Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

NEWS:Iraq PM rejects any Kurdish independence referendum

NEWS:Iraq PM rejects any Kurdish independence referendum

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. - AFP

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday said he rejected any type of referendum on independence for the northern autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

"The referendum is rejected, whether today or in the future, in the Kurdistan region within the 2003 borders or in the disputed areas," he told journalists.

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani has announced an independence referendum for September 25 in oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan, and the provincial council in the neighbouring province of Kirkuk has said it will also take part.

Beyond the three provinces that have made up Iraqi Kurdistan since the fall of Saddam Hussein after a US-led invasion, Iraq's Kurds have also claimed territory in Kirkuk, as well as the Nineveh and Diyala provinces.

Abadi also hinted at a possible military intervention in Kirkuk, which is home to diverse communities including Arabs and Turkmen who oppose the vote.

"If a Kirkuk citizen is exposed to danger, it's our legitimate duty to impose security," he said.

On Monday, Iraq's supreme court ordered the suspension of the referendum to examine claims it was unconstitutional.

Abadi's office said it had filed a complaint against the referendum, after parliament in Baghdad voted twice against it.

Barzani has said a "yes" vote would not trigger an immediate declaration of independence, but rather kick-start "serious discussions" with Baghdad.

Analysts say Barzani is using the referendum as leverage in his Kurdish Regional Government's long-standing disputes with the federal authorities in Baghdad over territory and oil exports.





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NEWS:FG pledges better funding of road projects nationwide – Fashola

NEWS:FG pledges better funding of road projects nationwide – Fashola

Babatunde Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said the Federal Government would henceforth ensure better funding of the various ongoing road projects across the country.

Fashola stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting he held with contractors handling various Federal Government’s projects in the country.

Fashola told the contractors that funds would be made available in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to ensure that contractors were paid quarterly.

He, however, urged the contractors to ensure that roads across the country were made passable ahead of the yuletide season by ensuring that failed sections of their various projects were rehabilitated.

Fashola said the meeting was called for the contractors to inform the public what they should expect from the companies in the last months of the year when traffic is going to be heavy.

The minister called on the contractors to ensure that they regularly informed members of the public of challenges contractors faced during raining seasons in the construction sector.

“Let the Nigerian people know what is happening on our roads when they are not maintained during the raining season, also this happens in other part of the world.

“Even with the best of maintenance, some rains are heavy and sometimes causes flooding, you will lose some of the infrastructure like it happened in some parts of America,” he said.

In their various contributions at the meeting, the contractors called for better funding regime to address the current deplorable state of roads across the country.

They blamed the deplorable state of roads on rains and poor funding.

In his contribution, Mr Wolfgang Goetsch, the Managing Director of Julius Berger PLC, blamed the slow pace of project execution by his company across the country on inadequate funding.

He said construction business was capital intensive that requires proper funding for future planning and management of both human and capital resources.

Goetsch pledged the readiness of Julius Berger to expedite actions when funds were released as scheduled for the execution of its projects ahead of the yuletide season.

Mr Nabeel Esawi, the Chief Engineer, Renold Construction Company (RCC), blamed the slow pace of project execution on the heavy rains, particularly in the southern part of the country.

He said tremendous progress would be made during the dry season, adding that RCC had commenced the rehabilitation of failed sections of roads being handled by the company.





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NEWS:NPA boss assures safety of vessel on Nigerian waters

NEWS:NPA boss assures safety of vessel on Nigerian waters

Container-laden vessel arriving the port

Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, the Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), has assured that the agency would ensure the safety and security of vessels on the nation’s territorial waters and seas.

Usman, who gave the assurance in a statement signed by Mr Abdullahi Goje, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication of the authority on Tuesday in Lagos.

She said that NPA management prioritised security and safety of vessels to encourage international trade.

The managing director also pledged to synergise with the Committee on Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure on the arrest, detention and prosecution of offenders in the maritime environment.

This she said was necessary “to harmonise issues toward covering all areas of concern in respect of the subject.”

“NPA management is paying premium toward contributing effectively in the area of providing arrested vessels’ location on the nation’s waters,’’ she said.

She said NPA would take swift actions to evacuate such vessels to create enabling environment for greater operational efficiency, restore sanity at anchorages and engender more funds for the nation.

Bala-Usman said solicited the support of stakeholders to ensure that the measure to ensure safety on the nation’s waters was adhered to spur international trade.

NAN reports that there was a robbery attack on board a tanker vessel anchored at the Lagos General Purpose Anchorage on Aug. 19.





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NEWS:IPOB: PDP tells APC blame game won't work

NEWS:IPOB: PDP tells APC blame game won't work

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to look inward in resolving the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) crisis.

The party gave the advice in a statement by its National Caretaker Committee’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Dayo Adeye, on Tuesday in Abuja.

It said that it was again constrained to react to a statement credited to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, noting excuses and blame-game would not help in solving the problem.

