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Daily Archives: November 11, 2019

‘I remain the governor’ — Makinde speaks on appeal court ruling

Mr. Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo State, has called on his supporters across the country to remain calm, because he is still in charge of the state.

Reacting to the various reports on the proceedings of the court on the election which brought him into office, Makinde said no judge ruled against him.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the election but Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenged Makinde’s victory at the tribunal.

He had asked the tribunal to annul Makinde’s victory and order a fresh election but the panel struck out his appeal.

Muhammed Sirajo, the presiding judge, said the testimonies presented by the petitioners could not be relied upon.

However, Adelabu headed to the appeal court which on Monday ruled that Makinde did not secure majority of lawful votes in the election, saying the exercise was tainted by over-voting and failure to comply with the provision of electoral act.

But the court neither sacked the governor nor ordered a fresh poll.

However, the pronouncement sparked jubilation in the camp of Adelabu, leading to reports that the APC candidate had been declared winner of the election.

Responding in a statement, Makinde accused the opposition of misleading the public.

“It is pre mature for anyone to wish that a landslide victory can just be upturned. Although, they may wish that such happens, but it won’t ever happen. The mandate was freely given to him by the good people of Oyo State,” he said in a statement.

“There is really nothing to worry about because, all they, the opposition are planning is already in the public… the judiciary is credible and won’t allow itself to be used against the will of the Oyo State.

“I urge you all to go about your normal businesses, we won’t be distracted in our quest to make Oyo State, a model State where good governance and leadership will be the order of the day.”

‘Thugs’ set SDP office in Kogi on fire — four days to election

Suspected thugs set fire to the secretariat of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Lokoja, Kogi state capital, on Monday.

The development comes four days to the governorship election in the state.

According to NAN, the building was razed around 1am with furniture, documents, electrical equipment and campaign materials burnt.

The building, which is located a few metres from the state police command headquarters, was reportedly vandalised on Saturday, November 9 by suspected armed thugs.

Akeem Busari, the state commissioner of police, confirmed the fire incident and said the police had launched investigation, with a view to identifying and bringing the perpetrators to book.

In his reaction, Mukhtar Atima, the state chairman of the SDP, accused the ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC) of being behind the attack.

He said the obvious fear of defeat starring APC in the face made it to “release their boys to unleash terror on our party.”

Some political pundits have said there is a possibility of Natasha Akpoti, SDP candidate in the governorship election, splitting Bello’s vote in parts of Ebirraland, where both of them hail from.

“No amount of harassment and destruction will deter the party and its governorship candidate from contesting and winning the November 16 election,” Atima said.

But Kingsley Fanwo, chairman, media committee, Bello/Onoja Campaign Organisation, denied allegations that the attack was sponsored by the APC.

He said Bello and the leadership of the party were currently engaged in rigorous campaigns, saying “there is no time for irrelevant issues now.”

Confusion in Ibadan as appeal court rules on Oyo gov poll

Confusion trailed the Court of Appeal judgment on Monday as both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress claimed victory after the justices ruled that the appeal by the candidate of APC, Mr. Bayo Adelabu “subsists.”

In arriving at its decision, the court allowed the appeal filed by Adelabu, against the sitting governor, Seyi Makinde, of the PDP.

The court of appellate jurisdiction also set aside the judgment delivered by the election petition tribunal that upheld the election of Makinde as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The court also ordered that status quo before the tribunal’s judgment should remain, which is the return and declaration of Makinde as the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship poll in Oyo State.

The court held that if not for time, it would have ordered a re-trial at the tribunal, noting that unfortunately, the time limit of 180days for tribunal had been exhausted.

The court found that the judgement of the lower tribunal that dismissed Adelabu’s petition against Makinde’s election as the governor was perverse and therefore set the judgement aside.

But the Court of Appeal did not make any further order concerning the election of Makinde and did order a rehearing of the election petition, but stressed that the status quo as of the time of filing the petition by Adelabu be maintained.

