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NEWS / Osinbajo, Kachikwu, Baru Meet In Villa
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:25:44 AM »
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday met behind closed doors on oil upstream issues involving the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru.
Kachikwu, in a leaked letter to President Muhammadu Buhari had accused Baru of awarding $25 billion contracts without following due process.
Speaking with State House correspondences after the meeting, Kachikwu said: “Its a meeting on upstream meeting, a normal typical meeting. It was largely AGIP bringing some information to the Vice President on where they have been in terms of Okpai, in terms of  Zabazaba Deepwater oilfield, in terms of the cash call exit which they are doing with NNPC, basically updating him, asking for areas where they need some assistance from government officials to sort of fastrack. It was normal upstream meeting.
Asked if the GMD was part of the meeting, Kachikwu said “Definitely, of course.”
On the extent the issue of cash call was   discussed,  he said “Yes we did only to the extent that a few completion items on NNPC, largely the opening up of the escrow accounts and that type of stuff which they need to fasten up on.
“But we are far gone on that, instalmental payments are already going on, I think NNPC is undertaking by October or early next month to complete that whole process. So it is going on very well.
Asked if petrol price will come down before Christmas because of improvement of revenue, he said “I will like the GDM who does the commercial aspect to comment on that, I will need his position before I can even comment on that.”

NEWS / World Bank Denies Disagreeing With Adeosun N Foreign Borrowings
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:24:59 AM »
The World Bank Group, yesterday, denied that the Bank disagreed with the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, over the borrowings by the Nigerian Government to stimulate the economy and finance infrastructure projects in the country.

A statement from the ministry said the World Bank through the Senior Communications Officer of the World Bank, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, sent a mail to the Minister the Bank insisting that “the media misrepresented and quoted out of context the comments made by its Senior Economist for Nigeria, Gloria Joseph-Raji, at an event in Abuja.”

According to the statement, Benmessaoud was quoted to have said that, “on October 11th, during the launch of Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s biannual analysis of African economies, World Bank Senior Economist for Nigeria, Gloria Joseph-Raji, was asked by a reporter to share her views on the Federal Government’s plan to increase external borrowing.

“At no point did she mention that the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) disagree on the need to rebalance the country’s debt portfolio. Where expenditures exceed revenue, governments will need to borrow.

“In doing so, the Federal Government is trying to rebalance its portfolio towards more external borrowing with lower interest rates and longer maturities.”

The World Bank Senior Economist was quoted by Benmessaoud to have commended the Nigerian Government’s effort to re-balance its portfolio in order to lower the cost of its borrowing, as outlined in its 2016-2019 medium term debt management strategy released last year.

“The use of IDA concessional financing, among others, is supportive of the FGN’s effort in this regard, with the added focus on poverty alleviation and building shared prosperity in Nigeria.

“The latest issue of Africa’s Pulse points out that growth is Nigeria is projected to pick up from 1.0 per cent in 2017 to 2.5 per cent in 2018 and 2.8 per cent in 2019. While Government debt in 2017 is projected to rise, it remains low in Nigeria,” Joseph-Raji was further quoted to have stated.

The World Bank spokesman expressed the Bank’s full commitment to help the Nigerian Government restore macroeconomic resilience as well as strengthen the ongoing economic recovery and achieve sustainable inclusive growth.

The Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, who led the Nigerian delegation to the 2017 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, had in Washington on Sunday, said the Federal Government would be prudent in the management of its foreign borrowings.

She noted that the Government adopted an expansionary fiscal policy with an enlarged budget in order to deliver a fundamental structural change to the economy, thereby reducing the country’s exposure to crude oil.

“Why are we borrowing? Mobilising revenue aggressively was not advisable, nor indeed possible, in a recessed economy. But as Nigeria now reverts to growth, our revenue strategy will be accelerated.

“This is being complimented by a medium-term debt strategy that is focusing more on external borrowings to avoid crowding out the private sector.

“This would also reduce the cost of debt servicing and shift the balance of our debt portfolio from short-term to longer-term instruments. This Government will be very prudent around debt. We won’t borrow irresponsibly,” Adeosun explained.

The foreign borrowings, which are at lower interest rates, according to her, will also prevent job losses.

