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Atiku scammed, no poll result on server, says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission said it never transmitted the 2019 presidential election result on a server as claimed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

The rebuttal was stated in INEC’s reply to the petition filed by Atiku and PDP challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, as declared by INEC on 27 February.

The commission, which is being represented by Yunus Usman (SAN), as lead counsel, said the results of the poll were never transmitted or collated electronically.

The vehement dismissal of Atiku and PDP’s claim meant that the petitioners must have been scammed to believe that the results were stored electronically.

To be sure, INEC added in its response, that it kept no such server where such electronically transmitted results could have been obtained.

INEC on February 27, 2019, four days after the poll on 23 Februaray, declared that the All Progressives Congress candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, won with 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, who polled 11,262,978 votes.

But the petitioners stated that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server…the true, actual and correct results” from the “state to state computation” showed that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who they said scored 16,741,430 votes.

They said the results were the total votes scored by the candidates in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, as there was “no report on sever” about the results from Rivers State as of February 25, 2019.

By calculation, Atiku and the PDP claimed to have defeated Buhari by 1,615,302 votes. But the commission, urging the tribunal to dismiss the petition, said in its reply filed on April 10, that the petitioners’ claims were false.

The INEC’s Director, Information and Communications Technology, Mr Chidi Nwafor, in his witness statement on oath attached to the reply, specifically denied the “server results” which the petitioners were laying claim to.

He said all the results were collated manually and were never transmitted electronically.

9th Assembly: APC clears Lawan, others to consult PDP colleagues

All Progressives Congress (APC) National Assembly members on Sunday got the nod to negotiate with the opposition in their bid for principal positions in the Ninth Assembly.

It is democratic to do so, the party said in a statement signed by National Publicity Secretary Lanre Issa-Onilu, who stressed that the party has nothing against its members seeking cooperation with other legislators as it is confident that they will not betray the party.

There has been reports of Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan, who has been adopted for Senate President, holding meetings with members of the opposition, but Issa-Onilu said that Lawan was adopted by the party for the position in the first place because of his ability to carry everyone along, which is needed for such a position.

He also said that the party will announce its zoning arrangement for the National Assembly leadership in the coming days.

The statement reads: “We are inundated with reports of our members in the National Assembly holding consultations with members of the opposition over the election of leaders into the Ninth National Assembly. Let me state that our party has no objection to such consultations.

“It is a normal democratic practice world over to stretch hands across the divides.  And contrary to some media reports, the actions of our members do not contradict the party’s position. APC has a comfortable majority in both chambers. Therefore; we have the number to produce the leadership.

“But democracy recognises the importance of the opposition, especially when you do not have two-third, which would be required at some very critical situations. For us as a ruling party, we understand that a stable and peaceful National Assembly would enhance our capacity to deliver more for the people of Nigeria.

“So, the party is not averse to negotiation by Senator Ahmed Lawan and our other senators-elect working to fulfil the position taken by our party.

“It is important to note that one of the key considerations for adopting him as the party’s candidate for the Senate presidency is his ability to carry everyone along. On top of that, the party has confidence in him not to compromise the progressive ideology of APC. So, clearly, Senator Ahmed Lawan is capable of conducting his negotiations within the prism of APC’s objectives.”

On zoning and the leadership of the House of Representatives, Issa-Onilu  assured Nigerians that the party will put to rest ongoing agitations and “will soon release the zoning arrangements for the principal positions of the incoming Ninth National Assembly.

“The party will also make its position clear in the coming days on the principal positions in the House of Representatives,” the party’s spokesman said.

He said that the nationwide consultations being championed by the Senate Leader and Leader of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, who is seeking to become the Speaker of the Green Chamber, were in line with the party’s policy of inclusiveness.

According to him, national interest is guiding the ongoing rapprochement between APC’s candidates and members-elect from the opposition.

Issa-Onilu said: “It is just part of politics and in a democracy, consensus is a key element. To have a smooth sail in the National Assembly, you don’t go to the floor pretending that the opposition parties do not exist.

“Even if the opposition parties cannot defeat you, in the spirit of national interest, you must work with them. We want to run a government of inclusiveness, we need every party.

“We will support every effort by our candidates for principal offices in the Senate and the House of Representatives to carry elected members from the opposition along.

“As long as we can, we will keep our members-elect united to present common candidates to lead the National Assembly. The fact that we are saying that we can go it alone is not the same thing as saying that the opposition does not matter.

“We have the numbers to achieve our aim but we have to ensure comfort for the opposition too. Unlike in the past, what we are pushing before the 9th National Assembly is a national interest agenda.

“We want them to see our candidates within the prism of the national agenda we are pursuing.”

The Senate Leader at the weekend had audience with more senators-elect from PDP.

He was busy selling his vision of a united Ninth National Assembly.

