Sahara Reporters

Syndicate content
Updated: 50 min 49 sec ago

Investigation: Presence Of Birds On Runway Caused Sao Tome Plane Crash

Fri, 2018-12-07 20:35


The Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has disclosed in its accident report of the July 29, 2017 aircraft crash at the Sao Tome International Airport that the presence of birds on the runway was the causal factor of the crash.

The bureau also identified failure of the crew to deploy interceptors (speed brakes/spoilers), inadequate flight crew training on details of rejected take-off procedure scenarios, omission of the take-off briefing in CAVOK’s Normal Operations checklist and poor Crew Resource Management (CRM), especially in a multi-crew flight operation as some of the contributory factors to the accident.

A statement by Olayinka Olakangudu, AIB Public Affairs Officer, noted that the aircraft, an Antonov Model AN-74 TK-100, registered UR-CKC, owned by SWIFT SOLUTION FZC, operated by CAVOK Airlines LLC had overrun runway 29 during a rejected take-off at the airport.

The report stated that the captain, the first officer, the flight engineer and two maintenance engineers on board were rescued unhurt except the flight navigator who sustained an injury to his left foot and some minor bruises.

The report explained that the intended non-scheduled return flight to Accra was initiated in accordance with appropriate regulations, adding that visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed by the pilot before the crash.

The report read: “Due to the presence of birds on the runway, the take-off was rejected at a speed above decision speed V1, which was inconsistent with CAVOK’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).”

AIB also made safety recommendations to the Instituto Nacional de Aviacao Civil (National Civil Aviation Authority of STP), calling on it to improve the habitat management programme, including reduction or elimination of trees, shrubs and other plants which provide food, shelter or roosting sites for birds.

The body was also advised to enhance its aerodrome grass management appropriate to the prevalent species and the degree of risk that they pose, adding that it should also liaise with local inhabitants to limit the attraction of birds to fields in the vicinity of the airport.

AIB also said the authorities “should install specialized ground-based radar equipment used for tactical detection of large flocking birds. Should adopt and extend Runway End Safety Area to conform to ICAO standards. Should include the information about the ravine at the end of RWY 29 into the AIP and Send it as Notice To Airmen (NOTAM).”

To the Ukraine Civil Aviation Authority, AIB recommended that it should enhance its oversight functions by reviewing all safety related items pertinent to operators’ checklists and manuals, while CAVOK Airlines was recommended to review its Rejected Take Off (RTO) training syllabus to incorporate robust RTO training plan for both initial and recurrent aircraft type simulator training and assessment to include unexpected scenarios and stop-and-go decision making.

The Ukrainian body was also advised to review its Normal Operations (NO) checklist in order to include take-off briefing as an item for each flight.

It is the first time AIB would be would be invited by other country to investigate accident in its domain.

The Commissioner, AIB, Engineer Akin Olateru, said the investigation was able to be carried out as a result of effective collaboration and corporation the bureau had garnered in the last 24 months with aviation stakeholders.

The Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA) had invited AIB Nigeria to conduct an investigation into the crash, which by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 was the responsibility of the state of occurrence.

News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

Seun Kuti Gets Grammy Nomination For Best World Music Album

Fri, 2018-12-07 20:18


Seun Kuti, son of late Afrobeats Maestro, Fela Kuti, has been nominated for a Grammy Award.

The list was published on Friday on the Grammy Awards' website.

Seun Kuti was nominated for his album, 'Black Times', which was released on March 2, 2018. 

According to the Grammy Awards website, the nomination for 'Best World Music Album' recognises "albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental World Music recordings".

Seun Kuti was nominated alongside Bombino (Deran), Fatoumata Diawara (Fenfo), Soweto Gospel Choir (Freedom) and Yiddish Glory (The Lost Songs of World War II) for Best World Music Album.

Entertainment News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

Call EFCC To Order, Zamfara Group Tells Buhari

Fri, 2018-12-07 20:04


The Zamfara Unity Forum has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to order.

They accused EFCC of "arresting and detaining Mallam Daudu Lawal, the consensus governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State for more than one week", without reason.

A statement by Comrade Usman Bungudu, Convener of the Zamfara Unity Forum on Friday, noted that EFCC "is being used by influential politicians to influence the outcome of the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara State".

The statement read:"The incumbent Governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, has allegedly been unable to get his Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Mukhtar Idris, to be the party’s candidate.

“It is unfortunate that the EFCC will allow itself to be used to influence the outcome of the Zamfara governorship election with the arrest of Mallam Lawal for reasons nobody has been told up till now. His friends and associates have reported that all efforts to reach him have proved abortive, meaning he is being kept incommunicado. How can EFCC keep someone for a week without giving information to his family?

“Information reaching us now suggests that the EFCC is planning to resurrect charges that had been dispensed with years ago, just in time to pressurise him to drop out of the governorship race in favour of the anointed candidate or somebody else. This is definitely a threat to this democracy. Institutions of state, such as EFCC, should never allow themselves to be used to further the political interests of certain sections."

The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to "call the EFCC to order so that the credibility of the 2019 general election is not called to question," noting that “today former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, is being respected both locally and internationally because he is believed to have allowed credible elections to hold in 2015. If President Buhari does not call EFCC to order, as we are seeing in Zamfara State, then his legacy will be questioned and this will haunt him".

Corruption Elections Politics News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

NNPC Tanker Develops Brake Failure, Crushes 'Newly Married' Motorcyclist In Ondo

Fri, 2018-12-07 19:48


Tragedy struck on Friday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, as a tanker fully loaded with petrol crushed a commercial motorcyclist to death.

SaharaReporters gathered that the fully-loaded petrol tanker belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) developed brake failure and rammed into Kayode Esan, who died on the spot.

The incident happened at the popular Iye-Oma Plaza Junction at the Alagbaka axis of Akure and caused traffic gridlock for several hours.

It was learnt that Esan, who hailed from Iju/Ita Ogbolu in Akure North Local Government of the state, got married recently.

Several eyewitnesses who spoke to our correspondent said the distressed tanker driver had noticed the mechanical fault and tried to alert road users.

"The incident occurred around 9am today when there was traffic on the road. The petrol tanker driver had noticed the mechanic fault and having seen the traffic, he started shouting about his brake failure. However, the traffic warden did not immediately see the tanker driver who was on high speed, and he passed others on the other side of the road.

"The 'okada' man was so unlucky as he got trapped in the middle of the road. He was crushed and died instantly."

