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Insecurity: IG parleys with Aare Gani Adams

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, has charged the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on the need to be proactive in tackling the various security issues in the country.

Speaking during a meeting with the representatives of the IG, Adams restated his beliefs in boosting local security, saying the best measure is to get people at the grassroots involved.

He told the top police hierarchy that as the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, there are pressures on him to act on the issues.

Adams said the Oodua Peoples Congress is ready to partner with the police in solving the security challenges in the country, adding that the group had a history of winning the war against Kidnapping, banditry and other social vices.

He said: “I commend the Inspector General of Police on this move.
“The visit, as far as I am concerned, is a welcome development and it goes a long way in solving the menace.

“The security situation in the country is becoming too worrisome with cases of killings, kidnapping, raping and banditry prevalent across the South West states and there is an urgent need to curb the menace.”

Responding, Adamu’s Chief of Staff, Jude Nwankor, who led the team of the police top hierarchy on the visit, said the reason for the visit was to seek Adams’ support in solving the security challenges in the country.

Nwankor said the police will be willing to to partner with the Yoruba leader given his deep knowledge and experiences in the grassroots.

He said: “We are happy to relate with you as a prominent voice in Yorubaland.
“We know there is no way we can secure the grassroots without local intelligence.
“The IG has indicated interest in seeking your assistance and support and that is why we are here to tell you that the police as an institution is ready to partner with you.”

Reflecting on the visit, a prominent Yoruba voice, Akin Osuntokun, described the emissary as a long-awaited realistic disposition towards apprehending and containing the security crisis bedevelling the country.

The synergy will go a long in stemming the trend of rural Fulani banditry and associated crimes in the South West, Osuntokun said.

Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo charged the police authority to engage indigenous police personnels in information gathering.

Adejumo said the people that understand the local terrain in information gathering are in the best position to gather information, adding that the role of OPC in security intelligence and gathering cannot be overemphasized.

Others present at the meeting included Asoju Aare Ona Okakanfo of Yorubaland, Yinka Oguntimehin; Assistant General Secretary of OPC, Lasun Ogunfowokan; Chief Superintendent of Police Peter Gana; and Stella Gowon.

At the end of the meeting, Adams presented a letter to the IG, indicating his support and proffering solutions to the insecurity across the country.

Ayokunle re-elected CAN President

The president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), Supo Ayokunle, has been re-elected president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The result was announced on Tuesday by Matthew Kukah, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.

Mr Ayokunle got 59 votes to defeat the runner up, Caleb Solomon-Ahima, president, Fellowship of Christian Churches in Nigeria (TEKAN), who got 44 votes.

Mr Ahima, according to the CAN constitution, becomes the vice president of the organisation.

Mr Ayokunle was born on January 25, 1957 and hails from Isheke, Oyo in Oyo State.

He has his first degree in Sociology from the University of Ibadan in 1983.

He had a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) and a Master of Education (M.Ed) in Guidance and Counselling from the same university.

Mr Ayokunle equally bagged a Master of Divinity in Theology (M.Div Th) from the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso in 1995 before proceeding to the United Kingdom to obtain a Master of Arts (MA) in Theology and Religious Studies from Liverpool Hope University.

He also obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology with emphasis on liturgical studies.

(NAN)

APC committee recommends expulsion of Ex-Zamfara gov, national deputy chairman from party

The five-member Disciplinary Committee set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) has received a report and evidence of alleged anti party activities against its Deputy National Chairman (North) Lawal Shuaibu.

The Zamfara State Executive Committee of the APC submitted the report to the committee on Tuesday in Abuja.

The committee also received report against the former Governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari, on his alleged role in the 2019 electoral misfortune of the APC in the state.

The Zamfara APC Publicity Secretary, Mohammed Bakyasuwa, who led other officials of the party to the APC National Secretariat to submit the reports, made it available to journalists.

According to the report, the duo allegedly breached Article 21(a) 2014 of the APC Constitution as amended.

“We are going to prove that we are not just bragging, and we mean it, we have drawn the battle line with Yari’s group.

“We have realised that the two men were behind the misfortunes of the party, and we need to expel them to prepare for the challenges ahead,” he said.

The APC Zamfara Chairman, Surajo Garba, blamed the party’s misfortune on the action of the two men.

“By this letter and for the above reason, we the executive council of the APC in Zamfara have firmly resolved to expel Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Yari and the Deputy National Chairman (North), Lawal Shuaibu, from the party.

“The attitude and conduct of the personalities have brought APC in Zamfara to a state of disrepute and a clear flagrant disobedience to party,”he said.

