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New Ondo governor, Akeredolu, takes office

Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has been sworn in as the governor of Ondo State.

Akeredolu took the oath of office at exactly 11.34 am on Friday in Akure, the state capital.

His running mate, Ajayi Agboola was earlier sworn into office at the ceremony attended by many dignitaries.

Among those who witnessed the event were state governors of Ogun, Sokoto, Oyo, Niger and Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

Former National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande and leader of the party, former Lagos Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu were also at the inauguration.

The event was also attended by the All Progressives Congress (APC) party supporters, APC National Chairman, John Oyegun, Minister of Solid Minerals Dr Kayode Fayemi, and other friends and family members.

Governor Akeredolu is the sixth elected governor of the state, the first being Michael Ajasin in 1979 under the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN.

In November, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, winner of the 2016 Ondo state governorship election.

He polled 244, 842 votes to beat his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 150, 380 votes.

Mr Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) follows with 126, 889 votes.

Boko Haram attack kills seven in Borno

 

At least seven soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram attack on military positions in northeast Nigeria, a civilian vigilante and a security source said on Friday.
The attack happened in the town of Gajiram, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) by road north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Wednesday afternoon.

A military source in Maiduguri and a civilian vigilante, Babakura Kolo, both told AFP on Thursday that the fighting lasted for about two hours and that three soldiers were killed.
But Kolo said on Friday that the toll was had risen and that it was “now seven, including one lieutenant, and six rank and file.
“Yesterday, three bodies of soldiers were found but four more bodies were found during a search.”

The security source said three militants were also killed and troops were combing the area to find other rebel fighters.

AFP contacted the military for comment but there was no immediate response.

Fighters loyal to Abu Musab Al-Barnawi were suspected of carrying out the attack, said Kolo.

The Islamic State group, to which Boko Haram is affiliated, announced that Barnawi was leader last year.

He split from the faction following long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in opposition at his indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

Barnawi has instead vowed to hit only “hard” targets such as the military and police. His group is believed to operate in northern Borno state, towards Lake Chad and the border with Niger.

According to the security source, the insurgents went door to door collecting recently distributed food aid for residents.

Kolo said vigilantes had been told by arrested Boko Haram suspects that they sourced most of their food from Gajiram and Monguno, a garrison town 60 kilometres away.

Nigeria’s government wants the hundreds of thousands of displaced people staying in camps and host communities to return to their homes as soon as the military makes areas safe again.

But another attack on Wednesday near Gajiganna, some 50 kilometres from Maiduguri on the way to Gajiram, highlighted the risks they run.

“Some displaced people were returning to their villages in the area to harvest their abandoned cornfields when they were intercepted by Boko Haram,” said Kolo.

“They killed some and took away others,” he said, without specifying a death toll.

 

Fire razes classrooms at Army Secondary School in Kano 

Fire outbreak destroyed 12 classrooms at the the Army Day Secondary School in Bukabu barrack on Katsina Road in Kano metropolis on Wednesday night.

An eye witness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Thursday that the incident happened around 8:30pm on Wednesday.

According to the witness, the fire also partially affected the principal’s office and two other offices in the school.
It was gathered that even though no life was lost during the inferno, but a number of textbooks and exercise books were also lost to the inferno.

The Director of the State’s Fire Service, Mr Mustapha Rulwanu confirmed the incident.

He said contrary to reports that Bukabu barrack was gutted by fire; it was the Army Day Secondary School in the barrack that was affected.

He said 12 classrooms were razed while the principal’s office and two other offices were also touched by the inferno.

“We received a distress call from one Sgt. Inusa around 8:20p.m on Wednesday.

“No life was lost and we were able to put out the fire after we sent reinforcement of two fire fighting vehicles from our central office and Jakara sub-station.

“So we had to use three vehicles including the one from Kurna office before we could put out the fire,” Rulwanu said.

He called on the residents to report fire outbreak in time to prevent its spread.

20 per cent of elderly face daily abuse in Nigeria

The Executive Director and founder, the University of the Third Age Nigeria (U3A), Ibadan, Dr Charles Afolabi,  says over 20 per cent of the nation’s elderly are abused daily.

Apart from being abused, the vulnerable group also undergoes deprivations and denial of their fundamental human rights, he said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.

The virtual University of the Third Age is an international movement with the education and stimulation of mainly retired members (those in their third ‘age’ of life) as its aim.

It started in France as an extramural university activity and significantly modified in the United Kingdom where it was recognized that most people of retirement age have something to contribute and the emphasis has been on sharing without formal links to traditional universities.

In Nigeria, it was inaugurated in Ibadan on July 1, 2007 with 35 members and has grown to 840 members.

U3A Nigeria is multi-generational, promoting inter-generational programmes for the re-engagement of older persons who are transferring their dying vocations to younger generations.

Afolabi noted that the abuses suffered by the elderly were not reported or documented.

He said denial of welfare packages for the elderly was a form of abuse.

“About 20 per cent of the nation’s elderly are abused daily by Nigerians.

“Denial of rights of the elderly comes in different forms which include non-payment of their pensions by state and federal governments.

“Forcing women to engage in hard labour under the guise of assisting in raising grandchildren is a form of abuse.

“Lack of care from their biological children is another form of abuse and in most cases, there is no authority to report to; so these parents are made to suffer in silence,’’ said the University of Third Age boss.

He pointed out: “Many parents have turned to street beggars because lack of care and financial sustainability by their children and wards.’’

Afolabi advised children and the youth against what he called elder abuse — depriving the elderly or senior citizens of their rights physically, financially, emotionally and psychologically.

He stressed that U3A was created to make life more meaningful to retirees.

“U3A is a self-help organisation which provides unique and exciting activities for retirees that are life-enhancing and life-changing opportunities.

“Retired members of the community and semi-retired people come together to learn, not for qualifications but for self rewards.”

