Friday , 6 December 2019
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Author Archives: Editor

Onumah: DSS asked why I wasn’t carrying a Biafran passport

Chido Onumah, coordinator of African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), says the Department of State Services (DSS) queried him on why he was carrying a Nigerian passport despite being a “Biafran.”

Onumah said this while narrating his encounter with the DSS operatives.

DSS operatives had detained the journalist at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Abuja, Abuja, upon his arrival from Europe.

He spent at least four hours in their custody before he was freed around 10pm.

In a statement issued on Monday, Onumah said the operatives accosted him for wearing a “Biafra” T-shirt.

He said: “A DSS officer said they had intel (likely from people who were with me on the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Abuja) that I had come into the country to join some people planning to cause disaffection.

“That since I am a Biafran, why should I carry a Nigerian passport. I told them I am a Nigerian and that’s why I have a Nigerian passport; that there is no country called Biafra, therefore, I couldn’t possibly hold a Biafran passport.

“He replied: ‘But that is not what is written on your T-shirt.’ When I replied that the inscription is the title of a book, (and that the book was available on Amazon and bookshops in the country) another officer said “there is a difference between the book and the T-shirt’.”

He added that the DSS operatives requested for his T-shirt and “a “commitment” that I won’t do anything that would cause ethic, religious or political tension in the country.”

Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesman, had earlier confirmed Onumah’s shirt got the service’ attention.

Sowore: DSS denied me telephone access but granted same to Boko Haram commanders

Omoyele Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow Movement, says while arrested Boko Haram commanders in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) are allowed to make calls, he has been denied access to telephone.

According to SaharaReporters, Sowore said this on Monday at the federal high court in Abuja where he is currently being arraigned for “conspiracy to commit treason and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari”.

The activist said he was yet to know what charge was brought against him as he had not spoken with his lawyers.

“I am not allowed to see sunshine. I’ve not been outside except today. I am happy people are staying strong,” he said.

“I have no doubt this will come to an end in favour of the Nigerian people. Whether you like it or not, the revolution will happen. It is only a matter of time. They gave me no access to telephone. No TV. No newspapers.

“What is interesting is that Boko Haram commanders who are engaged in high level terrorism have access to telephone, TV and even cable in their cells. So you wonder which one is better: a freedom fighter or a terrorist.”

He also said he has a bad shoulder following the way he was rough handled when arrested.

Sowore, who was presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 elections, was arrested in Lagos on August 3 ahead of a planned nationwide #RevolutionNow protest.

The protest, the government said, was aimed at removing the president during his term of office otherwise than by constitutional means.

The court had earlier granted the DSS request to keep Sowore for 45 days but he was later granted bail.

The agency refused to release him despite fulfilling his bail condition.

Court sends Sowore back to DSS custody

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has remanded Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow Movement, in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The activist has been in detention since August 3 when he was arrested in Lagos.

A court had earlier granted him bail but the secret police refused to release him.

On Monday, he was arraigned on a 7-count charge of felony brought against him and Olawale Bakare, his co-defendant, by the federal government.

The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Olumide Fusika, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Sowore’s counsel, had asked the court to allow his client enjoy the bail earlier granted to him.

But Ijeoma Ojukwu, the presiding judge, refused, ordering that Sowore and Bakare should return to DSS custody pending Friday when she would hear their application for bail.

Bayelsa speaker removed as gunshots rock assembly

Tonye Isenah, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, has been removed.

Isenah was removed shortly after gunshots rocked the assembly over the crisis that broke out as a result of the refusal of Isenah to step down.

Isenah had been under pressure to resign following the emergence of Douye Diri as gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 16 election.

Isenah and Diri are from his Kolokuma-Opokuma local government area of the state, a development which some political pundits say could work against the PDP candidate in the election.

Trouble started on Monday after Isenah, who had told reporters on Friday that he would relinquish his position, adjourned plenary indefinitely.

Suspected thugs were said to have invaded the chamber after which the mace was forcefully taken away.

Some lawmakers later reconvened and took the decision on replacing Monday Obolo, the former majority leader of the house.

Obolo represents southern Ijaw constituency 2.

But Ranami Afagha, spokesman of Isenah, said the impeachment would not stand as it was done against the standing rules of the house.

Afagha said the mace of the house was “violently taken away by thugs”, adding that since the symbol of authority was not in the house, activities of those who removed Isenah were illegal and unconstitutional.

