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NSCDC arrests illegal gold miners in Minna

 

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps ( NSCDC) in Niger says it has arrested six illegal gold miners in the state.

The State Commandant, Mr Philip Ayuba, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that the suspects were arrested on Mandela Road in Minna.

The suspects were apprehended while carrying out their illegal activities in residential areas along Mandela Road, he said.

According to him, the arrest became necessary because the miners failed to heed the warnings given by the residents that they are not comfortable with the security threat posed to their lives by their activities.

Ayuba said the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.

He appealed to the public to provide the command useful information about the activities of illegal miners in the state.

World’s oldest man dies at 113

The world’s oldest man, Holocaust survivor Israel Kristal, died Friday in the Israeli city of Haifa at the age of 113.

Kristal’s daughter, Schulamit Kristal, confirmed her father’s passing, following reports of his death in the newspaper Haaretz.

The Guinness Book of Records awarded Kristal the title of world’s oldest man in March 2016.

Kristal had most recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish celebration of religious maturity, in late 2016 with his family.

A party for his 113th birthday was held on September 15.

Born on September 15, 1903, in the Polish village of Zarnow, Kristal was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 and lost his first wife and two children during the Holocaust.

He emigrated to Israel in 1950.

He leaves behind several children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

AFP

Lagos police warns residents against jungle justice

Worried by the spate of jungle justice on suspected persons being recorded in recent time, the Lagos State Police Command on Friday, warned residents to desist from engaging in such act, as it not only violates the laws of the land but also dents the image of the state.

The State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni who gave the warning in a statement, said that as much as there was no legal justification for jungle justice, in most cases, vital evidences that could aid the Police in the course of investigation are destroyed.

Owoseni listed recent cases to include the incident of August 8, 2017 at Ajala Bus-Stop, Ijaiye-Ojokoro where two persons suspected to be kidnapers/ritualists were completely burnt, while some buildings were vandalized.

He also referred to the incident of August 10, 2017 at Ile-Zik Bus Stop, along Old Abeokuta Road, where a mob attempted to carryout jungle justice on some destitutes, suspected to be ritualists/kidnappers but were prevented by the quick intervention of the Police and other sister security agencies.

He said the most recent incident occurred on August 11, 2017, where a destitute who appeared to be mentally deranged was set ablaze by mob on the allegation that he possessed a telephone.

Owoseni also expressed concern on the attack of police officers, who in the course of trying to prevent such incidents are physically assaulted and injured, warning that those found taking laws into their hands would be arrested and duly prosecuted.

“It is necessary to mention that in the course of the disdainful acts, vital evidences are destroyed. In addition, in the course of discharging its constitutional responsibilities and prevent the barbaric act, Police officers were fatally wounded, while stones were hurled at them as well as Police Patrol Vans. However, a number of arrests were made in this regard.

“There is no justification for jungle justice on suspected persons. It is barbaric and uncivilized. It is a manifestation of the erosion of our moral values and a disregard to sanctity of human lives. It violates the rule of law and dents the image of the State. Above all, it is a violation of the law, and all those arrested in connection with the aforementioned cases will be made to face the full wrath of the law,” Owoseni said.

The Police Commissioner urged residents to report any suspicious happening in their areas to the Police and other security agencies, assuring that the Police and other security agencies would respond promptly to such reports.

He also assured the general public of the renewed synergy amongst the institutions saddled with criminal justice administration towards ensuring quick dispensation of justice.

“The general public is therefore, strongly advised to desist from this unlawful and barbaric act. No effort will be spared in ensuring that lawful means are used to bring to justice, anyone who violates the law, please,” he said.

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Bankers’ Committee says economy moving out from recession

The Bankers’ Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Thursday said the Nigerian economy was steadily pulling out of recession.
The Committee gave the review at the end of its 331st meeting in Abuja.

It said indices on non-oil sector growth in the second quarter of the year showed the economy could recover earlier than expected.

The CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Ahmed Abdullahi, told reporters that the apex bank in particular realized about $4 billion in May from the export and investors’ window it created in the foreign exchange market.

Mr. Abdullahi, who was accompanied to the briefing by the Managing Director of Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, said the fund was part of efforts by the banks to join forces with other key interest groups to accelerate the country’s economic recovery.
He said the $4 billion was not only a reflection of the volume of trading through the export and investors’ window, but also the banks effort to rally support towards economic recovery.

“It shows the banks have contributed massively to bring foreign direct investments, FDIs, into the market. We think things will be looking up. We are hopeful things are going in the right direction,” Mr. Abdullahi said.

“Although the numbers are not yet out from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the fact that major non-oil sectors have witnessed positive growth make analysts believe the economy could be out of recession by the second quarter of 2017,” he said.

“We await the number from the NBS. But if one looks at the performance of the capital market and the stability in the foreign exchange market, one would see that a lot of progress has been made in getting the economy out of recession.
Mr. Emuwa said the committee was generally happy with the progress in the economy, saying the positive development was capable of generating a ripple effect on banking and other sectors of the economy.

To further provide access to funding of small-scale agricultural activities, he said the board of the Agriculture and Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Fund was inaugurated, along with a project review committee, to facilitate the disbursement of N26 billion equity fund for agriculture and small businesses in the country.

“Those interested in accessing funds or looking for equity to support their agriculture or small and medium enterprises, SMEs, should approach their banks now and apply to enable them conduct preliminary reviews before passing such requests to the project review committee,” he said.

