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EFCC Recovers N57m from Fraudsters



THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibadan Zonal Office, on Thursday, October 20, said it recovered over N57m from suspected fraudsters in the South-West between February and September 2016.

Akaninyene Ezima, zonal head, EFCC, who made the disclosure said that apart from the amount, 80 suspects were arrested during the period, while six vehicles were seized. He added that eight of the suspects have been charged to courts.

He said: “During the period, we also received over 200 petitions out of which 123 are under investigations. We recovered N57, 316, 607. 15.

“For us, the recovered money indicates a steady progression in our activities and commitment to the commission’s mandate. For the record, the Ibadan zone is not limited to official corruption cases. We are at the advanced stages in the investigation of some advanced free fraud cases and other forms of infractions.”

While appealing to members of the public for cooperation, the anti-graft agency said the fight against corruption and financial crimes needed consistent information on the activities of fraudsters.

He said the zonal office of the EFCC had made great contribution to the activities of the commission, especially in the South-West.

— Oct 31, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT



Cardinal Arinze


Francis Cardinal Arinze, former president, Secretariat for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican, Rome, 84, November 1. He was educated in Nigeria and England. Arinze became cardinal in 1985, and before then, he was president, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.

—  Oct 31, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT


Ebitu Ukiwe



Ebitu Ukiwe, retired naval officer and businessman, 76, October 26. Born in Abiriba, Abia State, he was educated at Church of Scotland Mission, Abiriba, 1946-1952; Duke Town School, Calabar,1953; Enuda High School, Abiriba, 1954-1958; Adventist  High School, Ihie, 1960; Nigeria Military Training College, Kaduna, 1960-1961; Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmonth, England, 1961-1964, and US Naval War College, USA, 1980-1981. He was enlisted in the Nigerian Navy and was commissioned sub-lieutenant, 1963; promoted lieutenant, 1965; became flag officer, Western Naval Command, NN, 1984-1985, and appointed chief of general staff, 1985-1986. He retired from the Nigerian Navy, 1986. Ukiwe was a member of the National Democratic Coalition that was opposed to the regime of the late Sani Abacha, former Nigerian military head of state.

—  Oct 31, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT


Chuka Momah



Chuka Momah, sport writer, microbiologist, commentator, historian and administrator, 66, October 28. He had his primary education at Ile-Ife and Modakeke in former Western Region of Nigeria. He later attended Government College, Ibadan, and Government Secondary School, Owerri, Imo State. He graduated from University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Momah worked for various multi-national pharmaceutical conglomerates such as JL Morison and Sons and Jones Nigeria Limited, Merck Sharp and Dohme Nigeria Limited; Nigerian Hoechst Limited; before retiring into private business in 1985. He has been a regular columnist for various publications and presented sport programmes on boxing, athletics, soccer, tennis and basketball for many years on the Network Service of the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA. Momah also wrote column for Newswatch magazine. He is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Administrative Management. In 2010, he received the Confederation of African Tennis, CAT, award for his service to the game. In the same year, he also received an award from Newswatch for his contributions to the journalism profession.

— Oct 31, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT


Emily Okheren Aig-Imoukhuede



Emily Okheren Aig-Imoukhuede, historian, 75, October 27. Born in Sabongida-Ora, Owan, Edo State, she was educated at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan, 1959-1961, and University of Ibadan, 1961-1964. She was a history teacher at St. Anne’s Secondary School, Ibadan, 1966. She served as a member of the health care financial committee, Federal Ministry of Health; board member, National Universities Commission, NUC, 1986; director, Nigeria Cargo Handling Company, 1987, and president, National Council of Women’s Societies, NCWS, 1988. She is the author of The Seven Maidens and other Stories.

—  Oct 31, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT


Buhari’s Full Ambassadorial List



PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has sent the names of 46 nominees to the Senate as ambassadors.

Among the nominees are Pauline Tallen, Olorunibe Mamora and Musa Ibeto who was formerly nominated minister before his nomination was withdrawn in 2015.

Mamora, a former speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, was also a member of the Senate. He is an ally of ex-Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu.

Tallen is a former Plateau State deputy governor while Mr. Ibeto is a former Niger State deputy governor.

Here is the full list of the nominees:

1. Nurudeen Mohammed (Kwara)

2. Jamila Ahmadu-Suka (Sokoto)

3. Suleiman Hassan (Gombe)

4. Yusuf Tugar (Bauchi)

5. Usman Bugaje‎ (Katsina)

6. Uzoma Emenike (Abia)

7. Clifford Zirra (Adamawa)

8. Godwin Umo (Akwa Ibom)

9. Christopher Okeke (Anambra)

10. Baba Madugu (Bauchi)

11. Stanley Diriyai (Bayelsa)

12. Enyantu Ifenne (Benue)

13. Mohammed Hayatuddeen (Borno)

14. Etuborn Asuquo (Cross River)

15. Francis Efeduma (Delta)

16. Jonah Odo (Ebonyi)

17. Uyagwe. Igbe (Edo)

18. Ayodele Ayodeji (Ekiti)

19. Chris Eze (Enugu)

20. Muhammad Dalhatu (Jigawa)

21. Mohammad Yaro (Kaduna)

22. Deborah Iliya (Kaduna)

23. D Abdulkadir (Kano)

24. Haruna Ungogo (Kano)

25. Isa Dodo (Katsina)

26. Tijani Bande (Kebbi)

27. Y O Aliu (Kogi)

28. Mohammed Yisa (Kwara)

29. Modupe Irele (Lagos)

30. Musa Mohammad (Nasarawa)

31. Ade Asekun (Ogun)

32. Sola Iki (Ondo)

33. Adegboyega Ogunwusi (Osun).

34. Ashimiyu Olaniyi (Oyo)

35. Haruna Bawa Abdullahi (Plateau)

36. Orji Ngofa (Rivers)

37. Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor (Rivers)

38. Kabiru Umar (Sokoto)

39. Mustapha Jaji (Taraba)

40. Zanna Bura (Yobe)

41. Garba Gajam (Zamfara)

42. Abdullahi Garbasi (Zamfara)

43. Pauline Tallen (Plateau)


44. Olorunibe Mamora (Lagos)

45. Musa Ibeto (Niger)

46. George Oguntade (Lagos)

— Oct 20, 2016 @ 20:10 GMT


Prince Erediauwa Crowned 39th Oba of Benin

Prince Erediauwa Crowned 39th Oba of Benin


CROWN Prince of Benin Kingdom, Prince Eheneden Erediauwa has been crowned the 39th Oba of Benin Kingdom.

Prince Erediauwa was crowned at about 2am on Thursday by the Usama N’ Ihiron also known as the Edion led by Chief Oliha.

Other members of the Edion are Edohen, Ezomo, Ero, Eholo N’ Ire, Oloton and Edaiken.

The crowning was done at a private ceremony inside the Usama Palace, a temporary building erected for the coronation ceremony.

However, the name of the new Oba is still being kept from the public until the Oba is presented to the public at Urhokpota hall.

Sources said that after the coronation ceremony was performed in the inner chambers, the new Oba was presented to the people outside.

Unlike before when the Crown Prince move about without covering his mouth, the source said he wore the crown and used a white handkerchief to cover his mouth.

It was gathered that there was huge jubilation around the Usama palace and great fireworks.

Meanwhile, a large crowd has gathered at the Usama Palace to accompany the new Oba to Urhokpota.

Among those present is Chief Omohor of Benin Kingdom, bearer of the ancient sword carried by the Oba, the Ikpakohen group (royal drummers) from Ikpema responsible for beating the royal drum, Ekassa dance group, Isienmwenro guild amongst others.

A bridge has been constructed at the now dried up Omi River and Chief Omoruyi Isekhere is waiting to take the Oba across the bridge.

On his way to Urhokpota, the Oba will pass through Isekhere, performed some ceremony at Iwehen street under the watch of Ewaise N’ Iwehen and proceeded to cross the bridge.

  • — Culled from The Nation

— Oct 20, 2016 @ 19:50 GMT


Patience Jonathan Sues SERAP

Patience Jonathan


SOCIO-ECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has been sued over alleged “campaign of calumny against Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan using online, print and electronic media to publish to the public, unfounded and malicious allegations that she stole $15m and ought to be prosecuted.”

In a statement dated 20 October 2016 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said: “On 18th October 2016 at about 3:00pm we received court papers dated 6th October 2016 from a bailiff. The papers indicate that one Union of Niger Delta Youth Organization for Equity, Justice and Good Governance suing for themselves and on behalf of Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan filed a suit number FHC/L/CS/1349/2016 before a Federal High Court in Lagos against SERAP.”

According to Mumuni, “the court papers also indicate a prayer for an order of interim injunction restraining SERAP from taking any further steps in further vilification, condemnation and conviction of the Former First Lady Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan, in all public media and in the use of the judicial process for that purpose by the extremely publicized pursuit of any application for the coercion of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute the Plaintiff/Applicant for owning legitimate private property, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons.”

Mumuni also revealed that “the suit is seeking an order directing SERAP to stay all action and to desist forthwith from proceeding against Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan, with any process whatsoever, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons. SERAP was also served a separate application to be joined in the suit number FHC/L/CS/1318/2016 earlier filed by SERAP against the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, over allegations of $15m unexplained wealth against Mrs Jonathan.”

In reaction to the development, Mumuni said, “SERAP categorically rejects these misleading and entirely unfounded accusations against us by Mrs Patience Jonathan and her group, and we will vigorously oppose the suit in court. SERAP will never, in the discharge of its mandates, succumb to any intimidation, harassment and attacks in any way, shape or form. We are now consulting with our lawyers and will be preparing shortly our defence in court.”

According to Mumuni, “At no time did SERAP suggest or even hint that Mrs Jonathan was guilty of the allegations against her. On the contrary, what SERAP has said is that the fact that the $15m found in the four accounts belonging to Mrs Jonathan, raises serious suspicion or at the very least a prima-facie case of unexplained wealth/illicit enrichment, and imposes an obligation on Mrs Jonathan to explain and justify the source(s) of the $15m.”

Furthermore, he noted that to be sure, SERAP is not engaged in any campaign against Mrs Jonathan or any other politically exposed persons for that matter. “Our suit was filed against the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, and not Mrs Jonathan. It’s a joke to accuse SERAP of trying to coerce the Attorney General to perform his constitutional duty, as this is for the court to decide.