‘My abductors said they kept coming back because my son is rich’ … Siasia’s mother

With her eyes swollen in tears, Beauty Uguoere Siasia, the mother of a former Super Eagles skipper and coach, Samson Siasia broke down and cried.

“I dont know why they keep kidnapping me. Only God knows,” the 80-year-old woman sobbed as tears dripped down her wrinkled face.

Mama, as she is fondly called, lamented that she had been kidnapped twice saying that her abductors on the two occasions told her that her son, Siasia is a millionaire.

She said after whisking her away to an unknown place, her assailants fed her with garri and bought drugs for her.

Saying that they took care of her, the traumatised woman said there was no time they beat her, adding that sometimes the abductors prepared soup for everybody in their camp.

Narrating the latest incident, she said: I was at my house when they came to kidnap me. They took me to the place. They took care of me.

“I was sick and they bought the drugs. They cooked and gave to me.

“They didn’t beat me. There were days that there was no food. Those days they drank garri and gave me garri to drink too.

“Sometimes, they cooked soup, prepare garri and we ate.

“But on Sunday, they told me we had stayed for too long and they were tired of our problem.

“They carried us on a flying boat and dropped us in a village. I dont know the name of the village.

“The carried us to their chairman place. I don’t even know the man. They called Seifa and Seifa came.

“As I am talking to you, I am not well. Before they took me I was not well. I want to go to the hospital.

“They built small house and use tarpaulin to cover the top. That was where they kept us”.

When she was told that she won’t be kidnapped again, Siasia’s mother quickly said Amen.

But she added: “They keep worrying me because they said my son, Siasia is rich and a millionaire”.

Also one of the victims, who was abducted when he took some undisclosed amount of money to the kidnappers, said on getting to where they directed him, the gunmen surrounded his boat, blindfolded him and took him away.

Relieving his ordeal, he said: “Where they kept us was very bad. I didn’t see anything there and I didn’t recognise anybody because before I got to the place, they blindfolded me.

“But the place was rough. We slept on benches. There was no foam. At times, they fed us with garri and beans.

“We used oil to eat garri. Sometimes, they cooked yellow soup and any how they cooked it you will eat because you want to live.

“I was in a critical condition. They were fond of beating me maybe because I am a man.

‘They would beat me morning, afternoon and night. They would tie me before I sleep.

“Even if mosquitoes were biting me, I couldn’t chase them away. They kept four people to guide me. I suffered a lot”.

Police uncover ‘baby factory’ in Lagos, rescue 19 pregnant girls

The police in Lagos on Sunday said they have uncovered a suspected baby factory and rescued 19 pregnant girls.

The police stated that they acted on an intelligence report and swooped on the operators at their base on 14 Adisa Street, Ayanwale area of Ikotun.

The police spokesman, Bala Elkana, said two suspects had been arrested.

However, the principal suspect, identified as Madam Oluchi, a mother of five, from Mbano, Imo State, was said to have escaped.

According to the police spokesman, the suspects bring the girls from the South-East to Lagos where they are impregnated.

He said the babies were sold based on their sex; while male babies were sold for N500,000, the girls were sold for N300,000.

Elkana said, “On September 19,2019, at 4pm, while acting on the strength of information from a reliable source, detectives from the Isheri Osun Police Station, led by the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Chike Ibe, stormed a building at 14 Adisa Street, Ayanwale area, Ikotun, Lagos, suspected to be used for child trafficking.

“Nineteen pregnant girls, aged 15 and 28, were rescued. Four kids were also rescued. They were recovered from four different locations.

“They include: 32 Owosho Street, Governor Road, Ikotun; 29 Olugbeyohun Street, Olakunle Bus Stop Abaranja; 4/6 Anomo Street, Abaranja and the address mentioned above. The pregnant women were brought from Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Abia and Imo states.

“Two suspects, namely Happiness Ukwuoma ‘f’ 40 years old, and Sherifat Ipeya ‘f’ 54 years old, were arrested in connection with the case.

“The suspects did not receive formal medical training but operate as nurses. The suspects are natives of Imo and Epe, Lagos states, respectively. The young women were mostly abducted by the suspects for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling the babies to potential buyers.

“The girls were tricked with employment as domestic staff in Lagos.

“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Zubairu Muazu, has visited the scene and ordered the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department to take over the case.”

