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Policemen told me herdsmen killed my sister, says Fasoranti’s son

Kehinde Fasoranti, one of the sons of Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere leader, says some policemen told him that suspected herdsmen carried out the attack which led to the death of his sister.

Olakunrin, 58, was murdered along Benin-Ore highway while returning to Lagos after visiting her father in Akure, Ondo state capital, on Friday.

Yinka Odumakin, spokesman of Afenifere, had blamed the incident on suspected herdsmen but the police said bandits were responsible for the attack.

When he visited the residence of Fasoranti to commiserate with the family, Undie Adie, commissioner of police in the state, said the identity of the killers had not been established.

“All we know is that these are bandits that came to the road and started firing sporadically at motorists that were driving on the highway. That is what it is, there is no person that can say specifically that they were herdsmen. What we know is that they are bandits and we are going after them,” he said.

But Kehinde, who recovered the corpse of his late sister from Ore, told journalists that some police officers he met at Ore police station confirmed to him that the late Olakurin was killed by herdsmen.

“We need to get the story straight. The way they operated, according to what the police said, is the way herdsmen operate,” he said.

“Six people were in front shooting at them. The driver put the car in reverse but unknown to him, some men were in the bush and started shooting from the side and at the back. The story that these are just bandits is a lie. If you want records, request the report I made at the Ore police station. They categorically said the attackers were herdsmen.”

The death of Olakunrin has once again raised concern about the high level of insecurity in the country.

Hamilton wins record sixth British GP, extends F1 lead

Lewis Hamilton made the most of a favourable safety car intervention on Sunday to claim a record sixth British Grand Prix victory at a packed Silverstone.

The defending five-time world champion clocking fastest lap on his final lap to finish 25 seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate and nearest title rival Valtteri Bottas after an action-packed contest.

The Briton moved 39 points clear of the Finn behind in the title race, but Bottas was unlucky with the timing of the safety car which effectively gave Hamilton a free pit stop.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was third.

Pierre Gasly finished fourth ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, whose race was compromised by a late collision when Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari drove into him, and Carlos Sainz of McLaren.

It was Hamilton’s seventh win in 10 races this year and the 80th win of his career. He had shared the British Grand Prix record of wins, on five, with fellow-Briton Jim Clark and Frenchman Alain Prost.

Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Renault ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Alfa Romeo, Daniil Kvyat in a Toro Rosso and Nico Hulkenberg in a Renault.

“What a day,” said Hamilton. “To all the crowd, thank-you so much for coming out.”

Hamilton, who stopped on his slow-down lap to collect a British ‘Union Jack’ flag, added: “I love you Silverstone. I appreciate everything and the opportunity to be a part of this.

“I couldn’t have done this without these guys or without my team.”

A glum Bottas said: “Congrats to Lewis…It wasn’t my day.”

A much happier Leclerc said: “It’s probably the race I’ve enjoyed the most in my career.”

The safety car was deployed when Antonio Giovinazzi spun into a gravel trap in his Alfa Romeo – gifting Hamilton a ‘free’ first, and only, pit stop. The luckless Bottas, on a two stop strategy, had already pitted before the incident.

On an overcast and cool afternoon, Justin Whiting, the 12-year-old son of the late Charlie Whiting, the official Race Director who died suddenly in Melbourne in March, started the race. before a crowd of 141,000 at Silverstone.

As the lights went out, the Mercedes pair pulled clear, Hamilton chasing Bottas throughout the first lap ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen with Vettel fifth.

By lap 10, the lead was three-tenths, Hamilton oozing confidence could not pass Bottas slithering to protect his lead. Behind them, Leclerc blocked attacks from Verstappen.

But on lap 17, Bottas came in for a new set of mediums and Hamilton inherited the lead ahead of Vettel, the pair delaying their stops as long as possible. Then Giovinazzi beached his Alfa Romeo at Club.

Hamilton took advantage and pitted for hards, followed by Vettel and Verstappen, making a second stop. Ferrari, reacting slowly, called in Leclerc, who emerged sixth behind Gasly and Verstappen. All this left Hamilton leading Bottas with Vettel third.

Racing resumed on lap 23, the field, backed up by Hamilton, swarming like bees at the re-start.

Bottas, on mediums, traded fastest laps with Hamilton, knowing he had to make a second stop. Verstappen, helped by quick thinking from Red Bull, rose to fourth when Gasly moved over on Hangar Straight and began his pursuit of Vettel.

The Dutchman caught and passed him at Stowe only for the German to ram into the rear end of the 007-branded Red Bull, who had Bond actor Daniel Craig in their garage, both spinning into the gravel but surviving to re-join the fray.

A stewards’ investigation followed, but both races were compromised.

