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1
NEWS / EU to mobilise additional €105m for IDPs
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:44:56 AM »
The European Commission said it would mobilise a total of €105m in humanitarian support to persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region in 2017.

The Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management of the body, Christos Stylianides, made the announcement on Friday during an international conference in Oslo, Norway, aimed at addressing the pressing humanitarian situation in the region.


 
He said, “With the crisis in the Lake Chad region growing at an extremely alarming rate, the EU is stepping up its response.

“I announced the EU’s allocation of €105m in humanitarian aid for the crisis. These funds will help meet the life-saving needs of the affected populations and scale up our response.”

The funding is expected to help meet the increasing humanitarian needs, notably in the areas of food, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and protection, according to the organisation.

The European Union has been one of the largest aid donors to the crisis in region and has provided €177m since January last year and a further €159m in development assistance from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to support 15 projects.

It noted that the conflict between security forces and Boko Haram is having devastating humanitarian consequences in the Lake Chad basin, stressing that the crisis is heavily affecting populations in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

2
NEWS / Boko Haram Kills Seven Soldiers, Others In Borno
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:40:27 AM »
Some Boko Haram insurgents have reportedly attacked a military base in Gajiram, near Maiduguri in Borno State.

Our correspondent learnt that the attack, which occurred on Wednesday and lingered till Friday, resulted in a fierce clash that led to the death of scores of the terrorists as well.


 
A lieutenant, whose name has yet to be ascertained, was among the slain soldiers.

A member of the vigilance group, who identified himself only as Kabiru, said, “The bodies of three soldiers were recovered on Thursday, but by Friday, the toll had increased to seven. The attack lasted for hours and the troops also shot dead a large number of the insurgents.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force said on Friday that it had shot dead dozens of Boko Haram members sighted at a location in the Tagoshe area of Borno.

The NAF Alpha fighter jet reportedly bombed Tagoshe and Mandara Mountain general areas, which are about 10km south-west of Gwoza in the northern part of Borno.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, who confirmed the attack on Friday, said there was an intelligence report by the surface forces that remnants of the fleeing terrorists were gathered at the location.

He said, “We confirmed from the NAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft, before combat platforms were called in to strike the location.

“A follow-up battle damage assessment confirmed that the air attack was successful as shown by the enclosed declassified footage of the operation.”

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, and the 7 Division, Maiduguri, Spokesman, Lt. Col Kingsley Samuel, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

3
NEWS / Glo’s African Voices Features Polo Player, Atawodi
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:34:16 AM »
World renowned black professional polo player, Uneku Atawodi, has been chosen to share the story of her foray into the male-dominated world of equestrian sports.

The story of the 28-year-old will be shared on African Voices, a CNN magazine programme sponsored by Globacom.


 
Popularly called Neku, Atawodi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Equestrian Science, a Masters degree in International Business and a British Horse Society Stage 4 riding accreditation.

“She will be taking viewers through her journey into professional polo, which began when she fell in love with horses at age 13 and how she stuck to her determination to excel in her chosen sport, in spite of subtle disapproval from family members,” Glo said.

The polo player would be joined on the programme by two other sports icons, namely Bianca Buitendag of Victoria Bay, South Africa; and Shehzana Anwar of Nairobi, Kenya, “who are equally setting confounding records” in sports.

Meanwhile, Globacom-sponsored 2017 Lisabi Festival is set to begin on Monday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, according to the company.

The festival — held annually by the Egba people — is in remembrance of Lisabi Agbongbo Akala, an Egba warrior who is praised for his heroic exploits in the state.

The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo — while stating the theme of the festival as, “Self reliance through agriculture for a secured future” — said a life-size statue of Lisabi would soon be erected in Abeokuta.

4
NEWS / Falana Tasks Akeredolu On Good Governance
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:31:37 AM »
Lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has congratulated the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Akeredolu, also a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, was sworn in on Friday in Akure, Ondo State capital, following his victory at the governorship election in the state in November 2016.


 
Acknowledging the array of problems ahead of the new governor, Falana admonished Akeredolu not to be frightened but deal with the challenges by running a purposeful and open administration.

He said, “No doubt, the task before you is gargantuan as the state has been run aground in many areas. However, the socio-economic problems confronting the state are not insurmountable provided that you are prepared to involve the people in the planning and execution of all projects.

“The people are groaning in poverty in the midst of the opulence of the elite, criminality is on the increase on the part of disenchanted youths, law and order have broken down as the rule of law is in abeyance. The moral fabric has to been restored in the Ondo State political landscape.

“Your government should make the people the subject and object of governance. In implementing the welfare programmes that formed the basis of your campaign, you must place premium on a knowledge-based economy as over-reliance on oil has compounded the crisis of poverty in the state.

“While jettisoning the neo-liberal economic policies that have ruined the national economy, you must ensure the revitalisation of agriculture, the exploitation of the bitumen resources and the development of the Olokola port in the state.”

“As a senior lawyer of repute, your government should take the lead in establishing an effective agency that will protect human rights and promote transparency and accountability in Ondo State.