Elkana said the command was working with other agencies and stakeholders in rehabilitating and resettling the pregnant girls and the babies.

He noted that investigation was ongoing and the suspects would be charged to court.

Falana: DSS not petitioning NJC over judge who granted Sowore bail

Femi Falana, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says there is no plan by the Department of State Services (DSS) to report a federal high court judge to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for granting Omoyele Sowore bail.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Falana said the report on the secret service petitioning the NJC against Taiwo Taiwo, the judge, who granted bail to Sowore, is false.

He said it was designed to blackmail and intimidate judges in the case of the activist.

“However, in a desperate bid to divert public attention from the contemptuous conduct of the SSS the federal government has hurriedly pressurised the federal high court to assign the case for the arraignment of Mr. Sowore,” he said.

“I wish to state without any fear of contradiction, that the federal high court is competent to admit a person charged with a capital offence to bail by virtue of section 161 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. But in this case, Mr. Sowore has not been charged with a capital offence.

“Treasonable felony is not a capital offence under section 41 of the Criminal Code. Even under the most brutal dictatorial regimes in Nigeria our courts did not hesitate to uphold the fundamental right of the victims of repression to personal liberty including those who were charged with treasonable felony.

“Having regards to the facts and circumstances of this case, the SSS cannot complain against the handling of the case by Justice Taiwo who did not even entertain our application to quash the order for Mr. Sowore’s detention for 45 days. We had wanted to show that Mr. Sowore did not engage in any terrorist activity to warrant his incarceration.

“In urging Nigerians to disregard the dubious report it ought to be pointed out that Justice Taiwo has not been accused of any act of judicial misconduct in ordering the conditional release of Mr. Sowore from unlawful custody. After all, it was the SSS counsel, Mr. Godwin Agbadua who withdrew his fresh motion ex parte motion for an order to further detain him for 20 days.

“To that extent, the National Judicial Council has no power to sanction a judicial officer for exercising his/her discretion judicially and judicially in an application for the bail of a citizen. In other words, since the NJC is not an appellate court it cannot review the order for the conditional release of Mr. Sowore from illegal custody.”

Taiwo had ordered the secret service to release the publisher of Sahara Reporters immediately to his lawyer.

The judge held there was no subsisting order to keep him in detention.

But the DSS is yet to comply with the court’s decision.

BREAKING: SSS arrests Nigerian activist Chido Onumah

Nigeria’s State Security Service, SSS, has arrested an activist, Chido Onumah.

Mr Onumah, a journalist and author, was arrested at the Abuja airport on Sunday evening, an associate told Premium Times

The journalist returned to Nigeria from Spain where he recently bagged a doctorate in communication studies.

He arrived via a Lufthansa airline and was waiting for his luggage at about 5:00 p.m. when SSS officials accosted him, the associate who was at the airport to receive Mr Onumah said.

It is believed that Mr Onumah, at about 5:00 p.m., was taken to the SSS headquarters in Abuja.

Samson Siasia’s mother released after 75 days in captivity

The mother of former Super Eagle skipper and coach, Samson Siasia, Mrs Beauty Ogere Siasia, has been set free by her kidnappers after 75 days.

The 80-year-old matriarch was kidnapped on July 15 by heavily armed gunmen who invaded her Odoni country home in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Madam Siasia travails which lasted 75 days, is the second time in four years she has been abducted by unknown abductors from her country home.

It is unclear if any ransom was paid to secure her release.

Mothers of freed kids back Kaduna slave school’s harsh methods, torture

In a move that could be described as startling, some parents of the freed 300 male children allegedly chained, tortured and sexually assaulted at an Islamic school in Kaduna have protested against the police for putting their children in protective custody.

The protesters, mostly women and who openly backed the operators of the school and their methods, asked the police to release their children immediately.

They insisted the allegation by the police that the children were being sexually abused at the Islamic school was false.

Some of the mothers said there was nothing wrong with the Islamic school, wondering why the police decided to raid it.

The Kaduna State Command of the Police had on Thursday raided the Islamic school located in Rigasa, Igabi Local Government Area of the state, freeing 300 male children in the process.

The police said some of the victims were from Burkina Faso, Mali and other African countries, adding that the students confessed to have been abused homosexually.

Some other victims were said to have been subjected to daily recitation of the Holy Quran and prayers with torture.

