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Letter to the President by Segun Showunmi

 

Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, Ramadan Kareem. May Almighty Allah guide and be with you, especially at this time with the affairs of our nation Nigeria.
Democracy thrives on a vibrant and viral opposition. I have wondered if the word opposition is an appropriate word to use given that I really do not see those with alternate views as being in opposition. I prefer to see them as partners in progress on the way to getting the country to achieve its destined lofty heights.

Mr. President, the actions and utterances of your aides, especially Minister Lai Mohammed, are tantamount to stifling the opposition. As if the latter’s comments are not unfortunate enough, one just needs to look at the other organizations within the Executive like the EFCC and ICPC, among others, to become curious as to how come, suddenly, under your watch, the main victims of their activities are opposition figures and persons perceived to be close to them.

Your Excellency, whereas I personally love and wish that you bequeath a corruption free country to us as your legacy, I must add that within the period that should come under review in this fight, it is embarrassing to give the impression that none of those in cahoot with you and your government are guilty, if not more, of the same corrupt enrichment and abuse of office that your agents seem so fixated on. The impression every discerning Nigerian gets is that your anti-corruption torch light mainly exposes the main figures of the opposition as the only ones deep in this national malaise.

Mr President, I get the fact that the opposition can come with some form of irritation, but with great respect, this comes with the responsibilities you carry as a civilian president and I hope you understand that it is a great achievement that, like Obasanjo, Like Buhari, you both are the only ones that it has pleased God to grant the grace of serving both as head of state and as president.

I write you this open letter that you might not allow anyone to destroy your legacy or allow them to caste you in the mould of dictators, the likes that, for all of history, sit in a very condemnable place. Unfortunately, history is usually mild on incompetence in leadership, but for those who allow themselves to be painted with the tar of despot, history is never kind and the mess is left for their children and descendants. Now, why should you allow that to be the lot of your people given that deep down, I know you are not a wicked person; you are just firm and perhaps set in your ways as to how to sharpen up this country and its mostly indisciplined citizens.

I honestly don’t want you to allow the extremely incompetent Lai Mohammed, who in my opinion, mismanaged the goodwill with which you came into office in 2015, to destroy whatever is left. I, though in opposition, have wondered why you tolerated them until such a point that your perception audit ebbed so low. I would never know why, but I wish to tell you that the narrative about opposition being responsible for security crisis and treason coming in one press release is extremely dangerous to the country, to opposition elements, but most especially, to you and your reputation!

That is a line that they ought not to cross. I want to suggest that the right approach would be to name specific individuals that credible intelligence fingers in this. To do otherwise is to become the victim of a Frustration-Aggression-Displacement Theory, which posits that once a person is frustrated, mostly as a result of not being able to achieve a task (mostly caused by incompetence) that aggression is what follows and this also is mostly misdirected. In this case, rather than direct it at those you have saddled with the responsibilities of doing a job, sir, you are directing it at the opposition and it is made most unacceptable when they now insinuate that your main opponent in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, GCON, is in anyway involved.

This is a dangerous precedence that must stop immediately. We have, as Nigerians, enough challenges at nation building that we do not need to rip the country in halves. You just need to look at the numbers as presented presently to see that between those who were returned for you and those allocated to Atiku, our country is truly divided, a division that runs through the tribal cleavages, the religious tendencies, the social classifications. Indeed, our country is divided.

I believe that once the presidential election tribunal is done with its duty and all is settled, whoever is finally adjudged to have won will need to do a whole lot of work to bring the country together. Statements like those made by Lai Mohammed, your Minister of Information, are most unacceptable and unfortunate.

Mr President, as you are in the holy land of Mecca for prayers during this most holy month of Ramadan, I plead with you to present our country Nigeria before Almighty Allah in supplication and may it please Allah to count you amongst the rightly guided leaders when all is done and dusted. Be assured of my highest regards.

Citizen Segun Showunmi,
Spokesperson,
Atiku Abubakar, GCON.

UN peacekeeping: Nigerian soldier killed in Mali

A Nigerian soldier was killed and several injured in two attacks on the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, UN officials said on Sunday.

Gunmen attacked the UN troops in Timbuktu in the north of the country, where several groups of militants are active, according to Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

The peacekeeper, who was killed, was a Nigerian, as were three of those injured.

A further three UN soldiers from Chad were injured in Tessalit in the northern Kidal region near the border with Algeria when their vehicle drove over an explosive device.

Condemning the violence and expressing his condolences to the family of the killed soldier, Guterres said such attacks on UN soldiers could be considered war crimes under international law.

