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West African Presidents Meet To Fight Rising Terrorism In Sahel

Fri, 2019-09-13 09:08


 

West African leaders meet in the capital of Burkina Faso on Saturday
for a summit expected to lead to an overhaul of the flailing attempt
to roll back jihadism in the Sahel region, Agence France Presse
reports.

Most of the heads of ECOWAS, a grouping of 15 countries on West
Africa's coast and hinterland, are expected to attend the special
one-day meeting, which will also be attended by Chad, Cameroon, and
Mauritania.

Topping their agenda: the record of the so-called G5 Sahel -- a
five-nation effort intended to combat terrorism in the fragile region
that lies between the Sahara and Atlantic.

Backed by former colonial power France, the G5 Sahel was created to
great fanfare in 2014.

The centerpiece of its strategy has been an initiative, launched in
July 2017, to pool 5,000 troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali,
Mauritania and Niger to wrench back control from ruthless jihadist
groups.

But, hamstrung by insufficient funds, training, and equipment, the
force has only now reached a complement of 4,000 troops, and for many
analysts seems to be losing the battle.

The nimble rebels have spread from Mali to Burkina Faso and Niger, as
well as Chad.

Their hit-and-run raids are inflicting a mounting human, economic and
political toll, sparking fears that the coastal countries to the south
are next in line.

Yet another example of the difficulties the region faces came on
Thursday, when two soldiers were killed in two simultaneous attacks in
Burkina Faso's north, security sources told AFP. It was just the
latest in a series of deadly attacks on security forces in the
landlocked West African nation.

Lassina Diarra, a regional political analyst, said scathingly the
Ouagadougou summit should "mark the burial" of the G5 Sahel.

"The ECOWAS countries have realized that they have to act... that they
are threatened," Diarra said.

Mahamadou Savadogo, an academic at the CERRAD research unit into
democracy and development at Senegal's Gaston Berger University, said
the G5 Sahel "is almost on its knees. It started off the wrong way."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also has a grim view of the situation.

"I totally believe we are not winning the war against terrorism in the
Sahel and that the operation should be strengthened," he said last
week.

The scale of the challenge facing the G5 Sahel force is huge.

According to the US thinktank the Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS), the number of radical Islamist-linked
attacks in the Sahel has doubled each year since 2016.

Last year, the tally was 465 -- more than one a day.

"Despite significant international engagement and investment, violent
extremism is increasing," it said.

The British humanitarian charity Oxfam says that 13 million people in
the region currently need help -- water, health, shelter, sanitation
and education are needed in addition to food aid.

- 'International coalition' -

Against this grim background, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, at a
summit of the African Union in July, called for the creation of an
"international coalition" modelled on the lines of the loose alliance
that fought the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The idea of a wider international pitch also appeals to Ivory Coast,
which in 2016 suffered a terror attack that claimed 19 lives.

Its northern border has been declared by France's foreign ministry to
be an "orange" security risk -- French nationals are advised not to go
there unless necessary.

"MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) and the G5 Sahel are not enough. We
have to find wider and more effective means of coordination," Ivorian
President Alassane Ouattara said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has lobbied relentlessly for
donations for the G5 Sahel force, has also signalled a subtle shift in
tone.

Flanked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 summit in
Biarritz last month, he said it was time "for change, in methods and
scale."

- Coastal concern -

Savadogo said West Africa's coastal countries "have taken over the
problem. The structure (of the force) will be modified, although the
outside may be kept."

A French security official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
reacted guardedly to the potential outcome of the Ouagadougou summit.

"Another summit, another meeting, another meeting which ends in a call
for more cooperation... Perhaps. But at least you can see a movement
for change."

Beyond the military realm, there is a widening acknowledgment among
analysts, politicians and army officers themselves that security is
only one part of a much broader strategy to stabilize the Sahel.

ECOWAS -- the Economic Community of West African States -- brings
together 15 countries whose economies range from regional heavyweights
Nigeria and Ivory Coast to the impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger are non-coastal states.

"There are many advantages in seeing the coastal countries taking over
the problem. Their economies are wealthier and they have a better
chance of luring international donors" for security and development,
said Savadogo.
 

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Access Bank Vulnerable To Oil Shocks, Naira Devaluation -Moodys

Fri, 2019-09-13 09:07


 

Access Bank’s assets are exposed to a fall in oil prices and a depreciation of the naira. 

