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Again, NFIU warns governors to steer clear of LG funds

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) says the effective date for the new regulations on local government funds remains June 1.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ahmed Dikko, NFIU acting spokesman, said any violation of the new regulations will be sanctioned.

On May 6, the NFIU had announced new guidelines, which would make the joint account system currently in use by state and local governments only exist for the receipt of allocations from the federation account but not for disbursement.

With the guideline, governors may lose control of local government funds.

The new measures, it was learnt, were introduced by the current administration to restore LGA’s financial autonomy.

“The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) is using this second press statement on the above subject to reiterate its position that the 1st June effective date of the guidelines to all financial institutions and public officials on the local government funds stands,” Dikko said.

“The Unit also maintains its understanding of the 1999 constitution that no debit is allowed on any local government funds unless and until the funds are credited to and reach the bank accounts of a local government in any state of the federation.

“The provision of the cumulative cash withdrawal not exceeding N500,000 per day is also firmly in place effective 1st June 2019.

“We observed isolated comments to the contrary in the past few days which in our assessment only amounted to wilful misinterpretation of the 1999 constitution and therefore, of no consequences to the operations of the entire financial system.

“The provision of the guidelines to the financial institutions was also on account of legitimate powers provided by the NFIU Act 2018 and any violations of the said guidelines will be sanctioned appropriately.”

Bandits abduct 3-month-old baby, kill 2 in Zamfara

Security forces are now trailing yet to be identified gunmen who invaded Kanoma village in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara and abducted seven persons, including a three months old baby along with her mother, killing two people.

An eye witness, Malam Ibrahim Muhammed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gusau on Wednesday that the bandits in their hundreds besieged the area at about 3 am on Tuesday and fired gun shots sporadically in the air to scare the residents away.

Muhammad further explained that “It was while they were scaring the people with gun shots that they killed the two victims who came out in the confusion.

“We tried to raise alarm to security agencies who were stationed in different places along Sokoto/Gusau road, but everyone was afraid of being sighted by the assailants who held powerful fire arms,” he said.

He said the bandits went to the residence of one Dan Haja, a business man, beat him with iron rods and inflicted serious injuries on him after which they went away with his wife who is a nursing mother and her three months old baby.

He also said the bandits moved to the house of a retired Director-General in the state government, Alhaji Sani Abdullahi, and picked him too along with six other persons and disappeared.

“At a later time, they called to demand for a ransom of 50 million naira for the release of those abductees,” Muhammad said.

When contacted, the state Police Command spokesman, SP Mohammed Shehu confirmed the attack but said, “from the report we received, no one was killed and a total of eight persons mostly women and children were abducted by the attackers.”

He said, the command’s Tactical and Anti-terrorism units had been deployed to the area to trail the bandits and arrest them, adding that peace had been restored to the area.

He urged members of the public to always report such attacks or suspicious movements in good time so that assistance could come.

Obasanjo demystified by Buhari’s victory – Akiolu

The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu on Wednesday said the election of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second -term in office was a clear proof that no man, but God gives power.

Akiolu made the statement when participants of the Senior Executive Course 41 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, visited him in his palace in Lagos. .

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN)reports that the visitors who were on study tour of the state were led by Dr Nasirudeen Usman, NIPSS Acting Director of Studies .

Akiolu said the president got his second term mandate from God through the people of Nigeria.

He said the claim by former President Olusegun Obasanjo prior to the election that Buhari would not win the election because he did not support him had been neutralised by the president’s triumph.

Akiolu said Obasanjo had always arrogated to himself the divine power to determine the country’s leaders, adding that Buhari’s victory in the last election had demystified him.

Akiolu said he had always believed Buhari would win the election and that he was glad that the former president had been proved wrong at the end of the day.

”I had said that Buhari would win even before the election, unfortunately ,the number one person creating problems in this country is former president Obasanjo.

”He arrogated to himself the powers of the Almighty Allah by saying it was the support he gave to Buhari that made him win the first term.

”Obasanjo said Buhari would not win the second term, but did Buhari not win? Did I not say Obasanjo will be disappointed by the time the results were announced .

”The president’s victory clearly shows power belongs to God only and no man can decide who leads the country”, he added.

Akiolu urged Nigerians to support the president to deliver the goods as he begins his second term in office .

He said the problems of insecurity, unemployment and other challenges of the country would be better tackled if citizens joined hands with government to address them.

The monarch urged politicians to put the issues of the last elections behind them and work together for the progress of the country .

Akiolu advised Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the general elections to drop his case against Buhari’s election.

He predicted that Atiku’s case will amount to nought at the end of the day, adding that he strongly believed Buhari had the manadate of Nigerians and would finish his term in office.

