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North-East Journalists Vow To Investigate, Expose Corruption In Government

Wed, 2019-05-22 12:54

Journalists in North-East, Nigeria, have vowed to use the instruments of investigative journalism to expose corruption in governments at all levels.

The resolution came in the aftermath of one week training on Fact-Checking and Investigative Journalism in Yola, Adamawa state, facilitated by Premium Times Center For Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).

Twenty-one, journalists from across the North-East were screened for the training.

Participants were drilled in wide ranged topics, focusing on understanding the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), Investigative Journalism, Fact-Checking, among other topical issues.

Mbolo Eno, programme and Advocacy Manager at PTCIJ, said the training was designed to spur journalists in the region to hold governments accountable.

As such he emphasised the need for the journalists to key into the trending Fact-Checking and Investigative Journalism.

"This training is put together to improve investigation and Fact-Checking, particularly within the criminal justice system and to improve accountability nationwide".

For Dapo Olorunyomi, Executive Director PTCIJ, "for a number of reasons, Fact-Checking has become critical to the capacity of journalists to function effectively in a democracy".

Olorunyomi, who doubles as the Publisher of Premium Times, further said "the truth has come under severe assault, most especially in recent times".

Mojeed Musikilu, Editor of Premium Times, tasked participants on credible reportage, just as he urged journalists to get acquainted with the ACJA 2015.

He also charged reporters to educate the public on the provisions of ACJA 2015 and issues relating to abuse of power by institutions within the criminal justice system.

Jessica Obudu, PTCIJ Program Assistant, capped it all by challenging participants to reflect their new knowledge in their reportage in a manner that improves governance and better the lot of the masses.

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Public Bus (BRT) Currently Burning On Third Mainland Bridge In Lagos

Wed, 2019-05-22 12:46



There is chaos on the  third mainland bridge right now as one of the buses used for the bus rapid transit (BRT) in Lagos is currently burning on the bridge.

According to an eyewitness, the blue bus, which was heading towards Iyana-Oworo, caught fire just after Adeniji Adele axis of the bridge with the disaster resulting in chaos and heavy traffic gridlock.

It is unclear if there have been any casualties from the incident.

The officials of Lagos fire service and LASTMA are desperately trying to put out the fire and ensure order in the area.

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Lagos State Task Force Brutalizes And Arrests Sellers, Motorcycle Riders, Passersby In Maryland

Wed, 2019-05-22 12:37

Men of the Lagos State Task Force have brutally rounded up some motorcycle riders, traders and passersby in Mende, Maryland, Lagos State.

The men stormed the area at about 9 am in combat style bearing sophisticated weapons, tear gas canisters and massive trucks.

They then proceeded to round up almost everyone in sight, brutalizing many in the process.

They also carted away valuable wares of some traders such as food items as well as seizing motorcycles.

The men of the Task Force all brandished their guns at motorists and onlookers who were observing the incident.

One trader who spoke to SaharaReporters in Yoruba on the condition of anonymity said: "It's not good when it is time for elections, it is these people that will still vote them. see how they are treating them like criminals."

Another said, "I was lucky when I saw them I ran immediately because that is their style even though we pay taxes."

When SaharaReporters tried to contact CSP Saheed Olayinka Egbeyemi, Chairman Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences Unit, his phone rang to no avail.

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Over 4,000 Nigerian Students Could Receive Reduced Services From Ukraine Foreign Mission

Wed, 2019-05-22 10:09

Over 4,000 Nigerian students studying mainly medical related courses in Ukraine, are likely to receive reduced services from their home country’s embassy in Kiev, following Nigeria’s decision to drastically downsize its foreign mission in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria, reported Tuesday  that Geoffrey Oniema, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the country would drastically cut down on its diplomatic mission in the former Soviet territory and close its missions in three other countries-Sri-lanka, Czech Republic and Serbia.

The Buhari administration has made closing Nigerian missions abroad part of its foreign affairs strategy in a bid to cut cost.

The administration has however been forced to weigh its options on what ministries to shutdown, due to the prohibitive cost of closing foreign missions.

“We should have foreign missions that we can fund, we might not necessarily close the embassies per say. it might be reducing the number of staff in the embassies, because what we found out is that it is more expensive to close the embassies than operating them,” Onyema said.

Mustafa Suleiman, Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Affairs ministry, had said during its budget defence to the Senate Committee on foreign Affairs in March that the N4.12 billion appropriated for capital expenses to the foreign missions could only cater for 30 out of the 110 foreign missions.

Onyema confirmed much of Suleiman’s assertions during the appropriation defence, while he was giving an account of the minstry’s activities in the last three years in Abuja yesterday.

“Very often the staff of the embassy really find things extremely difficult. Clearly, if we want to operate on the scale and scope in which we are at the moment with over a 100 missions around the world, we need to spend a lot more,” Onyema stated.

