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Army again raids Kanu’s home, seizes ‘technical items’

Soldiers of the Nigerian army on Sunday raided the home of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

It is the second time Kanu’s house would be raided by security operatives in less than one month. The premises was first raided in September.

According to Prince Emmanuel Kanu, younger brother of the IPOB leader, the soldiers said they were searching for “technical items”.

Prince Emmanuel said the soldiers took with them household items like television sets, generating sets, clothes, among other belongings of the royal family of Afaraukwu Ibeku.

He called on the international community to urge the army to stop raiding his father’s palace and to also account for the whereabouts of the IPOB leader.

A desk officer of Operation Python Dance in charge of Abia state confirmed the raid, saying it was a joint operation with other security agencies.

The desk officer who refused to divulge his name, however, denied that household items were removed from Kanu’s home.

He said “the things removed may be technical items,” adding that “somebody was arrested with weapon in the compound”.

The desk officer said the operation was based on intelligence report received by security agencies.

The intelligence report, he said, suggested that arms were hidden in the compound.

Since the last raid of his house, Kanu’s whereabouts has remained unknown.

Six suspects using graveyard as hideout docked

A Grade 1 Area Court in Karu, Abuja, on Monday granted N 10, 000 bail to six men who were accused of using a cemetery in Karu as a criminal hideout.

The defendants are Sadiq Umar, Nafiu Maladi, Sani Aliyu, Danjuma Manga, Bello Idi and Sanusi Abdullahi.

They were all charged with the offence of public nuisance, which the police said contravenes section 198 of the penal code.

The Presiding Judge, Mr Hassan Ishaq, admitted the defendants to bail. Each of the accused would provide a surety in like sum.

He added that the sureties must reside within the jurisdiction of the court and submit their drivers’ licence or National Identity cards and passport photographs with the Court.

The police prosecutor, Mrs. Ashasim Helen, told the Court that members of the public had repeatedly reported the criminal activities of the defendants at the Muslim Cemetery in Karu.

She said on Sept. 9, a team of Police officers from Karu Police station led by CSP Patrick Akwarandu raided the graveyard and arrested the defendants.

She stated that during police investigation, the defendants confessed to using the cemetery as a hideout for perpetrating evil such as theft, hand bag snatching, extortion etc.

She added that they committed the evil acts in the night and weapons such as cutlasses and knives were recovered by the police from the black spot.

After listening to the charge, the defendants pleaded not guilty and the matter was adjourned until Dec. 20 for hearing.

 

Former Chief of Army Staff, Victor Malu is dead

Former Chief of Army Staff Victor Malu is dead. The Katsina Ala, Benue State born army General who served various governments but came into prominence during Abacha and Obasanjo administration served as Chief of Army Staff during the Obasanjo era.

He served as Chief of Army Staff from 1999 till 2001. He was aged 70. He had been in and out of hospital for some time prior to his death.

Baru replies Kachikwu, says he doesn’t need to consult minister on contracts

 

The Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, on Monday officially responded to the recent allegations of insubordination and corruption levelled against him by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu.

According to the NNPC, the response was following a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to Baru and his team, mandating them to react to the issues raised in the petition that was written by Kachikwu.

“Following the publication of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of NNPC contracts, the President ordered the Group Managing Director and Management of the NNPC to consider and respond expeditiously to the allegations,” the corporation said in a detailed response issued by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja on Monday.

The oil firm stated that the substance of the allegations made by Kachikwu in a letter to the President dated 30th of August 2017, was that a number of “major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me (Kachikwu) and the NNPC Board.”

The NNPC stated that it was “important to note from the outset that the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC board on contractual matters.

“What is required is the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the President in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council, as the case may be. There are therefore situations where all that is required is the approval of the NNPC Tenders Board while, in other cases, based on the threshold, the award must be submitted for presidential approval. Likewise, in some instances, it is FEC approval that is required.”

The statement clarified further: “It should be noted that for both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, there are no specific values attached to each transaction to warrant the values of $10billion and $5billion respectively placed on them in the claim of Dr. Kachikwu.

“It is therefore inappropriate to attach arbitrary values to the shortlists with the aim of classifying the transactions as contracts above NNPC Tenders Board limit. They are merely the shortlisting of prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms.

“These transactions were not required to be presented as contracts to the Board of NNPC and, of course, the monetary value of any crude oil eventually lifted by any of the companies goes straight into the federation account and not to the company.