“SERAP consistently strives to ensure that its human rights and accountability work meet international standards and the highest standards of analytical rigor devoid of bias or assumptions as to individual’s guilt. Mrs Jonathan should end her attacks on an NGO simply working to make the government function to improve the conditions of millions of marginalised and disadvantaged Nigerians.

“Our work is driven solely by the fundamental principles of justice, impartiality, solidarity, universality of human rights, transparency and accountability in the management of Nigeria’s resources and wealth. We believe that it is through action that we have taken in this matter that the government can be motivated to live up to its commitments and to meet the expectations of Nigerians for good governance, human rights and the rule of law.”

SERAP quoted the court papers it received from Mrs Jonathan and her group as reading in part: “The campaign by SERAP is in breach of Mrs Jonathan’s right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty under Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended). The action by SERAP seeks to coerce the Attorney General of the Federation to embark on a breach of the same right when the Attorney General is in a better position than SERAP and the Court to know whether or not there is any evidence of wrongdoing by Mrs Jonathan.”

“SERAP’s action is a blatant misuse of the processes of this Court. SERAP therefore no longer deserves to continue as an incorporated entity and ought to be dissolved. It is just and equitable to dissolve SERAP in the circumstances of this case. Damages will not be adequate compensation for the irreparable damage Mrs Jonathan will suffer if the application is not granted. The Plaintiff undertakes as to damages in favour of SERAP in the event the instant application ought not to have been granted.

“There has been a running battle between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Mrs Jonathan with respect to the release of her legitimately earned funds which were deposited in accounts opened in the names of certain companies by one of her husband’s aides without her authorization.

“The funds in question were legitimate gifts from her friends and well-wishers over the last 15 years which she had been saving in order to utilize to upgrade family businesses and concerns which had been somewhat dormant by reason of the long period of her husband service as a public officer in Nigeria.

“The gifts were given in small contributions by several persons some of whom she cannot even now recall over this period of 15 years sometimes in as small a gift as N250,000 Naira. In order to preserve the value of these funds which she did not require for any purpose at the time she changed them into foreign exchange and kept them as cash for a long period in her home safe in Port Harcourt and Abuja.

“It was when the family home in Otuoke was burnt down by hoodlums under the instigation of political adversaries in 2010 that she began to think about banking these gifts which had now grown to large sums in United States Dollars. In 2010 she, therefore, summoned one of her husband’s domestic aids, Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa to assist her in opening bank accounts into which the funds could be deposited.

“Unknown to her, the said Dudafa, in a bid to be discreet about the owner of the funds decided to bank the funds in the names of companies owned by him. When she discovered this she was constrained to continue with the names of the companies when she was advised that it did not make any difference as to the ownership of the funds since the director of the company would appoint her as sole signatory to the accounts in question.”

“When in 2016 Dudafa was arrested and detained she had no fear for the funds as she realised that the funds could not be attributable to him once it was discovered that she was the sole signatory to the said accounts. It was, therefore, a rude shock to her when she discovered that a no transaction order had been placed on the accounts by the EFCC in the belief that the funds belonged to Dudafa.

“She instructed her solicitors to further write to the EFCC to inform them that the funds belong to her and that they formed a part of her legitimate earnings over the last 15 years. It was this letter that was leaked by the EFCC to the media that became sensationalised and led to the plaintiff’s vilification and attack by ignorant persons who had no information about the matter.

“SERAP is playing to the public gallery in order to gain the notoriety it has achieved over the past years. SERAP has done this mostly by intervening in high profile issues without regard to the rights of persons it claims to protect. SERAP jumped into the fray of ignorant accusations being made against Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan in the public media and has begun a campaign of calumny against her using online, print and electronic media to publish to the public unfounded and malicious allegations that she stole the funds in question and ought to be prosecuted.

“SERAP has maintained this position, notwithstanding the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever by which Mrs Jonathan could be prosecuted for obtaining the funds through unlawful means. In furtherance of this campaign, SERAP, being in breach of its own objects for which it was incorporated, has continued to proclaim the guilt of Mrs Jonathan in the media and recently was widely reported in the news media to have commenced a self-serving action to attempt to coerce the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute her.”

— Culled from The Nation newspaper

—  Oct 20, 2016 @ 19:40 GMT


Customs Sacks 29 Senior Officers

Hameed Ali, Customs Boss


TWENTY-NINE senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have been dismissed for various acts of gross misconduct, the service announced Thursday.

The dismissed officers are among 44 senior officers who were punished for actions capable of compromising national economy and security, Customs said in a statement.

Read the full statement signed by Custom’s spokesperson, Wale Adeniyi.

Twenty-nine (29) Senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have been dismissed for various acts of gross misconduct. The dismissed officers are among forty-four (44) Senior officers who were punished for actions capable of compromising national economy and security.

“Ten (10) other officers were retired from Service, while the appointment of one (1) was terminated. Four (4) officers were given written warnings to be of better conduct while another 4 officers who were investigated and tried for some offences were exonerated. Four (4) of the officers who got the hammer were of the rank of Deputy-Comptroller of Customs, while five (5) were Assistant-Comptroller. Others were seven (7) Chief Superintendents of Customs and four (4) Superintendents, among others.

“Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) had made it clear upon his assumption of duties that the Service will not compromise on Corruption and Indiscipline among the officers corps. In line with this, the structure and process for investigation of offences was strengthened to handle cases reported promptly and professionally. “We will give all officers fair hearing in line with the principle of natural justice. We will however insist that sanctions be punitive, not only to match the offence committed, but to serve as deterrent to others”, the CGC remarked at Management meeting convened to consider the report of the Disciplinary Committee that investigated the cases.

“The process leading to the actions taken on the officers was painstaking in line with the Public Service Rules (PSR). All the officers were served with Queries indicating offences committed, before they made appearances before the Special Investigation Committee. The Committee’s recommendation was discussed and approved by the Customs Management. The recommendation was thereafter referred to the Presidency for ratification, in the absence of a substantive Board for the Nigeria Customs Service. All the officers affected in the exercise have been communicated accordingly.

“The Comptroller-General warned officers that punitive sanctions will continue to be used to discipline officers who refuse to embrace change.

“Officers affected in this exercise were investigated for involvement in improper examination and release of containers without proper documentation and payment of duties, illegal release of goods in advance before the arrival of vessels, collection of bribe to release prohibited items, release of export prohibitions, fraudulent sale of seized items, use of fake certificates and bribery to secure auctioned goods.

“Last week, seventeen (17) Junior officers were similarly dismissed from service for offences like bribery, drug addiction, use of fake certificates and absence from duty.”

—  Oct 20, 2016 @ 19:30 GMT


Lingering Bodo/Bonny Road: Group Threaten’s to Sue FG for Not Acting on NLNG’s Offer

Lingering Bodo/Bonny Road: Group Threaten's to Sue FG for Not Acting on NLNG's Offer


THE Bonny Kingdom Advancement Front, BKAF, a socio-economic and cultural advocacy group in Ancient Grand Bonny Kingdom of Rivers state has said they will explore legal and civil means to ensure the Federal government accept its part on NLNG’s offer to provide 50 percent of the funding (about N60 billion) for the completion of Bodo/Bonny road.

In a press release signed by Rexlawson A Hart, secretary of the body, said: “NLNG offered FG N60 billion for Bonny-Bodo Road on February 3, 2016. NLNG called on the federal government and relevant agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to partner it in the development of Bonny-Bodo road a long-standing government project which will help improve the infrastructure in the Niger Delta.

Before the Senate Committee on Niger Delta in Abuja, NLNG restated its offer to provide 50 percent of the funding, worth N60 billion, provided the partnership was accepted and matched by the Federal Government .

According to Kudo Eresia-Eke, general manager, External Relations Division, the road will better the lives of the thousands of Nigerians, mainly from the Niger Delta living on Bonny Island, as well as other Niger Delta residents in Ogoni, Okrika, Eleme, Andoni, among others.

Prior to the 2015 election build up former President Jonathan gave assurance when he received in audience Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple XIII, King of Bonny Kingdom, ‎and his delegation at the Presidential Villa.

He explained that major lapses in the first procurement of the Bodo Bonny road, was responsible for the stalling of the project, first awarded 11 years ago under the former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, leading to its eventual cancellation under his administration.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan while responding to some of the demands put before him by his Majesty, ‎said on the Bonny Bodo road, ” I won’t want to bore you with details of the lapses in the first procurement of the Bodo Bonny road, why the contract didn’t hold was because there were major lapses. Ii is almost like the story of the East West Road that was awarded without proper design and so with time it got stuck. We just had to come back and that is what happened to the Bodo Bonny Road, we are now going back to proper procurement, proper design, proper cost and this time God willing once we start we will not stop again.

However, it is unfortunate that this project is yet to be completed after 12 years. In any project, a time frame is established by the bidders. The winning bid is obliged by the contractual laws to complete it on schedule and before you publish a bid, the project should have a final design, you do not go to the construction phase without a final design.

The completion of a project is not by luck or God’s will. It is just respecting the contractual obligations established, agreed and signed by the parties involved, which we think parties involved didn’t adhere to professionalism and world best practice. The road transverses a swampy terrain was known to the consultant who executed the design and the design work should reflect this fact. That the project is still uncompleted after 12 years goes to the Guinness book of records and is a pity and shameful, an affront disregard and abuse on the goodwill of Bonny Kingdom.

Procurement is a primary phase of any project and it is un-excusable to talk about faulted procurement after 11 years and handing over the site keys to the executing Contractor and probably after paying the Contractor about 90 percent of the project cost for works not executed, the release said.

Bonny people were expectant on the completion of the Bodo/Bonny road, while we were still hopeful, Federal government flagged off the Federal Polytechnic of oil and gas Bonny, jettisoned the ongoing construction of Bodo/Bonny road which was under construction for more than 11 years.

“As a people we took it with a smile, we celebrated and gave accolades to the federal government, for most of us we had put into consideration the consequence which the oil and gas polytechnic poses to the latter, The historical Bodo/Bonny road was at that the time 30% of its initial design and execution.

“Be that as it may, How well would a Federal Polytechnic of oil and gas flourish without a road linking it to the urban cities, with the menace of sea piracy would our federal poly see the light of day, would the campus of the fed poly flourish with students from the hinterlands or the school is expected to be for only Bonny people who are used to traveling by engines and fibre through the creeks. That was our constructive thought as it were.

