed a suit at an Ikeja High Court seeking the postponement of the wedding of her son to Temitope.

According to her, she had received various warnings and prophecies from men of God that her son should not be involved in any elaborate celebration before his 34th birthday which was June 1, 2017.

Justice Lateefa Okunnu in a ruling on April 10, 2017 had dismissed the suit on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear it because Olujonwo, then 33, was an adult.

Ekiti varsity student stabs boyfriend to death over N2,500

A female student of Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, has stabbed her boyfriend to death.

The suspect, Bukola Odeyemi, allegedly stabbed her lover, identified as John Iju, to death in Iworoko-Ekiti, a town close to the university, where most of the students who live off campus, reside.

Eye witness accounts declared that the killing occurred at a place called “Treasure Base Hostel” in the town, on Tuesday evening.

It was further learnt that the 20-year-old Odeyemi is a 300-level student of the Department of Biology Education, while Iju, 22, was also a student of the institution.

Another account had it that trouble started about 10.30 p.m. on the fateful day after the suspect had allegedly demanded a sum of N2,500 from the deceased to plait her hair, a request which the deceased was said to have declined.

According to the source, “the refusal of the boyfriend to meet up with her demand resulted in a hot argument between the two lovers which eventually led to a fight.

“While fighting, the deceased was said to have gained upper hand, a situation that forced the lady to use a sharp knife to stab her boyfriend in the chest.

“The deceased, who could not survive the deep cut, fell on the floor, with blood oozing out of his body.

“The cry for help by neighbours could not save him as he died on the spot, in the pool of his own blood,” the eye witness account said.

The deceased’s friends were said have immediately rushed to the police station in the town to report the incident.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti State Command, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, confirmed the incident, when contacted.
He said that the suspect had been arrested and detained at the state police headquarters in Ado Ekiti.

Ikechukwu disclosed that investigations into the killing had begun, adding that the suspect would be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.

MTN plans to raise N100bn from commercial paper

There are strong indications that MTN Nigeria is planning to raise N100 billion through Commercial Paper (CP).

Although the telco giant is yet to officially announce the plan, an official suggested on Tuesday that the firm would issue the commercial paper through the Nigerian Stock Exchange shortly.

Reacting to reports of the proposed plan on Tuesday, Utoh Ukpanah, the company secretary, said that MTN is exploring every financing option, including the issuance of commercial paper to boost its operations.

Earlier, the Head of Frontier Research at EFG Hermes, Kato Mukuru, had told CNBC in an interview that the company will issue commercial paper through the NSE.

Mr Mukuru said he got reliable information from a staff member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange that MTN was about to issue the N100 billion commercial paper.

On the reason for the plan, Mr Mukuru noted that the company may have opted for the commercial paper because “either it is cheaper than getting bank finances or the banks don’t want to finance it.”

The EFG staff added, however, that that form type of borrowing should ordinarily be secured from the bank.

A Commercial Paper is an unsecured, short-term debt instrument issued by a corporation, typically for the financing of accounts payable and inventories and meeting short-term liabilities. Commercial paper is usually traded among large institutions, but individual investors can participate by buying from a broker.

In its statement Tuesday, MTN said that in its Listing by Introduction Memorandum, it already indicated that in the past, MTN financed its expenditure through syndicated banking facilities but it would henceforth explore other financing opportunities, including the issuance of commercial papers.

The company said it will announce the development through the Nigerian Stock Exchange at the appropriate time.

“Shareholders are reminded to exercise caution when reacting to information which has not been released by the company,” the statement said.

Grass-cutting Scandal: EFCC tenders telephone evidence against Babachir Lawal

 

Justice Jude Okeke of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court, Maitama, on Wednesday, heard how evidence linking the company used by the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, to allegedly defraud the federal government to the tune of N500 million was extracted from a telephone.

Mr Lawal and his younger brother, Hamidu Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh John alongside two companies, Rholavision Engineering (fifth defendant) and Josmon Technologies (sixth defendant), are facing prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an amended 10-count charge, bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of over N500 million.