“While urging you to let the sun shine in Ondo State again, be rest assured that I will not hesitate to take issues with you if you fail to fulfil your electoral promises to the people.”

5
NEWS / Expect Solar Eclipse On Sunday, NASRDA Tells Nigerians
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:29:52 AM »
The National Space Research and Development Agency says there will be a partial solar eclipse on Sunday (tomorrow). It added that the eclipse would be visible across the country, with different degrees of totality and that there is no cause for alarm.

A statement by the agency’s Head of Media and Corporate Communications, Dr. Felix Ale, said the highest degree of obscurity during the natural occurrence would be observed in the southern part of the country, particularly in Port Harcourt, Uyo and Calabar, where it is expected to have about 33 per cent obscurity.


 
He added that the lowest degree of obscurity would be about nine per cent in the Northern part of the country, particularly in Kebbi State.

The statement partly read, “In the South-West, the level of obscurity will be about 23 per cent at about 5.42pm and 6.30pm, South-East will record 28 to 30 per cent between 4.45pm and 6.33pm while the level of obscurity in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory will be about 20 per cent between 4.54 and 6.30pm.

“The partial solar eclipse will be observed across the nation, thereby making each part of the country a great site for viewing the eclipse at different degree of obscurity as the solar disc will be covered by the moon as seen from the earth and the eclipse will be visible in as much there is a clear sky without rain or cloud.”

6
NEWS / Social Media Week: First Bank To Showcase Digital Services
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:27:47 AM »
First Bank of Nigeria Limited says in line with its digital transformation strategy, it will showcase its digital offerings at this year’s edition of Social Media Week, themed, ‘Reimagining Human Connectivity.’

A statement on Friday by the Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney, said the bank would be partnering with the promoters of the annual event for the third time in a row.


 
According to the statement, the initiative creates a platform to bring together the best creative minds as well as the discussion and amplification of some of the best ideas, strategies and insights shared all over the world by people and organisations that are shaping the future.

It noted that the programme would feature exciting programmes and activities that would drive technological insight and break new grounds in the digital ecosystem.

“First Bank would be at the event to drive experiential and digital engagements, create customised brand experiences for the participants at the event as well as feature its latest technological offerings and services,” the statement added.

The statement stressed that the bank had in the last few years rolled out some digital offerings, like USSD banking service, online and mobile applications to boost convenience and ease of banking for its customers, such as First Mobile app and First Bank LOOP.

7
The Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party has petitioned the police over the alleged forceful entrance into the party’s national secretariat by the national leadership of the party.

Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, who disclosed this while speaking with our correspondent in Abuja on Friday, said that it was wrong for the PDP National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to have entered the secretariat forcefully.


 
Sheriff, had on Friday in Abuja, led some other members of his national working committee to gain entrance into the building by allegedly breaking the locks.

He said he was acting on the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which declared him as the authentic national chairman of the party.

However, Jibrin said that it was wrong for the national chairman of the party to have taken such a step when the matter was still before the Supreme Court.

Besides, he added that Sheriff was aware that the keys to the national secretariat were with the BoT, wondering why Sheriff did not ask for them.

He said, “We have sent petitions to the police to report the forceful entrance into the building by Sheriff. He was aware that the keys were with the BoT.

“Apart from this, he is also aware that the matter is before the Supreme Court. Why then is the rush? The Police must help us protect the building.”

In his reaction, Sheriff, who spoke through the party’s Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bernard Mikko, said, “Sheriff and his NWC have fully assumed administrative control and machinery of the party, including its assets and liabilities, in line with our party’s constitution and electoral mandate.”

8
NEWS / Fayose At Akeredolu’s Inauguration, Says Yoruba Unity Crucial
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:26:06 AM »
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, on Friday described the welfare and unity of Yoruba people as too important for anyone to play politics with.

The governor, who spoke in Akure, Ondo State, during the inauguration of Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the governor of the state, said being a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, should not stop him from attending the inauguration of a governor in the All Progressives Congress.


 
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, the governor described the occasion as a national event that well-meaning people should identify with.

He said, “This is a Nigerian affair. When a governor is sworn in, we have to support him. We are talking about regional integration and unity and Akeredolu is one of us; we have to support him. Electioneering has come and gone and a winner has emerged, we have to work together in the spirit of the people of our region.

“We cannot play politics with the welfare of the people of our region. We have to support Akeredolu to make the difference. This is a matter that concerns the Yoruba nation and after Nigeria, Yoruba nation comes first. We don’t need to play politics with the welfare of Yoruba people.”

On whether he was planning to join the APC, the governor said he no such plan in mind.

9
NEWS / Imposing 20% Tax On Drugs Dangerous – PSN
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:24:54 AM »
In order to avert an impending crisis in the health care sector, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to review its recent policy, which imposes a 20 per cent tax on imported medicines.

In a letter to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, titled, “Averting avoidable fatalities in the health sector,” the society said the newly-introduced 20 per cent Import Adjustment Tax would hamper smooth health care delivery.