“The Federal Polytechnic saw 90% completion in less than 3 years; this was because there was a political will by the President Jonathan led administration to see to its execution. The Bodo/Bonny road is essential not just for Bonny kingdom, also for the economical benefits of our national coffers.

“It is arguably true, an undeniable fact that the Bodo/Bonny road is not on a quagmire for economical reasons, but as a result of zero political will and timid political extensor of the Bonny people. As sad as it may sound, the federal government, both past and present lack the political will and sincerity to execute the bodo bonny road and as a people we lack the political gladiators/frontrunners to deep into the mucking waters of national politics to lobby and drive home our demands as we have seen in contemporary politics.

“We have not only been marginalized, we have been measured, scaled, weighed and then prioritize. We call on the federal government, President Muhammad Buhari and the minister of Transportation to look into the Bodo/Bonny road, resurrect all efforts for its completion, and muster the political will and sincerity to liberate the Bonny kingdom and the plight we have suffered for more than 15 years.

“It is quite worrisome and alarming that all capital projects that would be of great benefit to the Bonny people are either abandoned or uncompleted. Federal housing estate Bonny didn’t see the light of day, Bonny Ring road was flagged off but currently a shame, The Federal polytechnic of oil and gas which is 90% completed but currently not operational but laying to waste and the list goes on and on.

“This is really sad for a kingdom that contributes so much to our National GDP and if these issues raised are left unaddressed, we would no longer keep mute and watch. Bonny people might resort to legal, civil and democratic means to drive home our demands. We call on all agencies involved to act fast and now, Bonny kingdom refused to be prioritise,”‎ he said‎.

—  Oct 20, 2016 @ 18:45 GMT


Umahi Seeks ‎Review of Arrest Process by Police

Dave Umahi


GOVERNOR David Umahi of Ebonyi State has called on the Nigeria police to review the processes of arrests and investigations in its various chains of commands in order to gain more confidence of Nigerians.

Umahi bared his mind when he received in audience, Abubakar Marafa, assistant inspector general of Police, Zone 6, Calabar, M at the government House in Abakaliki on Wednesday.

The governor said the call became necessary to check the excesses of Nigerians who engage police operatives from the high command to investigate matters that could be handled at the divisional and state levels.

Umahi, according a statement on Thursday by Emma Anya, chief press secretary, pointed out that such practise which most times was designed to distract and settle personal scores brings about waste of the nation’s resources and security breach.

He said, “The only thing I will complain to you is the process of arrests which I mentioned to you earlier in private. We should take this beyond the state or the zone. We have the structure of the police post, the local government headquarters, zonal headquarters and the headquarters in each state and from there you now have the zonal headquarters comprising many states and the national headquarters in Abuja.

“We find it very strange a situation in which somebody will write a petition and nobody asks the petitioner to  substantiate the petition with evidences but security agents will go ahead to arrest people.

“It is very worrisome because people hide under. It has happened before where people dressed in police and army uniforms will say that they came from the headquarters to make an arrest. In many cases, people they arrest are killed on the way.  We are pleading that the organogram of the police should be followed so that before a matter goes to the zone, it must be transmitted by a commissioner of Police. From the zone it can go to the national headquarters if the petitioner or complainant is not satisfied.  I think through this way, the society will come to have more confidence in the police.”

Umahi also spoke again on Fulani herdsmen, reiterating that his ban on cattle movements remained in force.

He warned that cattle rustlers from countries like Niger Republic and Chad would not be allowed to infiltrate the real Fulanis already living in the state.

The governor restated that the state would not chase the real Fulani herdsmen away.  But he stressed that in a situation where they trespass into farmlands with their cattle, the people would not take it kindly with them.

His words, “A lot of Fulanis find  it easier to settle in Ebonyi State and our position is that for those who have settled here for about  60 years, we will not ask them to go because they are our  brothers and sisters.

“But we must stop those that come from Niger, Chad and outside our state to start moving their cattle past our land.  We don’t want that to happen.  They is nobody who will ask a Fulani man who has lived here up to 60 years to leave the state. No Eboyian has ever said that but we directed that no cattle should move from one farm land to the other.

“Wherever they (cows) are staying, the owners should be able to use woods and do a kind of fence or whatever it is called for them.  They should get grasses and water for their cattle. By doing so, the cattle will not even subjected to diseases; they will be bigger and better.

“People should understand that one of the things we have in the state is farmland and so if it is not properly managed, there will be problem especially now that we have launched one-man, one-hectre programme.

“Everybody is now trying own a farm land and so such movement of the herdsmen will be almost impossible.” ‎

Earlier, Marafa had expressed hope that with public support, the police would serve better.

He said, “Police are here to serve people but we need cooperation; synergy, assistance and information from members of the public. Without people’s assistance, we cannot arrest any criminal.”

—  Oct 20, 2016 @ 17:00 GMT


President Buhari Approves Ecological Fund Projects for 11 States



PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved a number of Ecological Fund Intervention projects for the 4th Quarter of 2016.  The approved projects which are spread across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria are located in 11 States.

The projects and their various locations are: ‎erosion and flood control project office fields in Suru, Bagudu and Shanga local government areas in Kebbi State; remediation of sludge at Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (phase II) (iii) Ogun State: Flood and Erosion Control Works in Abeokuta Township; Osun State: ‎channelisation and de-silting of Okoko and Ogbagba Rivers in Osogbo Township, and Cross River: Adiabo Okutikang beach gully erosion control ‎works, Odukpani local government area.‎ Others are Delta State: Remediation of Sludge Pit and Oil Spillage at  Warri Refinery (Phase II);‎ Adamawa State: Mubi Flood Erosion Control Works and River Yadzaram Training (Phase I); Bauchi State: Erosion and Flood Control Works in Bogoro Towa, Bogoro local government area and in Gadon, Toro/Market Road, Toro local ‎government Area; Anambra: Erosion Control Works at Nda, Nnobiand, Agbor, Idemili Local Government Area; Imo StateOwalla – Avuvu Erosion Control Works (Phase II); Benue State: Amper Flood Hazards and Erosion Control Works; Gully Erosion Control Works at Federal Government College, Itobi.

The execution of these projects will address the challenges of gully and soil erosion, incessant flooding and air pollution that has ravaged the impacted communities and caused loss of lives in certain instances.

When these projects are completed, the sufferings of the affected communities will be ameliorated.  There will be increased food production which will stimulate the economy and lead to the creation of jobs, according to a statement signed by Bolaji Adebiyi, director, Press, for the secretary to the government of the federation.

— Oct 20, 2016 @ 17:50 GMT


Central Banks of Nigeria, Ghana Speak at SWIFT Business Forum



Adelabu Adebayo, Deputy Governor, Operations at the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Millison Narh, the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, to discuss key financial and other trends from across the region at the SWIFT Business Forum West Africa

SWIFT has announced the first names in its speaker line-up of industry leaders set to participate in its first ever Business Forum West Africa on November 8. The event will bring together more than 200 high-level financial representatives from across West Africa for a day of keynote speeches and interactive panel sessions. It will feature several senior speakers and strategic thinkers from both Nigeria and Ghana.

Adelabu Adebayo, deputy governor, Operations at the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Millison Narh, the first deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana, will take part in the panel on Policy in Action: Challenges Facing West Africa, to discuss the impact of the economic downturn, increased expectations around compliance and developments in technology on policy formation in West Africa. The session will focus on FX and liquidity management, financial crime compliance and financial inclusion.

“SWIFT is a key player in the Nigerian financial community and a trusted partner,” said Adelabu Adebayo. “I am delighted that the first ever Business Forum West Africa will take place in Nigeria, one of the leading economies in Africa.”

“SWIFT plays an instrumental role in Africa’s financial markets,” said Millison Narh. “I am delighted to take part in this exclusive event, which is a great opportunity for the Ghanaian financial community to learn, share, network and find common solutions to the challenges facing the region.”

Akpan Ekpo, director general of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management will provide delegates with an economic overview of the region. Epko has published over 200 articles in respected national and international journals and is a consultant to many international organisations such as the World Bank, African Economic Research Consortium and the European Commission.

Other experts that will address the Business Forum West Africa includes: Dipo Fatokun, director of Banking and Payments Systems, Central Bank of Nigeria, Joseph Akunyumu Tetteh, director of Banking, Bank of Ghana; Abdoulaye Barry, director of Financial Integration, West African Monetary Institute, WAMI; Kyari Bukar, chief executive officer, CEO, Central Securities and Clearing Systems and  Segun Sani, CEO, Lakewood Investments and Trust.

—  Oct 20, 2016 @ 17:20 GMT


PwC Nigeria, Experts to Discuss Education Sector Crisis

PwC Nigeria, Experts to Discuss Education Sector Crisis. Uyi Akpata, Country Senior Partner, PwC Nigeria


THE global multi-disciplinary professional consulting conglomerate, PwC Nigeria (Price Waterhouse), would be facilitating a forum of over 3,000 experts on project development and finance in Calabar.

The programme which is the forum of Education Sector Investment Promotion Initiatives, EDU-INVEST, Nigeria has been scheduled for between November 1 and 3.

PwC has been operating in Nigeria since 1953 through its predecessor firms of Coopers and Lybrand and Price Waterhouse and is one of the leading professional services firms in Nigeria with offices in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, with over 1000 staff and 27 resident partners.

PwC is a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.

The Convener/Project Coordinator, EDU-INVEST, Mrs. Arete-Zoe Affiong Amana, told journalists in Abuja on Thursday that the session, PwC will be providing insights on the project development cycle and how to prepare investible projects to participants including Heads of agencies, departments, institutions, public service practitioners, school proprietors and entrepreneurs

She said, “The masterclass and knowledge sharing session is one of the learning opportunities created for participants as part of the highlights of the Forum which is organised by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and Cognitus Consulting.

The masterclass and strategy boot camps are being featured alongside the Plenary Sessions, Corporate and State Spotlight Sessions, Innovation and Creativity hub, the Exhibition, Business to Business Meetings amongst other value-laden components of the Forum.

According to her, topics such as “Initiating Public Private Partnerships and Investment Promotion Platforms for Education in States”; and “Brand Management for Educational Institutions”, would be discussed at EDU-INVEST Nigeria forum 2016

Others are Schools Excellence: Building Transgenerational Educational Institutions, Corporate Governance, Quality Management and Strategic Partnerships”, “Deploying ICT in Schools and Creating Networked Learning Communities.

