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Traders protest in Sango Otta as Customs men invade markets

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

Court freezes Stella Oduah’s account in 21 banks

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

Senators kick as Osinbajo withholds assent to four bills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll leave after PDP convention – Modu Sheriff

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawmaker wants BBNaija reality show banned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EFCC recovers 17 exotic vehicles from ex-Customs CG Dikko

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The particulars of the vehicles recovered is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man arrested with human head on Valentine’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Fall from grace –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saraki, Dogara jet out to London to visit Buhari

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

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

Insurgency: India, S’Africa, others partner Nigeria to produce weapons

Five countries – Poland, Turkey, South Africa, Pakistan and India – have partnered the Nigerian Ministry of Defence to commence the production of weapons for the armed forces to prosecute the war against the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, said this on Monday at the Nigerian Army Research and Innovation Summit in Abuja, adding that the partnership would include the transfer of technology and skills to the armed forces.
The summit, with the theme, “Research and Innovation: Developing synergy with indigenous institutions for enhanced capacity in the Nigerian Army,” had the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Tukur Buratai, and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, in attendance.
Dan-Ali said, “We are working on a partnership with the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria and some foreign original equipment manufacturers with a view to launching a pilot production line of some fast-moving arms and ammunition for the armed forces of Nigeria. Through this effort, Nigeria will save its hard earned foreign exchange.
“So far, Poland, Turkey, South Africa, Pakistan and India have visited Nigeria for that purpose of partnership. This partnership will, among other things, consider the transfer of skills and technological innovations for the advancement of our armed forces.”
Buratai said 178 military equipment were refurbished between July 2015 and now, and had boosted the war against the Boko Haram terrorists.
He said, “We have learnt the hard lessons of over-reliance on foreign equipment which was a huge setback in the initial stage of our operations. Presently, 178 armoured fighting vehicles have been refurbished and this is part of what has turned the tide of operations in the North-East in our favour.”
“All army corps and formations have been charged to intensify research and innovation efforts towards developing the right weapons and platforms needed to solve the identified battlefield problems. This charge led to the development of weapons such as Odey Rechargeable Dynamo Exploder, and the Mini Clearing Armoured Vehicle.”
Some other weapons displayed at the summit are Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) and the Incinerator.

Consumers groan as inflation rate rises to 18.72%

Hopes that the Consumer Price Index which measures inflation would reduce soon following promises by government were dashed as the index increased by 18.72 per cent (year-on-year) in January 2017.
The National Bureau of Statistics in its CPI report which was released on Wednesday in Abuja said the 18.72 per cent rise in inflation rate is 0.17 percentage points higher than the 18.55 per cent recorded in December 2016.
The NBS report said the fastest pace of growth in headline inflation, year on year, were seen in bread and cereals, meat, fish, oils and fats, potatoes, yams and other tubers, wine and spirits, clothing materials and accessories.
Others are electricity, cooking gas, liquid and solid fuels, motor cars and maintenance, vehicle spare parts and fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, passenger transport by road.

More to follow…

Angola back as Africa’s top oil producer

Despite recording the biggest increase in output among its peers in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Nigeria has again lost its Africa’s top oil producer status to Angola after it regained it in November last year.
For nine months in 2016, Nigeria lagged behind its southern African counterpart in oil production on the back of the resurgence of militant attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
OPEC, in its Monthly Oil Market Report for February 2017, which was released on Monday, put crude oil production from Nigeria at 1.604 million barrels per day in January, up from 1.37 million bpd in the previous month, based on direct communication.
Production from Angola stood at 1.615 million bpd in January, down from the 1.639 million bpd it closed at last year.
Nigeria’s output had increased to 1.782 million bpd in November from 1.39 million bpd, compared to Angola’s 1.688 million bpd, OPEC’s December report showed.
OPEC, which uses secondary sources to monitor its oil output, but also publishes a table of figures submitted by its member countries, said the group’s total production in January averaged 32.14 million bpd, showing a decrease of 890,000 bpd over the previous month.
“Crude oil output decreased the most in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, while production in Nigeria, Libya and Iran increased,” the 13-member oil cartel said.
Nigeria had in March 2016 lost the top spot to Angola when the country’s production dropped to 1.677 million barrels per day, compared to Angola’s 1.782 million bpd.
According to the report, oil output in Africa is estimated to decline by 20,000 bpd in 2016, remaining unchanged from last month’s report to average 2.11 million bpd.
It said, “Most African countries saw an oil production decline or stagnant output year-on-year in 2016 except Congo, which had growth from its new Moho Marine Nord project. In 2017, oil production will continue to grow by 30,000 bpd in Congo as well as in South Africa, Ghana and Chad.
“Declines are seen coming from Sudan, South Sudan and Equatorial Guinea. For the region, growth is expected at 70,000 bpd, to average 2.18 million bpd.”