NAN further reports that the five-member panel of the Supreme Court justices, in a unanimous judgement on May 25, declared that APC in Zamfara had no candidates in the 2019 general elections.

This, it explained, was because the party failed to conduct recognised primaries in accordance with party rules.

In the lead judgment by Justice Paul Galinji, the court held that all votes cast for the APC during the general elections in Zamfara were “wasted votes”.

He, therefore, declared that all political parties with the second highest votes in the elections and with the required spread, were elected to various elective positions in the state.

The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, however, stressed that the Supreme Court declaration amounted to imposing total strangers on the people of Zamfara.

He said the right thing the court should have done was to call for a repeat of the elections if the party fell short of electoral laws.

(NAN)

Lawan appoints Chief of Staff, media aide

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, has appointed a Chief of Staff and Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

Senator Lawan approved the appointments of Babagana Muhammad Aji and Festus Adedayo as his Chief of Staff and Special Adviser on Media and Publicity respectively.

The appointments were announced in a statement signed by Special Adviser to the Senate President on Administration, Betty Okoroh.

The appointments take immediate effect, the statement notes.

“The appointments were made based on merit, experience, track record and competency of Aji and Adedayo needed by the Senate President in executing his planned legislative agenda,” the statement added.

According to the statement, Mr Aji, who is currently an Administrative Coordinator of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Outreach Services, holds a Master Degree in Educational Planning and Administration, and another one in Public Administration both from University of Maiduguri.

He started his working career with the University of Maiduguri in 1987 as Administrative Assistant and rose to become the Registrar of the University in 1997.

He later joined the services of University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) where he was appointed as Director in 2016.

He is a member of several professional bodies including the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and Registered Administrative Managers of Nigeria, and attended several workshops, trainings and conferences both locally and abroad

Mr Adedayo holds a Ph.D. in Political Communication from the University of Ibadan, and a member of Editorial Board of Tribune newspapers.

He was Special Adviser on Media to Oyo state governor between 2011 to 2015, Special Adviser on Media to Enugu state governor between 2004 to 2007 and Special Assistant to Enugu state governor on Public Policy Analysis between 2003 and 2004.

Breaking: Gov. AbdulRazaq suspends Kwara LG Councils for six months

The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has suspended the 16 Local Government Council Executive and Legislative Committees in line with the earlier recommendation of the State House of Assembly.

“Pursuant to the resolution of the Kwara State House of Assembly dated this 18th day of June, 2019, and Section 29 of the Kwara State Local Government Law Cap. K33, 2006, I, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the executive governor of Kwara State, hereby suspend the executive and legislative committees of all the Sixteen (16) Local Government Areas in the state for a period of six months or pending the outcome of the investigations into allegations of misappropriation of public funds by the Kwara State House or Assembly, whichever is earlier in time,” said a statement signed by the Governor on Tuesday.

The suspension came hours after the House of Assembly recommended the suspension of the local council executive and legislative committees.

The House had, in the resolution earlier in the day, urged the governor “to immediately suspend all the 16 Local Government Executive and Legislative Committees in the state pending the outcome of the investigation into the allegations of misappropriation of public funds levelled against them so as not to jeopardise the process of investigation”.
Section 29 of the Kwara State Local Government Law Cap. K33, 2006 empowers the governor to suspend the chief executive of the local council for six months.

The Constitution, on the other hand, empowers the House of Assembly to investigate the local councils for alleged infraction and corruption.

 

Nigeria daily oil production hits 2.3 mbpd – NNPC GMD

The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, says the country’s daily oil production is currently 2.32million barrel per day.

Mr Baru disclosed this on Tuesday when a delegation of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) led by its President, Chris Isiguzo, visited his office in Abuja.

“Since we came in July 2016, we are focused on increasing production of oil and gas and condensates.

“At some point, our national combined production was about a million barrels; I am happy that as at the end of 2018, we have moved on averaging last year, about 2.1 million barrels.

“As I am speaking, this morning, I look at our production figures, combined oil and condensates we are pushing 2.32 million barrels a day,” he said.

According to him, the stability and ability to push production has come as a consequence of several factors, both internally, externally and also with the help of the media.

Commenting on the gas sector, he said the corporation had also pushed from a low level of about 450 million standard cubic feet per day for the domestic alone and currently hovering at about 1.5 billion SCF per day of gas.

He noted that internally, its subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), had pushed their production on the equity side, from a low figure of 65,000 barrels per day in 2016 to over 166,000 barrels per day equity.

“Overall production of the NPDC, we are able to maintain it at close to 300,000 barrels per day. It is quite a significant boost,” he added.