The Sessions have been designed to equip participants with hands on skills for enhanced performance in their respective endeavours beyond the Daily Conference sessions which deal with Investment Promotion, Finance, Policy, Regulatory and Legislative Issues.

They are borne out of the identification of emerging needs for capacity building for public and private sector functionaries engaged at different levels of the educational services delivery spectrum.

Amana added that beyond teacher development, it has become imperative to strengthen human capital in support of the imminent professional manpower development needs given the evident professional skills gaps in the sector.

“There is an incumbent need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to support the Education For Challenge Agenda-Ministerial Sector Plan enunciated by the Federal Ministry of Education by declaring a National Emergency in the Education Sector while engaging Development Cooperation Partners, the Organised Private Sector, the  Legislature and a Multidisciplinary Technical Team to create an inclusive, integrated perspective plan as well as an Actionable Implementation Framework for accelerated educational development in Nigeria”, she stated.

—  Oct 20, 2016 @ 15:55 GMT


Oyeyemi Restates Commitment To Yearly Promotion Exercise in FRSC

Boboye Oyeyemi


THE Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi has restated his commitment to the yearly promotion of staff, saying the recent completion of Marshals’ promotion exercise and commencement of the 2015 Officers promotion exercise demonstrates his commitment to upholding the ideals of staff welfare.

According to Bisi Kazeem, head, Media Relations and Strategy, FRSC, Oyeyemi stated this while decorating some senior and junior marshals of the headquarters who were successful in the recent promotion exercise. Oyeyemi who was represented at the occasion by the special assistant to the Corps Marshal, Assistant Corps Marshal Julius Asom, congratulated the promoted marshals nationwide for their brilliant performances in the last promotion examinations, stressing that more rewards await those who are diligent in carrying out their assignments.

The Corps Marshal noted that he would continue to redeem his pledge to institutionalise yearly promotion exercise as a practical approach to addressing backlog of promotion of staff and motivating them for increased productivity. “You are aware that promotion exercise took place last year for qualified members of staff and this year’s exercise is in continuation of the exercise for those that qualified in 2015.

“Accordingly, other staff should be assured that the exercise would continue in 2016 for those that would be qualifying this year based on the new annual personnel evaluation report (aper) which is in line with the requirements of our Quality Management System Manual,” he stated.

The Corps Marshal urged staff nationwide to rededicate themselves to the ideals of hard work and diligence in carrying out whatever assignment they are given, saying no staff would be denied of his entitlements. “We would continue to demonstrate our commitment to the success of our process as a world class organisation, but all staff must reciprocate the gestures by showing greater commitment to service delivery,” he added.

The FRSC Boss enjoined staff to engage in physical fitness exercise and promote healthy living for optimal performance in their various assignments. He warned against staff engaging in acts that could undermine the positive image of the Corps and enjoined them to remain good ambassadors of the organisation by demonstrating sustained commitment and zeal in all that they do. “You must be exemplary in your conduct and prove to others that the elevation you have enjoyed today is well deserved, Oyeyemi added.

In his goodwill message, the Principal staff officer to the Corps Marshal, Corps Commander Abayomi Olukoju while congratulating the promoted staff enjoined them to sustain the hard work and commitment to duties which manifested in their performances in the promotion examinations and for which they were being rewarded through the promotion. He stressed the importance of discipline in the Corps and warned that Management will not hesitate to take full disciplinary action against any staff that violates the Corps’ disciplinary codes.

Responding on behalf of the promoted staff, Principal Marshal Inspector Peter Fardoye thanked the Management of the FRSC for the promotion given to them, assuring that all the promoted Marshals have been motivated to continue to contribute their best to the development of the Corps. He particularly expressed his appreciation to the Corps Marshal for his love for staff through promotion of various staff welfare policies including the institutionalisation of regular promotion exercise.

Among those decorated with their new ranks were Marshals working directly under the office of the Corps Marshal and various units in the National Headquarters in an occasion witnessed by some principal officers of the Headquarters and Marshals who came in solidarity with their elevated colloquies.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 19:15 GMT


FG Approves N30 billion for Mining

Kayode Fayemi


THE Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday, October 19, approved N30 billion intervention fund for mining exploration in the country.

Kayode Fayemi, minister of Mining and Steel Development, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He was accompanied by Lai Mohammed, minister of Information, and Rotimi Amaechi, minister of Transport.

Fayemi said that the fund that would come from 1.68 percent of the Federation Account will mainly focus on mining exploration.

He said: “In recognition of Mr. President’s campaigns promises to Nigerians‎ and in particular his consistent statement to diversification particularly in agriculture and mining sector, Council ratified the approval of N30 billion intervention fund for the mining sector. It will be highly focused on exploration. Exploration is the heart of mining, if you don’t search you won’t find.

“You have heard all sorts of talks about how rich Nigeria is in mineral resources but the quantity, quality, the geological prospectively has been a challenge because we have neglected the sector for such a long time.” He said

He also said that there was need for investment grade geological data if Nigeria must attract mining investment into the country.

According to him, smaller countries like Burkina Faso spend averagely $300 million a year on exploration.

Hence, he said: “This is why Council approved this for mining and this is significant because this is the accessing of natural source development fund which has been made 1.68 per cent of the federation account. It is an equivalent of the ecological fund and the Education Trust Fund.

“It is meant primarily for agriculture sector, mining sector and the water resources sector. And this will cover exploration primarily but also research and development in partnership with our universities, it will also cover security and mining in partnership with the ministries of Interior and Defence and the DSS just to tackle the menace of illegal mining across the country. It will also support small scale miners with grants,” he stated

The Council, he said, also stressed the importance of inter-ministerial coordination and for the Ministry to work with the ministries of transportation, power, works and housing, environment on safer mining practices and ministry of health ‎to help build a multi-sectoral focus on mining and also encourage private sector investment in the sector.

He said that the government is already in negotiation with sovereign investment on mining in order ‎to access private capital to mining and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The guidelines, he said, would be ready in a month’s time.

Amaechi disclosed that the Council approved advisers that would sit to negotiate with General Electric, GE, towards concessioning the railway. ‎He said: “For the Transport sector I’m sure you are aware of an attempt to concessioned the Railway to General Electric (GE), Council approved the advisers that would sit with GE as our own experts to negotiate.

“The narrow Gauge railway will to a great extent assist the agriculture, mines and steel development ministries in the transportation of the extracted minerals. We are rehabilitating at no cost to government the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, which include Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Gombe, Bauchi to Borno.

“Then Lagos to Kano will include Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, ‎Ilorin, Kano, Funtua, Zaria and to Kaura Namoda, we are rehabilitating all of them.

“It is essentially ‎to encourage freight movement, we have over 30 million worth of freight on the Lagos Kano route for which presently we are moving slightly above 100 tones. While the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri is currently moving nothing but we are anticipating 11 million tones that can be moved from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.” He said

According to him, the rehabilitation will encourage movement of cargos and passengers‎.

He said that GE would do everything required to rehabilitate and invest on other railway infrastructure.

“GE is proposing to manage for 25 years‎ to recover their investments. Nigerian government has not agreed and that is what our advisers will sit with GE to agree,” he added.

The advisers, he said, included African finance corporations.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 18:30 GMT


Abe Mourns Ken Saro-Wiwa, jnr.



GODWIN Abe, a former senator from Rivers State, has expressed shock and sadness over the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa junior, the son of the late Kenule Beeson Saro Wiwa, an environmentalist and human rights activist. Abe said he received with shock and disbelief the news of the tragic death of Saro-Wiwa junior, and for hours he could not fully comprehend the tragedy.

“This is indeed a great loss not only to the Ogoni people but to Nigeria. People have been calling me to ask why Ken junior? Why now? Why should a family and a people that have already sacrificed so much for Nigeria and the Niger Delta be required to make yet another sacrifice? I have no answers. In trying to look for answers I end up with more questions.

“The death of Ken junior like the death of the late Oronto Douglas before him is a deep and painful cut into the intellectual heart of the struggle for a better Nigeria. A nation more just to all its citizens, a country that “though tribe and tongue may differ” no one will be oppressed, and all Nigerians will truly be proud to serve as their sovereign motherland (in the words of our old national anthem),” Abe said in a statement.

He said that with the death of Saro-Wiwa junior, the struggle of Ogoni people had suffered another tragic loss. “Outside the shadow of his father, Ken junior was a nationalist and an intellectual in his own right. His deep concern for his people, the clarity of his ideas on the way forward for Nigeria, were not just inherited because he was the son of Ken Saro Wiwa, they were also products of his own experiences and understanding of his country,” he said.

The former senator recalled some conversations and arguments he had with him to join active partisan politics, which he declined. He said they both disagreed often not just about what politics should be used to achieve in Nigeria, “but even about the nature and direction of politics in Nigeria, yet even where we could not agree he was always friendly and accessible, polite and respectful and forever smiling.”

Abe said the Ogoni people would miss Saro-Wiwa junior as much as Nigeria and members of his family. “I offer my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences that God almighty will grant them grace to overcome this painful and tragic loss. Goodnight my brother. May heaven receive you as you reunite with your beloved father and brother,” Abe said.

Saro-Wiwa jnr, 47, reportedly died of stroke in London. He was a journalist.

— Oct 19, 2016 @ 18:20 GMT


South African Wins GE Energy & Infrastructure Award at CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards



JAY Caboz, a South African, has been awarded the GE Energy & Infrastructure Award, presented by Thomas Konditi, president and CEO GE Transportation Africa & GE South Africa, at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2016 Awards ceremony.

Caboz, a writer for Forbes Africa, in South Africa, won for his piece ‘40 Years of Mozambique – The Dead Port that Rose Again’ which was chosen from entries spanning 38 nations across the African continent.

The awards, which rotate location each year in tribute to their Pan-African credentials, were held at a Gala ceremony hosted by CNN and MultiChoice at the Gallagher Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The judging panel said: “This is a beautifully written story about the main port in Mozambique that had all but died – being brought back to life 40 years later. The writer weaves into the story the lines and events that took place in Mozambique over that period to bring us to where we are today, a vibrant port. It is indeed a great story straight out of Africa.”

Greg Beitchman, VP content sales and partnerships, CNN International, said: “Powerful journalism has shone through once again at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards – from uplifting storytelling to hard-hitting investigations. Congratulations to all of tonight’s finalists and winners.”