This is the finding reported in a report by a topmost rating agency, Moodys.

“Access’ asset quality remains vulnerable to an oil price decline or a depreciation of the naira, the local currency, because of its high exposure to the cyclical oil and gas sector and foreign currency-denominated loans,” the report said. 

Sighting Access bank’s nine-month result which was released on September 9, Moodys said 30 percent of the lender’s gross loan was owned by debtors in the oil and gas sector. 

These debtors are also responsible for more than half of the bank’s none performing loans (NPL’s). 

The rating agency also noted that 35 percent of the financial institution’s loan book was denominated in foreign currencies, which is "exposing the bank’s clients that do not earn foreign currency revenue to high risk of default on their foreign currency loans".

Moodys also observed that Access Bank’s net value reduced from 10 percent to 9 percent. This implies a 1 percent drop in the size of what a shareholder can receive when the commercial lender’s total assets are deducted from its total liabilities – an indication of the bank’s value. 

The report noted that the expected net value of shareholder equity to asset ratio of a bank of Access’ standing, should be a minimum of 13 percent. 

Moodys, however, observed that the bank had reduced its NPL’s to 6.4 percent, despite absorbing a huge NPL portfolio of 40.4 percent from Diamond Bank, which were not fully provisioned for.

The firm stated that the NPL ratio of the newly merged institution dropped from 14.1 percent as of January 2019 to 6.4 percent as of June 30, 2019. 

Moodys also noted that the bank increased its covering for NPL’s which would allow it to take out more bad debt in the coming future.

“A lower NPL ratio will provide the bank with room to grow its assets, supporting revenue growth,” Moodys said. 

The firm also observed that the institution’s net interest margin (NIM) improved from 5.6 percent to 7.6 percent between June 2018 and June 2019. 

This implies that there was an improvement in the investment decisions of the bank when compared to its debt standing. 

In all, Moodys described the bank as being solvent.

 

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Buhari: I Have No Intention Of Inflicting Additional Hardship On Nigerians

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:54


 

President Muhammadu Buhari says he has no intention of inflicting
additional hardship on Nigerians.

He declared that there are no plans to increase fuel price and also
restated his promise of ridding the nation of corruption and the oil
and gas sector of corruption.

The President said this when he met with newly elected officers of the
Trade Union Congress (TUC) in his office, in Abuja.

The TUC delegation was led by the National President, Quadri Olaleye.

President Buhari disclosed this when he responded to a request by the
group not to increase the price of fuel and promised to sustain the
momentum in his second tenure and lift millions of Nigerians out of
poverty.

He added that the key agenda of the inaugural federal executive
council meeting focused on the medium-term expenditure framework which
includes the minimum wage as he re-echoed a commitment to implement
the new national minimum wage.

Leader of the delegation, Quadri Olaleye of the food, beverage, and
tobacco senior staff association who recently emerged as the new
national president of the TUC, replacing Bobboi Kaigama led
the14-member national administrative council of the union to the
president.

The Minister of Labour and  Employment, Chris Ngige, was also at the
meeting, ChannelsTV reports.
 

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ISWAP Terrorists: How We Ambushed, Killed Dozens Of Soldiers, Seize Nine Military Vehicles

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:50






 

Dozens of soldiers were killed and several others wounded after a fierce attack on a military convoy in the Lake Chad region, SaharaReporter has learnt.

The Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) confirmed that nine four-wheel vehicles were captured from troops in the region after an ambush between Damasak and Gudumbali on Tuesday.

It was earlier reported that nine soldiers were killed and nearly 30 others missing in action but the figure was higher than that.

ISWAP has since claimed responsibility for the attacks saying; "Dozens of dead and wounded among the apostate Nigerian Army in the region of (Lake Chad). West African state Tuesday, 11 Muharram 1441AH, by the Grace of God. 

"The caliphate soldiers ambushed a convoy of the Nigerian Army apostates between the towns of Damasak and Gudumbali and clashed with them with various types of weapons. 

"Meanwhile, the Mujahideen arrived on another site of the apostates near the town Garno in the region of Lake Chad on Tuesday and clashed with them with medium and heavy weapons." 