The GMD further said that NPDC, had become the main supplier for gas for the power sector, supplying over 800 million SCF per day required to boost the production of power in the country.

“Currently, the power that we enjoy has about 80 per cent input from gas-driven thermal power plants.

“Our drive for transparency has also produced a lot of fruits. We have been able to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), into the oil and gas industry, and in 2017 alone, we have attracted about 3.6 billion dollars.

“In 2018, we have shot up by three billion dollars, at the moment, some of our officers are in London, where they are negotiating about seven billion dollars as FDI for the oil and gas sector.

“In terms of crude oil cost of production, it has significantly improved from the 27 dollars per barrel in our Joint Venture operations, and it has come down to 22 dollars per barrel.

“We are looking for further reduction this year, to about 20dollars per barrel,” he added.

On Exploration, he noted that at the Kolmani River prospect in the Gongola basin, the corporation targeted for the well to be done in 60 days, but because of the interest, “we are doing intensive testing and we still have not hit the Total Depth (TD).

“We think maybe by next week, we will be able to hit the TD of 14,250 feet. The TD is not sacrosanct. If we find that there are interesting signs beyond the TD, the rig has a capability of 20,000 feet.

“There are interesting things we are doing, all these to increase the reserves of the nation. This, we are doing assiduously,” he said

On the refineries, he said that the contractors were still on site with the review for effective evaluation, adding that the corporation expected that by October it would be concluded and it would move to look for financiers.

He urged the media to continue to support efforts that would help to protect oil infrastructure in the country.

Earlier, Mr Isiguzo commended Mr Baru on the transparency and efficiency in the management of the affair of the corporation.

.

He appealed to the security agencies, host communities and traditional rulers to support NNPC’s effort to protect the oil pipelines and infrastructure across the country.

He said the union would partner with the corporation and continue to carry out its roles for the growth and development of the sector.

“We are committed to go beyond unionism to make impact in the society, which is our primary role and we have started that with the launch of our magazine ‘The NUJ Defender’.

“We believe that our collaboration NNPC will continue to help the sector and the country at large,” he said.

(NAN)

Dollar Scandal: Anti-graft agency didn’t probe Ganduje because ‘wasn’t involved in sting’

The head of the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission, Magaji Ramindado, has said the commission could not probe Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s alleged bribery scandal because the agency was “not carried along” in the investigation by the newspaper that reported the case.

Mr Ramindado said the governor’s immunity had also barred the commission from taking action.

A video published by the newspaper Daily Nigerian in October 2018 showed Mr Ganduje receiving wads of dollars. The newspaper said the governor collected $5,000 as kickback from a government contractor.

Mr Ganduje said the clip was doctored, but video specialists at PREMIUM TIMES confirmed the material was not fake.

Nigerians have since called for the governor to be investigated. He won a second term despite the scandal.

As governor, Mr Ganduje has constitutionally-provided immunity against prosecution. But he can be investigated pending when he leaves office.

No federal anti-corruption agency, including the EFCC, has said it has investigated the matter.

The Kano anti-corruption agency, the state’s equivalent of the EFCC, has also not probed the case.

Speaking on Tuesday at the opening of a two-day meeting on anti-corruption fight in Kano, the chairman of the body, Mr Ramindado, said the commission also failed to act because it did not know the motive of the journalist who released the video.

The meeting, with the theme: ”Enhancing Citizens’ Effective Participation in the Fight Against Corruption,” was organised by Actionaid Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation and member of ActionAid global federation.

The anti-graft agency boss was reacting to allegation that its probe of the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was politically motivated.

He said although the agency was established by the state government, it does not was independent.

“On the issue of dollar bribery scandal and the accusation that we have not probed the governor, people have forgotten that governors enjoy immunity,” he said.

“And apart from this, how could you undertake sting operation without involving us, yet you want us to be part of the probe? We can’t, because we don’t know your motive, we don’t know whether it is true or not. For you to have gone to the extent of releasing the video, you could have got anti-graft agencies involved. It doesn’t mean it should necessarily be our own agency. But EFCC and ICPC are there and they could back the claim,” he said.

The chairman said his agency has investigated a serving commissioner and another permanent secretary, adding that one of the cases is currently pending at the court of appeal.

“We have investigated judiciary institutions, we have investigated the traditional institutions. I enter government house and I make arrest. We don’t care whether people will say we are part of the government or not. I have investigated a serving commissioner and even a serving permanent secretary. Google the case of the Commissioner for Lands, Kano State, we are currently in the Appeal Court over the matter,” he added.