The board consists of the Managing Directors of Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, Zenith and UBA, along with CBN Directors of Banking Supervision and Development Finance.

The project review committee comprise the Managing Directors of FCMB, Unity, and Sterling banks.

The Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment scheme is a voluntary initiative of the Bankers’ Committee as a response to the Federal Government’s concerns and policy measures to promote SMEs as vehicles for rapid industrialization, sustainable economic development, poverty alleviation and employment generation.

The scheme requires all commercial banks in the country to provide ten percent of their profit after tax, PAT, for equity investment and promotion of small and medium enterprises.
The provided fund would be invested in small and medium enterprises as the banking industry’s contribution to the Federal Government’s efforts towards stimulating economic growth, developing local technology and generating employment.

The funding to be provided under the scheme will be in the form of equity investment in eligible enterprises.

Indications are that the fund would be used to finance eligible bankable projects to support export of all import substitution products.

Although banks are expected to give out the money to businesses as loans, they would however do so in the form of equity contributions to such companies for a maximum of 10 years.

This means that rather than charge interest on such loans, the banks would be entitled to dividends during the period of their investments

Businessman remanded over N100m recharge card fraud

A 30-year-old businessman, Adamu Yusuf, was on Friday in Kano remanded in prison over alleged N100 million fraud on the orders of a Kano Magistrates’ Court.

Yusuf, who resides in Sabo area of Sagamu in Ogun, is facing a two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and cheating.

The Senior Magistrate, Mr Aminu Fagge, who gave the ruling, said the accused should remain behind bars until Sept.12 when the case would come up for mention.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Insp. Yusuf Sale, told the court that on March 16, a complaint was received at the Assistant Inspector-General of Police’s office in Kano.

According to him, on Feb. 28, three men — Alhaji Sani Ali of Gadon Kaya Quarters, Kano, Sani Hamza and Salisu Haruna — gave the accused sum of N100 million to buy MTN recharge cards for them to sell.

The accused converted the whole money to personal use, he said, adding that all efforts made by the complainants to take delivery of the recharge cards or get their money back proved abortive.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The offences contravened the provisions of Section 312 and 322 of the Penal Code.

IGP  probes payment for promotions claims

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has set up a special Investigation Panel to investigate complaints and allegations credited to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isah Hamma Misau.

The Senator had alleged that Police Officers pay bribe for special promotion.

 

The Panel has upon the directive of the IG invited Senator Misau to provide more details that would assist them to conduct a very discreet investigation into his complaints and allegations, and those of other aggrieved Police officers.

This is contained in a statement in Abuja Friday by the Force Spokesman, CSP Jimoh Moshood.

The terms of reference of the Panel which has two weeks to submit its findings include: “To investigate other complaints, petitions and grievances from Police Officers within the Force and from other members of the public on allegations of giving money for promotion, either special or otherwise.

“To determine the substance of the complaints, petitions and grievances from aggrieved Police Officers and members of the public on allegations of giving money for special promotion.

“To determine those who were involved, to recommend appropriate judicial action and other punishments as it is Amaechi sacks Station Manager, Ticket Seller, others for ticket racketeering in line with the provisions of Public Service Rules Section 030401 (j) (k) and other statutory enabling laws/Acts”.

Pastor Adeboye re-enacts fall of Wall of Jericho at RCCG 2017 Convention

Some thousands of years after the Israelites walked around the impregnable Wall of Jericho seven times to cause it to crumble, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Thursday led members of his church in a symbolic replication of the exercise.

He said the re-enactment was targeted at breaking the hold of the devil during a prayer session at the Redemption Camp in Ogun State.

Members of the Mission in over 195 countries are participating in the convention through viewing centers, television, the Internet and on radio.

Findings show wall existed 

Despite doubts in some quarters, findings show the wall existed and was destroyed under mysterious circumstances.
In the 1930s, an archaeological team lead by John Gars Tang excavated the walls at Jericho that were thought possibly to line up with the biblical account, and what they found was amazing. The bottom of the wall was made of stones set into the hillside.

On top of that was a mud-brick wall. When it was excavated, sections of the mud-brick wall were found collapsed on the ground outside the lower stone wall. And, on the archaeological layer immediately after the layer of the collapsed wall was found erosion that suggested that the city had been abandoned for some time before it was rebuilt.

According to experts, the two findings seem to corroborate the biblical account. The walls of Jericho were said to “fall beneath themselves,” which is a really weird construction, but it describes exactly what Gars tang’s team found with the mud-brick wall collapsed beneath the stone wall that it had originally sat on top of.

And the evidence that the city was abandoned after the walls fell corroborates the biblical account that Joshua was said to have put a curse on the Jericho such that no one could live there for a generation after the city was conquered.

But well aware that the exercise would sound childish to church members and others, Pastor Adebayo took some time to explain it.
He started by saying, “I know you trust me, but I have to assure you about what God has asked us to do. Initially, I wanted us to sing praises to the Lord and dance to end tonight’s service, but He told me we should do something special.”

Leaving the congregation in suspense, he reminded them of a testimony in which God asked him to do something which sounded ridiculous, but because he has always obeyed Him, he did what turned out to generate many miracles here in Nigeria and overseas.

The 7 Miracle Agbada

His testimony: “Many people may recall when God told me to wear seven different garments (agbada), dance for five minutes, lay the garments on the altar and ask people to come and touch them to receive their miracles.