”If anyone of you here is close to Atiku, tell him he can never succeed in what he is doing now.

”Buhari will complete his term in office, but Buhari too has to listen to.the people, pray to God and be honest in what he is doing ”, he said.

The monarch commended the visit of the NIPSS Executive course participants to the state, saying the state would benefit from the study tour of the delegation.

The Oba said he was particularly glad that the focus of the tour was to understand the challenges affecting healthcare delivery system in the state with a view to providing solutions.

Akiolu stressed  that qualitative healthcare system was key to improved life expectancy, adding that there was a link between it and development.

He advocated increased budgetary allocation to the health sector in line with World Health Organisation standard .

Akiolu described the NIPSS as a good initiative that had helped shaped policy formulation in the country .

The monarch said he was once a participant in a course at NIPSS as a police officer and that he still lived with the experience till date.

Speaking, Usman said the visit was to pay respect to the monarch as it was the norm for participants to visit distintiguished personalities anywhere they went .

He said the NIPSS participants were on the study tour of the state to study and assess its universal health care delivery system.

”Your Royal Highness, you will agree with us that universal healthcare system is quite an issue in the country .

”We have been in the state since the beginning of the week to engage shakeholders in the health delivery sector, to interact with them and find out the challenges facing the sector .

”At the end of the day, we will present a copy of our report to the state government with the expectation that it would implement our recommendations to improve healthcare in the state”, he said.

Usman said the Federal Government had over the years supported the institute to help in formulating policies for national development.

Police uncover plots to attack oil facilities

The Police on Wednesday said they have uncovered plots by some persons to commence massive and coordinated attacks on oil installations across the country.

Force Spokesman, Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, said in a statement in Abuja that the attacks would be carried out in the Niger-Delta region and adjoining states.

He said the elements were claiming to be climate and environmental activists.

“These plots, which are politically motivated, are aimed at sabotaging oil installations with intended negative consequences on national security, economic development and global oil market,“he said.

Mba said that the acting Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mohammed Adamu, had ordered commissioners of police nationwide, particularly in designated states, to intensify surveillance missions around oil facilities and other critical national infrastructure.

He said that the commissioners and other field commanders had also been directed to put in place proactive measures to neutralise the threats and bring the plotters to book.

“The I-G warned of dire consequences for persons or group of persons who may want to resort to the use of violence in advancing their political or economic goals,“he said.

Adamu urged citizens to remain vigilant and report all suspicious characters and plots to the law enforcement agents.

He reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring adequate security of lives, protection of national assets and the sanctity of citizens political freedom and democracy.

Army boss blames disgruntled politicians for security challenges

Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army sStaff, says high rate of insecurity across the country is the handiwork of disgruntled politicians.

Speaking on Wednesday when the chairman house of representatives committee on the army visited him in Maiduguri, Borno state, Buratai blamed some politicians for fuelling insecurity.

He said the military has strong evidence that politicians are sponsoring banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities in the country.

The army chief attributed the security challenges being experienced in the north and other parts of the country to grievances that resulted from the outcome of the 2019 general election.

He said some politicians who were defeated during the elections sponsor criminal activities as a way of exacting their revenge on the nation.

“The threat by Boko Haram is quite real, they have been dealt with but they are still much around,” Buratai said.

“In terms of their various soft target attacks on some military locations, right now Boko Haram terrorists are on the run but because of the resilient nature of terrorism, they are always trying to score points to shows that they are much around.

“The myriad of security challenges we are facing right now in the north-west, north-central and other parts of the country, I want to believe and rightly so that it is a fallout of the just concluded general election.

“The political class has interest; politicians in particular who saw their defeats as a means to revenge, sponsoring these criminal activities and even the bandits, clashes between the farmers and herders.

“There are strong political undertones and strong political influence in these kidnappings. We use this opportunity to call on the chairman house committee on the army to prevail on some of these politicians, to really look at national interest first, before any political or sectional interest.

“We have strong evidence but we are still being conscious so that we don’t get it wrong but the best is to advice these politicians.”

FEC approves $1bn Chinese loan for power project

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a fresh $1 billion Chinese loan for a power project.

The approval was given at a meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

Confirming the loan approval, Suleiman Adamu, minister of water resources, said it will be obtained from the China-Exim Bank for the Gurara II Hydropower project.

According to him, the project is aimed at generating 360 megawatts of electricity.

In 2017, the federal government concluded plans to secure a loan of $550 million from the China Import Export Bank for the acquisition of two new communications satellites for the Nigeria Communications Limited.

In 2018, the federal government had also negotiated a loan of about $6 billion with the Chinese bank for the construction of the Ibadan-Kano rail line.

Speaking on Monday in Nairobi, Kenya, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, allayed fears over reports that assets built with Chinese loans in some African countries would be taken over by the Asian giant if the countries default.