Mr Ramindado also said the allegation of a gorilla swallowing money at a zoo in Kano was not true. He said preliminary investigations showed that there was a robbery incident at the zoo on June 8.

He, however, alleged that the management of the zoo could be found wanting for keeping such huge resources at the zoo in spite of the treasury single account system being operated by the state.

Welcoming guests to the programme, the Country Director of the organisation, Ene Obi, urged participants including grassroots women to be involved in the fight against corruption.

She advised parents to always query sources of wealth of their children and raise relevant questions when necessary about suspicious issues.

The keynote speaker at the programme was the lawyer, Femi Falana.

Akeredolu sacks Works Commissioner, two others

As part of the efforts being made to reposition his cabinet for optimum performance aimed at ensuring that the administration delivers on its mandate to the people, the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has rejigged his cabinet.

The Governor made the announcement at the end of the State Executive Council meeting, held on Monday, inside the Exco Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Akure.
Three commissioners were relieved of their duties.

They are:
1. Prince Solagbade Amodeni of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
2. It. Hon. Taofiq Abdusalam of the Ministry of Works and Infrastructures.
3. Alhaji Ismaila Olurimisi of the Ministry of Culture.

The Governor thanks the three of them for service to the good people of Ondo State and wish them well in their future endeavours.

They are directed to handover all government’s property in their possession to the Permanent Secretaries of their respective ministries.
The Governor has therefore nominated the following for the position of commissioners:

1. Mrs Yetunde Adeyanju
2. Mrs Titilayo Adeyemi
3. Mr Temitayo Oluwatuyi
4. Hon. Fatai Olotu
5. Akindotun Olubunmi Owanikin Esq

The names of the nominees will be forwarded to the state House of Assembly for confirmation.

Similarly, Governor Akeredolu has appointed two new Special Advisers. They are:
1. Hon Babatunde Kolawole 2. Hon Oyebo Aladetan

Governor Akeredolu wishes the new appointees well in their new offices.
He vows that the people will continue to be at the centre of the policies of his administration, while he continues to deliver the dividends of good governance to the people of the state.

Segun Ajiboye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.

Trump to announce re-election bid at Florida rally

U.S. President Donald Trump is set to announce his candidacy for a second four-year term at a rally in Florida.

Trump’s campaign for re-election in 2020 chose the 20,000-seat Amway Centre in the centre of the state to make the announcement on Tuesday.

The event is scheduled to start at 8 p.m (0000 GMT).

Trump has been touting the rally in tweets, claiming there has been a large demand for tickets.

“Big rally tomorrow night in Orlando, Florida, looks to be setting records, we are building large movie screens outside to take care of everybody,’’ Trump tweeted on Monday.

New polls of potential voters indicate Trump will need all their support on Election Day, which isn’t until Nov. 3, 2020.

A poll conducted on Sunday by Fox News showed Trump trailing former vice president Joe Biden, the front-runner among a crowded field of Democrats, by 10 points.

The poll also shows him nine points behind Senator Bernie Sanders, another leading contender.

Trump tweeted about the polls on Monday, suggesting they were fake.

“Only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew. We are looking really good, but it is far too early to be focused on that. Much work to do! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The president is expected to use Tuesday’s rally to highlight strengths in the U.S. economy and the fulfillment of campaign promises made during his 2016 campaign.

Airtel files application for listing on NSE – SEC

Airtel Nigeria has officially filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

A senior management source, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.

He noted that the application was filed by the company two weeks ago, adding that the commission was presently looking at it in line with its rules and regulations.

The source said SEC would continue to protect the interest of investors in the market in line with its mandate to regulate and develop the capital market.

The source added that the application would be given express consideration if the company met all the requirements for listing on the nation’s bourse.

NAN reports that Airtel Africa Ltd, a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd, said on June 17, that it intended to list its shares on the NSE at the same time with the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

The company said although the listing on the NSE was on, it had set a price range of 80 to 100 pence per share for its planned Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the LSE.

The company said conditional dealings in its shares were expected to begin on or around June 28, and the final pricing would be announced the same day.

The IPO for the London listing is expected to raise 595 million pounds (749.05 million dollars) from the issuance of about 595.2 million to 744 million new shares.

The company said the value of the offer ranged between 3.01 billion pounds and 3.62 billion pounds. (NAN)

INEC promises automatic employment for ad-hoc NYSC staff

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised automatic employment to corps members who performed exceptionally well as ad hoc staff during the 2019 General Elections.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the promise on Monday in Abuja at the presentation of kits with laptops and phones by the European Union (EU) to outstanding corps members who participated in the 2019 Elections.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that EU donated the kits to 75 outstanding corps members for their excellent performance as INEC ad hoc staff during the 2019 elections.