Three of the four-person panel of the Court of Appeal resolved all issues in the favour of the appellants. But there was a dissenting judgment from a judge with a proviso that the panel could not nullify Makinde’s election.

The lead counsel to Makinde, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), told journalists after the delivery of the judgment that the declaration of Makinde as governor “has not been affected in any way. The Court of Appeal in their wisdom said they did not agree with the lower tribunal. They did not also say that they did not agree with INEC. So, INEC’s declaration is sacrosanct and it remains until any other pronouncement from the court.

“We have not seen the details of the judgment. We were all in court and you (journalists) saw that the details were not read to us. As far as we are concerned, there is no cause for alarm.”

Fielding questions from reporters on the implications of the judgment on Governor Makinde, Jegede said, “There is no implication on the return and declaration of Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo State.”

The counsel to Adelabu and APC, Adeboye Shobanjo, also told journalists: “You listened to what my lord said about the evaluation of judgment of evidence that when there are pieces of evidence before the court, the evidence of all parties before the court should be evaluated. Judgment should not be based only on the evidence of a party in a case and if that was done during the trial or during the judgment, that is contrary to the provision of the constitution on fair hearing.

“Second, this court settled the issue of dumping of documents on election cases, and contrary to the decision of the tribunal that all the documents tendered by the appellants were dumped on the tribunal. The judgment made it known that the documents were not dumped on the tribunal.

“In totality, the appeal was allowed. But my lord said that because of effusion of time, that since the time for trial has lapsed at the tribunal, they cannot order for retrial of the case.

“But generally or totally, the appeal was allowed. It showed that the judgment of the tribunal occasioned a miscarriage of justice against the appellants.”

Many patients chained in hospitals, rehab and religious centres – HRW

Thousands of people with mental health conditions across Nigeria are chained and locked up in various facilities where they face terrible abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Monday.

It noted that detention, chaining, and violent treatment were pervasive in many settings, including state hospitals, rehabilitation centres, traditional healing centres, and both Christian and Islamic facilities.

The Human Rights Watch also called on the Federal Government to order investigation into the abuses.

“People with mental health conditions should be supported and provided with effective services in their communities, not chained and abused.

“People with mental health conditions find themselves in chains in various places in Nigeria, subject to years of unimaginable hardship and abuse, ”said Emina Cerimovic, senior disability rights researcher at HRW.

Saying President Muhammadu Buhari said last month of the Islamic rehabilitation centres that he would not ‘tolerate the existence of the torture chambers and physical abuses of inmates in the name of rehabilitation,’ HRW added that the government had yet to acknowledge that such abuses were rife in government-run facilities too.

Human Rights Watch stated that between August 2018 and September 2019, it visited 28 facilities ostensibly providing mental health care in eight states and the Federal Capital Territory, including federal psychiatric hospitals, general state hospitals, state-owned rehabilitation centres, Islamic rehabilitation centres, traditional healing centres and churches.

It stated, “Human Rights Watch interviewed 124 people, including 49 chained victims and their families, staff in various facilities, mental health professionals, and government officials.

“Deep-rooted problems in Nigeria’s healthcare and welfare systems leave most Nigerians unable to get adequate mental health care or support in their communities. Stigma and misunderstanding about mental health conditions, including the misperception that they are caused by evil spirits or supernatural forces, often prompt relatives to take their loved ones to religious or traditional healing places.

“Human Rights Watch found that people with actual or perceived mental health conditions, including children, are placed in facilities without their consent, usually by relatives. In some cases, police arrest people with actual or perceived mental health conditions and send them to state-run rehabilitation centres.

“Once there, many are shackled with iron chains, around one or both ankles, to heavy objects or to other detainees, in some cases for months or years. They cannot leave, are often confined in overcrowded, unhygienic conditions, and are sometimes forced to sleep, eat, and defecate within the same confined place. Many are physically and emotionally abused as well as forced to take treatments.”