He said the loan agreement between Nigeria and China does not involve forfeiture of some Nigerian infrastructure if the country failed to pay back.

“I don’t know the arrangement these countries made with Exim Bank, I do not think we will have any problems with repaying our loans,” the minister said.

“The countries that they are talking about are Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. These are countries that have not been able to repay their loans, I think. So what they (China) are doing is that they are taking over to manage and get their money. But it is not so in Nigeria.”

Nigerian-born Obaze becomes mayor in UK

Victoria Obaze, a woman with Nigerian heritage, made history on Wednesday after she was sworn into office as the first black female civic mayor of London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Obaze’s inauguration on Wednesday is the latest in turn of events that have seen Nigerians emerge as mayors in their area councils of residence in the UK.

Ernest Ezeajughi and Kate Anorue, both from Anambra state, were recently sworn into office as mayors of London Borough of Brent and Enfield, respectively.

Obaze, who contested three previous councillorship elections in 2010, 2014 as well as 2016 and failed, eventually succeeded in an election conducted on May 5, 2018, in Whitechapel ward.

She later became the council’s deputy speaker following her nomination by her councillor colleagues from where she took over the mantle as mayor of London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

A statement containing brief history of Obaze NAN obtained from Blessing Chijekwu, coordinator of  Ugonwanne Social Club Nigeria Int’l, a Nigerian socio-cultural group in the UK,  the newly sworn-in mayor had lived in Borough for over 30 years.

“For Councillor (Cllr) Obaze life is all about service to humanity with diligence. Her political experience started when she was elected as one of the board of directors to oversee the regeneration of her area, the Ocean Estate, in the 1980s,” it read.

“The move motivated her to get into politics having noticed that there were no black women in the council chambers and this led her to open a project named Healthy Life Style for Stepney Women, East London.

“The project was funded by local authority through Ocean African Caribbean Association which she and her late husband Chief Evangelist Charles Obaze, co-founded.

“She also established Ocean Saturday School aimed at ensuring school attainment for children, as well as Ocean Football Club through which young boys were able to have residential football experiences with Chelsea football Club.

“Above all, Cllr Obaze loves God with a passion; she is a member of Parochial Church Council (PCC), as well as an Executive Council member at St Dunstan’s Church of England Parish in Stepney.

“She is also a Secondary School governor in Tower Hamlets and a habitual visitor to the elderly and physically challenged in the community,” the statement quoted Chijekwu as saying.

Obaze who has four children and two grand children attended West London College and Metropolitan University where she studied business administration and community sector management at different times.

She also has certification in childcare which enabled her operate a registered charitable childcare centre in UK named Vicharles Play Centre.

Obaze is from Imo state.

JAMB says over 1.3m candidates have accessed 2019 UTME result

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says over 1.3 million candidates have so far accessed their results using the result checker (code), 55019.

The board’s Head, Media and Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

Benjamin was speaking against the backdrop of claims in some quarters that majority of candidates who participated at the board’s 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) had yet to access their results through the said code.

He also described as untrue, claims by some mischief makers that the N50 charges incurred through the code was going to the board’s purse.

“I want to refute all these claims as there is no truth in them.

“First and foremost, by our records, over 1.3 candidates who sat for this examination have accessed their results using the code for checking the results, which remains ‘55019’.

“Again, let me also state in clear terms that the N50 charged in the process of checking these results does not go to JAMB’s purse but to the various service providers,” Benjamin said.

According to the spokesman, the clarification became necessary in view of what he described as ‘wicked and malicious rumours’ by some persons that the board is charging a fee for checking of results.

Giving a breakdown of the total number of results checked by candidates through the various network providers, Benjamin noted that MTN had the highest, with a total of 888,598, followed by Glo, with a total of 190,923.

He said that coming third was Airtel, with a total of 104, 970 candidates who have so far accessed their result using the network.

Benjamin said that before now, Airtel had some technical hitches, but thankfully, all such challenges had been addressed.

Speaking further, he noted that a total of 62,170 candidates had also accessed their results using the 9mobile service provider.

The spokesman said the board appreciated the concern of those candidates who had challenges accessing their results, and expressed the board’s sincere apologies to the development.

He noted that the board was partnering with the network providers in ensuring quality service in an attempt to forestall such occurrences in its subsequent examinations.

Benjamin said that already, plans were already in place to forward the results to candidates’ profiles for viewing and printing.

NAN reports that results for 2019 UTME were released on Saturday, May 11.

Over 1.8 million candidates registered for the examination. (NAN)

Couple jailed for life for killing 15-day-old daughter

A young Georgia couple accused of murdering their infant daughter was found guilty on all counts Tuesday, just about an hour after the jury began deliberations.