People know I don’t like wearing agbada, and nowhere is it written in the Bible that thou shall wear seven garments and shall dance for five minutes and then lay them on the altar, but He spoke to me and I heard Him. So I had to obey. I did what He asked me to do. He also gave me specific instructions to tell the people to only touch and not hold the clothes.

“Do you understand?” I asked members of the congregation.
“Yes,” They answeredA certain young man among the crowd went contrary to the instruction and held the garments. He must have thought, “My problems are many, touching will not suffice.”

What happened after was that the power of God grabbed him. He began to shake from that point in the morning till 5pm. It wasn’t until I was summoned to pray for him that God released him.

Months later, I took the permission of God to take one of the agbada for ministration overseas. I laid it on the altar and urged people to touch it for miracles. There was a white man in the congregation who thought it was childish, but later he decided that since everybody was going to the altar he better join them. He did, touched the agbada, and according to his testimony later, the back pain he had for years disappeared.”

The walk

Assured that the congregation ‎was convinced, he asked that people did a circular walk in the limited spaces they had as he counted from one to seven. After the seventh, the church’s music instrumentalists were to blow trumpets for the church to shout Halleluyah as the Israelites did.

 

For most people, that was not going to be a problem so long as Pastor Adebayo, noted for signs, wonders and miracles, led them.

Promptly, the exercise begun, but at the sixth round, some people shouted Halleluyah. He let it pass for the exercise to be completed, after which he explained the premature shout of Halleluyah was from the devil inside the few people who shouted that came out.

He then asked for a repeat of the seventh round after which the trumpets blared for a thunderous shout of Halleluyah and continues praise of the Lord by a joyous congregation, which at the Redemption Camp alone, numbered thousands. ‎The auditorium was full to capacity.

What was called a deliverance service, started as usual, with praise singing.‎ Pastor Adeboye’s ministration dwelt on destiny, which he defined as God’s plan for individuals. Citing Bible back-ups, he explained that God’s plan is a good one, and like every good builder, He builds or develops individuals according to the plan which was made even before their parents met.

Using the example of Joshua, whose assignment, according to the Bible, was to continue from where Moses stopped, take the Israelites to the Promised Land and share it among the people,‎ but had to face the Wall of Jericho, he explained that for every major assignment in life there is a Wall of Jericho.

According to him, the Wall of Jericho in life is anything blocking one’s way to their destiny. Moses has to face the Red Sea: Joshua the Wall of Jericho; David, Goliath who wanted to take his kingdom before he was formally crowned as the king of Israel.

Reminding the congregation that praise pulls down walls, he explained that God knows the end from the beginning so people shouldn’t be rattled when Walls of Jericho spring up as they head for their respective destiny.

“God knows about all that. He had foreseen the wall, when you will face it, and how you will overcome it. When something great has been planned by God, whatever is blocking it will be removed.”

But as he has always said, he reminded the congregation that God will only play his part in one’s destiny if the individual retains a healthy relationship with Him, or ran back to him when he has strayed.

Hundreds of people responded to his alter call for salvation.
The day had begun with a visit to the various department of the church by Pastor Adebayo.‎ It was followed by two plenary sessions in the morning, a special seminar in the afternoon and a service of songs.

As at 6 pm Thursday, a total of 61 babies -35 boys and 26 girls – had been born at the church’s medical facility on the Camp.

Boko Haram: Army raids UN, other houses in Maiduguri

The Nigeria Army says it has intensifies condone and search operations within Maiduguri metropolis and its environs.

According to a statement signed by Lt. Col. Kingsley Samuel on behalf of the Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole and made available to journalists in Maiduguri explained that the operations became expedient when the, “Theatre Command received credible information from one of its credible sources that some high value BHT suspects had infiltrated into Pompomari Bye-pass”, of Maiduguri metropolis.

The statement also noted that the search operation was carried out in 29 houses in the general area including a building hosting United Nations staff.

The UN building is said to belong to the late Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Mala Kachalla.

The statement reads in full:

“As part of ongoing counter insurgency operations, the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE has been conducting several clearance as well as cordon and search operations in urban and rural areas within the Theatre. The clearance operations effort has been yielding several successes. It has forced the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) to change tactics and resort to employment of suicide bombers to target military locations and the populace. This necessitated the need to intensify Cordon and Search in Maiduguri metropolis and environment.

“In the last one week cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari –Polo, Muna Garage, Jakana amongst several other areas. On 10th August 2017, Theatre Command received information from one of its credible sources that some high value BHT suspects had infiltrated into Pompomari Bye Pass. It therefore became expedient to take preemptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operations. The operation was successfully conducted as over 30 houses were searched. One of such included a property which was said to be occupied by United Nations Staff, although the property did not carry a UN designation. On the whole, operation in the general area was successfully concluded but no arrest was made because the suspects were not found.

“The command wishes to assure the general public that these operations are being conducted to safeguard lives and properties but not targeted at any individual or group. The general public is cautioned to avoid peddling rumors which may cause disaffection and to remain law abiding”.

The statement of the army is coming on the wake of wild rumors on the social media in Maiduguri that the leader of Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau was arrested by troops in Maiduguri.

So far, no security source has confirmed the rumour of Shekau’s arrest.

Soldiers force woman to undress for wearing camouflage

There has been widespread condemnation of an alleged public harassment of a yet-to-be identified lady by some military officers.