The party said that the minister on Sunday tried to shift blames of the poor handling of the agitations of IPOB by the current administration to an opposition.

According to it, it is worrisome that government blamed opposition parties, which they have conveniently labelled looters, for the activities of IPOB.

It urged the APC to look inward in locating the looters using their ill-gotten wealth to sponsor separatist agitation against the government of the day.

It stated that no external enemy was working against the APC government and advised the party to do soul-searching and correct the anomaly.

“We wish to put on record that agitation for the actualisation of the State of Biafra was a total silent voice while the PDP was in power.

“That was because of the Government of inclusiveness we provided for Nigerians who were made to experience what a genuine national government meant.

“Finally, as a party, we had condemned and we are still condemning separatist movements tailored towards balkanising the nation.”





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NEWS:Ebonyi throws weight behind Python Dance II

NEWS:Ebonyi throws weight behind Python Dance II

The Ebonyi Government has declared support for the ongoing Nigerian Army exercise – “Egwu Eke’’, Operation Python Dance II, in the South East zone.

Gov. David Umahi declared the support when he received the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai. He, however, urged the army to keep to its rules of engagement.

Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwu, Umahi noted that there was a misconception of the exercise by some people in the region.

He said that the first phase of the exercise, which took place in the zone between November and December 2016, recorded success without any reported case of human rights abuse or molestation.

“We support the army; we support the exercise, but please dance by the rules of engagement; dance in the bush, not in the street,’’ the governor said.

On the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafa (IPOB), Umahi condemned the activities of the group, saying “we do not address perceived injustice through violence’’.

The governor said the state was enjoying relative peace in terms of security.

He called for army establishment of army formation in the border between Ebonyi and Cross River, to address recurring communal clashes in the area.

Earlier, the army chief restated that the exercise was designed to sharpen the skills of personnel to be able to deal with internal security issues.

Buratai stressed that Egwu Eke was carefully planned in the interest of the South East and not targeted at any group, saying that security was “key to development’’.

“We assure you that our troops will abide by rules of engagement and code of conduct,’’ he said.

He said that alongside the exercise, the army would render humanitarian services such as medical outreach and sanitation in various communities in the region and urged the people to show understanding.





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NEWS:Fake Buhari UN speech in circulation, Presidency says

NEWS:Fake Buhari UN speech in circulation, Presidency says

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari the addresses the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York, on September 20, 2016.<br />PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

The Nigerian government Tuesday said a fake text of President Muhammadu Buhari's speech to be delivered at the United Nations General Assembly is making the rounds online.

The government, however, did not give the details of the content of the 'fake speech'.

President Buhari is currently in New York for the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, where he is expected to address the body.

He is also expected to hold a lunch meeting with President Donald Trump of the United States of America, along with other world leaders, the presidency said in a statement at the weekend.

During the General Assembly, Nigeria will participate in high-level meetings on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Building Momentum for Change,’ the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, organised by the African Union (AU) under the theme “Roadmap on the Demographic Dividend: from Commitment to Action,” among others.

At the events, President Buhari and members of his delegation would strive to project Nigeria as a strong moral force and responsible member of the international community.

Nigeria’s commitment to global peace, security and development would also be reaffirmed and where necessary, the need for increased international cooperation in the fight against corruption.

Other priorities for the Nigerian delegation at UNGA 72 include strengthening human rights institutions; the rule of law; support for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of terrorism, the recent flooding and mitigating the effects of climate change.

“The Nigerian delegation will also canvass the support of UN member states for the Buhari administration’s efforts towards combating illicit financial flows to foster sustainable development‎,” the statement said.‎





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NEWS:NNPC allays fear of scarcity as explosion rocks Apapa jetty

NEWS:NNPC allays fear of scarcity as explosion rocks Apapa jetty

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru PHOTO: TWITTER/NNPC

An early morning explosion in Apapa, Lagos, yesterday leading to an inferno, rocked a petroleum jetty belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The Guardian gathered that the inferno started around 3: 00 am, when a petroleum-laden vessel was discharging fuel at the jetty, also known as Petroleum Warf Apapa (PWA) jetty. Four persons were reportedly killed.

The NNPC confirmed the explosion but could not confirm the number of casualties.

The corporation, in a statement signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, assured motorists and other consumers of petroleum products nationwide that the fire incident will not affect supply of petroleum products.

NNPC said the fire spark was from the activities of hoodlums who were scooping spilled fuel from ships discharging fuel at the jetty.

A source said three of the affected persons were the loading masters for Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), while the fourth person is yet to be identified as at press time.

The entire manifold was engulfed in the inferno thereby halting further loading of products into the storage tanks.

“The fire, which raged for hours, has destroyed a larger portion of the jetty, but it was eventually put off with the intervention of the Nigerian Ports Authority fire service and another vessel that was at berth at that time,” the source said.

The Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Obafemi Olawore, said he is unaware of the incident.

NNPC said it has deployed a team of engineers to the jetty while the repair of the affected parts would commence immediately.

Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, who has been fully briefed on the incident, described the occurrence as unfortunate, assuring that NNPC has more than 1.6 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, enough to last for 48 days.





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NEWS:EFCC returns N36 million to school allegedly defrauded by bank workers

NEWS:EFCC returns N36 million to school allegedly defrauded by bank workers

Salihu (middle) presenting the money to the proprietor, Chukwuogo.

• Arrests eight for alleged internet fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has returned a sum of N36,186,012 to Mrs. Ifeoma Chukwuogo, proprietress of Jephtah International School, East-West Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as money recovered from three suspected fraudsters, who allegedly diverted the school’s money for their private use.

The suspects include Cyril Ameh Idakwoji, an employee of a new generation bank, who was the account officer of the school; Boma Obama Chisom, who posed as the Customer Relations Officer of the bank and Aderemi Adebayo Moses, who prints fake documents.

Presenting the money to the proprietor, the Port Harcourt Zonal Head of Operations of the EFCC, Mr. Ishaq Salihu, disclosed that apart from the cash recovery, the commission, in the course of investigation, also recovered other suspected proceeds of crime, including a three-bedroom and two two-bedroom bungalows.

He commended the bank for promptly reporting the case. The matter was reported on September 7, after the school’s cheques could not be honored for days.

Salihu explained that at the beginning of every new term, Idakwoji would visit the school to collect fees paid in cash and cheque by parents, and issue deposit slips to the school. Investigations showed that he only lodged the cheques but diverting the cash collected for his personal use. Besides, Idakwoji issued doctored statements of account to the school in a bid to cover up his nefarious actions.

Salihu further disclosed that another accomplice of Idakwoji, Moses, printed fake letterheads of another organization, where he is also the account officer and was using their money to pay Jephtah International School’s workers salaries.

In her response, Chukwuogo thanked the EFCC for its swift response and called on Nigerians to give more support to the commission.

Also, the EFCC has arrested eight suspected Internet fraudsters. The suspects are Samson Olujobi, 28 (a.k.a Mau Rice, Melinda Mcginnis); Abraham Sunday, 32 ( a.k.a. Raymond Dodson); Gabriel Ayo, 25 ( a.k.a. Robert McIntosh, Donald Great); Omotayo Raphael, 25 (a.k.a. Michael Black); Semiu Sunday Olawale, 23 (a.k.a. J. Cabtree); Dafe Onosigho, 27 (a.k.a. Johna Kurz); Ewiolo Elvis, 32 (a.k.a. Morgan Moore), and Usiaka Louis, 22 (a.k.a. Anthony Parker, David Smart, Alfred Norman), were arrested around the Egbeda and Agege areas of Lagos State on August 27, 2017 following intelligence report on their alleged involvement in internet crimes.

The suspects were said to have defrauded their victims of huge sums of money in different currencies posing as Americans in an online dating scam.

Some of the items recovered from the suspects during the raid include six laptop computers, five mobile phones (including two iPhones), one Internet modem and four exotic cars (Toyota Venza, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai and Honda Crosstour).

The suspects will soon be charged to court after investigations are concluded, EFCC said.





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NEWS:Northern states move against retaliatory attacks

NEWS:Northern states move against retaliatory attacks

Borno State governor Kashim Shettima

The Northern Governors’ Forum yesterday said measures had been put in place to avert reprisals in the region following alleged attacks on their kinsmen in Rivers State and parts of the East.

The assurance, which followed the recent killings in Oyigbo axis of the state, was given by the high-powered delegation led by the forum’s chairman and chief executive of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, during a visit to Governor Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt.

Others in the team were Governors Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina); Aminu Waziri (Sokoto); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Simon Lalong of Plateau.

Shettima commended Wike for taking urgent steps to nip the conflict in the bud, informing that their visit was to solidarise with him.

“Governor Wike, we are proud of you. We are associating ourselves with you. Nigeria is greater than political differences. We belong to one political family and that is the Federal Republic of Nigeria .No interest should be bigger than it. You believe in the Nigeria project. For that, we remain eternally grateful, “ he said.

The Rivers governor had earlier reiterated that his administration would not allow any group to intimidate, harass or attack other Nigerians living in the state.

Also yesterday, the delegation took the assuring message to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu at Government House, Umuahia. Shettima told their host that they were in Abia State to thank him for rising to the challenge posed by IPOB and the subsequent military operation to douse the activities of the agitators.

He said the northern people were committed to the indivisibility of Nigeria, adding: “We are here to show solidarity.”

An elated Ikpeazu thanked the visitors, assuring them of the safety of northerners in the state and the entire region.

However, the Kaduna government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the north have further reassured Igbos and other southerners of safety in the region.

The state government gave the assurance in a statement y the governor’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan in Kaduna. The Deputy National Chairman, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, reaffirmed the party’s stand on the unity of the country.