Authorities accused Courtney Marie Bell and Christopher McNabb of smoking meth before they murdered their 15-day-old daughter Caliyah in 2017, hiding her body in nearby woods and reporting her missing.

During closing arguments, defense attorney Anthony Carter, who represents McNabb said, “Probably the worst thing that could happen to Chris is that he loses his child and then goes to prison for killing his child when he didn’t do it.”

Defense attorneys told the jury that they may not like the tattoos covering McNabb’s face, the fact that McNabb beat Bell, or the fact that the couple used drugs, but that doesn’t make them guilty of murder.

Defense attorney Bryan Frost, who represents Bell said, “Nothing my client did caused that death, all of you know what caused that child’s death. That’s nothing my client did or could’ve prevented.”

The defense argued someone came into the couple’s mobile home on the morning of Oct. 7, 2017, while they slept and took the girl and the bag belonging to McNabb that the child’s body was found in.

But prosecutors painted a different picture.

District Attorney Layla Zon said, “All this fake crying and fake tears he did during the interviews about how much he loved his children and that he did in the courtroom are a joke.”

Zon told jurors all of the evidence pointed to McNabb as the killer. The prosecutor added while the state doesn’t believe Bell physically murdered her child, they believe her negligence contributed to the child’s death.

Zon argued McNabb was manipulative and didn’t love Bell or Caliyah.

He said, “That child didn’t do anything but need love, and her daddy killed her.”

The jury began its deliberations shortly after 3 p.m. and returned its verdict just after 4 p.m.

Judge John M. Ott immediately went to the sentencing phases.

Prior to his sentencing, McNabb continued to state that he is innocent and said that just because he abused Bell doesn’t mean he abused his kids and that he never hurt his children or abused Bell in front of them.

He stated he didn’t understand how the jury found him guilty of putting his hands on a 15-day-old child, but he didn’t do it.

Ott then asked McNabb what he thought the sentence should be, and McNabb said if they ever found who committed the murder, that he ought to be “thrown under the jail.”

According to Fox News, McNabb was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 10 years to be served consecutively.

Prior to her sentencing, Bell cried that she didn’t do it and said she tried to be a good mother.

Ott replied that her version of what a good mother is was so far from the norm of what a good mother actually is that there is no excuse for it.

Bell was sentenced to 30 years, with the first 15 to be served in confinemen

Kano kingmakers ask court to stop Ganduje from deposing Sanusi

Kingmakers in the Kano emirate have filed a case against Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, for splitting the emirate.

In the suit with number K/197/2019 filed on Tuesday at a state high court, Ganduje, the state house of assembly, attorney-general of the state and five others were listed as the defendants, while the kingmakers— Yusuf Nabahani (Madakin Kano), Abdullahi Sarki Ibrahim (Makaman Kano), Bello Abubakar (Sarkin Dawaki man Tuta) and Mukhtari Adnan (Sarikin Ban Kano)— were listed as first, second, third and fourth plaintiffs respectively.

The kingmakers said the governor’s assent to the bill breaking up the emirate was done in bad faith and the action was a desecration of centuries old tradition.

They also asked the court to stop the governor from deposing Sanusi or transferring him out of Kano emirate without consulting them.

“The defendants, in purporting to amend the Emirs (Appointment and Deposition) Law, 1984 have desecrated centuries old and highly revered traditions and heritage of the people of Kano and have uprooted the Plaintiffs various traditional titles without giving a hearing to the Plaintiffs and their clans or having regards to ancestral history by hurriedly enacting the Kano State Emirs law, 2019,” a copy of the suit seen by TheCable read.

“The defendants desecrated the ancestral history and all known laws connected with or pertaining to Kano Emirate’s customs and tradition by: (a) establishing Bichi Emirate comprising of 9 local governments including Dawakin Tofa and Dambatta, the ancestral homes of the 1st and 4th plaintiffs. The first plaintiffs have her been under any authority of Bichi district.

“(b) Establsihing Gaya Emirate comprising 8 local governments including Wudil and Gabasawa, the ancestral homes of the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs.”

The kingmakers are seeking a declaration that the passage of the law breaking the emirate was not for peace, order and good governance of the state and therefore contrary to Section 4 (7) of the 1999 constitution.

They are also seeking a declaration that the the governor lacks the power under the existing “emirs laws of Kano state, 1991 to appoint emirs of Bichi, Rano, Gaya, Karaye or any other person and that the appointments made are unconstitutional, illegal, null and void”.

The kingmakers are asking the court to give an order restraining the newly appointed monarchs from parading themselves as emirs.

Ganduje had reportedly moved to depose Muhammad Sanusi II as the emir of Kano or reduce his influence ostensibly as pay back for refusing to supports his second term.bid.