One of the charges read: “That you Engineer Babachir David Lawal, while being the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and a director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd on or about the 22nd of August 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, did knowingly hold indirectly private interest in the contract awarded to Josmon Technological Limited but executed by Rholavision Engineering Limited for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N258,132,735.99 (Two Hundred and Fifty Eight Million, One hundred and Thirty Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty Five Naira, Ninety Nine Kobo) only, by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

At the resumed hearing of the case Wednesday, a prosecution witness and certified data examiner with the EFCC, Fatima Umar, told the court how she extracted a forensic report from an iPhone belonging to one Mr Gulani, using a cellebrite camera. But the attempt by the prosecution counsel, Offem Uket, to tender the video evidence in a CD, was opposed by the defence counsel, Akin Olujimi. According to him, information generated from the phone or any other device by virtue of section 84 of the Evidence Act, must be certified to be admitted in evidence. He explained that the prosecution has not produced any such certification.

Justice Okeke, after listening to the argument of both counsel, adjourned the matter to September 24, 2019, for the continuation of trial.

R.Kelly handcuffed and in prison outfit as he appears in court

Disgraced RnB star, R.Kelly was arraigned before a Cook County judge on Tuesday September 17, in prison outfit.

A major highlight of the court session the handcuffed singer appeared in was the Judge’s refusal to increase the $1 million bond on his pending sex abuse cases.

Though prosecutors at the Leighton Criminal Court Building did not reveal how much they wanted to increase Kelly’s bond,

It was also learnt that the presiding Judge also shot down an unusual bid by a woman who posted Kelly’s bond in February but now wants her $100,000 back.

Here are photos of the singer in prison outfit below:-

Photos and video of R.Kelly in prison outfit lindaikejisblog 1

Buhari asks police, PSC to work together on recruitment

President Muhammadu Buhari has waded into the crisis between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the inspector-general of police (IGP) over recruitment into the force.

The IGP and the commission have been at loggerheads over the recruitment of 10,000 constables, which has festered as the two parties could not agree on who has the mandate to carry out the exercise.

In a meeting with Mohammed Adamu, the IGP, and Musiliu Smith, the PSC chairman, in his office on Tuesday, the president said the commission is saddled with the responsibility of appointment, promotion and discipline of officers in the force.

“By the mandate of the commission, the task of appointment, promotion and disciplinary control of officers of the Nigerian Police Force, except the Inspector General, fall under it,” the president said.

“The Commission has the most challenging responsibility of carrying out oversight responsibilities of the Police Force.

“The people that comprise this commission are mostly personally known to me and some of them have been through the mill, as it were. Therefore, I expect them to put the police in order.

“I personally believe that the Inspector General is doing his best …the police are always in the frontline and unless we get the police working effectively, the security of this country will remain in doubt.

“I am aware that you have put policies in place to reposition the Police Force in the areas of merit-driven promotion and prompt disciplinary actions.”

The president said he hopes to see a close working relationship between the force and the commission in order to secure the country.

“Government will require that you redouble your efforts and ensure that the Police Force receives the required assistance for optimum service delivery,” Buhari said.

“I wish to see close communication and understanding between you and the Nigeria Police. This is necessary for the overall efficiency and effectiveness in securing the country.”

EFCC arrests prison’s staff, 5 others for ATM fraud

Operatives of the Kaduna Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC have arrested six fraudsters who specialize in defrauding innocent Nigerians by using bank details obtained through sim swaps and Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

The suspects include Urulo Ikenna Henry, an Inspector with the Enugu Command of Nigerian Correctional Service. Others are Ugonna Nelson Owete, Ugonna Samuel Okafor Obinna, Chigbo Paschal Chidiebere, Oha Chukwujekwu Kingsley, Ahamefula Francis Izuchukwu

The suspects were arrested in separate operations, sequel to a petition by a customer of Access Bank, alleging that monies were illegally transferred from his account without his authorisation. According to the petitioner, sometime in February, 2019, he opened an account with Diamond Bank (now Access Bank) which he funded to the tune of N5m and instructed the bank to open a fixed deposit account, with the sum of N1m from the earlier account, as opening balance.

The culprits
The culprits

The complainant said he was receiving regular alerts until the end of March, 2019 when the alerts stopped coming, prompting him to demand his statement of account from the bank. Upon receipt of his bank statement, he discovered to his chagrin that the sum of N2.9 million had fraudulently been transferred to several accounts between April 5 -9, 2019 without his authorisation.