“Furthermore, contrary to the assertion of Dr. Kachikwu that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the Crude Oil Term Contracts, Dr. Kachikwu was in fact expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following through the laid down procedure. Thus, for him to turn around and claim that “…these major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me…” is most unfortunate to say the least.”

 

Zakzaky’, Shi’ites cooperate with panel probing army

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has submitted a memo to the judicial panel set up to investigate allegations of extra-judicial killings made against the Nigerian army.

The group had initially said it will not cooperate with the panel, citing “doubts” of its “independence and impartiality”.

In December 2015, a face-off between IMN members and soldiers led to the reported killing of hundreds of Shi’ites.

This, among other allegations, prompted the setting up of the panel by then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

In a statement on Saturday, the group said it submitted the memo in response to the instruction of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, its leader who is currently in detention.

“Notwithstanding the doubts of the fairness, independence and impartiality of the presidential panel, the leader of the movement, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky has decided that a memo be sent to the presidential panel after a rare meeting with the head of the legal team, Barr Femi Falana SAN last week,” Ibrahim Musa, the group’s spokesman, said in a statement.

“It was only the second time the Sheikh was allowed to meet with the legal team in 22 months of illegal detention.

“As the largest single group of victims of Nigerian military’s most brutal and flagrant abuses of human rights in the country, the Islamic movement has all it takes to nail the planners and executors of the mass killing of our members in July 2014 and the more audacious Zaria genocide of December 2015, which involved horrendous mass murder of over a thousand unarmed civilians within a few hours, arson, looting, rape, hate speeches and campaigns, genital mutilation with aim of limiting reproduction within the group, mass graves, wrongful detention and enforced disappearances.

“The crimes of the military against the Islamic movement were not mere human rights abuses but indeed crimes against humanity, for which the International Criminal Court at The Hague has since opened a preliminary investigation.

“It remains to be seen whether the present presidential panel is sufficiently independent to do a thorough job.”

Corruption: 55 people stole $6.2bn – Lai Mohammed

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed says 55 people may have stolen about $6.2 billion public funds from the country.

He gave no names of the culprits, listing only projects which government could have executed with a third of the funds, if recovered.

Mohammed spoke on an Al Jazeera as part of a feature on the vast properties acquired in the UK with stolen funds by Nigerians.

According to the minister, $2.06billion of the alleged stolen funds would have built 600 kilometres of roads, 37 hospitals, 20,000 housing units and trained 4000 kids from primary to university level.

The corruption problem was also the subject of discussion on the Facebook wall of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie yesterday.

Onochie aimed darts at former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and ex-Petroleum Affairs Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke for what she called their weird demands.

Her words: “It’s the season of weird demands. Recently, Nigerians were assaulted by the demand by the wife of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience Jonathan, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to “Tell EFCC to leave her alone.”

“Fat chance! EFCC is an institution, not an adulterous man running after someone else’s wife. “So, woman to woman, I asked her to look inwards. Patience should wear the sort of aura that dispels, rather than attracts law enforcement agencies.

“She can start by being honest and coming clean, regarding everything – cash, properties, etc., that were ill-acquired. Then hand them back to the rightful owners. Yes, back to Nigerians via the EFCC.

“You see, EFCC, ICPC, DSS, CCT, all follow the smell of crimes. If she does not have suspicions of criminal activities oozing and buzzing from and around her, there’s no way she’ll be dragging President Buhari to commit impunity by ordering EFCC to leave you alone.

“But there again, she’s been busy swatting the bees, she had no time to see that her husband’s reign of impunity, ended many moons ago.

“But that’s not the end of the story. And then, there’s Diezani Alison- Madueke.

“She too, wants something. She wants to return home. Remember she’s in the UK for medical purposes. Remember the photoshopped images her image launderer plastered all over the tabloid and the Social Media?

“Diezani is over 18 years old. That makes her an adult. She dusted her passport and flew out of this country, Nigeria.

“She had concluded plans to run off to a Caribbean Island to live off the blood money she stole, not hauled from the poorest and the most vulnerable citizens of this nation.

“She had no idea that she had become attractive to the British authorities, and had been in their view since 2013.

” You see, these women, who own choice properties and obese bank accounts they do not need, across the world including Nigeria, had the best of opportunities to improve the lives of Nigerians, especially those who suffer health hazards from environmental degradation in the bowels of the Niger Delta where these two come from.

“If they cared not about their immediate environment, why would they bat an eyelid that environmental issues in the Lake Chad Basin were fuelling Boko Haram.

“The adage that what a man can do a woman can do better, has never been proven more by anyone than Diezani Madueke.

