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The Yoruba Deserve 2023 Presidency, The Igbo Are Not A Serious People By Fredrick Nwabufo

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 20:26


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

There is nothing as fatal as a blow from a “consanguineal fist”.  A cut from a “sibling” hurts deeper than that from a stranger. I have been inflicted severe cuts – caustic verbal attacks - by some Igbo persons for advocating a president of Igbo extraction in 2023. While some of them are irritated by the attention that I have been able to generate for the cause, a few others see the “advocacy” as a means of cutting deals for filthy lucre.

The fiercest opposition to the cause, “president of Igbo extraction in 2023”, has been the people for which it is championed – the Igbo.  While some of my kinsmen argued that they want restructuring and not the presidency, a great number of them say that they only want to “secure Igbo-land economically, politically and security-wise.” But when you ask them, how they intend to actualise these “dreams”, they just let off inchoate pieces of babble. As a matter of fact, most of these objurgators are just fortune seekers pinning and angling to benefit from “anything Igbo.”

I recall when Ifeanyi Uba, senator-elect, Anambra South, was trying to make an inroad into the fold of the dominant party at the national assembly, he was brutally hacked down with vicious criticisms by his own people. I have reflected pensively on what the Igbo political agenda could be, but at every point I become sectioned with a brain fag.  What do the Igbo really want?

I have written a couple of essays, expounding the reasons the Igbo deserve the 2023 presidency and why all Nigerians of dispassionate interest and untainted conscience must support the group in actualising this noble goal. I still believe, for the sake national cohesion, the southeast region deserves a shot at the presidency. But it appears they are not ready for it.

In my essay, ‘With Buhari’s 4+4, Igbo presidency in 2023 is now non-negotiable’, I wrote: “I believe healing will begin for Nigerians when political justice is seen to have been done to all. At that point we can build a country defiant to disunity. But political justice must be done to all to get to this stage.”

However, I failed to add: “Political justice must be demanded when it is not given”. How can justice be done to a people who have resigned to hopeless fate? How can a people who are stuck in political stasis be called to the table for negotiations? How can a people who are on the path of no certain destination be taken seriously?

Really, I was surprised at the reactions to the essay by most Nigerians from the north and the south-west. I have messages from reputable Nigerians across ethnic divides in my phone log, telling me that it will be grave injustice if the Igbo are schemed out of the 2023 presidential race. I remember one retired general asked at the end of his message to me, “But what is the southeast doing about the 2023 presidency?” I only responded with a “smiley OMG”. But the answer to that is, “nothing; just whining, blowing hot air, fantasising about restructuring and mouthing off about Biafra”.

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. I can see the southwest positioning itself strategically and making the necessary noise and calculated connections for a 2023 presidential bid. I cannot begrudge a people who are resolute about what they want, and who are, most importantly, feisty about their destiny.  The cake will certainly be taken by a fiercer cat; it will not be handed to a gutless kitten.

You can demand political justice when it is not given; injustice only persists because you allow it.

Fredrick is a media personality.

Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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How Captain Iniobong Ekong, Special Aide to Akwa Ibom State Governor Tried To Conceal Love Affair By Jailing Mistress

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 19:57






Captain Iniobong Ekong, the Senior Special Adviser on security matters to the Akwa Ibom state governor, has been reported to be  involved in a love affair that went awry.

It was gathered that he had the love affair with one Adiaesup Etukudoh and the affair resulted in pregnancy. 

The pregnancy, however, was said to be 'cryptic'  and hence could not be detected by scans.The result of her pregnancy thus proved to be negative.

She gave birth on the 15th of November 2017.

According to the Etukudoh, the captain was in the know of everything and had given her four hundred thousand naira (N400,000) to buy things in preparation for the arrival of the kids. When the kids finally arrived, a set of twins, she had called him to come and see the kids but he refused and made no more attempts to cater for their upkeep. 

Frustrated by the burden of raising the kids alone, Etukudoh, decided to pay Ekong a visit but was prevented from entering the house and therefore resorted to causing a scene.

Captain Iniobong Ekong, who was out of the country when this happened, decided to file a petition upon hearing about her public outburst.

Ekong then had his lawyer, Bar. Mfon Udeme, put a call through to Etukudoh on the 6th of May 2019 stating that he was interested in opening an account for the kids and she should meet him at Zenith Bank. It however turned out to be a ploy by the captain to have her arrested.

Etukudoh was taken to the state police headquarters at Ikot Akpan Abia and was kept there from morning to evening. She was asked to call someone to bail her but she felt it was another ploy in the captain's grand 'script' of getting her jailed . Sensing how serious the matter was, she later considered contacting her mother by 6 pm in the evening which by then was too late for a bail.

There was a twist to the story the next day when she was asked to provide the children for a DNA test before she could be granted bail.

Etukudoh however refused to provide the kids deducing the influence of Captain to have the DNA results doctored in his favour.

She was held behind bars till Monday, 13th of May 2019 and was eventually charged to court without the knowledge of her lawyer, Barr. Ekanem. In court, the magistrate asked that she be remanded in the prison pending the sitting on Wednesday.

After a magistrate sitting on the 15th May, the trial judge said the case was not in his jurisdiction and therefore Etukudoh could not be granted bail. The case has however been transferred to the Director of Public Prosecutions to file charges at the High Court in the state.

Meanwhile, all efforts to contact Captain Iniobong Ekong and his lawyer, Barr. Mfon Udeme, through calls and text messages proved abortive.