A picture of the incident, which has been trending on the Internet, showed the victim being forced to pull down her trousers as her underwear jutted out.

A military man, who was supervising the unsavoury show, bent over the victim, who looked terrified and appeared to be begging another officer whose face was not revealed by the shot.

Although the identity of the supervising military officer was also shielded by his cap, the face of the lady at the centre of the drama was visible.

The time, place and circumstances surrounding the incident but available information showed the victim was harrassed somewhere in the northern part of the country for putting on army camouflage.

A large number of people, who reacted to the photo on different social media platforms condemned the incident, saying the victim was dehumanised.

On Nairaland, a poster with the alias, Superpark, said it was wrong for anyone to take the law into his own hands no matter the offence.

While citing sections 108, 109 and 110 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act which prescribed punishment for use of a military uniform for the purpose of impersonation, the poster said the lady was not guilty of any crime.

“She is not impersonating anybody with the clothes; when did army men start to wear tight trousers, and who gave the army the right to strip civilians?” he wrote.

Another poster, Mikool007, said the military were fond of intimidating civilians.

“It is your right to wear anything you want, but if you impersonate someone, e.g. a military officer, you will be prosecuted accordingly (not humiliated publicly) and is the army too dumb to differentiate their uniform from designer clothes? These guys are too busy intimidating us; we’ve forgotten they are here to serve us. I’m not in the army, but I know for sure that the girl is not wearing the Nigerian military uniform,” he said.

Another user, Link20k, said if the victim committed a crime, she was supposed to be taken in for questioning and not humiliated in the public.

He said, “If she has in any way breached the law, she should have been taken in for questioning or kept behind bars and the necessary punishment given to her, not behaving like you are in the animal kingdom where anything goes and stripping her. In a sane climate or where humans reside, the army officers should be the one behind bars now.”

Another user, Sweatlana, said, “In a sane country, these men would be arrested, charged, convicted and jailed! The Nigerian Army makes it very easy for civilians to hate them. Even when they die in battles, I don’t pity them! Is there any law that says civilians can’t wear camouflage? If yes, is the prescribed punishment stripping the suspect?

“If no, then who the hell do they think they are to tell people what to wear? It is written law that a person cannot be punished for a crime not known to law and punishment therein prescribed.

“What are we if we do not have laws? Bloody babarians! The western world is right when it thinks of us Africans as such. We have no atom of civility.”

On Facebook, one Isaac Okwu said camouflage was sold in some other countries.

“Nigerians are primitive and crude. In Dubai, camouflage is sold in all their boutiques and anyone is free to buy. I even bought it, which I wore down to Nigeria the last time I travelled. People wear it everywhere in other countries and their soldiers even like it; they feel honoured that the people are identifying with them,” he said.

However, there were other people who felt the victim should be blamed for the harrassment.

One Ezinne Chibuzo said the military had warned against wearing of military camouflage.

She said, “Please, let’s stop looking for trouble. These people have warned us not to wear their uniforms. If we refuse to listen, then we should be ready to take anything we get from them.”

Another responder, lectuerdabo, said the constitution of the country disagreed with the idea of wearing military camouflage.

He said, “Section 251 of the Constitution states; any person who, not being a person serving in any of the armed or police forces of Nigeria, wears the uniform of any of these forces, or any dress having the appearance or bearing any of the regimental or other distinctive marks of any such uniform, in such manner or in such circumstances as to be likely to bring contempt on that uniform, or employs any other person so to wear such uniform or dress, is guilty of a simple offence, and is liable to imprisonment for three months or to a fine of N40.”

One Zachariah Apamshan said, “Countries facing guerrilla or asymmetrical warfare, like Nigeria, where controlled military wares like camouflages are used by non-state forces to challenge the state, the state do not tolerate such indiscriminate use of military items. Nigeria is in a state of difficult warfare where the enemy knows you as a soldier while you don’t know the enemy. Come on people! We’ve got to support our military. You can join the military if interested in the uniform or go to other countries where you can be allowed to wear the uniform freely. Remember, camouflage remains a banned item in Nigeria. Be warned!”

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, did not pick his calls and had yet to respond to a text message sent to his telephone line as of press time

APC inaugurates 23-member committee on ‘true federalism’

 

