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Hope Democratic Party asks tribunal to halt Buhari’s inauguration

The Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and Ambrose Owuru, its presidential candidate, have asked the presidential election petition tribunal to halt the  swearing-in ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari will be sworn in on May 29.

The motion filed by the applicants is seeking an order restraining Buhari, the first respondent, from presenting himself on May 29 or any other date for swearing in or taking of oath of allegiance and oath of office as president.

They are also seeking an order restraining Ibrahim Mohammed, acting chief justice of Nigeria, or any other justice in that stead from swearing in or administering the oath of allegiance and oath of office on Buhari.

The applicants predicated the application on the ground that they had filed a petition on March 3 challenging the validity of the election and the return of the first respondent as the winner of the election.

“A restraining order by this court is appropriate to preserve the subject matter of this petition and prevent the first respondent foisting a fiat accompli and state of helplessness on the court and render the petition nugatory,” the motion read.

“The law is settled that once the question of the validity of Election of any person is challenged as to whether he is validly elected or not, the person is not competent to take office or assume the seat of power until the matter is dealt with.”

However, Zainab Bulkachuwa, president of the appeal court, adjourned hearing on the application till May 22 on account of non-proper service on the respondents.

“The application filed by the appellants/applicants and all other interlocutory applications are hereby adjourned until May 22 for hearing,” she held.

“It is hereby ordered that all exchanges of processes and filing of respondents’ briefs are done within the period specified.”

Akeredolu seeks to tap into huge marijuana market

Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, says the state could diversify its economy by tapping into the marijuana market.

In a tweet on Monday, Akeredolu explained that with an estimated value of $145 billion in 2025, the state would be shortchanging itself if it ignores the marijuana business.

“We all know that Ondo State is the hot bed of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria,” he wrote.

“We know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State. With an estimated value of $145 Billion in 2025, we would be shortchanging ourselves if we failed tap into the Legal Marijuana Market.

“Our focus now is Medical Marijuana cultivation in controlled plantations under the full supervision of the@ndlea_nigeria. I strongly implore the FG to take this seriously as it is a thriving industry that will create 1000’s of Jobs for our youth & spur Economic Diversification.”

Arakunrin Akeredolu

@RotimiAkeredolu

We all know that Ondo State is the hot bed of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria. We know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State. With an estimated value of $145 Billion in 2025, we would be shortchanging ourselves if we failed t tap into the Legal Marijuana Market

Sahara Reporters

@SaharaReporters

Gov. @RotimiAkeredolu, NDLEA Boss, Abdallah In Thailand To Learn How To Grow Cannabis | Sahara Reporters
“We are here to study how cannabis can be of more advantage to the state and Nigeria at large just the way Thai Government has done.
READ MORE: http://bit.ly/2W4Wzgz 

View image on Twitter
2,399 people are talking about this

Arakunrin Akeredolu

@RotimiAkeredolu

We all know that Ondo State is the hot bed of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria. We know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State. With an estimated value of $145 Billion in 2025, we would be shortchanging ourselves if we failed t tap into the Legal Marijuana Market

Sahara Reporters

@SaharaReporters

Gov. @RotimiAkeredolu, NDLEA Boss, Abdallah In Thailand To Learn How To Grow Cannabis | Sahara Reporters
“We are here to study how cannabis can be of more advantage to the state and Nigeria at large just the way Thai Government has done.
READ MORE: http://bit.ly/2W4Wzgz 

View image on Twitter

Arakunrin Akeredolu

@RotimiAkeredolu

Our focus now is Medical Marijuana cultivation in controlled plantations under the full supervision of the @ndlea_nigeria. I strongly implore the FG to take this seriously as it is a thriving industry that will create 1000’s of Jobs for our youth & spur Economic Diversification. pic.twitter.com/L2pKhksPl6

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The governor and Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), visited Thailand to learn more about extracting cannabis.

At a programme held in Thailand on Monday, Akeredolu said they came to “study how cannabis can be of more advantage to the state and Nigeria at large just the way Thai Government has done. Cannabis is used for medical purposes; how can it be cultivated for specific purposes  and not be abused?”

Abdallah said that the current trend in the world is to look into the advantage of cannabis in the making of food and drugs.

During the electioneering, Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), had saidNigeria will export marijuana if he gets elected as president of the country.

He said people are making billions from the plant while Nigeria is lagging behind.

“We have to start taking care of our weed (Igbo), such that we can also contribute to the GDP of the world,” he had said.

In November 2018, most stores in Canada were reportedly struggling to meet the demand for cannabis, two weeks after the Canadian government had approved it for recreational use.