After the death of the motorcyclist, other commercial motocylists attempted to set the petrol tanker on fire and lynch the driver. It took the timely intervention of security agencies, mostly officers of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in the Ondo State Sector Command, to prevent the angry road users from taking laws into their hands.

Still dissatisfied, the motorcyclists embarked on a protest within the state capital, causing traffic jam and assaulting traffic wardens stationed at Alagbaka and en route the Ilesha park axis. They blamed the traffic warden for the accident and untimely death of their colleague.

Speaking on the incident, Olusegun Ogungbemide, Deputy Corps Commander and Head of Operations of the FRSC in Ondo State, blamed the petrol tanker driver for the accident. He also noted that the corps was able to swing into action after receiving a distress call from members of the public.

"The incident was very sad, but our men were able to rush down to the scene after the motorcylists threatened to take laws into their hands. We have moved the corpse to the morgue of the Specialist Hospital in Akure, Ondo State and the Police have taken over the case," he said.

News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

'Let Me Be On The Right Side Of The People' — Sylva's Ex-Commissioner Dumps APC

Fri, 2018-12-07 18:58


Silva Opuala-Charles, former Commissioner for Finance and Budget under the administration of Timipre Sylva, former Governor of Bayelsa State, has dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and joined the Accord Party.

Opuala-Charles, a popular APC aspirant for the Bayelsa East Senatorial seat for the National Assembly election was reported to have lost out during the hamonised primary election of the party in Bayelsa East Senatorial district, which saw Bishop Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo emerge as the party's candidate.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, he premised his decision on the need to fulfil his aspiration to represent his people in the 2019 general election.

The statement read: "Some people will wonder why this eleventh hour decision after the earlier announcement of maintaining the status quo. This new stance is borne out of a further review of the contextual and conceptual flaws in the decision that was taken and the pressure from constituents and beyond till this moment.

"Moreover, we must respect the rights of the electorate to decide who should represent them and not the privileged class. This is the crux of our mindless underdevelopment and the despondency. Hence,I have to make this people-oriented choice for the good of our people. As Hilary Rodham Clinton puts it, 'along the way, I have tried not to make the same mistakes twice, to learn, to adapt and to pray for the wisdom to make better choices in the future'.

"It will be most unfortunate for me to be found on the wrong side of history by ignoring the stringent calls of the people and, thereby, inadvertently contributing to the further degeneration of our senatorial district. All sensible mortals must endeavour to leave society better than the way they met it and not for any reason reverse the gains already made and those in sight. Let me be on the right side of the people to deepen democracy no matter what it takes and that is my resolve.

"To my colleagues, friends and members of the All Progressive Congress, Bayelsa State, as I leave you to pursue this dream, I call for understanding on the part of those who may feel offended by my decision as it does not take away our brotherhood and friendship. It is a decision borne out of an unquenchable vision for the good of society and to deepen our democracy.

"As you know very well as politicians, there are neither permanent enemies nor friends in politics but permanent interests. Therefore, I look forward to alignments where possible for us to give the best to our people and change the narrative in one ACCORD!!!"

Elections Politics News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

He Owns A University But Doesn't Understand Satire, Seun Kuti Taunts Oyedepo

Fri, 2018-12-07 18:32


Nigerian singer, Seun Kuti has taken a swipe at Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, over his comment on the possibility of an impostor taking the place of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a video that went viral on social media earlier this week, Oyedepo had commented on an article written by Dare Olatunji in The Nation Newspaper, where the writer ridiculed the notion of a body double for Buhari.

Olatunji wrote: "I can report authoritatively that representatives of the Jubril family, having discovered the gigantic swindle, suddenly showed up in Abuja the other day and demanded to be compensated with a power-sharing arrangement at the federal level in perpetuity, plus 50 per cent of Nigeria’s oil revenues for ten years in the first instance. Failing this, they warned, they would tell their story to the whole world.

"I can also reveal that the Nigerian authorities have entered into frantic negotiations with Jubril’s family to head off what is sure to earn a double entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s Dirtiest and Worst-kept Secret. The UK authorities are mediating.

"Meanwhile, dependable sources tell me that Abuja is close to unraveling the true identity of the fake Jew parading himself on faked foreign soil as Nnamdi Kanu."

However, Oyedepo appeared to have misjudged the writer's intentions, as he quoted parts of the article, stating that "So far, to my knowledge, no official statement has refuted this claim, which simply implies that Nigeria may truly be up for sale".

Commenting on Oyedepo's sermon on Friday, Seun Kuti, son of the late Afrobeats Maestro, Fela Kuti slammed the bishop for his inability to “understand satire”.

Alongside a picture that read: "Oyedepo owns a university but doesn't understand satire!! Ifa take the wheel, please!!" he wrote “ You can be 'dangerously rich' doesn’t mean you can buy enough knowledge to understand satire. Someone that doesn’t pay tax is dangerously rich and Lagos State is chasing me up and down.”

Education Politics News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

Many Feared Dead As Boko Haram Attacks Rann

Fri, 2018-12-07 18:07





An unconfirmed number of persons have been killed, after an attack by Boko Haram terrorists in Rann, Borno State.

The insurgents attacked Rann in Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno State on Thursday night, shooting indiscriminately and torching buildings, including a UNICEF clinic.

         

The attack occurred at about 8:15pm on Thursday.

According to a source, many people lost their lives, but the casualty figure hadn't been confirmed at the time of filing this report.

The source said the insurgents were, however, repelled by officers of the Nigerian Army stationed in Rann.

UNICEF is also said to have started evacuating their staff as result of the security situation.

Boko Haram Insurgency News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

FAAN Threatens To Withdraw Services To Bi-Courtney Over N1.9bn Debt

Fri, 2018-12-07 17:31


The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has again accused Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos, of owing N1,943,516.50 since it commenced operations on September 8, 2007.

The alleged sum is, however, different from the over N2bilion FAAN accused the company of owing it as at June 2017.

In October 2017, FAAN through the industry unions, claimed the management of the terminal operators owed it about N2billion, arising from the non-payment of electricity, rent and conference and hotel. The sum is apart from the five per cent revenue generation expected to be remitted to FAAN.

This time around, in a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BASL, dated November 3, 2018, signed by its Managing Director, Engineer Saleh Dunoma and exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters from the Ministry of Transport, FAAN claimed that since the organisation commenced operations in 2007, it was yet to remit any money to its coffers as contained in the contractual agreement.