A PDP senator-elect said: “Actually, Lawan met with us to seek our support. He tried to make a few clarifications which boosted our confidence in him.

“It is not a party affair at all. It is left to individual senator to decide who to vote for.”

Breaking: Again, court orders Jay Jay Okocha’s arrest for tax evasion

A Lagos High Court in Igbosere has renewed a bench warrant for the arrest of former Super Eagles captain, Augustine Jay-Jay Okocha for alleged tax evasion.

Justice Adedayo Akintoye made the order following Okocha’s alleged failure to settle a 2017 income tax evasion case brought against him by the Lagos State Government.

The judge first made the order on January 29, following an application by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.

The ministry told the court that Okocha had also failed to appear in court since 2017 when the case was filed against him.

Details shortly…

Sex on false promise of marriage is rape: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court in India has ruked that the fact that the victim and her rapist have married other people and gone their separate ways will not erase the crime. The rapist would still have to answer for his crime, a Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and M.R. Shah concluded in their recent judgment.

The case concerns the rape of a woman by a government doctor in Chhattisgarh in 2013. The man had engaged in a physical relationship with her at his home on the promise of marrying her. At the time of the crime, he was already engaged to marry another woman. He later broke his promise to the victim.

On the basis of an FIR filed, the man was convicted of rape. The conviction was confirmed by the High Court. He was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. The apex court was appealed to.

In his judgment for the Bench, Justice Shah observed that it was clear from the evidence that the man’s intention was to cheat the victim. She would not have consented to the sexual act had he not promised her marriage. “It was a clear case of cheating and deception,” the Supreme Court held.

The court said such incidents were on the rise in modern society.

“Rape is the most morally and physically reprehensible crime in a society, an assault on the body, mind and privacy of the victim. While a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female. Rape reduces a woman to an animal, as it shakes the very core of her life,” Justice Shah wrote in the judgment.

The court said rape is the “most hated crime”. “It tantamounts to a serious blow to the supreme honour of a woman, and offends both her esteem and dignity,” the judgment said.

The mere fact that both the victim and her attacker have married separately moved on does not erase the horror of what was committed on her. The rapist must face the consequences of the crime.

The court however reduced his sentence to seven years’ imprisonment.

Air force loses airman in parachuting accident

The Nigerian air force (NAF) says it has lost an airman in a parachuting accident in Kaduna state.

Ibikunle Daramola, the NAF director of public relations and information, confirmed the incident in a statement issued to the NAN in Abuja on Sunday, April 14, 2019.

“NAF is sad to announce the passing of one of its airmen, Corporal Meshach Iliya Komo, who died in Kaduna today, April 14 2019, in a parachuting accident during recurrency training, the statement read.

“On behalf of officers, airmen and airwomen of the NAF, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, commiserates with the family of the late airman over this irreparable loss.

”We pray that the Almighty God grants his soul eternal rest.”

Tiger Woods wins first major title in 11 years

Tiger Woods has won the 83rd edition of The Masters Open at Augusta, scooping his first major title in eleven years.

The American golfer sealed his first Major title since his 2008 US Open triumph, finishing on 13-under-par, one shot ahead of his compatriots, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.

Tied on second with Tony Finau going into the third and final round which started earlier than scheduled on Sunday morning due to an incoming storm, Woods, who has fought off persistent back problems and had been written off in the lead-up to Augusta, carded a final day two-under-par 70 to come from behind and claim the much-coveted green jacket.

Wearing his trademark red shirt he reserves for the final day of events, and with the crowd cheering him all day, Woods, despite needing two attempts, putted the 18th hole to claim a hard-fought victory in which he took the outright lead only three holes to the end of the championship.

Playing in his 22nd Masters on the golf course where he started his professional career in 1995, 48-year-old Woods needed all his years of experience to putt for par on the ninth hole where overnight leader Molinari, and fellow Challenger, Finau, both bogeyed to hand Woods the advantage from which he never looked back.

The win is Tiger Woods’ fifth title at Augusta and remains second behind legendary Jack Nicklaus who won six titles at Augusta, while on 15 Majors, Woods also requires three titles to equal Nicklaus’ 18 career Major titles.

Zamfara police boss says no room for negotiation with bandits,

Zamfara State Police Commissioner, Mr Celestine Okoye, has said that security agents will not negotiate with bandits terrorising  the people of the state.

Okoye made this position known on Sunday in Talata-Mafara while addressing newsmen shortly after a state Security Council meeting.

“When you talk of negotiations, it means the issue has not gone far. We have shut down all avenues of negotiation.

“The bandits should know that we are now going to come in full force and there will be no escape for them.

“Very soon, armed banditry activities will be over in Zamfara, but we will not disclose details of the measures to be used,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State has ordered security chiefs in the stare to head field operations in the fight against bandits.