Leclerc rose to third and Gasly to fourth. Verstappen regained fifth while Vettel pitted for a new nose, fell to 17th and was then given a 10-seconds time penalty.

With eight laps remaining, Hamilton was told to pit, but ignored the call, persuading Mercedes to bring in Bottas for softs, a tilt at fastest lap and a secure run to the flag.

(AFP)

BREAKING: Sanwo-Olu names 25 commissioners, advisers, returns former SSG, Tunji Bello

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has sent the names of 25 commissioners and special advisers to the House of Assembly for ratification.

Among those on the list were the former Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello; former Commissioner for Special Duties, Wale Ahmed; former Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, among others.

A Press release signed by Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, stated that the list contained 25 names of persons expected to be confirmed variously as commissioners and Special Advisers upon ratification by the legislature.

Akosile said, “Sanwo-Olu carefully picked the nominees based on their cognate experience in their respective professions.”

The list, Akosile said, “comprised names of technocrats and politicians who understand the challenges of the state;” noting that the painstaking and laborious selection process was aimed at constituting the best team that will serve Lagos.

He stated further that the current list is the first batch, saying that consultation was ongoing with regard to the complete number of Sanwo-Olu’s would-be cabinet members.

Below are names of the nominees:

1. Mr. Rabiu Olowo Onaolapo

2. Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo

3. Prof. Akin Abayomi

4. Dr. Idris Salako

5. Mr. Tunji Bello

6. Mr. Gbenga Omotoso

7. Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka

8. Mrs. Bolaji Dada

9. Mr. Lere Odusote

10. Dr. Frederic Oladeinde

11. Mr. Gbolahan Lawal

12. Ms. Adekemi Ajayi

13. Mr. Femi George

14. Dr. Wale Ahmed

15. Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN)

16. Mr. Hakeem Fahm

17. Mrs. Ajibola Ponnle

18. Engr. Aramide Adeyoye

19. Mr. Segun Dawodu

20. Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf

21. Mr. Sam Egube

22. Ms Ruth Bisola Olusanya

23. Princess Aderemi Adebowale

24. Mr. Tunbosun Alake

25. Mr. Afolabi Ayantayo

 

Tinubu dismisses reports claiming herdsmen killed Fasoranti’s daughter

All Progressives Congress stalwart, Bola Tinubu, has rubbished reports linking herdsmen to the murder of Olufunke Olakunrin, the daughter of Afenifere Chairman, Reuben Fasoranti.

Tinubu expressed his opinion while fielding questions from journalists after paying a condolence visit to Fasoranti at his Akure home on Sunday.

He said it was unfortunate that some people were using the death of Mrs. Olakunri to play politics, adding that kidnapping had always been taking place in the country.

The APC leader said crime had no tribal affiliation even as he wondered where “the cows” were when the alleged herdsmen attack took place.

Tinubu said, “How many years ago have we faced insecurity in this country and cases of kidnapping? Is Evans who was arrested, and his disclosure, then a herdsman? I don’t want to be political. The question is where are the cows?

The APC national leader, however, admitted that the security challenges in the country must be addressed.

He said the herdsmen issues should not be allowed to divide the country.

Tinubu said, “I am a nationalist and the security concerns and challenges right now must be faced squarely throughout Nigeria. The incident that affected one member of our family, Mrs Olakunri, is saddening and unacceptable but nobody can return her alive, she has answered the call of her creator.

“We must not use this incident to divide ourselves but we must use it as a cure to the security problem by providing additional police and patrol.

“We also need additional security reinforcement along Ore Road and various flashpoints across the country. I have discussed this with various authorities. The governor is aware and being proactive about this.

“The security challenges are numerous across this country. More police are being recruited and it takes time to train and deploy them in various areas, nobody prepares more than necessary for this.”

Judges’ vacation cancelled over election petitions

Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, president of the court of appeal, has cancelled the annual vacation of judges because of the “enormous petitions” before the appeallate court.

In a statement on Sunday, Sa’adatu Musa, appeal court spokesman, said the directive was contained in a circular transmitted to the judges by Bulkachuwa on July 2.

Bulkachuwa said the appeals coming from the election tribunal are time-bound which must be determined by October latest.

“We have to forfeit our annual vacation to enable us entertain and determine all appeals arising from the various Election Petition Tribunals transmitted to the Court,” Musa quoted her as saying.

The spokesperson said Bulkachuwa gave directives to to the presiding justices of the various divisions to draw up a roaster that would allow the judges with medical appointments “or other pressing family issues travel for not more than 15 days within the period.

“Appeals arising from the National and State Assemblies would be heard by a local panel of three (3) members except where it is controversial, then the President will constitute and send another panel to hear it.