“The forfeitures the Nigerian people have been awarded against Diezani, the pending and on-going corruption investigations and cases, are a testimony that this woman, who was elevated to the status of a goddess by ex-President Jonathan, has cases to answer, from UK to USA, Italy to the Caribbean.

“Why Mrs Madueke suddenly developed an urge to return home, is not clear. But many Nigerians think it’s not unconnected to the perceived cash and carry criminal justice system in Nigeria.

“But she’s probably not aware that the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Onnoghen, has vowed to clean up the judiciary.

“But there might be those judges who would be tempted by the mouth watering inducement that flows from the bottomless pit of Diezani Madueke’s haulage.

“May I remind Mrs. Madueke that a certain (Rtd) Admiral Alison-Madueke, warned President Muhammadu Buhari to leave his wife alone. May I also remind Diezani that Nigerians assume that she is that wife that the retired naval officer warned the President about.

“Now that she has been left alone, if she needs to return to Nigeria, she will also need her husband to threaten President Buhari to come after her, Hahahahaha…

“Dear Sis, in the meantime, you should make yourself comfortable in the UK. Attend to your criminal trials going on there. When found guilty, happily serve your jail term because it’s just the beginning.

“Then when you are done, repeat the same process in America and then in Italy. If you are still alive by then, you should then be retired to Nigeria, to begin the same process that will ultimately lead you to your retirement home. You have a choice between Kirikiri and Kuje, among other prisons. Till then, it’s Goodbye Diezani. You aren’t coming home soon!”

Electricity firm to publish names of energy thieves

 

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) said on Saturday it would henceforth publish the list of individuals and companies caught stealing electricity.

The Head, Communications of EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, who disclosed this in a statement in Enugu, said the decision is aimed at addressing the increasing rate of electricity theft.

Ezeh said the management of EEDC decided to expose any individual or group stealing electricity for the public to read and see.

He said the publication would be after service of the statutory fine, loss of revenue and handing over the thieves to law enforcement agents for prosecution.

He said: “To tackle this menace, we have set up a special taskforce to monitor and carry out routine check on our customers to fish out those engaging in this criminal act.

“It is quite disappointing that customers who are neck-dip in this activity are the high energy users.

“This is a big challenge to us as a business and we can’t afford to treat this with kid gloves any longer, else it will drown the entire business.

“A situation where some individuals feel it is their right to use electricity without paying for it has to stop.

“This singular act contributes largely to the issues faced by the electricity service industry in the country.

“The customers were, therefore, encouraged to report any one engaging in this act to the nearest EEDC office or “call our Whistle Blowing line (084 700 110) to report such persons.

“This act, where the perpetrators fraudulently use electricity supply without paying for it is highly prevalent in the South-East and has seen EEDC consistently loose average of 43 per cent of its revenue monthly.

“This activity is negatively impacting its business and is quite discouraging.”

NAN

 

Peter Okoye’s new US deal may mean end of Psquare

Psquare’s parting of the ways has become a recurring story in the last two years.

The group comprising of Peter and Paul (and Jude on the fringes) is yet again in the throes of a break-up — but this time, there’s little to suggest that it may not lead to the end of Nigeria’s most successful group.

During their previous disagreements, no member of the group ever went as far as penning a solo deal with another record label.

Peter has made such a move, and to many, it’s an indication that there’s little hope for Psquare.

Over time, Peter had always voiced his discontent at being overlooked in the song creation department, and as such, he has been itching to prove himself as a solo artiste.

Peter believes he gets little credit for his contribution to Psquare and for his help with building the group’s structure.

The father of two has overly expressed his frustration with the tag of ‘Psquare’s dancer’.

“I’ve been a creative person and I haven’t stopped till today. I’m very creative person but people still look at me as a dancer. It hurts but at the end of the day, I still remain a creative person,” he had said in 2016 when Psquare disbanded for some months.

“There are no challenges. I’ll do my best; It is something I always wanted. Now I’m on my own, I’ll do what I always wanted. I was limited before but now I’m good.”

The new deal means much
Even though he appeared to be relishing being on his own during the breakup of 2016, the group would later reunite and churn out more hit songs.

But the announcement of his new distribution deal with an American music company on Friday, to many, put paid to the prospect of Psquare ever being the same again.

Why? Peter has put pen to paper on a deal that most likely involves him alone, and would most certainly be valid for at least a couple of years — which means he’s contractually bound to honour it, no matter what.

Even if the ongoing interventions in the Psquare crisis result in another case of reuniting for an album, Peter already has a distribution deal with Empire, and he must see it through.