 
The letter, signed by PSN President, Ahmed Yakasai, and the National Secretary, Gbolagade Iyiola, indicated that what existed before now was a zero per cent tax on imported medicines.

It read, “Nigeria, a major sub-regional super power, had supported the Economic Community of West African States’ position that since there was a dearth of medicine manufacturers in the West African region, there’s a need to meet the gap in supply through affordable imported drugs.

“The only realistic means to achieving this was thought to be charging zero or insignificant duties on medicines. Even before the ECOWAS’ position, the World Trade Organisation, which Nigeria subscribes to, in 1988, recommended not more than five per cent duty on medicines because of their life-saving nature.

“This was probably the motivation for Nigeria to adopt the ECOWAS position of zero per cent duty on medicines in 2013 as this was perceived as an incentive to affordable medicines in the Nigerian market.”

10
NEWS / Ex-Customs Boss Forfeits 17 Vehicles To FG
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:23:40 AM »
A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna has ordered that the 17 vehicles seized from a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko, be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.

Justice S. M. Shuaibu on Friday ordered that the vehicles be forfeited pending the outcome of investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.


 
The order was sequel to an ex parte application by the EFCC seeking, among others, the forfeiture of the vehicles to the government.

In his ruling, Justice Shuaibu held that the “17 vehicles which are now in the custody of the applicant ( EFCC) and as properly described and listed in the schedule marked exhibit EFCC 2 attached to the affidavit in support of the application are hereby forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria in the interim pending conclusion of the investigation.”

Operatives of the commission had on February 20 stormed the warehouse of the former customs boss on Nnamdi Azikwe Street, Kaduna and discovered 17 exotic vehicles worth hundreds of millions of naira, suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The recovery, it was learnt, was part of investigations into an alleged N40bn fraud perpetrated by Dikko.

Dikko had returned N1bn to the EFCC last year while a house worth about N2bn allegedly belonging to him had also been seized by the commission.

Dikko, who served as the head of customs between August 2009 and August 2015, became the subject of EFCC investigation last year when the commission established that about N40bn was diverted from the coffers of the NCS under his watch.

The funds were allegedly drawn from proceeds of the seven per cent cost of collection and one per cent comprehensive import supervision scheme.

He was subsequently arrested by the EFCC in June 2016 but was released due to his poor health.

However, a reliable source within the EFCC told our correspondent that the suspect had been returning money to the government.

Our correspondent also gathered from sources in the commission that Dikko failed to disclose the existence of the 17 vehicles.

11
NEWS / Rivers Rerun: Police Deploy 3,500 Personnel In Etche, Omuma
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:09:24 AM »
The Rivers State Police Command said on Friday that no fewer than 3,500 of its officers and men had been deployed in Etche and Omuma for the conclusion of Saturday’s (today) legislative rerun election in the state.

State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, said that the command was fully prepared to ensure a hitch-free exercise, adding that most of the police personnel deployed in the area were mobile policemen.


 
He reminded members of the public in Etche and Omuma local government areas that the restriction of movement in the areas from 12 midnight on Friday till 4pm on Saturday was still in force.

The state government, through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Dr. Emmanuel Urang, announced the cancellation of the monthly sanitation to pave the way for easy movement of electoral officers and others, whose services would be needed during the election.

However, in Etche, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, said they had begun the handover of election materials to presiding officers, adding that they were expecting a smooth conduct of the election.

12
NEWS / Xenophobic Attacks: Nigerians Vow To Remain In South Africa
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:07:46 AM »
…as foreigners confront anti-immigrant protesters in Pretoria

Gbenro Adeoye, Jesusegun Alagbe and Eric Dumo  with agency report

Despite repeated xenophobic attacks, some Nigerians in South Africa have said they would not return home.


 
Citing unemployment, insecurity, kidnappings, poor infrastructure and epileptic power supply, the Nigerians described returning to the country as returning to a “hardship zone.”

Some others said it would be difficult to leave South Africa as they had nothing to fall back on in Nigeria.

There are over 800,000 Nigerians living in South Africa, according to the Nigerian Union South Africa, with many of them based in Johannesburg.

However, those living in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, have in recent days witnessed violence reminiscent of the last major wave of xenophobic attacks that hit Johannesburg and Durban in 2015, in which about seven Nigerians died.

In the recent attacks which started early February 2017, at least 20 shops and homes — belonging to foreigners, mostly Nigerians — were looted and burned, as stated by the South African police.

In spite of the attacks, a Nigerian living in Pretoria, Muyiwa Adebola, said he would not return home.

Having worked as an auto-mechanic in the South African city for about five years, he said it would be “unwise” to leave now.

“This is where I have my source of livelihood. This is where I have been working for the past five years to take care of my family in Nigeria. I cannot leave now because of the attacks,” the 38-year-old said.

Making reference to unemployment, poor infrastructure, among others, Adebola said the only reason he would return to Nigeria is if things were working properly.

He said, “They have good roads here, potable water, constant power supply and you don’t often hear of kidnapping. As an auto mechanic, I’m also better paid here than when I was in Nigeria.