According to him, mortality rate in the group has reduced considerably as they are given opportunities to add more value to the development of their communities after retirement.

Afolabi disclosed that Nigeria was the first in West Africa to establish the organisation which has its headquarters in Oke Ado, Ibadan.

He urged state and federal governments to give more recognition and attention to these groups of people in terms of their health, social and welfare packages.

He added: “Some of our members go back to school to study courses like law, philosophy and other professional courses in conventional universities thereby actualising their life-time goals and ambitions.”

He called on the National Assembly to legislate on elder abuse and health insurance scheme for the elderly in the country.

Air Peace takes delivery of 12th aircraft, opens Lekki office

Nigeria’s domestic carrier, Air Peace, has taken delivery of its 12th aircraft, a 114-capacity Boeing 737-500.
Air Peace Chief Operating Officer, Mrs Oluwatoyin Olajide, told newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos that the aircraft landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at about 2.15pm on Tuesday.
She said the arrival of the aircraft would greatly boost the airline’s expansion drive especially as it had commenced its daily Lagos-Accra-Lagos flight operations on February 16.
Olajide said the airline had earlier entered the Lagos-Benin-Lagos, Abuja-Benin-Abuja and the Lagos-Uyo-Lagos routes.
According to her, Air Peace is also planning to start flight operations to Sokoto in a few days’ time.
She said, “Our customers are our greatest asset. Their support and loyalty have ensured our rapid growth, expansion and choice as Nigeria’s preferred airline.
“At a time the aviation industry is facing a lot of challenges, we have continued to show strength and maintain very high standards. Our banks and other creditors have also been very supportive because of our integrity.”
Olajide explained that the airline was uncompromising in the maintenance of its aircraft to guarantee the safety of its customers.
“Two of our aircraft are also arriving from C-check. We insisted on the regulatory heavy maintenance in accordance with Boeing requirements.
“We insist on very high safety standards because we greatly value the lives of our esteemed customers”, she said.
Olajide disclosed that the airline was planning on hitting more regional and international destinations, including Abidjan, Douala, Niamey, Dakar, Johannesburg, South Africa, Dubai, Mumbai, Guangzhou-China, Atlanta and London.
“We will also be covering more local destinations in a matter of days. Already, we are set to commence flight operations into Sokoto.
“So we are getting more aircraft and doing heavy maintenance of our fleet to sustain the high safety standards we have been known for since we started commercial flight operations,” she said.
Meanwhile, Air Peace has opened a new office at Plot C, Block 12E, Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos State to bring its services closer to its customers.
Olajide said the airline was opening more offices across the country to bring its services closer to the people.
She confirmed that the airline’s customers could now do their bookings, change their reservations and complete other transactions at the new office and save themselves the stress of going to the airport to enjoy its services.

Traders protest in Sango Otta as Customs men invade markets

Rice sellers in Sango Market, in the Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State on Wednesday blocked the Temidire end of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway for over seven hours.
The traders were protesting against the alleged invasion of customs officials from the Federal Operation Unit (FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ikeja, who allegedly broke several shops in the market around 12am.
The operatives, who were reportedly accompanied by soldiers attached to OP MESSA, were said to have impounded about 4,550 bags of rice and 75 jerrycans of vegetable oil, estimated at millions of naira.
The traders also accused the officials of breaking their safes and taking money during the operation that lasted for about three hours.
It took the intervention of the Area Commander, Sango-Ota, ACP Fayoade Adegoke, and a member of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Akinpelu Aina, before the expressway was opened at 2.15pm
But the customs stated that 1,870 bags of rice and 43 jerrycans of vegetable oil smuggled into the country were seized, adding that its officials did not break any shop.
It was learnt that the operatives engaged carriers to load the products into about 13 trailers out of the 15 they brought.
After the invasion, traders blocked the expressway at about 7am hindering vehicular movements in the Sango area.
One of the traders, Kudirat Fasinu, who spoke in Yoruba, showed our correspondent a receipt of vegetable oil worth N1.5m she bought on Saturday, saying that the item and 300 bags of rice were taken away.
“I just finished prayer around 1am when I got a call that customs men were breaking shops and removing goods. They broke my shop and took away 75 jerrycans of 25 litres vegetable oil and 300 bags of rice. I got here around 1.30am,” Fasinu said.
Another trader, who gave her name only as Mrs. Egbasite, said 50 bags of rice in front of her shop were confiscated, adding that she bought the goods on credit.
Another rice seller in the market popularly known as Iya Okiki, said she just bought 125 jerrycans of vegetable oil worth N1,510,000, adding that all were taken away.
The Iyaloja of the market, Mrs. Deborah Bankole, said, “I was informed about the incident around 1.15am, that customs men were breaking our shops. By the time I got here, they had started packing rice and vegetable oil. They came with men of the OP MESSA.
“They also broke safes of some traders and went away with their money. We bought these goods in Sango. Most of us are widows; government should come to our aid. We bought these goods on credit.”
The Babaloja, Alhaji Shakirudeen Olasege, described the operation as contraband, adding that if goods were illegal, the shops were supposed to be sealed and their owners invited for questioning.
He said, “We are going to Abeokuta tomorrow (Thursday) to meet with Governor Ibikunle Amosun and the state House of Assembly. Goods and cash worth about N700m were seized during the raid by customs. I learnt that the men entered the market around 12am. They came with 15 trailers and went with 13 trailer-load of rice. Each trailer contained 350 bags. Some of the officers wore masks.
“This is burglary. Two customs officials, identified as Jude and Alawo Ekun, led the illegal operation.”
One of the drivers that transported bags of rice to the market, Semiu White, said he was disturbed that the officials could embark on such an operation after allegedly collecting money at the borders.
He said, “If we load a car with bags of rice from Idiroko to Sango, we pay N1,000 at every customs checkpoint. There are more than 18 checkpoints between Idiroko and Ajilete. At times, some officials would insist on collecting extra before passing the vehicle.”
The Ado Odo/Ota LGA Chairman, Oladele Adeniji, told one of our correspondents that he had contacted the state controller of NCS and the state governor
He said, “I have appealed to the rice sellers to remain calm. The matter will be resolved.”
The spokesperson for the customs FOU, Ikeja, Jerry Attah, said some smugglers had been trailed to the market. He explained that the officials swung into action the moment the items were offloaded and debunked the claims that the shops were broken.