They were selected as recipients following a public announcement on March 27.

Yakubu, who stressed the important role corps members played during the conduct of election, said that there could be no successful elections in Nigeria without the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

He said that the recognition of the hard work of corps members by the commission and the EU was apt as they had continually over the years put their lives at risk to ensure the peaceful and successful conduct of elections in the country.

The INEC Chairman praised corps members’ resilience, patriotism, dedication and commitment to the electoral process, adding that the commission would continue to reward them for their hard work.

“In addition to what the EU is giving you today, the commission has embarked on the review of the 2019 General elections.

“There are many of you who did very well during the elections. We will identify you and reward those who performed excellently well in the election with automatic employment.

“By doing so, we hope that those of you who have done excellently well will form a group of conscientious election duty staff going on to the next general elections,” he said.

He thanked the EU and the Director-General of the NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim and also the youth corps members stressing “there cannot be any election in Nigeria without the NYSC’’.

“I have said this before and I will say it again that the youth corps members are the most dedicated, the most educated, most patriotic, the most willing, the most able, the most greatly available, and the most committed election duty personnel.

“It is not just about the election but the entire electoral process. You are available for voter education, voter registration and also available on Election Day,” Yakubu said.

The INEC chairman said that the automatic employment being granted by the commission would also be extended to corps members who would perform exceptionally well during the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections holding in November 2019.

Yakubu said that the commission planned to utilise the services of corps members for the entire elections.

Amb. Ketil Karlsen, the Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, while presenting the laptops and phones to the corps members said that the gesture was a way of thanking them for their participation in the elections.

Karlsen, said that the EU recognised the important work corps members carry out during elections, adding that the youths were the backbone of democracy.

The ambassador also announced that the 75 corps members had been coopted as ambassadors of the EU, assuring them of the unions support in the future.

He said that each recipient was carefully selected by a panel of the NYSC and the EU delegation in Abuja.

According to him, 292,000 corps members participated in the general elections and it could not have been possible without their participation, “so we sat down to think what we could possibly do to thank them.’’

“We will have loved to reach out to every single one of the corps members who participated all over the country, unfortunately that is not possible but we tried to convince Brussels and the European Parliament to do something that has never been done before.

“They agreed to directly pass down the equipment that was used during the EU observation mission to 75 corps members who participated.

“I have seen the hardships you have had to endure; the journey has just begun I want you to count on the EU to accompany you on that journey onwards to ensure the full actualisation of democracy in Nigeria.’’

The NYSC Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim said that the scheme was not surprised by the appreciation accorded corps members by the EU as they had continued to play major roles in ensuring peaceful and successful conduct of elections.

Ibrahim said that with over 300,000 corps members mobilised every year, the scheme had created opportunities for corps members to discover and harness their potential for personal and national development.

He therefore called on the EU to support the scheme in its effort to provide entrepreneurial skills and start-up capital to enable corps members establish businesses for self-employment after the service year.

The NYSC boss said that this support would go a long way to contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

APC governors: Buhari doesn’t need to consult us before choosing ministers

Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) say the composition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet is an executive decision that does not require their input.

Atiku Baguda, governor of Kebbi state, made the comment at the end of a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Baguda said he and his colleagues were at Aso Rock to congratulate the president over the emergence of the new leaders of the national assembly.

Asked if the ministerial list was part of their discussions, he said: “No. It is an executive decision.”

“This morning Mr. President graciously granted audience to progressive Governors forum. We came to congratulate him on the national assembly elections and thank him for the confidence he has in the progressive Governors forum members who participated actively in all the processes that led to the emergence of Senator President Ahmad Lawan, Ovie Omo-Agege as deputy senate president, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker, and Hon. Ahmed Wase as deputy speaker,” he said.

“Furthermore, we used the opportunity to thank Mr. President for all he has been doing and all the successes recorded in the areas which he campaigned on, which are security, economy and accountability.

“We are quite happy with his support for states where close to N2 trillion was given to states in form of restructuring of loans, refunds on federal roads, refund for Paris Club, which has helped encouraged economic activities in the states, payment of salaries, payment of pensions, payment of gratuities and overall investment by infrastructural spending.

“We are also appreciative of increased investment in agriculture which has been because of conscious decision to support agriculture as a way out of economic challenges and provide economic growth.

“We also congratulate Mr. President that despite drop in income, the value for money that he insists upon has begun to pay off in terms of more security across the country even though some challenges still remain, he is working hard on that with sincerity.