“Personally, I’m not deterred by the attacks, even though it’s worrying. I know things would calm down again and we could carry on with our normal businesses.”

Seun Komolafe, who has lived in the former apartheid colony for about nine years, said the reason for the attacks is that “South Africans see Nigerians as a threat to their survival because of our hardworking nature.”

He said, “The reason why many of us have decided to remain in South Africa is because things have yet to work properly in Nigeria. Getting a job with your academic qualification is easier here than in Nigeria.

“Over the last few days, I have spoken to many of our people here who would have loved to come back to Nigeria, but can’t do so yet because they don’t know what to survive on if they return.

“The people here are very hostile to Nigerians. They see us as a threat in every way because we are hardworking and considerate to the feelings of others, while many of them are lazy and selfish.”

Meanwhile, Komolafe said he would love to return to Nigeria only if there were job opportunities.

Mr. Gabriel Eze, a resident of Johannesburg for 10 years, is a luxury store owner in the city. Eze said since he had invested all his life in the business, it would be foolish to leave now.

He said, “My family is here, so there’s nothing to come and do at home. Where you succeed is where you call home. I was struggling in Nigeria before I came here in 2007.

“If you think of the attacks, you would do nothing. I have insured my business. So if anything happens, I’ll not be too sad. I may only think of returning to Nigeria if there is no kidnapping, epileptic power supply and poor infrastructure. To be sincere, these are the things that drove us out of Nigeria.”

Eze added that his interactions with fellow Nigerians in South Africa showed that many of them were not willing to come back to the country.

“Some of them have become established or they are about to, so it’s not easy to leave like that. I know of friends who have relocated from Pretoria to another county after the attacks. The hustle continues. To come home is like returning to a ‘hardship zone,’” he said.

Abdulraman Abubakar, who has lived in Pretoria for 12 years, also cited poor infrastructure as reason for not willing to return to Nigeria.

He said, “Some of us here were discussing in respect of the recent attacks. If there were infrastructural facilities in Nigeria, we would all come home. In fact, if it is only electricity that the government can fix, we will come. That’s why some of us came to South Africa.”

A Nigerian living in Johannesburg Central, Mr. Ade Adesina, also said he was not planning on returning to Nigeria despite the xenophobic attacks.

He said, “The South African government has not asked us to leave, so I will remain in the country.

“The things we take for granted here (in South Africa) are not in Nigeria. In Nigeria, such things as power supply, good infrastructure and so on are considered as luxury, so what is there to return to?”

Also, in a conversation Saturday PUNCH had with the Public Relations Officer of NUSA, Mr. Emeka Collins, he said that despite the attacks, most Nigerians were not willing to return to the country.

“My observation is that many Nigerians still want to remain in South Africa. Some of them are contented living here due to the hardship at home,” he said.

Collins said the Nigerian Consul General in South Africa, Ambassador (Mrs.) Uche Ajulu-Okeke, visited the victims of the latest attacks on Wednesday.

The Secretary General of NUSA, Mr. Adetola Olubajo, also confirmed that “most” Nigerians he spoke with were not planning to return to Nigeria despite the attacks.

“The Consul General visited the police to report the attacks and I believe everything is normal now,” he said.

For Nigerians considering to return home but have no means of doing so, the Federal Government has asked them to contact the Nigerian High Commission in Johannesburg.

When asked whether the government would consider providing free flight for them, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said, “There is a procedure for that. Those willing to return home would have to go to the commission in Johannesburg to liaise with it first.”

Nigerians and other foreigners clashed with anti-immigrant protesters on Friday in Pretoria, South Africa.

A South African group called Mamelodi Concerned Residents, which led the anti-immigrant march, blamed foreign nationals, including Nigerians, for taking South African jobs and accused them of running prostitution rings and drugs.

The group had in recent weeks launched a series of attacks on migrants, particularly Nigerians, living in Pretoria.

However, Friday’s ‘xenophobic’ attacks were resisted by Nigerians and other foreigners, resulting into clashes between South Africans and foreigners, British Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Eyewitnesses reported that Nigerians were seen confronting their attackers with knives, sticks and guns.

During the anti-immigrant protest, there were reports of looting, violence and destruction of property belonging to foreigners.

A resident of Johannesburg, South Africa, via his twitter handle, @IdahPeterside, said, “It’s a stand-off in Pretoria. Nigerians have refused to hide. The South Africans are being confronted by Nigerians carrying guns.”

A Nigerian living in Pretoria, Mr. Abdulraman Abubakar, confirmed the clashes to Saturday PUNCH.

He said, “There were clashes between South Africans and foreigners this morning in different parts of Pretoria. The police are firing rubber bullets as we speak.”

Meanwhile, the South African Police Force said on Friday that it had arrested over 136 people in Pretoria following an anti-immigrant protest which held in the city.

The South African National Police Chief, Khomotso Phahlane, said the protesters were arrested during operations that lasted for about 24 hours.

However, it was uncertain how many of those in custody were South Africans and how many were foreigners.

Be that as it may, Phahlane said anyone found to have been inciting violence would be prosecuted.