Patricia Obozuwa, director of communications & Public Affairs for GE Africa, said: “Jay Caboz’s award winning entry is a typical example of the power of journalism to redirect public focus on the topical issues. We are glad to be associated with the Energy and Infrastructure category of the CNN Awards.”

Tim Jacobs, CEO Multichoice Africa, said: “Congratulations to all the winners, your words and images reflect the reality of our world and attest to the important role the media plays in Africa’s development. As a good corporate citizen, together with our partner, CNN and other sponsors we will continue to invest in the CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards to ensure increased development and advancement of outstanding journalism across the continent.”

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of M-Net, congratulated the winners of this year’s awards: “Thank you to each of you for telling the stories of Africa and its people to the world. We’re proud to play a role in amplifying your voices and the voices of other journalists across the African continent.”

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 18:00 GMT


Niger Delta Peace Group Accuses Sylva of Relying on Supreme Court to Make Him Governor



NIGER Delta Peace and Justice Movement, a socio-cultural organisation, on Wednesday, October 19, berated Timipre Sylva, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the last election in Bayelsa State, accusing him of playing games with the judiciary.

The group said Sylva was playing politics with the judiciary, begging with the Election Petition Tribunal, Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court in his election petition.

The group in a statement by Stephen Ebibofa, its general secretary, and obtained by journalists in Abuja, claimed that Sylva was hell-bent on intimidating and blackmailing the judiciary using the presidency to delay proceedings at the apex court even when all parties have already accepted service and filed their respective papers.

He said: “Having lost the election woefully in seven out of eight local government areas in the state, followed by his humiliating defeat at the election petition tribunal and Court of Appeal where his petition was accordingly dismissed in a unanimous decision, Sylva has filed a motion to delay proceedings after both parties have already filed their papers”.

According to him, the decisions at both the Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal had vindicated the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, its candidate,  saying that “truth is sacred” and as such Sylva was only resorting to delay in order to intimidate and manipulate the judiciary.

Ebibofa said perhaps faced with a possible ban from contesting future governorship election as contained in Dickson’s cross appeal before the Supreme Court, Sylva rushed to the apex court to file a motion it regarded as an attempt to delay proceedings.

He accused Sylva and his supporters of boasting that with the appointment and resumption of a new chief justice of Nigeria, the Presidency, had been instructed to nullify the election which brought Dickson to a second term and to order a fresh election in Bayelsa using most of the newly appointed members of the Supreme Court.

A number of the newly appointed members are said to be members of the panel pencil down to preside over the case.

Ebibofa said: “Sylva is causing delay to avoid the hearing of the case, a case he first brought before the Supreme Court. It is instructive for all patriots to note that the likes of Sylva are a threat to our democracy and judiciary. Obviously, he has no respect for institutions of state, believing that any institution can be bought or rubbished as he’s bragging and boasting all over and dropping the name of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“But we are calling on the Supreme Court not to fall for his dangerous antics. Sylva believes that he can use the APC-led Federal Government to harass and intimidate the judiciary but as a group, we believe that such negative action will further drag the judiciary in the mud. And in spite of Sylva’s bragging to corrupt the judiciary, we are confident that the judiciary as a pillar of justice will once again acquit itself creditably”.

According to him, the whole world is watching to see how Sylva could ever hope to manipulate the case, when both the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and Court of Appeal had in deference to the law and facts of the case unanimously dismissed the case.

“Hence it is clear that Sylva and the APC have no case”, he stated.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 17:50 GMT


Chibok Girls to Experience Best of the World – Buhari



PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, October 19, regretted that the 21 Chibok girls who were released from the captivity of Boko Haram insurgents on Thursday October 13, had seen the worst the world had to offer. Hence, Buhari said it was now time for them to experience the best that the world could offer them.

Speaking while receiving the released girls and their parents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the president said: “These dear daughters of ours have seen the worst that the world has to offer. It is now time for them to experience the best that the world can do for them. The government and all Nigerians must encourage them to achieve their desired ambitions.”

He promised that the 21 girls would be given adequate and comprehensive medical, nutritional and psychological care and support.

According to the president, the federal government would not only rehabilitate them, but also ensure that their reintegration back to the society is done as quickly as possible. He said: “Aside from rescuing them, we are assuming the responsibility for their personal, educational and professional goals and ambitions in life. Obviously, it is not late for the girls to go back to school and continue the pursuit of their studies.

“The federal government appreciates the patience and understanding of the parents of all the abducted Chibok girls.

“We equally thank Nigerians and the international community for their support and prayers, and for never losing confidence in our ability to secure the safe release of our girls.”

Buhari described the return of the girls as a happy moment for him and all Nigerians, adding that it is a moment their parents, the nation and the international community have been eagerly waiting for since their abduction April 14, 2014.

The president expressed the hope that the remaining girls in captivity would be freed and returned to their parents without further delay.

Rebecca Malu, a representative of the released girls, had earlier in an emotion-laden tone told the president and those at the occasion that they never envisaged that they would return from captivity alive.

“We are happy to see today. We do not know that we can come back to be part of Nigeria,” Malu said.

She asked those present at the meeting to continue to pray for the safe return of the remaining girls still in captivity inside Sambisa Forest.

On his part, Ya’aga Yarakuwa, a representative of the parents and chairman of Chibok Local Government, Borno State, thanked the president for saving the community from the hands of terrorists. “There is nothing to tell you but to thank you for saving them from the hands of terrorists. Had it been you did not come on board, Chibok community would have been wiped away,” Yarakuwa said.

— Oct 19, 2016 @ 17:45 GMT


MD FAAN Elected ACI-Africa President



SALEH Dunuma, managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has been elected president of Airports Council International, ACI, Africa region.

The election of Dunoma as ACI – Africa president, took place on October 18, during the 25th ACI-Africa annual assembly/regional conference and exhibition currently taking place in Maputo, Mozambique.

Dunoma has since taken the baton of the ACI-Africa leadership from Pascal Komla of Togo as the first Nigerian to preside over the 62-member body operating 250 airports in 47 countries in Africa.

ACI World is the ‘’VOICE OF AIRPORTS.’’ It is a global body that defends the interest of airports and fosters cooperation and exchange of ideas amongst its members. Its five geographical regions include — Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America-Caribbean and North America.

The new president of the ACI-Africa, Dunoma, has a pedigree of excellence. He is a recipient of the highly coveted National Productivity Order of Merit, NPOM, award by President Muhammadu Buhari, based on the recommendation of the National Productivity Centre of Nigeria.

Dunoma has had a distinguished career in the aviation sector which spans over a period of three decades. He joined the FAAN in 1980 as a fresh graduate of Engineering and rose through the ranks to head the authority.

— Oct 19, 2016 @ 16:35 GMT


British Fashion Council CEO to Speak at the GTBank Fashion Weekend



CAROLINE Rush, British Fashion Council chief executive officer, CEO, is one of the prominent personalities to speak at the GTBank Fashion weekend.

Rush is coming to shared her remarkable experience and success in promoting the British fashion industry, particularly through organising the globally renowned London Fashion Week and the prestigious British Fashion Awards. In 2015, she was honoured with Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by the Queen of England for services to the British fashion industry.

Rush has promised to be at the GTBank Fashion Weekend to offer insights on how to successfully position a fashion brand.

— Oct 19, 2016 @ 16:15 GMT


Suit against Aregbesola on Non-appointment of Commissioners Adjourned



AN Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo has on Wednesday, October 19, adjourned the case filed against Governor Rauf Aregbesola over his non-appointment of commissioners since the inception of his second term in office.

For two years now, Aregbesola has been running his government without constituting his State Executive Council, SEC.

Kanmi Ajibola, a lawyer, filed the suit challenging Aregbesola, accusing him of unconstitutional act by ruling the state as a sole administrator without having a single commissioner since November 2014.

Ajibola, in his submission to the court, said that the defendant in the suit had been duly served with the originating processes of the case while the chamber of Wale Afolabi and Co., a former attorney-general of the state, had entered appearances for the defendant.

The lawyer has sought for seven reliefs in his originating summons, saying the governor in administering, ruling and controlling the state perpetually without appointing commissioners into the available ministries in the state “is illegal and unconstitutional”.

According to him, Aregbesola as the governor was bound by constitutional strength of the oath of his office and code of conduct to appoint state executives, while noting that failure to do such contravened the stipulated 1999 constitution of the country.

Responding, G.T. Odumu counsel representing Aregbesola, claimed that his office was not aware of the case coming up, begging the court to give them a timeframe to which the preliminary objection would be served.

Besides, in his objection to the suit, Aregbesola contended that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the said action against him, adding that the court the court also lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain same suit.

Ajibola said: “There should be immediate response to the main originating matter on time because I’m ready to serve another notice immediately, even the preliminary objection should be struck out.”

However, based on the submission Argegbesola’s counsel, Justice A.O Ayoola, presiding judge, said it was a laxity on the side of the defence counsel to have delayed the preliminary objection to the present time, and therefore, asked the counsel to immediately serve same as soon as possible.

Subsequently, Ayoola adjourned the matter until Thursday, October 27, for further hearing.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 16:00 GMT


The BRVM Becomes the First Stock Market for Islamic Finance in Africa

Khaled Al-Aboodi


THE first listing reflects the commitment of the Regional Stock Exchange, BRVM, for the development of Islamic finance in the Regional Financial Market WAEMU. It will enhance the attractiveness and liquidity of its Islamic bonds, particularly for individual holders, while ensuring the success of future issuances by WAEMU States.

Sukuks are innovative financing sources for the WAEMU economies. Besides, the states, financial institutions and the private sector are invited to issue SUKUK to finance Union economies to accelerate its growth. For Daniel Kablan Duncan, prime minister, minister of Economy, Finance and Budget of Côte d’Ivoire: “the development of Islamic finance is a major focus for the development of the Regional Financial Market to finance growth of Côte d’Ivoire and the entire WAEMU”.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the private sector, ICD, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, is the major player of the above transactions with the brokers and management companies of Mutual Funds of securitization. The ICD confirmed its commitment to support the development of Africa.  Khaled AL Aboodi, CEO of the ICD, declared: “this listing is one of the largest ever achieved worldwide and ICD is proud to be one of the actors.”