The entertainer who now goes by ‘Mr P’ may have closed the door on the possibility of a return to Psquare with the new move.

Paul is not sitting idly and watching

Although Peter always had his hands in solo ventures which have little or nothing to do with his brothers, Paul appears reliant on his ability to create songs and also his pedigree as Psquare’s creative backbone.

While Peter was last week performing in Washington and promoting his solo career, Paul announced to his fans that he was busy in the studio, working on new songs.

In an apparent claim of the ownership of Psquare’s sound, Paul assured fans that his future recordings will sound nothing different than what they have come to expect from the group.

A few days later, he revealed that the 2016 hit song ‘Bank Alert’ was recorded by him alone, but he was deceived to make it a Psquare song.

What does Jude have up his sleeves?
Honestly, no one knows much.

Jude — manager, sometimes video director, and elder brother of Psquare — is known to keep things close to his chest.

In fact, one of his most recent Instagram posts is a picture of an assortment of pills bearing the first letters of popular social media platforms.

“Don’t choke on ’em”, he captioned the picture.

But with Peter’s new distribution deal with Empire, and the implications therein, perhaps Jude may eventually roll out that which is up his sleeves, if any.

Osinbajo delivers keynote at Financial Times’ London summit

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday departed for London where he would deliver a keynote address at this year’s Africa Summit, themed “What Makes Africa Work” holding in London, United Kingdom from October 8 to 9.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, made this known in a statement tonight.

He stated: “The Africa Summit hosted by the Financial Times of London is a global forum reputed as one of the leading conferences in the world on African business and economic matters.

“The newspaper itself has had a relationship with the African continent that stretches back to its opening issue more than 125 years ago.

*At the summit which attracts global leaders, economic experts, investors and intellectuals from Africa and around the world, Prof. Osinbajo will discuss the increasing economic prospects in Africa and detail the progress of the Buhari administration, especially through the Federal Government’s medium-term Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, to the global audience.

“The summit which will also include presentations from other leaders and speakers will feature first-hand experiences and interactions from government and business leaders in the continent, while providing credible opportunities and encouraging foreign investments. So far, the yearly event has become a platform for the dissemination of a more accurate and beneficial narrative of the improving economic environment in Africa.”

Operation crocodile smile begins in Niger Delta

The Nigerian Army says it has deployed troops for the commencement of “Operation Crocodile Smile” in the six Niger Delta states.

Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udoh, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, said this on Saturday while addressing troops to signal commencement of the exercise.

Udoh said the operation was confidence building patrol rather than a show of force as widely reported.

“Operation Crocodile Smile is not a show of force but a confidence-building patrol that seeks to reassure the people of Rivers state and the Niger Delta that the army is ready to work.

“We are ready to work in close synergy and collaboration with other security services and agencies of government to ensure that there is peace and security for the people.

“Our operation aims to reassure the public that we are ready to fight crimes like cultism, militancy, and kidnapping so that people can go about their business without fear,” he said.

Udoh said that troops would carry out collaborative patrols with the Nigerian Police, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Immigration Service and the Department of State Security (DSS).

Others are Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Nigerian Customs Service and personnel of the Nigerian Prison Service.

He said the division would carry out the exercise in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states while another formation would cover other states in the Niger Delta.

“Army, police and other security services was established to ensure peace; enforce law and order and create the enabling environment for economic activities to thrive.

“This is our ultimate mandate, and, as such, we urge Nigerians to give us the necessary support to enable us to succeed,” he said.

The three weeks exercise is slated for Oct. 7 to Oct. 28.

(NAN)

TSTV to begin commercial operation Nov. 1

Telcomm Satellite TV says its newly inaugurated pay TV, TSTV Africa, will begin commercial operation on Nov. 1.

Its Managing Director, Mr Bright Echefu, made this known while briefing journalists on Saturday in Abuja.

Echefu added that TSTV would launch its services with about one million decoders nationwide.

He said that at least 5,000 decoders TSTV would be released to the public next week for free, adding that it would use the first set of decoders with one month free subscription to test run its services.

“Commercialization of our decoders will resume officially on Nov. 1 and by that time, every part of Nigeria would have TSTV decoders for people to buy.

“We are releasing about one million which can go round and our target for the first quarter is one million units.

“In every quarter we will bring one million units and we are targeting four million units within the next one year.

“I can tell you categorically that some decoders will be released next week for Nigerians to test and we are going to cover the 36 states of the federation.

“These decoders are going to be free and it close to 5,000 units to test and that will last for two weeks,’’ he said.