Grace Mugabe accused of bloody attack on domestic worker

Grace Mugabe, the wife of former Zimbabwean ruler Robert Mugabe, has been accused of attacking an employee at the family’s home with a shoe in 2017, lawyers said Tuesday.

She also faces an arrest warrant in neighbouring South Africa for her alleged assault with a power cable on a female model in Johannesburg in the same year.

Papers filed in Zimbabwe’s high court by lawyers for Shupikai Chiroodza allege that Mugabe used her fists and then her shoe in a prolonged attack that left Chiroodza’s face pouring blood.

Mugabe allegedly attacked Chiroodza after accusing her of “milking” her husband because she had accepted a cash wedding gift from him, the papers say.

Chiroodza was a government employee working at the Mugabes’ private Blue Roof mansion in Harare when the alleged attack took place in March 2017, eight months before then-president Mugabe was forced from office.

“I represent Chiroodza, who was part of the domestic staff at Blue Roof in a case of unlawful dismissal,” lawyer Douglas Coltart told AFP.

In her court papers demanding her job back, Chiroodza said Grace Mugabe punched her and ordered her to return an unspecified amount of money.

“She started beating me with clenched fists shouting, ‘Who do you think you are? You are milking my husband behind my back’,” Chiroodza said in her court application.

“I was terrified. She removed her shoe and continued assaulting me with it and blood started gushing out of my forehead, mouth and nose. The assault continued for about 20 minutes.”

Chiroodza said she received a dismissal letter two months later.

Coltart said the civil service commission had indicated it would not contest the case. “We are hoping to get some form of settlement,” he said

EFCC stalls N6.9bn alleged fraud trial of Fayose

A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, adjourned until May 21, the ongoing criminal trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, facing N6.9 billion fraud charges.

The trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, had stood down the case for one hour, to await the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), when it was first called at 1.00p.m.

After the court and defence counsel had waited for one hour and prosecutor still did not show up, the court adjourned the case until May 21, for continuation of trial.

Fayose was arraigned on an 11 counts charge, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Oct. 22, 2018, alongside a company, Spotless Investment Ltd.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the court had granted him bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum.

EFCC opened the case for the prosecution on Nov. 19, 2018 and is still leading evidence.

At the last adjourned date on May 10, the prosecutor had sought for an adjournment of the case, after it informed the court that its 13th witness, Adewale Aladegbola, had proved “hostile” in his testimony.

In spite of objections to the application for adjournment by defence, the court had granted the prosecution an adjournment to enable it decide and bring its proper application before the court,  in relation to the hostile witness.

When the case was called on Tuesday, Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) had respectively announced appearances for the defendants.

Defence then informed the court that the prosecutor was absent and had not written any letter to them, and had urged the court to stand down the case for some time, to enable prosecutor attend court.

The matter was however, adjourned, after the stand down, yielded not result.

At the last date, the 13th witness for the prosecution, Adewale Aladegbola, had introduced himself as a former driver of a Bullion Van in Zenith bank, Ado-Ekiti branch as at 2015.

He had told the court that his area of duty was cash picking and in absence of cash to pick, he works in the marketing section.

When asked about the vehicles he used for his job, he had said he uses two vehicles namely: a Bullion Van and an Escort Van.

The prosecutor had then asked the witness to tell the court what transpired on April 16, 2015 in relation to cash operation in the bank and in response, the witness had said:

“I don’t have any operation; more so, the Bullion Van which I was using was grounded on that date,”

When asked to tell the court what transpired between him and one Alfa named Oputu Okiemute, he had said that he got to know the said Alfa in August.

“He told me about the cash they had picked and that we need to cover up as if we had gone to pick it up officially, and I asked him what do you want me to do now as you said I was not aware,” he had said

It was at this point, that the prosecutor informed the court that the witness was departing from the contents of his extra judicial statement made to the EFCC, and had sought an adjournment.

In the charge, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele were said to have on June 17, 2014, taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti State, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.

He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his Zenith bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain in their accounts, the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Besides, the defendant was alleged to have used the aggregate sums of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which sums he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

The accused was also alleged to have used the sum of N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

We’ll compensate owners of affected properties along Ojodu road construction site

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday began construction of road at Ojodu-Berger area of the state, promising to compensate residents whose properties will be affected.

According to the government, the expansion of the two-lane road to six-lane was going to bring inconveniences to people but appealed to concerned stakeholders to cooperate for the successful execution of the project.

Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, while speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting for the construction of Kosoko Road, Ojodu Berger in Ojodu Local Council Development Area, called for understanding of the residents and other property owners whose property might be affected by the project.

He said the project was part of moves of the current administration to ensure regional integration and implementation of policies that would fast-track the southwest integration.