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, on Thursday inaugurated the party’s 23-member committee on “true federalism.”
The officials were inaugurated at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
The members of the committee are:
Nasiru El-Rufai – Chairman, Olubunmi Adetunbi – Secretary, Rauf Aregbesola – Member, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu – Member‎, Abdullahi Ganduje- Member, Simon Lalong- Member,‎ Yahaya Bello – Member‎, Mohammed Abubakar – Member,‎ Sullivan Chime- Member, Kashim Ibrahim- Member,‎ Osita Izunaso- Member, Bolaji Abdullahi- Member,Ogbonnaya Onu- Member, Aisha Al-Hassan- Member, Aisha Ismail – Member, Sharon Ikeazor- Member, Rachael Akpabio- Member,Ismail Ahmed – Member, Oserheimen Osunbor- Member, Fati Bala – Member,Jasper Azuatalem – Member, Rinsola Abiola – Member,‎ and Stella Dorgu – Member.
At the inauguration, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said, “I wish to recall that reform of our political structure, which was described as true federalism formed one of the core negotiating points by the Parties that merged to form the All Progressives Congress, APC.”
“This is why the constitution of our great party and its manifesto dwelled extensively on the promise of true federalism. It is therefore incongruous that our party will renege on our solemn commitment to the institutionalisation of true federalism in our national political life.”
He told the members of the committee that their job is both critical and very sensitive especially in the light of the renewed clamour for restructuring, devolution of power, fiscal federalism, resource control and all the other names that describe the various forms of reforms being suggested for the current political architecture of our beloved country.
“The APC Constitution and the Manifesto that was vigorously canvassed during the general elections and on which platform our great party got elected has elaborately stated our position on these issues. The party position has been eloquently restated in the terms of reference of this committee which you all already have.
“It is your duty, especially having regard to the emotive nature of the national discourse on restructuring, to distill from our Party Constitution and Manifesto, vis-a-vis the various ideas canvassed in the different constitutional conference reports and the ongoing public debate, the aggregation of the views of our people for a consensus arrangement that is sustainable and conducive to the prosperity and peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians.
“In tackling your assignment please feel free to engage in deep and wide consultation such that your final report will engender credibility and broad acceptance.
“I therefore implore you to find time in your very tight schedule to conclude your assignment expeditiously. I am deeply confident in the capability of this committee to generate a report which will be truly reflective of the desire of our people and a true reflection of what the Party stands for.”
The chairman said every member of the committee was carefully selected based on their track record of committed service and deep patriotism.
“We also took care to ensure strong women and youth representation to assure gender, generational and geographical balance.”
He therefore wished them a very fruitful and beneficial deliberation, saying their work could significantly influence the trajectory of Nigeria.

Pro, anti-Buhari demonstrators face off in Abuja

 

It was drama yesterday when pro and anti-Buhari groups staged protests at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.

It started when Buhari Support Group, under the auspices of Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiatives, arrived at the arena to meet the protesters under the aegis of #OurMumuDonDo#.

The anti-Buhari group, which claimed that a cabal had taken over government, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence for about 96 days for medical reasons, began their own action as early as 9am.

But, the pro-Buhari group, on getting to the arena, put up their tent at the other end of the Unity Fountain.

And unlike “Day One” and “Day Two” when hundreds of protesters led by the popular musician Charles Oputa (Charlie Boy) gathered at the arena, to demand Buhari’s immediate return to the country or his resignation, the “Day Four” of the protest witnessed low turnout.

The number of #OurMumuDonDo# protesters was not up to 20.

But, the pro-Buhari group had about 70 protesters.

Policemen and other security operatives quickly took over the arena to avoid any break down of law and order.

They divided themselves to avoid clash between the two groups though they were not as many as those on ground on previous days.

The policemen monitored the anti-Buhari protesters closely till the end of their activities and the other group backing Buhari was allowed to carry placards chanting the achievements of the President.

 

The police team also allowed them to move around town singing from the Unity Fountain through the secretariat road.

The Buhari support group condemned the activities of the #OurMumuDonDo#, saying there was no cause for alarm over the President’s health.

The group said there was no provision in the constitution that stipulates how long the President could stay out of office while on medical vacation.

According to the group, “what the President needed to do, which is stipulated in the constitution, was to transmit power to the vice president through a letter to the National Assembly, which President Buhari did before leaving for the UK”.

Addressing the protesters at the fountain, the convener of the protest, Okpokwu Ogenyi, said: “No provision of the Constitution gave time limit when the President is expected to return and resume his duties, if he falls sick. It is not found anywhere in the constitution the timeframe for an Acting President.

“In as much as we all want our President back to his duties, the constitution never stipulated how long a serving President can be away on medical holiday.”

At the other end of the Unity Fountain, the #resume or resign protesters called on the President to demonstrate integrity by resigning from office, saying he was incapacitated.

The coalition members reminded Buhari that he asked the late President Musa Yar’Adua to resign or be impeached when the latter was sick in 2010, stressing that he should toe the path of honour by doing what he preached.

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Another ASUU strike brewing over 2009 deal

University teachers are set for another strike over the controversial 2009 agreement they reached with the Federal Government among other issues.

A meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of ASUU will hold today in Abuja ahead of the action.

Yesterday, all chapters of the union nationwide held a congress as directed by its national body to decide whether or not to go ahead with the planned strike.

The options given to them are: Whether it should be total and indefinite strike, one month strike, one week notice, and no strike at all.

This followed the directive sent to branches by ASUU National President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi as he was mandated by the NEC meeting held at the Nasarawa State University (NSU).

Chairman ASUU-Lagos State University (LASU) Dr Isaac Akinloye Oyewunmi said yesterday that the chapter resolved in favour of “total and indefinite strike”.

In August last year, the union threatened strike over thengovernment’s failure to implement the 2009 agreement.

Coordinator of ASUU (Lagos Zone) Prof Olusoji Sowande, said the union was tired because efforts to get the agreement honoured were fruitless.

The union listed some of the unresolved issues as: Breach of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the 2009 FG/ASUU Agreement on financing of state universities; breach of the conditions of service; refusal to honour the Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) and re -negotiation of the agreement.

In January, ASUU staged a one-week warning strike.

 

Union officials said the Federal Government is owing universities over N880 billion in intervention fund.

Other issues according to ASUU oficials are: The Federal Government’s foot-dragging over ‘funds for the revitilisation of public universities, non-release of NUPEMCO operational licence, non-payment of earned academic allowances, payment of fractions/non-payment of salaries, retired professors and their salaries and university staff schools’.