NAN

Thousands stranded as fuel tanker explodes on Kaduna highway

 

Thousands of passengers either coming from or going to Abuja are stranded as a result of an explosion and fire at Tafa along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.

It was gathered that the explosion occurred after a tanker loaded with petroleum products avoided collision on the highway with a commercial Golf car, skidded off the highway and exploded.

The number of casualties from the accident is not yet certain, but many are feared dead from inhaling the smoke, burnt by the fire, or as a result of the explosion.

The spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Yushau Shuaib, said a place of worship was burnt, but insisted that no life was lost.

It was gathered that several houses were burnt in the area, but NEMA explained that quick intervention that saw to evacuation of the residents ensured many lives were saved.

The ever busy Kaduna-Abuja highway links the Federal Capital Territory with the North West and North East, with thousands of vehicles plying it every day.

It also links the North with the South through Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

Bad portions of the road cannot be ruled out as a cause of the accident on this very important Federal Road, as the road which was rehabilitated earlier this year has gone bad few months after

 

2019: Ladoja meets Fayose, says he’s free to contest presidency

 

A former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashid Ladoja, on Saturday met Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, in a private meeting.

Emerging from the meeting, Ladoja backed the governor’s bid to contest in the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The party has zoned the presidential ticket to the North while the Southwest is to produce the National Chairman. Fayose, who is the chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum, is from the Southwest

But Ladoja, while affirming that he was returning to the PDP, said that Fayose had the fundamental human rights to contest for the nation’s number one seat.

“Governor Fayose is my own brother and he is a go-getter. Whatever he sets his mind to achieve, he goes for it and he gets it. He is eminently qualified and possesses all the leadership capabilities to rule Nigeria and take us out of the woods.

“Some people in the PDP have said that they have zoned the presidency to the north, but it is left for Fayose to convince the members in the PDP to support him for his presidential ambition. He is fit for it judging from his antecedents as a quintessential leader in the country.

“I also want to advise the party leadership to use zoning of the presidency in a way that would guarantee the PDP winning the election in 2019 and not as a way of favouring some individuals who may not be ready for the job.”

Ladoja said the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti should perish the thought of taking over power from the PDP in 2018.

He also expressed confidence that the PDP would take over power from APC in Oyo in 2019, saying Governor Abiola Ajimobi had lost relevance, especially, with kingship crisis.

“The whole charade would not stand and cannot stand as our tradition, norms and regulations in Ibadan recognize only Olubadan as the custodian of Obaship title and one who can confer it on anyone.”

“Fayose has performed excellently well in governing Ekiti. There is no governor in this country today who can beat his chest two times and say my state came tops for two consecutive times in NECO.

“Fayose as a political enigma cannot be uprooted in Ekiti based on his good governance, transparency and the many good projects he is embarking on in the state and which has adorned the landscape of the Fountain of Knowledge.

“I, therefore, advise APC to forget Ekiti in 2018, as Ekiti people would not like to leave Fayose for the need to continue the good works of Fayose.”

Anti-corruption war: Federal High Court redeploys judges

 

The acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, has redeployed 10 judges of the Federal High Court to different divisions of the court across the country.

The affected judges, according to a circular by the court, are to leave the divisions where they currently sit and resume at their new stations on October 27, 2017.

The redeployment is said to be in accordance with the directive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, that heads of various courts should constitute special courts for the speedy trial of corruption cases pursuant to the Federal Government’s anti-graft war.

By the circular, Justice Saliu Saidu, who currently sits at the Bayelsa division, will move to Lagos; Justice B.B. Aliyu will move from Yola to Port Harcourt; Justice I.M. Sani will move from Lokoja to Uyo; Justice I.L. Ojukwu will move from Uyo to Abuja; while Justice D.U. Okoronkwo, who currently sits in Ekiti will move to Lokoja.

Others moved are Justice F.O. Giwa-Ogunganjo; Justice Adamu Turaki Mohammed; Justice Abdulaziz Anka; and Justice Ibrahim Watila.

The circular read in part, “In view of the recent circular by the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria regarding the need to clear corruption and criminal cases, I have decided to reshuffle the current posting of judges…

“Affected judges are expected to resume in their new divisions by October 23rd, 2017.

“The judges shall continue with the hearing of criminal cases currently before them, as well as at least two witnesses have testified.”

Kachikwu vs Baru: Soldiers, police deployed at NNPC headquarters

 

There was heavy security presence at the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Abuja on Friday.