“On the Governorship appeals, the President of the Court of Appeal disclosed that it would be heard by a five Member panel to be empanelled by his lordship. Hon. Justice Bulkachuwa therefore, instructed the Presiding Justices to notify him as soon as appeals from Governorship elections were filed to ensure their speedy determination.”

She added that a total of 1,769 appeals were determined and 3,517 motions disposed of by the court between January and April, 2019.

Osinbajo’s firm linked to company fingered in alleged N100bn Alpha Beta scam

 

A company in which Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has a stake, Simmons Coopers Partners, has been linked to another firm, Ocean Trust Limited, which was fingered in an alleged N100bn scam involving Alpha Beta Consulting Limited and Alpha Beta LP.

Ocean Trust Limited, which was accused of being a conduit for diversion and laundering of funds by Alpha Beta, listed the law firm of Simmons Coopers as its company secretary, documents exclusively obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission by Saturday Punch showed.

Simmons Coopers was listed as a company in which Prof Yemi Osinbajo (now Vice-President) had a stake in his asset declaration form in 2015, according to the statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

In a petition submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in July 2018, Dapo Apara, the erstwhile managing director of Alpha Beta, had alleged that Alpha Beta owed the Federal Government N100bn in unpaid taxes spanning over 10 years, adding that the firm usually laundered funds through another firm, Ocean Trust Limited.

He alleged that the firm was being protected by powerful politicians.

The petition by Apara’s lawyer, Adetunji Adegboyega, read in part, “Over the years, the company (Alpha Beta) has been protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable.

“But our client, feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his belief in the fact that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on fighting corruption which has been the bane of our country, is of the firm view that it is time to expose and open the can of worms called Alpha Beta Consulting.

“Our client is of the firm belief that it is time for the commission to step in and conduct a holistic investigation into the activities of Alpha Beta Consulting Limited and Alpha Beta LLP with a view to uncovering the massive corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, etc., going on in the company.

“Kindly note that one of the companies being used to perpetrate money laundering by the company is still another company named Ocean Trust Limited.”

Osinbajo’s reaction

When contacted on the relationship between Osinbajo’s firm, Simmons Coopers and Ocean Trust, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media, Mr Laolu Akande, said he would not comment on the matter unless he was shown the document indicating Simmons Coopers was Ocean Trust’s company secretary.

But, a source close to Osinbajo claimed that “the Vice President has since 2014 left the firm. There is no interest there anymore.”

The source added, “And I think you should talk to the EFCC about its own decisions. It does not make sense that the EFCC will say it is not prosecuting or, as you say, investigating or probing (the allegations) because of what you claimed.”

However, Osinbajo in 2015 listed Simmons Coopers as one of his companies in his asset declaration form.

Where is Ocean Trust?

Saturday Punch, which investigated Ocean Trust Limited for three months, conducted a search at the Corporate Affairs Commission.

It was noted during a CAC search that the firm was registered with number 419706 on January 5, 2011, and is located at 684, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos and had Gboyega Iyiola and Kunle Akinniyi as shareholders at the inception both of whom relinquished their shares two days later on January 7, 2011.

One of documents exclusively obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission
Incidentally, the property where Ocean Trust Limited is located shares the same address with the office of former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State known as ‘Freedom House’.

All efforts to contact Ocean Trust Limited proved futile as investigations by Saturday Punch showed that the company might no longer be in operation.

Also, attempts to speak with its management turned out to be a wild goose chase.

When one of our correspondents visited the company’s address at the Freedom House, Plot 684, Idowu Taylor Street, a fair-complexioned lady, who said she was an employee of Ocean Trust Limited, told Saturday Punch that the company was no longer located there.

When asked if it was true that the firm was being used to launder funds for Alpha Beta, the lady, who refused to identify herself, asked our correspondent to send an email which she would forward to her boss.

Over three weeks after one of our correspondents sent her an email, a response was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report on Friday.

A visit to Ocean Trust’s second listed address at 42 Norman Williams Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos yielded no positive result as the compound looked deserted having been overtaken by weeds.

Saturday Punch met with a lady, who simply gave her name as Blessing, and confirmed that the place was being used by Ocean Trust. She, however, said she could not speak on any issue as the place was only a correspondence office.

After a brief chat, she gave one of our reporters a phone number that she claimed belonged to an accountant with Ocean Trust.

When Saturday Punch called the number, a man who picked the phone said he was not a staff member of the company.

After one of our correspondents told Blessing that the ‘accountant’ denied working for Ocean Trust, she referred him to the head office on 9 Grace Anjous Street, Lekki Phase I to make an enquiry.

When one of our correspondents got to the address, a male receptionist initially confirmed that the office belonged to Ocean Trust.