The official said ASUU explored all channels to make the Federal Government see reasons but said: “It seems the Federal Government is more concerned with buying exotic vehicles for the National Assembly while public education and lecturers continue to suffer owing to dilapidated infrastructure.”

He said the union was angry at the failure of the Federal Government to release the operational licence for the union’s pension managers after collecting N1 billion since two years ago.

“Till date the government is owing the intervention funds to the tune of N880 billion. When we approached them for licensing of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO), they asked us to go and bring registration fee, which is supposed to be N150million. Till date, we have paid government N1 billion and our money has been with them for two years and they are not saying anything.

None of this pension administrators can fulfill the University Miscellaneous Act which says university professors must retire with their full money. The money must have been invested and yielding interest for somebody. We are demanding our licence and funding of public universities.”

Boko Haram attacks Adamawa, burns 60 houses

At least 60 houses were torched in a fresh attack by Boko Haram insurgents in Ghumbili community in the Madagali local government area of Adamawa state.

The attack comes a few days after a similar incident in a neighbouring village in the local government, known as Mildu, where seven people were killed by the insurgents.

Yusuf Muhammed, chairman of Madagali local government council, said the attack lasted from 11pm on Wednesday to 3am on Thursday.

He said militants also looted foodstuff.

“They looted foodstuff, killed livestock and burnt the village completely,” he said.

Muhammed said that the exact number of dead and injured people had yet to be ascertained and that villagers who escaped the attack were currently taking refuge at Gulak, the headquarters of the council.

Othman Abubakar, spokesman of the police command in Adamawa, also confirmed the attack but said no life was lost.

He said, however, that houses were destroyed in the attack, the latest in a string of deadly blows on mainly soft targets in the north-east.

Speaking on the development,Haruna Furo, executive chairman of the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, said only one person was killed and that many houses were destroyed.

Boko Haram appears to have raised its onslaught in recent weeks in its eight-year bloody insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.

Opposition supporters celebrate poll victory claim, officials disagree

Celebrations broke out in pockets of Kenya on Thursday after the opposition said Raila Odinga should be declared winner of the presidential vote, a claim rejected as “ridiculous” by an election commission official.

An opposition official said information from “confidential sources” showed Odinga had secured victory, contradicting official preliminary results released so far which show President Uhuru Kenyatta had won 54.2 percent of votes, ahead of Odinga on 44.9 percent – a lead of 1.4 million votes with 99 percent of polling stations reported.

International observers on Thursday praised the handling of the election and the European Union mission said it had seen no sign of manipulation during voting.

As they wait for final results to be tallied and confirmed, many Kenyans are nervous of a repeat of the clashes that killed about 1,200 people after the bitterly contested 2007 election.

Musalia Mudavadi, a senior official in the opposition coalition, told reporters information from “confidential sources” at the election commission showed Odinga had secured victory by just under 300,000 votes. He provided no evidence but demanded Odinga be declared winner.

Minutes later, hundreds of Odinga supporters, mainly young men, poured onto the streets of the opposition stronghold of Kisumu in celebration. At least one truck of anti-riot police followed them, a Reuters witness said. Some older men tried to convince the youth not to join the crowds.

There were pockets of similar celebrations in opposition strongholds in Nairobi as well.

After complaining of fraud, Odinga told Reuters he believed most of more than 20,000 polling station result forms uploaded to the election commission’s website were fake.

Odinga said results were being filled out by agents working out of a Nairobi hotel but he did not provide any evidence. He previously said the election commission’s computer network had been hacked and that results were “fictitious”.

A senior official in the election commission rejected the opposition’s claims.

“They have done their own additions and they think Raila has 8 million (votes), which is ridiculous, there is nothing,” Abdi Yakub Guliye said. “As far as we are concerned, we don’t believe they have any credible data.”

Kenyatta, a 55-year-old businessman seeking a second five-year term, and Odinga, loser of Kenya’s last two elections amid similar claims of fraud, are the heads of Kenya’s two political dynasties.

Earlier in the week, Odinga urged his supporters to remain calm but warned: “I don’t control the people.”

NO “MANIPULATION”

In its first assessment of Tuesday’s poll, the European Union’s election observer mission said it had seen no signs of “centralised or localised manipulation” of the voting process.

Marietje Schaake, head of the mission, said the EU would provide an analysis of the tallying process in a later report.

John Kerry, the former U.S. Secretary of State heading the Carter Center observer mission, said the election system, which is ultimately based on the original paper ballots cast, remained solid and all sides should wait for electronic tallies to be double-checked against hard copies.

“The process that was put in place is proving its value thus far,” Kerry said. “Kenya has made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy and the character of that democracy. Don’t let anybody besmirch that.”

The election commission said it hoped to have all results centralised by midday on Friday and would announce a winner soon after that. It said there had been an attempt to hack into its system but said it had failed.

Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president in charge of the African Union observer mission, praised the poll so far.

“It would be very regrettable if anything emerges afterwards that sought to corrupt the outcome, to spoil that outcome,” he said.

PROTESTS

Reuters TV footage showed police firing live rounds as they clashed with youths throwing stones in Kawangware slum in Nairobi. One injured or dead person was rushed from the scene in a sack.

But most of the capital and the rest of the country were calm after four people were killed in violence on Wednesday.

Traffic flowed on Nairobi’s usually gridlocked streets but an increasing number of businesses opened.