Mali has experienced sporadic attacks by armed groups since a 2012 coup that helped separatist rebels and groups associated with al-Qaeda gain a foothold in the country’s restive north.

A UN peacekeeping mission has been active in Mali since 2013.

There have been repeated attacks on the mission in the north of the country by the militants, while ethnic conflicts in the centre flare up regularly.

(dpa/NAN)

Gunmen invade hotel football viewing centre, kill one, injure many

At least one person has been confirmed killed and several others injured after an attack by gunmen at a hotel in Jos, Plateau State.

The attack, which was confirmed to our Correspondent in Jos on Sunday by the Deputy Commander of the Special Task Force, Emma Ado, occurred on Saturday evening when football fans were watching the FA Cup match between Man City and Watford at the Garden Palace Hotel and Bar in Busa Buji suburb of Jos.

“Yes, somebody told me of the attack, but I’m yet to get the details.

“I will get back to you as soon as I have the full details of what transpired,” the STF Deputy Commander told our Correspondent in Jos on Sunday.

Spokesman of the State Police Command, Mr. Mathias Tyopev, did not pick his calls when contacted by our Correspondent over the incident.

However,eyewitnesses said that the gunmen, suspected to be cultists, stormed the Garden Palace Hotel and Bar in Busa Buji suburb of Jos around 7pm on Saturday and opened fire on the football fans.

A resident, Philip, who escaped being killed, said that during the incident, a local footballer identified as John Davou, was hit three times in the head by the gunmen who also killed another young man instantly, while injuring several others

He said, “What I know is that during the attack, John Davou, 25, died instantly, while another man, Mr. Francis Bot, who was sitting close to him, sustained bullet wounds.

“Several others also sustained injuries while trying to escape from the scene.”

Another resident, Mathew, added, “I suspect that Davou was probably the target, because he was the only one pelted with bullets while everyone else only sustained injuries, some with bullet wounds.

“The victim recently sat for the 2019 UTME and had hoped to gain admission into the university before he was killed by the gunmen.”

Police kill suspected kidnapper of UBEC Chairman

The Police on Sunday said they had killed the suspected mastermind of the kidnap of the Board Chairman, Universal Basic Education Commission ( UBEC )and his daughter.

Muhammed Mahmood and his daughter were kidnapped on April 29 around Katari Village, along the Kaduna-Abuja Highway and later released.

Force Spokesman, Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, said in a statement in Abuja that the suspect was killed on Saturday during a shootout with operatives attached to “Operation Puff Adder”.

“A kidnapping kingpin and notorious armed robber, who recently masterminded the kidnap of the UBEC Chairman along Abuja- Kaduna road is dead,”he said.

Mba said the suspect, Sumaila Sule, alias SHAHO, who was in his mid thirties, was a native of Rijana village in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

He explained that the suspect died following multiple bullet wounds he sustained during the shootout.

The spokesman said that the operatives were carrying out routine surveillance when they came under attack from a heavily armed criminal gang at the outskirts of Rijana village.

In a related development, Mba said the police have also arrested four members of Sule’s gang during a follow-up operations.

According to him, the suspects are: Musa Hassan,26, Yau Umar, 25, Umar Musa, 22 and Muhammad Sani, 28 all natives of Rijiana village.

Mba said that Sule and his gang members who have been involved in several heinous crimes along the Abuja- Kaduna highway, have been on the radar of the intelligence community for a while.

He said that a combined team of security operatives have also arrested three suspected kidnappers who have been terrorizing citizens at Mubi axis of Adamawa.

The suspects are: Umaru Ibrahim native of Yadi Buni, Yobe, Abdul Maina, native of Maiha, Adamawa, and Mohammed Abubakar native of Buni Yadi, Yobe.

Mba said one AK 47 rifle and 26 rounds of live ammunition were recovered from the suspects.

He said the suspects have confessed to participating in several kidnapping and armed robbery operations within Adamawa, including the kidnap and collection of a ransom of N7 million from Mallam Abdulahi Umoru of Hong Local Government Area of the state.

“Investigations into these cases are on-going, while efforts aimed at arresting other members of the gangs still at large are being intensified,”he said.

Mba said that the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has reassured Nigerians that the war against crimes and criminality would soon be won.

He called for continuous support for the police and other law enforcement agencies, adding that the security agencies would not rest on their oars till normalcy was restored in every part of the country.

Falana writes Buhari, seeks release of 40 Nigerians from illegal custody of navy

Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of 40 Nigerians who have been in “illegal custody” of the Nigerian navy.

In a letter on Sunday, the senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the individuals had been arrested and imprisoned without being arraigned in court.

