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Daily Archives: October 9, 2019

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Hungary commends Ekiti Cultural Troupe

Thr Ekiti State Standing Cultural Troupe has been described as a pan-Nigeria cultural team which employs traditional music and dance to add value to Nigeria’s image home and abroad.

The Nigeria Ambassador to Hungary, Dr Eniola Ajayi disclosed this while bidding the Ekiti State Standing Cultural Troupe goodbye at the Nigerian House, Budapest.

She revealed “I must confess that you are fantastic. You made Nigeria proud. You have shored up the image of Nigeria in Europe and also showcased to the world that Nigeria is not only the land of good people but of wonderful culture and songs.”

She said that the Nigeria Embassy in Hungary invited the Ekiti State Standing Cultural Troupe for the celebration of the 59th Independence Day of Nigeria based on its performance pedigree and “I am happy that you did not only lived up to expectation but performed awesomely well beyond our expectation”.

Ambassador Ajayi pointed out that the cultural troupe dazzled the foreign diplomats and guests with the Unity Dance, which showcased the import of collective responsibility, harmonious cohabitation, ethnic reinforcement and leveraging on diversity perception at building a strong Nigeria.

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She lauded the group for not coming to Hungary only to spread the cultural heritage of Ekiti but showcased a pan- Nigeria musical concert which cultivated love, passion, interest and respect to the nation.

Ambassador Ajayi said that Ekiti State Standing Cultural Troupe put up spectacular and fascinating performances both on the 4th of October when the Embassy of Nigeria celebrated 59th Independence Day and on the 6th October when the Troupe held its exciting and grand Command performance.

Ambassador Ajayi lauded Ekiti State Governor, Dr John Kayode Fayemi and Erelu Bisi Fayemi for nurturing and empowering an Ekiti Cultural Troupe which is not only making waves on the global front but which is employing creative dancing and singing to shore up the image of Nigeria and cultivating respect and honour to Ekiti.

She commended the Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo-Lanre and the Permanent Secretary of the Council, Alhaji Ganiyu Titilope Ibrahim for leading a disciplined Cultural Troupe which bears the hallmark of excellence.

Ambassador Ajayi said “Honesty, I am very proud of you. You are a cultural asset to Ekiti State and Nigeria. My colleagues have been calling me in appreciation of your performance. God bless you all. Bear my regards to Nigerians and good people of Ekiti State. Safe trip back home.”

Gunmen kidnap RCCG pastor in Lafia

John Egla, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), has been kidnapped by gunmen in Lafia, Nasarawa state capital.

Nansel Ramhan, spokesman of the state police command, confirmed the incident.

Ramhan said Egla was abducted at his residence in Shabu community on the outskirts of the state.

He said the divisional police officer of Shabu reported hearing sporadic gunshots about 1:16am on Wednesday, adding that on reaching the location, the police team discovered that the gunmen had abducted the pastor, who was with his family.

Ramhan said the police found six empty shells of AK-47 ammunition at the scene of the abduction. He said the police had deployed a team to rescue Egla.

Falaye Omoniyi, a senior pastor of RCCG, who corroborated the police spokesman’s report, said Egla was the pastor in charge of the church’s Oasis of Life Parish, Nasarawa province 2.

Omoniyi said though nobody was hurt during the incident, the wife of the pastor and members of his family have been left traumatised.

He appealed to the police to double their effort in rescuing the pastor.

In August, five members of the RCCG were abducted on their way to attend the church’s ministers’ conference in Lagos.

The abduction took place along the Ijebu-Ode axis. They were later rescued unhurt by the police.

Buhari tells economic advisory council to develop home grown solutions

 

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, met with members of the recently constituted Economic Advisory Council (EAC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

At the meeting, the president restated his commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

He said the economy was not growing well enough and asked the team to come up with home-grown ideas that will help improve it.

“I want to thank you for agreeing to serve Nigeria. Your task cannot be more important. Our goal is to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years,” he said.

“Yes we have exited the recession, but our economic growth rate is still not fast enough to meet our national ambition of collective prosperity.

“We must move forward with the home-grown solutions, suitable to our local contexts. Our efforts must be both suitable and sustainable. I look forward to receiving your baseline studies as this will help shape our economic efforts.