Earlier in the day, some market stalls and shops had opened in Kisumu and more vehicles were on the street than a day earlier.

A group of men said they were eager for daily life to return and could not afford the consequences of violence in their city, which saw some of the worst clashes a decade ago.

“We don’t want to fight,” said driver Evans Omondi, 28, wearing a polo shirt and jeans. “We want to go back to work.”

In 2007, tallying was halted and the incumbent president declared the winner, triggering an outcry from Odinga’s camp and waves of ethnic violence that led to International Criminal Court charges against Kenyatta and his now-deputy William Ruto.

The cases against them collapsed as witnesses died or disappeared.

Reuters

 

Excuses no longer acceptable, Osinbajo tell minsiters

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday said the present administration would no longer accept excuses that suggest that its quest to deliver sustainable socio-economic development to Nigerians is not possible.

Osinbajo spoke at a retreat on the Economic Recovery Growth Plan and the 2018 Budget preparation which featured guest speakers including a former top official of the Malaysian government, Dr. Idris Jala.

He said, “The excuse that it won’t work here, the Nigerian factor, or some say exceptionalism, or the acceptance of failure before you even start is certainly not tenable any more.

“We simply have to accept that there is nothing Nigerian about failure, because as we know in our personal lives, failure and success are commodities on offer to everyone all over the world and every individual and every country makes a choice of which to buy.

“I will say on our behalf that we will choose success.”

He added, “I think it goes beyond motivational speech. I think it really challenges the core of our relevance as leaders and I am challenged and I know that many of us here too.

“I think that we will do what we need to do to make sure that we see through the labs that we have to identify specific areas where we will do this labs. We must see to it that this works.”

We’ll recover all loot traced to Diezani, Magu vows

The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has described the gigantic loot recovered from embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, as just the beginning.

“What we have recovered so far from Diezani is just the beginning,” Mr. Magu said in an interview with TVC on Thursday. “It’s just a tip of the iceberg.”

At least N47.2 billion and $487.5 million in cash and properties has been traced to the former oil minister, Mrs. Alison-Madueke by the anti-graft agency.

The former minister is also being investigated for corruption and money laundering in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Magu said the EFCC is working with other agencies around the world to unearth more loots linked to Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
“We are moving in and we will recover every loot linked to her. We will get other people she’s work with,” Mr. Magu said.

Mr. Magu said his greatest challenge since he took up the tough job to man the anti-graft squad is that corruption is fighting back.

The acting EFCC chairman, whose fate still hangs in the balance following the delay in his confirmation by the Senate, said he doesn’t allow the issue distract him from the job. “It rather motivates me,” he said.

Mr. Magu is one of the pioneer officers drafted into the EFCC from the police by its first chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.
On assumption of office, President Muhammadu Buhari fired the erstwhile chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, who had held sway since 2011, and approved the appointment of Mr. Magu as the acting chairman.

However, the Senate has twice refused to confirm his appointment following reports from the State Security Service, SSS, against Mr. Magu’s integrity.
On Thursday, Mr. Magu said the time to end corruption in the country is now. He appealed to every Nigerian to join in the fight.

 

Three policemen dismissed for robbing fuel tanker

The Commissioner of Police in Delta State, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim, said on Thursday that three policemen have been dismissed for hijacking a petroleum tanker in the state.

Ibrahim said the dismissed policemen are also being prosecuted.

He stated these while presenting the culprits and 21 other suspects who were arrested for various crimes ranging from kidnapping, armed robbery, car snatching, cultism and murder, to journalists in Asaba, the state capital.

He said the dismissed policemen had served in Edo, Delta and Imo, and had connived with two other people to commit the crime.

The commissioner said the two people had earlier been arrested, tried and sentenced to prison terms.

He said the five-man gang confiscated the petroleum tanker which was carrying about 33, 000,000 litres of petrol along Agbor/Benin Expressway, tied up the driver and the conductor and took away the tanker.

He listed the dismissed policemen as – Sgt. Christopher Onyegho (Ex-F/No.375631), Sgt. Nwakem Enonzim (Ex-F/No.413318) and Sgt. Michael Chimaera (Ex-F/No.441254).

He said: “During my last briefing I informed you about the three serving policemen who were involved in robbing a petroleum tanker, and were undergoing department disciplinary measures.

“The department proceeding has been completed and the policemen have been dismissed and arraigned in court.”

NAN

Another ‘kidnappers’ den’ discovered in Lagos

A den suspected to be used by members of an unknown kidnap gang has been discovered at Ile-Zik, close to Ikeja, the capital of Lagos state.
The security operatives currently combing the place reportedly found human parts concealed in some sachets.
The suspected kidnapper were belived to be hiding inside, underground utility tunnels in the area which is adjacent to a perimeter fence of the Murtala Muhammed international airport.
A witness said that a hawker who fell into the hands of the gang raised the alarm after she managed to escape.
People around the area were said to have invaded the place, where shoes belonging to males and females were found.
Three suspects have been arrested, while a sharp knife was found on one of the suspects said to have been posing as a mad man.
A police officer, who spoke off the record, said that the suspects are currently being interrogated at Isokoko police station in the Agege area of the state.
There are at least eight patrol vans of the police at the location, while a huge crowd converged on the place, making it difficult for free movement yesterday afternoon.
This compounded the traffic situation on the every-busy Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.
The police are yet to issue a statement on the development.
The discovery of this camp comes two days after a den was allegedly discovered on the Ijaiye Ojokoro axis of the same expressway.
It is not yet clear if the one in Ijaiye was used by kidnappers as some residents have disputed the claim, saying hoodlums only raised a false alarm so as to steal.
During a visit to the area, different persons said they lost their belongings on the day that two suspects were burnt alive in Ijaiye.
Police officers said that they did not find any kidnap victim after a search of underground drainage channels said to be the kidnappers hideout in the area.