Following the governor’s approval, the state now has five emirates: Kano, Rano, Gaya, Karaye and Bichi and five emirs of equal jurisdiction.

Nigerians should brace for petrol pump price hike – Rewane

Bismarck Rewane, chief executive officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, has asked Nigerians to brace for an increase in the pump price of petrol.

In 2016, the Buhari administration increased a litre of petrol from N87 to N145, sparking criticism among citizens.

But making a presentation  at the Lagos Business School, Rewane said there were indications that the price of fuel would rise because government is working towards reducing subsidy payments.

He described subsidies as a huge drain on government’s revenue, adding that the World Bank put Nigeria’s total subsidy bill in 2018 at N731 billion.

“A gradual reduction in subsidy payments is anticipated. Only N305bn set aside for under-recovery in 2019 budget; expect an increase in the pump price of fuel,” he said.

“Forty per cent shortfall in provision for subsidies (under-recoveries) points to possible price increases.”

Rewane added that hike in price of petrol would result in high inflationary pressure.

He described the 2019 budget as counter-cyclical, saying the economy was in dire need of a boost.

He said with expenditures much higher than sustainable revenues, the fiscal deficit had widened by 2.15 per cent to N1.9tn, adding that the supplementary budget could not be avoided.

“Oil revenues are projected to decline due to the impact of OPEC quota on Nigeria’s oil output level,” he added.

On the new minimum wage, he said internally generated revenue remains the key to funding it, adding that it is not sustainable to rely on the federal accounts allocation committee (FAAC).

Rewane said the capacity of the economic management team will determine the success of President Muhammadu Buhari in the second term.

He projected that Buhari would have unveiled his cabinet by June, saying “the post cabinet selection squabbling will lead to splintering of the All Progressives Congress”.

Rewane added that the election tribunal results will “upset at least four governorship races”.

Manchester City reacts to possible UEFA Champions League ban

Manchester City could be banned from the Champions League by UEFA if the Premier League champions are found guilty of Financial Fair Play, now the Cityzen’s have now reacted to the reports, hitting out at the European football governing body.

Manchester City have raised concerns about the integrity of the UEFA investigation into their financial dealings after reports emerged that they are facing a ban from the Champions League. The English champions do appear to be facing heavy sanctions for alleged breaches of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, with the New York Times revealing on Monday that members of the investigatory chamber of UEFA’s financial control board will push for a one-season ban from European football elite competition, probably in 2020-21.

Investigators have spent months reviewing evidence first detailed in a series of leaks and reported by the German publication Der Spiegel. But City responded on Tuesday with a strongly-worded statement that essentially accused European football’s governing body of leaking details of the investigation.

Their statement, given to MailOnline, said: “Manchester City FC is fully cooperating in good faith with the CFCB IC’s ongoing investigation. In doing so the club is reliant on both the CFCB IC’s independence and commitment to due process; and on UEFA’s commitment of the 7th of March that it, will make no further comment on the matter while the investigation is ongoing.”

“The New York Times report citing ‘people familiar with the case’ is therefore extremely concerning. The implications are that either Manchester City’s good faith in the CFCB IC is misplaced or the CFCB IC process is being misrepresented by individuals intent on damaging the club’s reputation and its commercial interests. Or both.

“Manchester City’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record. The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false, and comprehensive proof of this fact has been provided to the CFCB IC.”

NSE listing values MTN Nigeria at N1.83trn

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday finally approved the listing of MTN Nigeria shares on the nation’s bourse.

A senior official at the NSE, who pleaded anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that MTN Nigeria application for listing was approved on Tuesday.

The source said that the company, barring unforeseen circumstances, would be listing a total of 20, 354,513,050 at N90 per share on May 16.

The source told NAN that the company had completed all the necessary steps required by the exchange for listing which led to the approval.

NAN reports that MTN Nigeria shares, when listed at N90 per share, will emerge the second largest company on the nation’s bourse after Dangote Cement with market capitalisation of N1.83 trillion.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently confirmed the approval of MTN Nigeria application to be listed on NSE by way of introduction.

Efe Ebelo, SEC Head Corporate Communications, said that the commission had approved the company’s application to be listed on the nation’s bourse by way of introduction.

She said that the company had successfully completed the registration of 20,354,513,050 ordinary shares of N0.02 each with the commission.

NAN recalls that MTN Nigeria on May 6 filed an application with SEC and the exchange for listing by introduction.

MTN Nigeria recently changed its status from a private company to a public liability company (PLC) ahead of its listing on the exchange.

NAN reports that the conversion was one of the requirements for listing on the exchange.