The detainees including Dada Labinjo, a navy captain, and Sherifat Ibe Lambert (also known as Mrs Bola Labinjo), a lt. commander, have been in detention since September 2018 for an undisclosed offence.

Falana had earlier called on Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), to take action against the naval authorities over the “violations of the fundamental rights of the detainees”.

He said the naval authorities had obtained a remand warrant from a magistrate’s court in Apapa, Lagos, but after three months of incarceration without any criminal charges filed against the detainees, the court reviewed their case on January 7, 2019, and ordered that they should be released immediately.

In his letter, the lawyer said the “unlawful detention” contravened sections of the 1999 constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Ratification and Enforcement.

“We have received complaints from the family members of 40 Nigerian citizens who are being detained without trial on the orders of the Authorities of  the Nigerian Navy,” the letter read.

“It may interest Your Excellency to know that the detainees have been held incommunicado in dehumanising conditions for periods ranging from six to eight months.

“In fact, some of the detainees are incarcerated in an underground military detention facility in Abuja while others are held inside one of the vessels impounded by the Nigerian Navy in Marina, Lagos.

“The  detainees have been subjected to mental, psychological and physical torture contrary to the provisions of the Anti Torture Act, 2017.

“Furthermore, in utter contempt of court the authorities of the Nigerian Navy have defied valid and subsisting orders of competent courts for the unconditional release of some of the detainees.

“Apart from such contemptuous conduct the Nigerian Navy recently denied knowledge of the whereabouts of the 15 detainees held in a detention facility  in Abuja.

“As soon as we pointed out that  the remand order procured by the Nigerian Navy for the detention of the 15 detainees had been quashed by the Chief Magistrate Court in Apapa, Lagos State the Naval Authorities turned round to file criminal charges against 5 of them before a Court Martial.

“Since all the detainees are entitled to their fundamental rights to dignity and liberty guaranteed by sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, we urge Your Excellency to direct the Chief Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, to either release the detainees from unlawful custody or arraign them in court without any further delay.

“In view of the fact that the illegal detention of the 40 Nigerian citizens for several months  without trial has exposed the Federal Government to unwarranted embarrassment the Chief of Naval Staff ought to be sanctioned by Your Excellency.”

Below is a list of all the detainees:

  • Captain Dada Labinjo,
  • Lt. Commander Sherifat Ibe Lambert
  • Benjamin Gold
  • Peter Pulle,
  • Pius Paul,
  • Onoja Reuben,
  • Adeleke Adewale,
  • Labinjo Kehinde,
  • Ogunmoyero Oluwasehun,
  • Emmanuel Oputa,
  • Innocent Sunday,
  • Iejoro Friday,
  • Hamza Yakubu,
  • Segun Yusuf.
  • Master-Melvin Jack ;
  • Chief Mate-Adebayo Mayoma
  • Chief Mate- Francis Oneyema
  • 2nd Eng-Godwill Umoh
  • Bosin-Miebaka Iyala
  • Elect 2-Edu Fidelis
  • Elect 2-Richard David
  • Camp Boss-Daniel Harrison
  • Asaiki Okeoghene
  • AB 1-Omogoye Bolaji
  • AB 2-Victor Uchendu
  • AB 3-Oloyede Ademola
  • Oiler-Simon Onyisi Mike
  • Eng cadet-Udom Victor Jerome
  • Godwin Etiaka Ojodusi        
  • Sixtus Ganabel                          
  • Owei Ukuto                               
  • Jeremiah Victor                          
  • Collins Joel                
  • Augustine Omonisa                    
  • MV Akemijo Deborah          
  • Mike Simeon
  • Umoren Daniel
  • James Archibong
  • Umon Godswill Emmanuel
  • MT Adeline Jumbo

Atiku demands N500m from Buhari’s aide for defamation

Atiku Abubakar, presidemtial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has asked Lauretta Onochie, an aide of President Muhammadu Buhari, for an apology and N500 million for “defamation”.

In a letter dated May 14 and addressed  to Onochie by Mike Ozekhome, his lawyer, the presidential candidate threatened to commence a N2 billion suit against her if she did not meet his demands.

On May 7, Onochie had tweeted that the former vice-president was on a United Arab Emirates (UAE) watch list.

“Atiku on UAE watchlist- Security sources,” Buhari’s aide tweeted.

“Security operatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are keeping a close tab on a former Nigerian Vice Pres Atiku Abubakar who has been in the Middle East nation for several weeks now
What is he doing there?

“Me: Shopping for Terrorists?”