“With Nigeria’s source of revenue dropping by nearly 85 per cent, the country had no option but to borrow.  The option before the country was to either cut public services massively, which should have led to massive job losses, or borrow in the short-term, until it begins to generate sufficient revenues, she said.

“We felt that laying-off thousands of persons was not the best way to stimulate growth. Also, when we came into office, about 27 states could not pay salary. If we had allowed that situation to persist, we would have been in depression by now.

“So, we took the view as a government  that the best thing to do was to stimulate growth and spend our way out of trouble, get the state governments to pay salaries, making  sure that the federal government pays and invests in capital infrastructure,” said Adeosun.

NEWS / 1 Dies, 2 Injured As Vehicle Falls Into Gully In Cross River
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:23:59 AM »
One person has died while two others were seriously injured after a bus fell inside a gully at a bad portion of the Biase-Calabar federal highway, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Both the deceased and the injured were among those who went into the gully to rescue the people inside the vehicle.

The head of the vigilante in Iwuru community in Biase, Mr Daniel Bassey, told a NAN correspondent, who visited the scene, that the incident happened at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

He said the driver of the bus failed to observe the warning sign indicating that a section of the road was no longer motorable.

“The whole incident happened at the early hours of Tuesday. The driver failed to observe all the warning signs and even when the vigilante men were trying to stop him, he sped off and fell inside the gully.

“Incidentally, the driver did not die. But when our men went into the gully to rescue him, the other layer of the road now fell on three people.

“One died instantly, while two others sustained very deep injuries,’’ he said.

When a NAN correspondent visited the victims at Pioneer clinic in nearby Betem community, they were said to be in stable condition.

One of them, Mr Samuel Bassey, told NAN that he only went inside the gully to save the fallen vehicle and the driver before the remaining layer of the road fell on him and two others.

“I am a member of Iwuru community vigilante. As soon as the other portion of the road became bad, we all agreed that we will be coming out at night to direct vehicles so that there will not be any accident.

“On Tuesday morning, a vehicle fully loaded with biscuits and can-drinks fell inside the gully.

“As we went in to rescue the driver, the upper layer of the road that was left now fell on us and I found myself in the hospital.

“These injuries are too deep for me to bear. At this point, I don’t even have money to run the necessary test the doctors required. I am appealing to the government to come to my aid,’’ he said.

It was reported that rehabilitation work on the road was ongoing as the Federal Government had mobilised Sermatech Construction Company to site.

Mr Bassey Nsentip, Assistant Director, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, who was seen supervising the work, described the death  as unfortunate.

“I heard that a vehicle fell  into that gully in the night after failing to adhere to the directions of the local vigilante group.

“I wish to appeal to road users to always obey road signs. I am happy that massive work is going on this road now and very soon the road will be much better for motorists,’’ he said.

NEWS / Pupil To Receive Six Strokes Of Cane
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:23:21 AM »
Karmo Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, has ordered that an 18-year-old pupil, Mudasiru Ibrahim, be given six strokes of the cane for joint act, criminal force and causing grievous hurt.

Ibrahim, of Angwa Hausawa, Karmo, had pleaded guilty to a three-count charge and begged for leniency.

The Judge, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, gave the order after the convict pleaded guilty and begged the court for leniency.

He ordered Ibrahim to pay N10, 500 to the complainant and warned him to desist from committing crime.

Sadiq said the court might not be lenient with him next time.

The prosecutor, Mrs. Florence Avhioboh, told the court that the matter was reported by Mustapha Ibrahim of Karmo, at Karmo Police Station, on October 5.

She said the convict, while standing in front of his brother’s shop, hit the complainant on the shoulder with intent to fight him, but people restrained him.

“He later invited his friends, now at large, to beat up the complainant. They injured him and he was taken to hospital where he spent N10,500.

Avhioboh said the offences contravened sections 79, 265 and 247 of the Penal Code.

NEWS / 13,000 pensioners in Ibadan for PTAD verification
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:22:26 AM »
Over 13,000 pensioners are in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for the verification of retired Federal workers in the Southwest.

The retirees are expected to be captured by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

They have been trooping to the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan (UI) and two other centres for the verification.