Upon the receipt of the petition, the zonal office of the Commission immediately swung into action and traced some of the funds to three of the suspects, Samuel Okafor Obinna – N1,500.000; Chigbo Paschal Chidiebere -N210,000 and Oha Chukwujekwu Kingsley N300 000. All three were promptly arrested.

Further investigation revealed that Ikenna Henry, Nelson Owete (a known criminal who was earlier arrested and paraded by the Enugu State Police Command for crimes bordering on conspiracy and armed robbery) and Ahamefula Francis Izuchukwu were equally complicit in the fraud.

They were arrested. Upon arrest, items recovered from Urulo Ikenna Henry included a Toyota Camry, documents of 2 plots of land, 2 Nigeria Housing Fund Passbook (one belonging to him and the other bearing Ani Wilfred Ochechukwu), 17 ATM cards of different banks bearing different names, 2 Nigerian Correctional Service Identity Cards, 2 smart phones and 2 Nokia phones, 1 NHIS card, 1 voter card, 26 Starter Packs and 15 SIM cards of various networks.

Two sachets of Cannabis Sativa, 8 ATM cards bearing different names and banks, 6 Starter Packs, and 4 SIM cards of various networks, One empty ECOWAS Passport, 1 NDA dependant ID card and a voter card were also recovered from Francis Izuchukwu

The suspects will soon be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.

Second batch of 319 Nigerians depart South Africa

The second batch of Nigerians have departed the O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

About 319 persons were evacuated by Air Peace at about 2:58p.m.

An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kimiebi Ebenfa, confirmed this on Wednesday.

Ebenfa said, “We wish to inform you that the second batch of about 319 willing Nigerian returnees from South Africa has departed O. R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa, today (Wednesday) at 14h:58 local time.

“The returnees, who were airlifted by Air Peace Airline, are expected to arrive Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, today at about 18h:58 local time.”

The first flight had brought back 187 Nigerians out of the 313 scheduled for the evacuation last Wednesday, following the xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals in South Africa.

The Consul-General, Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, Godwin Adama, had disclosed that the number of registered Nigerians had risen to 1,004, adding that the technical issues faced during the first evacuation were being addressed.

About 817 Nigerians were awaiting evacuation following delays caused by South African authorities.

Some communities demanding N10bn compensation for 2nd Niger bridge, says Fashola

Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, has blamed some communities for uncompleted projects, disclosing how a demand of N10 billion compensation was made for work to continue on the 2nd Niger bridge.

Speaking with reporters at the end of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister said huge demands have led to uncompleted projects across the country.

Fashola said budget funding gaps also worked against completion of roads projects in the country in the last four years.

He added that his office had not received funds since his reappointment as minister, as there are still paper work processes ongoing.

“Getting FEC approvals is one half of the story, but we don’t get all of the cash. Even the local communities are not helping issues ,” he said.

“As we speak, some people are asking us to pay N10 billion now as compensation for the 2nd Niger bridge… there is a gap between infrastructure needs and income. People are also complaining that government is borrowing too much.

“We have heard that funds have been released, but we are yet to get anything. I have not received any money since I came to office, this time around.”

On abandoned 20,000 projects alleged by the national assembly, Fashola said nothing of such exists.

“I think first of all it is important we all speak the same language. There is a clear distinction between uncompleted and abandoned projects. First of all, my ministry does not have 20,000 projects,” the minister said.

“The right question should be what are we doing about completing projects, one of the things we have done is finding out why projects are not completed. In some cases the rates have become obsolete so the price range has changed, cement price has changed, the change rate has changed, inflation has gone into the quantity it was awarded before it came.

“So, we are trying to resuscitate some of those projects because we know that the contractors will not go back to work if the pricing is not right.”

The minister also disclosed that the FEC approved a total of N8.2 billion for roads projects.

Security operatives block Sahara Reporters’ Lagos office

Policemen and soldiers are currently in front of the office of SaharaReporters, an online platform, in Lagos state.

The armed men have prevented reporters from gaining access to the building located at GRA in Ikeja, the state capital.

A member of staff of the organisation who spoke off the record confirmed  that the security personnel have been there since 7am.