The breakdown of the latest sum indicated that BASL as at July 31, 2018 owed FAAN N1,444,044,893.83 for provision of Aviation Security (AVSEC), another N143,466,896.96 for Fire/Safety Cost.

Others were for marshalling, N2,168,058.21 and management cost, which it put at N1,943,323,516.50.

FAAN also threatened to withdraw the services of its personnel from the terminal with effect from December 3, 2018 if the debts were not remitted, but at the time of filing this report, the services were yet to be withdrawn even though a source in FAAN confided in our correspondent that BASL hadn’t replied the letter.

The letter with the title: ‘Outstanding Personnel Cost for FAAN Staff Deployed to the Bi-Courtney Terminal – Final Demand and Notice of Intention to Implement Sanctions,’ noted that FAAN, in line with its statutory responsibilities to provide security and safety services at all airports and aerodromes in Nigeria, has continued to fulfill its obligations and wondered why BASL reneged on its own.

FAAN insisted that non-payment for the services of these personnel, leading to shrinking financial resources, had started to impact negatively on its ability to continue to effectively and efficiently deliver on its services.

The letter added: “We are therefore using the opportunity of this final demand notices to inform you that the Honourable Minister of State for Aviation has directed the grace of period of one month to be given to you to settle the outstanding debt of N1,943,323,516.50, failure which appropriate sanctions as stipulated in the authority’s Credit Policy Manual will be applied to extract payment.

“Meaning that in this case, the services of our aviation security, fire and rescue personnel will no longer be available for the operations of your terminal with effect from Monday 3rd, 2018 in compliance with the directive of the Honourable Minister; and more so as we no longer posses the financial muscle to keep these personnel in your terminal working without payment.”

Attempts to get BASL to comment on the issue proved abortive as the phone number of the media manager of the terminal operator was switched off, while a text message sent to his mobile line did not receive any response.

LABOR/WORKERS' RIGHTS News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

Nigerians Unveil Oyi-1, Smartphone For Low Income Earners

Fri, 2018-12-07 17:11


Oyi-1, a smartphone running on Android operating system, has been unveiled.

The smartphone, which targets low income earners, is the brainchild of Beeptool Communications and Integrated Services Ltd.

Speaking on the inspiration for the mobile device, John Enoh, Chief Executive Officer of Beeptool Communications and Integrated Services Ltd, said himself alongside two others — Michael Ige, the Chief Operations Officer and Mayowa Ihinmikaiye, in charge of the company's Financial Technology, came up with the idea of Beeptool Communications and Integrated Services Ltd to support efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa., using digital technology.

According to the Enoh, the smartphone is aimed as making digital services such as financial inclusion, telehealthcare, smart farming and communications affordable and accessible to  the lower class.

The phone was unveiled in Abuja on November 30, 2018.

Explaining the peciliarities of the phone, Enoh said: "The phone is actually for the end user who is qualified or eligible for the affordable smartphone which is actually Africa’s first. It is a crowd-funded smartphone and pre-financed by donor agencies, organisations and individuals who want to really help to alleviate poverty. The cost of the phone is really high if we decide to go by the market price, but somebody somewhere crashed the price using our technology.

"So, for the end user who is qualified — and these end users are people who must not earn more than N15,000 per month. We are looking at people who are not able to afford $2 per day. If you earn more than N15,000 per month, then you’re not qualified to get the phone at N1,000. However, people who earn more than N15,000 can get the phone at the normal market price which is N25,000. Our target for this is not the people who can afford smartphones. This is really for those who cannot afford smartphones; those who are in rural areas. In Nigeria for instance, we have about 40 million Nigerians in that range."

Highlighting the benefits of Oyi-1, he said: "The Oyi-1 smartphone is an affordable smartphone and it is a smartphone as a service not a smartphone as a device. It’s as a service to the end user and we provided applications such as financial applications so that they’ll be able to have a small daily contribution platform and they’ll be able to request micro loans from the Ministry of Agriculture; they’ll be able to pay little money and still be connected to the financial economy."

There are also applications for health challenges as well as farmers.

He continued: "Apart from that, we also have the M-health application. This is basically for people in the rural areas that are not able to go to hospital, so that they’ll be able to reach a group of doctors, call them up and access medical care remotely.

"Apart from that, for farmers, we have an app called M-farm. M-farm is an application that connects rural farmers to the city where they can check up the prizes of agricultural produce like yams for instance in Benue State and the cost of the same yams in a city like Lagos. It maps the producer of the yam and the buyer in the city. Those are the things we’ve built into it to keep these people were targeting busy, to create prosperity for them. Not only giving them money, but a tool in their hands that they can use to make money.

"So it’s not just a smartphone for making calls. You can make calls with it quite alright, you can do any other thing like you do with any normal smartphone, but that’s not the target. There are smartphones everywhere but Oyi-1 is a smartphone as a service, one of its kind in Africa and in the world in general.

"What makes our phone very unique is that it comes with a dual SIM capacity and it uses dual connectivity; dual connectivity in the sense that it uses the traditional GSM service providers, but above that we have connected our device and applications to a nano satellite, which is the world’s first nano satellite that will also bring connectivity to those rural areas to enable them use our phones, not by using codes like USSD or sending SMS, but just pressing a button to carry out transactions."

Technology News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

BREAKING: Petrol Station In Lagos Airport On Fire

Fri, 2018-12-07 16:58


Forte Oil petrol station located inside the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos is currently on fire.

At the time of filing this report, the cause of the fire had not been ascertained, as firefighters are currently on ground trying to put out the flames.

Staff of the airport told our correspondent that there would have been more damage but for the swift response of Fire Service of the Federal Airports Authority of NIgeria (FAAN).

"Officials of the FAAN Fire Service were the first respondents about eight minutes into the incident. The fire was curtailed from spreading to more buildings around it," a staff member told SaharaReporters.

Travel Breaking News News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

BREAKING: Again, Buhari 'Rejects' Electoral Bill

Fri, 2018-12-07 16:18


President Muhammadu Buhari has again declined assent to the amended Electoral Bill by the National Assembly.

Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Senate) on National Assembly Matters, disclosed this to state house reporters on Friday.

According to Enang, the president has communicated his decision to the National Assembly.

He, however, said the president has assented to the amendment made to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Act.

With the assent, NOUN can now operate like other conventional universities in the country.

Elections Politics Breaking News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

NMEC: About 70 Million Nigerians Cannot Read Or Write

Fri, 2018-12-07 16:07


Professor Abba Haladu, the Executive Secretary for the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) has said about 70 million Nigerians cannot read or write.