Court freezes Stella Oduah’s account in 21 banks

The Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained Senator Stella Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Ltd from making any withdrawals from its account and those of three other companies in 21 banks.
The other firms are Sea Shipping Agency Ltd, Rotary Engineering Services Ltd and Tour Afrique Company Ltd.
It is over an alleged debt of $16.4million and N100.5 million owed Sterling Bank Plc.
The order followed an affidavit deposed to by Sterling Bank’s business manager Mr Segun Akinsanya.
The bank said it granted a lease /Cabotage Vessel Finance Facility (CVFF) to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company to finance one unit 5,000 MT tanker vessel..
The loan was secured by an unconditional personal guarantee by Princess Oduah, the bank said.
The bank said the guarantee was backed by a statement of her net worth, legal mortgage of two properties worth N135 billion, and a power of Attorney of the tanker vessel in favour of Sterling Bank.
The bank said between June 27, 2013, Sea Petroleum requested and was granted additional loan of $450,000 for post delivery expenses, as well as $993,000 to meet the requisite conditions in securing the tanker’s release.
Akinsanya said despite several reminders, and demands, the defendants failed to liquidate the indebtedness which has culminated to $16.4million and about N100.5million as at last November.
He said there was an imminent risk of the defendants dissipating the companies’ assets if not restrained.
The bank, therefore, urged the court to grant the order restraining Oduah and other directors of the companies from withdrawing from their accounts in all the banks pending the determination of the debt recovery suit.
Oduah and her companies have urged the court to discharge the order.
They also filed a preliminary objection to the suit, urging the court to strike it out for lack of jurisdiction.
Justice Abdullazeez Anka adjourned until March 20.

Senators kick as Osinbajo withholds assent to four bills

Some senators grumbled yesterday as Senate President Bukola Saraki conveyed the decision of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to withhold assent to four bills passed by the National Assembly.

Prof. Osinbajo’s letters withholding assent to the four bills were read by the senate president.

Saraki said the Senate would refer the bills to the legal department to enable it decide the next line of action.

The four bills are: National Lottery (Amendment) Bill passed by the National Assembly in 2016; the Dangerous Drug (Amendment) Bill also passed in 2016; Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill 2016 and Currency Conversion (Freezing Orders) (Amendment) Bill 2016.

Prof. Osinbajo said the withholding of assent to the bills was based on Section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended.)
On the refusal of assent to the National Lottery (Amendment) Bill, the Acting President said that the rationale for withholding assent to the Bill was the existence of pending legal challenge to the competence of the National Assembly to legislate on the subject matter.

On the Dangerous Drug Amendment Bill, Osinbajo explained that he withheld assent to the Bill as a result of concerns regarding certain words and phrases in the draft Bill that may be inconsistent with the Principal Act, “for example Section 6 of the Bill with Section 21 of the Principal Act” and the spirit behind the proposed amendments.

On rejection of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund(Amendment) Bill, the Acting President said: “The reason for withholding assent to the bill are the concerns surrounding board composition, funding arrangements, limitation of liability of funds and proposal to increase levels of uncollateralised loans from N5,000 to N250,000.”

On why he withheld assent to the Currency Conversion (Freezing Orders) Bill.2016, Osinbajo said: “The rationale for withholding assent to the bill is the concern regarding the modalities for the communication of asset forfeiture orders.”

Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), who sponsored the National Lottery Amendment Bill, claimed that the Executive lacked the powers to reject bills passed by the National Assembly.

He said: “The role of the executive is to carry out their traditional role by signing any bills passed by the National Assembly.”

Senator George Sekibo told the Senate that it had the power to override the Acting President.

I’ll leave after PDP convention – Modu Sheriff

 

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has said he is ready to vacate office after the national convention of the party, where new officers will be elected for the former ruling party.

He, however, warned governors, elected on the platform of the PDP, not to divide the party.

Sheriff was, on Friday, declared the rightful National Chairman of the PDP by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday when he received members of the party from the South-West, the former Borno State governor stated that he was ready to leave office as “soon as a national convention is held and new national officers are produced.”

Sheriff’s guests were led by the zonal and state officials of the party from the six states in the geopolitical zone, except Lagos State.

Five chairmen of the party in five states in the zone – Hakeem Taiwo (Oyo); Ajayi Williams (Ekiti); Soji Adagunodo (Osun); Biyi Poroye (Ondo); and Adebayo Dayo (Ogun) – were on the entourage.

He said he would leave office after the election of officials, who, he said, must be the choice of the people.

“Ali Modu Sheriff is not here to remain as national chairman. As soon as we hold our national convention, I’m leaving.

“I will make sure that we do a credible convention and we elect leaders that are accepted by the grass roots; that is our mission. I will do that by the grace of God,” he said.

Sheriff, who was flanked by some of the reinstated national officers, among who was the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, said the governors were critical to the repositioning of the party.

He stated that he was aware of the many unprintable names he had been called since the Court of Appeal pronounced him as the national chairman of the party, stressing that he would not take issue with those calling him such names, particularly, the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.

Sheriff said, “I plead in the name of God, let’s bring peace to the PDP. Let us build this party. If you like and you want to change something, wait for the convention and vote for the person you like and Nigerians and the world will see that you’re are validly elected by the PDP.

“Yes, our governors are very important; they are leaders of this party in their own right. They don’t have to divide the party.