One reporter who gained access into the building before the siege told TheCable via telephone that: “They are currently banging the gate asking those of us inside to come out right now.”

The development comes less than two months after Omoyele Sowore, publisher of the medium, was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS), over nationwide protests he was planning.

The secret police subsequently accused him of plotting to overthrow the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and got an order from a magistrate’s court in Abuja to detain him for 45 days.

Sowore was arrested in Lagos but flown to the nation’s capital, where he is being detained.

In a report, SaharaReporters attributed the presence of security operatives at its office to plans to stage a protest on Wednesday.

A source said that policemen and soldiers have also laid siege to the office of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in Ikeja.

 

Reps summon Malami, Sylva, others over $9.6bn judgement

The House of Representatives on Wednesday set up a 17-man ad hoc committee to as a matter of urgency, invite the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami and his counterpart in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Timpriye Sylva.

They are to give situational report on the matter and explain the lapse in judgement of time and due diligence in the (miss)handling of the case with a view to finding lasting solutions to the avalanche of extant and future cases.

The ad hoc committee is headed by Hon. Sada Soli (APC Katsina).

The lawmakers are also to invite other officials of the ministries, saddled with the responsibility to negotiate the agreement with P&ID and the prosecution of the matter before the tribunal.

This was sequel to the passage of motion of urgent national importance sponsored by a member, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere.

Ihonvbere, while moving the motion noted that the recent judgement debt of $9.6 billion (with daily interest accruing) by a commercial court in the United Kingdom against Nigeria, in a matter between Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited “leaves a very sour taste in the mouth.”

He said for a country with a foreign reserve of only $45 billion and a sovereign debt profile of over $80 billion, the judgment debt is not only punitive but would devastatingly affect the Nigerian economy.

Air Peace CEO ‘in tears’ as reps recommend him for national award

The House of Representatives has recommended Allen Onyeama, chief executive officer (CEO) of Air Peace Airlines, for national honour for evacuating Nigerians stranded in South Africa at no cost.

The recommendation was given when Onyeama appeared before the house during Wednesday’s plenary session. The lawmakers also resolved to make Air Peace their main carrier.

They had invited Onyeama to honour him for offering to bring citizens caught up in the xenophobic attacks in South Africa back home.

Addressing the assembly, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, said Onyeama should be commended for the kind gesture.

He said the act was a rare show of patriotism that ought to be celebrated. “We hereby commend Mr Allen Onyeama and recommend him to the federal government for higher honours in Nigeria,” the speaker said.

In his remarks, the Air Peace CEO thanked the lower legislative chamber for the honour which he said is the greatest in his life.

“I did not do it spontaneously, nor did I do it for publicity, I had to mortgage my landing right in south Africa, because I just got the landing right before the crisis,” he said.

“I did not give a damn, I never did, because I know that I will not go to heaven with any dime.

“I have never been so honoured in my life. You have brought tears to my eyes. I would not have been able to do this if the federal government did not allow me or assemble those people for me to evacuate.”

Many Nigerians were targeted in the recent attacks which lasted for days in South Africa.

Air Peace offered to evacuate those willing to return at no cost. At least 187 have been brought home while more are scheduled to return this week.

Onyeama said he put together N280 million to bring them home.

Women protest killings in Rivers hotels, say “Sex workers have right to life

Groups of women on Wednesday marched to the government house in Port Harcourt to protest the killing of young women in hotels in the state.

The women, who were clad in black attire, called for an end to the situation.

About eight young women have been murdered in different hotels in the past two months in the state.

The bodies of these ladies were said to have been found in similar conditions – strangled and with a white piece of cloth tied around their necks.

The protesters said everybody, including sex workers, “deserve the right to life and should not be killed in such a gruesome manner”.

A similar protest was staged on Monday by a group of women at the police headquarters in the state.

Addressing the protesters, Chucks Enwonwu, deputy commissioner of police in the state, asked them to educate other women to desist from prostitution as it makes them easy targets to prey on.

His remarks, however, did not go down well with Nigerians who criticised him for “describing the victims as prostitutes”.

Nyesom Wike, governor of the state, said security agents were working to ensure that the killings stop, and that the perpetrators would be made to face the wrath of the law.