Lauretta Onochie

@Laurestar

Atiku on UAE watchlist- Security sources

Security operatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are keeping a close tab on a former Nigerian Vice Pres Atiku Abubakar who has been in the Middle East nation for several weeks now
What is he doing there?

Me: Shopping for Terrorists?

265 people are talking about this

The presidential candidate asked Onochie to publish a retraction in six national newspapers and one international daily as well as on social media.

“Your odious publication is clearly also aimed at rubbishing our client’s image and reputation,” the letter read.

“It has caused him national and international backlash and embarrassment and done incalculable damage to him.

“Your publication has also caused our client, in the eyes of reasonable members of the public, unspeakable odium, obloquy, hatred, ridicule and psychological trauma.

“He has thereby been subjected to the shame and infamy of being viewed by members of the public as not only corrupt, but as a terrorist and sponsor of terrorism. Numerous telephone calls, emails, visits, letters and private social media chats by his family members, friends, political and business associates, and international statesmen and women in the last few days attest to the alarm and serious concerns generated by your false publication.”

Why I can’t take sides in Ganduje, Sanusi feud – Shettima

Kashim Shettima, governor of Borno state, has denied speaking in support of the creation of additional emirates in Kano state.

Speaking with reporters at the end of a meeting of the Northern Governors’ Forum  in Kaduna, Shettima said he has a special relationship with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of the state, and Muhammadu Sanusi, emir of Kano, and cannot take sides in the controversy.

Ganduje had appointed four new emirs in the state, an action believed to be as a result of getting back at Sanusi who reportedly worked against the governor’s reelection.

Shettima, however, said he is indebted to the governor and the monarch, saying while Ganduje adopted 200 Borno orphans, Sanusi brought Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, to his state for humanitarian assistance.

He said he could not speak ill of them.

“Fact is that I could never have supported the development in Kano emirate or spoken against the governor. Governor Ganduje and his highness, the emir of Kano have done some things that are eternally dear to the people of Borno, to me in particular,” he said.

“Governor Ganduje has adopted and granted lifetime scholarship from primary to university levels to 200 orphans from Borno state whose parents were killed by Boko Haram. These children are provided with accommodation, feeding and being given very good ‎education in Kano state under a special welfare programme that the governor approved. ‎

“On the other hand, the emir of Kano was our main link to Alhaji Aliko Dangote. In 2016, the emir was in Borno and on seeing the humanitarian situation, he spoke to Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Dangote has been to Borno state more than three times. He has given the highest individual and private sector support to our humanitarian course and I will never forget that the emir of Kano was the link.

“As CBN governor, the emir brought the CBN entrepreneurship development center to Borno state back in 2013 or so. He helped in raising global local and global awareness to our situation in Borno. I will never forget the empathy shown to us by the Emir of Kano as well as Governor Ganduje and this is why I play the role of a bridge builder.”

Shettima said northern governors are making background moves to ensure that the rift between the governor and monarch is settled.

“And then, we governors have one unwritten policy. We don’t openly interfere with the issues of one another. We only play background roles to lobby and appeal,” he said.

“The northern governors did play a role sometime back over the same Kano emirate and we are still working underground because I cannot dictate to Ganduje how he should run Kano but we can work underground as bridge builders.

“God willing the governor and the emir will come back together as one.”

FG to shut Enugu airport for ‘security reasons’

Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, says the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu will be shut down due to security reasons.

Speaking on Friday at the stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, the minister listed the security challenges at the airport to include bad runway, proximity to a market and the wrong location of the state’s radio mast.

He said the challenges pose a great risk to lives, hence the need to shut down the airport.

He appealed to the state government to remove the market and radio masts.

The minister also said the government had contracted Julius Berger to renovate Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos at the project cost of N14bn.

“The Lagos airport was built to handle N200,000 people but today Lagos airport is handling eight million people. So it must collapse. Julius Berger will help give it the new look it requires,” he said.

“The airport generates most of the income, so it is only right we give it facelift it requires.”

He said the new Lagos airport terminal will be completed by the end of the year so some airport operators will be moved to the new terminal.

Okorocha’s suit: Court orders lawyer to produce certificate of mental fitness

A Federal High Court Abuja on Friday ordered a lawyer, Orji Nwafor-Orizu, to produce a certificate of mental fitness confirming he is fit to appear in court.

Mr Nwafor-Orizu had at previous sittings announced himself as counsel representing Osita Izunaso, the third defendant in the ongoing certificate of return suit filed by Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.

The judge, Okon Abang, made the order following what he described as Mr Nwafor-Orizu displaying conduct not befitting of a senior counsel.