“Last and not the least, we offer to work with Mr. President continuously to ensure that we increase economic performance, security of our country and social cohesion.

On what promises the party is making to Nigerians now that it is in full control at all levels, Bagudu said: “Well, we as progressive governors will push so that that legislation and cooperation between states and federal government will be better. We will be more active in e during investments in all areas that can provide employment and incomes rapidly will increase, we will collaborate more to ensure that security is enhanced particularly when it involves state borders.”

Sanwo-Olu: I said we’ll review, not clear Apapa gridlock in 60 days

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, says he never promised to clear the Apapa gridlock within his first 60 days in office.

Sanwo-Olu made the clarification while addressing state house correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday.

During an interactive session with his classmates in May, Sanwo-Olu, who was then governor-elect, had spoken on the gridlock caused by trailers, tankers and heavy-duty trucks in Apapa and its environs.

PUNCH had quoted him as saying that it was a campaign issue that he would take seriously.

“The Apapa trailer issue; it’s a campaign issue; it’s very serious; I’m going to take it very seriously. I believe that it is something that we are going to solve in the first 60 days of our government. Whatever is going to be required of us, we will take them out,” he was quoted to have said.

But clarifying his statement, the governor said he spoke of reviewing the gridlock situation within 60 days.

He said although construction of the road has commenced, the full impact of the work cannot be felt just yet.

“Interestingly, some media houses are actually counting down on me. They said that I mentioned during the campaign train that I was going to clear it in 60 days,” he said.

“I have mentioned it before, what I said was that in 60 days, we would review what was done but that does not take the fact that even if people give you dateline, it’s because they want you to do well and they want you to be able to be accountable for those datelines.

“The real construction of the road has started, but it’s not at the stage in which we can feel the full impact of it.”

Edo crisis worsens as pro-Obaseki lawmakers are ‘secretly’ inaugurated

Nine Edo house of assembly lawmakers said to be loyal to Godwin Obaseki, the governor, edged out their colleagues on Monday night by taking oath of office “secretly”.

They were sworn in shortly after 15 others protested the delay in inaugurating the assembly, blaming it on an attempt of the governor to impose his loyalists as presiding officers.

Led by Julius Osifo, a former commissioner in the state, the lawmakers-elect gave Obaseki a seven-day ultimatum to give proclamation for a new assembly.

A legislative source told TheCable that a “cold war” between Obaseki and Adams Oshiomhole, his predecessor, has split the assembly into two.

Oshiomhole, who is chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was said to have been perfecting strategies to oust Obaseki since he had majority of the lawmakers in his camp.

“Up until yesterday, Oshiomhole had 19 lawmakers behind him while the governor had five,” the source said.

“But after the lawmakers loyal to Oshiomhole gave the governor a seven-day ultimatum to inaugurate the assembly, his camp reached out to five legislators who were on the side of the APC chairman and with this, they were able to form quorum for inauguration.”

The source said after enlisting the support of nine lawmakers, Obaseki transmitted a letter of inauguration to Audu Omogbai, clerk of the house, who ushered the lawmakers into the chamber immediately.

Proceedings were said to have commenced under heavy security and Frank Okiye, Obaseki’s preferred candidate, emerged speaker while Yekini Idiaye of Akoko Edo constituency I was elected deputy speaker.

Okiye said other elected lawmakers who were not at the “inauguration” would take their oath of office after completing their documentation processes.

“I am not the best, but this responsibility is divine,” Okiye who represents Esan north-east 1, said in his inaugural address.

He then adjourned sitting till July 17, 2019.

Apart from Okiye, other members inaugurated are Okiye, Idaiye, Nosayaba Okunbor (Orhionmwon east), Roland Asoro (Orhionmwon south), Marcus Onobun (Esan west), Uyi Ekhosuehi (Oredo east), Ephiraim Aluebhosele (Igueben), Henry Okhuarobo (Ikpoba-Okha) and Eric Okaka (Owan east).

John Mayaki, chief press secretary to the governor, did not respond to calls and text messages as of the time this report was filed.

Simon Egbebulem, spokesman of Oshiomhole, could not also be reached for comments.

 

Lekki hotel rape: Lagos will continue prosecution of two varsity dropouts

The Lagos State Government has said that in spite of a letter of withdrawal by the complainant in a rape case, it was determined to bring the two defendants to justice.

The defendants are Don-Chima, 25, and Rasak, 28, both dropouts from Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo in Ogun State.