Speaking on Wike’s behalf, Tammy Dangogo, secretary to the state government, said the security agencies have been mandated to work with hotels to end the ugly situation.

“In no distant time, the Rivers state security council will end the ugly trend,” Dangogo said.

“The Rivers government through relevant agencies is embarking on mass sanitisation of the people on security measures.”

How journalists can use social media platforms to promote peace – GOCOP President

The President of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, Dotun Oladipo, has challenged media practitioners to occupy the social media space in the bid to promote peace in the country.

Oladipo, who is also the Managing Editor and CEO of Premium Eagle Media Limited, publishers of The Eagle Online, stated this on Monday in Lagos at a Forum convened by the Journalists for Democratic Rights on peace building and conflict prevention.
The Forum was designed for journalists to imbibe the principles of peace, democracy and stability in their reportage.

The GOCOP boss lamented the non-occupation of the social media and online publishing spaced by professional media practitioners, a development that has made a large portion of the space to be dominated by quacks and mischief makers.

Oladipo lamented that despite the huge number of journalists on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram and WhatsApp among others, many of them don’t go beyond “chatting” and making comments on development instead of correcting wrong information and providing accurate news.

He further enjoined media practitioners not to be in a hurry to publish stories online without cross checking their facts. He said Google provides veritable tools to so do.

Oladipo also enjoined professional journalists to keep establishing online news websites and use their Social Media platforms to publish authenticated news and information, especially to counter wrong and divisive information.

He said with the number of Nigerians accessing information online using their mobile phones and in a country of about 200 million persons, the number of authoritative online news platforms were too few.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of JODER, Adewale Adeoye, said the body was founded in 1996 during the military era, adding that despite the fact that there is no military government in the country anymore, there are still some vestiges or “new curve” of violence, which includes suppressing the media, kidnappings and killings.
Adeoye said it is only the media that can rise up in ensuring that these are adequately reported and if possible put to a conclusive end.

Also, the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Lagos State chapter, Dr. Quasim Akinreti, enjoined journalists to always be conversant to the environment they work, mind their use of words during reporting as well as the image or pictures they employ in reporting the story.

He called for more registration among members, stressing that the body is poised to do biometrics for registered members and in due time the NUJ will clampdown on members that are not registered.

Akinreti also spoke about student registration, assuring that there are talks about the body engaging with media proprietors to pay staff as and when due.

He further lamented that media practitioners could have done better in owning media firms instead of leaving proprietorship of media houses to businessmen.

He also said the NUJ is embarking on necessary media investments like establishing a 35 hectares of land for agriculture, a community radio for the NUJ and an E-library to assist reporters in writing their stories.

Other resource persons at the training included Kudu Abubakar, Vice President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum; former News Editor, Vanguard Newspaper and training facilitator, Chris Okechukwu Nderibe; and Director of News, TVC, Babajide Otitoju.

The training was organised by JODER with the support of the Institute of International Education and the Ford Foundation, West African Regional Office.

ECOWAS to Nigeria: Border closure not solution to your smuggling problems

Officials of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) has advised the Nigerian government to find a permanent solution to the challenge of smuggling.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the bloc said the border closure might hamper the implementation of free trade movement within the region.

Addressing parliamentarians at the ongoing 2nd extraordinary session of the ECOWAS parliament in Monrovia, Moustapha Lo, speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, requested that the Nigerian government reopens its borders.

Lo said the closure happened at a time when Africa was working to intensify efforts for the effective abolition of barriers within the member-states.

The Nigerian government had closed its borders since August with President Muhammadu Buhari saying the move was to check smuggling.

The ECOWAS parliament said the closure is a hindrance to the achievement of the regional bloc’s main objective, which includes “achieving the creation of a prosperous, borderless West African region where peace and harmony prevail”.

“The ECOWAS Parliament calls for compliance with Community provisions and thus calls for the reopening of borders and a coordinated fight against smuggling in the region,” the statement said.

“The root causes of this recurrent situation must be studied with a view to finding a permanent solution.”

 

Road crashes: FRSC, Dangote strike deal on night movement of trucks

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Dangote Group have agreed that the company’s trucks will not ply the roads from 7pm to 7am daily. The trucks will now move during the day only.