Yari made this known on Monday while addressing newsmen at the end of the state Security Council meeting which held at his private residence in Talata-Mafara.

The meeting, which started at the Government House, Gusau on Saturday, was concluded on Sunday in Talata-Mafara.

“We want to intensify the operations and we concluded that the security will now be closer to their men on the field.

“There will certainly be no room for the bandits. I want to assure Nigerians and the rest of the world that armed banditry and other criminal activities will soon come to an end in Zamfara.

“We will set up camps in all the affected areas so that coordination of the operation can be easier and on target.

“We are going to send the same message to all the other affected states of Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Niger, so that we jointly operate on the same frequency in dealing with the criminals,” he said.

The governor, who commended the recent ban on mining activities in the state by the Federal Government noted that the ban had further frustrated the bandits and their hiding places.

“We have realised  that there is a partnership between the criminals and the miners, because some of the kidnap victims reported that they were kept near mining sites.

“The State Government has never benefitted from any royalties or tax from these miners, so they have not contributed anything towards the development of the state,” Yari maintained.

Anger as Ogun Govt demolishes Regal Estate

Some Ogun State residents numbering close to 50, on Friday, protested the recent demolition of their buildings inside Regal Estate at Magboro by the Ogun State Government.

Bearing different placards with measages such as “FG, please come to our aid,” “Amosun, leave us alone and go in peace,” “All we want is justice” and so on, the protesters urged the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to look into what they term illegal demolition of buildings including churches and shops.

Speaking to journalists at the site in Magboro just off the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, one of the protesters described it as naked display of executive recklessness.

“It is a shame that a governor could just wake up one day and with less than two months left in office, descend so heavily on people whose only crime could be said to stem from buying plots of land in Ogun State and getting all necessary documents from the government of the same state,” the man simply identified as Ayeni, lamented.

With the debris of the demolished buildings littering the site, Chief Nureni Farounbi, head of the family which owns the land, said the state government’s action is not only prejudicial but smacks of contempt of court.

“It is shocking because this is not an area where we have the issue of acquired land because there has been no time the topic of paying compensation to our land has come up. As you can see, there is nothing the state government has done to us, no school, no hospital, no water or electricity or even road. The electricity you see here now was as a result of money the family contributed.

“And all the people we sold land to here went to Ogun State to go and do ratification and they were given the necesary particulars to the land including C Of O. Only for me to get a call last month that government officials are here demolishing buildings.”

Speaking further, he said: “We are already in court because the only clue we can talk about has to do with the fact that governnent to erect a signpost along the road long ago and we took them to court. Maybe that is why they came to demolish these buildings.”

Asked what their demands are as things stand, Farounbi added: “We rushed back to court and we have a hearing fixed for April 18. They started demolishing on Friday, March 22 and about 15 houses including a church and shops have been brought down because the place was sold to people who developed it into an estate.”

Biyi Aiyeola, an undergraduate who said his father’s house was demolished without as much as adequate notice, referred to the action as “unbridled use of force demonstrating nothing but bitter politics”.

Ayodele Agbeleshe, one of the surveyors of the land, said there was no basis for demolishing any building in the area, labelling the exercise as unjustifiable.

The only house and church left behind by Pastor Shitu Mudashiru for his widow, Mrs. Bukola Shitu, was also demolished in the exercise.

According to the distraught widow, they had been living in the community for over ten years without anybody harassing them until March 22 when it all began barely a month after her husband died.

She they were holding a service in the church when officials of the Ogun State Government from Mitros came and said we were on an illegal land.

“When the officials of the state government came, it was during service, the leader of the team threatened to demolish the building on us if we didn’t come out on time. We hurriedly rounded off the prayer session.

Anger as Ogun Govt demolishes Regal Estate, residents accuse Amosun of 'playing bitter politics'
Demolition in Ogun Estate

“Initially, before the demolishing was carried out, some officials of the Urban and Regional Planning from Warewa Area had come to serve us notice of demolition. We were not afraid because we had all necessary documents concerning the land.

“Before the demolition exercise commenced, I approached one of the Mitros officials to know why they wanted to destroy our church and house and he said our building and church are on government-acquired land.

“I told the government officials that we had all necessary documents for the property we bought and also charted the land before we paid. It was after we had charted it from the Ministry of Lands and we are satisfied that we paid the person we bought it from.

“ As a widow, my children and I slept inside the cold for a week before we could get money to rent a single room apartment where are sleeping now. I don’t know where to start from; we are being chased out unjustly.”

Alhaji Shakiru Adeleye, whose house was also affected, said the demolition exercise was carried out in bad faith. Adeleye said they had been living in the community even before the present government assumed office without any problem whatsoever.

He said: “When I saw them demolishing the houses, I asked them why they had to destroy our house, the only answer they could give us was that we built our houses on illegal land.