Ogunleye said the concept of regional integration was very crucial to the state government, saying that the Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration believed in developing the border roads to actualize the southwest regional integration agenda.

The commissioner stated that property owners were bound to undergo some inconveniences during the construction of the roads, he assured the stakeholders of enhanced value of their property when the project was completed.

He promised that the administration would adequately compensate those affected by the regeneration of Ojodu Berger as well as other developmental projects carried out by the government irrespective of the time left for the administration to handover.

According to him, the Sanwo-Olu administration would continue to work on the infrastructural development.

“Please we want you to cooperate with our team who will soon begin to mark your houses. First team will come to do the enumeration, other will come for the marking and another team will come for the removal,” he said.

Ogunleye allayed fear over denial of payment, urging the residents and affected property owner to bring any document to prove their ownership of the affected property.

“Bring whatever documents to you have to prove ownership of the house. As long there is evidence to prove that the property is yours, you will be duly compensated.”

Also speaking, the Iya-loja of the demolished market, Alhaja Abibat Adegbola said though most Lagosians and residents were happy with the regeneration of Ojodu Berger by the outgoing administration, she lamented that hundreds of marketers were being rendered jobless and wrecked by the demolition of the market.

Tonto Dikeh wants new boobs for birthday

Controversial Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh on Tuesday hinted on her desire to get a new set of boobs for her birthday which comes up on June 9.

The 33-year-old singer and mother of one with 4.4 million followers revealed this on her Instagram handle, @tontolet.

The philanthropist and self-acclaimed evangelist posted her thought in form of prayers to God.

“Dear Lord Jesus, I have all I want for now.
“My birthday wish is that you make me schedule and that of Dr Ayo allign so I have my new boobs in Jesus name I pray!! Thanks in addy Lord

“ #KINGTONTO #KINGTONTOBIRTHDAYWISH #JUNE9TH #BUYINGME A NEW BREAST #BOOBSWISH #GEMINIBABY,’’ she wrote.

However, it is believed that the new boobs she was talking about might be additional plaster surgery to her mammary glans to enhance firmness.

The third child in the family of five had in 2017 reportedly undergone plastic surgery twice to increase the size of her butt and enhance her body image.

Also, on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018  Dikeh who was raised by her step-mother  thanked her surgeon for the work he did on her body and wished him and his team a happy new year.

According to series of posts on her Instagram in 2018, she did the first surgery for five million naira while the second surgery went for four million naira.

In November 2018, the Petrochemical Engineering graduate from River State University of Science and Technology hinted on getting another plastic surgery.

Her birthday wish for a new boobs is a clear indication that she would soon be undergoing the knife to enhance her boobs.

400 level UNN student commits suicide

A 400-level student of the Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), identified as Chukwuemeka Akachi, on Monday allegedly committed suicide, the police have confirmed.

Ebere Amaraizu, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Enugu state, who confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, described it as “pathetic and unfortunate.

“The suicide of a UNN 400 level student of the Department of English and Literary Studies on Monday is pathetic and unfortunate. Police will investigate circumstances surrounding the suicide.”

An eyewitness account said that Akachi went to an uncompleted building on Sullivan Road, Nsukka, where he drank two bottles of “Sniper’, an insecticide, and slipped into coma.

He said that the deceased was discovered by some passersby, who reportedly saw him in a state of coma.

He said that the people, mainly students, raised alarm before he was rushed to UNN Federal Medical Centre.

It was further learnt that he was later moved to University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozalla Enugu, where he was confirmed dead by doctors on duty.

According to the eyewitness, Akachi posted a suicide note on his Facebook wall shortly before he committed suicide, as follows:

“Forgive me. In case you are the one who found the body, I am really sorry. It had to be someone you know.

“I have chosen Jo Nketaih’s poem as my suicide note: “They said you came looking for me. I don’t drown, I was the water, Where do atheists go when they die! Lol. Amen.”

Also, Akachi was said to have posted on his Facebook on May 12 that “My mental health has been on life support for a while now. Thanks to those who call. Text. Visit.

“Speak to me. May we always remember. May we never forget. You May have added a few hours, months or days to my time here. But you know life support is expensive right?
“Thank you for trying. Amen.”

A senior security personnel in UNN Security Department, who pleaded anonymity, also confirmed the incident, adding that the report was brought to them on Monday morning.

He said this was not the first time Akachi wanted to commit suicide, adding that on two occasions, he had drunk kerosene and petrol to kill himself but was rescued.

“But on Monday he drank Sniper and was rushed to UNN Medical Centre first, but was later moved to UNTH Enugu, where he was confirmed dead.