In July 2016, it was reported that President Muhammadu BUhari, had approved the closure of the Permanent Mission to the D-8 in Istanbul, Turkey; the Africa-South America Cooperation Forum (ASACOF) in Caracas, Venezuela; embassies in Belgrade, Serbia; Colombo, Srilanka; Kiev, Ukraine; Prague, Czech Republic; the High Commission in Singapore as well as Consulates in Buea, Cameroon and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The federal government of Nigeria did not approve capital projects for 37 foreign missions in the 2018 budget namely; Amman, Jordan; Atlanta, USA; Bangui, Central Africa Republic; Bangkok, Thailand; Berne, Switzerland; Buea, Cameroon; Cairo, Egypt;  Conakry, Republic of Guinea; Dakar, Senegal; Damascus, Syria; Doha, Qatar; Douala, Cameroon; Dubai Trade Missions, UAE; Islamabad, Pakistan; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Khartoum, Sudan; Kiev, Ukraine; Kualar Lumpur, Malasia; Lilongwe, Malawi; Lisbon, Portugal; Luanda, Angola; Madrid, Spain; Manila, Philippines; Monrovia, Liberia; New York (CG), USA; Niamey, Republic of Niger; Ouagadugu, Burkina Faso; Paris, France; Pyong Yang, North Korea; Rabat, Morocco; Riyadh, Saudi arabia; Rome, Italy; Shanghai, China; Stockholm, Sweden; The Hague, Netherlands; Tripoli, Libya; and Vienna, Austria.

The foreign mission in Colombo and Belgrade were not captured in the 2018 fiscal year.

In the Anglophone part of Cameroon where Buea is located, there have been clashes between forces calling for the creation of the state of Ambazonia.

Reports in the Cameroonian press say Nigerians have been cut in the melee. In Libya, in-fighting between a United Nations recognized government and a parallel regime have left the country largely unstable and put Nigerian migrants in grave danger.

Seeing as no capital provision was made for the embasies in these two countries, it is unclear how the Nigerian government has intervened to repatriate its citizens who are enveloped in these crisis.

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Armed Bandits Kill Five Vigilante Members In Katsina

Wed, 2019-05-22 09:51

The Katsina State Police has disclosed that a total of five persons who are members of the local vigilante have been killed by bandits in Faskari Local Government Area.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Gambo Isa, made the disclosure in a statement in Katsina State on Tuesday.

Gambo said that the killings occurred at Sabon-layi village of the local government area when members of a vigilante group popularly called “Yan sakai” went into a forest to engage the bandits in a fight.

According to him, the bandits killed the vigilante members during the exchange of fire.

He said that the police search team led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area evacuated the corpses and discovered a bandits camp inside the forest that was abandoned by the criminals.

The police spokesman also disclosed that a manhunt has begun to arrest the bandits.

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Federal Government Approves N25bn Earned Allowances For Nigerian Universities

Wed, 2019-05-22 09:39

The Nigerian Government has approved an additional N25 billion as earned academic allowances for members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The money is aside the N20 billion that was released in 2018 to public universities.

Adamu Adamu, the minister of education said this at his valedictory press conference in Abuja, on Tuesday.

Adamu said: “Let me inform you that the federal government has just approved an additional N25 billion to be shared to beneficiary institutions directly. Last year, the federal government released N20 billion directly to universities. As I speak, all universities have got their share of the N20 billion”.

Adamu disclosed that the current administration inherited an ‘unimplementable agreement’ of N1.3 trillion when it assumed office in 2015.

According to Adamu: “The sad news is that the N200 billion that was released to the Central Bank of Nigeria since 2013 for the universities has not been fully accessed. In specific terms, all the 73 public varsities have accessed the 1st tranche of 50 per cent of the N200 billion.

“For the second tranche of 40 per cent, only 56 institutions have been able to access their funds. The last 10 per cent, representing the third tranche of the N200 billion has not been accessed at all,” he concluded.

ASUU embarked on strike last November over poor funding of public varsities.

One of the reasons for ending the three month old strike in February was an agreement between the government and the union.

According to a statement by Abiodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President in February: “In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only would be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume full implementation of the MoU of 2013".

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Aviation Unions To Ground Nigeria's Airspace Today

Wed, 2019-05-22 09:26

Unions in the Nigerian aviation industry have threatened to as from Wednesday ground activities in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) due to its inability to address the “sundry issues” raised before it.

The unions said that all the agency’s offices and stations nationwide would be grounded by its members as every effort put in place to ensure that the Ministry of Transport (Aviation), addressed the issues has failed.

A circular signed by Comrades Ocheme Aba, Frances Akinjole, Abdul Rasaq Saidu, Umoh Ofonime for National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), respectively said that the strike would be indefinite until all their demands were met.

Some of the demands of the unions included the immediate implementation of the new organogram for NCAA as agreed by the ministry, the management of NCAA and the unions.

Others are the immediate review the conditions of service as negotiated with the management by the agency’s leadership and inauguration of the Governing Board of NCAA as directed by the government in 2018.

The unions purported that at the expiration of the ultimatum on Monday, the ministry and the management of NCAA had failed to address any of the demands raised, threatening that the agency would remain grounded until the issues were addressed.

It insisted that there was no going back on the impending grounding of activities in the regulatory agency in particular and the country’s civil aviation industry in general unless if the government immediately implemented the new organogram for NCAA as agreed by the ministry, the management of NCAA and the unions.

The circular read in part: “As you are all aware, our unions issued a seven days ultimatum to Federal Ministry of Transport (Aviation) AND NCAA over sundry issues. The ultimatum expired on Monday 22, May 2019.

“All this time, the ministry of transport (aviation) has completely rejected the ultimatum, while the NCAA has reacted with only halfhearted measures. This means that no single item on the demands list has been ameliorated.

“For the above purpose, all NCAA workers are to assemble at the entrance/gate of their various work places and take directive from branch union officers on location until directed otherwise.”

Speaking over the weekend in Lagos on the issue, the minister of state, aviation, Hadi Sirika appealed to the unions to adopt dialogue, rather than grounding of the industry.

