The News Matrics ...Online News Portal Fri, 21 Feb 2020 18:42:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The News Matrics 32 32 Zenith Bank posts record PAT, crosses N200bn mark Fri, 21 Feb 2020 18:42:26 +0000  

Zenith Bank has announced impressive results for the year ended December 31, 2019, with profit after tax of N208.8bn, making it the first Nigerian nank to cross the N200bn mark.

According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2019 financial year released in Lagos on Friday, profit after tax rose by eight percent to N208.8bn up from the N193 billion recorded in the previous year.

The Group also recorded a growth in gross earnings of five percent rising to N662.3bn from N630.3bn reported in the previous year. This growth was driven by the 29 percent increase in non-interest income from N179.9bn in 2018 to N231.1bn in 2019. Fees on electronic products continued to rise significantly with a 108 percent Year on Year (YoY) growth from N20.4bn in 2018 to N42.5bn in the current year.

The bank said this is a validation of its retail transformation strategy, which continues to deliver impressive results.

Profit before tax also increased by five percent up from N232bn to N243bn in the current year, arising from topline growth and continued focus on cost optimisation strategies. Cost-to-income ratio moderated from 49.3 percent to 48.8 percent.

The drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.1 percent to three percent. However this also affected net interest margin, which dropped from 8.9 percent to 8.2 percent in the current year due to re-pricing of interest bearing assets. Although returns on equity and assets held steady YoY at 23.8 percent and 3.4 percent  respectively, the Group still delivered an improved Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew 8% from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.

The Group increased its share of the market as it secured increased customer deposits across the corporate and retail space as deposits grew by 15 percent to close at N4.26 trillion. Total assets also increased by seven percent from N5.96 trillion to N6.35 trillion.

The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22 percent from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion. This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1 percent and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98 percent  to 4.30 percent. Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3 percent and 22 percent  respectively.

In demonstration of its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend pay-out of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to N2.80 per share.

In 2020, the Group remains strategically positioned to capture the opportunities in the corporate and retail segments, while efficiently managing costs and expanding further its retail franchise employing digital assets and innovation.

Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria 2019 by The Banker.

The Bank was also recognized as Bank of the Year and Best Bank in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards, and was ranked as the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co. Most recently, the Bank emerged as the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the Thisday Awards 2020.

JUST IN: Oluwo of Iwo suspended for six months Fri, 21 Feb 2020 17:43:22 +0000 Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, was on Friday suspended for six months by the Osun State Traditional Rulers’ Council.

A committee headed by Orangun of Ila, Oba Wahab Adedotun, was also constituted by the council to further investigate the matter involving Oluwo and Obas in Iwo land.

The royal fathers at their emergency meeting held at Osun State Government Secretariat, Abere, presided over by Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, arrived at the decision to suspend Oba Akanbi.

Details later…

Oluwo Mocks Fellow Obas: ”You Smell of Poverty, Your Hustles Can’t Buy My Shoes” Thu, 20 Feb 2020 23:41:29 +0000  

Controversial Iwo town monarch, HRM oohs o5llAbdulrasheed Akanbi, has mocked fellow kings in the Osun State traditional council for ”hustling to sell lands under their jurisdictions for an amount that could not buy his shoes”.

The embattled Oluwo of Iwo was reacting to journalists’ questions on the altercation between him and another king, HRM Dikhrullahi Akinropo the Agbowu of Ogbaagbaa town, who is the vice chairman in the state’s council of obas; next to the Ooni of Ife.

The alleged attack by Oluwo reportedly caused him bodily harm and landed him in hospital for days.

Oluwo, who alleged that Oba Akinropo and other kings were selling people’s lands over which they have no authority, said they were doing so due to ”abject poverty”.

”I see them all (fellow obas) reeking in abject poverty. If not, why would they be selling acres of land for an amount that cannot buy the shoes I wear!” stressed Oluwo. The monarch, who described himself as ”a paramount ruler”, went on to add that the authority other kings wield in their respective domains does not really belong to them but bestowed on them by his office.

”They begged and prostrated before I elevated them from Baale (village head) to Obaship status (first class). And I do give them their dues, yet they would always gang up against me,” Oluwo boasted.

Investigation has shown that the kings attained first class status during the reign of Oba Akanbi’s predecessor, the late Oba Asiru Tadese Ariwajoye.