Armed security men from the Nigeria Police Force and the Army were sighted at the entrance of the oil firm, while police pickup vans and armoured personnel carriers were conspicuously stationed on both sides of the roads that lead to the NNPC.

It was learnt that the deployment was sequel to a request by the security department of the corporation.

A source at the security department said that the move had become necessary due to the tension generated by the memo written by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to President Muhammadu Buhari, which was leaked.

The minister had in the memo accused the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, of insubordination.

The memo has generated reactions from Civil Society Organisations, opposition parties and even the National Assembly, which had commenced investigation into the allegations of the awarding of contracts to the tune of $24bn without due process.

A source at the NNPC said, “There have been soldiers at the NNPC since the Boko Haram threats of 2013.

“However, we received fresh reports that people may be coming to demonstrate at the NNPC, so we had to beef the security up around the NNPC.

“Also, the feud between both sides has caused some division at the NNPC. For now, visitors won’t be allowed to drive in, except they have special appointment or they are contractors and there are special identity cards given to contractors.”

The source revealed that soldiers were running eight-hour shifts at the NNPC and had also been placed on alert.

He added, “There are eight soldiers on duty every eight hours and then there are snipers at the six watch towers.

“Under the bridge beside the NNPC, there is a military unit on standby. They have been there since Boko Haram started sending threat messages but now that two bosses are fighting, they have also been placed on alert.

“Security has also been beefed up because of the sensitivity of the issue. They are under a Senate investigation and all those who got the (about) $24bn contracts have their interests to protect, including international oil companies. So, we are just taking precautionary steps.”

The situation around the NNPC headquarters was described as unusual by people working there.

But when contacted to speak on why there was heavy security presence at the corporation, the firm’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, described the development as normal.

He said, “From time to time, we do that. They were there like that sometime last month, and so on and so forth. However, you are aware that this is the country’s national oil corporation and it needs security presence, just like the kind of heavy security presence at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“So it is not unusual. The security men are always there. Last month, they sent mobile police and military contingents here. Do you expect a national oil corporation not to have security presence?”

When one of our correspondents insisted that the security presence had increased, the NNPC spokesperson replied, “We had about the same level of security presence last month. Most times, heavy security vehicles come in and go out.

“If you come here around 3pm daily, you will see heavy military vehicles moving in and out when they are changing duties. So the official reaction you seek to this issue is that it is a normal routine.”

Also, the Federal Capital Territory Police Command spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, said the tightening of security around the NNPC Towers was “just routine police movement.”

He denied that there was a security emergency at the NNPC headquarters, adding that the police operatives deployed in the complex were on regular police duties.

“There was no security emergency; the deployment was just routine police movement. I am sure the men must have left the place by now. They are not meant to stay there for long,” he explained.

It was however gathered that the armoured trucks and pickup vans left the area at 5pm when most offices in the area had closed.

Army ordered to pay N85m damages for man’s death

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday ordered the Nigerian Army to pay the family of the late Mr. Olajide Enilari N85million for causing his death.

The family sued the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, Attorney-General of the Federation, Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration, Private Friday Ameh and one Nimmack Nappon.

The family claimed Ameh and Nappon assaulted the deceased on January 29, 2009, which resulted in his death.

Among others, they sought a declaration that army’s failure to ensure that the deceased was given proper medical attention from the injury inflicted on him by Ameh and Nappon, violated his right to life as guaranteed by Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution.

The family sought N50million as exemplary/aggravated damages and N35million as general damages.

Justice Ibrahim Buba, in his verdict, agreed that the defendants “behaved in a most irresponsible, unaccountable, insensitive and callous way.”

A copy of the judgment, delivered on March 30, was made available to journalists on Friday.

The suit was filed by a human rights group, the Access to Justice (A2Justice) on April 28, 2009, on behalf of the deceased’s family.

Justice Buba held that the principle underlying the award of exemplary damages is that it would deter others from infringing similar rights.

“There is no case of some animals are more equal that the others in the eyes of the law and rule of law.

“If our courts do not through bold judicial activism say what the law is, and that men in uniform have no right to be assaulting innocent citizens and even cause their death, then there will be anarchy.

“In the circumstances of this case and having regards to the pleadings and evidence – both documentary and oral – the case of the plaintiffs has merit and this court upon a calm reflection upholds the case of the plaintiffs and hereby enter judgment for them,” Justice Idris held.

Justice Buba awarded N85, 545,000 as damages against the Nigerian Army for the assault and killing of late Mr. Enilari.