However, after an introduction as a journalist, he retracted his statement and said the premises belonged to Paragon Holdings and only delivered correspondences to Ocean Trust.

He said, “Ocean Trust is not one of our partners; they used to use here to receive correspondences, but they no longer come here.

“They are not our partners again. Here, we only deal with their files, both physical and electronic.”

While questioning the receptionist on why he had earlier admitted that the place belonged to Ocean Trust, another man emerged from one of the offices in the building and said Ocean Trust was no longer in existence.

He said, “To the best of my knowledge, Ocean Trust is not functioning. We only receive correspondences for them, but in terms of business, they stopped existing before the end of the (former Lagos State Governor Babatunde) Fashola’s administration. We don’t even know who they are. They’ve folded up since.”

EFCC yet to take action

One year after Apara’s petition, the EFCC has yet to take any action on the matter.

The EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, had said in February that the petitioner should send a reminder as the petition could not be traced.

In a recent chat with Saturday Punch  on why the commission had refused to respond to media inquiries for over a month, the EFCC spokesman asked one of our correspondents to give him more time to react.

Efforts made thereafter to get a response from the EFCC did not yield result.

As of Friday when this report was being filed, Orilade had yet to respond.

Apara, who accused the firm of tax evasion to the tune of N100bn, also told Saturday Punch that the EFCC had yet to contact him a year after the petition had been submitted.

“I have still not been contacted by the EFCC,” he said in response to an inquiry.

Alpha Beta controversies

Alpha Beta Consulting was awarded a contract by the Tinubu-led government after a recommendation by a committee comprising the then attorney-general of Lagos State, Prof Osinbajo (now the Vice-President); Mr Wale Edun, the then commissioner for finance; and a former commissioner for economic planning and budget, Yemi Cardoso.

The firm was subsequently given exclusive rights to collect taxes on behalf of Lagos State and was believed to receive about 10 per cent commission from the revenue it collected for the state.

However, pro-transparency groups and opposition politicians have constantly alleged that Tinubu owns Alpha Beta.

In 2012, a Lagos-based medical doctor, Dominic Adegbola, filed a Freedom of Information request to state authorities, seeking detailed information on all Alpha Beta contracts with Lagos State since 1999.

But the state’s Attorney-General then, Ade Ipaye, (now Osinbajo’s chief of staff), rejected the request, insisting that the FoI was a federal law that did not apply to the states.

However, in November 2017, a state judge ruled that the FoI was applicable to Lagos State. The judge said the law was duly enacted by the National Assembly and did not require domestication to take effect in states.

When one of our correspondents visited the office of Alpha Beta at the Lagos Water Corporation Building, Ijora Causeway, Lagos, the company’s Head of Corporate Support Services and General Counsel, Mr Omogbemi Adelagun, said the matter was already in court and, therefore, he could not comment on the issue.

“If the matter had not been taken to court, we would have been able to react to it. So, right now, we cannot say anything until the court rules on the case,” he said.

Alpha Beta LLP had, however, said in an advertorial in response to the allegations levelled against it by its former MD that the accusations were illogical and false.

The advertorial read in part, “Alpha Beta has been visibly engaged by the Lagos State Government since 2002 as a forensic, internal control and enhancement adviser. In working with the state, Alpha Beta helped develop the state’s centralised transaction platforms, the precursor to the present-day Treasury Single Account.”

The firm said at the time it entered into the contract with Lagos State, the state was taking in the sum of N600m in internally generated revenue per month but things had since changed for the better.

Meanwhile, the Alpha Beta’s former managing director, Apara, has approached a Federal High Court, Abuja, “directing an investigation to be made by the Corporate Affairs Commission into the conduct of Alpha Beta Consulting Limited.”

Apara, who said he had been and remained a director of the firm since its incorporation, with control of 30 per cent of its shares value, also alleged that the financial records of the company filed with the CAC and tax authorities did not reflect the actual profits of the company or of its directors.

He alleged among others in the suit that he and shareholders of the company were being owed their remunerations.

Also praying for the takeover of the management of the company by an appointee of the court, the suit urged the court “to appoint a receiver or a receiver manager of the property of Alpha Beta Consulting Limited.”

The suit, couched as a “petition” and brought under the Companies Proceedings Rules and Order 5 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009, was filed on November 9, 2018 and marked FHC/ABJ/PET/2018.

When contacted on the telephone, a former Senior Partner at Simmons Coopers, Babatunde Irukera, said he had never heard of Ocean Trust Limited and wondered how Simmons Coopers could have served as its company secretary.

Irukera, who is now the Executive Secretary, Consumer Protection Council and had served as managing partner at Simmons Coopers during the time in question, directed our correspondent to another partner, Victoria Alonge.

Alonge told Saturday PUNCH that she had never heard of Ocean Trust Limited and asked the reporter for more time.