“All key MDAs will be available to meet with you and discuss how we can create a Nigeria that works for all.”

The EAC was constituted on September 16 by the president to replace the economic management team (EMT) which was headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

The EAC is expected to advise the president on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies.

Fayemi says Nigeria can do away with senate

Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti state, says Nigeria can scrap the Denate as all the country really needs is a unicameral legislature.

Speaking at the just concluded 25th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group conference, the governor said Nigeria has to look into the size of government.

“We do need to look at the size of government in Nigeria and I am an advocate of a unicameral legislature. What we really need is the house of representatives because that is what represents,” he said at a session.

“You have three senators from little Ekiti and you have three senators from Lagos state. It’s a no-brainer that it’s unequal, I guess the principle is not proportionality but that if you are a state, you get it automatically but I think that we can do away with that. There are several things that we can do away within the government.

“The Oronsaye report that proposed mergers of several MDAs that are doing the same thing is something that the government should pay serious attention to and reduce the resources being expended on them.”

Nigeria’s National Sssembly consists of a senate with 109 members and a 360-member house of representatives.

Defending the security vote spent by governors, Fayemi, who was also a former minister of mines and steel, said: “Security vote exists in various forms and not just in Nigeria. They may not call it security vote, they may call it contingency vote.

“The important thing is the government utilises a wide range of mechanism to guarantee security in a state and it is not just ammunition and weapons that I am talking about. Even keeping the touts in check is a security challenge in many states and managing that process may cost you money that you cannot necessarily show the auditors.

“The other element which states don’t get credit for is what we do for the federal police. Nigeria is the only federation in the world that I know runs a centralised police force. You have federal police that is not being funded properly by the federal government so the responsibility for funding those guys that are posted to your state is on the state. You buy uniforms, ammunition, pay allowances, do life insurance, buy vehicles; that is not provided for and that is security vote because we are expected to protect the citizens.

“Let me also say this, you will not hear it out there from anybody. When people are kidnapped and their relatives are harassing the governor or security institutions to track down the victims.

“We track them down, we know where they are. What you hear us say outside is that we don’t pay ransom and we stick by that. We don’t pay ransom, we don’t bribe kidnappers but we get those people released.

“I will not go into the ugly details but we spend money in ensuring that we get abductees and victims out of harm’s way because ultimately that is what the victim wants us to do. The parents don’t want to hear the story that we don’t pay a ransom. You just have to whatever you have to do to ensure that we get our citizens out of danger.”

Fayemi was on the panel alongside Babatunde Fowler, executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Jordi Borrut Bel, Nigerian Breweries MD, and Eme Essien, country manager of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Nine-year-old girl accuses Lagos policeman of raping her on several occasions

A nine-year-old pupil on Wednesday narrated before an Ikeja Special Offences and Domestic Violence Court in Lagos how a 40-year-old policeman simply identified as Andy, lured her into his apartment and defiled her on numerous occasions.

The child made the revelation during the trial of Andy on one count of defilement, contrary to section 137 of the criminal law of Lagos state, 2015.

The child, who described herself as a primary five pupil of one of the schools in Lagos state, was led in evidence by Inumidun Solarin, the state prosecutor.

She said the defendant, who was her neighbour, had defiled her on various occasions and that on the last occasion, he had lured her into his apartment under the pretext of giving her N200 to buy milk for him.

The child told the court that Andy, after defiling her, had hid her under his bed when her elder sister was frantically searching for her.

“I know Brother Andy (the defendant). He is our neighbour, who lives at the backyard of our house. He is popularly known as ‘Officer’,’ she said.

“On that day, Brother Andy called me when I got back from school and sent me on an errand. He sent me to go and buy milk for him. Then he gave me N200.

“I bought the milk and when I returned, he asked me to bring it inside his room. He then said I should drop the milk on the table and sit down.

“When I sat down, he now told me to lie on the bed and remove my pant. He now put his penis in my bum bum. He put his penis at my front bum bum (she demonstrates by pointing at her vagina).

“After that, he asked me to hide under the bed when my elder sister came calling my name.

“One of our neighbours, Chioma, even entered his room to buy recharge card for him, though she didn’t see me, I saw her from under the bed.