According to the organisation, during its visit to a state-owned rehabilitation centre in the South-East, a nun in charge said they chain people to their beds ‘so they do not run away.’

It stated that the nun defended chaining a woman who had HIV ‘to stop her from going around the men.’
“Human Rights Watch found another woman at the same facility chained naked to her bed. The staff, except one older guard, would leave at 6.30 pm each day, leaving residents, including children as young as 13, with no one to help them. The facility has no electricity, so people are chained to their beds in total darkness. The nun said, “The patients are given flashlights to use at night.’

“In a traditional healing centre close to Abuja, Human Rights Watch met a woman who was pinned to a tree trunk with an iron ring. She had been restrained like this for three weeks with her upper body naked. She was unable to move and so she was forced to eat, urinate, and defecate where she sat,” the Human Rights Watch said.

It further said adults and children in some Islamic rehabilitation centres reported being whipped, causing deep wounds, while patients in Christian healing centres and churches revealed being denied food for up to three days at a time, which workers characterised as ‘fasting’ for ‘treatment’ purposes.

The Human Rights Watch added that in many of the traditional and religious rehabilitation centres visited, workers forced people with mental health conditions, including children, to eat or drink herbs, in some cases pinning them down to make them swallow.

The Human Rights Watch stated, “In psychiatric hospitals and state-run rehabilitation centers, staff forcibly administered medication, while some staff admitted to administering electroconvulsive therapy to patients without their consent.

“In some cases, families took their children – including young adults – to religious and traditional rehabilitation centres for actual or perceived drug use or ‘deviant’ behaviour, including skipping school, smoking tobacco or marijuana, or stealing from their parents. Some children in the facilities – some as young as 10 – have been abandoned by their families.

“Nigeria ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007. It has the obligation to ensure equal rights for people with disabilities, including the right to liberty and freedom from torture, ill-treatment, and forced treatment. While the Nigerian Constitution prohibits torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment, the government has not outlawed chaining. In a 2015 report, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture said torture ‘unequivocally amount(s) to torture.”

It urged the Federal Government to ban chaining and urgently investigate chaining in state-owned rehabilitation centres, psychiatric hospitals, and faith-based and traditional healing centres in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Visa: US snubs FG, continues to charge Nigerians reciprocity fee

Over two months after the Federal Ministry of Interior announced a reduction in the cost of Nigerian visas for American citizens, the United States Embassy in Nigeria has continued to charge Nigerians a reciprocity fee.

The US Embassy had on August 29, 2019, announced a reciprocity fee for Nigerians based on the premise that Americans seeking Nigerian visa were paying too much to secure it.

The American government had lamented that despite 18 months of consultation, the Muhammadu Buhari-led government had failed to review its visa structure.

Announcing its retaliatory move, the US embassy stated that persons applying for a tourist visa would upon being granted a visa, pay an extra N40,700 while those seeking the L1 Visa (work permit) will pay an extra N112, 100 if given visas while those applying for H4 Visa (dependency/spousal) will pay an extra N66, 600.

Nigerians granted a journalist visa would pay an extra N77, 700.

The US Embassy told PUNCH in an email that it had yet to receive any official information from the Federal Government as regards the reduction in visa cost.

When contacted on the telephone, the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ferdinand Nwoye, blamed the Nigeria Immigration Service for the development.

Nwoye told PUNCH that once the NIS communicates with the ministry, the needful would be done.

He said, “You should know that the foreign ministry is not playing a key role in this thing. It is immigration that is in charge. If immigration conveys information to us, then we will relay it to the embassy but for now, there is nothing from them (immigration).”

The NIS Spokesman, Mr. Sunday James, however, said immigration had done the needful by announcing a reduction in the cost of visa for Americans.

He said the service had no further announcement to make since the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had addressed the matter.

Prior to the introduction of the reciprocity fees, persons applying for an American B1/B2 tourist visa paid about $160 at the exchange rate of N370/$1.

However, Americans applying for Nigerian tourist visa paid as high as $270 for a single entry visa which comprises $160 for consular services, $100 for administration and $10 for processing.