She said Simmons Coopers had checked all its records and had not found Ocean Trust in its books, adding that it had no record with the CAC.

When one of our correspondents dictated the contents of the document linking Simmons Coopers with Ocean Trust, Alonge expressed shock and asked that the document be sent to her.

She, however, maintained that Vice-President Osinbajo was a man of honour and honesty and would never hinder the EFCC from doing its job.

Alonge said, “Simmons Coopers has never had any dealings with Ocean Trust. We are also doing our own investigations. We checked our Abuja records and Ocean Trust is not stated there. This is new to us and it cannot be insinuated that Prof Osinbajo is stopping the EFCC from doing its job.

“For us, there is nothing to hide. As a partner, I should be in a position to know. We are still checking our records and we haven’t found anything.”

The PUNCH

Nigerian student detained by Malaysian immigration dies in custody

Thomas Ewansiha, a Nigerian student at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Selangor, Malaysia, has died in the custody of immigration authorities.

Ewansiha, who was pursuing a doctorate degree in management at the private university, was said to be married with two children.

Khairul Daud, director-general of the Malaysian immigration, confirmed the death of Ewansiha in a statement on Friday.

He said the deceased was among 20 foreigners picked up during a raid at Desa Aman Puri in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, on July 4 .

Immigration officers had stormed apartments in Desa Aman Puri following public complaints regarding the alleged influx of Africans in the area.

Daud said several Africans, including the deceased, had attempted to flee and refused to cooperate with the officers who were conducting checks during the raid.

“The subject also fled but was successfully arrested by operation officers, the subject then presented his passport and checks showed that subject had a student pass that was still valid,” he said.

“The subject’s action in fleeing had raised doubts about the authenticity of the student pass that was owned by the subject.”

It was learnt that Ewansiha was detained for 14 days at the Bukit Jalil depot for the officers to “verify the authenticity of his student passport”.

He said all the detainees were treated well and according to standard operating procedures.

“During the documentation process, the subject was given basic treatment by the civil defence department Malaysia as there were old wounds on the right calf of the subject and the subject had informed that he was not suffering any illness,” he said.

“At the time of incident around 12.05 midnight July 9, 2019, the officer on duty was informed by other detainees that the subject suddenly had a seizure while sleeping.”

He said the special treatment unit that was on duty had immediately carried out checks and treatment on Ewansiha, and that the Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) was contacted for immediate assistance when he fell ill.

According to him, the HUKM ambulance arrived together with an assistant medical officer at 12.30am and had continued to carry out checks and provided medical aid, but Ewansiha was later pronounced dead.

He said the supervising officer and the officer on duty then went to the Bukit Jalil police station to lodge a report.

“The Immigration is currently still waiting for the full medical report on the subject and the full autopsy report to identify the cause of death,” he said.

The death of Ewanisha had reportedly led to a protest on Thursday. Some Nigerians resident in the Asian country were said to have stormed the Nigerian high commission in Kuala Lumpur, accusing the commission of not taking responsibility for the welfare of their countrymen.

 

Methodist prelate dismisses allegation against Fatoyinbo, accuses Busola Dakolo of blackmail

Bishop Samuel Uche, Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, has dismissed the allegation Busola Dakolo levelled against Biodun Fatoyinbo, founder of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA).

In June, Busola, celebrity photographer and wife of Timi Dakolo, had alleged that she was raped by Fatoyinbo at the age of 16.

Although Fatoyinbo denied the allegation, there was pressure on him to step down. Following protests and social media outcry, the pastor eventually stepped aside for the issue to be investigated.

In an interview with V.T.N Business Delight on Silverbird Television, Uche said the allegation is an attempt to blackmail and tarnish the preacher’s image.

“Some allegations are foolish. From my way of analysing things, there is no truth in such attempt,” he said.

“You say somebody raped you and after 16 years, you are out to report. What is wrong? Maybe you demanded money or you wanted some payment and the person is not able to give you, and then you chose to blackmail the person. Why do you punish somebody for a sin committed 16 years ago?

“Our lord Jesus Christ says any sinner that believes is forgiven. He called us and he said repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. How do you go and tarnish the image of a man who committed something some years ago. Is it relevant?”

Suspected herdsmen murder daughter of Afenifere chairman, Fasoranti

Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, says it has received information that Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere chairman, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, has been killed by persons suspected to be herdsmen.

The spokesman for Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, made the revelation in a terse message circulated  to media houses on Friday.

According to Odumakin, the 58-year-old woman was heading to Ore Junction from Akure, Ondo State, when she was attacked and shot by the herdsmen.

He said, “We have confirmed the death of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin (58), daughter of our leader, Chief Fasoranti.