The Director of Pension Support Service at PTAD Mrs Olufunmilayo Onafowokan said the huge number of retired civil servants was being verified simultaneously under the defined benefit scheme in Ibadan and Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Addressing reporters in Ibadan yesterday, Mrs Onafowokan said the aim of the six-day verification was to ensure that qualified pensioners are enlisted in the pension scheme as soon as possible.

The PTAD director said those owed pension arrears would also be paid after the completion of the verification.

She said: “The aim of the exercise is to verify pensioners in Oyo and Ogun states so that pensioners on our data base will be put on payroll and be paid. This will be done after we have checked their documents and satisfied that they are genuine pensioners. Those who have arrears will be paid. There are three centres in Ibadan and two in Abeokuta.”

“We hope after the exercise, more than 13,000 pensioners would have been verified from the two states. We faced earlier challenge because of huge crowds. Apparently, the pensioners were not aware that the exercise would last six days. So, they came to the centres on the first day in large numbers.  But the challenge of crowd control was well managed.”

NEWS / Disquiet At Ekiti Varsity Over ‘Underhand Deals’
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:21:23 AM »
THERE  is disquiet at the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, over alleged underhand recruitment of workers and award of contracts without due process.

Some workers accused the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Samuel Oye Bandele, of “secretly” recruiting workers without the knowledge of the Visitor, Governor Ayo Fayose.

The workers, who spoke in confidence, also accused Bandele of purchasing 10 cars, awarding contracts to his wife, Comfort Titilayo, and taking her on official foreign tours “when she is not an official of the university”.

In leaflets distributed on the campus, they said the vice chancellor engaged in “frivolous overseas trips”; at least 10 foreign tours within one year of assuming office.

The workers said he renovated his home with N20 million and appointed his wife director of EKSU Water, a business venture of the university.

They claimed that the VC’s wife is in charge of admissions, contracts and jobs, and allegedly influenced the appointments of indigenes of her hometown, Itapa-Ekiti.

But Bandele described the allegations as “lies from the pit of hell”.

The vice chancellor said  some workers dismissed for forgery and certificate racketeering were behind the allegations.

According to him, seven of them were sacked after being indicted in the scandal.

Bandele denied recruiting 300 workers “secretly”, saying only 15 workers had been employed since the last major recruitment last year.

The vice chancellor denied that his wife was in charge of admissions, contracts and jobs as well as being the director of EKSU Water.

He said: “This place was a den of corrupt people selling certificates. Don’t expect that these people will be my friends. There are evil people here; they don’t want the university to grow.

“Before I came to office, there was a cabal here. In fact, they forged my signature. Those people have been dismissed.

“Last year, we recruited 300, but some people alleged that we recruited 700 or 1,000. These are lies, because since the recruitment of last year, we have only recruited 15 persons to fill some vacancies.”

On foreign tours with his wife, Bandele said: “I will continue to travel (abroad) with my wife because I will not travel with somebody else’s wife.

“Some women here are not happy that I did not take them along. I have no apology for travelling with my wife – whether local or overseas. If I travel with my wife, why are they angry?

“We travel by economy class even when I am entitled to business class. But I write for a waiver because I don’t want to defraud the university.

“When I came on board, I told the Procurement officer not to give any contract to my wife. She has not taken a kobo contract.”

NEWS / We Arrest Seven Militants, Recover Charms In Edo Raid, Says Army
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:19:45 AM »
The Nigerian Army said it arrested seven suspected militants in its raid on some militants’ camps in Ijaw communities in Edo State.

It denied reports that its personnel invaded Ajakurama community in Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the state on the invitation of an ex-militant, identified as one Ejuene Peres.

A press statement issued by spokesman of the 4 Brigade Nigerian Army, Captain Mohammed Maidawa, said the suspects were arrested during a joint operation with other security agencies in Ekehuan axis.

Captain Maidawa explained that its personnel received credible intelligence which revealed a concentration of militant camps regrouping in the community “as a result of an onslaught by troops of the Operation Crocodile Smile”.

According to the statement, “Our troops acting on credible intelligence which revealed  the concentration of militants in Ajakurama in wooden shelters brandishing weapons. The intelligence report also revealed that different militants camps were regrouping as a result of the onslaught by troops of Operation crocodile smile II thereby making Ajakurama a safe heaven for militants.