“Unfortunately, one pastor Moses Ogunbode who was in his church, His Word Apostolic Ministry, was attacked when they were about to demolish the church forcefully, we are under siege of soldiers and police in the community, all we want is transparency and justice because we acquired the land legally.”

The government officials also demolished a building owned by Mr. Ahmed Muhili, who said he was using it as a factory and just invested huge money into the factory just months ago after buying the factory from a foreigner last year.
“When I wanted to buy it, I went to the Ministry of Lands to also chart it and it was there I discovered it was okay and I paid the owner.

“I was surprised when I received a call that some government officials from Mitros were demolishing house here. Before I could get here, they had brought my entire factory to the ground.

“We want peace, we had acquired our land before the present government assumed office, also paid all necessary money required by the state government”.

Don’t remove fuel subsidy, NUPENG, PENGASSAN urge Buhari

Workers in the oil and gas sector on Sunday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to shun any counsel that would destabilise or cause chaos in the economy.

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) gave the advice in a statement in Lagos.

The statement was signed by Mr Okugbawa Lumumba, PENGASSAN General Secretary and Afolabi Olawale, NUPENG’s General Secretary.

The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde had on April  12 called on the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy because of low revenue mobilisation that existed  in terms of tax to Gross Domestic Product.

They said that the IMF advice on how to recover Nigerian economy was worrisome as it had become counter productive.

“Any economic policy that is devoid of human feelings can lead to more social dislocations and upheavals, which will later become counterproductive as currently experienced,’’ it said.

The unions said that IMF had created panic in the country with associated hoarding of petroleum products, panic buying, skyrocketed increases in prices of goods and services in the country.

It said that earlier, the IMF chief praised the significant progress the nation had made in terms of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that increased by 1.9 per cent in 2018 from 0.8 per cent in 2017.

It said that the IMF was not considering the pains and agonies the people went through to achieve the  gains of 2018, with almost two-thirds of the world’s hungriest people among Nigerians.

The unions also cautioned that imposing more stringent reforms in domestic revenue mobilisation including increase in VAT and securing more domestic oil revenues through subsidy removal was an attempt to destabilise the nation.

The unions in the statement appealed to President Buhari to put in mind the current hardship the people were going through in their collective journey to economic recovery.

Pornographic films, others worth N2.5b seized by Censors Board

Mrs Bola Athar, Acting Director of Operations, National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), has disclosed that the board seized pornographic and other unclassified films worth N2.5 billion in two years.

She made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at a dinner reception on Sunday night in Abuja to mark second year of Mr Adedayo Thomas as Chief Executive Officer of the board.

NAN reports that top management staff, industry stakeholders and other functionaries of government were present at the event to felicitate with Thomas for effectively steering the Nigerian movie industry in the last two years.

Athar, who took a retrospective look into the activities of the board for the period, said the feat was unprecedented.

According to her, the seized items include production equipment, DVDs, CD copies of 20 in 1 video films, unclassified foreign and local films as well as pornographic materials.

“This is the first time in the history of NFVCB that its Director-General will go for raid operations and in two years, the board sanitized the market of unwholesome films, valued at N2.5 billion.

“These items include pornographic films, unclassified local and international movies as well as machines for mass duplication of films.

“These items were seized during our enforcement operations across the country, including Kaduna, Benin,Warri, Kano, Onitsa and Lagos, to serve as deterrent and prevent such illegal products from selling in the market,” she said.

Athar explained further that suspects arrested during the period had been charged to court in accordance with the enabling laws of the board.

She also said that the board had strengthened relationship with relevant stakeholders, including the police, whose enforcement operations yielded the desired results.

“For example, Adedayo Thomas led a team of our men with the help of the Police to invade the Alaba International Marke, known as the hub of piracy in Lagos.

“That operation resulted in the removal of unapproved film and video works, with street value of over N50 million, from the market and many suspects arrested.”

Athar noted that the board under its current leadership, had been repositioned to provide staff with better welfare package and strengthen relationship with relevant stakeholders and industry players.

She, however, urged all filmmakers operating in the country to ensure total compliant with the NFVCB regulations, to avoid legal actions.

She said that the board had articulated an integrated public enlightenment strategy aimed at raising awareness of stakeholders in the film industry.

NAN reports that as part of the event, a Five-year strategic Plan document was handed over to Thomas by his management team.

Mrs Fatima Abdulkadir, Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, who presented the document to Thomas, said it was a compendium of the NFVCB programme for 2019 to 2024.

Abdulkadir, the most senior director in the board said: “We have a committee that consists of members drawn from every department of the board who came up with this document that contains what we intend to do in the next 5 years.

“It will be followed by an implementation plan, all geared toward repositioning the censors board as a regulator of the largest film and video industry in Africa, and second in the world.”