“Eyewitness accounts say she died of gunshots from Fulani herdsmen who shot her at Ore junction in Ondo State earlier today.

“She was coming from Akure when the armed Fulani herdsmen came from the bush to attack her and other vehicles.

“Her domestic staff in the car with her also sustained gunshots.

“This is one death too many and a clear we-can-take-it-no-more death.”

Olufunke is the second child of 94-year-old Fasoranti to die. The elder statesman had also lost a daughter, Bunmi, some years ago.

Jonathan: Solution to Nigeria’s problems is in Confab report

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has again called for the implementation of the 2014 national conference.

Speaking at the public presentation of a book by Femi Okurounmu, a former senator, Jonathan said his administration inaugurated the national dialogue to reconcile ethnic differences, heal old wounds and promote peace.

The conference was chaired by late Idris Kutigi, former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).

He said the implementation of the report will help the nation to make progress

“The call for reforms has continued to grow louder, gathering the kind of momentum that should no longer be overlooked, if the nation must make real progress,” the former president said.

“I believe that the solutions to most of the problems we face today lie in our honest assessment of the recommendations of the 2014 national conference. If we take politics out of our consideration, there is every likelihood that a diligent implementation of the key recommendations of the conference will lead the nation out of the woods. This will heal frayed nerves, promote solidarity, engender peace and reposition our nation for meaningful growth and sustainable development.

“The recommendations of the conference were far-reaching in setting an agenda for peace and unity. They amply captured the solutions to the problems of today and made suggestions that will address the worries of tomorrow.”

The former president said his administration could not implement the recommendations of the conference because it did not have enough time to do so, as it was submitted less than a year to the end of his tenure.

“Then, the members of the national assembly, whose duty it was to consider and validate the process, were preoccupied with the battle for political survival,” he said.

“I believed that given the nature of the consultations and due deliberations involved in advancing the process, an orderly and systematic implementation could not have been conducted in less than one year.

“It was obvious we did not have that time before the end of my administration. I did not insist on a rushed implementation because my administration did not embark on the conference to achieve political popularity but to genuinely advance the course of nation-building.

“We assembled 492 reputable individuals, drawn from all walks of lives and shades of opinion, who emerged through a rigorous selection process, to conduct diligent deliberations over a period of 120 days. We did this not to score a political point, but to come up with ideas on how to strengthen the pillars of our democracy and build a new foundation for sustainable nationhood.”

Appeal Court dismisses suit challenging Buhari’s academic qualification to run for President

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed an appeal challenging the academic qualification of President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the last presidential election.

A three-man panel of the court led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson in a unanimous judgment affirmed the earlier verdict of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had dismissed the suit on the grounds that it was statute-barred and robbed the court of jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal on Friday, Justice Mohammed Idris, held that matter had become statute barred, having not been filed within the 14 days the cause of action arose as stipulated under section 285(9) of the Nigerian Constitution.

He held that the cause of action arose on October 18 2018, when Buhari submitted his Form CF001, curriculum vitae and a supporting affidavit to the Independent National Electoral Commission after he emerged as the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate in the party’s earlier primary election.

He noted that the appellants challenging the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court only filed their suit before the said lower court on November 5, 2018, which was outside the 14 days period from October 18, 2018.

The appeal was filed by three Nigerians – Kalu Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail, Hassy Jyari El-Kunis.

South Africa grants Ghana visa-free entry, excludes Nigeria

 

The Department of Home Affairs says the country’s new eVisa system will launch in November 2019, and it has added new nations to the list of countries that can enter South Africa visa-free.

According to a report by Business Tech and tweeted via the unverified Twitter handle of Home Affairs @HomeAffairsSA on Wednesday, seven new countries can now visit South Africa visa-free.

The report quoted the South African Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, as having announced that seven new countries will be added to the list of nations that are able to come to South Africa without a visa.

“Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that tourism is very important for job creation,” he said.

“Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these, 16 are in our continent and are SADC (Southern African Development Community) members and 59 are from all over the world.”

The department announced that the following countries will now be able to enter the country, visa-free:

Qatar, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Cuba,

Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe

The minister said his office will immediately enter into discussions with the countries about how a visa-free regime will work, with “homework” still needing to be done for countries like China, India and Nigeria.

“While we are busy tackling the matter of the three countries, we shall, this financial year, increase two and a half times the number of people who work for Home Affairs to process visas in both China and India.

“We shall double the number of people who process visas to our country in Nigeria,” he said.

A department spokesperson said that the countries announced by the minister only apply to inbound visas (citizens from the listed countries visiting South Africa), and that outbound visas (South Africans visiting the countries listed) need to be negotiated on a country-by-country basis.

The department noted that some countries, such as Qatar and Ghana, already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa.