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NEWS:ASUU suspends five-week old strike

NEWS:ASUU suspends five-week old strike

Minister of Education, Professor Adamu  Adamu (left); Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige; President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; Deputy President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Victor Osoduko and President ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi during a meeting between Federal Government and ASUU in Abuja. Photo: Lucy Ladidi Elukpo.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has suspended its five weeks old strike following a closed door meeting with the Federal Government’s delegation.

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President announced this at a news conference after the closed door meeting with the Federal Government on Monday in Abuja.

He said they decided to conditionally suspend the strike action in view of the timeline of October 2017 for the implementation of the signed agreement.

According to Ogunyemi, after an elaborate and extensive consultation process, the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU has agreed to conditionally suspend the ongoing action.

“We are taking into cognisance the fact that major proposals from the government to address the contending issues in the strike action has a deadline of the end of October, 2017.

“All members of ASUU are to resume work after their branch congresses on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. “However, ASUU will not hesitate to review its position should government reneges on the signed Memorandum of Action,” he said.

He urged the government not to deliberately dishonor the agreement, pointing out that the continuous breach of signed agreement has been responsible for the constant industrial actions in the Universities.

Ogunyemi said that the current agreement with the government is based on mutual trust between the union and the government, adding that the trust of the union must be respected by the government.

Earlier, Sen Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment at a conciliatory with ASUU and other government delegation directed all members of the union to return to work after their branch congresses on Tuesday.

Ngige said that members of the union had insisted that they were tired of having agreements that are not implemented.

The minister pointed out that the content of the agreement was taken from the series of meetings with the union since the commencement of the strike.

He said further that that both the government and the union understood themselves and agreed on several issues.

He assured the union that the agreement reached would be implemented by the government in line with available resources.

He also said that the union agreed to the exemption offered by the government regarding the issue of Treasury Single Account (TSA), which include the issue of grants, endowment fund as well as salary short fall, which he said is already being implemented by the government.

On the issue of state universities, he said they agreed that the union would submit a position paper to the Federal Government on their observation with a view to advise state governments on the funding of state universities.

He commended the union for being patriotic members of the society, saying that anybody who demand better working equipment is no doubt a patriot.





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NEWS:Dismissal of Oyewunmi, others in pursuant to thorough investigation, says VC

NEWS:Dismissal of Oyewunmi, others in pursuant to thorough investigation, says VC

Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, yesterday addressed newsmen at the institution’s senate chamber, to clarify the issues and controversies generated by the sack in relation to Oyewunmi and Adeyemi-Suenu.

… It was a witch hunt, ASUU-LASU executives insist

The relative peace being enjoyed by the members of the Lagos State University (LASU) community seems to be under a threat with the recent sack and sanction of 17 members of the academic and non-academic staff of the university of which the chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), LASU chapter, Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewunmi and his deputy Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu was affected.

Since the decision of the governing council was made public, it has been accusations and counter accusations with the executives of ASUU-LASU crying foul play and management of the institution insisting indicted officers were found guilty by the facts finding panel.

It was on this premise that the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, yesterday addressed newsmen at the institution’s senate chamber, to clarify the issues and controversies generated by the sack in relation to Oyewunmi and Adeyemi-Suenu.

According to Fagbohun, the claim by that the decision of the council did not follow due process; was manipulated; or was for political reasons was untrue, as the committees and panels thoroughly investigated all allegations and evidences before them.

“The truth is that facilitating successful organisational excellence is always difficult; but not changing is fatal. For us at LASU, we will continue to create, nurture and motivate an intentional culture of positive change. The University acted strictly in conformity with her rules and regulations.

“The petition pursuant to which Oyewunmi was investigated same which was dated 6th October, 2016 was copied to the governor of the state; the deputy governor; the speaker; the attorney general and commissioner for justice; the special adviser on education; the chancellor and the pro-chancellor. On October 28, 2016, the Attorney General requested the university for update on the investigation. The Special Adviser on Education made a similar request on December 13, 2016.

“It is instructive to note that the Fact-Finding Panel called the petitioner and four other witnesses. Oyewunmi also appeared before the panel. In their oral testimonies, the petitioner Abiodun Davies Alabi and others all of the 2003 Modular year set of Political Education programme asserted that there was indeed a demand for the sum of N50,000 by Oyewunmi. This was corroborated by Oyewunmi in his statement on the audio clip of his recorded conversation with Dr. Abanikanda wherein he stated that: “Mo pada lo ba Alhaji, a jo so, it is a fact” and I went back to M.O.B that, o sele nitoo to” meaning “it happened truly.” This was the basis of the dismissal of Dr. Oyewunmi for misconduct as it relates to demanding money from students to process their results.”

On whether the money Oyewunmi allegedly demanded from students was actually released, the vice chancellor said, “whether it was coerced, induced, attempted or actual, it was a misconduct and it is against our rules.”

In the case of Adeyemi-Suenu, Fagbohun said he was dismissed for misconduct relating to alteration of students marks. “The forensic evidence linked the PF number and password of Adeyemi-Suenu to the alterations. 12 students classified as withdrawn on the ground of academic weakness, having between four and eight outstanding courses h0ad their results in the courses changed to pass grade and their academic status upgraded from withdrawn to good standing.