President Jacob Zuma had also condemned the acts of violence and intimidation directed at African immigrants living in the country.

“It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers. Let us isolate those who commit such crimes and work with government to have them arrested, without stereotyping and causing harm to innocent people,” Zuma said in a statement.

13
NEWS / Cultists Kill Imo Undergraduate Over Phone
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:04:31 AM »
The campus of Imo State University, Owerri, was on Wednesday thrown into a mourning mood, when gunmen suspected to be students – cultists shot dead a 300 level undergraduate of the institution.

The victim who was identified as, Chidi Opara, was reportedly studying Education Economics until his untimely death.


 
A source who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent on Thursday that the 24-year-old student was killed when he allegedly resisted the gunmen from snatching his mobile phone from him.

The source said Opara had called the suspected cultists’ bluff when they confronted him on Bishop Court Street within the school environment around 10 pm.

According to the source, the student had ran into the cultists who demanded for his mobile phone but he refused, prompting them to shoot him dead and flee the area immediately .

“The cultists quickly shot him dead, took the phone and fled from the area when he refused to heed to their demand.”

The death threw the residents of the area into panic as they scampered for safety.

When contacted, the public Relations officer of the University, Obi Njoku, said he had yet to be briefed on the death of the student. He however confirmed that there was a demonstration by the students on Wednesday around the Bishop Court area.

14
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal by the suspended General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church, Rev. Paul Emeka, challenging his suspension and dismissal from the church.

In a unanimous judgment by its five-man panel, the apex court resolved the leadership tussle in favour of the church and its Acting General Superintendent, Rev. Chidi Okoroafor.


 
In the lead judgment by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the apex court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal in Enugu, which had upheld the suspension and dismissal of the appellant by the church.

The apex court held that there was no proper proof that the suit at the trial court was properly served on the respondents as required by law.

The Supreme Court held that it was wrong for the appellant to have served his originating summons filed before the Enugu State High Court, on No. 5, Mbalano Street Enugu, in Enugu State, when the order of the court was specific and categorical that the process should  be served on Evangel House of the church in Enugu.

It held that the case of wrongful service was clear from the affidavit deposed to by a court bailiff in Enugu, stating that  he served the originating summons on one Shadrack Lawrence through one Richard Ake when the Enugu High Court ordered that the summons must be taken to the Evangel House of the church. According to Justice Kekere-Ekun, in the eyes of the law, the originating summons was not served on the proper party as required by law.

She therefore held that the respondent could not be held liable because the issue of service was a fundamental one in law.

She held that the purported service wrongly effected was null and void and no suit could be validly built on it.

On the appellant’s alleged violation of his fair hearing by the church, the apex court held that the fundamental human right as enshrined in Chapter Four of the 1999 constitution did not cover a head of church sacked and expelled by the church.

The apex court added that the right to be a member of a church was not a right recognised under the Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution.

Justice Kekere-Ekun ruled, “Being a pastor, General Superintendent and member of a church is not a fundamental right as envisaged in the 1999 Constitution.

“The remedy for the removal of the appellant as a pastor, General Superintendent and a member of the respondent, does not fall within section 36 because the right to be a pastor is not a constitutional one.”

She held that the provisions of section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution on which the appellant anchored his appeal, did not cover proceedings emanating from domestic meetings, standing ad hoc committees except the proceedings of court of law.

She dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.

The leadership crisis which has been rocking the church for over two years had resulted into the emergence of two factional leaders and multiple court actions.

The crisis started after the General Council of the church on March 6, 2014, suspended Rev. Paul Emeka for allegedly violating several sections of the Constitution and Bye Laws of the Church, especially Article 12 which prohibits members from suing or instigating any other person to sue the church for any reason.

The General Committee took the decision to suspend Emeka at its meeting held on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at the Conference Hall of the National Secretariat, Enugu, after the committee deliberated on the implications of his action on the image of the church worldwide.

The decision of the church was contained in a letter dated March 6, 2014 titled, ‘Re: Rev. Prof. Paul Emeka, former General Superintendent, Assemblies of God, Nigeria’ and signed by the General Secretary, Rev. Dr. John Ikoni; Acting General Superintendent,   Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor, and General Treasurer, Rev. Vincent Alaje.

15
The huge parity between what engineering students are taught in school and what actually obtains in the industry has become a source of concern for the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE). This issue was brought to the fore at the 2017 first special dinner for the conferment of Fellows on engineers this week in Abuja.

Speaking during the event, which took place at the Banquet Hall of the NAF Conference Centre and Suites in Kado District, the Chairman, Board of Fellows/College of Fellows of the NSE, Engr. Chris Okoye said, “today we want to bring to the front burner, the need to empower Engineering teachers in Nigeria especially as regards bridging the gap between what they teach and industry practice. This is based on the proven fact that there is a serious disconnect between what the students learn in our universities and what is needed in the industry.”

He informed that in a study conducted by NUC in 2004 on Labour Market Expectations of Nigerian Graduates, it was discovered that university education in Nigeria does not adequately prepare graduates for work, which manifests in the number of deficiencies the graduates exhibit in the work place.