“The man who is operating this home claimed that parents brought their children here for rehabilitation. But, from the look of things, this is not a rehabilitation centre. No reasonable parent will bring their children to this place,” the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Ali Janga, had said during the raid.

Some of the boys and men were said to have been held captive for years inside what could be described as a ‘building of horrors’, which was advertised as an Islamic school.

Some of the victims, as young as five years old, said they were tortured, sexually abused and starved and while being prevented from escaping.

Many of them had metal chains around their ankles and visible injuries.

One of those who were saved by the police alleged that some victims had died.

The police arrested seven teachers of the Islamic centre, including its proprietor, Mallam Ismaila Abubakar, who insisted all they did at the centre was the teaching of Islam.

“All those allegations of torture, dehumanisation and homosexuality are false and mere allegations. We do nothing here other than teaching people Islam,” he said.

However, on Friday, some mothers of the freed children protested against the police, saying they wanted their children reunited with them.

One of them, Maryam Fatika, whose four children attended the centre, said there was nothing wrong with the school, wondering why the police decided to raid it.

According to her, none of her children had ever complained of any form of maltreatment.

Fatika said, “We are aware that they (children) are being punished whenever they do wrong because they are dangerous and stubborn children.

“There is nothing wrong with the school because we took our children there by ourselves. So, we don’t know why the police raided the place.”

Another woman, who identified herself as Mama Jibril, said her son had spent six years at the centre.

According to her, there is nothing wrong with the centre.

She said she sent her son to the centre because “Jibril was becoming a threat to the family.”

She said, “We took him to the Islamiyya school for rehabilitation and to God be the glory, he has changed.

“I visited him and I have never seen anything wrong going on in the school.

“We don’t even know where they (police) took our children. We are appealing to the government and police to return our children to us and we are also okay with the way the children are being handled by the Islamiyya authorities.”

Shafa’atu Zakari, who said she had six children in the school, said the children were drug addicts and uncontrollable.

She said, “That’s why we took them to the school to acquire Quranic knowledge.

“We took the children to the school because we didn’t know what to do with them. Presently, four of my children are among the students taken away by the police.

“We demand their release because the founder of the school, Mallam Ismail, is doing everything possible within Islamic teachings to rehabilitate them for us.”

Some residents of the area where the centre is located also claimed some of the students were drug addicts.

Ahmed Balarabe, who lives close to the school, denied the children were being sexually abused.

He said, “I share a fence with the school and my two sons attended the school and they never told me anything about being sexually abused.

“Being a neighbour that always enters the school, if such thing was happening, I should have known.”

Police taking freed children’s details –Spokesperson

Speaking on the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in Kaduna State, Mr Gambo Isa, said the command was still taking the details of the children rescued from the facility, adding that the owner of the school and six teachers were still being held.

He said, “Investigation is still on. We are trying to compile the list of the children. The facility is like a school and it has been operating for some time. From the information we got, the children were kept there; they (the suspects) operated it like a school.

“We got intelligence and went there. Seven suspects – the owner of the place, Ismaila Abubakar, and six others who act as teacher – have been arrested. Chaining them is what we are saying is illegal. You cannot chain human beings just because you want to punish them.”

Meanwhile, one of the Islamic centre’s directors, Mohammed El’Zubair, has denied the allegations by the police.

“No responsible father would take his child to where he would be molested sexually.

“We expected the police to investigate us well before invading the school.

“So, we are seeking justice from the authorities concerned and we leave everything to God who knows what we are doing,” he said.

El’Zubair listed public figures who had visited the centre in the past to include a former Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Abdurrahman Ahmad; Islamic scholar and preacher, Dr Ahmad Gumi; the Chief Imam of Sultan, Bello Mosque; and ex-Lagos State governor, Gen Buba Marwa.

Islamic schools, known as Almajiris, are common in the Muslim-dominated north and have for years been dogged by allegations of abuse, including of children being forced to beg on the streets.

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier in the year said its administration planned to eventually ban the schools.

Kashamu replies ICPC: Shame on you for ‘recovering’ evidence of a crime you investigated

Buruji Kashamu, a former senator who represented Ogun-east, says it is shameful that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) claims to have recovered constituency project items from him.

The agency had said it recovered three ambulances and a 500KVA transformer meant for constituency projects from the ex-lawmaker.

In a statement on Friday, Austin Oniyokor, Kashamu’s media aide, described the agency’s claim as mischievous.