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EFCC Arraigns Two Lawyers In Court For Stealing N188.7m From Dead Boss

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 19:45



Tom Awhana, the former Head of Chambers for the Law Office of Mr. Mogbeyi Sagay, a late Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was on arraigned on Friday at an Ikeja Special Offences Court for stealing N188.7 million belonging to the law firm of the late senior lawyer. 

Awhana was arraigned alongside Paul Okoro a former lawyer in the law firm who is also accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of stealing N3.6million from the firm. 

Awhana and Okoro pleaded not guilty to a joint charge of conspiracy to steal.

Okoro denied the charge of stealing while Awhana pleaded not guilty to a 16-count charge of stealing. 

According to the EFCC, Awhana was the Head of Chambers of the law firm of Mogbeyi Sagay and Co. from 2010 to 2018. 

Sagay his Principal, died in 2012.

He was made signatory to the law firm's Zenith Bank Account alongside three administrators of the late SAN's estate. 

It was allegedly mandated that three persons out of the four administrators can withdraw from the bank account with the cheque booklet of the Zenith Bank account in Awhana's possession. 

The prosecution said that unknown to the staff of the firm, other administrators and the consultant to the law firm, Awhana opened other secret bank accounts in the name of Mogbeyi Sagay (SAN) and Co. in FCMB, Union Bank and Heritage Bank Plc. 

The first defendant (Awhana) is alleged to have diverted drawn cheques into those secret accounts. He is also alleged to have from 2012 to 2017, stolen a total of N188.7 million belonging to Mogbeyi Sagay (SAN) and Co. 

Okoro, the second defendant, is alleged by the prosecution to have from Oct. 14, 2012 to June 28 2013, stole N3.6 million belonging to the law firm. 

According to the EFCC, the offences contravene Sections 287 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015.

Following the plea of the defendants, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, the lead prosecuting counsel for the anti-graft agency,  requested for a trial date adding that  the court should impose stiff bail conditions on the lawyers. 

"I have discussed with my learned friends, I will leave it to my lordship to impose bail conditions that will make the defendants available in court throughout this trial," Oyedepo said. 

Ms. Oluwaseun Olusiyi, the defence counsel to Awhana, via a bail application dated May 17 asked the court to grant him bail in self recognisance. 

"The first defendant is a legal practitioner of high repute and negotiations towards an amicable resolution are underway with the complainant. He was the Head of Chambers of the firm," Olusiyi said. 

Mr. K. U Ani, the counsel to Okoro the second defendant in his bail application dated May 17 also asked the court to grant him bail on self recognisance. 

"The second defendant has fractured his legs and is depending on medical treatment. I ask that ypu grant him bail on self recognisance My Lord," he said. 

Justice Mojisola Dada in a short ruling noted that settlement talks were ongoing between the complainant and the defendants. 

She ordered that as a bail condition, Awhana and Okoro should submit their international passports to the court. 

"The  defendants shall however submit their international passports pending the determination of this suit. 

"They shall be remanded in prison custody till the perfection of their bail condition. This case is adjourned until June 4 for trial," she said.

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Legality Of Marijuana In Nigeria: A Legal Opinion By Kayode Ajulo PhD

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 19:29



Abstract
In the recent times, there have been calls from different quarters on the need to legalize the use of Marijuana in Nigeria. This legal opinion considers the mischief behind the laws proscribing the production, possession, sale and use of Marijuana and thereafter considers the benefits of legalizing Marijuana in Nigeria.

Introduction
Classified as an illicit drug in many countries, marijuana is outlawed by many governments. In Nigeria, it is often referred to as ‘Indian hemp’, in the country, Cannabis Sativa, which has enjoyed use as fibre, seed and seed oils, medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug traces its origin to Central and South Asia. The drug also has many other aliases igbo, dope, ganja, sensi, kuma, morocco, eja, kpoli, weed, trees, etc. Though usually smoked, the plant can be soaked in alcoholic drinks dubbed ‘monkey-tail’, and consumed mostly in the south-south parts of the country. Some people cook food with it, some boil it to drink as tea, while others just chew the plant and seeds. 

Physiologically, cannabis causes euphoria, relaxes the muscles and increases appetite. On the downside, the drug can impair motor skills, cause anxiety and paranoia and decrease short-term memory.

Deemed an illicit drug by the law, it had always been an offence in Nigeria to smoke marijuana, and it has largely been frowned upon by society. However, paradoxically, despite increased hounding of growers, sellers, and users, marijuana appears to be consumed in ever greater quantities.

The Agency saddled with the enforcement of drug laws in Nigeria is the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The Agency has the job of curtailing the consumption of drugs in Nigeria. The general powers of the Agency is contained in section 3 of the NDLEA Act.

Under the NDLEA Act,  which came about by the promulgation of Decree Number 48 of 1989, the possession or smoking of cannabis, or even allowing one’s premises to be used for dealing in cannabis, can result in a prison sentence from 15 years to life. Its precursor, the Indian Hemp Act, was even harsher, carrying a maximum sentence of death.

Marijuana in Nigeria
Statistics show that cultivation to transportation and to sales, the marijuana industry connects different cities throughout Nigeria. At many outdoor markets and public motor garages, it is not strange to see marijuana smokers puffing away.