He dismissed claims that the sack of the duo was aimed at weakening ASUU-LASU, and also not to have a dissenting voice when management finally perfect its plan to increase tuition. “Their dismissal among others were pursuant to thorough investigation of specific and documented allegations of misconduct. The cases of these two individuals have nothing to do with union related activities, thus, the university sees the frantic efforts being made by some individuals to make these cases a union issue as a deliberate ploy to distract and hoodwink members of the public. I reiterate again that there is no plan to increase tuition at LASU.”

But the Assistant Secretary of ASUU-LASU, Comrade Adeolu Oyekan had in a chat with The Guardian, dismissed the vice chancellor’s claims, saying the leadership of the union were being persecuted due to their positions on some of the activities of the vice chancellor.

According to him, “They were sacked because they are leaders of ASUU. If you have been following development at LASU over the last one year or thereabouts we have been having issues with the university management especially with the vice chancellor over inconsistencies and how laws are being implemented, coupled with introduction of certain policies by the management.

“You will recall that sometime in March, we wrote an open letter to the governor asking him to intervene in the looming crisis, and so the battle have been coming. Last year, we had several meetings with the vice chancellor and we made it clear to him that we are for peace and progress of the university, just as we are also for justice and fairness. But when we saw that the vice chancellor want to run the university the way he likes, relatively obeying the law, our union decided that we are going to resist him. You cannot continue to run the university without a deputy vice chancellor (DVC), or with just one DVC when the law said that the university should have two DVCs.

“If the law says that you should hold election, to appoint director of various units, you cannot be appointing people in acting capacity, just because you want them to be loyal to you. Follow the law strictly.’’





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NEWS:IPOB’s ban, link to terrorism unconstitutional, says Saraki

NEWS:IPOB’s ban, link to terrorism unconstitutional, says Saraki

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki

• ‘Lopsided appointments caused agitations’
• Lawmakers back Jonathan’s call for Council of State meeting
• Army defends move against pro-Biafra supporters

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday faulted the declaration of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation by the army and the proscription of the group by the south-east governors, saying both actions were taken in breach of the constitution.

In a statement by Saraki to journalists yesterday, he declared that the actions of the military and the Igbo governors did not follow due process and so were unconstitutional.

“Our laws make clear provisions for taking such actions and without the due process being followed, such a declaration cannot have effect,” Saraki declared.

“I am sure the president will do the needful by initiating the right process. This will go a long way in demonstrating to the world at large that we are a country that operates by laid down process under every circumstance. So, those who have been hammering on this point should maintain their cool,” he said.

The Senate president also condemned the alleged abuse of human rights by the military. “The military should allow themselves to be guided by their training which emphasises respect for human rights, even in war. Also, giving the nature of this particular situation, the military has every reason to be hesitant in the use of force,” he added.

If this approximates the position of the legislature on the military operations in the Southeast, it reveals once more the widening gap between the executive and the National Assembly on policy issues

To Saraki, government is unnecessarily overstretching the military by deploying soldiers for operations that could have been handled by other security agencies.

“It is my view that we should not overstretch the military. We need to protect our military against dissipation of their fighting strength. And this means we need to strengthen the police and equip them with the capacity to deal with civil crisis. That is why we, in the National Assembly, are already reviewing the Police Act and also looking at the possibility of enabling other para-military agencies to help in curbing civil unrest and maintenance of law and order,” he said.

The Senate president said the National Assembly intended to investigate the military exercise in the south-east. “We want to be able to sift the facts from the fiction and determine who did what. It is quite clear that all the facts are not yet known. We assure Nigerians that there will be no cover-up. We intend to lay the facts bare,” he said.

Also, some lawmakers in the National Assembly have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately heed the call by former President Goodluck Jonathan to convene the Council of State meeting so that the issues could be properly addressed.

They blamed the rising agitation in the south- east on the discriminatory appointments made by the Buhari administration since 2015.
Senator Sam Anyanwu (PDP, Imo State), stated that the Council of State meeting was one of the first steps that ought to have been taken.

According to him, President Buhari would have tapped very well from the wisdom of members of the Council of State on how best to address the agitations instead of jumping into it and making grievous mistakes.

Jonathan had last week urged Buhari to convene the meeting, saying his observations indicated that the unrest could become a full-blown conflict if not immediately checked by the country’s leaders.

The president and chairman of the council, vice president as deputy chairman, former presidents and heads of the state, former chief justices, the incumbent president of the Senate and speaker of the House of Representatives, incumbent state governors and the attorney-general of the federation are members of the body.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said the military is not under any form of political pressure on the position it took by proscribing the activities of IPOB.

Buratai, however, noted that it was only the Federal Government that could take a final decision on it, adding that there were guidelines in the terrorism Act that should be followed by relevant government agencies.