Ambode commissions ferries, jetty…says integrated transport on track

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday commissioned the Bariga Waterfront Jetty, Five Transport Ferries and the Ilaje Road, saying that the development was a testament to the fact that the State’s integrated transport management system was firmly on track.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at the unveiling of the projects, said the development would greatly lessen pressure on road transportation, reduce travel time as well as enhance connectivity within the State.

“With these projects, our State is firmly on track with our goal of establishing an integrated transport management system. These facilities will continue to impact positively on the lives of Lagosians as we strive to address traffic gridlock, reduce travel time, improve road connectivity and abate flooding,” Governor Ambode said.

He said like other projects delivered by his administration, the projects were inspired to open up the Bariga community for more commercial activities and make residents feel the impact of government, recalling that his administration since inception set out on a mission to make every community economically viable and livable.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the thinking behind these projects is inclusion; an inclusion where every resident of our State has a say, feels the impact of government in their lives and is given the opportunity to realise their dreams.

“When we assumed office four years ago, we set out on a mission to make every community economically livable. This has been the guiding principle behind spreading our different projects across the State,” he said.

Explaining how the jetty and Ilaje Road came about, Governor Ambode said the projects were basically in response to the security challenges of late 2015 as investigations then revealed that the cultists terrorizing the people and threatening peace of the State were getting funds from sand dredging activities in the area, adding that the projects were a clear example of urban regeneration inspired by creating solution to challenges.

The Governor said that the initial plan was to upgrade the roads in the community but that a proper assessment of the community revealed a greater need to improve the lives of the people and make Bariga a transport hub that would connect the community to other parts of the State through water transportation.

“The delivery of this road, the jetty and our new ferries signifies our commitment to the people of Lagos State to continuously provide the critical infrastructure that will improve their standard of living and also be an impetus to increase the socio-economic activities of this axis.

“The provision of comfortable, safe and reliable ferry services for the residents of Bariga and environs will no doubt bring about an improvement in journey times that would lead to greater productivity,” he said.

The Governor explained that the new Ilaje Road would serve as a very good access road to the jetty as well as opening up the community, while the Bariga Jetty would serve as a terminal where residents in the area can access ferry services and easily get to other jetties at Ikorodu, Marina, Falomo and Badore in Ajah, among others.

He said the jetty has a 150-car parking lot that would provide an avenue for people to park their cars comfortably and get on a ferry taking them to other parts of the State, adding that residents of the area can also make use of the ample space for social events.

Besides, the Governor said that of the five new ferries, four are passenger ferries that can accommodate between 40 to 60 passengers, while the fifth ferry – a Car Barge has the capacity to take between 16 and 20 cars at a time on water.

He said the projects were also in line with his administration’s policy to develop an efficient integrated transport model to decongest roads in the State by getting more people to utilise water transportation as a viable alternative.

Earlier, Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya said aside the jetty, road and ferries, the State Government was also constructing 12 other roads within Ilaje and Bariga, just as he urged the people to take ownership of the projects.

On his part, Baale of Ilaje, High Chief Kayode Ajetiwa, who spoke on behalf of the community, thanked Governor Ambode, saying the people of the area would forever appreciate and remember him for transforming their neighborhood and making life comfortable for them through the projects.

“The good people of Ilaje-Bariga Community and Bariga Local Council Development Area (LCDA) and Shomolu Local Government and all Lagosians will ever remember your Excellency (Governor Ambode) for the construction of this ultra-modern jetty at Ilaje-Bariga Community for the sole purpose of easing water transportation in Lagos.

“We salute your courage for providing the funds for this project within four years of your administration to which no other Governor has ever done. We are grateful that you have taken us to the next level,” Ajetiwa said.

Swaziland King Mswati denies ordering men to marry more wives

I have nothing personal against Saraki – Magu

Mr Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday said the ongoing investigation of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, is not personal.

Magu stressed that contrary to allegations that Saraki was being witch hunted, his investigation was no different from others as the EFCC only “invite people who have committed crime, people who are corrupt”.

He said this while receiving award for Outstanding Leadership in Public Service by Euro Knowledge Group.

The Euro Group Award is a highest recognition for individual achievement and is awarded annually.

The award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary leaders that have made significant contribution and positive impact in their specific industry.

“No,  no, it’s not personal. I am not after anybody.

“Please, I don’t want you to personalise this. It is not different from other investigations we are doing,” he said.

When asked to comment on the statement  by Saraki that he was being witch-hunted,  Magu said  “never.

“You invite people who have committed crime, people who are corrupt.

“If you are not corrupt, you are not here.

“We do our homework very well: sometimes we conduct preliminary investigations for up to six months and such persons won’t even know we are investigating them,” Magu said.

He described corruption as “a national disaster and mother of all evils.