Sirika had said that the agency’s organogram could be looked into, stressing that strike action should be the last resort.

The unions had last week accused Sirika of doctoring the new organogram of NCAA and agreement reached with the agency’s management.

According to them, a tripartite team comprising of the unions, NCAA management and the government sat down to fashion out a new organogram for NCAA as a result of its new status, but Sirika single-handedly changed the organogram.

They insisted that the new organogram would not create room for development of workers, adding that some who were due for promotion since 2017 were yet to be promoted, while the government was also on the verge of merging some of the directorates.

“There was a tripartite committee on the issue of the organogram of NCAA; the unions, NCAA management and the government , but all of a sudden, when the organogram returned to the management, what was presented to the team was entirely different from what was agreed upon,” they said.


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Acting Chief Justice Of Nigeria Dragged To Court Over Alleged Age Falsification

Wed, 2019-05-22 09:11

Tochi Michael, a 46-year-old businessman has filed a case against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, at the FCT High Court over alleged age falsification.

The summon with suit No. FCT/HC/BW/CV/79/2019, was filed before the court in April. The petitioner alleged that the CJN deliberately falsified his date of birth.

Mr. Tochi alleged that the CJN falsified his date of birth from December 31, 1950 as contained in all his official records including that of WAEC to December 31, 1953 upon his appointment as a judicial officer.

The petitioner in the originating summon is praying the court to determine whether such act of the CJN does not constitute a criminal act of perjury, falsification and forgery.

Mr. Michael in the also prayed the court to determine whether by falsifying his date of birth from December 31, 1950 to December 31, 1953 upon being appointed to Nigeria Bench as a judicial officer he has not breach the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He also prayed that the court determine whether the CJN has not breached the Code of Conduct for judicial officers and consequently brought the image of Nigeria Judiciary to a state of disrepute and odium.

The petitioner in his reliefs is praying the court for a declaration that the defendant falsified his date of birth and that the defendant has desecrated the breach of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN).

He is also praying for an order directing the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to prosecute the defendant for the offence of perjury and an order which the court may deem it fit.

Counsel to the CJN, Sam Ologunorisa, SAN, informed the court that the plaintiff and his counsel were not in the court.

Mr. Ologunorisa told the court that it seems the plaintiff and his counsel were “running away” from the suit they filed, stressing that the court should do the needful in the interest of justice.

“We on our part filed a notice of preliminary objection, a counter affidavit and a written address. We urge the court to deem it fit that the originating summon has been argued.

"We have to look at exhibit III of the originating summon.

“We urge the court to dismiss the suit. The case is meant to scandalise the CJN,” he argued

Ruling on the prayers, the judge, Danlami Senchi, of the court said another opportunity would be given to the petitioner to appear in the court to prove the allegation.

Mr. Senchi adjourned the matter until Friday.

He ordered that hearing notices be served on the petitioner.

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Buhari Returns To Nigeria After 'Optional' Saudi Trip

Tue, 2019-05-21 22:41

President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to the country after spending five days in Saudi Arabia to perform lesser pilgrimage (Umrah).

He is returning amidst rising insecurity ahead of his inauguration on the 29th of May.

The President, who left the country in the company of his wife, associates and aides, landed at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at 6.34pm.

The President was received by top officials of his cabinet including Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff and Muhammed Bello, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Shortly after his return to Nigeria, Buhari would travel back to Saudi Arabia to attend a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) On Jeddah from May 30th to June 1st 2019.

His second trip will come a few hours after his second term inauguration on May 29 2019. 

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Gov Yahaya Bello Walks-Out Kogi's Chief Judge From State Function

Tue, 2019-05-21 22:18

Yahaya Bello, Kogi State Governor, on Tuesday walked out Justice Nasir Ajanah, the Chief Judge (CJ) of the state, from a function.

According  to the Nation Newspaper, the incident occurred at the Government House Lokoja during the swearing-in of the new Grand Khadi of the state.

The function was attended by top government officials and others from the judiciary.

The CJ, who was said to have been officially invited to the function by the protocol officer of the Government House, was seated before arrival of the governor.

However, some minutes later before the arrival of the governor, his Chief Security Officer allegedly approached the CJ and informed him the governor gave a directive that he should not be allowed to attend the function.

The CJ thereafter left the government house and returned to his office.

The development may not be unconnected to the face-off between the executive and the state judiciary, arising from disagreements over table payment of judicial staff.

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EXPOSED: For Years, Dana Air Received Millions In Passenger Donations For Illegal Charity

Tue, 2019-05-21 22:06

One of the pictures on the inflight envelope donation showing charitable activity by Sri Sai Vandana Foundation at the celebration of Nigeria’s 54th Independence in an orphanage in 2014.

For many years, Dana Air, a domestic airline operator in Nigeria, raised millions of naira through in-flight donations to Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, an illegal organisation that was not registered until October last year after the ICIR started its investigations into the airline’s charity business.

About halfway through the Lagos-Abuja Dana Air flight, after serving snacks and beverage, a plea comes for passengers to donate to charity and a member of the cabin crew thereafter goes through the aisle, handing down envelopes to passengers who indicate interest.

On one side of the envelope is a superimposed picture of four kids, one has stunted hair growth, another has bulging eyes and all four of them show signs of deprivation with a bold print that pleads with the passenger, “Please give to change my life”. The other side of the envelope shows evidence of what the donation achieves – pictures of children with disability being catered for in an orphanage, plus a detailed explanation about the organisation that receives the donation and its charitable activities.