Oba Akanbi further taunted his fellow kings whom he described as ‘low status’ and likened their palaces to mangers fit for raising livestock.

Just recently, the Oluwo announced his divorce from his Canadian wife, Chantal, and claimed to have furnished her with a return air ticket to her country, after her Nigerian friends took her in.

Oba Abdulrasheed had earlier  claimed supremacy over the Ooni of Ife in citing unverified Yoruba folklore.

A colourful  character, the Olowo once claimed to be an Imam, leading prayers in township and the  palace mosques resulting in spectacular fall outs with Muslim clerics.


UNILAG ex-lecturer bags 21 years for raping admission-seeker Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:37:00 +0000 An Ikeja High Court on Thursday sentenced a former part-time lecturer in the University of Lagos, Akin Baruwa, to 21 years imprisonment for raping an 18-year-old admission-seeker.

Justice Josephine Oyefeso, while sentencing Baruwa, described his action as heinous.

Oyefeso held that the sentence should serve as a deterrent to others.

She said, “The offence committed against this young lady was a violation of her chastity which would have left huge emotional scars from which I pray and hope she will recover.

“I cannot begin to imagine the physical and mental trauma she has had to endure from the man whom she considered her father’s friend, a community leader who should have known better. This is a shame.

“This is a crime that not only offends the survivor, it offends her family, it offends the society at large, it also offends God.

“I find you Baruwa Afeez Akin guilty of rape contrary to Section 258(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011, and I hereby convict you accordingly.

“In line with Section 258 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011, Baruwa Afeez Akin is hereby sentenced to 21 years imprisonment.”


Sack Kyari, NSA, service chiefs, ex-ADC tells Buhari Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:32:02 +0000 Major Mustapha Jokolo (retd.), a former Aide-De-Camp to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has called for the sacking of the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

Jokolo, who is also a former Emir of Gwandu in Kebbi State, asked his former boss to also fire the service chiefs.

The former ADC expressed concern over the crisis rocking Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

Jokolo, who was the ADC to Buhari when he was the military Head of State between 1983 and 1985, said the altercation between the NSA and the President’s C0S was capable of eroding the credibility of the leadership of the current regime.

This, he said was because of the sensitive nature of the offices the officers in question hold, adding that such development couldn’t occur in a military era because it would amount to “overlapping” of office or job schedules.

The retired major spoke in an interview on the Hausa Service of the Radio France International monitored in Kaduna on Thursday.

Following the public outcry and the worsening insecurity in the country, Jokolo said the service chiefs ought to have been fired by now by the retired major general.

Jokolo urged the President, the NSA and the service chiefs to hearken to the voice of Nigerians, adding that Nigeria was bigger than any individual.

He alleged that the seeming crisis among the presidential officials was “purely out of greed and selfishness”.

Jokolo said that Nigerians were unhappy because of the retention of the service chiefs, who were supposed to have been removed and replaced by other officers in the armed forces.

The retired major said, “The misunderstanding between them was borne out of greed, selfishness. If not so, the two officers involved are brothers; they are all Muslims and from the same tribe.

“President Buhari had brought them to assist him in different roles. Why then should there be any conflict of roles?

“But whenever any amongst them encroaches into the other’s territory, there will be a problem.

“Truly, General Munguno had complained but he did not refer his complaints to the right persons. He should have written directly to Buhari on how he felt about his Chief of Staff.

“This is because Buhari tends to recognise his Chief of Staff as his ‘Deputy President’.

“Buhari had said everything should be done through the Chief of Staff. This implies that Buhari has given him limitless power and he can do anything but this is a misnomer.”

CAN: Rehabilitation of Boko Haram suspects troubling Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:26:30 +0000 The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says the rehabilitation and de-radicalisation of Boko Haram suspects is troubling.

Samson Ayokunle, CAN president, who spoke at a news conference in Abuja to mark the second year of Leah Sharibu’s abduction, also said it is a shame that despite Nigeria’s military forces, the killings in the country have not let up.

He said the de-radicalisation and empowerment of repentant insurgents by the federal government is suspicious.

“The setting free of so-called ex-Boko Haram terrorists under de-radicalisation, rehabilitation, empowerment of the arrested terrorists by the federal government is rather troubling and suspicious,” he said.