“If you remove disaster (corruption), you have a peaceful country.”

He said banditry, Boko Haram nuisance and other crimes were “caused by corruption and sustained by corruption.

“It is been funded by stolen and laundered funds, that’s why it is being sustained.”

The acting chairman, however, said that if corruption was tackled, banditry and kidnappings would be sorted out.

He called on Nigerians and stakeholders to take ownership of the fight against corruption, saying that it was not a job for one individual alone.

Magu, expressed gratitude for the award saying it would spur him to do more in the fight against corruption.

Mrs Olayinka Fayomi, Chairman, Foreign Investment Network (FIN), who presented the award on behalf of Euro Knowledge, said the award was in recognition of those who had impacted the economy.

“It is also in recognition of those who have impacted the system from which ever sector they are operating from, and the EFCC is one of them.

“Ever since the period Magu had been acting, there has been a tremendous improvement in the fight against corruption,” she said.

She said that with the award,  Magu had become one of the African Change Agents.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Saraki had recently come under pressure from the anti-graft agency.

The EFCC had confirmed reports that it had opened a fresh investigation into Saraki’s stewardship as President of the Senate as well as a probe of his earnings as governor of Kwara from 2003 to 2011.

Tony Orilade, acting spokesman, EFCC,  said in a statement that EFCC was obligated by law to enthrone probity and accountability in the governance space and had supremely pursued this duty without ill-will or malice against anyone.

“It is in the interest of the public and for Saraki’s personal good that he is not only above board, but be seen at all times to be so.

“Indeed, all the instances in which the EFCC have had cause to sleuth into his financial activities either as a former governor or President of the Senate were driven by overarching public interest and due process of the law,’’ he said.

In his reaction, Saraki insisted that the action of the EFCC was a witch-hunt.

“Our attention has been drawn to the fact that the EFCC has marked certain property belonging to President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, obviously under the claim that they are subject of investigation.
“The action of the EFCC only reinforced our earlier stated position that their current investigation is mischievous, contrary to the tenets of the rule of law and only aimed at settling scores.

“The EFCC’s move to investigate him is a mere witch-hunt exercise, aimed at settling scores, laced with malicious and partisan motives,” Saraki’s Media Adviser, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, said in a statement.

Terrorists are now in charge of Nigeria, says Bakare

Pastor Tunde Bakare, serving overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, says terrorists are in charge of Nigeria.

Speaking during a service at his church, Bakare said the country had been taken over by bandits, kidnappers, killer herdsmen and looters.

He described them as the “commander-in-chief” of the nation.

“It is evident that the bandits; criminals, killing people every day; those kidnapping people over the place; and cattle rustlers and killer herdsmen terrorising the people are in charge in this country; they are the commander-in-chief,” he said.

“Nobody seems to know what to do anymore; the terrorists are in charge. They have even extended their regime to these areas. They now kidnap lecturers; doctors are no longer safe.

“The whole nation is under the control of terrorists. But in the name of the Lord, Nigeria shall be delivered. I shall witness the deliverance and greatness of Nigeria.”

Bakare also took on Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, for comparing the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to Afenifere and Ohanaeze.

Describing the comment as shameful, Bakare said anyone in his right senses would not make such comparison.

He said excluding the Arewa Consultative Forum, north socio-cultural group, from the comparison implies that the presidential spokesman is saying ACF is superior to Ohanaeze and Afenifere.

“It is shameful for anyone to compare Miyetti Allah with Afenifere. Such a person cannot be in his right senses to think that Miyetti Allah and Afenifere and Ohanaeze are the same,” Bakare said.

“How can a group that has been rated as the fourth most deadly group in the world by the United Nations, a group of terrorists, be the same as Afenifere?

“How can a group that kills people, rapes women, destroys houses be on the same scale as Afenifere? Do Afenifere members carry weapons?

“And to show the true colour of the person doing the comparison, he left out the ACF from his comparison as if that one is above everybody else.

“If you have to put Afenifere and Ohanaeze on the same scale as Miyetti Allah, why did you exclude the ACF? Is it not to tell everyone that the ACF is superior to other groups in the country?”

Gbajabiamila: I have comfortable lead to become speaker

Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader of the house of representatives, says he has a “comfortable lead” to become speaker in the 9th assembly.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Gbajabiamila who spoke through Abdulmumin Jibrin, his campaign spokesman, said his support cuts across party lines.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) which is expected to produce the next speaker had endorsed Gbajabiamila as its choice for the position.

He was also endorsed for the position in 2015 but was eventually beaten to it by Yakubu Dogara.

Gbajabiamila said he is also consulting with his colleagues in the APC who are in the race with the hope to win them over before the election.