The passengers’ donation goes to Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, which claims to be a charitable trust founded in 1995 in Nigeria through which the Dana group of companies fulfils its corporate social responsibility. But when The ICIR started investigating the utilisation of the inflight donation, it discovered that the foundation was not registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), a fundamental requirement for running a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Nigeria.

All registered NGOs in the country are required to file annual returns to CAC, thus serving as monitoring and regulatory mechanism. Apart from the CAC registration, NGOs in the country are also obliged to get certification from the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUMUL), a unit of the Ministry and Trade and Investment that works closely with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In July 2018, The ICIR sent an email and text messages to the Dana Group, asking if the foundation was registered with CAC, how much had been raised from the inflight donation, the names of the organisations that the foundation claimed it has partnered with in delivering charitable activities, and how much each of these organisations received from the foundation.

The Dana Group declined to respond but two months later, specifically on October 19, Sri Sai Vandana Foundation was registered with CAC. That was after many years of its illegal operation in the country and unlawfully receiving donations from Nigerians.

Charity or greed?

One of the pictures on the inflight envelope donation showing charitable activity by Sri Sai Vandana Foundation at the celebration of Nigeria’s 54th Independence in an orphanage in 2014.

The inflight envelope donation was initiated on Dana Air in 2009, about a year after the airline commenced operation in Nigeria. Investigations show that it was the idea of Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, carried over from the defunct Bellview Airline.

“We introduced that scheme [inflight envelope donation] in Nigeria,” Ebenezer Adeleye, programme coordinator of Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, told The ICIR last week in his office in Lagos. “We started with the defunct Bellview. It was when Bellview folded up that Dana took it up but apparently they saw it as some sort of lucrative thing. They edged us out and started their own.”

Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria’s partnership with Dana Air started in September 2009 and ran till June 3, 2012, when the airline’s plane crashed in Lagos, killing  159 people. Nigerian aviation authorities consequently suspended the airline.

When Dana Air resumed full commercial flight operation in January 2014, the Dana Group had decided to discontinue the partnership with the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria and printed its own inflight envelope donation to raise money for a foundation.

“By the time we asked if they still wanted to do that [the partnership] they said no,” Adeleye said. “Actually, people on that flight told us that ‘they are seeing envelopes on Dana Air but it is no longer Sickle Cell Foundation envelopes.’”

Adeleye disclosed that about N18 million was raised from the inflight donation for nearly two and a half years period that the partnership lasted. Then, the Sickle Cell Foundation printed and branded the envelopes with key messages on sickle cell, a genetic disease that has more people living with it in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world.

Adeleye explained that the partnership with Dana Air then was transparent. The Sickle Cell Foundation’s staffers would jointly remove the donated money from the envelopes with Dana staffers. The money would be jointly counted, recorded in a logbook and deposited into the foundation’s account.

“We are proud to say that all the monies to build this centre were from Nigerians, not a kobo from outside,” Adeleye said, adding that if the partnership with Dana Air had continued, the foundation could have achieved more.

The Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria has its impressive Sickle Cell Centre opposite the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital and runs dedicated sickle cell clinics in four states. The centre has a laboratory that runs prenatal screening for sickle cell. “Those are some of the things such money [donation] should be doing,” Adeleye said. “We are just filing gap that the government is found wanting.”

At the time of the launch of the inflight envelope donation, Ramesh Hathiramani, chairman of Dana Group, said the collaboration was to raise money for the Sickle Cell Centre. “We believe that the contributions of our passengers will go a long way towards funding some of the projects of the Centre and ensuring that all persons affected by the disorder can live normal pain-free lives,” he said.

Chasing passengers’ donation

The ICIR obtained three different envelopes that the foundation has used to solicit money from Dana Air passengers since it started its own charity scheme. The ICIR could not establish the year each of the envelopes was printed. Nevertheless, the changes in the envelopes contain invaluable information.

The first envelope did not have an account number and phone number. It simply refers passengers to  “further donation by cheque can be addressed to our office”.  The envelope also has a picture of a group of children with special needs. Underneath the picture is “some of our staff with the underprivileged children at Sai Orphanage-Ajah, Lagos.” The ICIR could not trace the location of this orphanage and could not find it in the list of registered orphanages in Lagos.

The envelope was later replaced by another one, which contains a phone number for further enquiries and an account number at Wema Bank with the name of the foundation. However, a reference to Sai Orphanage is missing in this second envelope.

Meanwhile, providing an account number raises a fresh question. How can an entity that is not registered to operate in the country open a bank account? For NGO to open an account with any bank, it has to provide evidence of legal registration with the CAC. For a few years now, banks have also requested for SCUML certification for NGOs before they can open bank accounts.

The ICIR sent enquiries to Wema Bank to explain how the bank opened an account for a non-profit organisation that was not registered with the CAC then. Both Funmi Falola, the bank’s head of Brand and Marketing Communications and Tunde Mabawonku, the bank’s Chief Finance Officer, declined to respond.

When The ICIR reporter met Falola at the bank’s headquarters in Marina, Lagos, she confirmed that she received The ICIR’s enquiries but she ignored them because she did not have a response. “Yes, I received the SMS but I still do not have a response,” she said.

The ICIR discovered that Ramesh Hathiramani, chairman of Dana Group, is a director in Wema Bank, with substantial shareholding.