He said the items were handed over to ICPC officials as against the agency’s claim that it recovered it.

“The items were delivered to the Constituency office in Ijebu-Igbo by the contractors late in 2017,” he said.

Oniyokor said Kashamu could not execute the constituency project because of the corrupt act of Onadeko Onamusi, one of his aides at the time.

He said the act was reported to the ICPC and the aide was arrested and charged to court on the grounds of violating sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

“However, as the distribution of the items and execution of the various projects were ongoing, Senator Kashamu discovered that his former Senior Legislative aide (SLA), Onadeko Onamusi, abused his position and influenced the award of 18 out of the 21 constituency projects to two of his (the SLA’s) companies – Stanton Nigeria Limited and Haines & Baines Nigeria Limited,” he said.

“Alarmed at the discovery, Senator Kashamu issued a query to Onamusi and terminated his appointment. Thereafter, the matter was reported to the ICPC.

“The ICPC investigated the matter, arrested and charged Onamusi to court.”

Oniyokor said the distribution of the project items was stalled as the items became evidence which could not be tampered with.

He said it is shameful that the ICPC could lay recovery claim on such items which it is aware of.

“So, for any objective mind, it should not be difficult to understand that there was no way the distribution of the items could have continued since they had become a subject of litigation and could be used as evidence. It is even more so when part of the senator’s complaint was that the contractor supplied Volvo hearse instead of supplying ambulances,” he said.

“This was the situation until Senator Kashamu served out his term of office in June 2019.

“It is shameful that the same agency that got Onamusi arrested, investigated and charged to court over the same items could turn round to claim recovery of the items that had been reported to it on the basis of some unfounded intelligence”.



Fatoyinbo’s ex-spiritual father speaks on rape scandal

Emmanuel Oset, presiding pastor of Champions’ Church, Ilorin, has likened Biodun Fatoyinbo to the biblical Judas who despite being loved betrayed Jesus.

Fatoyinbo, senior pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), was in June accused of rape by Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer.

In an interview aired by Arise TV on Thursday, Oset, who used to be a spiritual father to Fatoyinbo, said there was nothing the church could do for someone who is not ready to be helped.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ knew that Judas had become a thief but it wasn’t Jesus who said so, it was John who said so. Not because Jesus was weak, but because Jesus was hoping that this man would change,” he said.

“You always find in the scripture, the purposes of God are redemptive. Before God comes with judgement in any case, you will see that he would have tried to get through to the person. It is when His love has been rebuffed and rebuffed again that He comes with judgement. That is God’s procedure.

“God does not rule by force, he rules by love.

“People have spoken. People spoke in 2013, but you can only help somebody who wants to be helped. If somebody doesn’t want to be helped, even God will not be able to help him, His hands will be tight in that regard.”

In August 2013, Ese Walter, a former COZA member alleged that Fatoyinbo had a sexual relationship with her while she attended and worked in the church.

When the news broke, Oset said he tried many times to reach Fatoyinbo, and when he refused to come forth, he stopped being his spiritual father.

“When in August 2013, news broke out online concerning him and his ministry, as somebody he was close to as an elder I thought it was my responsibility to get across to him,” he said.

“I was preparing to go to the United States for ministry, and after some efforts because it wasn’t easy to get through to him, his pastor in Ilorin here, I told him, get through to your boss and I want to share a thing or two with him. Eventually he succeeded, and he called me from Abuja. And I told him this news is all over the place and I want to hear from you and I want to also give you some counsel if need be. And he said he would get in touch. I said okay, I’m on my way to the US, while I’m there if I want to get through to you how do I do it? I thought he would just say sir you can get through to me using my email. Then he said his fear that time was that he was being bugged.

“When I came back from the United States, I still tried to get across to him, because my desire is always to please God. I am not saying this to impress anybody, I wasn’t part of those already making comments on the issue. I just wanted to see how I could be useful in terms of helping him, but he didn’t show up.

“I waited for about… from August 2013 to April 2014. When he didn’t show up, and he was coming to town, having meetings I was seeing his billboards in town, well, my wife and I said to ourselves we’ve done our bit. It was then I wrote him a letter and I said consider that we no longer have anything to do with you and your ministry. I didn’t post it, it was hand delivered by his own pastor.”

Oset said he knew Fatoyinbo got his letter but the letter but was yet to be replied years after. He said the letter ended their relationship.