He said: “Now we have the numbers to win the election on June 10. We have applied different kind of modules to weigh our numbers. In all the instances we have applied, we have arrived at a very comfortable number that will win us the eleciton. We have gotten all the numbers we require.

“We also have large number of members from PDP and other opposition parties. Femi and (Mohammed) Wase are foing to run all inclusive house. We believe we will get PDP and others to join the train.

“If not for the fact that we have to keep our guards, we would have asked my colelagues to go and sleep and come back in June, that victory is ours. But we are not taking anything for granted.

Jibrin said Dogara who is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is also being lobbied to ensure a “common ground”.

According to him, “we are also lobbying the incumbent speaker. We appreciate the value he can bring on board. He has a support base and controls a particular bloc of the house.

“We have opened up negotiations with him and we are pretty sure because of the love he has for this parliament, we will reach a common ground.”

Reps reject bill to regulate overseas treatment for public officials

The House of Representatives has rejected a bill seeking to regulate overseas medical treatment by public officials in the country.

The lower legislative chamber voted against the bill when it came up for debate during Tuesday’s plenary.

They had passed it for second reading last year.

The bill seeks to “amend the provisions of the National Health Act, 2014 to regulate international trips for medical treatment by public officers, to strengthen the health institutions for efficient service delivery; and for related matters”.

The lawmakers argued that the legislation breaches the right of the public officials.

The bill sought to amend section 46 of the national health act thus: “(1) A public officer of the Federal Government shall not embark on medical trip abroad without approval; or be sponsored for medical check-up, investigation; or treatment abroad at public expenses except in exceptional cases on the recommendation and referral by the medical board and which recommendation or referral shall be duly approved by the Minister or Commissioner as the case may be; or embark on medical trip abroad unless he satisfactorily proves to the office where the officer is working, that such ailment cannot be treated in Nigeria.”

Arguing against the bill, Lasun Yusuf, deputy speaker, said the bill would discriminate against elected officials.

“This bill is against my fundamental human right. There are two fundamental wrong in this bill, it is against human right, and its discriminatory. Do not let us do a debate on this bill,” he said.

Razak Atunwa from Kwara state expressed a similar view, suggesting the bill is a move to punish public officials over the mismanagement of the healthcare sector.

“The fact that I am public servant does not mean I have given up my right,” he said, adding: “If the government has failed in providing hospital, we cannot punish someone for it. The intention is right, but better funding for training of doctors, better funding for hospitals is the right way to go.”

Mohammed Wase from Plateau state asked his colleagues to “throw away” the bill.

He said: “I was in hospital in Nigeria for check-up, and they said I was fine, friends encouraged me to travel for checkup, I did only to discover that I was not okay.

“I spent three months there, now you are telling me to get approval… please this bill should be thrown out. Instead of banning people from travelling, we should create enabling environment for people to invest in the healthcare sector.”

US suspends ‘drop box’ visa applications in Nigeria

The United States embassy in Nigeria has suspended drop box service or interview waiver for those renewing visas in the country.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the US mission said the interview waiver suspension will take effect from Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

“Effective at the close of business today, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, the U.S. Mission to Nigeria is indefinitely suspending interview waivers for renewals, otherwise known as the “Dropbox” process,” the statement read.

“Visa applications will no longer be accepted by DHL in Nigeria. Those who have already submitted their passports via “Dropbox” to DHL for processing either at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, or the Consulate General in Lagos, will not be impacted by this change.

“All applicants in Nigeria seeking a nonimmigrant visa to the United States must apply online, and will be required to appear in-person at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos to submit their application for review. Applicants must appear at the location they specified when applying for the visa renewal.

“Processing of diplomatic and official (A, G, and NATO class) visa applications will continue unchanged.

“Mission Nigeria’s processing procedures are regularly reviewed in order to assess our ability to quickly, efficiently, and securely process visa applications. The U.S. Mission is taking this step to provide more efficient customer service and promote legitimate travel, and will continue to facilitate applications of established travelers to the best of its ability.”

Prior to the policy change, it was possible for Nigerians who were renewing their existing or expired visa to apply for a renewal online, via the visa drop box service.

The process includes posting your documents to the US visa service centre in the country, and receiving your visa outcome and passport without physical interview.

Court rejects EFCC’s request to investigate Oshiomole

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has lost out an effort seeking to charge the national chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Adams Oshiomole with corruption.

Justice Anwill Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday threw out the suit while ruling on the preliminary objection filed by Oshiomhole.

The APC national chairman had asked the court to dismiss the suit, arguing that the plaintiff lacked the legal right to institute the action.