The company had previously announced that it looks to list on the NSE before July, saying it plans to enter the market by way of listing by introduction.

Speaking on the conversion, Fredi Moolman, MTN Chief Executive Officer, said the listing was part of its commitment to localisation in the markets in which it operates.

“Our conversion to a Plc is a major step towards listing by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the first half of 2019.

“It is a reaffirmation of our long-term commitment to expanding investment opportunities for Nigerians, in addition to providing everyday services to them.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with the SEC and NSE to take forward the listing process,” Moolman had said.

NAN reports that listing on the NSE was one of the conditions reached in the resolution of a N330 billion fine placed on the telco by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for its inability to disconnect improperly registered SIM cards.

Lt.-Col, two soldiers killed as vehicle runs over IED planted by Boko Haram

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the death of three military personnel on Monday in Borno was “wake-up call’’ for the army to further strategise to defeat terrorists.

He stated this at the burial of Lt.-Col. Ibrahim Aminu, Cpl. Jibril Ahmadu and Lance Cpl. Tijjani Mohammed, at the Maimalari Cantonment Cemetery in Maiduguri on Tuesday.

Aminu, the Commanding Officer, 145 Task Force Battalion and the two soldiers died on Monday when, during patrol, their vehicle ran over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by Boko Haram insurgents. The device exploded.

The incident occurred at Mauli-Borgozo axis in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno.

Buratai said “this threat, IEDs, is real but we are taking all measures to ensure that we counter it.

“The challenge that we are having in the North-East has always been the enemy action, either through encounter or Improvised Explosive Device being exploded on our troops, and today’s burial is one of those incidents that involve IED.

“This is a situation that will require us to be vigilant at all times and to ensure that we protect ourselves from this menace of the IEDs.’’

He described the death of the officer and soldiers as “highly unfortunate and regrettable’’.

“Today, it is with heavy heart that we bury our colleagues who paid the supreme sacrifice in course of duty.

“It is a great loss; we will miss them.

“Let me pay my condolences to the families of the late lieutenant-colonel and two soldiers, and indeed all of us – officers and men of Operation Lafiya Dole and Nigerian army,’’ Buratai lamented.

Meanwhile, the Control and Command Centre of the Operation Lafiya Dole, on Monday unveiled a device to counter IEDs, as part of the measures to tackle the challenge.

The device, a padded roller supported by plate, weighing about 280 kilogrammes and attached to heavy duty truck, is capable of detecting and safely detonating IED.

And, in case the device goes off, the plate protects the vehicle and troops.

At the unveiling in Maiduguri, Buratai assured that apart from the roller, Nigerian Army Manufacturing Company was developing a similar device which would be mass produced “as soon as we get it correct.’’

He said that the device, when produced, would be used to counter the threat of IED.

On general security in the North-East, the army chief said that the situation was improving, but expressed worry about the terrorists’ resilience.

According to him they still move around causing havoc and sometimes attacking military locations.

He charged troops to sit up and deal with the terrorists, who he described as “criminal elements bent on destabilising the country and make life difficult for the citizens’’.

“We should not allow them to triumph over us.

“This should never be allowed to happen and therefore, we must make sure that we deal with them decisively and to do that, we must remain alert, conscious of our environment and must be vigilant all times.

“What is required now is just vigilance.

“We must ensure that all suspicious movements in and around locations are reported or actions are taken and arrest made. This will help us in this operation,’’ he said.

Buratai said that efforts were being made to procure required equipment and platforms for the ongoing operations, adding very soon, the first set of consignment would be delivered to the army.

He said that the equipment would greatly help to address some of the gaps observed in operations.

He disclosed that the military was taking “some strong and decisive measures’’ to checkmate the activities of the “Boko Haram jihadists’’.

The COAS urged citizens, especially Borno and Yobe states people, to be patient with whatever steps being taken to contain the terrorists.

“There may be some inconveniences; it is for the good of all of us, people of Borno and Yobe, and indeed, all Nigerians,’’ he said.

Senate threatens to order shutdown of Bet9ja over refusal to honour invitation

The Senate Committee on Youth and Sports, on Tuesday, threatened to order the shutdown of Bet9ja office if the company failed to honour its invitation for a second time.

Bet9ja is the biggest online sports betting company in Nigeria with revenues running into.the tens of billions.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Obinna Ogba, made the remark at the National Assembly, Abuja during the verification of loto companies with licence to operate in Nigeria.

Ogba (PDP Ebonyi Central) said it was unfortunate that Bet9ja refused to honour the committee’s invitation.

“Clerk, write to Bet9ja again. If they did not honour our invitation, we will ask the National Lottery Commission to seal their offices,” he said.

According to him, the Senate is making efforts aimed at assisting the Lottery Commission to generate money for the Federal Government.