“On account of Nwafor-Orizu’s conduct, not being counsel on record, and displaying such conduct not worthy of a senior counsel, he shall not be allowed to appear as a counsel in this matter, or any other court, unless and until he furnishes the court with a medical report from a government psychiatric hospital certifying him to be mentally fit.

“He shall also sign an undertaking and serve on all counsel that he shall henceforth be of good conduct and until then, S.M Anichebe shall appear as counsel to the third defendant,” the judge said.

At the resumed hearing of the matter, counsel to all parties announced their appearance following which the judge called on Okorocha’s counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiji, SAN, to complete his submission which he started on Thursday.

Mr Nwafor-Orizu then came into the court at this point and insisted that he must be heard since he had a process from the Court of Appeal stopping proceedings in the matter.

The judge asked him to sit and allow Mr Okorocha’s counsel to continue his argument but the lawyer insisted saying; “the court will not proceed until my motion is heard.”

The judge warned that he was frustrating his proceedings and should desist from any further antics.

Following the warning, the judge rose for about five minutes and when he resumed, he asked the security personnel in the court to watch Nwafor-Orizu closely saying he didn’t feel safe with him in court.

The judge said he felt unsafe because he was not sure of the mental state of the lawyer, adding that no sane lawyer would act in the manner he did since he had not announced himself on record and yet was insisting to be heard.

He asked the security personnel to be ready to remove him from the court should he display such conduct again, and where he resisted, he should be arrested.

Mr Abang also sent for court’s doctor and informed her to be on standby as he might need to send a lawyer to her to ascertain the lawyer’s mental fitness.

In spite of pleas from N.A Nwawuche (SAN), counsel to the second defendant that the court should pardon Mr Nwafor-Orizu’s behavior, the judge said he would only acknowledge him after he presented a certificate of mental fitness.

30-year-old father of 11 stabbed to death by 20-year-old man

A 20-year-old man has been convicted in the stabbing death of a 30-year-old father of 11.

Twenty-year-old Nasiar Day had confessed to killing 30-year-old Jose “Migue” Malave at the victim’s Palisade Avenue, New Jersey, USA home on November 14, 2017.

As reported by Jersey Journal, a number of events led to the senseless killing of Malave, a father of 11 children.

Day’s defense attorney said Day moved to Jersey City to live with his girlfriend and their baby but they had money trouble and were evicted. After a few months, the landlord put most of their possessions on the street, including clothing, a crib and other items.

On the day of the homicide, Day was hanging around with friend Devante Dormena, who was 17 at the time, and others at a nearby deli. Day saw Malave and his then eight-year-old son walk by and noticed the boy was wearing a sweatshirt that he recognised as his own.

Day told Malave that the shirt belonged to him and Malave said he would give it back, but he just wanted to walk his son home first.

At Malave’s apartment, he returned the sweatshirt, which was apparently taken when Day’s things were put at the curbside.

Day thought Malave might have more of his belongings, but when and he and Dormena went back to the apartment, the Malaves would not let them inside. Instead, they let others come into their home and they found more items belonging to Day. The items were returned as well.

Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Nicole Gazzar said Malave tried to diffuse the situation at every turn, but Day would not let it go. She said Day got a knife and he and Dormena went back to Malave’s home and pushed their way inside. Dormena punched Malave before Day fatally stabbed him.

Gazzar said the clothes Malave returned that day were recovered in a search in Newark and they had Malave’s blood on them. She said Day was actually holding all the clothing Malave had willingly returned as he stabbed him to death.

Gazzar noted that Day was arrested three times as a juvenile and was adjudicated delinquent for aggravated assault in an incident in which he beat a 16-year-old girl with a scooter.

He was on probation for that incident when he killed Malave.

The judge meted out the maximum penalty of 20 years for the crime under the plea deal.

He said Malave had done nothing wrong and merely reclaimed some garbage on the sidewalk.

Dormena pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and faces five to 10 years in prison.

“You are a violent person, that’s what your record says,” Young told Day before sentencing him.

Day showed no emotion at the sentencing but did apologise to Malave’s family.

EFCC arrests health ministry workers over yellow fever card racketeering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested four officials of Port Health Service of the Federal Ministry of Health in Benin City, Edo State over alleged e-yellow fever travel card racketeering.

The EFCC’s Acting Head, Media, and Publicity, Tony Orilade, in a statement on Saturday, said the Benin zonal office of the commission had, on Tuesday, arrested the suspects in a sting operation, after a petition.

Orilade said the petitioner had alleged that her aged mother, who was to travel to Europe, visited the Benin Office of Port Health Service to procure the e-yellow fever travel card, but, rather than lead her through the proper procedure, she was convinced to pay N10,000 to obtain the card instantly.