Justice Anwili agreed with the counsel to the All Progressives Congress chairman , Mrs Uju Chukwura, that Section 6 of the EFCC Act mandates the Commission to investigate and prosecute any allegation of financial anomalies, she, however, noted that in Oshiomole’s case, the suit is statute barred.

She added the plantiff failed to seek judicial review within the stipulated three months window and only approached the court 18 months later.

Former Bayelsa State HoS testifies in Patience Jonathan’ $8.1m, N9.2bn asset forfeiture case

The trial in a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of $8.1m and N9.2billion linked to former first Lady Dame patience Jonathan took another dimension today when former head of service in Bayelsa state Mr Fraser Ogboru testified before justice Mojisola Olatoregun of Federal high court Lagos.

In his testimony, Ogboru who claimed to have retired from Bayelsa State Civil Service on 31st December, 2014, told the court that he had knew Mrs. Jonathan when her husband was a Deputy Governor.

He claimed he was still in service when Mrs. Jonathan was appointed a permanent secretary.

While being cross-examined by EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness said he did not know when the former first lady stopped collecting salary as a permanent secretary.

Former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on domestic affairs, Dr. Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, also testified on Monday and stated while been cross exermined by EFCC counsel Mr. Rotimi that he did not know the content of six bags delivered to him by ADC to former president Jonathan.

Dudafa also denied  being used by a former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, to launder money.

He told Justice Mojisola Olatoregun that all the funds in an account linked to a firm, Globus Integrated Services Ltd, were cash gifts given to the former First Lady during her husband tenure as Nigeria’s president.

“I was not procured by the family of Dame Patience Jonathan to conceal proceeds of unlawful activities and by virtue of being the former special assistant on domestic affairs to the erstwhile president and the 1st respondent (Mrs. Jonathan), I was informed by the 1st respondent that the funds in the firm’s account are cash gifts that were given to her while she was the first lady”, Dudafa said.

The witness also denied that he was aware that a bag he received on behalf of Dr. Jonathan from one, Col. Adegbe, in the course of his duties contained $47 million which was allegedly removed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the instruction of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki.

The South West Zonal Coordinator of an NGO, Women for Change Initiative, Chief Mrs. Kate Onyechere had earlier testified in the matter.

While being cross-examined by EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, Chief Mrs. Kate Onyechere explained the rationale behind the founding of the Women for Change Initiative by Mrs. Jonathan.
She also revealed the various sources through which the Initiative get fund to carry out its activities.

“The Initiative was formed by Mrs. Jonathan as a normal Non-governmental organization. The main thing is empowerment. We empower Nigerian women across 36 states. We have zonal, states and local government coordinators.

“We organized luncheon and receive donations across states to get funds. We also write private individuals to donate. Even, the coordinators also make donations”, she said.

The witness further revealed that Mrs. Jonathan was unanimously adopted by the trustees and coordinators of the Initiative as the sole signatory to its accounts.

While being cross-examined by Oyedepo, the witness named four individuals as Trustees of Women for Change Initiative.

They are; Dr. Chidinma, Mrs. Josephine, Mrs. Jonathan and Mrs. Yemisi Oyewole.

Justice Olatoregun adjourned further hearing in the matter to 24th May, 2019 by 11am..

JAMB apologises for glitches in checking results

The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) has apologised to candidates for glitches experienced while checking the Unified Tertiary and Matriculation Examination (UTME results via there mobile phone.

The examination body said the fault is from telephone service providers and that the body was working to resolve the problem

JAMB on Saturday directed the candidates to use the same telephone numbers used in registering for the examination to access their results by sending ‘RESULT’ to the code, ‘55019’.

Fabian Benjamin, JAMB’s of head, media and information said “We have just had a meeting with the service providers and they have assured that they are working hard to get the issue addressed and that in no distant time, candidates should be able to access their results without hitch,” he said.

“We are just trying to ensure that all the candidates deserving of results should have firsthand information of their performance via their telephones.

“It is after that, that we will go ahead and post it to our website for candidates to go ahead and print.

“We are just trying to safeguard these results from the activities of fraudsters.

“We want candidates to know their scores first, so that on getting to print them out at the business centres, there would not be anything funny on their slips.”

BREAKING: Tension in UNILAG as armed bouncers surround Senate building

There was palpable tension at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, on Monday morning, as 15 hefty men in black attire stormed the university campus and positioned themselves around the Governing Council Chamber, venue of the scheduled special council meeting.

This is as the university’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has kicked against the development, describing it as an attempt to militarise the institution by “an individual.”

The registrar of the university, Mr. Oladejo Azeez, a lawyer, had on Thursday evening issued a notice of emergency meeting scheduled to hold on Monday and Tuesday to council members.