The 2011 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report stated that cannabis use was prevalent among 14.3 per cent of 15 to 64 year olds in Nigeria. The same report in 2014 revealed that Nigeria had made the highest number of cannabis seizures of any African country. Following this report, the NDLEA launched a programme dubbed ‘Operation Weed Eaters’ that aimed to rid the country of cannabis.

While marijuana can be grown in all parts of the country, according to the NDLEA, the states that are notorious for cultivating the plant are Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta. In September, the NDLEA destroyed cannabis farms in Ute and Ose local government areas in Ondo State and arrested 30 suspects, seizing 31 kilograms of dried weed suspected to be marijuana in the Suleja area.

Between January and June 2014, NDLEA arrested 4,511 suspected drug traffickers and seized 47,423 kilograms of drugs. Of that number, cannabis accounted for 45,875 kilograms. Though these seizure figures are high, large quantities of marijuana still find their way to the market baffling the law enforcement system.

Legalizing Marijuana in Nigeria
While it is important to note that many countries including Nigeria have enacted harsh laws against the cultivation, possession or sale of cannabis. In fact, dealing or using marijuana in countries such as Singapore, China, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia could land one from four years in jail to public beheadings.
But in recent years, some nations have adopted a different strategy, of decriminalizing marijuana usage as a way of combating it. These societies have also often reduced the penalties for possession of small quantities of cannabis, so that it is punished by confiscation or a fine rather than by imprisonment. The idea has been to focus more resources on those who traffic the drug.

Uruguay made history by becoming the first country to legalise cultivation, trade and usage of marijuana in December 2013. In countries as varied as the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Peru, and Canada, the emphasis has shifted towards the decriminalization of marijuana. Jamaica, a country where marijuana smoking has long been popular, is set to decriminalize it too.
In 2018, Thailand’s military government unanimously approved medical marijuana use, which would make it the first country to legalize cannabis use in any form in Southeast Asia.
There are several laws in Nigeria which prohibit cultivating, possessing and using Marijuana.
 

Section of 11 of the NDLEA Act provides that:
Any person who, without lawful authority-
(a) imports, manufactures, produces, processes, plants or grows the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life; or
(b) exports, transports or otherwise traffics in the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life;
(c) sells, buys, exposes or offers for sale or otherwise deals in or with the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life; or
(d) knowingly possesses or uses the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroine or any other similar drugs by smoking, inhaling or injecting the said drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than fifteen years but not exceeding 25 years.
 
See also Okewu v FRN (2012) LPELR-7834(SC); Nwadiem v. FRN (2018) LPELR-9845 (CA)
 
Similarly, section 7 of the Indian Hemp Act prohibits the use of Indian hemp.
 
From the above provisions, the law proscribes the illegal cultivation, use, sell and possession of Narcotics. The poser from the above is “whether there could be instances of legal cultivation, use, sell and possession of Narcotics?”
 
A careful perusal of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act will reveal that there was no mention of legal use of Narcotics. What could appear to seem as a provision for legal use is provided for under section 3 of the NDLEA Act. The section provides that:
(1) Subject to this Act and in addition to any other functions expressly conferred on it by other provisions of this Act, the Agency shall have responsibility for-…
 
(h) the facilitation of rapid exchange of scientific and technical information and the conduct of research geared towards eradication of illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
 
It is on the heels of this provision that the NDLEA had given a letter of “No Objection” to Medis Oil Company Limited and two others to import seeds of industrial cannabis for research purposes.
 
Similarly, Under Article 3 paragraph 5 of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to which Nigeria is signatory to, it is envisaged that as a result of research, a drug may be deleted from schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention if researches reveal its therapeutic advantages. At the risk of repetition but for the sake of emphasis the Paragraph provides:
 
A Party shall, if in its opinion the prevailing conditions in its country render it the most appropriate means of protecting the public health and welfare, prohibit the production, manufacture, export and import of, trade in, possession or use of any such drug except for amounts which may be necessary for medical and scientific research only, including clinical trials therewith to be conducted under or subject to the direct supervision and control of the party.
(Underlining supplied for emphasis) 
 
A careful reading of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs reveal that Narcotics may be used by signatory states for research and medical purposes. Cannabis plant or its resin or extract with THC content lower than 1% is considered as CBD (medical) cannabis and not psychoactive.
 
Economic benefits of Marijuana: Thailand as a Case Study
 

Despite the facts that the mischief which several stringent laws against Narcotics seek to prevent is the harm they do to human health, recent medical studies have also indicated that marijuana can also be beneficial to health.

Thailand’s military government unanimously approved medical marijuana use, which would make it the first country to legalize cannabis use in any form in Southeast Asia.
It is apropos to note that Thailand was once infamous for its harsh penalties on drug users, including the death penalty. Cannabis was also once extensively used in Thailand for medicinal purposes as well as clothing, where fibers from both marijuana and hemp plants were used in creating fabrics. Thailand’s cannabis is one of the country’s largest exports.
Globally, the medicinal cannabis industry is projected to be worth $55.8 billion dollars by 2025.
 
Considering the High rate of employment in Nigeria, legalizing Marijuana will provide job opportunities for many Nigerian youths.  
 
Health Benefits of Cannabis
One of the first big medical issue that cannabis was shown to effectively treat is Glaucoma. Ingesting cannabis helps lower the pressure in the eyeball, giving patients at least temporary relief.
It can improve lung health. Some conditions like lung cancer and Emphysema have been shown to regress when cannabis is thrown to the mix.
Cannabis can also offer serious relief for arthritis, especially when using quality cannabis creams and balms. It’s helpful for those with post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). It could help regulate metabolism: as it helps your body process and deal with food and obesity, it also helps maintain and regulate metabolism.
 