ISWAP claimed further: "Resulting in the death and injury of dozens of them and the destruction of three trucks and armoured vehicles and seizure of nine four-wheel drives and armoured vehicles as well as other weapons and various ammunition, all praise and gratitude be to Allah."

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Nigeria Ranks 146 Out Of 190 On Ease Of Doing Business Globally

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:37


 

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission says the country is
currently rated 146 of 190 countries on the global Ease of Doing
Business, according to rating by the World Bank.

This rating was revealed by the Executive Secretary of the Commission,
Yewande Smith, in Lagos.

The report, which was presented at the lecture, Nigeria’s Ease of
Doing Business score shows that there was an improvement of 1.37
points from 51.52 distance to frontier in 2018 to 52.89 in 2019.

She added that the Commission had adopted some proactive strategies
geared towards improving Nigeria’s Investment Promotion, thereby
helping to create ease in doing business.

“The Proactive Investment Promotion strategies include focusing on key
strategic partners and countries, identifying high impact sectors,
better balance investors’ rights with obligations, improving investor
experience and using feedback to develop the business environment.”

Others are: proactively inviting target companies to Nigeria and
hand-holding them through the decision making and the implementation
process, and encouraging more Nigerians to invest in the country.

“We encourage states to develop investment promotion agencies so that
they will be specifically charged with the responsibility of promoting
the states,’’ she said.

She urged the government to enable investors so they can create more
jobs that will have a significant impact on the economy, the News
Agency of Nigeria reports.

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Donald Duke: I Owe AMCON N340 Million Not N569 Million

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:25


 

Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River State, has denied a
claim by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria that he owed a
debt of N569 million.

Duke stated that he only owed AMCON N340 million, which he said had been paid.

The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has discharged the order
granted AMCON to take over the property of Duke after he opted for an
out-of-court settlement to pay the debt.

Counsel to Duke, Edoigiawerie Uyi, told the court that his client had
shown good faith by making payment of over N350 million, which the
parties all agreed to.

However, Duke, in a statement said the AMCON blew the matter out of
control by approaching the court and claiming that he owed N569
million.

The statement said, “Recently, an obligation I had to AMCON has made
the news. Whilst I do not understand the excitement this has
generated, bearing in mind that debts far in excess of this have not
received a whisper, clearly some people are having fun at my expense.

“Nevertheless, I think it appropriate now that the issue has been laid
to rest, to state my side of the matter, considering the fervour the
story generated.

“AMCON made a claim of N569 million against me which I disputed. I
guess to arm-twist me they proceeded to court and created a media
circus. Having done what I consider their worst, I insisted on what I
believe is the correct amount. We have since agreed to this amount and
the sum of N340 million has been paid.”

The 2019 presidential candidate, however, took a jibe at his attackers
saying, “I hope this takes the wind off the sail of those who made a
mountain out of a molehill. There was nothing to be excited about
after all.”
 

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Xenophobia: Second Batch Of Nigerians To Leave South Africa September 14

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:25


 

The next flight airlifting Nigerians who indicated interest to
voluntarily leave South Africa would leave the country on Saturday
(tomorrow), The Nation reports.

The Nigerian government had ordered the immediate evacuation of
Nigerians from South Africa following a renewed xenophobic attack in
the country.

A batch of 187 Nigerians transported by Air Peace had arrived in the
country on Wednesday night with the Nigerian government promising
returnees stipends and entrepreneurship training.

Confirming the takeoff of the second batch from South Africa, Prince
Ben Okoli, President of Nigerian Citizen Association, South Africa
(NICASA) said collation of names is ongoing by the Nigerian embassy in
South Africa.

“We are busy doing the collating of names of intending returnees for
the next flight. Hopefully, according to the consul general, the next
evacuation will be done on Saturday,” he said.
 

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NANS: Ekiti Governor Fayemi Busy Fighting For Security Votes, His Wife Lying About Killing Of FUOYE Students

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:21


 

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has asked the
federal government to set up a panel to probe the killing of two
students of the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State by police
officers attached to Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, wife of Ekiti State Governor,
Kayode Fayemi.

The police had opened fire on protesting students, killed two of them
as the students stopped the convoy of the first lady during a tour.

Reacting to the killing of their colleagues, NANS accused the first
lady and Governor Fayemi of denying the truth of the matter and
blaming the students for how the peaceful protest turned bloody.