He stated this in an interview with NAN in Kano on Friday.

According to Haladu, the commission is focusing on strategies to increase literacy level, as more than 38 per cent of Nigerians are illiterate.

His words: “The available statistics with us shows that 62 per cent of Nigerians are literate and 38 per cent are non-literate. The out-of-school children are 11 million, while the non-literate Nigerians, that is the youth and adults are about 60 million, so put together.

“We have about 70 million citizens of Nigeria who cannot read and write or who lack basic skills for modern living. That is a big challenge for any nation, and that is why we are trying to sensitise and mobilise all stakeholders, including government at all levels, federal, state and local, Non-Government Organisations and international development partners, so that together we should do the needful to ensure literacy is provided to this large number of Nigerian citizens, so we can have even development and ensure our people are well-equipped and empowered to face the challenge of becoming the third most populous country in the world in the next 32 years.’’

Highlighting the resources needed to provide literacy in the country, he continued: “This requires a lot of things in terms of planning, budgeting — that is, allocating the necessary resources, in terms of mobilisation and implementation of tangible programmes, that will lead to educating the people or making them literate and also ensuring they acquire the necessary skills.

“The programmes include for instance, basic literacy, where people learn to read and write equivalent to primary three, then post literacy were people continue and learn to the level equivalent to primary education and there after continue in education programmes for completion of post literacy.

"There are various programmes targeting youth, adults and out-of-school children, which are being implemented by state agencies for mass education, National Commission For Mass Literacy, National Commission For Nomadic Education and indeed other partners.

“What we are saying is that there is need for the resources to continue to implement these programmes, so that the reach out will be wide enough to cover everybody."

Education News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

Reekado Banks Parts Ways With Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records

Fri, 2018-12-07 14:59


Nigerian singer, Ayoleyi Solomon, popularly known as Reekedo Banks has parted ways with Mavin Record, a music company owned by Don Jazzy.

Announcing his departure from Mavins Records on Instagram, the singer who celebrated his 25th birthday on Thursday, thanked Don Jazzy for the opportunity he gave him when he signed with the record label in 2013.

The post read: “Today I write in tears, not from a place of pain, but of joy and gratitude. A place of bliss and satisfaction because I am more than contented with how far this opportunity has brought me. The last five years have been the most blissful years of my career. The journey has been extremely wonderful and filled with the best experiences.

“I’ve learnt that family is not just about blood ties but about the love, sacrifices and friendship that exist amongst its members. The relationships I have fostered has proved to me that love is thicker than blood. Joining the @mavinrecords family was the best thing to have happened to me in the last decade. @donjazzy took me in and treated me like his own son. I'll be eternally grateful to him for sacrifices he made towards the growth of my career.

“His selflessness and efforts towards me and the entire Mavin crew is one that is admirable and worthy of emulation. A true KING with a large heart, full of kindness and ready to accommodate even more people. And to the rest of the crew, Our family is a clear example of the saying, 'We rise by lifting others'. Thank you all for all the times you've lifted me at my lowest moments, for the support, the amazing hits and most especially, the LOVE. Taking this bold step and moving on from Mavin Records onto bigger opportunities is something that, though not easy, is absolutely necessary because of my growth. I am very ecstatic about what the future holds and I cannot wait to share with everyone what new opportunities have come. Long Live Mavin Records.”

Entertainment News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

APC Won’t Shield Corrupt Members From Facing Trial – Keyamo

Fri, 2018-12-07 13:07


Spokesman of the President Muhammadu Buhari Reelection Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, has declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not shield its members who are accused of corruption from facing trial. 

Keyamo made the declaration while speaking in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, during a one-day anti-corruption symposium, organised by Rivers Unity House (RUH), an advocacy group within the APC. 

He said: “Unlike during the previous administration when there were calls from the presidency to EFCC chairmen to hands off investigation of party loyalists, President does not do that. Once you have a case of corruption, no matter how close you are to the President, he never interferes.” 

The APC Campaign spokesman stated that the federal government has recovered the sum of N7.8billion, $32million and €280million through the whistleblowing policy of the federal government. 

He said that a total of N780billion had been abandoned in several bank accounts while about 407 mansions and 290 automobiles have been seized from their owners by the EFCC through the policy. 

The legal practitioner disclosed that the abandoned monies were lodged in accounts that were opened with fake names and without bank verification numbers (BVN) using passport photographs of deceased persons, pointing out that such accounts are always opened in connivance with bank officials. 

He said: “The monies were abandoned in bank accounts that were opened with fake names and without BVN. Some were opened using passport photographs of dead people. People who opened these accounts work together with officials of banks.” 

In his paper presentation, a senior lecturer of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Eme Ekekwe, said the war against corruption in the country should be a collective fight and not just for President Muhammadu Buhari alone. 

Ekekwe said: “Nigerian state was built on corruption and on corruption we strive. First election conducted by the British (colonial master) in Nigeria was rigged, the first census in Nigeria was also manipulated.” 

He maintained that the problem of the country is leadership and lack of well to fight corruption, saying: “Political leaders will not fight corruption because they protect themselves against us.” 

On his part, another senior lecturer of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Steve Okodudu said: “Corruption from day one have always been the problem of Nigeria, the Kaduna Nzeogwu to Abacha coup, all gave massive corruption as the reason for the coup.” 

Earlier in his welcome remarks, convener of Rivers Unity House, Kingsley Wenenda Wali, said there is no challenge in Nigeria that does not have its roots on corruption.

News AddThis :  Original Author :  Leadership Newspaper Disable advertisements : 

Ebonyi Varsity Sacks 63 Lecturers, Staff For Forgery, Sexual Harassment

Fri, 2018-12-07 13:03


About 63 lecturers and other staff of Ebonyi State University (EBSU) have been relieved of their duties for alleged certificate forgeries, sexual harassment and extortion. Also sacked were adjunct lecturers of the school who have over-stayed in the university. Most of the staff sacked were said to have obtained their West African School Certificate Examination (WAEC) before their First School Leaving Certificate.

They were also said to have falsified their age, certificates and other relevant credentials. Their sack followed audit report submitted by a committee set up to verify credentials of workers of the institution. There were reports that over 300 persons were affected by the sack, but the management of the institution stated that only 63 were dismissed.