“What is the guarantee that the freed ex-terrorists would not return to Sambisa forest and pick up their arms against innocent Nigerians?”

A church service and a march was also held to mark her abduction.

Sharibu was abducted alongside other girls from Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe state, on February 19, 2018.

The girls who were captured were subsequently released, except for five who reportedly died in captivity, but Sharibu was held back for “refusing to renounce her faith”.

Represented by Caleb Ahima, CAN vice-president, Ayokunle said more blood is being shed under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The development is a shame and there is a cloud of confusion that hangs over the nation and the people that are governing this nation are not doing the right thing,” he said.

“We are sure of one thing. We cannot doubt that the government knows what is happening. Looking at the fact that we are a nation, we have the air force, the navy, we have the soldiers, we have the weapons, but what is happening in this nation?

“We call on the federal government again that we are getting to a point of anarchy.

“We have every reason to be suspicious and to speak passionately to government again that Christians in this nation are Nigerians and must not be killed.

“We want the world to know the evil that is happening in the country under the watch of this government. More blood is being shed. The killing is religious. Boko Haram sect wants to establish an Islamic state. We must stop this killings.”.

He asked Buhari to fulfil his promise of securing the release of those held in Boko Haram captivity.

He said it is disheartening and painful that the government has not deemed it fit to secure Sharibu’s freedom.

“The president made this same promise as part of his campaign promise before the 2015 presidential election. When will he do it as he has promised repeatedly? The unsuccessful efforts to free the prisoner of faith by the federal government is highly disturbing, disappointing, depressing and unacceptable,” the CAN president said.

Uzodinma meets Buhari, seeks refund of N32bn ‘spent on FG roads in Imo’ Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:21:49 +0000 Hope Uzodinma, governor of Imo state, on Thursday met with President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking his intervention in the refund of over N32 billion his predecessors reportedly spent on federal roads in the state.

Speaking with state house correspondents after the meeting with Buhari, Uzodinma said Imo is in “financial distress”.

He said the funds, if released, will assist in clearing both salary and pension arrears.

He said the consultants he engaged discovered that at least N32 billion was spent on federal roads in the past.

Uzodinma said he briefed Buhari on the situation of things he met on the ground in the state, adding that the president listened to him.

Uzodinma’s predecessors are Achike Udenwa (1999 to 2007), Ikedi Ohakim (2007 to 2011), Rochas Okorocha (2011 to 2019) and Emeka Ihedioha who governed for seven months before the supreme court replaced him.

In 2016, Okorocha had described roads in the state as death traps, adding that his administration had to fix several roads for the benefit of the people.

“In Imo, we do not know again which one is federal road or state-owned. We do every road like the Akokwa/Orlu road which we have fixed and dualised. Owerri/Port-Harcourt road is so bad. There must be cooperation between the federal government and stakeholders on these roads,” he had said.

In June 2019, Ihedioha launched the construction of 16 urban roads in the state, totalling 81 kilometers and estimated to cost N23.4 billion.

The former governor also launched the reconstruction of Government Technical College (GTC) road, Okporo road and Orlu road.


JUST IN: EFCC arrests Abubakar Audu’s son ‘for fraud’ Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:16:42 +0000 The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Muhammed Audu, son of a former governor of Kogi state, over alleged fraud.

The anti-graft agency disclosed this on Thursday, saying investigations revealed that the suspect used two of his companies, Mediterranean Hotels Limited and Mediterranean Sports, to divert the funds, which he could not account for.

EFCC said the suspect will soon be charged to court as soon investigations are concluded.

More to follow…

Senate introduces bill to create agency for ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:09:53 +0000 The Senate on Thursday began moves to establish an agency that would see to the rehabilitation, deradicalisation and integration of repentant insurgents in the country.

A bill, sponsored by Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe East senatorial district, was read for the first time on the floor of the Senate Thursday.

Already a subject of fierce push back, the bill offers further concession to Boko Haram militants who choose to cease fire.

Last month, the Nigerian military said no fewer than 608 repentant Boko Haram insurgents were undergoing the De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) programme under its Operation Safe Corridor in Malam-Sidi, Gombe State.

The military euphemism for the repentant insurgents, were said to have been exposed to formal literacy classes, skills acquisition and Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) as well as drug and psycho-therapists during their training.