NANS PRO, Comrade Adeyemi Azeez, said: “We, however, call on the
federal government to probe this killing of our students in Ekiti as
this can best be described as a ‘state-planned assassination'.

“Even when the rich oppress the poor in Nigeria, it is not done in the
open but the reverse was the case of Mrs. Fayemi who threw two
families into sorrow and gnashing of teeth without remorse.

“And against the expectation of mothers, Erelu as fondly called, could
still lie even when the lives of two promising young Nigerians were
involved.

“This pitiable situation which has been on between the rich and the
poor might graduate into a revolt of the poor in this country.

“Despite our respect for Governor Fayemi, his wife has successfully
turned our backs against each other as we would not toy with the life
of any of our students.”

The students also knocked the governor for keeping mute since the news
of the killings of the students broke.

Azeez stated that the governor who is well respected by the national
students’ body is losing their respect.

He said: “We know that God almighty is the biggest judge and will
dispense judgment as due to her.

“You and your husband have the state powers and as a result should be
able to restore normalcy to an uproar, that is why you were elected.

“Her husband, who used to be one of our well-respected elders in NANS,
is also gradually losing our respect as he has not said anything since
this crisis started instead he is busy fighting for security votes.

“If we have our way we would suggest that Ekiti state security vote be
removed since the governor has not been making judicious use of the
ones he has been collecting which is evident in his inability to
secure our students.”

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Nigerian Lawrence Maduagwu Sentenced To 10 Years' Imprisonment For $179,000 Fraud

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:19


Lawrence Maduagwu

Lawrence Maduagwu

 

A Nigerian, Lawrence Maduagwu, has bagged 10 years in prison for fraud
of $179,000.

Justice Mojisola Dada of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos,
found Maduagwu guilty of a two-count charge of stealing and obtaining
by false pretence levelled against him.

According to the EFCC, Maduagwu was introduced to the complainant, PMC
Industry Limited, a Chinese company, through its Nigerian
representative, Ohio Ileogben, as a businessman who deals in calcium
chloride chemicals.

He, however, failed to pay for the 500 metric tonnes of calcium powder
valued at the sum of $179,000, after taking delivery of the items and
efforts to get him to pay for the goods were unsuccessful.

Count one said: “That you, Lawrence Maduagwu, sometime in 2013, at
Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud,
induced PMC Industry Limited, China to confer a benefit on you by
supplying you 500 metric tonnes of calcium chloride powder valued at
$179, 000 on the understanding that you will pay for the goods. But up
till now, you have refused to do so.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge, thereby leading to his
full trial.

In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, S.O. Daji called
five witnesses and tendered several exhibits that were admitted in
evidence by the court.

Delivering her judgment, Justice Dada convicted and sentenced the
defendant to seven years' imprisonment on count one and three years on
count two.

Both sentences are to run concurrently from the date of his remand
(February 28, 2018) by the court.

The judge also ordered that the convict make full restitution of
$179,000, which the EFCC must employ all legal means to ensure
compliance.

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Alleged N6.2bn Fraud: Witness Reveals How Former Governor Jang’s Aide Conveyed Cash To Him

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:12


 

Musa Sunday, a prosecution witness, has revealed to the court how
Jonah Jang, a former governor of Plateau State, received money in cash
from his aides.

Sunday is testifying against Jang as the 11th witness in the ongoing
alleged N6.2 billion fraud, at a State High Court, sitting in Jos,
Plateau State on Thursday.

Jang and the aide, Yusuf Pam, a cashier at the Office of the Secretary
to the State Government, SSG, are accused of colluding to divert state
funds to personal use and are standing trial before Justice Daniel
Longji.

During cross-examination by Mike Ozekhome, (SAN), counsel to Jang,
Sunday explained how Pam, during investigations into the alleged
fraud, took him through the hidden back passage through which he
usually used to take cash to Jang.

He said: “The new Government House is located at the outskirt of town
amidst a lot of buildings.

“Amongst the buildings was the office of the SSG of the state where
Pam and the EFCC detectives reported their arrival to the SSG.

“From the SSG's office we were led to the Government Office, the
Governor’s office, a storey-building with two doors one at the main
entrance and at the back exit.

“There, Pam showed us how he delivered cash in ‘Ghana must go’ bags to
the former Governor.