It also helps people with AIDS/HIV in the sense that cannabis helps those living with it cope by helping them maintain their diets and handle associated pains and aches.
 
It proved effective for treating nausea: chemical compounds in cannabis react with brain receptors to regulate feelings of nausea.
 
Cannabis could potentially treat headache naturally and won’t chew through your stomach lining or take its toll on ones body.
 
It has also been found to be at least somewhat effective in the treatment of a handful of sexually transmitted diseases, including Herpes and Chlamydia.
 
It could help with speech problems: if anyone has an issue with stuttering, cannabis can help in the same way that it helps calm spasms and twitches.
 
It can improve skin conditions and treat skin conditions like eczema vide cannabis topical.
 
Recreational Benefits of Marijuana
 
Apart from the argument for the legalization of cannabis for medical and medicinal purposes, there is the argument that its possession and use for recreational purposes should be decriminalized. As would be seen, some countries have passed legislation that decriminalizes possession up to certain amounts and allows recreational use and cultivation up to certain amounts too.
 
Notwithstanding, there remain ethical questions to its widespread use. At the core of this ethical debate is the question: Is it morally wrong to be high? I am certain that we will agree that we might not have a winner in that debate.
If we are to go by the fact that it impairs cognitive abilities, then it might be morally wrong to ingest anything that impairs our sense of judgment in any way.
 
Conclusion
Taking clue from the Utilitarian theory that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness”, from the facts and benefits highlighted above, there is really a need to legalize the use of Marijuana in the country.

It is succinct to point out that war on drugs is often far costlier than the drugs themselves.  Thus if the money pumped against the use of drugs could be redirected in cultivating Marijuana for economic use, there will be a great boast in the economy of the Country. 

Finally, one of the greatest problems in policing the illegal use of cannabis is the enforcement of the laws governing its illegality. This in itself has been one of the big drivers for the calls for its legalization across many countries of the world. Most of the proponents of the legalization of its use for both medical and recreational purposes have stated that its criminalization has not stopped its increasingly widespread use but instead, has helped deny people of its ‘wonder working powers’, as a drug, especially in treating chronic pain as earlier mentioned.
 
Recommendations
 
Having considered the benefits accruable to the production, sale and use of Marijuana, it is hereby recommended that the National Assembly should be lobbied to amend the provisions of the NDLEA Act and other relevant laws in order to make room for the legal production, manufacturing, sale and use of Marijuana in Nigeria which in turn boast the economy of the Nation as a whole.
 
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency should also enforce the provisions of 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and allow the use of Marijuana for medicinal purposes.
 

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BREAKING: Plateau State Gov, Lalong Emerges Chairman Northern Governors' Forum

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 18:34


Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State has emerged chairman of the Northern Governors Forum.

He was elected at a meeting of Nothern governors which was held in Kaduna on Friday.

Lalong's association with the caucus in the past has caused rancor especially among some Plateau indigenes who feel his presence in the bloc is baseless.

The position was  previously held by Kashim Shettima, governor of Borno State.

More to come.

 

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Nigerian Judicial System Favours Rich 'Over' Poor, Says Falana

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 17:56


Femi Falana (SAN), foremost human rights lawyer in Nigeria, has condemned the Nigerian bar and bench as well as the criminal justice system for working in favour of the rich as against poor Nigerians.

Speaking at the 2019 law week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Epe branch, Lagos state, Falana stated that the Nigeria judicial system treats the rich with respect, presuming them innocent of all criminal activities until proven guilty.

The veteran lawyer also said that the anti-graft agencies in the country are part of the problem because they are yet to secure the convict many high profile cases.

Falana stated that “By virtue of section 17 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law. 

“But in practice, the rich and poor defendants are not treated equally by Nigerian courts. Apart from the fact that rich litigants have the means to hire the services of the best lawyers in any area of the law, the courts are manned by judges who are not neutral in the class struggle being waged daily by the Nigerian people.”

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that apart from two former governors, Messrs Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, other convicted persons are lowly-placed individuals in the society.

“Notwithstanding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been accused by the bourgeois media of engaging in Gestapo tactics with respect to the treatment of suspects, it cannot be denied that the rights of influential criminal suspects are well respected by the commission,” he said.

Falana also posited that rich defendants have continued to frustrate their prosecution with the connivance of some senior lawyers adding that rich suspects do apply to be kept in EFCC’s cells rather than police and prison cells.

He said: “The big men and women implicated in allegations of serious economic crimes being investigated by the commission usually receive polite letters of invitation, telephone calls or text messages advising them to contact named investigators whose telephone numbers are supplied.

“If and whenever influential criminal suspects report themselves they are treated with the utmost courtesy by the investigators. Since they are presumed innocent until they are proved guilty by the State they are never paraded before the media, regardless of the gravity of the offence committed by them.”

He urged the Nigerian judicial system to follow the pattern obtained in Western countries where the rich and the poor are treated equally before the law.

“Unlike what obtains in western countries it is infra dignitate to subject big men and women to the restraint of handcuff in Nigeria. Hence, hell was let loose when a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party on trial for money laundering was recently handcuffed by the Kuje prison authorities.