A group of Borno elders, led by ex-governor Kashim Shettima, last year, had frowned at the initiative, saying the military’s operation was not well thought out.

They feared that releasing the purported repentant Boko Haram militants into civilian population could be counterproductive as hardened fighters would return to the terror group to commit more atrocities.

“The ongoing de-radicalization and reintegration of repentant Boko Haram insurgents under the “operation safe corridor” of the defense headquarters is a course for concern for members of the Civilian JTF and some stakeholders in the State,” the group wrote in a letter last year.

“(We) suspect that “Boko Haram members do not repent” hence the de-radicalization programme may be breeding spies and agents of recruitment for the Boko Haram,” they had said.

They urged the president to approve the suspension of the programme.

Lagos places 63 under surveillance over Lassa fever Wed, 19 Feb 2020 19:43:58 +0000 The Lagos state government has placed 63 persons under close monitoring over concerns that they may have come in contact with a Lassa fever patient.

Akin Abayomi, the state commissioner for health, disclosed this on Wednesday.

Lagos recorded its first case of the disease in the current outbreak on Tuesday. The patient is currently isolated and receiving treatment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

“We have identified 63 of the persons he may have been in contact with since his arrival from Ebonyi State into Lagos, Lagos Law School, the Nigeria Air Force Clinic and LUTH,” Abayomi was quoted to have said.

“They are being monitored. If they develop any symptom of Lassa fever, we will pick them up early and isolate them so that we can break the cycle of transmission.”

Ayobami further disclosed that the index patient, a male, who arrived Lagos from Ebonyi state, was feeling unwell and was admitted at the Lagos Law School clinic.

According to him, the victim was transferred to the Nigeria Air Force Clinic, Onikan, when he failed to respond to treatment before being moved to LUTH.

“His destination was the Lagos Law School where he was quickly attended to at the clinic but was not getting well after being treated for malaria,” he said.

“He was then referred to the Nigeria Air Force Clinic, Onikan, where he was managed further and was referred to LUTH when there was no improvement.

“The test was confirmed as positive on February 17, 2020, and he was immediately transferred to the isolation containment facility in LUTH.”

Visa ban: U.S. gives Nigeria conditions for review of policy Tue, 18 Feb 2020 23:18:58 +0000 The United States (U.S.) government has given Nigerian government conditions under which the recent visa policy, affecting six countries, Nigeria inclusive, could be reviewed.

Mrs Mary-Beth Leonard, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, gave the conditions during a familiarisation visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Leonard said that the policy will be reviewed once Nigeria improves her data intelligence, such that it would be easy to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit her country and meet information sharing systems, the ban might likely be reviewed.

It would be recalled that the U.S. recently announced that it is expanding its curbs on immigration to include six more countries, including Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

This development means that citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar will now be blocked from obtaining certain types of visas.

“I think I need to clarify something for you here, the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States. It does not cancel the status of anyone currently in the United States.

“What Mike Pompeo, U.S Secretary of States, said was something that was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolvable.

“We look forward to Nigeria in a very short while being able to meet those information sharing goal so that the decision can be reviewed.

“Also, students visas are not affected by the current visa ban,” according to her.
On diversification policy, Leonard said there was need for skill set of Nigerians to be effectively harnessed and internationalised, such that they would not be seen as illegal immigrants when they go abroad to work.

She added “I think for Nigeria, you have interesting story about diversification of your economy and prosperity of your economy and its people. You know Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their industriousness.”
She however called on the Nigerian government to capture the entrepreneurial spirit in the informal sector by bringing on board into the formal sector service to enhance employment in the country.

The minister however said that the immigrant visa ban by the U.S was impunity.

Ngige noted that Nigeria has over 70 per cent of Nigerian professionals who migrated to the U.S for the betterment of their skills.

“This includes the medical doctors, engineers, ICT, among others, who are resident in the U.S and when the U.S government gave the ban it came to us as a rude shock that their legal status would be cancelled.

“I will want to say that Nigerian professionals over there are highly qualified to have their visa status residence over there,” he said.

Ngige however called on the U.S government to assist Nigeria to build schools in the areas where child labour is an endemic in the country.

“We have done a total of 14,000 labour inspection out of which we detected about 3,900 child labour defaulters and we have empowered them economically and encouraged them to go to school or learn skills,” he added.