“And because my elder sister was shouting my name and looking for me, officer told me to pretend like nothing happened and that I should pass through the backyard gate.”

The child said when she was found by her sister, she lied and said that she was at her friend’s house and that her sister had insisted that she took her to the friend’s house.

“I started begging her not to beat me, and I told her that I was inside officer’s room. My sister beat me and reported to my father who was very angry,” she said.

“When my mummy came back from the market where she sells abacha (African salad), my sister reported me again.

“This time, my mummy threatened to kill me if I don’t tell her what happened. I became afraid and told her the truth.

“Immediately, my mummy called all her brothers and they came to our house the following morning and took us to Amukoko Police Station to report.

“It was after we made a report at the station that the Police came and arrested Brother Andy.”

The witness said she was referred by authorities to the Mirabel Centre (a Sexual Assault Referral Centre) where the doctors revealed that she had been sexually abused on several occasions.

The prosecutor asked, “How many times has he done such to you (sexual intercourse)?”

“Many times. I can’t really count,” the child responded.

While being cross-examined by M.L. Ezomo, the defence counsel, the child said the reason why she did not report the abuse was because the policeman had threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

She also added: “No other person touched me except Brother Andy.”

According to the prosecution, the policeman allegedly defiled the nine-year-old child on June 6 at Amukoko area of Lagos.

Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015 prescribes a life sentence for anyone found guilty of defilement.

The matter has been adjourned till October 30.

 

N2.1bn fraud: EFCC secures order to extend Maina, son’s detention

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has secured an order of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Bwari, to detain former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina and his son, Faisal, in its custody pending the conclusion of ongoing investigation.

The order, which was given on October 7, 2019, following an exparte application by the anti-graft agency, empowered the commission to remand the defendants in its custody for an initial period of 14 days.

The court, however, noted that the order was subject to review if necessary, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.

Maina and his son were arrested at an Abuja hotel by the Department of State Services and were subsequently handed to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N2.1 billion.

Before he was handed over to the commission last Wednesday, Maina had been evading arrest for over four years.

The former director, Human Resources Department, Ministry of Interior, had been charged alongside a former head of service, Steve Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe, Fredrick Hamilton and Global Services Ltd. before a Federal High Court on 24 counts bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretence, in July 2015, but he absconded from the country.

Our correspondent reported that Maina had been visiting the country regularly from his base in the United Arab Emirates, despite being under surveillance and on the watchlists of security agencies

He had been hibernating in UAE until he met with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in Dubai in 2016, during which he was reportedly assured of his safety in Nigeria.

Following the assurances, Maina resumed at the Ministry of Interior where he was promoted as director, Human Resources Department, without sitting for the mandatory promotion examination.

Malami had in November 2017, admitted before a Senate ad hoc panel probing Maina’s reinstatement into the civil service that he met with the former PRTT boss in Dubai.

 

95 graduates arrested with fake certificates, says NYSC

The National Youth Service Corps has said that it has apprehended about 95 graduates with fake certificates from Nigeria and foreign universities and handed them over to security agencies during the last orientation exercise.

The Director General of the NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, disclosed this on Wednesday at the 2019 Batch ‘C’ pre-mobilization workshop, held in Niger State.

Ibrahim said that 65 out of the arrested graduates were from universities in Nigeria while 30 others were from other West African universities.

“Regarding fraudulent certificates, we have arrested 65 fake students from universities in Nigeria and from other West African universities, we have arrested about 30. We have handed them over to the police for prosecution.”

NYSC boss revealed that some tertiary institutions in Nigeria still engage in the sale of Degree and HND certificates and statements of result to unqualified persons in a bid to smuggle them into NYSC mobilisation.

The DG lamented that this attempt is threatening the credibility of the NYSC mobilisation process, adding that the action has grave implications for the socio-economic development of the country.

“It is worrisome to note that some unscrupulous persons still indulge in the sale of Degree and HND Certificates and Statements of Result to unqualified persons. It has also been observed that names of unqualified persons are included in the Senate/Academic Board -approved list uploaded on the NYSC registration portal by some corps-producing institutions.

“It is quite unfortunate that some corps-producing institutions are still in the habit of uploading part-time and overaged graduates for mobilization. This is one of the challenges we are out to tackle headlong, this attempt in some quarters to threaten the credibility of the process.