“He had clearly said and even showed me the back entrances where the
cash was stacked and given to the governor.”

While identifying Exhibit P62, a response from the Plateau State House
of Assembly dated July 19, 2018, and September 2014, alongside the
letter from the EFCC requesting for information, Musa told the court
that investigations revealed that memos were written by the Commission
of Finance, who was involved in seeking approval for the disbursement
of the funds involved in the alleged fraud.

“However, the monies were further transferred from Plateau State One
account to OSSG account where the second defendant withdrew cash and
delivered to the first defendant,” he said.

Under cross-examination, the witness further confirmed that about
$100,000 was deposited in a single day into Standard Chartered Bank.

He said: “On May 6, 2014, $50,000 cash deposit in tranches of $10,000
five times and on May 7, 2014.

“Yakubu Jang, son of the first defendant was among the persons who
deposited monies into the account.”

The case has been adjourned until Friday (today) for continuation.
 

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EFCC Arrests More Suspected Internet Fraudsters

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:10


 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abuja and Ilorin
zonal offices, have arrested 13 suspected internet fraudsters in
separate operations.

Eight of the suspects were arrested following a raid on their
residence located at No. 16 Isaaya Shukari Crescent, Gwarinpa and C15
& A27 City of David Estate, Life Camp, Abuja.

They were arrested on September 9, 2019 following action on
intelligence report indicating their involvement in internet fraud.

Some of the items recovered from them include several mobile phones,
laptop computers, passports, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Avalon, Lexus 15
250, Mercedes 4matic C350, Mercedes C280, Mercedes GLA 280 and Acura.

Those arrested are Chiyiri Izuchi. Nurala Eze Kamchi, Amuka Shadrack,
Nwegbediegwu Chekwubechukwu J, Chigbo Eze, Franklin Okafor, Ezeagwu
Olisaemeka and Nnamani Chukwudera.

EFCC explained that the suspects used their phones and laptop
computers to communicate with their victims who are majorly foreigners
in order to defraud them of their monies.

The anti-graft agency also revealed that the suspects arrested in
Ilorin, Kwara State received monies in several foreign currencies,
deposited into their accounts by their victims.

Items recovered from them include, phones, cars and documents
containing false information.

Those arrested include Stephen Odanye, Abolarin Kayode,  Babatunde
Muhammad, Adepoju Tomiwa and Akinbamidele Femi.

The EFCC stated that those arrested would soon be charged to court.

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Outrage As Nigerians Call For Prosecution Of Mrs. Fayemi's Security Detail Who Shot, Killed University Students

Fri, 2019-09-13 08:06


Bisi Fayemi

Bisi Fayemi

 

Nigerians have called for the arrest and prosecution of security
agents that to Governor Kayode Fayemi's wife, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, for
shooting and killing two students at the Federal University of Oye
Ekiti during a peaceful protest on Tuesday.

The students, who were protesting the absence of electricity in the
school, blocked the convoy of the first lady of Ekiti State while she
was on a tour of the state.

The two students killed are Okonofua Joseph and Dada Oluwaseyifunmi Kehinde.

As one of the students, Dada was buried on Thursday, Nigerians on
social media called for the prosecution of the security detail of Mrs.
Fayemi and demanded that the state governor's wife be held responsible
for the killing.

@agunbiade_isaac said, “We seek justice in fuoye...the soul of the
departed will torment all people responsible for their death until
justice is served #JusticeForFUOYE."

A human right activist, Towolawi Jamiu, who tweets with @jharmo said,
“The freedom to peaceful assembly is sacrosanct & guaranteed by the
1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. We condemned the
killings of FUOYE Students and demand that the perpetrators be brought
to book. Justice must prevail.  #RevolutionNow  #JusticeForFUOYE.”

@segalink tweeted, “May his soul rest in perfect peace. Perpetrators
will know no peace. Everyone linked to their death will be inflicted
with eternal sorrow. Justice will be served. #JusticeForFUOYE
#EndImpunity.”

Another tweeter user, Jegede, who tweets with his personal Tweeter
@jegede__ said, “Kenny, 100 level student of #FUOYE shot by @PoliceNG
is laid to rest. Justice must prevail.”