The current envelope which is the third in its development adds a misleading email address that enquiries can be sent to. The email address is But Sathya Sai is an international non-denominational voluntary organisation, founded by a spiritual teacher, Sathya Sai Baba. It originated from India and has branches in many countries, including Nigeria. The ICIR discovered that Ramesh Hathiramani, chairman of Dana Group, is the chair of Zone 9A (Africa) Sathya Sai International Organisation.

The ICIR asked the Dana Group to account for the inflight donation from Dana Air passengers since July 2018, but the request had been ignored until recently.

Okwudili Ezenwa, Media and Communications manager at Dana Air told The ICIR that the questions about the expenditure of the inflight donation would take a long time to respond to. He, however, agreed to meet the reporter at Dana House in Isolo, Lagos to talk about some of the questions raised by The ICIR. But two days to the appointment, Ezenwa called on phone to say that he had to travel and would not be available for the interview again.

The ICIR had asked Ezenwa to send the annual reports of the Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, even if other requests would take the foundation longer time to respond to. Although he agreed to attend to the request, The ICIR has not received any official response from the Dana Group and its foundation.

After Ezenwa cancelled the appointment, The ICIR reporter still went to Dana House to see the coordinator of the foundation but was turned away at the gate after the security officer called someone to ask for permission.

The reporter had earlier called the phone number on the inflight envelope donation which was answered by a man with a thick Indian accent who identified himself as Kumar and the coordinator of the foundation. Kumar had promised to get back to the reporter with the requested information but he never did. The phone number is registered in the name of Rahul Patil, former deputy IT manager at the Dana Group who has returned to Mumbai, India since 2016.

The ICIR reached out to Tony Usidamen who was the head of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility at the Dana Group during the time that the inflight envelope donation was launched in 2009, but he declined to talk about the inflight donation.  “I believe a serving official would be in a better position to answer any questions you might have,” Usidamen insisted.

The Dana Group has diversified trading and shipping businesses, as well as interests in pharmaceutical, food and beverage, plastics and auto industries, among others. The conglomerate which is family-owned was founded by its current chairman, Ramesh Hathiramani. He is an Indian, born in West Africa in 1950, according to the Dana Group.

From trading in the 1970s, Ramesh founded a pharmaceutical company which became the springboard for the Dana Group. He has handed the operation of Dana Group to his children: Jacky Hathiramani, group managing director and Gautam Hathiramani, group executive director.


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Togolese Cook Accused Of Killing 67-Year Old Boss In Lagos Appears In Court

Tue, 2019-05-21 21:44

A 22 year old Togolese man, Sunday Anani, charged with the murder of Chief Executive Officer of Credit Switch Ltd., Chief Opeyemi Gbademosi has appeared in court.

Anani is standing trial on a two-count charge of murder and armed robbery preferred against him by the Lagos State Government.

Mrs Aderenla Adeyemi, his counsel from the Office of the Public Defender, informed the court on Tuesday that the defendant would opt for plea bargain.

Adeyemi said that she had approached the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bay on that, adding that she was asked to file an application to that effect.

After the information, the deceased’s wife, Mrs Ebunoluwa Gbademosi, testified how her husband was allegedly killed by the cook, three days after he got to their house.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the witness, who was led in evidence by the DPP, said that on the fateful day, she went to a branch of Polaris Bank at Falomo for some transactions at 8.05a.m.

She said that while she was about leaving the bank, the deceased called her and was asking her why the defendant was knocking on his room door.

She said that the deceased asked her over the phone if she was back from the bank and she said that she was on her way back.

Gbademosi said that the deceased later told her that he would open the door to find out what the defendant wanted.

According to her, before she left the house for the bank, she told the defendant that her husband was still sleeping.

She added that she told the defendant not wake up her husband.

She testified that she told the defendant to continue with house cleaning as she was going out and would be back soon.

The witness said that when she came back, their gateman opened the gate for her but there was no response at the kitchen door when she knocked severally to get into the house.

“I tried to call my husband’s phone, it was picked but nothing was said. I went downstairs to enter through the front door.

“I saw that my husband’s room was ajar, his body was on the floor and blood was flowing out from his room.

“I ran out and started screaming for help, some neighbours came out. I kept running. I then asked the security, Where is that guy ‘oga’ brought into the house? What is happening? Who is inside the house?”

Gbademosi said that she later went back into the house.

“My neighbours who entered inside said my husband was gone and I passed out.”

She said that 10 days later, the police came and led her back into the house, and that it was then she discovered that her husband’s five wrist watches were stolen.

She said that the defendant took her husband’s phone, opened all his brief cases and drawers and scattered them on the floor.

On cross-examination by the defendant’s counsel, the witness said that the defendant was got through her late husband’s friend’s houseboy in Ondo State.

Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile, adjourned the case until June 11, for continuation of trial.

The prosecution alleged that the defendant committed the murder on Oct. 31, 2018, at Park View Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

It said that the defendant stabbed the deceased, aged 67, to death with a knife and stole his valuables, in contravention of Sections 223 and 297 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

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Reduce Tuition Or Resign Office, Ondo Students Threaten Akeredolu

Tue, 2019-05-21 21:06

Students of Ondo state government owned Universities have protested the astronomical hike in their tution and called for a downward review. 

The students who were mostly from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akugba Akoko and Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa trooped out to the streets of Akure in their numbers.

The protest was in defiance of the order issued by the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to the students.