Saraki, CJN, others make case for institutionalisation of judicial reforms

 

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) and Solicitor General of the Federation (SGF), Taiwo Abidogun, on Thursday bemoaned the inability of the nation’s court system to ensure prompt justice delivery.

They urged that efforts should be directed at ensuring that the judicial system functions for the benefit of all.

Saraki, Onnoghen, Malami and Abidogun spoke at the National Summit on Justice in Abuja.

Saraki, who was represented by Senator David Umoru, said Nigerians were in agreement that the justice administration system urgently requires serious reforms to enable it cope with current day challenges.

He said: “Criminals have become smarter with technology. There is an upsurge in terrorism and crimes, hitherto unimagined like the senseless and brutal kidnapping of Nigerians. This was a crime never envisaged in the past.

“It is my clear belief that in order to restore confidence amongst Nigerians in our justice system, judicial reforms need to be institutionalised. It must be constantly reviewed to reflect the constant dynamics of the society.

“It should not be treated like a one off project or a talk show, but a workable template must be adhered to.

“The success of an effective judicial system is measured not only by the number of cases that it manages to dispose of, but also, and more importantly, by the amount of litigation which is avoided because the rights and obligations of parties are ascertainable in advance.

“Ensuring effective access to justice is one of the most important issues facing our justice system today.”

Onnoghen, who was also represented by Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court, said the perennial delay in the judicial process could be effectively eliminated where rules of procedure in courts are well streamlined.

 

He noted that although it may be difficult to achieve uniformity of court procedure nationwide because of existing differences in religion, culture and legal procedures, efforts should be directed at ensuring a system that guarantees fair play and equity.

He said: “The common man should see the justice system as impartial. There should be improved justice dispensation, elimination of delays and reduction in cost of litigation.

“It is hoped that the policy will achieve this goal of building consensus among justice sector institutions and practitioners for the purpose of addressing collectively, the major challenges facing the justice delivery system in the country.”

Saraki fires 98 aides

The President of Nigeria’s Senate, Bukola Saraki, has sacked several of aides thereby scaling down the number widely seen as wasteful.
News reports suggested that 98 aides were sacked, a figure disputed by Mr. Saraki’s spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu; who, however, did not provide the actual number dismissed.
He further stated that some of the affected aides were redeployed, while others were sacked.
The affected aides include the Director of Protocol, Arthur Ndiwe; and Head of Administration, Folasade Adekunle, among others.
Some of the affected aides had been at the office of the senate president on secondment from the National Assembly management, while those said to be redundant were also fired.
While addressing journalists on Thursday, Mr. Olaniyonu explained that the shake-up was done in good faith and was not meant to serve as a punitive measure in anyway.
He stressed that the essence of disengaging the aides was to reposition the office toward delivering on the mandate of the 8th National Assembly.
“It has been known for four months that a comprehensive staff review was going on in the office of the senate president.
“It was just concluded a few days ago and the purpose of the exercise is to reposition the office to improve on service delivery and improve on his ability to deliver on the agenda of the 8th Senate.
“We have served for two years and this is a long time enough to determine who is good enough to continue in the last phase of the service.
“You know the Senate has just about 22 months to its expiration.
“So, it is an exercise that has now been concluded and we have determined who is good enough to continue, who needs to give way and who may likely come in,’’ he said.
The special adviser said that the downsizing was done based on efficiency and the need to redeploy those that were seconded from the National Assembly Service Commission.
He said, “there are some members of staff who by their performance in the last two years have been deemed fit to continue and those ones are still there.
“There is also a second category of people who were seconded from the National Assembly Service Commission to the office of the Senate president.
“Some of them were told to revert to bureaucracy where they were from the beginning.
“Then, there is a third set who have been removed maybe, because they were found not to have met expectations of the offices or who did not help enough in the functioning of the office.
“So, you see that actually, it is a positive one, not a punitive measure. It was meant to reposition the office to ensure that the office is more strengthened.”
He said in view of the exercise, there was likelihood that a new set of people would be engaged.
On the number of those affected, those retained and those likely to be enlisted, Mr. Olaniyonu said he had no details, but promised to get back to journalists after verifying the figure.
On speculations that some of the aides were laid off because they were inherited from the former President of the Senate, David Mark, he said there was no ulterior motive to that.
He said Mr. Saraki accommodated the inherited aides for two years even when he had the power to lay them off on assumption of office.
“It is good for a public official like the Senate President to have given everybody the opportunity to serve in that office and he has done that by retaining everybody.
“He carried on the entire team for two years, even more than two years.
“So, the two years was sufficient enough to determine who is doing well, who needs a little push and who cannot really fit in entirely and the decision was taken.
“So, nobody committed any sin. It was at the discretion of the senate president. He has been able to determine within this period those that had helped in his agenda and so on.
“When a man comes in, he has the right to ask everybody to go, but he did not.”
Mr. Olaniyonu noted that most of the people Mr. Saraki inherited would only revert to their offices as some of them were deployed by the commission.