”We want to see bet9ja. They can’t run away,” he said.

The chairman explained that the verification followed series of complaints against the betting companies, adding that ”some don’t even have offices while others have not been making remittances to the government.”

”Some got the licences but they are not operating. The new regulation only give them one year to start operations,” he noted.

Meanwhile, about 20 other betting companies appeared before the committee for the verification.

UN agreement’s amendment’ll ensure safe transport of dangerous goods -FRSC

UN agreement’s amendment’ll ensure safe transport of dangerous goods -FRSC

The amendment of United Nations (UN) Agreement Concerning International Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) will ensure safe transportation of the commodities in the country, Mr Bisi Kazeem, Spokesman of the Federal Road Safety Corps has said.

Kazeem said this while presenting the press release on the amendment by UNECE after their meeting in UN headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland

He disclosed that the Corps Marshal, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi is attending the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the 1957 Agreement in Geneva, Switzerland as a delegate where an amendment to the agreement was carried out.

Kazeem lamented that far too many accidents involving the transport of dangerous goods still occured in countries all around the world.

He said that with the UN agreement, the risks of such accidents would be reduced.

“The Agreement concerning the International Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) is a tried and tested United Nations instrument.

“It has helped to prevent such accidents and reduce the severity of their consequences for over 50 years.

“ADR also helps to ensure swift and effective emergency response in the event of an accident.

“Adopted at United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 1957 as a European agreement, ADR is a highly successful example of the positive impact of international harmonisation and cooperation on improving safety.

“In addition to countries of the Pan-European region, Morocco, Tunisia and most recently Nigeria have joined ADR.”

This, Kazeem said has signaled increasing global demand for solutions for the safe transport of dangerous goods.

The ADR was among the six key UN international legal instruments serviced by UNECE.

It creates a legal framework addressing the main causes of road traffic accidents.

Boko Haram: Over 90,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon – UN officials

Officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and those from Adamawa and Borno states on Monday said about 90,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon ”are safe’’ and will soon return.

The officials brainstormed on Monday over plans to repatriate the refugees.

The refugees, mostly from Borno, were displaced by the unending Boko Haram insurgency.

At the meeting in Yola on Monday, the Adamawa State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Ahmad Sajoh, said plans for their evacuation had reached an advanced stage.

”Necessary arrangements have been made by the Adamawa State Government to receive the refugees, who would pass through Adamawa transit camp from Minawawo camp in Cameroon.

‘’About  4,000 of the refugees are from Adamawa, and already agreement had been reached with some communities here in Adamawa to host about 1,500 refugees from Borno, who have indicated that they would want to remain in Adamawa,’’ he said.

The commissioner, who did not give the date for the commencement of the evacuation, said the refugees would be airlifted by the Nigerian Air Force.

Also speaking, the Borno delegation team leader, Kullima Kachalla, commended the government and people of Adamawa, ”for the hospitality to the displaced persons from Borno since the insurgency started.

”Borno government is committed to ensuring the success of the evacuation exercise,’’ Mr Kachalla said.

In her remarks, at the meeting,  head of UNHCR sub-office in Marwa, Cameroon, Mylene Ahounou, said: “the commission is waiting for final authorisation from the central government of Cameroon to embark on the exercise.

“We urge the Nigerian Government to also reach out to Cameroon to facilitate action.”

A representative of the refugees, Ashigar Mohammed, said ”We are eager to return home.” He thanked Nigeria, Cameroon and UNHCR for coming to their aid.

The UNHCR is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

The Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria has led to about 100,000 deaths since 2009, according to the Borno State Government. The terror group, which has been largely decimated since 2015, seeks to impose strict Islamic law in Northern Nigeria.

NNPC recovers $1.6bn from companies

The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, on Tuesday said the Corporation had recovered $1.6 billion from some companies fleecing one of its subsidiaries.

Mr Baru disclosed this in Abuja while fielding questions from journalists after a visit by officials of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN)

The Institute conferred an award of Honourary Fellow and Patron to Mr Baru and solicited partnership with the corporation during the visit.

CIFIPN is an anti-Fraud organisation saddled with the responsibility of providing skills to professionals from relevant fields on the use of science and technology to detect, prevent and investigate fraud and also put some measures to prevent future occurrence.

He said its upstream subsidiary fleeced was the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

He also said under his watch, the corporation had made significant progress in terms of fraud detection, prevention and control.

“There is a lot of sanity that has happened in the industry as a result of this. Recently, due to the work, we were able to get the Atlantic companies who were fleecing the NNPC subsidiary, the NPDC, and we got an award for them to refund 1.6 billion dollars to the NPDC, through the arbitration process.

“We have also been able to stem fraud. High profile court cases were being set up to defraud the NPDC.