He made the comments yesterday in Abuja while answering questions from journalists shortly after addressing principal staff officers, corps, formations and operations commanders, commandants of Nigerian Army and corps schools at the second and third Quarters Conference 2017 of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at the Army Headquarters’ Officers Mess.

According to him, the military has the duty and constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property in the face of internal and external threats to the territorial integrity of the country, and that the actions against IPOB were necessitated by the provisions of the constitution.

“Training is a continuous exercise.
Since we came on board we have been having a series of exercises. We did the same set of exercises in 2016 and we are repeating the same thing this year. You are aware of Habin Kunama II, the on-going Egwu Eke II in the south and very soon, at the end of Operation Python Dance, we will move into Crocodile Smile II.

“This is just to reassure Nigerians, law abiding citizens that the Nigerian Army and indeed other security agencies are really concerned with the safety and security of their lives and property,” the COAS said.

On the proscription of IPOB, Buratai said: ”You call it political pressure, you should understand the context by which the Nigerian Army is operating. The Nigerian Army is part of the political consideration in the democratic system.

“It is part of the democratic process, it is a product of the democratic governance. We are not receiving any pressure; we are giving what the constitution has provided for us. Constitutionally, our responsibilities are for us, so we are not under any pressure whatsoever.

“Whatever anyone is saying, we will refer him back to the constitution. There are several provisions that give us those responsibilities and also to carry out such task as duly assigned by the government or by the constituted authority.”





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NEWS:Court to hear Patience Jonathan’s appeal against forfeiture of $5.8m on November. 3

NEWS:Court to hear Patience Jonathan’s appeal against forfeiture of $5.8m on November. 3

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court, Lagos, had on April 26, 2017 in a ruling on an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made the order.

The Appeal Court, Lagos Division, has fixed hearing of an appeal filed by a former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, against the temporary forfeiture of $5.8 million to November 3.‎‎

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court, Lagos, had on April 26, 2017 in a ruling on an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made the order.

The judge had also ordered the temporary forfeiture of N2,421,953,522.78 found in an Ecobank Nigeria Ltd account No. 2022000760 in the name of La Wari Furniture and Baths Limited, which the commission said is linked to the former First Lady.‎

But dissatisfied with the ruling, Patience Jonathan, through her counsel, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling and also asked that the order be vacated.‎

The suit, which was initially assigned to three justices: John Ikyeh, Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo and Abraham Georgewill, last July 5, could not hold at the last sitting on July 12 following the withdrawal of Justice Abraham Georgewill from the panel.

As a result of this, Justice Ikyeh, who presided over the appeal, at the last adjourned date had noted: “Three judges were required to form a quorum before an appeal could be heard.”





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NEWS:Nwabueze seeks fresh meeting between Kanu, governors

NEWS:Nwabueze seeks fresh meeting between Kanu, governors

Benjamin Obiefuna Nwabueze

• Decries proscription of organisation

Elder statesman and constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze, has enjoined governors of the South East to reschedule a meeting with the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, when the current tension subsides in the zone.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who, alongside the Secretary General of Eastern Consultative Assembly, Elliot Uko, witnessed the first meeting between the two parties on August 30 this year in Enugu, expressed shock at the proscription of the group. He said he was never hinted despite being in constant touch with the governors even few hours before the meeting where the decision was taken.

Nwabueze said: “A meeting, without the IPOB leadership to me, seems that the essential purpose of the gathering had been defeated.”

He said he decided to return to Lagos when it was obvious that Kanu was not coming for the meeting following the attack on his residence and supporters.

In a statement, the senior lawyer noted: “On August 30, 2017, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko and I met with the South East Governors Forum. The meeting was chaired by the current chairman of the forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who, in his conduct of the meeting, exhibited his characteristic sagacity, candour and forthrightness tempered with friendliness.

“Perhaps charmed by the things said by the chairman and the way he conducted the meeting, Kanu, on his part, showed an accommodating disposition for an amicable resolution of the crisis, and more specifically, a disposition to reconsider the threat to stop or disrupt the November 18, 2017 Anambra State governorship and the 2019 general elections.”

He went on: “But he emphasised that the decision does not lie with him alone and that the IPOB leadership must be carried along. Accordingly, it was agreed to meet with the leadership to secure their agreement and support.

“Regrettably, while the follow-up meeting was being arranged, the attack on Kanu’s home in Umuahia by soldiers on September 10, 2017 occurred, as reported in the news media, which, expectedly, triggered clashes between the IPOB supporters and the Army in Aba, Umuahia and other places, resulting in the death of, or injury to, some people.

“Reacting to this sad development, the IPOB leadership indicated its intention not to attend the planned meeting. Despite all this, Kanu made it known that, in the spirit of a search for amicable resolution of the crisis, he would still attend the planned meeting, now fixed for Friday, September 15, 2017. However, a day or so before that date, another attack on his Umuahia residence by soldiers made Kanu to renounce his attendance.”