Some of the lecturers sacked for alleged sexual harassment are – Chinedu Ogah of the Department of History and International Relations and Dr. Egbo of Faculty of Education. Some other lecturers are being tried for same offences. Public Relations Officer of the university, Patrick Itumo, confirmed the sack of the lecturers and other staff to our correspondent He said: “That is the reason for the action we are talking about; the disengagement. They are not over 300 as being speculated. As I speak to you, they are 63 in number that have been disengaged.

“There is this audit report that was brought out from where these people were disengaged, 63 of them. Some of them have age discrepancies in their records. Some people obtained doubtful First School Leaving Certificates; some obtained their WAEC before their First School Leaving Certificates. “There are people who should have retired at the age of 65 or 70 years and they are still in service and also some adjunct professors who come from various places whose contracts have been reviewed up to five times.

As of now, nobody among these people has been reinstated. “Students are encouraged to come up with report of sexual harassment so that the school will look into it. They should talk to the authorities and they will be protected if they are afraid to make an open report on it.

They should send message to the VC’s phone, to me or their course adviser; they will be protected. “Recently, Chinedu Ogah of the Department of History and International Relations was dismissed for sexual harassment and extortion. Also Dr. Egbo of Education Faculty was also dismissed for sexual harassment. Other cases are still ongoing and as soon as they are determined, they will be published.”

New Telegraph Newspaper AddThis :  Original Author :  New Telegraph Newspaper Disable advertisements : 

BREAKING: Buhari Chairs Special FEC Meeting

Fri, 2018-12-07 13:03


Sahara Reporters Media

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently chairing a special session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The meeting is taking place in Abuja.

According to the presidency, the FEC meeting is a special session to discuss the 2019 budget.

More to follow...

Economy Breaking News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 

Iya Kabiru And Other Stories By Reuben Abati

Fri, 2018-12-07 13:01


“Iya Kabiru must be the luckiest woman in Nigeria today”

“Who is that? I don’t know anybody so-called”

“You don’t know Iya Kabiru? But you know Baba Kabiru?” 

“Do they know me?”  

“This is the problem with you. You only think about you, you, you. I am sure when I tell you now who Baba Kabiru is, you will jump up and say you know him” 

“Look, just say what you want to say. I have too many things to worry about other than this your D.O. Fagunwa story about Iya Kabiru. Today is a busy day for me not a day for idle talk”

“Hey, don’t get worked up, chill, my friend. Iya Kabiru is the wife of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the comrade Governor of Osun State who is leaving office today after eight years in office. Kabiru is their first son. He got married last year. Many people who know the Governor call him Baba Kabiru.”  

“So, what has that got to do with all the serious issues of survival that Nigerians are worried about. You know you should be more responsible. You can’t go about gossiping about other people’s lives.” 

“I don’t gossip. I am trying to say something very serious. By the time I am done, even you will learn one or two things. Essentially, I am trying to review the eight years of Aregbesola as Governor in Osun State.” 

“I tried to follow his stories. The man says he did not collect salary as Governor, even though he ate government food, used government cars…Good for him. But as for me.. I don’t like the role he played in the last Gubernatorial elections in Osun State. He practically imposed his own successor on the people of Osun State. We can’t have outgoing Governors behaving like dictators and insisting that they will hold the future of the state in their palms. And to think he is a Comrade like Adams Oshiomhole.” 

“That is not what I am talking about. Osun state people are not protesting. I can’t come and be weeping more than the bereaved.”

“I know. But I thought you wanted an assessment of Baba Kabiru’s eight years in office. So, let us do it, since today is effectively his last day in office”

“Yes.”

“For example, he says he has no bank accounts anywhere. He has no money and he has only the house that he built before he became Governor. He is happy that he was able to transform the lives of the people of Osun State.” 

“With Opon Imo. The tablet of knowledge. Ogbeni Till Daybreak. Let me help you. He also says he is leaving a state behind that has the lowest poverty incidence rate and the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria.”

“He built roads and schools.” 

“I know. I know. But what are the people of Osun themselves saying? What is the impression of the civil servants who were denied salaries for months? I will prefer to hear from the average man on the streets of Osun. But that is not what I want to talk about.” 

“You want to talk about Iya Kabiru”

“Yes. I want to congratulate her. And I say, Iya Kabiru, e ku oriire o.”

“What of the Governor himself? You don’t want to congratulate him on his successful completion of two terms in office?”

“I will leave that to people like you. My big take-away from the exit of the Comrade Governor is the statement he made about his wife, Iya Kabiru. He told the people of Osun State that he has been an absentee husband for eight years. He was so busy as Governor, he had no time for his wife. He wants to go back to Iya Kabiru and “enjoy each other”. He doesn’t want to go to the Senate like others in his shoes, he just wants to go home and spend time with Iya Kabiru.” 

“And how does that affect you?” 

“You don’t get the point? This is the era of women empowerment. Our Governors should not get to office and become absentee husbands. That is an abuse of human rights and a violation of the integrity of the other room! If I had my way, I will recommend immunity for wives from the absenteeism of husbands. If there was more time, I would recommend that Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of the President, should lead a movement to defend the right of women who are married to politically exposed men in office, not to lose their rights of access and enjoyment with their husbands. Public service should not interfere with the rights of wives!” 

“You always like to trivialize things.”

“No. When Comrade Aregbesola was asked what his regrets could possibly be, and I consider that an important question, his memorable response was that his being Governor did not allow him to enjoy his wife for eight years. He now wants to go and enjoy his wife. For me that was the most profound thing he said.” 

“How profound! I thought you would raise serious questions. Will his successor become his stooge? Will Aregbesola continue to rule over the state of Osun and treat Gboyega Oyetola as his proxy? Is Aregbesola now a Godfather pulling the strings from the corner? Will the new Governor Oyetola be his own man? Is Osun going to revert to its constitutional name, that is Osun State, or will it still bear the strange name: The State of Osun?” 

“Why should those things bother me? The one that I want to reflect upon is the absenteeism of Aregbesola as husband for eight years! And I identify with Iya Kabiru on this special occasion, marking the return of her beloved husband to full-time husband duties.”

“It is not your duty to intrude into other people’s privacy. What are you driving at? What the man says about his wife is not our business. He probably was talking more about truancy rather than absenteeism.”

“Na you sabi. I am saying congratulations to Iya Kabiru, all the same. As an advocate for women empowerment, I congratulate her on the many good things ahead: this special honeymoon that awaits her, in the loving hands of Baba Kabiru. And I say Iya Kabiru, e ku amojuba. E ku oriire, lopo lopo. In nine months, please invite us for a rice-and-soup-very-plenty-naming-ceremony. Triplets by the Grace of God!”