@Citizen_Gavel, a rights oragnisation that provides free legal service
for victims of abuse said, “The FUOYE tragic incident reiterates our
call for respect of human rights by security agencies, we demand an
independent investigation into the situation and state that all
perpetrators be brought to justice. cc: @PoliceNG_CRU @PoliceNGLagos
@RommyMom1  #JusticeForFUOYE.”

@Cruzomosng said, “@PoliceNG you were screaming and shouting about the
attack by the army on your men meanwhile as usual you just showcased
the reason why karma caught up with you in Ekiti state, I trust you
guys to cover up as usual and lie     #JusticeForFUOYE.”

Meanwhile, some angry students went as far as hurling insults at Mrs. Fayemi.
 

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Bus Collides With Canadian Prime Minister’s Aircraft

Fri, 2019-09-13 02:13


 

Justin Trudeau’s re-election bid suffered a setback on Thursday when a bus carrying journalists collided with his campaign plane at a whistlestop in westernmost Canada, forcing him to fly a loaner, AFP reports.

According to reporters travelling with the Canadian Prime Minister, the collision occurred shortly after landing in Victoria late on Wednesday on the first leg of a cross-country tour.

The media bus drove under and scraped the wing of the plane.

“There were no injuries and the damage to the plane is being assessed,” Liberal spokeswoman, Eleanore Catenaro, told AFP.

The mishap, she added, would not affect Trudeau’s busy schedule, which included campaign stops in Kamloops and Edmonton this week.



 

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Nine Soldiers Reportedly Killed, 20 Missing After Clash With Boko Haram In Borno

Fri, 2019-09-13 02:04


 

At least 20 soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole are reportedly missing, while the bodies of nine others have been recovered in the Gudumbali area of Borno State.

This followed a fierce battle between the troops and Boko Haram insurgents, who were said to have planned a massive attack in the axis.

It gathered that the soldiers were ambushed by the terrorists in a village called Granda, engaging them overnight from Monday until the early hours of Tuesday.

The troops were said to be closely supported with air warfare by the Air Component of the Operation Lafiya Dole.

Sources, however, said some of the soldiers later fled, leading to the overpowering of the military base during which nine soldiers got killed in battle, according to Channels Television.

They added that seven out of the fallen soldiers were slaughtered as the insurgents beat a retreat.

The bodies of the slain soldiers have since been evacuated and deposited at the military hospital in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

According to eyewitnesses, the insurgents carted away a fuel tanker and other vehicles of different brands.

The ambushed battalion had just been deployed to Gudumbali to commence a new operational strategy codenamed “Super Camp”.

It was gathered that the insurgents had sent out spies around the military base, who pretended to be farmers, only for the attack to happen.

The Nigerian Army authorities have yet to confirm the incident and the casualty figure.

 

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Climate Change: Kano Government Recruits 100 Forest Guards

Fri, 2019-09-13 02:01


 

The Kano State Government has recruited 100 forest guards to stem the destruction of the state’s forests and enhance security.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Alhaji Tukur Getso, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Kano.

Getso explained that the government was concerned about the destruction of vegetation in the state and was doing everything possible to arrest the trend.

He noted that it was important to maintain vegetation cover as safeguard to the effects of climate change.

In this respect, the permanent secretary said the state “has gone far in the establishment of a state-owned hydroelectricity power supply company which is expected to produce 23 megawatt targeted at reducing consumption of petroleum products.”

He added that by reducing the demand for petroleum products, the green house gaseous emission would drastically reduce in the state.

Getso noted that the decongestion of road traffic by Kano Road Traffic Agency and ongoing plan to introduce Kano Bus Mass Transit, would significantly reduce air pollution in the environment.

He added that a robust framework had been designed that would be integrated into the National Climate Change Action Plan.

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Nigeria's Best University Ranked 401 In the World

Fri, 2019-09-13 02:00


 

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 has ranked Nigeria’s Covenant University as the best university in Nigeria.

The private institution topped the charts for Nigerian universities but ranked 401 globally.

The ranking system, which evaluates 1,400 universities across 92 countries, is the largest and most diverse university rankings globally and is audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

According to the list seen by SaharaReporters, Nigerian universities, which made the list include the University of Ibadan (number 2 in the country but ranked 501 globally) while the University of Lagos came third in Nigeria while placing 801 globally.

Globally, the University of Oxford leads the rankings in first place, while the University of Cambridge falls to third.