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NEWS:63m Nigerian adults are illiterates, 11.5m children out of school, says Adamu

NEWS:63m Nigerian adults are illiterates, 11.5m children out of school, says Adamu

Education Minister, Adamu Adamu

The Federal Government has said that 63 million adults are illiterates and 11.5 million children are out of school in the country.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, stated this yesterday in Abuja during the flag-off of the 2017 International Literacy Day celebration.

He said the Day serves as a platform for government at all levels and other stakeholders to review the progress so far made to tackle problem of adult illiteracy and the menace of out-of school children.

Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Sunny Echono, decried the situation in which a large number of the citizens could neither read nor write.

He said: “Worldwide, 750 million adults today still lack even the most basic literacy skills. Some 264 million children and youths are not benefiting from education.”

The minister said the theme of the 2017 International Literacy Day, “Literacy in a digital world”, was apt considering the present administration’s determination to bring the necessary development to the country, adding that digital tools would play a great role in expanding access to learning.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Mass Literacy and Adult Education (NMEC), Prof. Abba Abubakar Haladu, while acknowledging the challenges of tackling adult illiteracy, said the Commission has come up with an operational plan to address the problems.

He, however, called for support of all stakeholders to address the challenges as the Federal Government alone would not be able to do it.





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NEWS:NCAA okays Lagos airport for safe, standard operations

NEWS:NCAA okays Lagos airport for safe, standard operations

Murtala Muhammed International Airport

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has okayed the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos safe for both local and international operations.

The endorsement followed safety and standard audit of the airport in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs).

With the revalidation, the insurance premium on aircraft using the airport will reduce and process of its concession to investors can now be fast-tracked.

Director-General of the NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman, who presented the certificate with No. NCAA/ARD/AC/001 to the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma in Lagos yesterday, said in pursuant to the power conferred on the Authority in Section 30 (3)(K) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 and having fulfilled the requirement of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations Part 12 for the issuance of an aerodrome certificate, “the Authority hereby grants aerodrome certificate to the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria.”

The certificate entitles FAAN to operate the airport for the purpose of take-off and landing of aircraft engaged in flight for scheduled and non-scheduled commercial operations.

The director-general said the certification was a clear indication that the airport had met regulatory safety requirements on a continuous basis.

He added that it is providing uniform conditions for safe and efficient operation of aircraft from all other states, as required by Article 15 of the Chicago Convention.

He, therefore, advised the FAAN management to see the certification as a fresh challenge to ensure sustenance of the certificate. Meanwhile, the NCAA boss has refuted certain media reports that the recently-concluded United States (U.S.) audit disparaged Nigerian airports.

He said the frame-work of the audit does not cover the airports, rather, “it covers the state’s aviation law, regulations and oversight capability in accordance with the eight critical elements.”

Usman stated that the certification of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, is in its final stage while the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt; Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Kaduna International Airport, Kaduna, will be certified by July 2018.

Dunoma, after receiving the certificate, assured that the FAAN would sustain and improve on the present status. Also, Secretary-General of the Aviation Safety RoundTable Initiative (ASRTI), Group Captain John Ojikutu, said that the implication of the certification is that FAAN can now be sued by any operator for damages to property or equipment due to negligence.

Ojikutu added that the NCAA too could be jointly sued and “hopefully, it must have ensured that the certificated airport is properly and sufficiently insured for damages to any aircraft that could be caused through operational inadequacies or by its members of staff.”





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NEWS:Lagos to review its adoption process

NEWS:Lagos to review its adoption process

Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, has said the state government is considering the review of its adoption processes of babies to meet with current realities and align with global best practices.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, has said the state government is considering the review of its adoption processes of babies to meet with current realities and align with global best practices. The commissioner disclosed this at the weekend at a meeting with family court judges, magistrates and other stakeholders in the child development sector.

According to her, the government, after identifying some gaps in its adoption process across the existing family court, decided to meet all relevant stakeholders for the harmonisation of ideas towards best practices in child adoption procedures.

Speaking on the outcome of a recent monitoring visit to some children on international adoption in Europe and America, the commissioner expressed satisfaction with the condition and conduct of the adoptees from the state.

She added that the visit afforded the state government delegates to share knowledge with other caregivers in developed climes, affirming that the state is on the right track in its adoption processes and that the children still believe in Nigeria and are willing to contribute their quota to the development of the country.

Akinbile-Yussuf advocated the discouragement of institutionalizing children in orphanages, saying that children who grow under family setting are at better advantage than those who are left to bond with other children in orphanages where they would be under strict monitoring.

“Orphanage is not the best for child development, it is ideal for children to grow with their parent and under the supervision of family members” she said.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, added that the state remains committed to reducing the bureaucracies associated with adopting a child.