“I will not come down to the level of Fayose. I beg him to respect the PDP; whatever he said about me, posterity will judge him. He should devote more energy and time for the rebuilding of the PDP.”

He noted that his victory at the court was not for himself alone, but for all members of the party. He appealed to the governors and other members of the PDP to be cautious in their utterances.

“People can vent their anger and say what they want but as a leader and a father to all, I want to make sure the party is united.

“I have no issue to take with anybody. My task is to reposition the PDP and bring it back to its position in 1999,” Sheriff stated.

The PDP chairman explained that he was already working with security agencies on how to reopen the party’s national secretariat shut since May 2016.

The police shut the secretariat, located at Zone 5, Wuse District of Abuja, following clashes between a faction of the party loyal to Sheriff and another faction loyal to the sacked national caretaker committee, headed by a former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Sheriff said, “Between now and Friday, we will move back to the secretariat. We have transmitted all the legal documents to police and the Department of State Services that intervened at some point in time to avoid chaos.”

Sheriff, who is still facing stiff opposition from the governors, the majority members of the Board of Trustees and statutory organs of the party, said there was an agreement between him and the Makarfi faction not to go to the Supreme Court after the appeal court judgment.

“Makarfi and I resolved that whatever was the outcome of the appeal court that we will not destroy our party; that once we get the judgment from the court of appeal that, it would be the final judgment for everybody.

“We spoke to all Nigerians about this; it is on record. But all the same, everybody has the right to do what he wants to do. But it is good to place on record that we had an agreement,” he stated.

The South-West Zonal Chairman of the party, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe, urged Sheriff to unite the party by seeing himself as a father of all members.

Makanjuola said members of the party from the zone would support him in his desire to reposition the PDP.

“South-West is very settled behind you. This is the beginning of the battle, but you must see yourself as the father of all. Bring everybody on board. You won the battle for all members of the PDP,” he added.

He urged Sheriff to lead the PDP to win the governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states, saying, “Only then can this victory go down well.”

Meanwhile, Makarfi has restated his plan to pursue the case to its logical conclusion.

Makarfi said this in a statement issued by a member of his faction, Dayo Adeyeye.

He said, “They should comply fully with the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The status quo ante May 21, 2016, is the full National Working Committee elected at previous conventions and not the cronies that he singlehandedly appointed and who are parading themselves as officers of the party.

“We remain resolute in our determination to pursue our case to its logical conclusion in the interest of justice and the Nigerian democracy.”

Lawmaker wants BBNaija reality show banned

A Lagos lawmaker, Mr Segun Olulade on Thursday advised the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on the negative implications of Big Brother Naija on the nation’s culture and youths.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Big Brother Naija is a Reality TV Show sponsored by PayPorte, an online shopping platform, and aired by Africa Magic on DStv.

Olulade, Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Health Services, in a statement, said that the content of the programme was completely foreign to the indigenous culture which forbade immorality.
According to him, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which has tried to promote culture and indigenous values should not be seen to be encouraging the spread of obscenity on TV.
“We have culture and tradition in this country that we must not allow to die.

“The Federal Government, through the Minister of Information and Culture, needs to reconsider the implications of Big Brother Naija on our culture and youths.

“The content of Big Brother Naija reality show is alien to our culture. This show is contrary to the rich cultural values we are trying to promote and bring to the front burner.

“It is sad that our young children including adults are made to watch such content. This kind of programme promotes obscenity and immorality.

“We must not encourage such if our hallowed cultural heritage would be preserved. We cannot prevent our inquisitive young ones from watching the obscene displays that permeate the show.

“I think the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should, without delay, stop this programme if this government means business in the promotion of our cultural values.

“The show does not add any value to our education, social and economic life. It is a big mockery of Nigerian culture and tradition,’’ Olulade said.

According to him, the government should swing into action through NBC to put an end to the airing of the programme before it causes serious damage to our culture.

Olulade, who is the immediate past Chairman, House Committee on Information, Publicity, Security and Strategy, said that the inmates in the show, being Nigerians, should have portrayed the Nigerian cultural heritage instead of bastardising it.

He said that a programme of the calibre of Big Brother Naija was capable of causing distractions to the Nigerian youths and affecting many families.

“I will want to urge all parents and guardians to be on their guard and guide their children and wards aright on what they watch on TV.

“The implication of allowing the children to keep watching this show can be negative on this.

“Our children should not be allowed to be corrupt because this may affect their future aspiration,” the APC-Epe II representative at the Assembly said.

EFCC recovers 17 exotic vehicles from ex-Customs CG Dikko

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered 17 exotic vehicles in a warehouse belonging to a former Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde.

The warehouse on Nnamdi Azikwe Street, Kaduna, has been sealed off.

Two suspects – Dantala Mohammed and Ahmed Balarabe – have been arrested in connection with the recovery.

EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren said the vehicles were retrieved following an intelligence report.

The EFCC, in a statement, said: “The recovery was sequel to an intelligence report the Commission received that stolen money and properties suspected to be proceeds of crime were being warehoused at the former Customs boss’ premises.

“Upon receipt of the intelligence, a team of operatives from the Kano Zonal Office of the EFCC were deployed to investigate the matter.

”On arrival at the location, two individuals who were identified to be the custodians of the property – Dantala Mohammed and Ahmed Balarabe were presented with a search warrant.

“In the course of the search, a total of 17 vehicles, among which are brand new cars, shuttle busses and SUVs were found in the premises.

”Consequently, the vehicles and the two individuals were conveyed to the Commission’s zonal offices in Kaduna and Kano respectively. Investigation revealed that the warehouse in question actually belongs to the former Customs boss.

“The two suspects arrested are in custody assisting the EFCC in investigation.”