According to the latest Henley Passport Index, South Africans can visit 99 countries around the globe visa-free.

Also speaking at the department’s budget vote, deputy minister of Home Affairs, Njabulo Nzuza said that the department is moving forward with the implementation of the country’s e-Visa regime.

“This regime will place technology at the centre of our operations by making it easy, yet secure, to enter South Africa,” he told Business Tech.

The e-Visa system will allow tourists and visitors to South African apply for their visas online. These applications will then be sent to a central adjudication and approval office, while the prospective visitors “sit at the comfort of their own home.”

The new system will also open South Africa as a desirable destination through the ease of its visa systems, the deputy minister said, adding that it will have huge tourism growth implications for the country.

Document shows INEC directed RECs to upload voter data to server

A leaked internal circular of the Independent National Electoral Commission indicates that the electoral body transmitted voter accreditation data during the 2019 presidential elections from smart card readers to a central server.

The memo, dated March 25, 2019, was posted on Twitter on Wednesday by Reno Omokri, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

The document showed that the secretary to the commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, directed INEC resident electoral commissioners to provide feedback on challenges experiences during the elections, including failure to transmit voter accreditation data to a server.

It stated, “The commission has observed, with deep concerns, the number of smart card readers that do not have data of accredited voters in the just concluded presidential/NASS elections nationwide.

“The total number of SCRs without accreditation data is 4,786 nationwide, which stands at about 4 per cent of the total SCRs deployed for that election. Attached is the chart, showing the PUs not uploaded to the SCR accreditation backend, for each of the states.”

Oriaran-Anthony further instructed the RECs to direct their respective heads of department (ICT) to download the list of the polling units without accreditation data for their states from a provided web link.

She added, “You are please requested to liaise with your HOD election operations and the electoral officers to provide comments beside each PU, stating why there are no accreditation data. The comments should reflect what happened to the SCR or the results of the PU: covering cases where election did not hold, cancellation of PU result, stolen or destroyed SCRs, etc. This should be submitted in both soft and hard copies, latest by Thursday, 28th May, 2019.”

When contacted, the INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi said, “Anything to do with server is before the tribunal. I cannot comment on anything, sorry.”

The commission had said during the ongoing presidential election tribunal that it did not have a central server during the 2019 elections, adding that the operation of a server would go against the Electoral Act.

Again, Shi’ites clash with police in Abuja

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) better known as Shi’ites clashed with the police at the federal secretariat, Abuja, on Thursday.

The IMN members who clashed with policemen during a protest at the national assembly on Tuesday, returned to the streets of Abuja on Thursday.

Wielding placards and chanting anti-government songs, the protesters demanded the immediate release of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, their leader.

They had converged on the federal secretariat and were marching towards Eagle Square when they were intercepted by armed anti-riot policemen.

A witness said that trouble started when the police demanded to speak with leaders of the protesters and two men: Nura Marafa and Mujaid Mohammed, who came forward were arrested.

In annoyance, the Shi’ites were said to have attacked the policemen who opened fire and also used teargas on them.

Workers at the secretariat reportedly fled in different directions in order to avoid being caught in the incident.

While debating on the action of the Shiites at the house of reps on Wednesday, some lawmakers called on the federal government to release Zakzaky in order to prevent the sect from degenerating into another Boko Haram.

Different courts have ordered the release of the Shi’ite leader but the federal government has not complied with the orders.

Onofiok Luke, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rep from Akwa Ibom state, said it is unfortunate that the federal government has continued to disobey the orders to release the IMN leader.

“If the court has given an order for the release of the man, we should cal on the government to release him. The discourse should not be on the invasion of the national assembly alone,” he had said.

 

Take over Edo if you can, Obaseki dares ‘Abuja politicians’

Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, has dared those he described as “Abuja politicians” to take over the state if they can.

Speaking on Thursday at a rally held to show solidarity for his administration, Obaseki said those who are intent on splitting the state house of assembly cannot stop him.

A disagreement between him and Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had split the assembly into two.

On June 17, nine lawmakers loyal to the governor took 15 loyalists of Oshiomhole unaware by organising a secret inauguration.

Before then, Oshiomhole was accused of plotting to install his loyalists as principal officials of the assembly after which Obaseki, whom he influenced his emergence, would be removed.

Addressing his supporters on Thursday, the governor said some “Abuja politicians” are already heating up the polity in the state and trying to pull him out”.

“You know what is happening. I want to assure you that what has been happening in Edo state for the past several months will not distract us. We will continue to be focused,” he said.

“I did not change cars; I did not buy an official car for myself until after 18 months because we did not have the money and the little money I had, I felt should be used for the people and not the governor.

“We are tired of our children being short-changed. After 20 years of democracy, we cannot continue to behave as if we do not have democracy.