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 15:50 GMT


Ademola Hands-off Dasuki Case



JUSTICE Adeniyi Ademola of the federal high court, Abuja, and one of the embattled judges, said he would no longer preside over the criminal charge the federal government preferred against Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel and the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA.

Addressing the open court, Justice Ademola anchored his decision to hands-off the case on the recent clampdown of some judges by the DSS. He said the DSS, which investigation culminated into the criminal charge before him, specifically accused him while in custody that he collected “huge sums of money” from Dasuki. However, before he disqualified himself from the trial, Justice Ademola engaged Dasuki who listened attentively from the dock, in a question and answer session.

The Judge began: “I am sure the prosecution and defence counsel in this matter are conversant with what has been going on in the last seven days, in this country. “One of the allegations being made against me by the Department of State Security is that I received certain sums of unspecified money from the defendant. “Of course, I have responded to that allegation of receiving an unspecified sums of money from the defendant but it will be wise for him to answer some questions.”

He then looked at Dasuki and asked: “Do you know me at all or have come in contact with me? “No I don’t know you my Lord” Dasuki responded. “Did you at any time give me money in respect of the on going trial? “No, my Lord, I didn’t give you any money”, Dasuki replied “Did you send any money to me; to any member of my family; or through any counsel?”, the Judge further queried. “No, my Lord, except maybe the DSS agents who are reporting the allegation did”, Dasuki who was visible displeased answered.

Directing his gaze at the prosecution counsel, Justice Ademola said: “I am happy that the defendant has answered these questions. In the interest of fair hearing, I am minded to return the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for further action”. Neither the prosecuting counsel, Mr Dipo Okpeseyi, SAN, nor the defence lawyer, Mr. Adedayo Adedeji raised issue against the decision of the judge. The prosecution counsel Okpeseyi SAN, said: “We are guided by your Lordship’s decision, even though we had come here today for a ruling and continuation of trial”.

The defence lawyer said the judge took the right step in view of recent happenings. While refusing Okpeseyi’s request for an adjournment to enable the parties to meet with the CJ on the way forward, Justice Ademola ruled: “This court is minded to transfer this case to the Chief Judge. The defendant has vehemently denied in open court today, the allegation made by the DSS. “Therefore, this case file has been returned to the CJ in line with principle of fair hearing. This criminal matter has been adjourned to another date as may be fixed by the new judge”.

— Oct 19, 2016 @ 15:15 GMT


FG to Create Job Centres in All Local Governments

Chris Ngige, minister of Labour and Employment


THE federal government on Tuesday, October 18, announced that it would locate job centres in all local government areas across the country before the end of March next year.

The government said that the job centres, with at least one in every local government, would be used to gather data on the actual number of unemployed persons in the country, adding that it was perfecting all requisite processes needed to actualise this.

Speaking during a panel discussion on addressing Nigeria’s unemployment challenge at the 48th annual national conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria in Abuja, Paul Adalikwu, permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, said that the centres would address the lack of data for unemployed persons, adding that currently, no one seemed to know the exact number of jobless people across the country.

“For the first time in Nigeria, that process is being perfected and precisely by the first quarter of next year, we are going to have the processes put in place where unemployed graduates can register their data for proper planning and coordination across the country. So, by the first quarter of next year, we will have our job centres in all local governments in Nigeria,” Adalikwu said.

On how the centres would work, the permanent secretary said desk officers would be stationed at the outfits to encourage unemployed graduates to come and register their data in order to boost planning.

He said the government would occasionally get and collate data from all the centres and would adequately decide what to do with respect to job creation, adding that the development would help enhance computation on budgetary provisions for the creation of jobs in states.

Adalikwu also disclosed that the government had increased the number of skill acquisition centres and that this was in order to enhance the capacities of the unskilled and semi-skilled workforce in the country.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 15:00 GMT


Justice Okoro Fingers Amaechi, FG as Behind His Travails



JUSTICE John Inyang Okoro, one of the Supreme Court judges, whose home was invaded by the Department of State Services, DSS, penultimate weekend, is alleging that his travail in the hands of the operatives was in connection with alleged desire of the Presidency and All Progressives Congress, APC, to win at all cost, election appeals in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states. He also said the $24,000 and £10,000 recovered in his house by the operatives was balance of the estacode he received on foreign trips for three years.

Justice Okoro, in a letter written to Justice Mohammed Mahmoud, chief justice of Nigeria and chairman of the National Judicial Council, NJC, dated October 17, 2016, said the recovered money was exclusive of those he received from international conferences attended since he joined the Supreme Court three years ago.

The letter read: “On Friday, the 7th day of October, 2016, at about 9 pm, I received a phone call from an unfamiliar caller. He introduced himself as an official from the Presidency. He told me he had a letter for me from Mr. President. “I immediately left my study room and went to open the door. Upon the door being opened, I saw so many heavily armed men with an inscription “DSS” on their uniform. One of them, who was in mufti, told me they were to search my house. I requested that I be allowed to inform the Chief Justice of Nigeria but they rebuffed, rather, they seized my phone from me. “My Lord, the operatives of the Department of State Security searched all the rooms in the house meticulously. They also searched the boy’s quarters and my official vehicles parked outside. “At the end of the search, which lasted till about 1.30 am of 8th October, 20126, they took away the following items: One IPad; three phones (only one active); USD 38,800; N3.5m and cheque books (four in number). “The above items were documented on the back page of the search warrant they produced and we signed.

“Also, the DSS operatives informed me that their Director General wanted to see me that night. I requested to visit their office upon the break of the day but they refused. “In view of the presence of the heavily armed men, who accompanied them and who were pointing their guns at me from all angles, I had no choice than to follow them to their office that night. “I was detained by them in their office till Sunday, 9th October, 2016 and upon your Lordship’s intervention that Sunday, they released me in the evening of that Sunday. “My Lord, I notice that they also brought other judicial officers (serving and retired) to their office. So, before releasing us, they asked me to make a statement concerning the money found in my house. “I told them that having received the sum of USD24,000 and 10,000 Pounds a year for the past three years of my sojourn in this court as annual medical/vacation allowances, and having not spent more than 5,000 Pounds on each of three trips I have so far made abroad, I was entitled to have more than the amount recovered from me. Put differently, My Lord, the money was the balance of my estacode received from this court for the past three years. “This is quite outside the estacodes I have received for the International Conferences I have so far attended since joining the bench of this court. “My Lord, as at the time of writing this report, the DSS has not confronted me with any petition or complaint from any quarters whatsoever. Rather, they have grilled me, asking questions on some none-existing properties around the country. “They have also doubted the age of my children, alleging that they are toddlers. This is sad and unbelievable.

Reason for the raid, “My Lord, I strongly believe that this my travail is not unconnected with the verbal report I made to you on 1st February, 2016 about the visit to my official residence by His Excellency, Rotimi Amaechi, former Governor of Rivers State and now Minister of Transportation. “In that report, I told you My Lord, that Mr. Amaechi said that the President of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress mandated him to inform me that they must win their election Appeals in respect of Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State and Abia State at all costs. “For Akwa Ibom State, he alleged that he sponsored Mr. Umana Umana, candidate of All Progressives Congress for that election and that if he lost Akwa Ibom appeal, he would have lost a fortune. Mr. Amaechi also said that he had already visited you and that you had agreed to make me a member of the panel that would hear the appeals. “He further told me that Mr. Umana would be paying me millions of Naira monthly if I co-operated with them. My response, as I told you on that date, was that it does not lie within my power to grant his request and that I would do all within my power not to be in the panel for Akwa Ibom State. My Lord graciously left me out of the panel for Akwa Ibom State. “That notwithstanding, the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State, which lost the appeal at the Supreme Court, believe that my presence in the Supreme Couirt made them to lose the appeal. Could I have resigned from the Supreme Court simply because people of Akwa Ibom State had a matter before it? “My Lord will recall that I also reported that Mr. Umana Umana visited my residence before Amaechi’s visit. He also made the same request of assistance to win his appeal at the Supreme Court. “Mr. Umana talked about “seeing” the Justices who would hear the appeal. Pastor (Dr) Ebebe Ukpong, who led Mr. Umana Umana to my house, intercepted and said that the issue of “seeing” the Justices was not part of their visit and that as a pastor, he would not be part of such a discussion. Mr. Umana apologised. I advised them to go and pray about the matter and get a good lawyer.

That was how they left my house. “My Lord, up till now, I do not know what I have done. Over the years, from the Magistracy till date, I have done my best to eschew all forms of corrupt practices. I have not received any bribe from anybody. “My Lord is quite aware of my position as regards those who take bribe in the judiciary. I detest it and have no room for any adjustment. That is the truth. “I urge my Lord and the National Judicial Council to disregard all the lies and media campaign orchestrated by those who felt I purposely refused to help them win their election appeals in the Supreme Court. “I am confident that God will vindicate me at the end of this ordeal. I take it as a temporary set-back. I remain loyal to my oath of office and the need to be just and fair in handling matters before me.” Amaechi reacts Reacting to the allegation, last night, Transport Minister, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, in a statement, described it as a figment of Justice Okoro’s imagination. The statement read: “This accusation from Justice Okoro against Amaechi is a figment of his imagination, concocted to obfuscate and politicize the real issues for his arrest and DSS investigation of allegations of corruption against him. “The claims by Justice Okoro against Amaechi are blatant lies, bereft of any iota of truth or even logic. Amaechi did not, and has never approached Justice Okoro in respect of the cases Okoro mentioned or any other case. “This is a cheap attempt, albeit, political move to drag the name of Amaechi into something he knows nothing about. Justice Okoro should face his issues and leave Amaechi out of it. He will be hearing from our lawyers.”

In its apparent reaction to Okoro’s allegations, the Presidency said on Tuesday, October 18, that it would never victimise anyone. It, however, stated that the law must run its full course on anyone who breaks it, stressing that the current administration would never be cowed from its anti-corruption war.

— Oct 19, 2016 @ 14:15 GMT


I Gave Fayose N2.3bn for Ekiti Poll – Obanikoro



MUSILIU Obanikoro, former minister of state for Defence, has revealed that he gave the sum of N2.3bn to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, in the run-up to the state’s governorship election in 2014. Obanikor accompanied by James Onoja, SAN, his counsel, to the EFCC office in Abuja said according to sources “the sum of N2.2billion was transferred to Sylva Mcnamara for onward transfer to Mr. Ayodele Fayose on the instruction of the NSA. The sum of N1.3billion cash was brought in a bullion van by Diamond Bank on the instruction of the NSA. “In addition, the sum of N60million was converted to dollars at the rate of N168 per dollar and altogether the sum of $5,377,000 was handed over in cash by me to Mr. Fayose while the N1.3billion was received by Mr. Fayose’s associate, Mr. Abiodun Agbele in the presence of my Aide-de-Camp (ADC), Lt. Adewale who also accompanied them to the bank along with the bank officials.”