Female police officer shoots four in-laws dead, commits suicide Tue, 18 Feb 2020 23:12:20 +0000 A Kosovo female police officer, on Tuesday, shot and killed four in-laws, then committed suicide, prosecutors said in Gnjilan, a town 50 kilometres south-east of the capital Pristina.

The killer, an officer with the local police precinct, shot her husband’s parents and two brothers, a spokesman for the prosecutor was quoted as saying.

All the five people died at the scene, it said, adding that an investigation was still under way, and the motive for the murders was not immediately clear.

I strongly believe coronavirus is caused by corruption, says Magu Tue, 18 Feb 2020 21:41:13 +0000

Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says he is strongly convinced that corruption is the cause of coronavirus.

Magu said this at the passing out parade of 281 cadets of the EFCC Detective Inspector Course-5, at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, on Tuesday.

Coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, broke out in Wuhan in Hubei province of China in December.

The zoonotic disease has since spread to over 25 countries, with over 73,000 infected persons and not less than 1,875 deaths.

But Magu, who was commenting on the side effects of corruption, said the social vice is worse than any known disease, and is the cause of coronavirus.

“The EFCC is not satisfied with just prosecuting and jailing the fraudsters, rather the commission has concluded plans to reform them in collaboration with relevant government agencies towards making them better citizens,” Magu said.

“EFCC has zero tolerance for corruption as our mandate is to kill corruption as corruption is worse than all the diseases we have now and I strongly believe coronavirus is caused by corruption.

“Corruption is a huge burden to our nation it has spread to insecurity, poverty, unemployment, falling standard of education, weak access to affordable health care, falling infrastructure and so many others.”

He said the fight against corruption is one that must be won to secure a better future for present Nigerians and future generations.

He added that one of the progress made in the fight against corruption is the increase in the convictions of cases.

“As part of vigorous pursuit, the commission has created new specialised directorate and section taking into cognisance the changing phase of criminality,” he said.

“This directorate includes asset forfeiture and recovery management directorate, forensic and science laboratory directorate, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism section.

“As at 2015, we had 103 convictions, in 2016 195 convictions, 314 in 2018, over 1218 convictions were secured in 2019.”



VIDEO: I strongly believe is caused by corruption, says , acting chairman of @officialEFCC | TheCable 

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‘Many houses’ on fire as Boko Haram hits Chibok Tue, 18 Feb 2020 21:36:38 +0000 Korongilum, a community in Chibok local government area of Borno state, is currently being attacked by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

The Cable quoted a resident as saying that the insurgents came into the community around 6pm, shooting sporadically and setting many houses on fire.

“People were just returning to their houses from the farm when the insurgents came in,” the resident said.

“They came in through Forfor, and our people are running for safety as we speak.”

A military source said troops from the Nigerian Army’s 28 task force brigade and 117 battalion, both headquartered in Chibok, are already on their way to Korongilum.

“In fact, the brigade and the battalion commanders are the ones leading soldiers to the attack,” the source said.

TheCable could not reach Sagir Musa, army’s spokesman, for comment on the attack as his telephone line was out of reach.

Two students of the same parents were killed in January when the insurgents attacked Payasatan Bilaburdar village Gatamarwa ward in Chibok.

About 30 people were killed in February when the insurgents attacked passengers in Auno, a town 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, Borno state capital.

President Muhammadu Buhari who visited the state following the attacks had said Boko Haram cannot survive without local support.

Oluwo denies punching Agbowu, says I am not a boxing king Tue, 18 Feb 2020 21:31:00 +0000 The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, has denied the allegation that he assaulted the Agbowu of Ogbaagba, Oba Sikrulahi Akinropo, during a peace meeting in the state.

Oba Akanbi, at a press conference on Tuesday in Osogbo, said the allegation was a gang up against him.

The monarch, who denied the trending report of physically assaulting Oba Akinropo, said what happened was a ‘mere altercation and not physical combat’.

Oba Akanbi said what transpired between him and the Ogbaagba monarch was a fallout of a courageous move on his part to put a stop to economic oppression against the downtrodden by kings in his domain.

“I did not punch Agbowu of Ogbaagba, although there was an altercation that almost resulted to exchange of blows, that didn’t happen at all.