The particulars of the vehicles recovered is as follows:

Black colour BMW 525i series, 2010 model with chassis number WBAFR7108BC262936.
Ash colour Hyundai Velester, 2012 model with chassis number KMHTC6AD4CU056038.
iii. Dark Blue BMW 325i, 2003 model with chassis number WBAEV31090KL48386.

Black colour Land Cruiser Prado Jeep, 2014 model with chassis number JTEBU3FJ50K082080.
Black colour Mercedes G wagon, 2013 model with chassis number WDB4632361X207661.
Black colour BMW 335i series, 2012 model with chassis number WBA3A91040F268895.
vii. Silver colour Peugeot 406, 2002 model with chassis number VF3BBRFNR81519018.

viii. Black colour Land Cruiser Prado Jeep, 2014 model with chassis number JTEBU3FJ10K082352.

Yellow colour Toyota FJ Jeep, 2007 model with chassis number JTEZU11F68K001301.
Black Toyota Avensis, 2013 model with chassis number SBIBL76L20E037245.
Dark ash colour KIA Cadenza, 2011 model with chassis number KNALN414BC5093288.
xii. Silver colour Porsche Cayene, 2009 model with chassis number WPIZZZ9PZ9LA12738.

xiii. Golden colour Honda Accord, 2013 model with chassis number IHGCR2634DA620609.

xiv. White colour Nissan Urban Bus, 2006 model JNITF4E25Z0715833.

White colour Nissan Urban Bus, 1996 model with chassis number JTFJXO29P605023996.
xvi. White Toyota Hiace Bus, 2010 model with chassis number JTGJXO2P4B5020268.

xvii. White Nissan Bus, 2009 model with chassis number JNITA4E250011697.

The EFCC quizzed Dikko on June 16, last year over alleged N42billion fraud. He was not detained due to his alleged ill health.

The EFCC also traced how about N2.6billion was withdrawn from NCS’s coffers and remitted into the accounts of some companies floated by a former Assistant Comptroller General of Customs who served under Dikko.

EFCC asked Dikko to explain the sources of funds with which he acquired a N2billion mansion at 1, Audu Ogbe Street, Jabi Abuja.

Dikko is believed to have refunded about N1,040,000, 000 to the Federal Government.

A highly-placed source said: “The operatives of the EFCC have been able to establish that Dikko’s Jabi mansion was funded largely through kickbacks from Customs contractors.

“For instance, it was learnt that the N100million used to purchase the land on which the mansion sits was provided by a Customs contractor. Ditto for the first tranche of N650m used in the construction of the gigantic building.

“These funds were allegedly paid to Dikko’s personal lawyer by the contractors. The Lawyer in turn transferred the funds to the engineer handling the construction of the building. Both the lawyer and the Engineer allegedly admitted their role, claiming they acted on the instruction of the former CG.

“Also, operatives of the Commission are looking into how a former Assistant Comptroller General of Customs under Dikko, got paid over N2.6billion, which were remitted into accounts of companies floated by the officer from the customs coffers.”

Ecobank seeks to upturn ruling in bankruptcy case against Otudeko

Ecobank Nigeria Limited has applied to the Court of Appeal in Lagos for extension of time to enable it seek leave to appeal a ruling by Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court in Lagos in a winding-up petition against chairman of Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko.

The bank initiated the bankruptcy proceedings against Otudeko over an alleged N5.5billion debt by virtue of loan facilities availed Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Siloam Global Services Limited and Anchorage Leisures Limited, said to have been personally guaranteed by Otudeko.

The appellant is seeking an order by the Appeal Court granting it leave to appeal the ruling delivered last February 19.

The ruling followed the winding-up petition filed by Ecobank on October 17, 2015, accompanied by motion ex-parte and motion on notice.
The bank said the petition was a bid to recover the money from Otudeko “considering the looming and impending danger of having its banking licence withdrawn after the respondent failed to liquidate its indebtedness after several demands.”

Justice Okon Abang, who first handled the case, asked the bank to put the respondent on notice to show cause. After being put on notice, Otudeko filed a motion on notice seeking to dismiss/strike out the petition.

Justice Kuewumi, who took over from Justice Abang, ruled that he would accord higher priority to Otudeko’s motion on notice ahead of other pending applications.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Ecobank appealed. The Court of Appeal, last October 21, struck out the appeal on the basis that the appellant did not first obtain leave of the lower court before appealing.

The bank is, therefore, seeking for reliefs to enable it invoke the Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction to entertain the appeal.

“The applicant (Ecobank) ran out of time to appeal as a result of the previous proceedings in suit no CA/L/227/16 which was not determined on the merit as a result of failure to procure the needed leave.
“The leave of this court is required to extend time to obtain leave of court to appeal the ruling of lower court. It is in the interest of justice that this application be favourably considered and granted accordingly,” the bank prayed.

The bank, through its lawyer Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN) is seeking a receiving order against Otudeko’s estate, funds, investment and shares in Honeywell Group, Honeywell Flour Mills, among other companies, as well as an order declaring him bankrupt.

Ecobank prayed for an order commanding Otudeko to immediately avail it the companies’ statement of affairs as well as net worth and other credible financial details as required by the Bankruptcy Act.

It asked for a consequential order empowering the bank to sell Otudeko’s properties wherever they are situated, as well as an order enabling it to utilise the investments or shares in companies in which Otudeko has interest.

In a motion on notice, Ecobank, among others, is also seeking an interlocutory order appointing a special manager and receiver over Otudeko’s assets.

But, Otudeko, in its counter-affidavit sworn to by Omolade Adeyemi, has urged the Court of Appeal to refuse Ecobank’s application.

He said the bank had prosecuted the subject-matter of the appeal and judgment had been given in which the Court of Appeal upheld his preliminary objection and struck out appeal.

The respondent said the appellate court also attended to the appeal on its merits, considered arguments by parties and affirmed the correctness of Justice Kuewumi’s ruling.

“It is in the interest of justice to refuse the applicant’s application,” Otudeko said.