When asked if he had tried to reach him again in the wake of Dakolo’s case, Oset said Fatoyinbo is the one who now owes him that contact and not the other way round.

He explained that when Fatoyinbo started COZA in Ilorin, he was looking for credible spiritual guidance and when he and his wife came to him, he made a number of findings and could not see any reason to reject him.

CAN defends Osinbajo on N90bn allegation

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says the church will defend for Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in the N90 billion allegation levelled against him.

Supo Ayokunle, CAN national president, made this known on Friday when he led a delegate of the association to visit Osinbajo.

Timi Frank, a former deputy spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had alleged that Osinbajo mismanaged N90 billion allegedly made available by the FIRS for 2019 election campaign purposes.

The FIRS had denied the claim, saying it doesn’t have such funds.

Speaking at the Christian Ecumenical Centre in Abuja, Ayokunle told journalists that the N90billion corruption allegation is not true.

He said proponents of the claim should tender evidence or desist from tarnishing the image of the vice president.

“He has cleared the air that the allegation is baseless and there is no truth in it and that some people are plotting against him and he was ready to provide himself to be cleared,” he said.

“If there is an allegation there must be evidence and that it can never happen and will never happen. The church and the entire country will fight for him.”

Meanwhile, Osinbajo had said he would waive his constitutional immunity to be investigated.

He also said he has commenced legal action against two individuals, “one Timi Frank and another Katch Ononuju, who have put their names to these odious falsehoods.”

Lagos to host Year 2020 Global Citizens Festival – Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced Lagos as the host city for the year 2020 Global Citizen Festival.

A statement signed on Friday, by the Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile indicated that Sanwo-Olu made this known during an interactive session of global leaders, activists and entertainers in New York City, United States.

The governor said that the need to end extreme poverty by the year 2030, which was the aim of the Global Citizen Movement, should be embraced by every leader around the world.

He said that Nigeria, which had over 200 million people, with half of that population living below the poverty line, required concerted efforts by all and sundry, to ensure that more people were taken away from extreme poverty on a regular basis.

”I stand before you to join my brothers and sisters from Nigeria, to announce that come September 26, 2020, we would be hosting the world.

”We would be hosting the Global Citizen Festival in Lagos, Nigeria. We are looking forward to it.

”It is the beginning of greater things to happen to us as people from West Africa and indeed the entire African continent.

”I will encourage the Federal Government of Nigeria, to invite leaders from countries in Africa and around the world to grace the occasion.

”And as Governor of one of the 36 states in Nigeria, I will invite my colleagues to come and make commitments, on behalf of nearly one hundred million poorest of the poor people in Nigeria,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He said that with that commitment, by the year 2030, a different story would be written about the situation of the poor masses in the country.

Speaking on the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Citizen, Hugh Evans, said that the historic 10-hour global broadcast event, spanning five continents would reach every corner of the world.

Evans said that the idea was to spread the message in a very loud and well-coordinated manner, for every leader across the world to hear.

He said that the leaders must see the urgent need to commit their knowledge and material resources to help the poor.

“The year 2019 festival will hold at the central park in New York, on Saturday.

“Leaders in music and entertainment who have signed on, to perform at the year 2020 Global Citizen Festival in Nigeria included: Usher Raymond, Pharell, D’banj, Tiwa Savage, Hold Space, Shawn Mendes, among other artistes.

“The 10-hour live event will be supported by Lagos State Government, in partnership with Live Nation and Delivered Production Services, made possible by Messrs Tunde Folawiyo and Aigboje Aig-imoukhuede, who are co-chair of Global Citizen, Nigeria,” he said.

No definitive end to border closure, says customs CG

Rrd. Col. Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service, says there is no definitive end to the partial border closure.

The Nigerian government has closed its borders since August for the purpose of checking smuggling.

Officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had asked the Nigerian government to find a permanent solution to the challenge of smuggling and reopen its borders.

The Ecowas parliament said the border closure might hamper the implementation of the free trade agreement within the region.

But speaking with journalists during his operational visit to Idiroko border in Ogun state, on Thursday, Ali said the closure will last until the protocols on the movement of goods and persons as established by ECOWAS are strictly adhered to by neighbouring West African countries.

Dismissing speculations on when the closure will end, the CG said the closure was never meant to end on the 28th day of the action.

He said adhering to the basic protocols on the movement of persons and goods would be mutually beneficial to the countries.