In a statement issued on Tuesday by Bisi Kazeem, the corps public education officer, he said the move was part of the agreements reached at a meeting between the company and the FRSC to reduce the rate of occurrence of crashes involving articulated vehicles.

The FRSC also tasked the group on prompt removal of broken down vehicles from highways and the need to intensify efforts towards achieving professionalism among its drivers.

Speaking at the meeting, Boboye Oyeyemi, the corps marshal, lamented the spate of crashes involving Dangote trucks and called on the group to make the training, retraining and certification of drivers a major priority in the operation of their fleet.

“There is need for the company to be strict in its recruitment process for drivers; requirements such as age for both entry and retirement should be made a priority issue to avoid under age driving and maintain a fixed age for retirement,” he said.

Oyeyemi also charged the group to establish more driving schools and also make it open to the public so that drivers and would be drivers can apply for training.

He said this will go a long way in making the highways safer for all to use.

According to Kazeem, the corps marshal gave the some ultimatums to be fulfilled by the company in order to reduce the rate of crashes involving its trucks. They are highlighted below.

“All Dangote trucks to be fully installed with Speed Limiting Device before 31 December, 2019,” he said.

“Dangote [is] to provide details of any driver who commits traffic infraction to FRSC for subjection to Emotional Stability Test

“The Company [is] to provide details of any driver who runs away after a crash to FRSC for flagging on the database so as to track such drivers and prevent reissuance of NDL.

“FRSC and Dangote Group [are] to commence a joint effort to ensure that all abandoned or broken down Dangote Trucks are towed within the next 30 days commencing from 18 September to 17 October, 2019.

“All Dangote Trucks [are] to have at least a mini first aid box

“Dangote Trucks [are] not allowed to drive from 7pm to 7am, any of the company’s truck found around that time will be impounded at sight.

“Foreign number plates on the company’s trucks [will] be replaced with Nigeria Number Plates before 31 December, 2019.

“Periodic and random driver’s eye check should be conducted for the fleet drivers.”

Speaking at the meeting, Juan Carlos Rincom, the head of the delegation, appreciated the FRSC for its “unwavering commitment to sanitising the highways” and pledged the company’s willingness to carry out all resolutions made in the meeting

We’ll punish those who leaked letter on bank account details of public officers, says NFIU

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) says it is investigating how its letter to commercial banks requesting the account details of principal government officers was leaked.

In a statement on Monday, Ahmed Dikko, NFIU spokesperson, described the report that the agency is probing the senate president, speaker of the house of representatives and the chief justice of Nigeria as untrue.

Dikko said the agency’s leaked confidential letter to banks requesting the account details of principal government officers was a regular practice in order to protect public funds and assets.

He said the agency is investigating how the letter was leaked and that sanctions will be imposed on the offender.

“It will be recalled that a new government was inaugurated in May, 2019. The officer who initiated the unauthorised letter was also taking the initiative to update the PEPs list.

“This list includes politicians and political appointees in all organs of government. The update exercise which is a regular practice in order to protect public funds and other assets is also in accordance with global best practice.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chief Justice of the Federation as well as senators, members of the House of Representatives, justices and other members of the judiciary are not under investigation by the NFIU.

“Having been aware that the leaked letter was not subjected to the appropriate level of authorization before transmission, the NFIU has commenced investigation to unravel the persons and the factors that led to the inadvertent circumvention of our internal process in this isolated case with a view to applying appropriate sanctions as deterrence.”

CBN imposes fees on deposits, withdrawals

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN on Tuesday said that the nationwide implementation of the cashless policy will begin by March 2020.

The apex bank in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks in the country, said that implementation of the policy would signal the imposition of charges on deposits in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.

According to the circular, the charges, which take effect from Wednesday, September 18, 2019, will attract three per cent processing fees for withdrawals and two per cent processing fees for lodgments of amounts above N500,000 for individual accounts.

For corporate accounts, the apex bank in the circular said that DMBs would charge five per cent processing fees for withdrawals and three processing fee for lodgments of amounts above N3,000,000.

The statement, however, disclosed that the charge on deposits would apply in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, and Rivers States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

It added that the implementation of the cash-less policy would take effect from March 31, 2020