Okoye noted that the situation has deteriorated since 2004 based on the testimonies of some employers with whom he had interacted recently. “Therefore, we believe that to bridge this gap between what is taught in our Engineering Faculties and industry practice, we should first start by bridging the gap between the academia, that carry the message, and the industry. In this regard, we propose a development and implementation of a framework for continuous professional development programme for engineering teachers, which will involve one-year industry practice every five years. The NSE, especially the Fellows, should take a lead and develop this framework,” he said.
Meanwhile, 30 engineers were confirmed Fellows of the Nigerian Society of Engineers at the event. Speaking on their conferment, president of the NSE, Engr. Otis Anyaeji, told the fellows, “I wish to rekindle here that the expectations of NSE and the larger society from our honourable conferees are high, with regards to strict adherence to professional codes, standards and ethics. The NSE, therefore, reserves the right to revoke and withdraw the Fellowship certificate of any member enmeshed in breaches brought to the notice of the Society.”

16
NEWS / UITH CMD Lauds Minister For Upgrading Hospital
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:51:20 AM »
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Prof Abduwaheed Olatinwo, has lauded the decision of the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, to upgrade the status of the hospital to a special centre for medically confirmed complex cases.

Adewole had at a recent Town Hall Meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, sharply criticised penchant for “medical tourism abroad” among some privileged Nigerians, with a promise to halt the trend via adequate provisions of state-of-the-art equipment at some designated government-owned hospitals across the six geo-political zones.

The minister, apparently buoyed by some medical breakthroughs at the UITH, had announced the hospital as a “special centre” for the North Central zone.


The UITH, under the leadership of Olatinwo, had among other medical exploits, conducted procedures areas, such as renal transplant, open heart surgeries and  (IVF),.

17
NEWS / Taraba Holds Local Council Polls Today
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:50:03 AM »
Election into the positions of Local Council Chairmen and ward Counselors will be conducted today in the entire local councils of Taraba State. The election, which was earlier slated for the February 11, according to the chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission  (SIEC) Chief Philip Duwe, was postponed to today as a result of late arrival of election sensitive materials.

The election, if successfully conducted, is expected to produce substantive council chairmen as well as Counselors in the entire one hundred and sixty eight wards of the state.

Campaign for the election as observed by The Guardian got to the peak yesterday, as leadership of all the register political parties went into the nooks and crannies of the councils canvassing for votes.

Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku was not left behind, as he led his People Democratic Party (PDP) campaign team canvassing for votes for all the aspirants in his senatorial districts.

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NEWS / Abuja Airport Closure: Ethiopian Airlines Agrees To Fly Kaduna Route
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:48:44 AM »
Ahead of plans by the Federal government to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by March 8, Ethiopian Airlines have announced plans to route flight through Kaduna airport with daily frequency with its Dream Liner aircraft during the six-week closure.

The Traffic and Sales Manager of the Airline Mrs. Firiehiwot Mekonnen disclosed this to journalists in Abuja after a closed door meeting with the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika and representatives of foreign airlines operating in the country.

She said that the airline’s team of experts had inspected the airport and saw that the airport was fit for flight operations. She however urged the government to address some the areas of concern raised by the team in order to ensure smooth operation during the period.


She said the airline stands by the decision to close the airport and would fly to Kaduna with daily frequency.
Earlier, Sirika told journalists that the meeting was not unconnected with plans to commence operations into Kaduna and suspend operations into Abuja. He said there was urgent need to meet with all the International airlines coming into Abuja such as Air France, Air Côte D’Ivoire, Asky, British Airways, Egypt Air, Ethiopian, Saudi Air, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, among others.

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NEWS / Akeredolu Sworn In As Sixth Executive Governor Of Ondo
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:46:33 AM »
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State acknowledges cheers from the crowd during his inauguration in Akure on Friday. PHOTO: NAN

Pays Special Tribute To Mimiko

The newly sworn-in governor of Ondo State, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has assured the people of the state that his government would utilize all available means to surmount all existing challenges and build on successes of his predecessors.

Akeredolu said this in his inaugural speech delivered during the swearing-in ceremony for him and his deputy, Mr. Alfred Agboola Ajayi at the Akure Stadium, stressing that, “Changing the lives of our people is a goal worthy of our best efforts.”

The stadium was filled to capacity with members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), supporters and party leaders across the state, the South West geo-political zone and the country at large, which was led by the National Chairman of the party, Chief Odigie John Oyegun.


Taking the audience by surprise was the National Leader of the party, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande and his supporters in the state, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, representing Ondo North in the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives member representing Akoko South West/East, Kolawole Babatunde, as they stormed the event.
Others were the governors of Kaduna, Jigawa, Edo, Oyo, Ogun and Kogi states, other states’ delegations and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Peter Fayose, who stole the show in his usual style.