“You are very ridiculous. You are off limits”

“My friend, don’t be hypocritical.  If our father, the Iku Baba Yeye himself, the Alaafin of Oyo, at 80 plus  is still celebrating the arrival of babies, not just babies, multiple twins, Baba Kabiru must show proof of his own statement in nine months as a true son of Osun.” 

“You are absolutely incorrigible. Who told you the only way a man can show affection to his wife is to put her in the family way. Is that what you call empowerment” 

“I am just very happy for Iya Kabiru. I am overjoyed. Politics turned her husband into an absentee husband. Now, out of office, her husband says she will now be her project. Alihamdulilali!”

“I don’t see how Aregbesola can leave politics. Politics in Lagos and Osun. He will still be busy.” 

“But with Iya Kabiru fully attended to. And by the way, Aregbesola should leave Lagos politics alone. He should stay in his own state of Osun.”

“You are crazy. Did you drink anything this morning? Can we change this subject?” 

“On one condition”

“What condition?”

“You will congratulate Iya Kabiru”

“Okay, congratulations Ma. Thank you for standing by Governor Aregbesola through thick and thin. One yeye man in Lagos says you are the one we should congratulate”.

“Say it in Yoruba”

“Iya Kabiru e ku oriire o. E ku ti ipadabo Baba Kabiru o.”

“Only God knows how many women out there who have to deal with the challenge of having absentee husbands because their husbands are involved in the public arena. Such women are the true heroes of Nigerian democracy.”   

 “You know when you say that, what comes to my mind really, is the plight of the wives of the many soldiers who were killed recently by Boko Haram terrorists in Matele, Borno State. It is one thing to have a husband go to the battle-field, if he is absent, you at least know where he is and that he is busy, but to have him die on the battle-field, never to return, that is tragic. I feel for the widows of the fallen soldiers of Matele..”

“I am not satisfied with the way the Nigerian government has handled the matter. Obviously, Boko Haram has not been technically defeated. Has Alhaji Lai come up with anything yet?” 

“Alhaji Lai? No, please. I watched a video of the attack that was in circulation over the weekend. I was horrified. The Boko Haram terrorists caught the Nigerian soldiers off-guard. They ambushed them and mowed them down. Sad. Very sad. I later saw a social media tweet by someone who said he saw his father in the video and the family has not yet heard from the Nigerian military. I also saw a post by a woman who cried out over the loss of her husband. Each time a soldier dies at the battle-front, many lives are affected.” 

“118 of them. Just like that.” 

“The government is obviously overwhelmed.” 

“What really can government do? Terrorism is the new tragic reality of the age. It is the worst form of inhumanity known to man. It leaves governments in a bind; it drives society to the edge. It disrupts the order of values. 

“There is a lot that the Nigerian government can do.” 

“Please, this is not about politics. Don’t bring politics into this.” 

“Who is talking about politics? I am saying our soldiers need to be better equipped and better protected. When a man signs up to be a soldier, he knows that he has signed up to die for his country if need be, but that does not mean he must be served up like barbecue to the enemy. Why are our military bases so porous, so poorly defended? Why is it so easy for anyone to get a military uniform? When our soldiers fall at the battlefront, what are the protocols for informing their families and managing the communication process? We need to professionalize the Nigerian military. If we must rely on technical assistance from other countries, let us do so. When our soldiers die, there must be special grants for their widows and survivors, to be paid for life if possible.”

“I will add another point. Any service chief that is not ready to focus on the job should be changed. Nigeria’s security chiefs should stop attending political rallies and meetings. We want soldiers in uniform, whoever wants to do politics should remove his uniform and wear agbada.”  

“Anyway, the President has said that the loopholes that led to the fatalities will be blocked once and for all. I take that to heart.”

“Yeah, he spoke a whole week after the incident. I am surprised nobody is making an issue out of that.” 

“You never know. May be the President was busy at the time. And a President doesn’t just talk. He has to consult and be briefed.” 

“What is that? Busy doing what? Donald Trump talks every day. He is on twitter every morning, commenting on anything that catches his attention. He is involved.”   

“This is Nigeria. This is not the United States. We have our own way of doing things here, from the Presidency to the man on the street. The President could have been busy for example, preparing for the 2019 Presidential debate.”

“Which debate? You think he will agree to participate in a debate?” 

“Why not? I will like to see him in the debating hall, taking on issues with the likes of Omoyele Sowore, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu, Tope Fasua, Donald Duke, Obadaiah Mailafia and of course Waziri Atiku Abubakar. Let him defend the “Next level” and let Ezekwesili and Sowore take him on.”

“I see you are not a nice man at all.”   

“How? There are things the President can and should talk about. You have been lamenting over the killing of soldiers, for example, but look at what the Federal Government has just done for policemen.” 

“And what is that?”

“Yesterday, the President approved more pay for Nigerian policemen. He approved the Rank Salary Structure Adjustment for policemen”  

“No wonder”

“No wonder what?”

“There is this policeman that I know. I saw him and his wife yesterday evening. The two of them were laughing like jackass. I have never seen them look so happy. I thought something was wrong. So, it is the salary increase?” 

“Let’s just say policemen deserve to be happy too. But it is not enough to increase their pay. Nigeria is heavily under-policed. We need more policemen. Like the military, the police should also be better equipped. They need better training. Clean uniforms. Decent barracks.  An average policeman should be a university graduate, not a primary school drop-out.”

“Why are you saying policemen should be graduates, when most of your politicians don’t even have secondary school certificates? Sometimes, I don’t get you.” 

“I know what I am saying. Every policeman should be a college graduate. You don’t understand.  It is a next level thing.   Nigeria can only move to the next level if we all begin to think out of the box.”

“Like your thoughts on Iya Kabiru eh”. 

“Ha. Iya Kabiru! A hero. Someday, she should tell her story: the story of the big sacrifice her husband made as Osun State Governor!” 

Column Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Reuben Abati Disable advertisements : 

2019 Will Reflect The Will Of Nigerians – PMB​

Fri, 2018-12-07 12:59


Ahead of the 2019 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari has again given assurance that his government will do all that is necessary to ensure that the outcome of the vote reflects the will of the Nigerian people.

He made the statement yesterday when he welcomed the Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Dr Jyrki Juhani Pulkkinen, who had come to present his Letter of Credence to Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.