The notice, which was later changed to ‘special meeting,’ was according the registrar at the instance of the council chairman, Mr. Wale Babalakin. He listed issues to be discussed at the meeting to including the raging Mr. Saminu Dagari-led committee’s report on expenditure of the university between May, 2017 and September 2018.

Other items on the agenda include the report of panel set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the institution’s library, which was under construction, Mr. Babalakin’s action of issuing queries to the allegedly indicted university management members including the vice-chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

But as early as 8a.m ahead of the meeting scheduled to hold by 10a.m, strange faces numbering 15, who wore black attire had taken strategic positions between the council chamber and the university’s auditorium.

According to the university’s chief security officer, Mr. Sunday Alao, the ‘strange men’ had told him they were invited by the chairman of the university’s governing council- Mr. Babalakin, to provide private security.”

Alao said; “Their leader, who said his name is Lateef told me they are men of K-Square, a private security company, and that they were invited by Mr. Babalakin to provide private security on the campus.

“I simply told them that they would be held responsible if anything untoward happens to any of our students, staff and any other person in the university community.”

The chairman of ASUU on the campus, Dele Ashiru described the development as absurd, strange and draconian.

“This is most unacceptable. The pro-chancellor cannot invade our campus with this kind of military mentality,” Ashiru said.

Efforts to reach the university’s vice-chancellor were unsuccessful as calls to his number were not picked as at the time of filing this report.

SEC moves to ban companies from sharing gifts at AGMs

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it is working to create a subrule that makes the distribution of gifts at annual general meetings (AGM) illegal.

In a draft published on its website, the commission explained that the aim of the subrule is to reduce the cost of organising AGMs and ensure that investors get more value for their investments.

The sundry amendments are: Proposed amendment to Rule 42 (2)- Half-Yearly Returns, Proposed amendment to Rule 67(2)- Individual Sub-broker and Proposed amendment to Part N Rule 602 – Miscellaneous Rules.

The proposed rules also seek to make meetings with a select group of shareholders prior to an annual general meeting/extraordinary general meeting illegal.

“Some companies arrange meetings with select groups of shareholders ahead of general meetings to discuss proposed resolutions and agree on strategies which are often detrimental to the interest of other shareholders,” Efe Ebelo, SEC’s head of corporate communications, said.

“Public companies spend a significant amount of money on corporate gifts at AGMs/EGMs and this has a great impact on their profitability. Few of the companies are making reasonable profits and even fewer can afford to pay dividends.

“If the amount budgeted for gifts at AGMs/EGMs can be reserved for other relevant operational or administrative expenses, it would positively impact on their earnings per share.

Companies that violate these provisions, the SEC warned, “shall be liable to a penalty of not less than N10m”.

The proposed amendment will also lead to the creation of a rule that public companies should disclose some corporate governance information on their websites including governance structure, composition and structure of the board, shareholding and dividend analysis.

No apologies on tackling godfather of Lagos politics, says El-Rufai

Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, says he owes no one any apology over his comments on how to end godfatherism in Lagos state.

El-Rufai, had said he knew how to end godfatherism in Lagos politics.

The statement was seen as being targeted at Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,  the foremost leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress and one time governor of Lagos State widely acknowledged for his stranglehold on the state’s political landscape.

The governor said having retired the four political godfathers in Kaduna, he was confident that the feat could be achieved anywhere else.

But speaking with reporters on the issue, the governor said he did not regret making the comment.

When asked if he wanted Bola Tinubu,  a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), removed as the godfather of Lagos, el-Rufai replied that he is unaware of Tinubu occupying that role, saying it is up to the national leader to say if he is.

He said godfathers could be defeated as far as people are ready to work hard to achieve the feat.

“We are in the same party, we get along very well, as far as I know,” el-Rufai said.

“I don’t know if he is the godfather of Lagos, it is up to him to say that. What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers in Kaduna and I have told those that asked me the question that there are six million registered voters in Lagos and only one million voted in the last election, so there are five million people you can bring into the electoral playground and you can defeat anybody if you work hard but it is hard work; it is four years, that is what I said.

“If anyone feels offended by that, that is his business.”

Asked if Lagos should follow the same template he used in defeating the godfathers in his state, el-Rufai said: “I have no recommendation to Lagos, I am the governor of Kaduna state, I know Kaduna politics pretty well and I play my role well in my party towards the overall success of the party.

“So I have no recommendations for anyone. I am just saying If I am asked a question and I give an answer, anyone that feels offended by the answer, that is his own business.

“I have no apologies, I don’t apologise for my views; my views are thought-out and I put them there. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone.

“This is a democracy and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views. You can disagree, you can abuse me if you don’t like my views but that is it.”