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Should Indian Hemp Be Legalised In Nigeria? By Natasha Akpoti

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 17:53




It suddenly turned cold in Boston and I wasn’t properly dressed for the weather.

My hotel was far away and my only option was to dash into a store for some jeans or leggings to wear under my long dress. 

Patagonia was right beside me. 

I walked in and began hunting for the perfect pair. 

Then I saw a signage “HEMP CLOTHING “ and in smaller letters : 

Natural . Misunderstood. Legal. 

I walked up to the racks beneath and behold, all clothing from jeans to skirts; baby wears to socks were made out of hemp. 

Trust my Nigerianess... Indian Hemp ke. I no dey buy . Make cold kuku kill me. I remembered all the horrible ideas of how destructive hemp is. 

So I ended up walking away from that store into another for my purchase. 

However, curiosity got the better part of me... so I opened my laptop and began my research into hemp.  

My discovery left me astonished 

Hemp has been used by humans for over 10,000 years and it’s the strongest natural fiber in the world. 

Interestingly, there are no wasted parts of the hemp plant . Both seeds and stalks are used to produce the following;

Hemp Seed
From hemp seeds we get lotions, hair creams, makeup, nail polish, cooking oil, paint production, fuel production, ink, animal feeds, bakery products, dairy production, beer production, butter, milk, chocolate , cereal etc. 

Hemp stalks
All clothing made out of cotton can be made from hemp e.g jeans, shirts, face caps etc. Moreover, Fiber board for construction, fiberglass , compost, fuel as biodiesel and ethanol, carpets, plastic products, baby diapers, papers, bags, canvas, shampoo, sneakers and so much more are made from hemp. 

Little wonder, China’s hemp market generated $1.1b in 2017 while America’s hemp market generated $1b in 2018. 

So let’s ponder, if the world has created over 50,000 uses from hemp and countries cashing in on the vast market thereby generating revenue and jobs, why is Nigeria still stuck on its illegal pronouncement by the Indian Hemp Act of  31st March of 1966. 

Do you think we are being hypocritical in the management of hemp in Nigeria? 

Is there a way legislative reforms and of course some regulatory measures can be put in place to balance hemp’s consumption while Nigeria operates a sustainable manufacturing industry? 

Remember, Hemp is illegal in Nigeria yet Nigeria is the 8th ranking country in the world’s hemp consumption. Sadly by mostly idle youths who are not properly educated about its vices. 

Probably, discussions and debates on hemp and cannabis generally should be held often to help educate and guide our youths against its abuse... this would also help create a world of entrepreneurial opportunities and have our youths gainfully employed from the same “destructive” product . 

Suffice it to applaud the out-of-the-box economic diversification efforts of Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state who is charging Nigeria to key into the 2025 forecasted $145b Cannabis market. 

By the way, we are talking about industrial hemp. 

Note: it’s about time we get leaders who are disruptive in their ability to create thriving innovative yet inclusive economics. 

Leaders bold enough to challenge our blind-spots and launch Nigeria out of hopelessness into adventurous prosperity. 

Natasha Akpoti is a senatorial candidate, Kogi Central, 2019 general election.

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BREAKING: INEC Debunks Sowore's Suspension From AAC, Says 'He Is The Only Chairman We Recognise'

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 16:26




The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would only continue to recognize and relate with Mr. Omoyele Sowore as the substantive National Chairman of the African Action Congress (AAC).

INEC's decision is coming five days after one Mazi Okwy read a resolution of suspension to journalists in Abuja while installing the expelled secretary of the party, Leonard Ezenwa as acting party chairman.

The electoral body in a statement signed by Rose Oriaran-Anthony, secretary to the commission on Friday said: "The commission after reviewing the content of the letter has established the following.

"There is no documentary evidence that a meeting of the AAC National Executive Committee (NEC) was convened by the National Chairman as required by Chapter 9 Section 59(a) of the Constitution of AAC.

"The party did not provide a 21-day notice of the NEC meeting as required by Section85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

"There are no minutes or evidence of attendance of the AAC National Executive Committee meeting where the National Chairman and eight (8) others were purportedly suspended.

"Accordingly, the Commission shall continue to recognize and relate with Mr. Sowore Omoyele as the substantive national Chairman of the African Action Congress."

More to come.

 

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Kenya’s Ex-President, Arap Moi Ordered To Pay $10.05m For Seizing Widow's Land

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 15:23


A court in Kenya has ordered former President Daniel Arap Moi to pay 1.06bn shillings ($10.5m; £8.2m) in compensation to a widow for illegally seizing her land.

Mr. Moi transferred to himself 53 acres of land belonging to widow Susan Cheburet Chelugui, the judge ruled.

The land was illegally seized 36 years ago but only transferred to Mr. Moi's name in 2007.

Ms. Chelugui's husband Noah Chelugui was a local chief during Mr. Moi's rule.

The former president, who remains Kenya's longest-serving leader, was accused by Ms. Chelugui and her son David Chelugui of transferring their family land into his name two years after Ms. Chelugui's husband passed away.

Mr. Moi is then said to have sold the land to Rai Plywood Limited, a timber firm, the BBC reports.

Rai Plywood Limited told the judge that it had bought the land from Moi in 2007 after thorough legal checks.

According to report garnered by newsmen, Mr. Moi was unable to provide the court any proof of how he came to possess the land.

Judge Anthony Ombwayo said Mr. Moi had behaved in a way that was "unconstitutional, irregular, unprocedural" and "tainted".