California Institute of Technology rose three places to second, while Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Imperial College London, all appear in the top 10.


 

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I’ll Rather Congratulate Buhari Openly Than Visit Him At Night, Says Wike

Fri, 2019-09-13 01:54


 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that he congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari after the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal confirmed his election because it was better to offer public congratulations than visit him at night.

Wike, according to a report by PUNCH, said that unlike some governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, who visit President Buhari at night, he made his declaration public because it came from his heart.

The Rivers governor made the statement while speaking at the funeral service of Madam Blessing Awuse, mother of one of PDP leaders in the state, Sergeant Awuse, held at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Emohua, on Thursday.

He said, “I am sure all of you are surprised that I congratulated Buhari.

“Is it not good for me to congratulate him than to go to his house in the night?

“Many PDP governors go to see him in his house in the night. I have never gone and I will not go. I won’t go.

“We are the only state that the Federal Government refused to pay our money used to execute federal projects because I don’t go to see him in the night and I won’t go.

“He is not my friend; he is not doing well, but he won in court. Should I say that the court did wrong? No.

“President Buhari, congratulations and carry Nigerians along. Unify the country; the country is too divided.

“I am saying what is right. What I will do, I will do; what I will not do, I will not do.”

 

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When Cows Compete With Students For Space In Ivory Towers By Olabisi Deji-Folutile

Fri, 2019-09-13 01:33


 

When countries around the globe are busy thinking of how to build world class universities that will have positive impacts on their societies, it is unfortunate that some universities in Nigeria could still be burdened with the task of keeping cows away from their classrooms. Sometimes, stories about happenings in Nigeria are just unbelievable. Or, how can anyone fathom a cry for help by a university to curtail cattle invasion of its premises? 

This is pure tragedy especially now that many universities are working on attracting more funds   to embark on cutting-edge researches that will create solutions to world’s challenges. It is bad enough that higher institutions in the country are confronted with myriads of challenges occasioned by either maladministration or paucity of funding. To now add the problem of competing with cows for space in a university environment is one problem too many.

The management of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, had on Tuesday raised the alarm that herdsmen were turning the institution into a cattle colony. The registrar, Mr. John Nnabuihe, described how difficult it was to drive to the university’s Senate building that morning due to the massive cattle invasion of the institution. He further disclosed that the university had written letters to the Cattle Owners Association and copied heads of security agencies, complaining about the development. Going by the registrar’s account, one could deduce that the cattle were more than mere occasional visitors to the campus. They seem to be regular visitors if not permanent residents. This should be more than enough distraction in a learning environment on the norm.

Sincerely, but for the credible source of this information, it would have been hard to believe that Nigeria had degenerated to a level where cows could be competing with students and staff members for space in an ivory tower!  

Of course, FUTO is not the first university to complain about the activities of herdsmen on their campuses. The University of Ilorin and University of Uyo had at one time or the other, lodged similar complaints. It is just that the latest cry from FUTO seems to be more alarming in that the cattle there appear to be bolder and more unrestrained.

Unfortunately, cattle have been sacking pupils from classrooms in Nigeria for some time now. There are many verified videos of such invasion online. Indeed, with the way these cattle move from one level of school to the other, one might be tempted to think that the animals actually understand what it means to progress from a primary school to secondary, and then the university.

Two years ago, teachers and pupils of Ohovbe Primary School, Ikpoba, in Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, abandoned their classrooms and scampered for safety, when a herd of cattle invaded the school. The school authorities watched helplessly, not knowing what to do.

In January this year, a similar thing happened at Ideke Secondary School in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State as cattle and herdsmen took over the school. The school’s head teacher, Mrs Mercy Emumen, could only turn to the state ministry of education for help. Mercifully, the ministry moved into action and evacuated the cows from the classroom for normal academic activities to continue. The Ogun State Government has also had cause in the past to complain about the invasion of its schools by cattle and herdsmen. The education ministry specifically warned cattle herders to stay off the premises of its model schools. 

While cattle escaping to graze within school compounds may not be entirely strange even in the developed countries, it is still viewed as an aberration all the same. Hence, authorities step in as fast as possible to ensure normality as witnessed at a South Georgia middle and high school four years ago, when a small herd of escaped cattle decided to stop and graze at the school’s manicured lawns. The police immediately redirected the cows to where they belonged – a farm located behind the school.