The duo are facing trial before an Ikeja High Court for allegedly drugging and raping a 24-year-old woman at a hotel in Lekki Phase One, Lekki, Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that during previous court proceedings on June 13, the complainant via a letter of withdrawal, dated June 3, informed the court that she wanted the criminal case against the defendants withdrawn.

She said the reason for her intention to withdraw the case was due to “intervention of family members and for the sake of my integrity”.

However, at the start of proceedings on Tuesday, Mr Akin George, a Deputy-Director in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, informed the court that Lagos State would continue the prosecution of the defendants.

“At the last adjourned date, my lord said that the state should get feedback from the Ministry of Justice on how to proceed with this case.

“The instruction from the Solicitor-General and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice is that we should go ahead with the prosecution.

“The witness is already in the box and she should continue with her evidence,” he said.

Following George’s submission, Justice Abiola Soladoye informed the court that she had received an affidavit from the complainant and her two friends, stating that they did not want to testify in the trial.

“Notwithstanding the receipt of the affidavit, the case before the court is between the state, the victim and the defendant.

“The court will proceed with the case,” she said.

Following Soladoye’s pronouncement, the complainant was invited to the witness box to continue being cross-examined by Mr Tunji Ayanlaja, the counsel to the defendants.

Under cross-examination, the complainant denied that she, her father and her two friends demanded N50 million from the defendants’ parents to withdraw her allegations of rape.

She denied wanting to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, regarding the alleged N50 million.

She also denied making false allegations against the defendants when payments for the alleged N50 million were not met.

Recalling the events of the morning of the day she was allegedly raped by the defendants, she said, “I had half a medium sized glass of Hennessey and Coca-cola.

“I had a clear head to take care of Foluso, my friend, who was drunk.

“It was surprising that I slept thereafter as I knew I was not going to sleep because I had slept earlier during the day.

“Like I said during the last court proceeding, I went upstairs to take my friend Foluso from the reception to Chima’s room upstairs,” she said.

Recalling when her friends confronted the defendants at the De-Lankaster Hotel over the rape allegation, the complainant denied seeing her friends beat up Don-Chima and Rasak.

She said that before the confrontation, she did not report the alleged rape at the reception because when leaving the hotel after she woke up from her induced sleep, there was no staff at the reception.

“I know the gravity of my allegations. On February 3, it was reported to the Maroko Police Station and on February 5 it was transferred to the Gender Unit of the Nigeria Police Command.

“There was police personnel who was with us at the police station and there were several cars driven to the hotel.

“The police were not in the car with me. I’m aware there are charges in court against my friends for allegedly beating up the defendants,” she said.

Following the completion of her evidence, the court proposed adjourning the trial to October.

Upon hearing this, Ayanlaja, Counsel to Don-Chima and Rasak sought their bail, noting that there were new circumstances to warrant them being bailed by the court.

“My lord, I respectfully submit that these are young people and I respectfully submit that the long adjournment should be a new circumstance that would weigh on the mind of the court as to the need to grant bail.

“It is the discretionary power of the court to either grant or withhold bail.

“The only condition is that your lordship will be satisfied that they will be available in court to hear the case against them.

“They are first offenders. It is the power of the court to reform and accused persons should not be put in a place they will become hardened criminals,” he said.

George, however, vehemently opposed Ayanlaja’s application.

“With heavy sense of duty and respect to the SAN and this honourable court, the state submits that this application after the close of the witness’ testimony is an abuse of court process.

“This court is functus officio (given a decision that cannot be re-examined) in regards to the application for bail. The next bus stop available to canvas this kind of argument is a superior court.

“My lord, application for bail is by a written application and a court cannot sit upon an appeal against its own ruling.
“A plethora of decisions consider such a move as judicial rascality.

“We are ready to proceed expeditiously in this case. I urge the application for bail to be trashed,” George argued.

Soladoye in a short ruling, refused Ayanlaja’s request to consider granting the defendants bail.

“I have carefully listened to both the defence and prosecution counsel.

“A ruling denying the defendants bail was delivered on April 29.
“This can never be reversed by this court.

“There are no new grounds or circumstances in this case.

“This case is adjourned to October 9 for the continuation of trial,” she said.

(NAN)

Buhari signs Federal Polytechnics Amendment, Security Studies bills into law

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja signed into law the Federal Polytechnics Amendment bill and the National Institute for Security Studies bill.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Alhaji Umar El-Yakub disclosed this when he addressed State House Correspondents on Tuesday.

According to him, the new Act on Federal Polytechnics now pegs the tenure of Rectors of Federal Polytechnics at single five-year tenure.