Mr. Moi became Kenya's second president in 1978 and served until 2002.

He ruled the country with an iron fist and was accused of human rights abuses.

Under international pressure, he allowed multi-party elections in 1992, which were marred by widespread violence and allegations of rigging.

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'Young People In Africa Lack Economic Hope, Opportunities', Tony Elumelu Cries Out

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 15:08




Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings and Tony Elumelu Foundation, has said young people in Africa are leaving because they lack economic hope and opportunities. 

He raised the alarm while speaking on Thursday in Paris at the 'Tech for Summit' organised by Emmanuel Macron, president of France.

On why young people on the African continent are migrating to countries in the global North, Elumelu said the lack of economic opportunities is a driving force.

He said: “Africa needs this type of gathering – we are a continent with over 60% of its people under the age of 30 – they need economic opportunities, they need hope”.

“I represented the African continent to draw attention to our young ones who seek economic hope and opportunity via technology.

“Technology is a great employer of labour, technology drives inclusiveness, technology helps to alleviate poverty, but we must not forget that in Africa we are just starting out and we cannot afford to lag behind.

“We need the world to pay attention to Africa so that young Africans are not disenfranchised and left behind in this new technology era. We need the world to pay attention to the plight of young Africans so that issues of migration can be addressed in a more fundamental way – by tackling the root cause which is a lack of economic hope.”

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Court Throws Out Suit Challenging Defection Of Saraki, Dogara, 52 Other Lawmakers

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 14:17


The Federal High Court has struck out the suit filed by a civic group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP),  to order lawmakers to vacate their seats in the National Assembly and return all salaries and allowances earned since their defection.

In July 2018, 37 members of the House of Representatives defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC). About 32 of them joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), four joined the African Democratic Congress (ADC) while one did not announce his new party at the time.

On the same day, 14 APC senators defected to the PDP.

Meanwhile, being part of the defendants, Mr. Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in their response asked the court to dismiss the suit filed by the group on grounds that it is an abuse of court process.

The duo added that the suit lacked merit.

The defendants had submitted that the plaintiff has no ‘locus standi’ to institute the case.

Delivering judgment on Friday, the judge, Okon Abang, held that “the plaintiff’s case has merit but lacks locus standi to institute the case.”

“The plaintiff that instituted this case is not a political party that sponsored the election of the lawmakers.

“Also the plaintiff is not Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that regulates the activities of political parties and monitor elections.

“The plaintiff is not a registered voter in Nigeria.

“They are not members of the National Assembly.”

“None of the political party that sponsored the lawmakers is a party in this case.”

“They, therefore, lack the capacity, legal power to institute the case.

“The plaintiff’s case is incompetent and thereby struck out,” Mr. Abang ruled.

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Painter Lands In Lagos Court For Stealing Noodles, Spagetti

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 14:15



Michael Anifowoshe a 26-year old painter on Friday stood before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court, for allegedly stealing five cartons of noodles and five cartons of spaghetti.

Anifowose who is being tried for conspiracy and stealing has pleaded not guilty. 

The Prosecutor, Inspector Mathew Akhaluode told the court that the defendant committed the offences with some persons now at large on April 27, at about 11 pm in Ikeja.

Akhaluode said that Anifowoshe stole five cartons of noodles valued at N21,000 and five cartons of spaghetti valued N14,000, property of one Mr. Ahmed Salami.

“Salami was trying to repair his faulty car when Anifowoshe and his accomplices walked up to him, distracted his attention and stole the items.

“The complaint raised an alarm and with the help of some passersby the defendant was arrested,” the prosecutor said.

Akhaluode said the offence contravened Section 411 and 287 of Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Magistrate, O.O. Fagbohun, granted the defendant a bail of N20,000 with one surety in like sum and adjourned the case until May 24.

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Supreme Court To Consider Motion Challenging Onnoghen’s Suspension

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 13:40


The Supreme Court has crossed out a motion filed by the Rivers State Government challenging the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The application, which had initially faced a dismissal, was reconsidered by Justice Mary Odili.

It would be recalled that the Rivers State Government had approached the Supreme Court following Onnoghen's suspension in January, by order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, and made a request that the apex court should invoke section 232 (1) of the constitution to assume original jurisdiction on the matter.

The section provides thus: “The Supreme Court shall, to the exclusion of any other court, have original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Federation and a State or between States if and in so far as that dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends. ”

The import of the above provision is that where the Supreme Court assumes original jurisdiction, a matter does not necessarily have to emerge from the lower court before it can be entertained by the apex court.

In reaction to the application, the federal government said the section relied upon by the Rivers State Government only allows the Supreme Court to assume original jurisdiction where the matter involves a particular state and federal government.

According to the court, the matter for which the instant application was brought does not involve a dispute between the Rivers government and the federal government.

In a lead judgment agreed to by four judges, read by Paul Galinje, the apex court agreed with the submissions of the federal government that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Consequently, the court upheld the objection raised by the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, and ruled that it would not delve into the merit of the substantive application.

However, in a dissenting judgment delivered by Justice Mary Odili however, the judge said the section also allows the Supreme Court to assume original jurisdiction where the dispute involves any question on which the extent of a legal right depends.

She, therefore, held that the court had jurisdiction in the matter and decided to entertain the original application.

The Rivers State Government had demanded the nullification of the January 25 suspension of Mr. Onnoghen, citing violations of the constitutional provisions.