“Acts such as presentation of fake academic credentials and attempts to smuggle names of unqualified persons into the mobilization lists submitted by some corps-producing institutions are condemnable and will continue to face stiff resistance from the scheme. “

NERC threatens to revoke licences of eight DisCo

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has threatened to withdraw the licences of eight electricity distribution companies (DisCos) over an alleged breach of market rules.

In a notice signed by Dafe Akpeneye, commissioner for legal, licensing and compliance, on Tuesday, the regulator accused the DisCos of breaching the provisions of the electric power sector reform act (EPSRA).

The affected companies were listed as Abuja DisCo (AEDC), Benin DisCo (BEDC), Enugu DIsCo (EEDC), Ikeja DisCo (IE). Others are Kaduna DisCo (KAEDCO), Kano DisCo (KEDCO), Port Harcourt DisCo (PHEDC) and Yola DisCo (YEDC).

The commission said the DisCos failed to meet up with the expected minimum remittance to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) for the July billing cycle.

“The Commission considers the actions of the aforementioned DisCos as ‘manifest and flagrant breaches’ of EPSRA, terms and conditions of their respective distribution licences and the Order; and therefore requires each of them SHOW CAUSE in writing within 60 days from the date of receipt of this Notice as to why their licences should not be cancelled in accordance with section 74 of EPSRA,” the notice read.

“All DisCos are obligated to settle their market invoices in full as adjusted and netted off by applicable tariff shortfall approved by the commission.

“The DisCos are liable to relevant penalties/sanctions for failure to meet the minimum remittance requirement in any payment circle in line with the provisions of its respective contracts with NBET, MO and provisions of the market rules and supplementary TEM Order.”

UNILAG suspends another lecturer in sex-for-grades scandal

The University of Lagos has suspended Samuel Oladipo, a lecturer in the department of economics, over the sex-for-grades scandal rocking the institution.

Oladipo was seen in the second stream of a documentary on sexual assault released by the BBC Africa Eye on Monday.

The school management earlier suspended Boniface Igbeneghu, a lecturer and former sub-dean of the faculty of arts in the institution, who was exposed in the documentary.

Igbeneghu was caught sexually harassing an undercover journalist who posed as an admission seeker.

The documentary has elicited reactions since its release, with many calling for the prosecution of the lecturers involved.

Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, vice-chancellor of UNILAG, was said to have confirmed the suspension of Oladipo, saying the lecturer “would be made to face a panel”.

“The entire episode is unfortunate and tragic because lecturers are supposed to be loco parentis to the students. My appeal to our colleagues is to refrain from a negative act that can tarnish the image of the university and themselves,” Ogundipe was quoted as saying.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had also called for a thorough investigation into the allegations made against the lecturers.

Dele Ashiru, chairman of the union’s branch at UNILAG, condemned the development and warned its members to refrain from actions capable of bringing disrepute to the Nigerian university system.

 

 

Wadume: Panel’s report indicts Army captain, Police ASP

An Army captain and a police officer have been indicted in the killings at a checkpoint in Taraba State during the rescue of a suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala a.k.a Wadume.

The panel that investigated the matter, in its report submitted to the Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, said the killings were caused by poor communication and lack of inter-agency cooperation between the soldiers and policemen.

The panel also indicted the officers for non-adherence to the Standard Operating Procedure and recommended that the indicted officers should be further investigated by the Army and the Police.

The report called for further investigation and prosecution of Wadume.

The seven-man Board of Enquiry set up by the Defence Headquarters was headed by Rear Admiral Ibikunle Olaiya.

Those indicted are Capt. Tijani Balarabe, Sergeant Ibrahim Mohammed, Corporal Bartholomew Obanye, Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) of Ibi Police Station, Assistant Superintendent of Police Anfoona Iorbee and Inspector Aliyu Dadje.

On August 6, three policemen attached to the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeant Usman Danzumi and Sergeant Dahiru Musa were killed by soldiers along Ibi-Wukari road while on an undercover operation to arrest a notorious kidnapper, Bala.

The soldiers reportedly freed the suspect.

The Acting Director, Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said in a statement that the indicted officers will face prosecution.