He said, “The Federal Polytechnics Amendment Bill sought to amend the Federal Polytechnics Act of 2004, whereby there were amendments to several sections of that Act.

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“This includes the tenure of the Rectors, which has now been harmonised to five-year single tenure and whereby a Rector is currently serving the old four-year tenure, he/she will have an additional year to make it five.

“The amended Act now stipulates that the Polytechnics will now have Governing Councils of five members, reflecting the national character, comprising a lady, an alumnus of the Polytechnics and a person from the area where the Polytechnic is based.”

According to the presidential aide, the National Institute for Security Studies ACT now paves the way for the establishment of the institute with a view to ensuring that middle and senior managers in the security environment have their competences improved.

El-Yakub also said when operational, the institute would serve as a critical research organisation, “with a view to ensuring that there are competent people managing the security environment for global peace and stability.’’

(NAN)

Heritage Bank’s N2bn loan boosts Triton’s frozen foods exports

Barely two years Heritage Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disbursed a loan for building a N2illion processing facility for Triton fish/chicken in Oyo state, the firm has commenced export of all kinds of frozen foods to some parts of Europe and African countries.

The loan that was given under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) in 2017 has fast track the production of Triton’s fish/chicken in Oyo and sold as BIG SAMS in Poland, Romania, Egypt, Liberia and Ivory Coast to mention few.

The move by Heritage Bank was part of efforts to support the real sector, boost foreign exchange, unlock food and wealth creating potentials in the nation’s agricultural space.

TAAL, also known as Triton Farm, accessed the CACS through Heritage Bank to set up aquaculture businesses- nursery/hatchery for the production of fingerlings and brood stock in Ikeja; and earthen ponds for catfish and tilapia in Asejire, Iwo and Gambari towns in Oyo State.

The company said its strategy is to embrace backward integration through production of fish locally and reduce its importation of frozen fish, as well as assist small scale farms by producing quality breed fingerlings.

Meanwhile, during a tour at the farm in 2017, Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, commended the company, stating that the CBN and Heritage Banks’ financial support to the company’s achievement was very fundamental as investment in food security was probably the most profitable venture anyone could think of.
He however, said that Nigeria has a deficit of over two million metric tonnes of poultry produce, and over three million metric tonnes deficit in fish farming products, adding that the agro-production deficits show huge investment potential in the sector.
He stressed that banks should now finance more agricultural projects than trading, oil and gas, as the future is highly dependent on agriculture.

The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that that partnership between the bank and Triton Farm local production will conserve scarce foreign exchange and enhance food security.

“Nigeria’s current demand capacity for fish is estimated at 2.7million metric tons and the country currently produces 800,000 metric tonnes. Triton is now producing 25,000 metric tons and with them on board, about 25,000 metric tonnes capacity will be added to our current production, the company’s projection is to reach 100,000 metric tons in five years,” he said.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Group Head, Agriculture Finance unit off the Bank, Olugbenga Awe, stressed that Heritage Bank’s support for small-scale enterprises is well known and most of these SMEs play in the agriculture sector.

According to him, the bank sees agriculture as one of its heritage that can empower individuals and communities in terms of creating wealth from the soil and through the entire value –chain using value addition and industrialisation.

“We are also focused on small holder farmers as we currently support thousands of farmers in Kaduna and Zamfara states in rice and soybeans production under the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

“We are also targeting the youth that are interested in agriculture through our partnership with CBN on Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme,” he assured.
The Chairman, Triton Group, Ashvin Samtani, said the farm was fully integrated in aquaculture, poultry and crop production and is a platform to create employment for teeming youth.

“Triton Farm is designed to train youth in agriculture and create employment, as well as generate wealth. This is the only farm in the whole region that is fully integrated in aquaculture, poultry and crop production,” he stated.

No gorilla in Kano zoo, says Ganduje on missing N6.8m

Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, says there is no gorilla in the state-owned zoo where it was alleged that N6.8 million was swallowed by the animal.

An official of the Kano Zoological Gardens had been quoted as saying a gorilla carted away the money from where it was kept before swallowing it.

But speaking with state house correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday, the governor said it was a case of robbery and that no animal was involved.

“You know, l already directed the anti-corruption agency in Kano to wade into the issue and they are still investigating,” he said.

“But all l can say now is that preliminary reports indicate that there was an armed robbery at the zoo and not the issue of gorilla. The issue of gorilla is junk journalism. This is because there is even no gorilla in that zoo. We are told that there was an armed robbery incident in which the entire safe at the zoo was carted away.

“The outcome of the investigation will let us know what actually happened. But l am sure that there is something wrong anyway.”