In the lower court, the Honeywell Group’s chairman said the alleged debt “is neither ascertained nor undisputed.”

He added that Honeywell Four Mills and its sister companies commenced a suit against the bank before another judge “owing to disagreements between it (Honeywell) and the respondent (Ekobank) as to the complete liquidation of their outstanding obligations to the respondent having regards to the terms and condition of the credit facility.”

Man arrested with human head on Valentine’s Day

Police in Ekiti on Tuesday arrested a man simply called Tosin Oluwatosin with a fresh human head in Ifaki-Ekiti, Ido/Osi local government area of the state.

Oluwatosin was said to have committed the crime with his brother, David Oluwatosin, who is still at large.

The suspect is presently being grilled by homicide detectives at the state police headquarters to explain the circumstances behind the murder of the 12-year-old victim.

Confirming the incident to journalists on Wednesday, the state police spokesman, Alberto Adeyemi, said Tosin was arrested at about 3:35 p.m. on Tuesday.

He said the arrest was made possible by intelligence report at the disposal of the state command which deployed its men to the scene to arrest the suspects.

Adeyemi said: “Yes, it is true. One of the suspects is on the run. The victim is about 12 years old. But we are still looking for the severed body of the victim and we are also on the trail of the one at large. After investigation, the suspects would be charged to court.”
.

We were raped, tortured, say Nigerian returnees from Libya

Nigerian returnees from Libya have appealed to federal and state governments to provide job opportunities for Nigerian youths to prevent them from endangering their lives looking for greener pasture abroad.

Some of the returnees told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos, that they decided to leave the country because they were jobless.

They said that they travelled to Libya with the hope of crossing to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea in search of jobs. NAN recalls that on Feb.14, 161 Nigerians returned voluntarily from Libya.
They were assisted back home by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) after being detained for several months in Libyan detention facilities.They arrived in Lagos singing songs of praise and beaming with smiles, thanking their creator for bringing them safely home.
One of the returnees, Miss Bridget Akeamo, an indigene of Anambra, said her parents decided to send her to Italy when all hope of securing job after her school proved abortive.

Akeama, who said she left Nigeria in August last year, returned with four months pregnancy.

She said she was arrested while trying to cross to Italy from Libya by immigration officials.

Akeama said: “Ever since then, I have been moved from one prison to another until I was taken to detention camp in Tripoli.

“We were subjected to inhuman treatment while in prison, from the food we eat to the water we drink.

“Most of the young ladies in detention camp were raped by Libyan officials and if you refused their advances, it will be hell for you.

“Thank God I am back in Nigeria, I know all hope is not lost but it is painful that I will begin from scratch again with my unborn child.”

Stanley Iduh, 34-year-old indigene of Delta, told NAN that he was tricked by an agent popularly known as “Burger that he would facilitate his journey to Spain through Libya.

He said that when his hope of crossing into Spain was dashed in Libya, he decided to stay back and work in the Arab country.

“I worked in Tile producing company and their salary was good but unfortunately I cannot save my money in the bank. I lived with other Nigerians. I dug a hole in the ground to save my money.

“Unfortunately, one day, some Libyans came, kidnapped us and inflicted punishment on us. They asked us to call our relations back in Nigeria and tell them to send N300, 000 as our ransom.

“The 200, 000 US dollars that I saved, disappeared; they moved us to another place until we got to detention camp. Nigerians should be discouraged from travelling to Libya because they are not treating us like human beings.

“Our ladies were dehumanised by Libyan officials, it is very painful,” he said.

Iduh, who said he sold the house left by his late father before travelling to Libya, urged the federal and state governments as well as wealthy Nigerians to create job for the youths.

“It was because I was jobless for three years that I was cajoled to travel abroad to look for greener pasture. I am back in the country after eight months, devastated and humiliated.

“I have gone to look for greener pasture but here I am today; I have brought nothing green back home,” he said with tears running in his cheek.

Paul and Marvellous Isikhuemhen are twin brothers who travelled to Libya in March and May 2016 respectively in search for greener pasture.

Marvellous told NAN that they regretted travelling out of the country because of the bitter encounter they had in Libya. He said that though they secured good job in publishing house in Libya, “it was suffering and smiling’’ until they were given the opportunity to return home through IOM.

Isikhuemhen urged the Nigerian government to stop young ladies from travelling to Libya, saying they were molested by Libyan immigration officials. He said that most Nigerian ladies bribe Nigerian Immigration Officers to secure travel documents to travel to Libya.

Isikhuemhen added that most of the children brought back home by these ladies had no fathers.

“I can boldly tell you that the children you are seeing in their hands and those pregnant ladies are products of Libya immigration officers,” he said.

Woman arrested over death of Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother

Malaysian police probing the killing of the half-brother of North Korea’s leader arrested a woman Wednesday as they tried to unravel a Cold War-style assassination the South said was carried out by Pyongyang’s agents.

As Seoul pointed the finger at poison-wielding female spies from North of their shared border, police in Kuala Lumpur said they were holding a woman with a Vietnamese passport.

Her arrest came around 24 hours after news broke of the death of Kim Jong-Nam, the elder sibling of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, with reports saying female assassins had sprayed toxins in his face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
CCTV images that emerged in Malaysian media, purportedly of one of the suspects, showed an Asian woman wearing a white top with the letters “LOL” emblazoned on the front.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said 28-year-old Doan Thi Huong was arrested at the airport on Wednesday morning — two days after the killing.

The suspect was “positively identifed from the CCTV footage at the airport and was alone at the time of arrest,” Khalid said in a statement.

Meanwhile, pathologists in the Malaysian capital were examining the body for clues as to how he died, in a killing that has echoes of Soviet-era spycraft.

If confirmed, the assassination, which analysts said could have been ordered over reports he was readying to defect, would be the highest-profile death on Kim Jong-Un’s watch since the 2013 execution of his uncle, Jang Song-Thaek, in a country with a long record of meting out brutal deaths.