“We are touring the operations sectors. As you know, we are doing an operation called ‘border drill’ and as a result of that, we have deployed our men in most of these commands.

“There are three reasons why we go round. First is to convey Mr. President’s commendation to our troops and personnel that have been deployed to carry out those drills.

“Second is to further explain to them the reasons why we are doing this drill and third is to get feedback on the ground as to the successes and challenges.

“It was never meant to end at the end of the 28th day. As for planning purposes, we take it step by step. Phase one was when we put 28 days. The border drill has no definitive end, but what we believe we want is that we want to establish a relationship with our neighbours and this relationship is mutual.

“And unless we get to that point, where we now sit down and agree on the way we can complement one another, the way we can adhere to the protocols of movement of goods and persons, we would not have achieved.

“So, we will keep this drill going on until we get to the point where we now sit down and agree on the basic things that will mutually benefit us and mutually enhance our coexistence and ensure that the protocols established by ECOWAS, not by Nigeria, are adhered to strictly.”

INEC disqualifies 14 underage candidates in Kogi/Bayelsa gov polls

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disqualified 14 underage candidates in the upcoming Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections.

According to a statement released on Friday by Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner for information and voter education committee, six underaged were discovered in Bayelsa while Kogi had eight.

According to an earlier report, some of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates are below the 35 years of age provided for by the 1999 constitution.

A total of 52 political parties submitted the list of their governorship and deputy governorship candidates for the Bayelsa election while 49 submitted candidates in Kogi.

He also said a total of 68 candidates have been cleared to participate in the elections — 45 in Bayelsa and 23 in Kogi.

According to the commissioner, some parties had written the commission admitting their error and requesting to submit new nominees but this was after the deadline for submission.

“As such the Commission could not accept any fresh nominations. In like manner, since the parties did not submit valid nominations before the deadline, they cannot substitute the candidates on the grounds of death or voluntary withdrawal, in accordance with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which assumes the prior existence of valid nominations.

“At the close of the time stipulated by sections 31, 33 and 35 of Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) for the submission of the names of nominated candidates, 49 nominations were received for Kogi State.

“Out of these, 41 nominations were valid, while 8 were invalid. Subsequently, 18 political parties withdrew from contesting the elections. Therefore, 23 political parties will contest the Governorship election in Kogi State.

“For Bayelsa State, a total of 52 nominations were received. Out of these, 46 were valid, while 6 were invalid. One political party has since withdrawn from the contest, leaving a total of 45 political parties to contest the governorship election in Bayelsa State.”

He said INEC will publish the names and addresses of qualified candidates on Monday.

I trust God that the right leadership will come, says Bakare

Tunde Bakare, the senior pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, says he believes God to give Nigeria the right leaders.

NAN reports that Bakare spoke on the sidelines of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Annual Goalkeepers meetings in New York, on Friday.

He said Nigeria’s education system needs a total overhaul to create sound graduates.

He said 50% of Nigerian youths are not employed while 25% are unemployable.

According to him, the current system has huge implications on the economic development and life outcomes of young people.

“In the past, when you are coming out from the university, there are regular jobs, car loan and other facilities that will keep you in the country,” Bakare said.

“Right now, because of the lack of jobs, job creation has become a major issue. Our young people are now taking to crime and are benefiting from proceeds of crime and kidnapping.

“But with the right policy in place, we can inject new ideas that will create jobs for our people.

“I trust God that the right leadership will come. I call them a new breed without greed that will consider others and begin to create opportunities for us within our countries.

“About 50% of our youth are not employed and 25% of them are not employable. So, there is something fundamentally wrong with our education system that is producing semi-illiterates.”

The pastor, therefore, called on the government to review the education curriculum saying Nigeria would need better-educated graduates to cope and compete in the world.

Bakare had trended at the weekend after a February 2018 video recording where he said he is “number 16” after President Muhammadu Buhari, who he says is “number 15″ in the ”scheme of things” resurfaced.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeeper’s report, which measures the state of performance of the SDGs across the world, had said there is inequality in almost every location in the world.

According to the report, the quality of education people receive differs depending on the state or local government area they live in.

The report showed that a girl born in Ado Ekiti will most likely finish her secondary education, but if the same girl were born in Garki local government in Jigawa, she will not complete primary education.