NFVCB,  a Federal Government body that regulates the films and video industry in Nigeria, is empowered by law to classify all films and videos, whether imported or produced locally.

It is also the duty of the Board to register all films and videos outlets across the country, as well as keep a register of such outlets, among other functions.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Thomas as Executive Director of the board in March, 2017.

Cultists on the rampage in Lagos, behead two, kill three others

Residents of Alasiya in Abraham Adesanya Estate area, in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, were thrown into panic on Sunday as a suspected clash by rival cults left five corpses on the streets.

Eyewitnesses said the clash started around midnight, adding that two of the five corpses were beheaded.

It was gathered that one victim was shot dead, another was slaughtered and the last one was butchered to death.

It was learnt that the police were able to recover four corpses because the family of one of the victims refused to release his remains.

A resident, Black Che, said he heard multiple gunshots around midnight.

The Enugu State indigene said, “Last night, when we were inside the factory around midnight, we heard gunshots. But when we came out this morning, we saw five corpses. The police evacuated four corpses but the last corpse was not released to them, because the family of the person who was killed prevented them from taking his corpse away.

“Two of the corpses that I saw were beheaded; another one was shot dead and his assailants slit his throat; another was slaughtered; and the last one was butchered. The corpses were dumped at different locations around the Alasiya bus stop.

“One dead body was by the road divider at General Paint; one was in front of the bus stop; another was in front of a school; one was not far from the Total filling station; while the last one was by the recycling area around the bus stop.”

A security guard, Uka Kalu, said when he heard the gunshots around midnight, he immediately closed the gate of the company he was hired to secure, adding that he was surprised to learn of the death of five people in the morning.

He said, “I was inside when I started hearing gunshots and the noise of people. I came out to observe what was going on. When I got outside, I asked the people I saw what was going on and what they told me was that some people who disembarked from a vehicle were the ones shouting. I immediately got inside and locked the gate.

“It was in the morning that we realised that the noise was in connection with the killing of five people, and when one of our workers visited the scene, he came back saying the sight was gory.”

A welder, Isiak Adebayo, while condemning the rate at which youths were killing themselves in the name of cultism, charged security agents to restore normalcy in the area.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said four corpses that were probably dumped in the area were recovered, adding that the command had commenced investigation into the matter.

“Four corpses were recovered from the scene of the incident and what we are suspecting is a cult supremacy fight. We have launched an investigation into the case,” Elkana said.

Without Ifa, there’d be no Google, says Ooni

Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, ooni of Ife, says Google, popular search engine, originated from “Ifa”, an oracle in Yoruba mythology.

Ogunwusi said this on Wednesday during a press tour of the tourists sites within the ancient city ahead of the tourism innovation and development innovation conference (TIDA) slated for April 24.

The theme of the forthcoming conference is: “Impact of Sustainable Tourism Development and Marketing of Tourism Destinations on Host Communities”.

The traditional leader said that without ‘Ifa’, Google would not have been created.

NAN reports that ‘Odu Ifa’ refers to the verses of the literary corpus that are usually consulted by people who believe in its efficacy before embarking on any project or activity.

It is also a West African religion and system of divination

Ogunwusi said “Ifa” as a form divination was all about sourcing for information and knowledge through traditional consultation.

The traditional ruler said that the Google could be regarded as the modern way of sourcing for past information and what was likely to happen in the future too.

He said that “Ifa” originated several thousands of years ago and is seen as the voice of the almighty God referred to as ‘Orisa Oke’ which is supreme to other lesser gods.

”Without ‘Ifa’, there could never have been the google, so the google is the modern day version of ‘Ifa’,” the monarch said.

“‘Ifa’ is all about information, getting knowledge from the almighty God.

“Whenever you search the google for information or knowledge, you are consulting ‘Ifa’; and without “Ifa”, there would not have been the google.”

He said “Ifa” was still relevant in contemporary time, that was why people were still consulting the oracle for information and solutions to their problems.

Ogunwusi explained that if the modern day youths and the educated wanted to know the date of any important event, they would search for it from the Google.

“That is part of the functions that Ifa’ does for its believers and followers; that is the truth but it may sound strange,” he said.

The traditional ruler who is the custodian of the Yoruba culture and tradition called on Nigerians to embrace traditional worships peculiar to their communities.

He said that would not stop them from practising other modern religions.

Tony Elumelu Foundation host EU, DFI’s, think tanks in Brussels

 

At a time when Europe’s relationship with Africa is high on foreign policy and developmental agendas and with the European Union beginning to deliver on its 2017 External Investment Plan, targeted at attracting investment and job creation in Africa, the Tony Elumelu Foundation brought together leading stakeholders in the development finance sector, at a case study session in the EU capital, Belgium.