“We have not started politics, they want to pull us out early. INEC has not announced time-table for Edo election, they have only come out with timetable for Kogi and Bayelsa and even in those states, they (politicians) have not started heating up the polity as much as they are doing in Edo.

“I want to leave you with these words that those people who are parading themselves, who are speaking on the internet for themselves and their pocket, we are watching you. For those people who have gone outside, Abuja politicians, to tell people from outside to come and invade Edo, split our house of assembly, we are waiting for you.

“We have no fear at all, we are resolved that we will continue to do what is best for our state and country. We have no doubt that we are on the right path; we know that God is with us, we know that people are with us. So, if all these people are with us, who can stop us? Anybody that can stop us should come, we dare you.

“So, those Abuja politicians whom we refuse to send back and for those who got there by mistake, they can’t disrupt the peace of Edo. We will not let them. Nobody can stop the progress in Edo state.”

FG cancels all foreign printing contracts for Nigerian passports

President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled all e-passport printing contracts abroad, saying that it will now be the sole responsibility of the Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company (NSPMC).

Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, made this known in a statement released on Thursday.

This new directive means all existing contracts concerning printing passports and other documents will not be renewed.

The Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company (NSPMC), popularly known as The Mint, was established in 1963 and was saddled with the responsibility of printing the nation’s currency and security documents for ministries, departments and agencies of government, banks and other blue-chip companies.

At inception, the Mint was the largest banknote and security documents specialist printing company in West Africa until its performance dwindled.

After his appointment as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele set new targets for the company including zero importation of currency which has been achieved since 2014.

Speaking on the company, Abbas Umar Masanawa, the managing director, said: “The Mint has returned to profitability. From a moribund organization with heavy losses, the company grew from a loss position of N14.6 million in 2014 to a profit of N14.3 billion in 2018. Turnover also grew from N17.8 billion in 2014 to N61.4 billion in 2018.

“Other achievements include enhanced production capacity, revenue diversification, reduced cost of production, the institutionalization of corporate governance, improved staff welfare and industrial harmony, among others.

“We will conserve scarce foreign exchange, improve revenue generation, create job opportunities, and boost acquisition/transfer of technology.”

No plan to increase pump price, says NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dismissed reports that it is planning to increase the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) better known as petrol.

In a statement, Ndu Ughamadu, group general manager, group public affairs division of NNPC, said mischief makers are behind the reports.

During a visit to Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday, Mele Kyari, group managing director of the NNPC, had said it is very difficult to make fuel available at N145.

After this, reports of plans to increase pump price started circulating on social media.

Ughamadu said it was improper for people to conclude that the corporation had made plans to hike the price of the product.

He said NNPC is “not even in a position to regulate the price of petroleum products.”

Ughamadu said what Kyari meant was that “the price of petrol was abysmally low in Nigeria compared to what obtained in neighbouring West African countries.”

“Mallam Kyari had observed at the event that the huge disparity in the pump price of petrol between Nigeria on the one hand and her neighbouring country on the other hand tended to encourage cross-border leakages, as he sought the support of the leadership of the National Assembly to curb the malaise of smuggling,” the statement read.

NNPC cautioned petroleum products marketers not to sell petrol above N145 per litre.

Ughamadu urged Nigerians to report cases of increased fuel price to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in order to take disciplinary measures against defaulters.

Dangote, Otedola promise $75k for every goal Eagles score

Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola, Nigerian billionaires, have promised the Super Eagles $75,000 for every goal scored in their remaining games at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.

Dangote has promised $50,000 per goal, while Otedola pledged the sum of $25,000 for each goal scored by the Eagles.

Earlier in the group stage of the 2019 AFCON, Aiteo group, one of the official sponsor of the senior men national team gave the Eagles $75,000 for the three goals scored in their 3-2 victory over Cameroon in the Round of 16.

Hosea Wells Okunbo, a businessman, also pledged the sum of $20,000 per player, while Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, rewarded the team with $5,000 per player.

The Gernot Rohr’s men defeated Bafana Bafana of South Africa 2-1 to qualify for the semifinals on Wednesday night at the Cairo International stadium.

The Super Eagles will take on the winner between Algeria and Cote D’Ivoire in the semi final game.

Femi Otedola recently donated $50,000 to Christian Chukwu, former Super Eagles coach in need of medical attention.

AFCON 2019: Algeria beat Ivory Coast 4-3, reach semi-final

Algeria beat Ivory Coast 4-3 during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final football match at the Suez stadium

BREAKING: Nigeria beats South Africa 2-1..through to semis

Nigeria has defeated South Africa in a gruelling match ..2-1 to qualify for the Semi Finals of the African Cup of Nations football competition holding in Egypt.

Details later