Sahara Reporters Media

Governor Akeredolu had threatened to 'flush out" students who dared to protest against the tution hike by using security agencies.

Akeredolu made the threat when the embattled President of National Association of Nigeria Students, Mr. Bamidele Danielson Akpan, visited the governor in his office to agitate for a reduction in the increased fee.

On Tuesday, the angry students defied the order and paralyzed every business and commercial activity on the popular Oba Adesida road in Akure.

They prevented movement and easy flow of traffic on the same axis including other adjoining streets as they chanted heavy solidarity song calling the government unprintable names.

Carrying placards bearing different inscriptions, such as: "Akeredolu Must Resign"; "Reduce Our Tuition Now"; "No To 250k Reduce Or Resign"; "No To Hike To Or  Increment"; "Education Must Be Fee", the students said that education must be made affordable in government owned institutions in Ondo state.  

Speaking, Oluwafisayomi Abimbola, a student leader from Ondo State University of Science & Technology, said the students had all resolved to kick against the obnoxious hike in the tuition of state's universities. 

Comrade Abimbola who addressed journalists during the protest noted that the increase in their tution was to further improvish their parents stressing that they cannot pay the new fees. 

"We are here to protest against the hike in our school fee from N70,000 to N250,000 and we are saying total No to this obnoxious increment.

"We are saying our parents cannot afford it, they are civil servants and they earn peanut as salaries. 

"The government is not even paying the salary as at when due. Imagine, we don't have infrastructures in our schools and no lecture classes too.

"And yet they want us (students) to pay such huge amount of money as tution and there are no subvention released to upgrade the system. 

"At Ondo State University of Science and Technology in Okitipupa, we are really suffering and we they want us and our parant to pay. We say No. 

"It is unfortunate that the only thing the government of Rotimi Akeredolu could think of at this time is rename our university but we say No to it" he said. 

Samuel Adesomoju, the President of the Students Union Government (SUG) of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, condemned the hike in the tution of the institution.

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Comrade Adesomoju described the astronomical increment as 'satanic' noting that the entir students in the ondo state government own school would continue to be on the streets until their school fee is reduced. 

"Already, they have closed down the two institutions in Akugba and the one in Okitipupa but we too have resolved that until they reduced the fee (tuition) we shall continue to be on these streets and agitate for our right. 

"We say No to fee hike and we want  to promised the government that we shall come back here on the street tomorrow if they failed to listen to our demand. Let them bring soldiers, we shall await them here" he said. 

Addressing the protesting students, the Deji of Akure kingdom, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, said the students have the right to protest but pleaded with them not to take the law into their own hands. 

Oba Aladetoyinbo who spoke through his Chief of Staff (COS), Mr. Toyin Aladetoyinbo, said he would take time to meet with the governor on the demands of the students over the reduction in their tution.


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BREAKING: Nigerian Government Closes Four Foreign Missions Due To Lack Of Funds

Tue, 2019-05-21 20:15

The Federal Government of Nigeria, has ordered the closure of four foreign missions abroad due to lack of funds.

Geoffrey Onyeama, the minister of foreign affairs said on Tuesday that the missions are Sri-lanka, Serbia, Ukraine and Czech Republic.

The minister who may exit President Muhmmadu Buhari's administration at the end of the month said the closure was because the government could not fund the missions anymore.

More to come.

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Wike Offered Me Billions Of Naira To Compromise Rivers Election Says General Jamil Sarham

Tue, 2019-05-21 19:13

General Sarham

General Sarham
Jamil Sarham, general officer commanding 6 division of the Nigerian army, has said Nyesom Wike Offered him billions of Naira in bribe to compromise the governorship elections in the state.

Aminu Iliyasu, the division’s spokesman, Sarham said governor Wike decided to witch hunt him when he turned down the offer.

Governor Wike is accusing Sarham of of running a massive oil theft in the state as well as sending troops to assassinate him on the 15 of Febuary 2019.

Denying the allegations, Sarham said: “Wike’s resentment against me is based on my choice of professionalism and integrity over the billions of naira offered me by the Rivers state governor to compromise the 2019 general election,” the statement read.

“My refusal to be bought over and the rejection of the hefty offer is the genesis of Wike’s hatred and vociferous criticisms of me.

“On the mischievous accusation against Maj. Gen. Sarham of leaking proceedings of State Security Council meetings to criminals in Rivers State, Mr. Wike knows well that Maj.-Gen. Sarham is not a member of the Rivers State Security Council, neither has he ever approached the gates of Rivers State Government House, since his assumption of office as the GOC, 6 Division.

“Mr. Wike only came face-to-face with Maj. Gen. Sarham on the 15th of January, 2019, during the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day parade at Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to challenge Wike to provide the public with any evidence of such meetings, with Maj. Gen. Sarham in attendance. Wike’s allegation against Maj.-Gen. Sarham’s selfish involvement in illegal oil bunkering is another reckless, spurious and mischievous accusation.

“Hence, Headquarters of 6 Division wishes to request the Rivers governor to take the most civilised way of putting up a petition to the relevant authorities, to make a point.”

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US Government Charges Man Who Brokered $2b Illegal Arms Deal With Col. Sambo Dasuki

Tue, 2019-05-21 18:53

Sahara Reporters Media

Ara Dolarian, the illegal arms dealer contracted by Col. Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, has been charged to court by the government of the United States of America for allegedly brokering the sale of arms and munitions to the Nigerian government without acquiring compulsory US Department of Commerce and Investment licenses.