On how the cash was transferred to Fayose, Obanikoro said that “two flights were used to convey the money from Lagos. The ex-Minister said he “took off with the first flight with part of the money while the second flight brought the remaining funds to Akure local airport and I directed that it should be handed over to the same person.” The source said Obanikoro, however, maintained that part of the cash was used to ward off Boko Haram aggression in Lagos and in the South-West in general. The source added: “He told us that he is not the owner of the company in question but introduced the owner, Mr. Kareem Taiwo to the NSA, Mr. Sambo Dasuki when the threat of Boko Haram became more visible in Lagos. He said the government wanted to “incorporate local input into the intelligence gathering and prevention of terrorist attack on Lagos and the South-West in general.”

Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, a company allegedly owned by Obanikoro and his sons, was used to launder the N4.745billion. The company, which was incorporated in November 2011 had the following as its directors: a close aide of the ex-Minister, Ikenna Ezekwe(700,000 shares) of 51 Simpson Street, Ebute-Metta; Idowu Oshodi(299,000 shares) of 8, Prince Tayo Adesanya Street, Park View Estate, Ikoyi; and Elizabeth Adebiyi(1,000 shares) of 3, Adedoyin Street, Ijeshatedo, Surulere. But Ikenna Ezekwe has had his accounts de-frozen by the EFCC since the slush funds were not traced to him. A document said: “To set the stage for the use of the company for money laundering, the board of directors on May 7, 2012 passed a resolution that the company should open an account and appointed Mr. Gbolahan Obanikoro, Ikenna Ezekwe, Ms. Theresa Matuluko (Secretary) and Mr. Babajide Obanikoro as the signatories to the account. “The board added that the signing combination be that any of the signatories can sign alone.” According to EFCC, when it was time to illegally draw the N4.745billion from ONSA as war chest for Ekiti Governorship poll, ex-Minister Obanikoro made the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited available and coordinated the disbursement. The breakdown of the disbursement was as follows: N N759, 384, 300 changed into dollars through Bureau De Change firms; N160million used to purchase cars through Balmoral International Limited; N1, 219, 490,000 ferried by Obanikoro in two flights to a branch of Zenith Bank at Plot 13, Alagbaka Estate, Akure to evacuate the cash and received by Fayose’s associate, Abiodun; balance of about N2billion withdrawn by Obanikoro and his two children in cash. Some of the bureau de change involved in the transactions and the amounts credited to them include:

A.A.G.B.S Oil and Gas N168,000,000.00
Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd N167,500,000.00
Northline Ltd N835,000.00
Northline Ltd N83,750,000.00
Five Star Ltd N37,600,000.00
A.B.A Trading Ent N268,301,500.00
Villagolf Bureau De Change N1,425,000.00
Ahmad & Omar N350,000.000
Northline Ltd N1,680,000.00
Northline Limited A N2,325,300
Rehoboth Homes 20,000,0000
Northline Ltd N5,932,500.00
Northline Ltd N842,500.00.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 14:35 GMT


Plastic Bottles Cause Cancer, Diabetics



SCIENTISTS and researchers have identified plastic bottles to be dangerous to health because they contain hormone-disrupting chemicals that can cause cancer, diabetes, ADHD and autism. They said endocrine-disrupting chemicals, EDCs, interfere with the body’s hormonal system, affecting development and leaving the body open to a staggering range of diseases. They are found in thousands of everyday products, ranging from plastic and metal food containers, to detergents, flame retardants, toys and cosmetics.

According to Daily Mail Online, the chemicals are responsible for scores of illnesses – costing the US an eye-watering $340 billion in health-related costs each year, the bombshell report by NYU Langone revealed. (Read more at Daily Mail)

The most common EDC-related illness is neurological – including attention-ADHD, autism and loss of IQ. The invisible but dangerous chemicals also boosted obesity, diabetes, some cancers, male infertility and a painful condition known as endometriosis, the abnormal growth of tissue outside the uterus. In a country where plastic is rife, these illnesses are not as rare as we may think. The landmark new study by NYU Langone reveals the economic impact of the chemicals leaves a huge, two per cent dent in the US’ gross domestic product, GDP, each year. ‘Our research adds to the growing evidence on the tremendous economic as well as human health costs of endocrine-disrupting chemicals,’ Leonardo Trasande, a lead investigator and an associate professor at the NYU Langone in New York City, said. ‘This has the potential to develop into a much larger health and economic issue if no policy action is taken,’ he told AFP. Some of the chemicals highlighted in the report, including phthalates used in bottles, are banned in the European Union – and would, therefore, not be on sale in Britain.

MailOnline is attempting to find out whether some of the toxins may still be in the UK plastic products. But a similar study last year estimated that the chemicals cost the EU health systems $271 billion. The chemical affect the body’s endocrine tissues, which produce essential hormones that help regulate energy levels, reproduction, growth, development, as well as our response to stress and injury. Mimicking naturally occurring hormones such as estrogen and androgen, EDCs lock on to receptors within a human cell and block the body’s own hormones from binding with it. Recent research has raised red flags showing that ‘environmental contaminants can disrupt the endocrine system leading to adverse-health consequences,’ according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

In the US, the biggest chemical culprit by far among the thousands of manmade molecules suspected of interfering with human hormones are so-called PBDEs, found in flame retardants. Bisphenol A, used to line tin food cans, along with phthalates in plastic food containers and many cosmetics, were also held to be responsible for upward of $50 billion worth of health damages. A similar study concluded last year that health-related costs of EDCs in the European Union were some $271 billion, about 1.28 percent of GPD. Crucially, the main drivers of disease and disability were different on either side of the Atlantic, Trasande said. ‘US costs are higher mainly because of the widespread use in furniture of brominated flame retardants,’ which were banned in the EU in 2008, he explained. The blood level of these chemicals in the average American would be in the top five percent of Europeans today. By contrast, the health costs associated with pesticides in food were 10 times higher in the EU than in the United States, where more stringent regulations were put in place to protect pregnant women and children To put a figure on the impact of EDCs, the researchers reviewed blood and urine samples from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which has gathered data since 2009 on major disease risk factors from 5,000 volunteers. Computer models were then used to project how much each of 15 diseases or conditions was attributable to chemical exposure, and the estimated health costs for each one. The study was published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, a medical journal. Flame retardants and pesticides in particular are known to affect the developing brain and can lead to loss of IQ. ‘Each IQ point lost corresponds to approximately two per cent in lost productivity,’ Trasande explained. The costs and benefits of regulation should be openly debated, the authors argued, citing the decision in the 1970s to ban lead in paint, and then 20 years later in gasoline. Commenting in the same journal, Michele La Merrill, an expert in environmental toxicology at the University of California in Davis, said the new findings ‘provide a lesson on the lasting economic effects of harmful chemicals.’ They should ‘inspire a policy shift to end the cat-and-mouse game currently employed the US government and industry.’ The EU set broad criteria in June for identifying potentially harmful EDCs, but consumer and environmental groups said they fell far short of what is needed.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 14:10 GMT


Amaechi Denies Justice Okoro’s Allegations



ROTIMI Amaechi, minister of Transportation, has denied the allegations of corruption Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court. Okoro was quoted as saying that Amaechi tried to bribe him to influence the court decision in the election tribunal of Rivers State, Abia State and Akwa-Ibom State.

But Amaechi in a press statement issued on Wednesday, October 19, said that the accusations were a figment of the judge’s imagination. The statement said in part: “This accusation from Justice Okoro against Amaechi is a figment of his imagination, concocted to obfuscate and politicize the real issues for his arrest and DSS investigation of allegations of corruption against him.

“The claims by Justice Okoro against Amaechi are blatant lies, bereft of any iota of truth or even logic. Amaechi did not, and has never approached Justice Okoro in respect of the cases Okoro mentioned or any other case. This is a cheap attempt, albeit, political move to drag the name of Amaechi into something he knows nothing about. Justice Okoro should face his issues and leave Amaechi out of it. He will be hearing from our lawyers.”

The minister further pledged to take the issue to court. During the past administration, Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers State was popularly known as the most controversial governor in Nigeria. And now in the incumbent government he is one of the most controversial Buhari’s ministers. The group petitioned the Senate asking that Amaechi should not be confirmed as a minister, accusing him of enriching himself with the state’s money while he was governor. However, the ex-governor denied all accusations.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 13:58 GMT


More Than 100 Chibok Girls Want to Stay With Boko Haram



MORE than 100 of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls are not willing to leave their abductors. Pogu Bitrus, chairman of the Chibok Development Association, was reported to have disclosed. According to Daily Mail, a British tabloid newspaper, Bitrus said some of the 21 Chibok girls who were recently released were embarrassed to return home because they were forced to marry extremists and have their babies. Bitrus, who was involved in the negotiations for the release of the girls said they were comfortable with their current location.

According to Bitrus, the abducted girls told their parents that they were separated into two groups when they were kidnapped and were forced into embracing Islam, or becoming their slaves. They were reported to have been used as domestic workers and porters but were not sexually abused. That group contain the 21 who were released last week and the 83 who the government are negotiating over.

However, the chairman suggested that the 21 girls who were released last week may have to study outside the country because of the stigma the abduction might have caused in their lives. Bitrus who said according to the girls, six girls died during their 30-month captivity added that even girls who escaped two years ago were being educated in the United States. “We would prefer they are taken away from the community and this country because the stigmatisation is going to affect them for the rest of their lives. “Even someone believed to have been abused by Boko Haram would be seen in a bad light,” he said.

However, Amina Ali Nkeki, a Chibok girl, who escaped in May this year has been reunited with the 21 freed girls, who were still being treated by doctors, psychologists and trauma counsellors at a hospital in Abuja.