The reduction in the visa fee which was announced by Aregbesola was said to have affected only the $160 for consular services and not the $100 for administration and $10 for processing.

Speaking with our correspondent, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, said there was a need for better engagement between the parties involved.

Akinterinwa said it was possible that the reduction in the visa fee as announced by the Federal Government may not have been comprehensive enough.

‘He’s done what northern billionaires failed to do’ — Omokri speaks on Otedola’s N5bn donation

Reno Omokri, a former aide of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, says Femi Otedola, entrepreneur, has done what northern billionaires failed to do.

On Sunday, Otedola made a donation of N5 billion naira to Save the Children, a UK-based charity, to support the organisation’s intervention in the north-east.

Arguably the largest individual donation to charity in Nigeria’s history, Otedola made the donation to the organisation, through Cuppy Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by his daughter, Florence Otedola (aka DJ Cuppy).

DJ Cuppy is a board ambassador for Save the Children and a member of the organisation’s Africa advisory board.

Reacting via Twitter, Omokri said northern billionaires would rather display their wealth in the midst of poverty instead of helping the poor in their region.

“Where are the Ndimis, Mai Deribes? They are in private jets marrying President’s children,” he tweeted.

“Displaying wealth while surrounded by poverty. It took a Good Samaritan stranger to do what the Northeast natives failed to do!”

Reno Omokri


Where are the Indimis, Mia Deribes? They are in private jets, marrying Presidents children. Displaying wealth while surrounded by poverty. It took a Good Samaritan stranger to do what Northeast natives failed to do!

Femi Otedola, billionaire bentrepreneur, has donated N5 billion to Save the Children, the 100-year United Kingdom-based charity, to support its intervention in the north-east. This is arguably the…

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Otedola has in the past donated to good causes.

He recently made life-saving interventions by footing the medical bills of Christian Chukwu, former coach of Super Eagles; Peter Fregene, former international goalkeeper; Majek Fashek, celebrated Reggae artiste as well as Sadiq Daba and Victor Olaotan, veteran actors.

Otedola donates N5bn to North-East intervention

Femi Otedola, billionaire entrepreneur, has donated N5 billion to Save the Children, the 100-year United Kingdom-based charity, to support its intervention in the North-East.

This is arguably the largest individual donation to charity in Nigeria’s history.

“My father, Mr. Femi Otedola, has been at the forefront of supporting worthy causes,” she said.

“It is in this spirit that he will be donating the sum of N5 billion to the children of Borno, Adamawa and Katsina through the Save the Children.”

The event was organised by the Cuppy Foundation to raise funds for Save the Children, which is the biggest children-focused organisation in the world after UNICEF.

Cuppy Foundation is the non-profit organisation founded by his daughter, Florence Otedola (aka DJ Cuppy).

DJ Cuppy is a board ambassador for Save the Children and a member of the organisation’s Africa advisory board.

Responding to Otedola’s donation, Kevin Watkins, chief executive officer of the charity, pledged that every penny out of it would be spent improving the lives of the children affected by insurgency in the north-east.

Earlier, Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, announced a donation of N100 million.

Dangote said many people find it difficult to give without knowing that “the more you give, the more blessed you become”.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Bukola Saraki, former senate president; Babagana Kingibe, former secretary to the government of the federation; and Bola Shagaya, billionaire businesswoman, were among those at the event.

The governors present were Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Babagana Zulum (Borno), and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).

Otedola, a well-regarded philanthropist, has in the past donated to good causes.

In 2005, he instituted a N200 million scholarship for Lagos state undergraduates, same year he donated N300 million for the completion of the National Ecumenical Centre in Abuja.

He, at various times, donated N100 million to the Lagos State College of Primary Education, N100 million to the Central Mosque, Ilorin (Kwara State), and N100 million to the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

He has committed to building and donating a faculty of engineering valued at N2 billion to the Augustine University in his hometown, Epe, Lagos state.