“I brought him and other Obas to the police to talk to them on the need to stop selling land that did not belong to them.

“I am fighting corruption in a traditional way.

“They are selling a hectare of land at the rate of N60,000, which I’m kicking against.

“I did not touch Agbowu of Ogbaagba, although he was aggressive and we almost had altercation but I did not punch him,” the Iwo monarch said.

The Iwo monarch added he is a peace-loving personality.

“If I am that boxing king you people are calling me, I should have done that in Iwo and not in Osogbo.

“I personally initiated the peace meeting in which I involved the AIG when those kings refused to desist from land grabbing despite my several warnings and advice,” Oba Akanbi said.

Akanbi was alleged to have assaulted Akinropo during a peace meeting at the office of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 11, Bashir Makama, in Osogbo on Friday.

The state government, however, condemned the incident, describing it as unfortunate and avoidable.

The government in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode, said a situation where monarchs engaged in a public display of temperament did not edify the revered stools of “our forebears.”


Mock results ready Wednesday, says JAMB Tue, 18 Feb 2020 21:25:12 +0000 The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has asked candidates who sat for its mock examination to expect the result on Wednesday.

The mock examination for candidates preparing for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination was written nationwide on Tuesday.

About 350,000 candidates out of the over 2.1 million that registered for the 2020 UTME sat for the examination nationwide in 64 computer based test centres (CBT).

Pockets of biometric issues were recorded in some of the centres monitored by our reporter in Kuje area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

However, there were no major technical hitches during the conduct of the examination.

JAMB’S Head of Media and Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin, in an interview on Tuesday, said that the board was looking at few cases recorded during the examination.

He said: “The results of the Mock Examination will be ready within 24 hours.

“There was nothing unusual about the mock examination, which is an indication that candidates are beginning to fall in line with the Computer-Based Test procedures.

“Mock enabled us to test our facilities and on Wednesday, we will meet and consider all the reports coming in on the functionality of our systems.

“From the CBT centres that participated nationwide, there were one or two cases of biometric issues that we are looking at. We are examining how and why they actually occurred.”

The JAMB Registrar, Prof Is-haq Oloyede, had said on Monday that the mock exam was to test-run the preparedness of the board for the 2020 UTME.

Oloyede insisted that there would be no extension for UTME registration which came to a close on Monday.

The Registrar added that about 2,000 direct entry candidates also registered for the 2020 admission process.

Pepsi vrs Bigi Cola: Senate summons soft drinks manufacturers Tue, 18 Feb 2020 21:01:55 +0000 Two soft drinks manufacturers, Messrs 7-Up Bottling Company, makers of Pepsi; and Rites Foods Limited, makers of Bigi brands on Tuesday met with the Senate in Abuja as the Upper chamber began the process of resolving the crisis between them.

The Senate took the decision when representatives of the two soft drinks’ firms appeared before the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

They were invited by the panel led by Senator Ayo Akinyelure following a petition by the lawyers to the Rites Foods Limited against the 7-Up Bottling Company.

Rather than allowing the parties to defend their cases at a public hearing, the Senate panel decided to attend to them behind closed doors.

The meeting lasted two hours, and the two parties were asked to hold a meeting to resolve the conflict among them.

Akinyelure told journalists after the closed session that both parties have been asked to return in two weeks after their peace meeting.

He said, “We have been able to sit the two management together because we believe that the issue is a matter that can be resolved amicably through the instrument of alternative conflict resolution that will bring more results to the country.

“I decided to hold a closed-door meeting in my office with both parties and at the end of the meeting attended by senior members of the Senate.

“For a company that engages 2,000 Nigerians with the other having 5,000 in her employment, it is our wish to see them progress and add more value to the country.

“We resolved in the committee and gave them two weeks to resolve the matter together, let them be friends.”