FG denies N5tr assets sale plan

 

The Ministry of Budget and National Planning has denied insinuations in a section of the Media indicating that the Federal Government is planning to raise about N5 trillion from assets sale in the next four years.
The publications claimed that the projected amount is contained in the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) being finalized by the Federal Government.
In a statement from the Ministry on Tuesday, the Special Adviser on Media, Akpandem James, noted that, “It has become necessary to state that the ERGP that is being finalized and which will soon be presented to the public has no recommendation for raising that amount of revenue from sale of assets.”
According to him, “To achieve the strategic objectives of the plan, 60 strategies have been developed for implementation with four key execution priorities:
§ Stabilization of the macroeconomic environment
§ Agriculture and food security
§ Sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products)
§ Industrialization focusing on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, ” he added.

B-R-E-A-K-I-N-G: James Ibori returns to Nigeria

Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori has arrived in Nigeria.

It was gathered that he arrived Abuja on Saturday morning and is on his way to his hometown, Oghara in Delta State.

James Ibori had, on Friday, appeared before a Southwark Crown court in London for his asset forfeiture hearing.

He regained his freedom in December 2016 after spending four-and-a-half years in a United Kingdom prison for money laundering.

The British Government had accused him of stealing about $250m from the Delta State Government part of which was used in buying six houses and luxury vehicles in the UK, the United States and South Africa.

More to follow

DHQ warns Nigerians about female suicide bombers

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday warned residents of the Northeast to be security conscious about female suicide bombers who may disguise as nursing mothers in the desperate bid to avoid detection by security personnel.
The military authorities in a statement asked the public to cooperate with security agencies carrying out “thorough security search and checks”, explaining that the traffic gridlock at military check points were not meant to cause public discomfort.
“Female suicide bombers are now evading detection from security operatives by carrying babies on their back, that ordinarily passes them for innocent nursing mothers,” the statement said,adding:“The two recent suicide bomb attacks in Madagali, Adamawa state, are instructive in this regard.
“Members of the public are therefore urged to always volunteer useful information to the military and other security agencies that would assist in exposing Boko Haram and their evil machinations in our society and to make our communities safe and secure for all to live.”
Suicide bombing has been the major challenge of security forces in the region.

Bailout funds scandal: Governor loses $10m to mistress

A governor is under probe after the sum of $10 million he diverted from the bailout funds allocated to his state was hijacked by his mistress.

The governor was said to have commissioned his mistress to help him launder the said sum only for the latter to refuse to remit it in the slush accounts the governor provided.

Already, the money in question has been traced to a bank in the United States.

The Nation investigation revealed that the governor resorted to using his US-based mistress to stash the funds abroad in order to avoid monitoring by security agencies.

The cash was allegedly either wired or hauled in tranches in order to beat the nation’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

In spite of the governor’s tricks, however, security agencies were able to intercept the deal between him and his mistress.

It was gathered that the diversion of the looted $10 million by the mistress created an uproar that triggered the ongoing investigation of the deal between the love birds.

One of the sources involved in the probe said: “A governor from an oil-producing state is in soup and under probe by some security agencies.

“The governor seems to have been duped by his mistress who stays in Texas in the United States.

“The governor is worried after discovering that his girlfriend has defrauded him of $10 million.

“What started as a love affair and promises of good faith has turned sour.

“Yet the governor would not want his wife or the people of the state, who will be disappointed, to know about this ugly transaction.”

The security chief added: “Investigation so far indicated that the governor allegedly diverted part of the bailout funds meant for his state to the mistress.

“All relevant security agencies are already tracking how the cash was wired to the mistress as well as the whereabouts of the funds.

 

“Very soon, the details of the transaction will be revealed to Nigerians.

“This is why the government has decided to monitor how bailout funds and London-Paris loan refunds were spent.”

police

Inspector General of Police

The Presidency in 2016 released the sum of N1. 266.44 trillion to 36 states within nine months.

The breakdown includes N713.70 billion special intervention funds to states and London Paris Club loan refunds of N522.74 billion.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had said 16 states were yet to disburse about N57, 663, 185, 735 of the bailout funds approved for them by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The agency also indicted some of the states for diverting the bailout funds which were meant for workers’ salaries.

… Source THE NATION