The convening demonstrated that Africa also had solutions to bring to the table and platformed the Foundation’s unique approach to catalysing entrepreneurship in scale across the continent.

Themed “A Convening on Africa’s Economic Transformation: A Case Study of the Tony Elumelu Foundation”, the event presented the results of the first five years of the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme a unique programme, which has trained, mentored and seeded 4,470 African entrepreneurs with 3,050 newly announced to receive seed funding, and drawn over 200,000 applications to its 2019 cycle. Tony Elumelu’s $100m investment in entrepreneurial philanthropy was held up as an example of how vital capital could be targeted efficiently and effectively, at African businesses best able to create significant economic and developmental impact.

Opening the event, Mr. Koen Doens, Deputy Director General, DEVCO, EU, said: “Africa needs to create jobs by the millions to match the needs of its exponentially growing population. It will achieve this only if it unleashes a generation of empowered entrepreneurs. The Tony Elumelu Foundation contributes to this massively. The European Union wants to play its part and contribute to this endeavour.” 

During an indepth question and answer session with EU-Africa relations expert, Annie Mutamba, Founder, Mr. Tony Elumelu CON, highlighted the growing interest in the Tony Elumelu Foundation and its unique approach, while welcoming a new type of intervention in Africa. “We very much believe in collaboration, mutual respect and a shared commitment to transform Africa. Africa is ready but we need to do this through the right sustainable manner, that enables our people to become self-reliant, and independent, instead of perpetuating dependency. We need to implement practical solutions on ground through entrepreneurship, which empower people economically and addresses issues of extremism, migration, and insecurity.”

Minister Phillippe De Backer, Minister for Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Post, Belgium, also commented: “There is an increasing desire in Europe to engage Africa, including its grassroots in a structure and targeted approach with the right processes. The Tony Elumelu Foundation offers this platform.”

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which last month in March announced 3,050 selected entrepreneurs for its 2019 cycle, continues to grow in scale, ambition and impact, and now actively leverages technology to support entrepreneurs through TEF Connect – a digital hub designed to link entrepreneurs across Africa, and which already has 500,000 users.

On the Foundation’s future plans, he stated: “We want to make sure that we impact more, reach more, touch more lives and get more women involved. We want to see more Northern Africa participation. We would like to reach 10,000 a year, with support from partners to empower additional entrepreneurs. We want to eradicate poverty and create wealth in a sustainable way. Ultimately, we want a larger and broader entrepreneurship ecosystem, that supports young Africans, and we want to deepen our engagement with government to create the enabling environment to support these Africans to succeed – the right investment climate, training, education, access to capital and most importantly creating the right investment culture.”

Other dignitaries at the event included: Carl Michiels, Director, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM); Bruno Wenn, Former CEO/Chairman at DEG-German Investment and Development Company, and Advisory Board Member, Tony Elumelu Foundation; Mr Viwanou Gnanssougou, Assistant Secretary General, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) at the European Council of the European Union, and Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Lagos medium, high capacity buses to start operations

 

The Lagos State Government is set to roll out 820 medium and high capacity buses under its public transportation Bus Reform Initiative to meet the yearnings of its citizenry.

The State Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawanson, who disclosed this on Thursday at the Secretariat, Alausa, noted that the deployment of the new buses will address the inadequacies of the present unreliable transportation system in Lagos metropolis.

According to him, the State Government designed the Bus Reform Project to correct the many challenges inherent in the present system, through the replacement of yellow mini-buses with air-conditioned vehicles of uniform specification, predictable bus schedules, and routes supported by appropriate infrastructure.

Lawanson recalled the first implementation of the bus reforms which began with the construction and commissioning of the Ikeja Bus Terminal by President Muhammadu Buhari, followed by the completion of other terminals at Yaba, Oyingbo, Ojota, Agege, and Ajah as well as the Oshodi Transport Interchange masterpiece to be unveiled by the President before the end of the administration’s tenure on May 29.

He maintained that the Bus Reform Project which will be technology driven will ensure seamless integration of transport modes and passenger movement through 23 routes for efficiency and effectiveness that will restore the confidence of Lagosians in the use of public transport facilities.

Explaining further, Lawanson said 75 of the 100 bus shelters earmarked for the first phase of the Bus Reform project have been completed to support the operations of the buses.

Allaying fears that the existing transport unions members will be sent into labour market, Lawanson stated that 800 of the buses will be released to private operators through the operating lease model which has incorporated the current road transport operators – National Union of Road Transport Workers, (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) – as part of the Bus Operating Companies.

While congratulating Lagosians for being part of the laudable project aimed at ensuring a better life for all, Lawanson urged citizens to take ownership of the project by guiding against misuse and vandalisation when the buses commence operations.

Assange found guilty of jumping bail, awaits US extradition

A London judge has found WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange guilty of failing to surrender to bail in 2012. He will now be sentenced on May 2.