 In the dissenting judgment, Mrs. Odili agreed with the submissions of the Rivers State Government and allowed their application.

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'Goodluck Jonathan Promised Us N100bn In 2015', Says Miyetti Allah

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 13:14


Miyetti Allah group

Miyetti Allah group

Salah Alhassan, the National Secretary, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has admitted that the group demanded N100 billion from the Federal Government of Nigeria. 

The admittance from the group is coming after the federal government denied it had a conversation about money to end incessant herdsmen attacks around the country. 

The group made the admittance in an interview with The Punch on Thursday. 

Alhassan said former President Goodluck Jonathan promised to give them the money and that was what informed their decision to support his re-election in 2015.

On if the money was meant to be hush money from the Federal Government, Alhassan said: “That is a mischievous statement. Do they pay money like that? Have they ever paid any money like that? That N100bn has been on the table for mini-ranches since 2014 when (former) President Goodluck Jonathan was trying to address the lingering crisis between farmers and herders.

“So, part of that money was, I think, used by state governors under the committee chaired by the then Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam. But I don’t think the bulk of the money has reached the pastoralists, the herders.

“As part of that policy, they (the Federal Government) are trying to see how they can now assist livestock producers to address farmers/herders conflicts via a policy.

“So, people now saying they have given Miyetti Allah N100bn to stop kidnappings are just being mischievous because from what we have observed, there are certain people that are twisting narratives.”

Alhassan lamented that some Nigerians didn’t want any kind of support to come from the government for livestock development.

“If we are going to have ranches, definitely, some support would come from government,” he said.

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NYSC To Pay Corpers New Minimum Wage

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 13:03


Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, has said that National Youth Service Corps members will now receive the new minimum wage as allowance.

While speaking to the press on Thursday, the minister revealed the government's effort to work on the modalities of the new minimum wage.

“Apart from the increase of the minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000, there is also a consequential adjustment that we have to negotiate with the labour unions,” she said.

“The total implication of that would be worked out only after the negotiations and that would involve determining how much increase every other employee above the minimum wage would get.

“It could be a flat amount or a proportion, but the other aspect that is clear is that there would be an increase for the National Youth Service Corps as well because, by the Act, they should earn at least the minimum wage and the NYSC also has to increase to that N30, 000.

“So, because we have not done the negotiation with labour, I cannot give you the details of what we are projecting because it is simply on projections.”

Ahmed also announced that a sum of N649.43bn would be distributed to state governments as the final refund for the Paris Club debt.

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'I Am Afraid Of The Violent Revolution Of The Poor', Says Dino Melaye

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 12:48


Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District has expressed fear of an imminent revolution against Nigeria's ruling class.

Melaye who is infamous for his ostentatious lifestyle expressed his concern while tweeting @dino_melaye on Friday morning. 



His tweet reads: "I am afraid of the revenge of the poor, It happened in Russia, France and recently in Sudan.

"It can happen in Nigeria. Housing segregation put us the elite in jeopardy. Ikoyi, Banana, Maitama, Asokoro, etc. Our leaders + me beware of violent revolution. Perilous times loading".

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Man Who Killed Daughter's Boyfriend To Die By Hanging In Calabar

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 12:02


 

The Appeal Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, has upheld the decision of a High Court that sentenced Godwin Elewana, a former employee of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, to death by hanging for murder.

Elewana, in suit Number CA/C/278C/2018, had appealed against the ruling of the Calabar High Court, which sentenced him to death for allegedly shooting to death a 22-year-old student, Douglas Ojugbo, said to be the boyfriend of his daughter.

Delivering the judgement, Justice Y. Ninpar, on behalf of three other judges of the Appeal Court, said, “The court, having gone through all the evidence and addresses by counsels for both parties, finds the judgment of the lower court credible and therefore valid before the law.”

The presiding judge of the High Court in Calabar, Justice Ukpa Ebitam, had said in his ruling that the prosecution team, led by Mr. Eneji Amajama, a Deputy Director in the Department of Public Prosecutions in the State Ministry of Justice, proved its case that the accused committed the crime.

He referred to several confessional statements, hospital reports, and exhibits presented during the trial as reasons why the accused was convicted.

He had stated, “The prosecution team also proved the second ingredient of the murder, which was the intentional act. To have fired the victim twice with his pump action gun, I agree that the killing was intentional and I hereby find the accused person guilty of murder.

“Subject to Section 319 of the Criminal Code of Cross River State, any person who commits murder is sentenced to death by hanging.”

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Ondo Varsity Shut Down Indefinitely To Forestall Students' Protest In Collaboration With NANS

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 10:54


 

The authorities of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAUA) in Ondo State have shut down the institution indefinitely over an obnoxious hike in the tuition fee of the school, Saharareporters can report.

The decision was taken when the mangement of the school got a whiff of the protest being planned by the enraged students in collaboration with the National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS). 

The students were to resume from a three-week-mid-semester break occasioned by the heavy agitations for a reduction in tuition mounted by the students. 

According to our correspondent the students had protested against the enforcement of the "No payment of tuition, No Test/Exam” policy of the school management which forced the management to announce a mid-semester break.

In 2018, the school fee at Adekunle Ajasin University in Akungba Akoko was reviewed upward by the state government, prompting protests by the students who flooded Akure, the capital city for their first protest.