Lawan warns of security threat to N’Assembly Tue, 18 Feb 2020 20:45:38 +0000
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday tasked top security officials to beef up the security measures at the National Assembly to avert any threat.
Lawan, who is also the chairman of the National Assembly, disclosed that he has received report of security threat to the Assembly.
Lawan made this disclosure in his opening remarks at an emergency meeting the leadership of the Senate had with top security officials.
“Personally I had a report from the DSS that we had a security threat. Many unknown and uninvited people came or are coming into the National Assembly complex and we felt we shouldn’t take this lightly.
“From today we have to find temporary solution to support the security arrangement here. We will find a more permanent solution by the time the entire environment is remodeled,” Lawan said.
In attendance were the Director General of the Department of Security Service(DSS) and representatives of the Defence, Police, Civil Defence, Fire Service and other security agencies.
Lawan said the responsibility for ensuring security for all Nigerians is a collective responsibility for both the legislative and executive arms of government.
“We are working hard, we are working round the clock. We have a very active ad hoc Committee that is already engaging with the security agencies.
“As principal officers of the National Assembly, or let me say in the Senate in this respect, our responsibility and obligation is to ensure that our Senators, members of the House of Representatives, workers of the National Assembly, our visitors and indeed anyone who has a lawful business to do in this National Assembly are safe.
“For a very long time, this National Assembly will always have people who have no business coming here.
“With the heightening insecurity in the country, the time has come for this National Assembly to be properly secured for members of the National Assembly to carry out their legislative and other functions, under a very safe atmosphere.
“And of course, our workers, our visitors. What that means is that, if someone has no business here, that person shouldn’t be in the National Assembly.
“Because we are a parliament, we are a place or an institution where our constituents who feel very strongly about any issue can come and express their opinions.
“Some will come for protests. Some will attend public hearings in the committee rooms. Some will visit the gallery or in some cases even enter the chamber when allowed to do so.
“So we want everybody, as far as the security of this National Assembly complex is concerned, to be at his place. Those who work here directly with us, the security agencies, know what we are talking about.
“From the gate, people who shouldn’t be here at all, find themselves in. And then people come in, moving from one office to another, looking for nothing because they have no appointment with anyone. Yet they pass through all the security systems that we have in place.
“Even our chamber. When we close from the chamber, you see a line-up of people. You wonder how these people have come in and what is their business there.
“And when you take security for granted, sometimes you may have a bitter experience. We don’t want to take for granted the safe corridor that we have had. At least nothing has happened.
“We don’t want to wait until something happened. This kind of discussions had taken place in the past. This is the ninth Senate, we want to do it differently.
The Senate President said plans are underway for a better and permanent security architecture for the National Assembly
“We want to secure the environment with the necessary security gadgets and technologies to ensure that our parliament is like other parliaments in other clime where you have no business in the parliament, you cannot go in and when you have a business on the first floor, you can only go to the first floor. You can’t go to any other floor,” Lawan said.
The Senate President however clarified that nobody is advocating a blanket ban on the people with genuine reasons from visiting the National Assembly.
“Let me say clearly that what we are trying to do is not to prevent people who have lawful reasons to be here.
“When you are coming for protests, you are free to do so. Our people know where they do their protests and we normally go out to address them because we sit here on behalf of the people of Nigeria.
“It is legitimate, it is lawful, it is legal for people to come and show either their support for something or their objection to something that has to do with the National Assembly.
“We have maintained this for as far as I can remember in this National Assembly and we are going to continue to receive Nigerians who feel strongly about any issue.
“We are also at home with anyone who is attending public hearing….Nobody who has a reason to come should be stopped. We will still have visitors,” Lawan said.
The Senate President said any security officials found wanting in the line of duty will not be spared
“Any Security person who is given the job to ensure compliance and he’s found involved, we will not hesitate to get that person prosecuted for any wrongdoing. Because it is not enough for somebody to do a terrible thing and what you do is transfer him so that he can go and continue somewhere.
“We believe now we have to work together if it means the agencies talking to their people who are supposed to work here, they should do so because truly, we are under invasion. Anytime you come to the National Assembly, it’s full like market with all manners of people,” Lawan said.