Dolarian who is 58, is also charged with conspiracy and money laundering, the Attorney’s Office said.

On the 6th of October 2014, the South African government confisticated US$5.7 million arms money from Nigeria, nearly three weeks after seizing $9.3 million in cash transported by two Nigerians and an Israeli for arms purchase allegedly brokered by Dolarian.

The transaction was between Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town, and Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, said to be a French/Nigerian company based in Abuja contracted by the office of the national security adviser.

The money is part a $2 billion arms deal by the federal government which was embezzled by the office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Colonel Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser.

The money which was transported in a private plane with US registration number N808HG and owned by popular Nigerian Pastor, Ayo Oritsejafor, was designated for the purchase of helicopters, unmanned aircraft, rockets and ammunition.

A criminal complaint filed against Dolarian on Monday in the US, alleged that he attempted to broker an $8.5 million transfer of bombs, rockets, military-grade firearms and aircraft-mounted cannons from Eastern Europe and South Africa to the government of Nigeria in the 2013-14 period.

Dolarian, without certification from the US government accepted approximately $8.3 million from Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, SEI, a French arms brokering company acting on behalf of Nigeria, and from the Nigerian National Security Advisor’s office, through a purported Hong Kong-based furniture company.

Reports show that the money was routed to several shell accounts held by Dolarian and his associates, the US attorney claims, and were immediately used by the arms dealer to pay off his federal and state tax debts and buy a sports utility vehicle.

Dolarian faces 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if he is convicted of unlicensed arms deals. He could also receive five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy, and a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for money laundering, the indictment says.

In Nigeria, however, apart from Col. Sambo Dasuki who was arrested and detained on 1 December 2015 by the Department of State Security Services, others connected to the deal such as Chief Raymond Dokpesi, chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Attahiru Bafarawa, the former Governor of Sokoto State, and Bashir Yuguda, the former Minister of State for Finance have all been granted bail with no real milestones or move to convict them despite overwhelming evidence.

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Civil Societies Demand Revocation of OPL 245 License, Stage Massive Protest In Abuja

Tue, 2019-05-21 18:21

Protesters Bearing Placards

Protesters Bearing Placards Sahara Reporters Media
A group under the auspices of Civil Society Network Against Corruption on Tuesday staged a protest in Abuja to demand  immediate revocation of OPL 245 license allocation to Malabu and Sale to SHELL-ENI.

The protesters in their number stormed the headquarters of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu with placards and banners asking him to prosecute those indicted in the deal.

Some of the inscriptions read: "OPL 245 Nigeria Stand To Lose $6 billion", "OPL 245 Etete, Adoke Should Face Justice", "Stop OPL SHELL & ENI To Deprive Nigeria of $6Billion."

Sahara Reporters Media

The National Coordinator, National Malabu Awareness Coalition, Shina Odugbemi said that media was awashed six years ago with information on how one of Nigeria's richest oil field , OPL 245 was sold in shady circumstances.

He pointed out that the former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete who was convicted for money laundering in France owned Malabu Oil & Gas adding he registered the company with a fictitious name Kweku Amafegha.

He noted that half of $1.1 was paid to Malabu Oil and Gas for the procurement was consumated through bribe to Nigeria politicians and intermediaries who helped to secure the controversial deal.

Odugbemi explained that some officials of federal government acted as conduit for the fund after Shell and Eni raised fears over transferring the money directly to Malabu due to Etete's earlier conviction in France. 

The group demanded for prosecution of persons and companies involved and indicted in the deal adding that Nigeria stand to lose $6 billion if the government fail to terminate the deal.

It is in the light of above development and your body language that we embark on this protest march to your office to demand in the interest of justice, that all the indicted persons and companies involved in this deal, both local and international are allowed to have their days  in courts as reflected in all investigation reports surrounding  this case" Odugbemi stated. 

Sahara Reporters Media

The coordinator wondered how  government allowed six notable Nigerians who were indicted by the investigations reports to walk freely in the town.

He said those people includes: former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Attorney General, Mohammed Bello Adoke , former minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison- Madueke, Former National Security Advised, Aliyu Gusau.

Others are, former Attorney General, Bayo Ojo and Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah.

Odugbemi stressed that two middlemen involved in the deal Emeka Obi and Gialucia Di Nardo have been convicted in September in Milan.

He therefore urged the minister to make those who have enriched themselves through the deal to face the law.

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How Prof. Eyitope Ogunmodede, OAU VC Is Thwarting Prof. Agboola's Dream Of Becoming Dean Faculty Of Administration

Tue, 2019-05-21 17:52

Professor Eyitope Ogunmodede, the vice chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, has resolved to scuttle the assumption of Professor A. A. Agboola into office as the duly elected Dean of the Faculty of Administration having polled the highest number of votes cast at the election SaharaReporters can confirm.

The position of the dean was contested for on the 14th of May, 2018 and it had witnessed the emergence of Agboola as the Dean-elect of the faculty. This was adopted and approved by the Faculty board of administration on the 2nd of July, 2018 and subsequently by the University Senate on the 23rd of July, 2018 without any controversy.

With this verified event, it, however, turned out that the professor’s name was not included in the list of newly elected Deans presented at the Senate Meeting held two months after the said faculty election.

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When the school Registrar was contacted for clarification on the omission of Agboola's name from  the list, he said Agboola’s co-contestant had dropped a letter of protest challenging the process of the election on the basis of proxy.