Similarly, the Ministers of Communication, Information, Agriculture, Niger Delta Affairs, Labour and Employment, Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Adebayo Shittu, Lai Muhammed, Audu Ogbeh, Prof. Claudius Daramola, Dr. Chris Ngige and Dr. Kayode Fayemi respectively graced the event.

Royalties like the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, representatives of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, the Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, Oba Michael Obatuga Adetoye, the Jegun of Idepe/Okitipupa and several others were at the occasion.

Akeredolu, who was sworn in by the Chief Justice of the State, Justice Temitayo Osoba, with complimentary salutes from the Police Parade Guards, students and other organisations, said he has brought hope, a clear agenda of prosperity and a vision for abundant life to the people.

He assured the people of the state of his plans to break the barriers to responsive governance, responsible leadership and utilize the multiplicity of ideas to improve on all sectors of the state.

“We can rise out of this dust and build a new Ondo State where honesty, prosperity and confidence can once again be our self-identity. We are determined to make the difference with the specific mandate of redemption liberally handed over to us.

“Those who expressed other preferences are no less patriotic. Before long, their anxieties will be addressed realistically. All of us will be involved in the reconstruction project. The collective interest of the state must be our paramount focus.”

The new governor hinged his success on the blueprint, which the committee he inaugurated two months ago, Strategic Development and Policy Implementation Committee, submitted to him.


He disclosed that the “blueprint is anchored on five cardinal programmes, which are popularly known as our Platforms for Change (JMPPR): Job creation through agriculture, entrepreneurship and industrialization.
“Massive infrastructural development and maintenance, provision of functional education and technological growth; provision of accessible and qualitative health care and social delivery; and rural development and community extension services.”

However, Akeredolu noted that the current economic recession and financial constraints would pose a challenge in actualizing all his administration’s plans for the people.

Nonetheless, he posited that with adequate focus on transforming the current socio-economic situation of the state, coupled with proper utilization of all available resources, the state would peak on sustainability in the short, medium and long term.

“We are looking at building on our existing relationships with local and international development partners,” he said, imploring foreign and local investors to come to the state. He assured them of maximum security.

“It is, indeed, a brand new day. With the assistance of the Almighty God and the people of Ondo State, we hope to take the state out of the morass of privation, hopelessness and desperation. The welfare of our people shall be the fundamental objective and directive principle of governance in Ondo State,” he said.

While paying tributes to the party leaders, guests and all his supporters, Akeredolu said, “On behalf of our state, I pay tribute to Governor Olusegun Abdulraman Mimiko for his several years of service to Ondo State.”

Meanwhile, Mimiko, his immediate predecessor, had assured the people of the state that he was leaving the state, after the expiration of his eight years tenure, in good hands.

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NEWS / FG Sacks Nine NCAA Directors
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:44:19 AM »
The Federal Government yesterday sacked no fewer than nine directors at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The sack order, The Guardian learnt, was not unconnected with the restructuring exercise the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has embarked upon since assumption of office.

Recall that heads of sister agencies like Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Meteorological Services (NIMET), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) were recently replaced, even as several general managers were demoted several steps in Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).


Yesterday’s matching order, however, caught the affected directors unawares. All the directors were political appointees.
It was gathered that the Director General of the NCAA, Muhtar Usman, conveyed the sack message to the affected directors in a meeting at the agency’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.

The Guardian learnt that Usman had called for a meeting with all the directors to break the news of their disengagement to them.

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NEWS / Court Sentences Killer Of Lawyer, Fadipe, To Death
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:43:05 AM »
Justice Atinuke Ipaye of a Lagos High court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced to death, a 27-year old man, Oluwaseun Oladapo, for murdered a human rights crusader and social commentator, Mr Kunle Fadipe. The judge found him guilty on the five-count charge brought against him by the Lagos State.

He was charged for murder, armed robbery, assault, and possession of dangerous weapons. His offences are punishable under sections 295, 228 and 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Ipaye said that the totality of evidence placed before the court by the prosecution, the prosecution has proof the case beyond reasonable doubt.


“I am satisfied with the evidence placed before the court by the prosecution, is overwhelming, cogent, direct and police officer did a creditable job.
“The testimony of pw1 (Mrs Kemi Fadipe, the widow) and pw2 (Biola Owolabi, sister-in-law) was convincing, coherent and unequivocal.”

Justice Ipaye pointed out that Oladapo went to the deceased’s house with the intent to commit the crime, adding that his action’s led to the children of the deceased having to grow up without a father.

“It is impossible for you to claim self defence for your actions when you are the perpetrator of the violence. You are hereby sentenced to death by hanging for the first three counts, and you shall be hanged in the neck until dead. May the Almighty God forgive you,” she ruled.

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NEWS / Judge Withdraws From Adegboruwa’s Rrial
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:41:44 AM »
…As EFCC Drops Charges Against Ex-NIMASA Director’s Aide

A Federal High Court judge, Justice Oluremi Oguntoyibo handling the trial of activist-lawyer Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has withdrawn from the case.
The judge said she would return the case file to the Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for re-assignment to a new judge.

Justice Oguntoyibo said she was withdrawing from the case for personal reasons. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Adegboruwa May 12, 2016, for allegedly dealing in a seized property.