He added that, while boarding her flight at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, it was discovered that the e-yellow card did not have the Remita Retrieval Receipt Reference Identity.

The statement read, “She was subsequently compelled to get a proper one at the airport with the sum of N2,000. Based on the petition, the Benin zonal office of the EFCC sent two operatives to Port Health Service office in Benin, who pretended to have genuinely requested the e-yellow fever card.

“Unaware that they were EFCC operatives, the Port Health Service staff requested N7,000 as payment for each card. On payment of the amount, the EFCC operatives were issued with the cards instantly. The e-yellow fever travel card is officially N2,000.

“The illicit transaction made EFCC operatives swoop on Port Health Service office on Tuesday morning, arresting four of its officials. The arrested officials will be arraigned in court as soon as investigations are completed.”

Kwara herbalist scams South Korean of N30m … posing as Baru, Adesina

A 31-year-old man in Ilorin, Kwara state, who claimed to be an Islamic scholar and herbalist, Jamiu Isiaka has stung a South Korean, impersonating prominent public officials.

Among the people that Isiaka impersonated were the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) Dr Maikanti Baru and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

According to the EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, the suspect with others who are still at large allegedly used the names of the senior government officials to scam a South Korean national, Keun Sig Kim, under pretence of getting him an ”NNPC licence” that would enable him purchase a company.

Isiaka, during interrogation with EFCC officials, claimed that he used the money to perform sacrifice on behalf of the petitioner.He claimed to have bought a vulture, elephant’s skin, elephant’s intestine, skull of a lion, liver of gorilla, among others.

The petitioner had paid over N30million (Thirty Million Naira) into the suspect’s account as fee to get the license.

According to the victim: “I transferred $4,285.071 (Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty-five United States Dollars, Seventy-one cents) to the United Bank of Africa, account number 2107575870 in the name of one Jamiu Isiaka, an associate of Mr Shola Adeshina. It is noteworthy that this account particulars have been provided severally for me to make transfer to.”

Isiaka, during interrogation by EFCC officials, claimed that he used the money to perform sacrifice on behalf of the petitioner.

He claimed to have bought a vulture, elephant’s skin, elephant’s intestine, skull of a lion, liver of gorilla, among others.

The suspect will soon be arraigned in court while efforts are ongoing to nab the accomplices, still at large.

UNN confers honorary degree on Emefiele

The Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has been conferred with a Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

Emefiele was honoured on Friday in Nsukka at the Special Convocation of the institution, where 50 people were also conferred with doctoral degrees in different fields of studies.

On the occasion, Emefiele gave a lecture entitled “From Recession to Growth: The Story of Nigeria’s Recovery from the 2016 Economic Recession.”

He spoke on the actions the CBN took to address recession, which included a combination of monetary and foreign exchange policies, as well as development finance interventions and bailout programmes to states.

The apex bank governor said that due to its policies, the country’s GDP had been steadily growing, inflation going down, the nation’s foreign reserves growing and the foreign exchange market stable at N360 to a dollar.

Emefiele said that since the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the country had been able to save over $800 million, due to decline in the importation of rice.

“So far, the programme has supported more than 1,059,604 small holder farmers across all the 36 states of Nigeria in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.114 million hectares of farmland.

“It has also supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain.

“A key emphasis was placed on improving rice production, given the considerable weight importation of rice had on Nigeria’s import bill,” he said.

Emefiele said that because the GDP growth remained slow, the CBN would give support to domestic production of goods in the country which, according to him, was the way to improve economic growth.

“Addressing the constraints of farmers, SMEs and manufacturers will be critical, to drive sustainable growth of the Nigerian economy and reduce our reliance on proceeds from the sale of crude oil.

“In addition, there is need to forge partnerships between universities, research institutions, the private sector and public sector institutions.

“This will aid in developing and implementing solutions that will support productivity in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors to build a sustainable productive base for the nation,” he said.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, called on philanthropists and alumni of the university to join hands with the Federal Government in funding the school.

Ozumba said that UNN had a couple of innovative ideas which, if developed, would create jobs and add to the country’s economic development.

“As a vice-chancellor, I have a first-hand experience of the consequences of the poor funding being experienced by universities in the country.

“Universities all over the world receive huge periodic support from donors, philanthropists and alumni to fund their research and implement the development agenda of such universities.

“I urge us all to remain committed to the task of preserving the traditions and standards, for which our university is known for,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Deputy Governors of CBN, Mr Joseph Nnanna and Mrs Aisha Ahmad, CBN board members and members of the Monetary Policy Committee were present at the occasion. (NAN)

Ex-French president Sarkozy bound for trial

The trial of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy now appears inevitable after a top court rejected his appeal to avoid facing charges of illicit financing for his failed 2012 re-election bid.