The family challenged the brutal assault of the late Mr. Enilari, a flour merchant, by officers of the Nigerian Army on January 27, 2009 along Airways junction in Apapa, Lagos.

Due to head injuries sustained during the assault, Mr. Enilari died on January 29, 2009.

Eyewitness said the deceased was standing alongside his truck driver when a vehicle suddenly hit him.

He ran towards the driver of the fleeing vehicle, but the occupants, who were military personnel, alighted and started beating him with iron butts of their belts and iron rod found on the side of the road.

When the case commenced, the defendants raised the issue of self-defense, alleging that the deceased first hit the military personnel driving the vehicle and ran away.

The defense counsel further argued that it was in the course of apprehending the deceased that an angry mob gathered with dangerous weapons to attack the officers, who then used the deceased as a human shield, to ward off the crowd at the scene of the crime.

After careful consideration of the evidence (oral and documentary) of the parties in the suit, the court found no merit in the defense.

Justice Buba was of the view that it was inconceivable that an armed mob would attack military officers for merely apprehending a civilian.

He said it was also unfathomable that none of the officers sustained any injury from the attack.

The court held that the assault, which resulted in the death of the deceased, was unlawful, wrong and a gross violation of his right to life.

Kachikwu keeps mum after meeting Buhari

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Friday kept mum after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister who arrived the Presidential Villa around 11.40am for the meeting, left at about 12.50pm.

Kachikwu simply said “no comment” when State House correspondents approached him.

 

Police quiz Davido, others over friend’s mysterious death

The Lagos State Police Command has commenced investigations to unravel the circumstances surrounding the death of Tagbo, a friend of the hip hop musician, David Adeleke, popularly called Davido.

The command said it was awaiting the result of an autopsy conducted on the deceased to ascertain the cause of death, which would guide its investigations.

The Acting Commissioner of Police in the state, Edgar Imohimi, said on Thursday that he had and met with Davido and other parties involved in the case.

Tagbo reportedly died on the eve of his birthday on Tuesday at a bar in the Lekki area of the state.

A Nigerian actress, Caroline Danjuma, had, through a post on Instagram, accused Davido of dumping Tagbo’s corpse at the General Hospital, Lagos, after he allegedly died in his (Davido’s) car.

The actress alleged in the post, which she later deleted, that Davido and his crew fled after depositing the corpse.

Danjuma wrote, “Davido where is Tagbo? He was with you and your crew last night. You all wore fez caps to hide your identities after he died in your car. You dumped him at the general hospital and ran away…the law must play its role this time…you all better provide Tagbo alive.@davidoofficial.

“After you all abandoned him at the general hospital, you continued your stupid grooving at DNA and had the nerves to promote your show. This is not an ordinary boy that you can intimidate his family…we need you to tell us how he died in your car and why you ran away. The police and the hospital confirmed that you all ran away. If you think your money can save you, you just met your match.”

She also dismissed insinuations that Tagbo died from drunkenness, saying he was not a drunkard.

“Even in death, lies are being told of you. Those who knew you knew you never drank to an extent of getting drunk…the wicked shall never go unpunished. RIP. The truth is already out. Today (Wednesday) is your birthday. Happy super birthday,” Danjuma added.

Davido had also responded to Danjuma’s post via Snapchat, absolving himself from Tagbo’s death.

The celebrity musician described the allegation as “false” and vowed not make further comments on the incident.

Davido wrote, “People are just wicked and this is what I get for treating everyone like a brother. I was deeply saddened to hear the sudden death of my friend, Tagbo. First and foremost, my sincere condolences and prayers are with the family at this time. I’ve been in the same position before, multiple times and of recent.

“But it is disappointing that false information and complete lies have been put out there, using my name as usual. Out of total respect for Tagbo and his family, I will not discuss this matter further for now. Rest in peace, Tagbo.”

But the Commissioner of Police, Imohimi, said on Thursday that the command had commenced investigations into the incident.

He said all the parties involved had met with the police and had been advised to embrace peace while investigations continued.

The CP, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said no foul play was suspected so far.

He, however, noted that the autopsy report would give proper directions to the case.

He said, “The Lion Building Police Division is investigating a case of sudden and unnatural death. The person concerned, who was Davido’s friend, was brought in dead to a general hospital on Lagos Island and the doctor notified the police.

“The autopsy report will be out tomorrow (Friday) or Monday and that would determine the cause of death. The deceased’s girlfriend insinuated that Davido had a hand in the friend’s death because they (Tagbo and Davido) were seen together in a bar somewhere in Lekki, having a nice time.