Out of nine witnesses listed to testify, EFCC has called two. The trial was billed to resume yesterday, but the judge gave no reasons as to why she was withdrawing.


The human rights lawyer was charged under Section 32 (1) of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004. Adegboruwa and Jonathan Udeagbala, said to be at large, committed the alleged offence on August 13, 2013 in Lagos. The defendant allegedly conspired to lease the property at House 105, NICON Town Estate, Lekki.
Adegboruwa allegedly leased the property to Shelf Drilling Nigeria Limited for N61, 631,944.65, which were credited to his Zenith Bank account, with number 1010240758. The lawyer pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In related news, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday withdrew charges against four persons arraigned alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi before the Federal High Court, Lagos.

The four persons are erstwhile Special Advisers to Executive Director of the agency, Maritime Safety and Shipping who was the sixth accused, Governor Juan, Ugo Frederick, Timi Alari, and Penniel Engineering Services Limited.

Akpobolokemi and nine others were charged before Justice Saliu Saidu on December 3, 2015, on a 30-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion of funds and money laundering.

Others accused persons include an Executive Director of the agency, Maritime Safety and Shipping, Eziekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche; and Felix Bob-Nabena. Enisuoh, Juan, Frederick, Alari, Alkenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited.

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NEWS / 28 Political Parties Want Obiano Impeached
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:40:15 AM »
Twenty-eight political parties in Anambra State, under the umbrella of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), yesterday joined the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Prince Ken Emeakayi, in calling for the impeachment of Governor Willie Obiano for alleged violation of the constitution.

Emeakayi had last week accused Obiano of going on vacation for over 30 days without transmitting any letter to the state House of Assembly to empower his Deputy to perform his functions, or stating his return.

The parties also alleged plans by Obiano to appoint caretaker committee chairmen for the 21 councils, rather than conducting council polls, which is also against the constitution.


Rising from a general meeting yesterday in Awka, 28 members of IPAC, in a letter addressed to the state Director of DSS, threatened to occupy the Assembly if the lawmakers failed to investigate the alleged breach of the country’s constitution by the governor.
In the letter, the state publicity secretary of IPAC, who is also the state Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), Mr. Peter Okala, warned that the governor and members of the Assembly would be held responsible for any breach of the peace, breakdown of law and order in the state.

IPAC gave the Assembly a five-day notice within which “to direct or cause to be directed, investigation into the unlawful activities of the governor.”

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NEWS / Lagos Airport: We Need To Quickly Correct Things, Says Osinbajo
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:38:49 AM »
Barely few days after the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) adopted a 60-day Action Plan to push Ease of Doing Business reforms in the country, Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, paid a surprise visit to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, declaring an urgent task to correct many of the problems already identified by the council.

A statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, in Abuja yesterday quoted Osinbajo as saying the over one hour visit was in line with the work of PEBEC.

According to him: “As part of our work on the Ease of Doing Business, on making the environment friendly, not just for local businesses, but also for those who want to come and do business in Nigeria, the airport obviously is one of the major places where we need to ensure that facilities are working and that things are being run properly.


“So, we have looked around, we have seen some of the equipment. There are many things that need to be done, many things that need to be corrected, and we have to work on them as quickly as possible.”
During the unscheduled visit, the Acting President checked out the toilets and observed some of the non-functioning carousels in the Arrival Hall, went to Immigration officials to check the progress of plans to grant visa on arrivals to foreign investors, observed the non-functioning air-conditioners and chillers in the Departure and Arrival Halls, the escalators and elevators that are in a state of disrepair, among several others.

He was accompanied by the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika. Specifically, at Tuesday’s meeting of PEBEC in Abuja, Osinbajo said” “We are trying to improve the business environment in three broad respects- the entry and exit of goods, entry and exit of persons into Nigeria and general government transparency and efficiency in government agencies and parastatals.”

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NEWS / Why I Attended Akeredolu’s Inauguration, By Fayose
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:36:50 AM »
The governor said this was the major reason why he attended the inauguration of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the governor of Ondo State, adding that being a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), should not stop him from attending the inauguration of an All Progressives Congress (APC) governor.

Fayose said such an occasion was a national one that well-meaning people should identify with. “This is a Nigerian affair. When a governor is sworn in, we have to support him.‎ We are talking of regional integration and unity and Akeredolu is one of us.‎ We have to support him and electioneering has come and gone and a winner has emerged and we have to work together in the spirit of the people of our region.


“We cannot play politics with the welfare of the people of our region. We have to support Akeredolu to make the difference.‎ This is a matter of the Yoruba nation and after Nigeria, Yoruba nation comes first. We don’t need to play politics with the welfare of Yoruba people,” he said.
On whether he is planning to join the APC, the governor said nothing of such was in the offing. “I am the main issue of the APC. They don’t have my size. They are wearing babaringa and they don’t have the size of my cloth. The other time we gave them 16-0 and this time around, if it is possible to get a local government from another state, we will give them 17-0‎ in the 2018 governorship election,” he added.

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