Seizure
South Korea’s spy chief Lee Byung-Ho said the two women struck on Monday morning as Kim was readying to board a flight to Macau where he has spent many years in exile.

Malaysian police said Kim, a portly 45-year-old, was walking through the departure hall when he was attacked.

“He told the receptionist… someone had grabbed his face from behind and splashed some liquid on him,” Selangor state’s criminal investigation chief Fadzil Ahmat was reported as saying by Malaysia’s The Star newspaper.

“He asked for help and was immediately sent to the airport’s clinic. At this point, he was experiencing headache and was on the verge of passing out,” said Fadzil.

“At the clinic, the victim experienced a mild seizure. He was put into an ambulance and was being taken to the Putrajaya Hospital when he was pronounced dead.”

The head of Kuala Lumpur Hospital’s forensics department, Mohamad Shah Mahmood, was taking part in the autopsy, according to an aide.

A black Jaguar sedan bearing the North Korean flag was seen outside the department.

– Fall from grace –

Kim, 45, had at one time been set to assume the leadership of his isolated country, but fell out of favour after an embarrassing attempt to get into Japan on a fake passport in 2001. Kim has since lived in exile, gaining a reputation as something of a playboy with much of his time spent in the gambling enclave of Macau, where he was believed to have enjoyed some protection from Chinese security forces.

Quizzed about the killing during a regular press conference, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing was aware of the reports.

“According to our understanding, the incident took place in Malaysia and the Malaysian side is investigating this issue. We are following the developments,” he said.

In Pyongyang, celebrations were under way for Thursday’s anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong-Il, Jong-Nam’s father, with an ice-skating gala that made no mention of the drama. Jong-Un has been trying to strengthen his grip on power in the face of growing international pressure over his country’s nuclear and missile programmes, and regular reports have emerged on purges and executions.

Jong-Nam, known as an advocate of reform in the North, once told Japanese reporters that he opposed his country’s dynastic system. In a 2012 interview from his school in Bosnia, a 17-year-old Kim Han-Sol, Jong-Nam’s son, said his father had been passed over for succession because he “was not really interested in politics”.

“I don’t really know why he became a dictator,” Kim said of his uncle Kim Jong-Un. “It was between him and my grandfather.”

It emerged Wednesday that Jong-Nam had pleaded with his younger brother for his life to be spared after an earlier assassination attempt.

“Jong-Nam in April 2012 sent a letter to Jong-Un saying ‘Please spare me and my family,'” Kim Byung-Kee, a member of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee, told reporters.

Cheong Seong-Chang of the independent Sejong Institute in Seoul said the assassination was “unthinkable without a direct order or approval from Kim Jong-Un himself”. His killing was likely motivated by a recent news report that Kim Jong-Nam had sought to defect to the EU, the US or South Korea as far back as in 2012, he said.
In this article:
Kim Jong-Un

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 No regrets over retirement decision – Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt was crowned Laureus Sportsman of the Year for a record equalling fourth time on Tuesday night, matching the achievement of Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

The 30-year-old completed the hallowed triple-triple of Olympic sprint titles in Rio last summer only to have one of his gold medals stripped from him after relay team-mate Nesta Carter was exposed as a doper.

Bolt confirmed he had already handed back the gold medal from the 100m relay at Beijing 2008 for it to be redistributed to Trinidad and Tobago, who were upgraded from silver.

Bolt gathered the winners to take a selfie in the style of Ellen Degeneres after the award.

The Jamaican was presented his Laureus award by Michael Johnson and rebuked the suggestion he might continue to Tokyo 2020.
‘For me I’m satisfied with what I’ve done,’ he said, ‘If it was up to me I would’ve hung my shoes up after the Olympics, but the fans begged me to continue. I’m still in good shape, I’m not fat so I want to run as many races as possible.’

Claudio Ranieri was also in Monaco to collect the Spirit of Sport award on behalf on his Leicester City team who defied odds of 5,000/1 to win the Premier League last season. The Italian admitted he liked to temporarily bask in the glow of last season’s triumph and briefly forget the struggles of this year.

His side are hovering one point above the relegation zone after five successive defeats including a 2-0 loss at Swansea last weekend.

AMCON takes over OAS Helicopters

Signs that the crisis in the aviation sector had escalated emerged yesterday as the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) took over Odengene Air Shuttle Services (OAS) Helicopters in Lagos.
The takeover came after a court order, according to spokesman of AMCON, Jude Nwauzor, yesterday.
But he did not give details on the takeover .
It was, however learnt that the AMCON management yesterday sealed off the head office of the helicopter firm at Maryland in Lagos,
The AMCON management is expected to appoint a receiver-manager. OAS Helicopters is among the 10 airlines that benefitted from the over N120 billion aviation intervention funds given a few years ago.
The Order on the company’s office reads: “Possession taken today 14/2/17 by amcon by court order on suit no. FHC/4CS/1139/2016.”
OAS Helicopters is the fourth airline to be taken over by AMCON in the last one year.
AMCON last week took over Arik Air, following after Aero and Afrijet airlines.

FG moves to resolve liquidity crisis in power sector

The Federal Government of Nigeria said progress had been reported on steps being taken to address the issue of liquidity in the power sector just as the engagement of Niger Delta Communities by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to find lasting solution to pipeline vandalism in the region is also yielding fruitful results.

In a Communiqué issued on Monday at the 12th Monthly Meeting of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, with Power Sector Operators at the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) Olorunsogo Injection Substation, Akanran, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the progress reports also included key policy steps taken by the Federal Government to improve the stability of the Sector such as the inauguration of new Commissioners for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the appointment of an interim Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to reform the company for a more robust service to the industry.