“I called all the parties concerned because there is always the need for the police to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order. The police are already investigating the circumstances surrounding the death and we are ensuring that all possible angles are touched. We will issue a statement after investigations. Meanwhile, there is no need for speculations.”

CBN to blacklist exporters withholding forex proceeds

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is threatening to sanction exporters who fail to repatriate foreign exchange (forex) proceeds from their businesses into the economy.

CBN Director (Banking Supervision) Abdullahi Ahmad, who issued the warning yesterday during the Bankers’ Committee meeting in Lagos, spoke of a provision in the CBN Foreign Exchange Manual that mandates all exporters to repatriate their proceeds back to the country to support the local currency and the economy.

The manual stipulates that proceeds of oil and non-oil exports are to be repatriated into the export proceeds domiciliary accounts of their exporters’ accounts within 90 days for oil exports and 180 days for non-oil exports. Where this policy is violated, the collecting bank will be liable to a fine of 10 per cent of the Free On Board value of the transaction, including other appropriate penalties as provided in the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act.

Likewise, where the exporter fails to repatriate the proceeds into the domiciliary account within the stipulated period, the exporter will be barred from participating in all the segments of foreign exchange market in Nigeria.

Ahmad said many exporters, who benefited from Federal Government’s support scheme, continually failed to comply with this directive, adding that the defaulters would be barred from other banking services.

He said the CBN had continued to take strategic steps to ensure that Nigeria exporters’ businesses thrived and that not sending earned dollar back to the economy was not proper.

He said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 0.5 per cent, which brought the country out of recession, needed to be improved on, and called for more hard work to achieve better growth for the economy.

The stability in the foreign exchange market, moderation in inflation and capital market recovery are indications that the economy is getting better, Ahmad said.

Also speaking, Unity Bank Managing Director/CEO Mrs. Tomi Somefun said the disbursement of N26 billion special fund for players in the agricultural sector would begin at the end of this quarter. The fund, first announced in June, was part of the banks’ plan to finances agro-based small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

The contribution follows the directives of the CBN to all commercial banks to remit five per cent of their annual after-tax profit in support of a scheme as part of the guidelines for the Operations of the Agricultural/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS). The programme was first approved at the 331st Bank’s Committee meeting, held on February 9th this year.

Also speaking at the Bankers’ Committee meeting, Managing Director/CEO Emeka Emuwa said the Bankers’ Committee was also worried about the return of ponzi scheme- Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM).

He said such schemes always thrived when the end of the year approaches. “The Ponzi schemes are back and more about them as the year comes to an end,” he said.

According to the Union Bank boss the CBN has instituted the collateral registry to help SMEs access funds, and create more jobs. “The Collateral Registry is going to facilitate lending to the SMEs and also boost employment,” he said.

The Bankers’ Committee praised the CBN for the stability achieved in the foreign exchange market, adding that the apex bank had been steadfast in executing its policies.

Catalonia breaks away from Spain 9 October

Catalonia has set Independence day from Spain for next Monday 9 October after holding a referendum, which the Spanish government in Madrid declared illegal.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said he favored mediation to find a way out of the crisis but that Spain’s central government had rejected this.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government responded by calling on Catalonia to “return to the path of law” first before any negotiations.

Mireia Boya, a Catalan lawmaker from the pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party, said a declaration of independence would follow a parliamentary session on Monday to evaluate the results of the Oct. 1 vote to break away.

“We know that there may be disbarments, arrests … But we are prepared, and in no case will it be stopped,” she said on Twitter.

Puigdemont told the BBC he would ask the region’s parliament to declare independence following the referendum, which Spain’s government and constitutional court say was illegal and in which only a minority of Catalans voted.

In a televised address on Wednesday night, Puigdemont said: “This moment calls for mediation. We have received various offers in the last hours and we will receive more.”

Without specifically mentioning plans for an independence declaration, he added: ”I am sure that in the next few days we will show the best of our country when the institutions of Catalonia will have to apply the results of the referendum.

“Today we are closer than yesterday to our historic wish.”

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government replied that Puigdemont had wasted an opportunity to put Catalonia back on a legal course. “If Mr. Puigdemont wants to talk or negotiate, or wants to send mediators, he knows perfectly well what he must do first: Return to the path of the law,” it said in a statement.

Participants in the referendum opted overwhelmingly for independence, but turnout was only about 43 percent as Catalans who favor remaining part of Spain mainly boycotted the ballot.

Spain was only restored to democracy following the death in 1975 of military dictator Francisco Franco, under whom the Catalan language and traditions were suppressed.