More than 200 girls were kidnapped from a school in Chibok by Boko Haram insurgents on April 14, 2014 and have been held since then. In the process, some girls have escaped from their captors while some are still being held by the insurgents. In the early hours of Thursday, October 13, 21 girls were released to the federal government.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 13:43 GMT


Fayose to Buhari: Face Governance and Stop Witch-Hunting



GOVERNOR Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has asked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to leave him alone and pay attention to the suffering of the people. He said the project ‘Fayose must be implicated at all cost’ would not reduce the hunger and suffering ravaging Nigeria.

In a statement signed by Lere Olayinka, his special assistant on public communications and new media, Fayose said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and its collaborators could keep running from pillar to post while he continued delivering good governance to the people of Ekiti. Fayose said: “We have gone pass this stage of media trial, the EFCC should rather keep its gun powder dry, when we get to the bridge, we will cross it. They said more than this in the 2006 poultry scam blackmail, despite that, I am the governor today.” The governor dismissed the reported claim that Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of state for Defence, confessed to the EFCC that he funded his election.

Obanikoro who surrendered himself to the anti-graft agency on Monday, October 17, implicated Fayose in the N4.745billion wired to a company linked to him by the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA. He said N2.23billion out of the N4.745billion was transferred to Fayose. The governor said those who arranged Obanikoro’s return to Nigeria, obviously did so in continuation of their project ‘Fayose must be implicated at all cost’. According to him, he is not bothered because his election was legitimately funded. “However, if this is why they are intimidating judges and the judiciary, it won’t work as far as my own matter is concerned as no one can play God. As far as I am concerned, I am busy here in Ekiti attending to the welfare and well-being of my people. I won’t be distracted,” he said. The governor challenged the commission to beam its searchlights on the funding of the All Progressives Congress, APC elections.

Many know Fayose as one of the most controversial governors who never stops attacking President Buhari and the APC. He forced Access Bank Nigerian Limited in the state to shut down its operation after bank officials detained the wife and eight-month-old son of Femi Fani-Kayode on Monday, October 17. Precious, Fani-Kayode’s wife, was said to have been detained on the order of the EFCC. However, Fayose stormed the bank with some of his men and secured her release.

— Oct 19, 2016 @ 13:40 GMT


EFCC Wants Share of Recovered Loots



THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, wants a review of Nigerian laws to enable it and other anti-graft agencies in the country to retain a percentage of the loot recovered to fund their operations.

Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC, made the recommendation at the national anti-corruption conference organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, PACAC, and the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday, October 18.

At the two-day conference which would end on Wednesday, October 19, Magu said the review would be in line with international best practices.

“In some jurisdictions like the UK, proceeds of crime are further used to strengthen the agency. In the EFCC, we have been struggling for years to build our headquarters and when I think of the billions of naira we recover, I can see what would have happened if we are allowed to apply a percentage of this recovery into our operations.

“There is the need for the Act to make a provision for an application of the proceeds of crime into recapitalising the anti graft agencies,” he said.

Besides, Magu would also want an amendment of the Nigeria’s anti-graft laws to place the burden of proof on the accused in corruption cases.

“One of the issues that concerns us in the EFCC is that of non-conviction based recovery.

“It is of great concern to us that the burden is on us to prove in court that this is a proceed of crime. But in other climes the accused has to prove that the property he has, actually represents the fruit of his labour.

Magu was represented at the event by David Tukura, the Deputy Director of Planning, Policy and Statistics of the commission.

Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, who opened the conference, called for more support from Nigerians for the Buhari administration’s efforts at recovering stolen funds from looters of the nation’s treasury.

Osinbajo lamented the state of corruption in Nigeria.

He said the country stands the risk of remaining underdeveloped if nothing is done to stem the tide of corruption.

Bukola Saraki, president of Senate, said the anti-corruption war being waged by the government should not be a tool for political witch-hunt. “In order to succeed this time, we cannot afford to make the fight against corruption a simple matter. We cannot afford to make it a chase in the dark. It must be rooted in effective strategy and demonstrative plan.”

Saraki said the need for the anti-corruption campaign to be a collective responsibility of Nigerians to rid the country of impunity and hardship.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 13:20 GMT


Tomori Elected International Member of the US National Academy of Medicine



OYEWALE Tomori, a professor of virology and president of the Nigeria Academy of Science, has been elected an international member of the US National Academy of Medicine, effective October 1 2016.

In electing Tomori, the NAM members noted his leadership role in establishing the Africa Regional Polio Laboratory Network, developing laboratory capacity for polio diagnosis and providing a framework for the setup of additional laboratory networks for yellow fever, measles, and other viral hemorrhagic fevers. The Academy observed that his broad expertise in disease control and commitment to strengthening health systems have led to his serving in numerous advisory and leadership roles for the World Health Organisation, governments and agencies. NAM members took cognizance of his elucidation of the properties of a virus — the Orungo virus — which he registered with the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, ICTV. It was further noted that he played a key role in the development of young African scientists through his leadership as founding vice chancellor of the Redeemer’s University in Nigeria.

Tomori, a 1971 veterinary graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, earned a PhD degree in Virology from University of Ibadan in 1976. He was recognised in Nigeria with the National Order of Merit, NNOM, the highest award for academic and intellectual attainment. Graduating as a veterinarian, he employed his training to achieve a level of recognition in the health sciences that serves as a model for the broad contribution of veterinarians to global health and the essence of the concept of “One Health” in dealing with current situation and picture of emerging and re-emerging diseases.

The US National Academy of Medicine, NAM, was established in 1970 as part of the US congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences. The NAM provides unbiased, evidence-based, authoritative information and advice relating to biomedical science, medicine, and health, and science policy to governments, policy-makers, professionals, leaders in every sector of society, and the public at large. The NAM works across disciplines sparking innovative solutions to advance knowledge and accelerate progress in science medicine policy and health equity.

With his appointment, Tomori joins a group of distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to global science, medicine and health, including Professor Adetokunbo Lucas, the only other Nigerian, who was elected in 1988, as an international member of the US Institute of Medicine, IOM, as the US National Academy of Medicine was then known.

— Oct 19, 2016 @ 13:00 GMT


FG Appoints Two New Directors for FAAN



THE Federal Government has appointed two new directors for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.

The newly appointed directors are Nike Aboderin, who is now director of Finance & Accounts, DFA, and Sadiku Abdulkadir Rafindadi, appointed as director of Commercial & Business Development, DCBD.

According to a statement issued by Henrietta Yakubu, acting general manager, corporate affairs of the FAAN, Aboderin, is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, FCIB. She holds an M.Sc degree in Banking and Finance of the University of Lagos.

Her more than 23years experience in the financial services industry, has exposed her to both public and private exploits at different institutions including multinationals.

Aboderin, an Advanced Management Programme, AMP graduate of Lagos Business School, also holds a post graduate certificate in Global Strategic Management, GSM, of the Harvard Business School, Boston, United States.

She is married and blessed with children.

Sadiku Abdulkadir Rafindadi, DCBD
Sadiku Abdulkadir Rafindadi, DCBD

Rafindadi, the new DCBD is a 1985 graduate of Economics of the University of Pittsburgh. He also holds an MBA in Finance of Clark Atlanta University, US. He attended Kaduna Polytechnic, where he obtained Certificates in Management Studies.

According to Yakubu, Rafindadi is a seasoned amiable manager who started his career as a young officer and rose to the pinnacle through diligence and commitment.

Until his new appointment, Rafindadi, had worked in several management capacities in different institutions, including, Phoenix Investment Services and British Petroleum.

At the early stage of his career, he had a stint at the Ministry of Finance, Kaduna State. He is married and blessed with children.

—  Oct 19, 2016 @ 12:50 GMT


Marriott International to Debut Eco-Conscious Element Brand in Egypt



MARRIOTT International today announced plans to debut Element Hotels the stylish eco-incubator brand in Egypt in early 2019. Located in Cairo’s upscale Heliopolis district and slated to be the largest Element Hotel in the Middle East and Africa, Element Cairo is being developed by Abraj Misr Urban Development and is owned by Middle East Real Estate for Development, MERED, an Egyptian limited liability company. Element Cairo will be part of The Gate Project, the new iconic ecofriendly development, featuring the largest housing, administrative, commercial facility in Egypt and the Middle East. The hotel will feature 344 light-filled rooms and an atmosphere designed to fuel a life in balance and on the move.

“Egypt is one of our key markets and we are excited to introduce a new brand to the capital’s city center,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Element Cairo will be a highly-anticipated addition to our rapidly growing portfolio presenting travelers an appealing, new option for short and long stays in this market. We believe travelers deserve more than a place to stay so we don’t compromise on comfort or quality for guests.”

Ali Rabie, chairman of the board of directors of Abraj Misr Company, the pioneering real estate developer in the field of building via green architectural technology said “It is with great pride that we announce the inking of an agreement to bring Element Hotels to Egypt as part of one of the foremost real estate projects by our company. Our collaboration is a continuation of the company’s strategy of working with reputed international brands to redefine the lifestyle landscape. We are confident that this project with its modern and outstanding architectural design will be the first choice for those seeking uniqueness of experience and tranquility.”

Located within easy access from the airport, downtown Cairo as well as New Cairo, Element Cairo will be part of a landmark mixed-use project with a high-end retail mall housing Egypt’s largest indoor theme park and unbranded residences.

Spacious studios and one, two and three-bedroom suites at Element Cairo will offer a fluid design of modular furniture, fully equipped kitchens, the signature Heavenly® Bed and spa-inspired bathrooms. Hotel amenities will include fast and free WiFi, complimentary bikes to borrow, a state-of-the-art 24-hour fitness center, 668 square meters of flexible meeting space and a fully equipped business center and an all-day dining cafe. Guests can fuel their day with the healthy Rise breakfast and wind down with the Relax evening wine reception – both complimentary.

A recognized industry leader in the eco-space, Element offers travelers a fresh interpretation of the traditional hotel experience with natural light, modern design, healthy options and eco-minded sensibilities. This reimagined extended-stay experience is perfect for the traveler who is visiting for a few days or a few weeks.

Element continues to grow at a phenomenal pace with hotels slated to open in numerous markets by the end of 2017, including Austin, Dallas, and Katy, Texas (USA); Gainesville, Florida (USA); Moline, Illinois (USA); Des Moines, Iowa (USA); Chandlers, Arizona (USA), Redmond, Washington (USA); Huntsville, Alabama (USA); Palmdale, California (USA); Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta (Canada); Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;  Bali Ubud, Indonesia; Hebei and Foshan, China; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

—  Oct 18, 2016 @ 19:35 GMT


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