This is even as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said Nigerians would not be deceived again in the 2019 general elections as was the case in 2015 when they voted for the change mantra of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a statement made available to journalists by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said he understands the yearnings of Nigerians and strongly believes in the collective dream for a greater country.

He assured the people that all will be done to ensure that the results of the 2019 elections reflect the will of the electorate.

President Buhari said it was the right of Nigerians to elect leaders at various levels in 2019, and all efforts will be made to safeguard the integrity of the process.

“I respect the people’s feelings. I assure all that we will have free and fair elections next year”, he stated.

The president further congratulated Finland on its 101st independence anniversary, which was yesterday (December 6, 2018) and commended the growing relations with Nigeria, especially in areas of Information Communication Technology (ICT), trade and education.

In his remarks, the ambassador of Finland said the areas of mutual benefit in relations with Nigeria can be extended to electricity, smart technology and crises management initiatives, pointing out that he would work hard to improve the trade figures and other exchanges between the two countries.

“We will like to contribute to Africa rising, and we know that Nigeria is the biggest country on the continent, so we are very interested in the growth of Nigeria,’’ he said.

At the level of the United Nations, Dr Pulkkinen said his country would continue to support the restructuring of the multilateral institution to give greater roles to African countries like Nigeria.

President Buhari, who also received a Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of France, Mr Jerome Pasquier, said French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and the stopover in Lagos, was really impressive in bolstering both countries’ relations.

The president said he was impressed with relations between France and its former colonies in Africa, noting that France continues to play positive roles in promoting security and economic growth in the countries.

“France is investing so much in Nigeria and we are grateful”, he added.

President Buhari, however, called for more support in the fight against terrorism as the networks keep expanding with fighters moving across borders to support insurgents.

In his response, the French ambassador said President Macron would continue to support Nigeria, especially in the ongoing war against terrorism, with specific interest in the gathering and sharing of intelligence.

He commended the president for Nigeria’s role in resolving the crisis in Togo and Guinea Bissau.

President Buhari equally received the Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of Czech Republic, Mr Marek Skolil, assuring him of improved economic relations in the area solid minerals exploration.

On his part, Mr Skolil said his country will continue to support Nigeria’s military in the fight against terrorism in the North East.

“Nigeria is a very important country for us. We look forward to stronger ties, particularly with the armed forces,’’ he added.

Nigerians Won’t Be Deceived Again – Atiku

Meanwhile, the PDP flag bearer in next year’s presidential election, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday urged Nigerians not to be deceived again in the 2019 general elections as was the case in 2015 when they voted for the change mantra of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Atiku made this call in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital and political headquarters of the South West, where party leaders and members had gathered for the zonal presidential campaign rally.

He said, “In 2015, some people came to deceive us and we gave them the opportunity. They promised to create jobs but we have lost 12 million jobs.

“Since they came to power, the country has lost prosperity and it has become the headquarters of poverty in the world.”

Atiku remarked that with the inception of democracy in 1999, the zone witnessed prosperity, peace and educational advancement during the PDP era, adding that if he is elected president next year, the zone will experience prosperity once again.

“I promise that we shall return your prosperity. Everybody knows that if given the opportunity, I will assemble the best hands so that we return the country to prosperity,” he said, adding that as South West is known for its educational stride, his administration would continue to invest in education.

Atiku disclosed that one of his policies was the sharing formula of the country’s resources, vowing that within six months of his assuming office, the country would be restructured.

“I am not a stranger in Yoruba land, neither am I a stranger in South West. Return PDP to power in the next election. If you give me your support, I will not disappoint the people of the zone”, he added.

While calling on the people to get their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs), Atiku said, “Buhari must go”.

Also speaking, Atiku’s running mate and former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari did not go to school and urged the people of the zone to cast their votes for Atiku and PDP in the February presidential election.

On his part, the PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, called on the people of the zone to reject President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC at the poll, but they should instead troop out enmasse to cast their votes for the PDP and its presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku.

“You should vote, protect your votes and you must not allow INEC and security agencies to manipulate your votes,” he said.

Secondus added that it was unfortunate that President Buhari was not aware that there is hunger and poverty in the land.

The PDP chairman further described the ruling APC as the most corrupt party in the history of the country, even as he  demanded the whereabouts of $25 billion and $8 billion which allegedly disappeared from government coffers.

He described Atiku as a man who meant well for Nigeria, “who, if elected in 2019, will rescue Nigeria from hunger, poverty and insecurity”.

Catholic Bishops Ban Priests From Active Politics

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has banned Catholic priests and other ordained faithful from taking party in partisan politics.

The secretary general, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, announced the Catholic Bishops’ order in Abuja yesterday during a press briefing.

He frowned at the altercation between Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka and Mr Peter Obi, the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at Mbaka’s adoration ground in Enugu, on the issue of patronage in respect of the forthcoming general elections.

According to Fr Madu, the bishops condemn in totality the shameful scenario on an adoration ground, as contained in video recording that has gone viral on social media, that the reported incident does not have the support of the Bishops Conference of Nigeria.

He said: “As has always been our stand, the Catholic Church in Nigeria, as clearly stated in its August 7, 2018 directives, remains apolitical and does not support or subscribe to any political party.

“Our concern is for a peaceful election process seen to be free, fair, credible and just, and a democratic governance that guarantees peace, justice, equity, among others.

“On behalf of the Conference, we wish to reiterate their obligation, as teachers of faith and morals, to educate the faithful on their role in the political life of the country, mindful of the present charged political atmosphere of Nigeria.

“With the ongoing campaigns of political parties gathering momentum, we deem it necessary to again remind all priests and religious to keep to the position of the church on the issue of nonpartisan politics.”

Ralph further stated that while the bishops are sure that Enugu Diocese where Fr. Mbaka is incardinated is taking the appropriate measures on this reported incident, the bishops wish to categorically reiterate that no Catholic priest or people of consecrated life should be actively involved in partisan politics in obedience on the Canon Law of the Catholic Church.

“Also, liturgical ceremonies must never be used as an occasion for political campaigns. The country is presently going through difficult times and we therefore call on all the faithful to continue to pray for spiritual intervention in the life of our country.

“We also enjoin the lay faithful to play their roles in the forthcoming elections premised on good conscience, play their roles at the election without prejudice or inducement and ensure that their votes count and the right people are voted into power for the common good,” he said.