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NEWS:Buhari tasks NIM on corruption fight, security, economic diversification

NEWS:Buhari tasks NIM on corruption fight, security, economic diversification

President Muhammadu Buhari’s representative, Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (left); Director, Human Resources, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Council Member, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Salamatu Umar-Eluma and President/Chairman of Council, Emeritus Professor Munzali Jibril at the Annual National Management Conference in Abuja…yesterday.<br />PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday charged the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) (Chartered) to assist government in its fight against corruption, insecurity and promote the ongoing economic diversification effort.

“Government is calling on the NIM to come on board as this administration was better ready more than before in its continued fight against corruption, insecurity until the battle is worn and perpetrators have no more place to hide’’

The President stated this while declaring open the institute’s 2017 Annual National Management Conference in Abuja. Represented by the Head of Service (HOS), Winifred Oyo-Ita, he called on the institute to continue to adhere to their code of conduct towards making government at all levels accountable to the people.

“Without doubt, about 3,000 professional managers, made up of decision makers in the public and private sectors are here in attendance and it’s conceived by one of the biggest cabinet of professionals.

“Institutional performance is relevant to charting national re-orientation due to the present state of affairs in the country and in line with the policy working on agendas of my administration.

“The theme of this year’s conference: Corporate Governance and Institutional Performances was because the institute has demonstrated that it is committed to supporting the Federal Government in achieving its drive to reposition and turn around the economy,” he said.

He challenged the institute to contribute to bills at the National Assembly, through debates, adding that the institute’s contributions would enrich legislations and good governance.

President and Chairman of NIM Council, Prof. Munzali Jibril, urged government at all levels and the private sector to take the welfare of workers into consideration.

“To check corruption and other social vices, those in government and the private sector should ensure that official business is conducted with recourse to due process and corporate governance,” he added.

He noted that the institute was poised more than ever before to do more in the future towards the advancement of the management profession and the success of the Nigerian project.





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NEWS:Students, drivers clash over alleged rape in Ekiti

NEWS:Students, drivers clash over alleged rape in Ekiti

Angered by the action, students of the college yesterday trooped out to the streets and unleashed mayhem on any commercial driver sighted along the way. They also blocked the Ado-Ikere-Akure way, which disrupted traffic for many hours.

There was tension in Ikere Ekiti yesterday following a violent clash between some students and commercial drivers over the rape of a 200 level student of the College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti by a commercial driver along College-Igbara Odo way on Sunday.

The lady (name withheld) was allegedly raped by a commercial driver fondly called Akoto driver around 8:00p.m. It was gathered that the victim, who was said to be suffering from a bout of malaria fever, had gone to the town to seek medical treatment when she was allegedly raped by the driver.

Angered by the action, students of the college yesterday trooped out to the streets and unleashed mayhem on any commercial driver sighted along the way. They also blocked the Ado-Ikere-Akure way, which disrupted traffic for many hours.

Those traveling to Akure had to take a detour and returned to Ado Ekiti to prevent being caught in the web of violence that engulfed the town.

The violence also disrupted commercial activities at Odo Oja area of Ikere Ekiti, as many of the traders hurriedly closed their shops to prevent looting of their wares.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state command, Mr. Alberto Adeyemi, described the rape incident as the highest point of criminality, which he said would not be tolerated.

Adeyemi said normalcy has returned to the town and that the police have launched a manhunt for the alleged rapist.

“Yes, the lady was sick and was being conveyed to the college when she was raped. The police will not tolerate any criminal action in any way and this won’t be an exemption. We have launched a manhunt for the suspect. The police are on his trail and we shall bring him to justice by the grace of God.”





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NEWS:Ortom moves against masterminds of Benue, Ondo communities’ crisis

NEWS:Ortom moves against masterminds of Benue, Ondo communities’ crisis

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday vowed to deal with the masterminds of the crisis that rocked Ogobia and Ondo communities in Ugboju, Otukpo Local Council of the state in which four persons were killed.

The Guardian learnt that Ebute Ugboh, a retired army Major, was killed while several others were injured in the crisis that was started by two brothers-Ijachi and Benjamin Udeh.

The late Ugboh, a former state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when Ortom was state secretary of the party was allegedly killed and burnt in his car by supporters of one of the suspected masterminds of the crisis last Thursday.

His house and three other vehicles in his compound were also set ablaze. But Ortom, who visited the two communities at the weekend along with his Deputy, Benson Abounu, and other members of his cabinet while the cremated remains of Ugboh were being interred, described the deceased as a very peaceful man who couldn’t hurt a fly.

“Ugboh was the state chairman of PDP and I was the Secretary. I saw many missed calls from him recently, but could not return those calls. Maybe he wanted to share some thoughts with me. He was a great man and for him to have died in this manner is unfortunate.

“If he served in the military and came back alive, he shouldn’t have died in this manner. I knew he was very sick at a point, but he came out of it only to be killed in that manner.

“We are leaving everything to God as Christians, however, as a government, we have the responsibility to protect lives and property, so we will not allow this go free,” he said.

While advising those who have been affected by the crisis to maintain peace and not engage in any form of reprisals, he said they should leave everything to the government.





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