The statement reads: “Following the directive of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari for an immediate investigation into the unfortunate incident that led to the killing of three Nigerian Police Force (NPF) personnel and 2 civilians by troops of the Nigerian Army (NA) along Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State, the Chief of Defence Staff General AG Olonisakin constituted a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to investigate the incident.

“The 7 member BOI led by Rear Admiral Ibikunle Taiwo Olaiya as Chairman, comprised one representative each from the Defence Headquarters, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Defence Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Police and Department of State Service”.

“You will recall that on 6 August 2019, reports of the sad killing of three Policemen and two civilians in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State by troops of the NA broke out. This gave rise to serious concern by the Federal government, the military and police high command.

“The incident started from Ibi town, following an alarm alleging the kidnap of one Alhaji Hamisu Bala (aka Wadume) by some individuals in a Hummer bus. Captain Tijani Balarabe informed all military checkpoints along Ibi-Wukari Road, who sprang into action.

“The alleged Hummer bus mentioned in the distress call, however, conveyed Police personnel of the IGP-IRT who were on a legitimate duty in Taraba State. Also, military checkpoints in the area were deployed by troops of Headquarters 93 Battalion, Takum, who were equally on legitimate duty to checkmate communal clashes, kidnapping and armed robbery, which were prevalent threats in Wukari Ibi area”.

Nwachukwu added: “After a thorough and painstaking investigation into the incident, the BOI submitted its report to the convening authority observing that, there were infractions and poor communication between personnel of the NPF and troops of the NA. It was also observed that there was non-adherence to the Standard Operating Procedure by both parties involved in the incident. It further made some recommendations to the NA and NPF to forestall future reoccurrence and bring anyone culpable to book in accordance with extant laws.

“The BOI also recommended that the NA and NPF should further investigate Captain Tijani Balarabe, Sergeant Ibrahim Mohammed, Corporal Bartholomew Obanye, DCO Ibi Police Division, Assistant Superintendent of Police Aondoona Iorbee, and Inspector Aliyu Dadje for complacency and necessary disciplinary measures. It was also recommended that further investigation be conducted on Hamisu Bala for gunrunning and possibly kidnapping, in order to prosecute the suspect.

“Additionally, the BOI recommended that the Services and other security agencies establish an Interagency Liaison Desk to include senior officers for timely resolution of future misdemeanor. The Defence Headquarters once again assures the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are working in synergy to tackle contemporary security challenges be-deviling the nation”.

No apologies for appointing my daughter as aide, says Gov. Okowa

Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has declared he has no apologies for appointing one of his daughters as an aide.

His daughter, the governor said, is eminently qualified for the position. “It is not true that I have two of my daughter’s appointed. I have only one appointed and she is rightfully qualified.

“I do not have any daughter in social media. The one appointed for girl child education is rightfully qualified. I do not have any apologies for that because I know the quality of daughter that I have.”

Okowa also said the choice of who becomes the next governor of Delta State in 2023 will be determined by God.

He said although he expressed his personal view that his successor should come from Delta Central, the choice ultimately was beyond him.

Okowa said he has his views which he cannot enforce, adding that the most important factor is the need to ensure “unity and equity”.

The governor, who spoke at a media quarterly briefing in Asaba, said the PDP will continue to work towards achieving a situation that keeps the people United, realising that working together makes the party stronger.

“I am not God. I don’t make a Governor. Nobody makes a governor. It is only God that can make one.

“The important thing is we want to ensure there is unity and equity and we will continue to work towards achieving a situation that keeps us United as Deltans realising that working together makes us stronger as a people.”

He said the huge debt profile of Delta State was not adversely affecting governance as his administration has devised smart approaches to tackling its indebtedness.

He added that his administration was not piling debts for his successor as new contracts are planned to chime with expected receipts.

He said Delta State had at October 2018 exited from payment of the bond taken by the previous administration by making a monthly payment of N1billion from 2015 to 2018.

He declared with the restructured debt the state pays a manageable N1.5 billion monthly.

He said his administration “was planning its economic approaches in a manner that his successor will be debt-free save for old restructured debts”.

Okowa, however, admitted to taking short term loans for contracts that are financed through Irrevocable Standing Payment Orders (ISPO).

He said the huge figures credited to Delta State are not the actual debts accumulated by the State but includes both capital and the interest rates computed over a period.