Recently, he made life-saving interventions by footing the medical bills of Christian Chukwu, former captain and coach of Super Eagles; Peter Fregene, former international goalkeeper; Majek Fashek, celebrated Reggae artiste; as well as Sadiq Daba and Victor Olaotan, veteran actors.

Bill Gates: I’ve paid over $10bn in taxes — more than anyone else

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man for nearly two decades, says he has paid over $10 billion in taxes, adding that he is willing to pay as much as $20 billion.

Speaking about the US 2020 elections and the tax policies between the Democrats and the Republicans, Gates said he is willing to follow anyone who comes to the tax debate professionally.

Elizabeth Warren of the Democratic Party is proposing a six percent tax on billionaires, while the Republican is cutting down on taxes, but Gates says he would say somewhere in the middle.

Speaking to this, Gates said: “I think the span of the two parties in terms of where they are in taxation has never been so broad you have one party reducing corporate taxes, you know, still supporting carried interest, taxes on capital or way way less than on labor… and now on the other side you have as you say a six percent wealth tax”.

“I happen to believe something in the middle, you know, I think you can make the estate tax higher. You could even take people have sat on huge gains for you know, say ten years and say, okay that there you should create a taxation event there.

“I think just by treating capital income the same as labor income that goes on very long distance, so I’m all for super progressive tax systems you do need to couple these things with more transparency the fact that you can through trust-like structures hide, lots of you know, beneficial ownership and get away with a lot.

“I’m impressed that there are a few candidates that go even beyond my view and I do think of you taxed too much you do risk capital formation innovation, the US is the desirable place to do innovative companies.

“Somebody can say, I’m very biased and type in a prime beneficiary of the existing system, but you know, I’d love to somebody to find a middle ground.

“You know, I’ve, Paid over 10 billion in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes, but I’m glad to have, you know, if I’d had to pay $20 billion it’s fine, but you know when you say I should pay a hundred billion, okay, then I’m starting to do a little math about. What I have left over, sorry.”

When asked to choose between Elizabeth Warren and Donal Trump, Gates said: “I’m not gonna make political declarations but I do think no matter what policy somebody has in mind, I do think a professional approach to the office, whoever I decide would have the more professional approach in the current situation.”

Gates said he would never run for president in the US, stating that he was good at what he is currently doing.

“Well, I am good at innovation, you know backing scientists whether it’s climate change or HIV or malnutrition. That’s what I’m good at and it’s very much a full-time job.

“Orchestrating the resources and them and there’s a breakthrough making sure it gets out to all the kids in the world who need it. This is this work that I do in partnership with Melinda and great team at the Foundation and many other co-founders.

“This is my life’s work. This is my current life’s work. I have two careers; my Microsoft career and this career, and it will take all of the years. That’s the thing that I’ll put all my remaining energy into.”

Gates has donated more than $50 billion to development causes around the world, with more than $5 billion every year through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The 64-year-old is two to three countries away from eradicating polio in the world, making it the second disease in human history to have been eradicated.

Tam David-West dies at 83

Prof Tam David-West, former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, has died at the age of 83.

In a statement on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari mourned the late statesman whom he described as his ally and friend.

He served as minister of petroleum and energy under Buhari’s military regime as well as minister of mines, power, and steel under former military president Ibrahim Babangida.

He was also a commissioner of education in the old Rivers state, and was described by the president as “a consultant virologist of national and international standing”.

A statement by Garba Shehu, Buhari’s spokesman, quoted the president as saying David-West had “an indomitable spirit, stood resolutely by whatever he believed in, and was in a class of his own”.

“He commiserates with the David-West family, the people of Buguma, Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, the academia, and all those who loved “the forthright Tam David-West”,” the statement added.

“President Buhari prays that God will rest the soul of the committed nationalist, urging all those who believe in the ideals he espoused to approximate same, for the betterment of Nigeria, and humanity.”

David-West wrote many books and was a social critic who spoke strongly on national issues.