According to France24, prosecutors claim Sarkozy spent nearly 43 million euros ($51 million) on his lavish re-election bid — almost double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros — using fake invoices, and demanded he answer the charges in court.

Sarkozy has denounced the charge, saying he was unaware of the fraud by executives at the public relations firm Bygmalion, who are also among a total of 13 people likely to face trial.

Sarkozy’s lawyers appealed to the Constitutional Council, which rules on the admissibility of laws and legal rulings, arguing that he had already paid a financial penalty for the overspending.

But that ruling concerned just 364,000 euros of overspending in the campaign, and came before revelations of the “Bygmalion affair” and fake billings.

Bygmalion executives and Jerome Lavrilleux, the deputy manager of Sarkozy’s 2012 campaign, have acknowledged the existence of fraud and false accounting.

On Friday, the Constitutional Council ruled that a criminal trial was justified on the grounds that it concerned “the potential breach of probity by candidates or elected officials.”

“It’s a big disappointment,” one of Sarkozy’s lawyers, Emmanuel Piwnica, told AFP.

Sarkozy retired from political life after failing to secure the nomination from his rightwing Republicans party for the 2017 presidential election, won by centrist Emmanuel Macron.

He would be the second former French head of state to face trial since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

In 2011, former president Jacques Chirac was given a two-year suspended sentence for embezzlement and misuse of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris.

MTN signs 7-year N200bn medium term facility

MTN Nigeria Plc, has announced the signing of a seven-year N200 billion medium term facility deal with a consortium of Nigerian banks.

Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Ferdi Moolman, announced this after signing the agreement at the law offices of Aluko & Oyebode in Lagos on Friday.

He said that the signing was with a consortium of seven local banks, with Citibank acting as co-ordinator and Quantum Zenith, as facility agent.

Moolman said the facility would enable MTN to fund its evolving business opportunities while assisting with capital expenditure and working capital, to deliver enhanced customer service.

He said that the new facility followed the successful establishment of a similar seven-year N200 billion facility by the company in 2018, and formed part of the company’s wider programme to raise domestic debt.

“I am happy at the completion of the agreement; it signposts MTN’s commitment to, and confidence in Nigeria, and the strength of the strategic collaboration between MTN Nigeria and local financial institutions.

“This will help to deepen and broaden the provision of ICT services in Nigeria.

“This facility expands our existing successful domestic debt programme which we are using to fund increased network capacity, and the expansion of Voice and Data services on our network to customers in new areas.

“We have enjoyed remarkable funding support from Nigeria’s financial institutions since our first facility in 2003 and this has been critical to the development of one of the largest telecoms network in Africa, with over 60 million subscribers.

“ I am delighted that, so soon after our successful listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, we are able to compliment it with such an important addition to our portfolio of debt,” he said.

Moolman lauded the participating financial institutions for staying committed to MTN, adding that the loan syndication showcased the strength of Nigerian financial institutions and their confidence in MTN’s vision “and both parties’ ability to stimulate significant economic growth’’.

He said that the facility was structured with a two-year moratorium and a repayment plan of seven years, and was denominated in Naira.

He said that this was the eighth syndicated loan agreement by MTN in Nigeria since its inception 18 years ago.

The MTN chief listed member-banks of the facility consortium as Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank, First City Monument Bank, United Bank for Africa and First Bank. (NAN)

Elumelu: Why African youths leave for other countries

Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings and Tony Elumelu Foundation, says African youths migrate because of a lack of economic hope.

Speaking on Thursday in Paris at Tech for Summit organised by Emmanuel Macron, president of France, Elumelu advised world leaders to pay attention to African youths so that they are not left behind in the technology era.

“Africa needs this type of gathering – we are a continent with over 60% of its people under the age of 30 – they need economic opportunities, they need hope,” he said.

“I represented the African continent to draw attention to our young ones who seek economic hope and opportunity via technology.

“Technology is a great employer of labour, technology drives inclusiveness, technology helps to alleviate poverty, but we must not forget that in Africa we are just starting out and we cannot afford to lag behind.

“We need the world to pay attention to Africa so that young Africans are not disenfranchised and left behind in this new technology era. We need the world to pay attention to the plight of young Africans so that issues of migration can be addressed in a more fundamental way – by tackling the root cause which is a lack of economic hope.”