This complaint was, however, made more than 70 days after the election was held contrary to the university regulations governing it that any individual having complaints as regards any appointed proxy should lodge such a complaint not later than forty-eight hours after the election has been held.

The vice chancellor not oblivious to this rule confirmed the information given by the registrar.

He later proceeded to inform the senate of the substance of the allegation submitted concluding that a legal opinion had been sought but the said legal opinion was not disclosed on the senate floor.

The reported substance of the protest was that a duly-listed member of the Faculty board of administration representing the Dean of Education whose membership was approved by the faculty and the Senate gave a proxy, which in the opinion of the protester was appendix I of the university law.

In reaction to this, the Registrar in his report had said that he could not locate any defect in what has been done, neither is he convinced that a cognate Dean or his representative as already approved by the Faculty Board enjoys a lesser status as Member of the faculty board to such extent that he or she could not exercise the right to vote by proxy as provided for in the regulation 4(1) and 4(7) of the University Law.

The legal unit of the university also wrote that the election conducted for the Dean of the Faculty of Administration on 14thof May, 2018 cannot be vitiated by the singular act of Dr. Adediwura appointing a proxy on who attended the meeting of the board and voted on his behalf notwithstanding that the said proxy was a candidate in the election (Appendix II).

Despite this overwhelming reason contradicting the allegation made, the vice chancellor still insisted that the protest be taken back to the faculty for resolution while he unprecedentedly and unlawfully appointed Prof. M.L. Nassar, the most senior professor in the Faculty as the acting dean of the faculty on the 2nd of August, 2018.

After an unsuccessful attempt to hold a meeting to consider and take a decision on the directive of the vice chancellor, the acting Dean of the Faculty called for another meeting and logically concluding that there was nothing awkward with the process and conduct of the Deanship election that was held on the 14th of May, 2018 while considering the protest in all ramification.

The Board unanimously, went ahead to recommend to the school management to allow the duly elected Dean, Prof. A. A. Agboola, to assume office without any further delay as the 19th Dean of the Faculty of Administration  for the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic session. However, the university management failed to adhere to the decision made by the board.

Despite several appeals made to the vice chancellor and the university management as a whole, they have condescending failed to acknowledge the lawful mandate given to Prof. A. A. Agboola by the people of the Faculty of Administration.

All attempts to reach the vice chancellor and his public relations officer, Abiodun Olarewaju, on the matter proved abortive.

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What Did Naira Marley Do To Warrant All The Security?, Daddy Showkey Asks EFCC

Tue, 2019-05-21 16:06

Veteran Nigerian singer Daddy Showkey has again called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to leave Nigerian Singer Azeez Fashola better known as Naira Marley and go after individuals that have looted the country's money.

The singer had earlier begged the EFCC to have mercy and release Naira Marley.

READ Daddy Showkey Begs EFCC To Show Naira Marley Mercy

However, his plea fell on deaf ears as the singer was arraigned yesterday at the Federal High Court,  Ikoyi, Lagos before Hon. Justice I. Nicholas Oweibo who ordered that the singer be remanded in prison till May 30, when is bail application will be heard.

READ BREAKING: Naira Marley Pleads 'Not Guilty', To Be Remanded In EFCC Custody Until May 30

At his arraignment yesterday, Naira Marley was guarded by security officials attached to the EFCC but the sight of the security operatives did not go down well with Daddy Showkey who took to his Instagram handle today to express his displeasure.

Speaking in a mix of Pidgin and English, he said: "Many things I saw yesterday made me laugh. What did Naira Marley do to warrant all the security? All the people wey be threats to our society, they never do them like this oh.

“This boy is a small boy, all of us know what we did while we were young. One day, your own will come. Don’t think because you are in power now, you will be using your position anyhow.

“I have talked and begged EFCC to give this boy another chance but you refused, they do like say na him thief Nigeria money.

“All the people that stole Nigeria money, what have you done to them? Yet you are treating Marley like a slave.

“Weytin this boy do self wey we never see before, na him kill people with Bomb? Na him thief Nigeria money? Yeye dey Smell.”


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Prof. Adewole, Nigeria's Health Minister, Appears Before Senate

Tue, 2019-05-21 15:24

Professor Isaac Adewole, Nigeria's Minister of Health has appeared before the Nigeria Senate to explain the poor state of teaching hospitals in the country.

Adewole was summoned by the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly following a motion by Senator David Umaru (APC-Niger) at plenary on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, to brief it on the current state of facilities and health care services in the teaching hospitals.

Umar noted that most teaching hospitals in the country are not up to standard and have been overstretched with patients having to sleep on bare floors due to lack of space and proper medical equipment needed for their treatment.

Receiving Adewole at the Senate Chamber, Bukola Saraki, Senate President, noted that the Senate is concerned with the deteriorating conditions of hospitals and health facilities across the country and inability to improve the standard of the health sector despite the annual budget being made available to the ministry.

“We would give you the opportunity to take the floor to brief the Senate on the state of affairs of the Nigerian Teaching Hospitals. We are concerned with the deteriorating conditions of our hospital facilities across the country.

“Despite the annual budgetary allocation to the health sector, Nigerians are still dying because of obsolete equipment, the poor state of infrastructure, lack of generating sets, lack of power, sometimes lack of diesel, lack of drugs etc which we are very concerned about," Saraki said.

Saraki tasked Adewole to avail the Senate what solutions and measures he would employ to tackle the problem affecting the entire country.


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