“If you see the amount of money involved, if you do not have people who are determined to fight corruption, our chances would have been compromised by over 1.6 billion dollars.

“We have had cases, like NNPC versus IPCO, where they are demanding over 400 million dollars, and because of their activities, we were able to settle out of court with them for 37.5 million dollars, which is a saving of several percentages, about less than 10 per cent of the total amount.” he said

Mr Baru added that the recovery was possible as all staff of the corporation and its business partners had imbibe transparency in all areas of their operations.

Commenting on the honours, he assured that he would support the institute with his wealth of knowledge to help boost forensic investigation in the country.

“This institute’s intention is quite laudable and conferment of fellows on me will make me more determined to support them and being a patron will make me to share some of the knowledge I have,’’ he said

Ajimobi renames roads, institutions after Lam Adesina, Alaafin, Olubadan, Soun, Ladoja, Akala, others

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has approved the renaming of some roads and institutions after prominent indigenes in recognition of their contributions to the state.

Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun, said in a statement that the decision was in recognition of the individuals’ contributions to the development of the state, career and humanity.

Among the beneficiaries are former governors Lam Adesina (now late), Rashidi Ladoja, Adebayo Alao-Akala and the incumbent, Abiola Ajimobi.

Also on the list were Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji and Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewunmi, among others.

Arulogun said that the Challenge – Efunsetan road would now be known as Lam Adesina road, Elebu road now officially Alao-Akala Way, Monatan – Olodo road now Rashidi Ladoja road, while Idi-Ape – Bashorun Akobo road is now Abiola Ajimobi way.

He said that Ibadan/Oyo Express/Iseyin-Owode with spur to Akesan-Palace and Old Ibadan-Oyo road would now be known as Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi III road and Eleyele-Dugbe ANCE road is now Oba Saliu Adetunji road.

The commissioner said that Ilorin Express Junction-Ikoyi – Takie – Palace – Ogbomoso Grammar School road would now be known as Soun Oyewumi Ajagungbade road.

Arulogun listed others as Ijokodo – Apete road now Ambassador Olu Sanu road; Onireke-Agbarigo road now Onikepo Akande road and Festac road at Mokola now Adebayo Faleti road.

He said that Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora would now be known as Lam Adesina College of Agriculture and Technology, while Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa is now Adeseun Ogundoyin Polytechnic, Eruwa.

The commissioner said that Maternal & Peadiatric Centre, Olodo, Ibadan would now be known as Abiola Ajimobi Maternal & Paediaitric Centre, while the newly constructed Zonal Mediation Centre in Ogbomoso is now Justice Atilade Ojo Mediation Centre.

He said that the flyover constructed at Mokola in Ibadan by the present administration would now be known as Transformation Flyover.

Arulogun stressed that the process for the amendment of the enabling laws for the institutions would commence immediately.

He said that the governor would from Wednesday inaugurate some completed projects, among which were Oba Akinbiyi Model School and Dualization of Challenge Roundabout-Efunsetan Roundabout (Phase II).

Also on the list are Rehabilitated/Constructed 3.6km Ijokodo-Apete road with Associated Bridge Works, Zonal Mediation Centre in Ogbomoso and Abiola Ajimobi Maternal & Paediaitric Centre, Olodo, Ibadan.

Others are the Archive Management and Record Centre, Secretariat, Ibadan, Raw Materials Display Centre, Secretariat, Ibadan, Islamic Model School, Mini Water Scheme, Iganna and Ogunpa Market.

Military dissociates self from call to overthrow Buhari

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), on Tuesday, dissociated the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) from the circulation of a document, calling for the overthrow of the democratically-elected government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement by Navy Capt. Muhammed Wabi, Deputy Director of Defence Information, the DHQ accused a group, “Nigeria Continuity and Progress (NCP)’’ as being behind the document.

Wabi alleged that the document called for the setting up of an “interim government’’ in place of the elected government.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) wishes to dissociate itself from the rascality and intentions as espoused in a document being circulated by a faceless group named Nigerian Continuity and Progress (NCP) calling for support of a revolution to oust the current democratically elected government and in its place establish an illegitimate interim government.

“The AFN outrightly condemns the undemocratic and demonic actions of the author of the document.

“Accordingly, members of the public are enjoined to discountenance the content of the documents being circulated by NCP and equally condemned in totality, the call to derail our hard-earned democracy,’’ the statement said.

It said that the armed forces was “very mindful of its constitutional responsibilities’’ and would not be misled into any act that would undermine democracy as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“The AFN remains unflinchingly loyal to the Constitution, as well as President Muhammadu Buhari and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The statement said all relevant law enforcement agencies had been advised to unravel those behind the seditious document for appropriate actions.