Canvassing for gender equality, he said United Bank for Africa currently has 30% female representation on its boards while the Tony Elumelu Foundation has 50% female representation on the board and 100% representation in senior management.

Zainab Ahmed: Corps members will earn new minimum wage

Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, says National Youth Service Corps members will receive the new minimum wage as allowance.

Speaking on Thursday while intimating the press on the activities of her ministry, Ahmed said the federal government is working out the modalities of the new minimum wage.

“Apart from the increase of the minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000, there is also a consequential adjustment that we have to negotiate with the labour unions,” she said.

“The total implication of that would be worked out only after the negotiations and that would involve determining how much increase every other employee above the minimum wage would get.

“It could be a flat amount or a proportion, but the other aspect that is clear is that there would be an increase for the National Youth Service Corps as well because, by the Act, they should earn at least the minimum wage and the NYSC also has to increase to that N30, 000.

“So, because we have not done the negotiation with labour, I cannot give you the details of what we are projecting because it is simply on projections.”

The minister of finance also announced that a sum of N649.43bn would be distributed to state governments as the final refund for the Paris Club debt.

Court strikes out suit seeking sack of Saraki, Dogara over defection

A federal high court in Abuja has struck out a suit seeking to declare vacant, the seats of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of house of representatives, and 52 other federal lawmakers who defected from their political parties in the buildup to the general election.

Delivering judgment on Friday, Okon Abang, the presiding judge, held that the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), the body which instituted the suit,  lacked the legal right to institute it.

He held that LEDAP’s status as a registered corporate body under the Company and Allied Matters Act was not sufficient to confer the right to institute the action on behalf of the public.

“The plaintiff that instituted this case is not a political party that sponsored the election of the lawmakers,” Abang ruled.

“Also the plaintiff is not Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) that regulates the activities of political parties and monitor elections. The plaintiff is not a registered voter in Nigeria.

“They are not members of the national assembly. None of the political party that sponsored the lawmakers is a party in this case.

“They, therefore, lack the capacity, legal power to institute the case. The plaintiff’s case is incompetent and thereby struck out.”

In July 2018, not less than 14 senators defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while 37 members of the house of representatives also announced their defection the ruling party.

INEC recognises Sowore as AAC chairman, faults his suspension

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Omoyele Sowore remains the substantive national chairman of the African Action Congress (AAC).

In a letter dated May 14, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, the commission’s secretary, said Sowore’s purported suspension by the party cannot hold.

She said there is no evidence of the meeting in which Sowore was suspended, as some of the party leaders had claimed.

Mazi Okwy, a member of the AAC national executive committee (NEC), had announced the suspension of Sowore, adding that one Leonard Nzenwa had been appointed acting chairman.

Okwe based the action on “failure to convene national executive council (NEC) meeting, financial misappropriation and other anti-party activities”.

Sowore dismissed the suspension and subsequently expelled Nzenwa while he suspended top members of the party.

The INEC secretary said the commission will continue to relate with Sowore as the national chairman of the party.

The letter read: “There is no documentary evidence that a meeting of the AAC National Executive Committee was convened by the National Chairman as required by chapter 9 section 59(a) of the AAC constitution.

“The party did not provide a 21-day notice of the NEC meeting as required by section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010.

“There are no minutes or evidence of attendance of the AAC National Executive Committee meeting where the National Chairman and eight others were purportedly suspended.

“Accordingly, the Commission shall continue to recognise and relate with Mr. Sowore Omoyele as the substantive National Chairman of the AAC.”

Facebook bans Israeli firm ‘using fake accounts’ to post news about Nigeria

Facebook has banned Archimedes Group, an Israeli company, for using fake accounts and pages to post political news about Nigeria.

Archimedes Group is a political consulting and lobbying firm that boasts of its ability of wining elections worldwide.

In a post, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy,  explained that the accounts and pages were identified through “internal investigations”.

He accused firm of coordinated inauthentic behaviour, saying so far, Facebook has removed 265 fake accounts.

“Today we removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, Facebook Pages, Groups and events involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Gleicher said.

This activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia along with some activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia. 

“The people behind this network used fake accounts to run pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement. They also represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians. The Page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents.

“Although the individuals behind this network attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found that some of this activity was linked to an Israeli commercial entity, Archimedes Group. It has repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and other policies, including by engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This organization and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter.”

Facebook said it is constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because it does not want its services to be used to manipulate people.

Assuring its users of its commitment to continually improving to stay ahead, the social media giant said it is investing heavily in building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.

In February, Facebook had partnered with Dubawa, a fact-checking website in Nigeria, to help assess the accuracy of news and reduce the spread of misinformation.