It was learned that the tuition fees which were between N28, 000 and N32, 000, depending on the faculty, was jacked up to N100, 000 for all returning students in the Faculties of Science, Law, Social and Management Sciences and N150, 000 for all the new students as this had led to the chain of crisis in the institution.

However, Mr Opeoluwa Akinfemiwa, a newly appointed Acting Registrar of the University conveyed the decision of the management to shut down the school "indefinitely" in an internal memo obtained by Sahara Reporters.   
 
Akinfemiwa said the memo which was issued through the institution's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Igbekele Ajibefun, on behalf of the University Senate, directed that the students resumption to campus from the mid-semester break be "postponed".

"This is to inform all students and the entire University Community that the Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Professor Igbekele Amos Ajibefun has on behalf of the Senate of the University, directed that resumption be postponed.

"A new date of resumption will be announced later. Once again, on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, I wish all students a happy mid-semester break.

"This circular supersedes the earlier one circulated, please," he said.

Meanwhile, Sahara Reporters finding revealed that the decision to close down the school was as a  result of the threats made by the Leadership of the National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, over the obnoxious tuition fee introduced by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu led government.

An insider within the management cadre told our correspondent that the university senate and members the governing council board are in "fear" that the students might have planned a heavy strike to revolt the hike in the school fee. 

"The governing council members of the institution have been meeting over the tuition fee and i am aware that Governor Akeredolu told them to do something about the students unrest on the campus over the fee.

"But the fear of everyone is that the students apex body (NANS) have  shown solidarity and they are ready for a mother-of-all-protest in Ondo state which could give the state and the Governor himself a bad name. 

"Don't forget that Mr. Governor has a second term ambition to protect and he has been doing everything humanly possible to achieve it and secure the interest of the people in the state" he said. 

Mr. Bamidele Danielson-Akpan, the President of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) had described Governor Akeredolu has "worse performing governor in the areas of education development in Nigeria".

He noted that the students body are fully ready to occupy the streets of Ondo state no matter the threat by Governor Akeredolu to crush the students with security agencies if they dare embark on a protest in the state.

"We condemn in totality the managements of the state owned institutions who joined the governor in this inglorious journey, for example, the Vice-Chancelor of Adekunle Ajasin University who implemented a policy of no school fees, no test about two weeks ago which was vehemently resisted by the students that lead to the closure of the Institution. 

"To this end, NANS will resist any form of intimidation, oppression or threat to the life of any of our member who are resolute in pursuing their rights and privileges. 

"We also use this medium to call on UNESCO, other national and international agencies including progressive minded and well meaning individuals to prevail on Governor Akeredolu who have threatened kill and maim our members who will come out and protest against his obnoxious education policies cum commercialization of education in Ondo State.

"Let it be known that NANS is relentless in her pursuit of total reversal of all fees increased by the cannabis indulging governor of Ondo State.

"While appreciating the support and endurance of Ondo Students in peacefully demanding for reversal of the obnoxious and satanic increment in their fees, we wish to as a matter of honour, in respect of on-going final rites for the revered Olowo of Owo kingdom who passed on, put on hold our proposed mass protest against the increments until immediately after the traditional rights scheduled for this week. 

"This unjust education policy will surely be challenged and we shall do so upon the completion of late Olowo's passage rights.

"We challenge Governor Akeredolu to a public debate with NANS where he can lay bare his educational policies for Ondo people. We are constantly embarrassed by his seeming threat to wipe off Ondo students for daring to speak out against his anti- educational policy.

"We view his threat as a test of our resolve to once again lay an irrefutable claim to our heroic struggle for the enthronement of the democratic rule he's today diminishing without his active participation" he said in a statement.

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South African, Three British Killed In Dubai Plane Crash

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 09:55




Three people have died after a plane crashed close to Dubai Airport on Thursday. 

A South African and three British passengers aboard the plane died. 

The aircraft, a UK-registered Diamond is owned by US tech giant, Honeywell.

Civil aviation authorities in Dubai said: “The four-seat plane crashed while on a mission to calibrate terrestrial navigation systems at the airport, with all crew members, three British, and one South African, killed.

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NANS Vows To Engage In Showdown With Akeredolu Over Hike In Tuition Fee

Sahara Reporters - Fri, 2019-05-17 09:29


The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has rejected the increment of the tuition fee of Ondo State tertiary institutions by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

The students' group also said it would resist any form of intimidation or threat against any tertiary institution student in the state.

Danielson Akpan, National President of NANS, in a press statement on Thursday, describing the increase as commercialization of education said, “we condemn in totality the management of the state-owned institutions, which joined the governor in the inglorious journey, especially the Vice-Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun that two weeks ago implemented the policy of no school fees, no test/examination, which led to the closure of the institution following the students’ vehement resistance to the hike in their school fees.

“How can we explain that a supposed progressive government increased arbitrarily the school fees of Adekunle Ajasin University from N33, 000 to N150, 000, while that of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo was increased from N63,000 to N108,000, and the students of the Ondo State University of Science and Technology are to pay N200,000 instead of N70,000 they were paying before the Governor Akeredolu assumed office. 

It further explained that previous administration before Governor Akeredolu made education affordable for everyone in the state.

“Without any dubiety, before his emergence as the Governor of Ondo State, education since 1999 under the late Governor Adebayo Adefarati; the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu and Dr. Olusegun Mimiko was free from primary to secondary level,” he said.

Akpan urged Akeredolu to return the tuition fee to what it was rather than making it a means for making money for the administration in the expense of the poor.

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