Assange had pleaded not guilty to the charge, which stems from the time he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012, avoiding extradition to Sweden for a sexual assault investigation, rt.com reported.

Although Swedish authorities dropped the charge in 2017, Assange remained wanted by Britain for breaching the terms of his original bail.

The WikiLeaks chief faces 12 months in prison for failing to surrender, and will be sentenced via video link on May 2.

Julian Assange the world knew before today’s arrest

Separate from the British charge, Assange is also wanted for extradition by the United States. Although Washington quietly requested his extradition in 2016, the US Justice Department announced conspiracy charges against Assange on Thursday, stemming from his role in publishing classified military documents leaked by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning in 2010.

Assange faces a “federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer,” according to the Justice Department.

Rather than actually hacking into government networks himself, Assange is merely accused of encouraging Manning to do so.

The British judge said on Thursday that the US must produce its case for Assange’s extradition by June 12.

His alleged crimes fall under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, rather than the Espionage Act. However, activists have warned that the US government may attempt to tack on additional charges to punish Assange.

BREAKING: Sudan military expected to announce end to Bashir rule

Sudan’s armed forces will make an important announcement soon, state television said on Thursday as troops were deployed in Khartoum and sources reported a coup attempt against President Omar al-Bashir after months of protests.

“The armed forces will present an important statement shortly. Be ready for it,” the announcement on state television read, without giving further details.

Sudanese sources said the army will likely announce a transition of power from Bashir to a council headed by military figures to end Bashir’s 30 years in power.

A Sudanese source told Reuters Bashir was under house arrest with a number of aides at the presidential palace.

The army and security services deployed troops around the defense ministry and on major roads and bridges in Khartoum as thousands of people flocked to an anti-government protest outside the ministry, a Reuters witness said.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese marched through the center of the capital Khartoum in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans. .

Protesters outside the defense ministry chanted: “It has fallen, we won.”

Al Arabiya TV reported that Bashir had resigned, but this was not confirmed.

State television and radio played patriotic music, reminding older Sudanese of how military takeovers unfolded during previous episodes of civil unrest.

Bashir, a former paratrooper who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1989, has been a divisive figure who has managed his way through one internal crisis after another while withstanding attempts by the West to weaken him.

Sudan has suffered prolonged periods of isolation since 1993, when the United States added Bashir’s government to its list of terrorism sponsors for harboring Islamist militants. Washington followed up with sanctions four years later.

Bashir has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003.

The latest crisis has escalated since the weekend, when thousands of demonstrators began camping out outside the Defence Ministry compound in central Khartoum, where Bashir’s residence is located.

Clashes erupted on Tuesday between soldiers trying to protect the protesters and intelligence and security personnel trying to disperse them. At least 11 people died in the clashes, including six members of the armed forces, the information minister said citing a police report.

Since Dec. 19, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages

Opposition figures have called for the military to help negotiate an end to Bashir’s nearly three decades in power and a transition to democracy.

The demonstrators at the Defence Ministry had said that they wanted to submit a petition for the armed forces to take their side in their attempt to remove Bashir and his Islamist-backed administration.

Nigerian High Commission London changes staff status to ‘self-employed’

Locally recruited staffers of the Nigerian High Commission London would from April 20 have their employment status changed from “employee” to “self-employed”.

This development is contained in a memo addressed to the staff by Mrs Helen Nzeako, the Commission’s Head of Chancery.

Nzeako stated that the decision was “sequel to the communication received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on tax payment to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Commission (HMRC), Embassy Unit’’.

Under the “self-employed’’ status, Nzeako said that staffers would be responsible for their National Insurance Contribution (NIC) and Income Taxes.
However, they would retain all benefits they currently enjoy such as Holiday, Maternity leave and sick leave.
She also said that they would enjoy salary increment as a gesture of goodwill.

In December 2018, the same locally-recruited staff of the Commission were disengaged from service and their entitlement paid.

They were further advised to reapply for their various positions as contract staff in a move necessitated by the then ongoing restructuring of the High Commission following budgetary constraints.

Currently, over 50 locally recruited staff work for the Commission

Bademosi: Togolese cook faces murder charge

An Igbosere High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, remanded a Togolese cook, Sunday Anani, in prison custody over the alleged murder of his boss, Chief Opeyemi Bademosi, the Chief Executive Officer of Credit Switch Ltd.

Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile gave the order following Anani’s arraignment by the Lagos State Government on a two-count charge of murder and armed robbery.

Before the charge was read, his counsel, the Director of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Mrs Adenrera Adeyemi, informed the court that Anani did not understand English language.

Adeyemi, however, applied for a French-English language interpreter.

Okikiolu-Ighile upheld her application and directed that one be provided.