The TCN also reported the completion of the Osogbo-Ede Transmission Line adding that it was awaiting connection to the soon to be completed substation which, according to the company would be achieved within the next 12 months.

The company also reported progress on the projects in the host (IBEDC) region including Abeokuta-Igboora-Lanlate 132KV DC Line, Odogunyan substation and transmission line, and transmission substation in Iseyin, as well as transmission projects in Ago-Iwoye, Benin-Akure, Gamo-Ogbomoso and Magboro, while the meeting charged them to expedite action towards completion and service delivery.

Also, in his submission at the Meeting, the Managing Director, Transmission Services Provider (TSP), Engr. Tom Uwah announced the completion of a transformer installation project in New Bussa adding that the substation should be ready for energizing in six weeks following the carrying out of pre-commissioning tests.

Noting the negative impact of sabotage of gas pipelines, which, according to it has led to a severe limitation in power generation in the country, the Meeting commended the efforts of the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in engaging communities in the Niger Delta in an effort to address their concerns and therefore, bring a lasting solution to pipeline vandalism.

Also commending the Federal Government for the recent inauguration of the new commissioners of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, and the appointment of an interim Managing Director for TCN, the Meeting, which described the policy step as vital to the reformation of the company for a more robust service to the industry, added that they would also improve the stability of the Power Sector.

Expressing regrets that the gross liquidity problem was currently limiting the functioning of the sector, the Meeting acknowledged the work currently underway to identify, verify and pay the debts owed by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to DisCos, as well as gas debts and generation debts.

It noted with delight that the Abuja, Ikeja, Ibadan and Yola DisCos have complied with data requirements and that verification of their submission is underway “on a first come first serve basis”, pointing out that a deadline of 17th of February 2017 was set as a deadline for submission of audited and management accounts while February 28, 2017 was issued to receive submissions on MDA debts from the DisCos.

On the need for safety in the installations and operations of the service providers, the Meeting, which commiserated with the family of victims of recent electrical accidents, charged all DisCos to reinvigorate their efforts on safety of their networks and facilities.

The Meeting, while also harping on the need for good service delivery as one of the most viable means to stabilize the Sector, also directed the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) to monitor the resolution of the issues arising from such electrical accidents.

The Meeting reiterated that service delivery should remain a key focus of the industry with enhanced efforts to engage community members in order to raise awareness and appreciation of work completed and resolved to undertake a stronger effort to connect the host communities of power installations to power supply.

In continuation of the regular practice aimed at creating healthy competition among the service providers, the Market Operator (MO) announced at the meeting that the Eko DisCo showed the highest payment performance to service providers, followed by Yola DisCo, while it encouraged other operators to fulfil their obligations to the market.

Apart from the Minister, who chaired the Meeting hosted by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), other top officials in attendance at the Meeting were the Minister of State, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, one of the recently inaugurated Commissioners of NERC, Mr Dafe Akpeneye, Managing Directors and CEOs of GenCos, DisCos and the TCN.

Also in attendance were various government agencies such as the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) responsible for the regulation and development of the electricity industry. The meeting, as usual, focused on identifying, discussing, and finding practical solutions to critical issues facing the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.

Saraki, Dogara jet out to London to visit Buhari

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on Wednesday morning, flew out to London to see President Muhammadu Buhari.
The trip came on the heels of the continued stay of the President in The United Kingdom after he extended his medical vacation in a letter to the National Assembly leadership last weekend.
President Buhari had in the memo extended his vacation indefinitely, he was hitherto scheduled to resume duties on February 6.
It is yet unknown when the President would return home from UK, though speculations are rife that he might return any moment from now.

Vice President Yemi Osibajo has been holding the fort in his stead.
More details soon.

India interested in Nigeria’s $100m pigeon pea market

The government of India has confirmed that there is a market for $100 million worth of pigeon pea import from Nigeria.

The National Coordinating Director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe said in Abuja that the Federal Government got the offer from India after conducting its Pest Crop Survey (PCS) for some agriculture commodity in conjunction with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

The NAQS coordinator disclosed that essence of the crop survey was to determine the kind of pest that affects a particular local agricultural commodity and proffer a solution to boost agriculture.

Isegbe said: “We do what we call PCS. We have done for pineapple, sugar, rice, cashew, palm oil and of recent we did for the pigeon pea. We wanted to know the pest peculiar to some commodities, what extent and in what location nationwide so we keep data on them.

“The government of India wanted a confirmation that we can export a pest-free pigeon pea to their country and even if we have pests, they will want to know which pest, to what extent and their location. That was the report that our group of scientists worked on. They eventually sent it to the government of India and they that saw that it was okay for them to import. That is why they said we have a market worth $100 million and we can export.”

Describing the offer as a new opportunity to boost foreign exchange for the nation and create jobs, he added that the NAQS was already working with the pigeon pea value chain to meet demands of the Indian government.

According to him, as member of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), the NAQS was responsible to stop the spread and prevention of pests including diseases and contaminants into and outside the country.

He said the Service at its 56 stations across the country worked in partnership with the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and airport officials to prevent foreign birds from entering the country.

On bird flu invasion, Isegbe described the virus as a disease that could be transferred through infections, migrating birds and other forms of contaminations.

He said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on daily basis conducts surveillance on the Avian Influenza (AI) virus and provides notices on status of AI in the country.

On why farmers still fall victim to the AI infection, he explained that the virus was already in the country since its first outbreak in 2006.

He said, “It is the duty of Nigeria to ensure that new variant of bird flu did not come into the country since it came in between 2006 and 2008. The second wave of AI came in through migratory birds and we have wetlands. So as they pass their wastes into the water, ducks which serve principally as carriers hardly get infected but they spread the pathogen home and infect the local stocks.”

However, he called for more sensitization of farmers to reduce further spread of the virus, stressing that sources of the virus are numerous.

He emphasized that once a nation is declared free, there should be consistent effort to prevent a re-occurrence.