News AddThis :  Original Author :  Leadership Newspaper Disable advertisements : 

Igbo In North Banned From Travelling Over 2019 Polls

Fri, 2018-12-07 12:57


People of Igbo extraction in the 19 northern states have been banned from travelling to their states of origin to vote in next year’s general elections. Any person who flouts the directive would be fined an undisclosed amount of money. The decision was reached following an extraordinary meeting of the Igbo Delegates Assembly (IDA) in Barnawa, Kaduna State. IDA, an administrative umbrella organisation of Igbo resident in the northern states and Abuja, is responsible for members’ welfare. In attendance were executives, all Eze Igbos and chapter presidents in the 19 states. 

“We want our people to stay in their respective states and cast their votes. The era of running home during elections cannot be tolerated again. There is no need for us to go home at every election because if you do that you will automatically disenfranchise yourself.

“We have done a lot of sensitisation. We have also educated our people on this and we all agreed. That is why we decided to place an embargo. And if you travel, IDA will fine such person(s),” the organisation said in a statement jointly signed by President General Chief Chikezie Nwogu and Secretary General Austin Ofokansi Ifedinezi. The Assembly also urged members to remain law-abiding in their states of residence.

A non-governmental organisation, the African Electoral Integrity Initiative (AE2i) meanwhile has unveiled ways to guarantee integrity in the elections. This was at the National Conference on Electoral Integrity it organised in Abuja yesterday with the theme: ‘Sustaining the Integrity of the 2019 General Elections.’

Prof. Yusuf Zoaka, Dean Faculty of Social Science, University of Abuja, in his presentation titled, ‘Principles of Electoral Integrity’, said a good election is hinged on fairness and a level playing ground for all.

Zoaka, who was represented by Dr Agaba Halidu, a lecturer at the university, also listed ethical conduct, professionalism and accuracy as criteria for successful polls. He maintained that for Nigeria to have an election with integrity, factors such as enforcement, transparency and respect for the rule of law must be upheld. He advised politicians to shun hate speeches that could breed violent campaigns, and INEC to remain impartial to avoid voter apathy and rejection of results.

Mr. Mohammed Baba, Commissioner in charge of Education at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), said vote buying has become a threat to democracy, hence all efforts must be made to curb it. He disclosed that ICPC would embark on a nationwide sensitisation programme this month to change people’s attitude towards the practice.

Dr Daniel Omofoman, Convener and Regional Director (West Africa) of AE2i, said: “The conference is aimed at sensitising stakeholders to the need to sustain the integrity of the 2019 elections and restoring voter confidence in the integrity of officials, voting procedure and materials used in the election. We believe more is coming on solutions that will resolve these issues,”

He added that other issues threatening the integrity of the elections include underage voting, fake news and partisan law enforcement. But President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja gave the assurance that the result of the 2019 general elections would reflect the will of the people.

He made the promise while receiving a letter of credence from the ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Dr Jyrki Juhani Pulkkinen. He said Nigerians reserve the right to elect their leaders and that all efforts would be made to safeguard the integrity of the process. “I respect the people’s feelings,” he said, adding: “I assure all that we will have a free and fair election next year.”

Buhari congratulated Finland on its 101 Independence Day anniversary, marked yesterday. He commended the country’s growing relations with Nigeria, especially in the areas of Information Communication Technology (ICT), trade and education.

In his remarks, Pulkkinen noted that areas of mutual benefit could be extended to electricity, smart technology and crises management initiatives, pointing out he would work hard to improve trade figures and exchanges. “We will like to contribute to Africa rising. We know that Nigeria is the biggest country on the continent, so we are very interested in its growth,” he said.

He promised that at the United Nations, Finland would continue to support the restructuring of multilateral institutions, giving greater roles to African countries like Nigeria.

The president, who also received a letter of credence from the ambassador of France, Mr. Jerome Pasquier, described the visit to Nigeria by French President Emmanuel Macron as impressive and a booster to bilateral relations. Admitting that “France is investing so much in Nigeria and we are grateful,” he nevertheless called for more support in the fight against terrorism as fighters increasingly cross the borders to support insurgents.

Pasquier responded saying Macron would continue to support Nigeria, especially in the ongoing war against terrorism, with specific interest in the gathering and sharing of intelligence. He also commended Nigeria’s role in resolving the crises in Togo and Guinea Bissau.

Buhari equally received a letter of credence from the ambassador of the Czech Republic, Mr. Marek Skolil, to whom he gave an assurance of improved economic relations in solid minerals exploration.

Skolil, on his part, said his country would continue to support Nigeria’s military in the fight against terrorism in the northeast. “Nigeria is a very important country for us. We look forward to stronger ties, particularly with the armed forces,” he said.

News AddThis :  Original Author :  Guardian Nigeria Disable advertisements : 

Thugs Disrupt TraderMoni In Ilorin

Fri, 2018-12-07 12:54


Launch of TraderMoni in Osun State

Launch of TraderMoni in Osun State

Suspected Hoodlums yesterday invaded the Mandate Market in Ilorin, Kwara State, to disrupt the disbursement of money to beneficiaries of the TraderMoni.

They scared away petty traders and agents of the scheme.

As early as 9am, the suspected hoodlums stormed the Mandate Market, insisting that the TraderMoni scheme cannot be implemented in the market built on a land donated to the state government by the Senate President Bukola Saraki’s father, the late Olusola Saraki.

It was not clear whether they were sent by anyone or whether they were mere party zealots, working on their own.

According to witnesses, including Bank of Industry (BOI) officials who were at the market to supervise the enumeration and disbursement of the N10, 000 collateral free loans, the arrival of the mob at Mandate Market caused some uproar.

The suspected thugs also intimidated the petty traders who had lined up to participate in the programme. Many of the traders were palpably annoyed and refused to leave the market. Calm was restored with the intervention of the police.

At the Ipata Market, where enumeration and disbursement of the TraderMoni loans were also going on, market leaders reportedly rebuffed pressure from some officials of the state, urging them to shun the enumerators. The programme went on without incident.

Officials of the Bank of Industry (BoI) told reporters that enumeration had been going on in the two markets in Kwara State in the last few days, without incident until yesterday.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected in the markets today.

TraderMoni, which is part of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) under GEEP, is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans from N10, 000.

The loans are repayable over a period of six months at which point the traders on repayment will receive a fresh N15, 000 loan, which rises to N20, 000 when repaid.

The microcredit scheme, which has since been formally launched nationwide and the FCT, is expected to reach two million petty traders by the end of the year.

The Nation Newspaper AddThis :  Original Author :  The Nation Newspaper Disable advertisements :