Senate moves to check medical brain drain Tue, 18 Feb 2020 20:41:19 +0000
The Senate on Tuesday moved to check the rising emigration of medical and health professionals from Nigeria to developed countries when it considered a bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Abeokuta.
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC – Ogun Central), in his lead debate said that the establishment of specialized medical universities have become very important in the country as there are high demands for medical and health professionals in Nigeria.
According to the lawmaker, “many reports suggest that the number of Doctors, Dentists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Bachelor’s Degree-prepared Nurses in the country are just not adequate to deal with the increasing population growth and the healthcare needs of Nigerians.”
“The rising wave of external migration of medical and allied health professionals seeking greener pastures in more developed countries further compounds the problem”, he added.
The lawmaker lamented that the mass emigration of needed professionals from the country has resulted in the near extinction of some disciplines offered by Nigerian universities.
“Furthermore, some critically needed health professionals such as physical and occupational therapists, medical engineers, psychotherapists, and others are just not adequately produced in the country.
“Indeed, some of the disciplines are on the verge of extinction due to the mass migration of these professionals”, Amosun said.
The lawmaker warned that unless measures are introduced to check the situation, health indicators may continue to decline in the absence of interventions to tackle the trend.
“More Doctors and health professionals leaving the country has led to a shortage of Nigerian Doctors and specialized health care practitioners.
“This has resulted in a heavy strain and disaffection among those remaining. It is equally creating a fast rising personnel deficit in the country’s health sector, as statistics show that there is a ratio of one doctor to one hundred patients especially in our public hospitals”, he said.
The lawmaker, however, expressed optimism that Universities of Medicine and Medical Sciences would provide the chance to train the critically needed health professionals as they will have flexibility especially for creative program expansion.
In a related development, the Senate also on Tuesday considered a bill seeking to give legal backing to the University of Health Sciences, Otukpo.
Sponsored by Senator Abba Moro (PDP – Benue South), said the bill if eventually passed into law by the Ninth Assembly, will address he dearth in admission of students aspiring to study Medicine and Allied Sciences in Nigeria and supply of the needed manpower in the country’s health sector.
“It is pertinent to mention here that the teeming Nigerian population puts enormous strain and stress on the national infrastructure and available Health Personnel.
“The Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, when established, would bridge the gap of the challenges of inadequate of inadequate health professional in Nigeria”, the lawmaker said.
Meanwhile, the Senate has moved to boost the forestry sector in Nigeria with the consideration of a bill seeking to establish the College of Forestry Technology and Research, Birnin Gwarimpa, Kaduna.
The bill, according to its sponsor, Senator UBA Sani (APC – Kaduna Central), ensure the protection of sites and landscapes of high cultural and recreational value, as well as act as a stimulus to the contributions of forests to national development.
“It is important for foresters to have cutting-edge education. Forestry as a profession is becoming the increasingly complex.”
“Maintaining and enhancing these functions is an integral part of sustainable forest management. The forest sector is interrelated with other sectors such as agriculture, natural resources management, education, tourism, infrastructure and trade”, Sani added.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, referred the three bills considered during plenary on Tuesday to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further legislative work, with a directive for it to report back in four weeks.
The Committee is Chaired by Senator Ahmed Baba Kaita (APC – Katsina North).

Buhari won’t sack service chiefs, says SGF Tue, 18 Feb 2020 19:27:44 +0000 Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), says President Muhammadu Buhari will not sack service chiefs.

The Nation quoted him as saying this while addressing journalists after a book presentation by Samuel Salifu, former general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mustapha said it is premature to sack the service chiefs because of Nigeria’s growing insecurity.

He said the situation requires “everyone to be on board.”There have been growing insecurity in various parts of the country including armed banditry in the north-west and Boko Haram attacks in the north-east where the insurgents seem to be regaining their might.

As a result of the attacks, many Nigerians and groups asked President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve the service chiefs of their duties and employ “competent” hands.

Both chambers of the national assembly also called for the sack of the security heads if they fail to resign.

Mustapha, however, said what should be the main focus for Nigerians is how to work together to combat the security challenges, and not the sack of service chiefs.

“We are in a very difficult time now. We need everybody to be on board. We need synergy within intelligent community, within the military formations that will help fight this war,” he said.

“When we begin to create cracks and divisions, who will be the beneficiaries? The adversaries are the ones that are going to exploit those deficiencies and further the cause of destabilising the nation.

“At this moment, what we need is for everybody to be on the same page, fight the battle of securing the nation for protecting lives and property and ensuring that every Nigerian has the opportunity to live a prosperous live. I think that should be our main focus.

“You don’t sack people like that. There are processes and I believe that at the opportune time, those processes will be followed. You don’t just wake up and say sack people, it doesn’t happen like that.”

Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, had insisted that relieving the service chiefs of their will not end the nation’s security challenges.