FG to drag judge before NJC for granting Sowore bail

Strong indications emerged Friday night that the federal government was contemplating reporting Justice Taiwo Taiwo, to the National Judicial Council (NJC) on account of his decision to grant bail to the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore.

Justice Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja admitted Sowore to bail on Tuesday and dismissed the objection raised by the Department of State Security (DSS) to the bail.

Shocked at the decision, it was gathered that Nigerian security and intelligence community met on the matter Friday and resolved to appeal the judgement. It also decided to petition the NJC on the issue.

A top government source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that anyone standing trial for treasonable felony is not entitled to bail.

He said :”Sowore’s bail is likely to bring trouble for that judge. A report has been prepared to report him to NJC in view of the fact that, as far as this country, it is known that a person charged with treasonable felony has no bail option.

“So, the security and intelligence community in the country is shocked by the judgement. And there is a consensus that the judgement should not only be appealed, but that the NJC should be petitioned about the conduct and abuse of power by the judge.”

Sowore was arrested and kept in the custody of the DSS since 3rd of August, 2019, for allegedly calling for “revolution” through the group’s protest fixed for 5th of September 2019.

Sowore on Thursday, commenced a contempt suit against the Director-General of the DSS,Yusuf Bichi, for allegedly disobeying the order granting him bail.

On Wednesday his lawyers submitted his passport to a Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.

Meanwhile Sowore remained in the custody of the Department of Security Service (SSS) last night, 72 hours after a Federal High Court granted him bail.

His lawyers claimed Friday that the DSS refused to comply with the court order even after his bail conditions had been met.

It was gathered that a court bailiff bearing the documents confirming that the bail conditions had been met was not allowed into the DSS premises Abuja yesterday morning.

He was asked to come back at 12 noon which he did. This time, the document was collected from him and Sowore’s lawyers at the gate, yet he was not released.

Sowore is facing trial for treaons -related charges.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo ordered the release the convener of #RevolutionNow protest on Tuesday on the condition that his lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), will produce him for arraignment whenever he is required.

Court orders forfeiture of funds ‘linked’ to Oyo-Ita

The federal high court sitting in Abuja has ordered the permanent forfeiture of funds allegedly linked to Winifred Oyo-Ita, former head of service.

According to the PUNCH, the particulars of the case were not read out in the open court when Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, the judge, gave the order.

Oyo-Ita is embroiled in a N3 billion fraud allegation, which Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

At the court on Thursday, M.S Abubakar, counsel to the EFCC, said the funds were voluntarily returned to the commission as proceeds of crime.

The counsel said no one has challenged the order of the court when it made a ruling for the temporary forfeiture of the funds.

According to him, the funds have been paid into an account domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as soon as it was returned by the suspect.

Oyo-Ita has since resigned her appointment as head of service, and was replaced by Folashade Yemi-Esan.

Senate President wants legislation for budget cycle, calls for amendment of Public Procurement Act 2007

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has underscored the need to have a budget reform that will include a law on timeliness in budget passing. “We can reform our budget cycle if there is a law on timeliness for budget passing,” Lawan said late Thursday in Abuja.

He spoke on “Reforming the Budget Cycle: A First Step in Our Journey to the Next Level” at the “Government Meets Business Dinner” of the Institute of Directors Annual Conference.

Lawan said timeliness and deadlines will give leaders focus and make more definite on deliverables.

Reports, according to the Senate President, have shown that countries like the United States of America, Canada, Austria, Brazil, France and India have more definite budget cycles through legislation.

“We have resolved to be reform minded in the ninth National Assembly and improving the budget cycle is one area of focus.

“Our attention will be on the areas where enhancements are needed and we are surely not going to look away from them in the interest of national growth, development and wellbeing of our people,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said it is also important to improve on database showing the social economic conditions of the country.

He stated that a database would be more helpful for the appreciation of financial projections notwithstanding the current efforts by the National Bureau of Statistics and some multilateral agencies showing the sectoral performances of the economy.

The Senate President called for the amendment of the Public Procurement Act 2007 adding that “we are of the firm belief that the Act has not provided the intended efficacy it should produce.”

“Related to this is the need to match budget projections with fund release if accountability is to be appreciable.

“Proper documentation of financial activities and reduced political Interventions in the budgetary process are additionally important steps to follow.

“We should try to reduce frivolous items on the recurrent expenditure list to increase our disposition to produce, ensure judicious expenditure process and to guarantee value-for-money,” Lawan said.