Needless to say, in a country where over 10 million schoolchildren are officially out of school, it is evil omen to allow cattle chase out of classrooms those that have beaten the odds against dropping out of school.

Nigerian universities are still struggling to provide ordinary power – something that is taken for granted in many parts of the world. More than 15 years ago, a vice-chancellor in one of the nation’s first generation universities disclosed that the institution was spending over N120m per year on diesel. That was when a litre of diesel was less than N100. This gives an idea of the amount of money power alone could be gulping in many higher institutions in the country today. Just this Tuesday, two students of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti in Ekiti State, lost their lives while protesting lack of power supply to the institution. They were reportedly killed by the police that were invited to contain the situation. By the way, the Nigeria police have a lot to learn from their counterparts in Hong Kong. Thousands of people in Hong Kong have been protesting for months now but there is yet to be a record of any casualty. Shooting at unarmed citizens simply because they are demanding for their rights, is a despicable crime. 

Meanwhile, the situation in FUTO should be a major concern to all well-meaning Nigerians.  How can universities that are burdened with the task of chasing cattle away from their classrooms and campuses do what universities are meant to be doing in the 21st century? People keep complaining that Nigerian universities are nowhere to be found among top universities in the world. The few ones that appear on world universities’ ratings are far below the list. We must realize that the environment of study is as important as the quality of teaching in any institution. Besides, the negative report of cattle invading a university campus is likely to do more damage to the reputation of our institutions as a whole, than any good.  

Huawei is currently planning to spend more than $300m a year in research funding for universities all over the world. I doubt if Nigerian universities are in the picture. It is not yet late for our universities to start work on attracting some of this huge investment in human knowledge for the benefit of the citizenry and the society as a whole. This is one of the productive tasks universities should be undertaking, not the duty of chasing out cows from their classrooms in the 21st century.  

Whether we like it or not, the world will judge products of Nigerian universities based on the reports they read about these institutions. Nobody is likely to hold in high esteem any university where cows and human beings compete for learning.

Olabisi Deji-Folutile, a member of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, can be reached via bisideji@yahoo.co.uk

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Brexit: UK Needs Skilled Labour From Africa – Nigerian Graduate

Thu, 2019-09-12 22:45


 

A Nigerian graduate, who was mandated to return home after his master’s programme in Scotland, United Kingdom, has said that the two-year window recently announced for foreign students to stay back after their studies and secure jobs, was a strategy to get skilled labour from Africa.

Umeh, who obtained a master’s degree from the University of Dundee, said he found no opportunity when he returned to Nigeria.

He said, “I came back to Nigeria, I didn’t find a single opportunity.”

Former Prime Minister, Teresa May, had created a policy in 2012 that terminated the stay of foreign students four months after their degree programme ended.

But with Britain’s exit from the European Union gathering pace, her successor, Boris Johnson, is determined to reverse that rule to boost UK’s workforce.

“But, you cannot look at that issue without looking at Brexit. Brexit so far, has been a total disaster.

“The way it is going, they need skilled labour, cheap skilled labour. And where can they get it? Africa.

“You can’t talk about Africa without talking about Nigeria. And, they know the trend.

“They know Nigerian students are brilliant and hardworking.” 

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I Appoint Women To Head Finance Ministry For Inclusivity, Says Buhari

Thu, 2019-09-12 22:34


 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he appoints women to lead the finance sector in order to ensure effective management of limited resources available and promote a stronger sense of inclusiveness.

The President said this while receiving a delegation of women leaders of the All Progressives Congress from across the country.

Buhari had appointed two women consecutively to lead the Ministry of Finance after picking Kemi Adeosun and Zainab Ahmed.

He said he preferred women to oversee the economic and financial hub of the country as they can readily deploy their experience in aligning resources with the needs of the country.

He added that Nigeria had many female technocrats with local and international experiences on economy and finance.

Buhari said, “I am happy that I can defend myself very effectively on this issue. The APC party leader is my witness. Since the coming into power of this administration, I have handed over the treasury to women.

“Even at the household level, you hand over the money to women to manage. It can be taken to the level of managing the country’s treasury as well. I have consistently given it to women. It is strategic.

“I am conscious of the leadership roles of women in the society and by my action, I have justified my belief.”

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