The charge, prepared by the Prosecutor, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, was then read and interpreted to Anani.

The prosecutor alleged that Anani, 22, committed the offences on October 31, 2018, at the residence of the victim in Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

He said that the defendant stabbed Bademosi, 67, to death with a knife and stole his valuables, including his phone.

Shitta-Bey said the offences contravened sections 223 and 297 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Anani, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The judge remanded defendant in prison and adjourned the case until May 21 for trial.

Court dismisses EFCC’s N254m bribery case against Akwa Ibom Senator

An Ikeja Special Offences Court, on Wednesday, dismissed a N254 million bribery suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Albert Bassey, a serving Senator representing Akwa-Ibom North-East.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, in a ruling, dismissed the suit due to lack of jurisdiction and advised the anti-graft commission to file the suit in Akwa Ibom State where the alleged bribe took place.

“The issue of jurisdiction is a fundamental one. In the instant case, the prosecution had failed to give reasons why the suit should be heard within this jurisdiction.

“This court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate on this matter. I hereby strike out this suit for lack of jurisdiction.
“The prosecution should file the charges in Akwa-Ibom where the alleged fraud took place, ” Justice Taiwo said.

Bassey, 46, is faced with corruption charges proffered against him by the EFCC for receiving alleged bribes of 12 cars worth N254 million from an oil marketer, Olajide Omokore, during his tenure (2010-2014) as the Akwa-Ibom Commissioner for Finance.

The anti-graft commission claimed that the car gifts were given to Bassey by Omokore in exchange for contracts from the Akwa Ibom State Government.
The Akwa Ibom Senator was to face a 14-count corruption charge alongside Omokore at an Ikeja Special Offences Court.

Bassey was to specifically face seven-counts of corruption by a public officer and a public officer inviting bribes as a result of his own action.
Omokore, was to face a seven-count charge of offering gratification to a public officer and giving bribe on account of the action of a public officer.

Defence counsel, Solomon Umoh (SAN) and Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN), had respectively filed applications contending  that the court had no power to hear the substantive case.
Bassey’s counsel, Umoh, had argued that there was nothing before the court to prove that the alleged crime against Bassey was committed outside Akwa-Ibom or in Lagos State.

“There is nothing in the proof of evidence that suggested that any aspect of the alleged crime against the first defendant was committed outside Akwa-Ibom State and in Lagos State.
“Happily, the prosecution has narrowed everything down that it was cars that was delivered to the first defendant by the second defendant.

“So, we want to ask where were the cars delivered to so we can know what Lagos has to do with Akwa-Ibom State but we have provided the answers in our argument, the cars were delivered in Akwa Ibom State.

“If he (Bassey) received in Akwa-Ibom State, how come they are coming to try him in Lagos State.

“The prosecution have not shown how the first defendant came to Lagos to receive vehicles. They have not shown it anywhere in the proof of evidence.”
Umoh, who further argued that Bassey’s name was not mentioned in the petition written to the EFCC, urged the court to grant his application.

Similarly, Omokore’s counsel, Adejuyigbe, SAN had argued that the contending issue was not insufficiency of evidence but whether they were in the right court.

He further argued that in determining the issue of jurisdiction, the court was not bound by the place stated in the charge.

He said, “The count against the second defendant relates to receiving gratification or giving bribe.
“The section under which those counts were charged did not state time of purchase, place of purchase, mode of payment so we cannot be asking the court to rewrite the law,” he said.
However, the prosecution counsel, Sadisu Abubakar, had argued that the EFCC has the right to try the case before the court.

He said that the applicants tied the issue of jurisdiction to the issue of insufficiency of evidence which he noted was an abuse of court processes.
The offences, according to the EFCC, contravene sections 63 (1)(a), 64 (1)(a) and 98(1), (a), (i) of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.

Shaw own goal gives Barcelona advantage over Manchester United

Barcelona will take a 1-0 lead over Manchester United into next week’s second leg of their Champions League quarter-final after a 12th-minute Luke Shaw own goal gave them victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Sergio Busquets found Lionel Messi with a clever ball into the area and the Argentine carved out space on the left to deliver a lofted cross to Luis Suarez at the back post.

The Uruguayan’s header deflected off the shoulder of a scrambling Shaw and beat David De Gea to give the visitors the lead.

And although the linesman initially flagged for offside, the goal was given after a VAR video review.

United’s best chance of the first half fell to Diogo Dalot but the Portuguese made a mess of a fine Marcus Rashford cross, heading harmlessly across the goal from close-range.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team had struggled to get a foothold in the game during the opening 45 minutes but they were much improved after the break.

United applied plenty of pressure without creating any clear chances.

Barcelona could have added a second had Suarez not fired into the side-netting from a promising position after a clever through ball from Nelson Semedo.