“Following the discovery, a cordon and search was conducted . During the operation, a militants camp including two building belonging to one Mr Felix Idowu , militant leader was destroyed. The troops also cordoned and search a building and shrine belonging to one Mr Godwin Bamu who was alleged to be fortifying militants by charms.

“Another militants camps was destroyed in Ubaogolo Creek off Benin River. During the operations several items were recovered at the Ubaogolo creek used as kidnappers den. The items include ammunitions, military uniforms and charms among other items.

“In a joint military operations with other security agencies destroyed a militant camp at Ekenhuan, Benin City. The operation led to the arrest of 7 suspected militants . Preliminary investigation revealed that 3 of the suspects confessed to be ex militants of underdog militant Camp.”

NEWS / NEMSA Certifies 63,942 Meters
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:19:09 AM »
The Managing Director, Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA),  Peter Ewesor, has said the agency tested 64,222 meters  of which 63,942 passed and 280 failed.

He spoke in Abuja during  a news conference on the agency’s focus  owing to his reappointment.

He said NEMSA monitored and evaluated 2,699 existing networks and power systems, of which 618 were resolved and 2,081 are outstanding.

The Managing Director noted that the agency inspected and tested 5,037 new power projects/electrical installations along power supply chain and utilization,  of which 4,138 were certified for use while 899 awaiting rectification of observed defects.

The NEMSA boss said  the agency investigated 94 electrical accidents/ electrocutions.

According to him, the agency has commenced investigations into the cause of the fire outbreak in the Asokoro house of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

Asked whether he was aware of the fire, he urged former Acting MD,  T.T. Aliyu to respond.

Aliyu said that “we got the report on (Monday) and we have acted on it and commenced its investigation.”

Ewesor added that “it is something we are working on.” He stressed that only a preliminary report can be ready at the moment, although the agency prefers concluding thorough investigation before issuing its report.

He announced that the agency has secured a conviction of four accused persons at the chief magistrate court of Kaduna State for the Offences of criminal conspiracy, forgery of the NEMSA certificates and cheating.

He said that the Offences are contrary to Section 59, 345, 308 of the penal code of Kaduna State.

The Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation however vowed that the agency would “intensify its efforts in terms of enforcement of technical standards and regulations, technical inspection, testing and certification of all categories of electrical installations, electricity meters and instruments to ensure the efficient production and delivery of safe , reliable and sustainable power supply and guarantee safety of lives and property in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI ) and other allied industries/workplaces safety standards.”

According to him, the agency is determined to empower its staff to discharge their responsibilities by ensuring a conducive environment for work, scale up on necessary work equipment and investing in human capital development.

He added “importantly too, we are already expanding our services, getting closer to people by inaugurating new inspectorate field offices, such as the new Owerri Office, Bauchi and one coming up in Uyo.”

NEWS / Gunmen Attack Ekiti APC Governorship Aspirant
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:18:29 AM »
Gunmen have attacked an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in Ekiti State, Mr. Bayo Babalotin, on Tuesday evening.

A seven-man gang attacked the politician on the outskirts of Erio-Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Government Area, near a police checkpoint at 6.30 pm.

Narrating his ordeal yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Babalotin said policemen at the checkpoint fled and returned after the attack.

The politician said he wanted to travel with his brother to Ibadan, Oyo State capital, in his Nissan Pathfinder SUV when three members of the gang came out of the bush and opened fire on his vehicle.

He said: “The attack happened immediately near the police checkpoint on the outskirts of Erio. The three of them came out of the bush and started shooting. They wore police uniform and bullet-proof vests.

“As I was trying to reverse the vehicle, three more members of the gang, all of them wielding AK-47, came out and started shooting simultaneously.

“My Nissan Pathfinder SUV was shattered with bullets: the body, the windscreen and the tyres. The vehicle was abandoned on the scene while my brother and I ran into the forest where we hid for about 30 minutes.

“After they left, we joined another private vehicle at Aramoko, where I reported the incident at the police station.

“I suspect assassination because a Toyota Tundra was trailing me from Iyin. To my surprise, the Tundra turned from the scene of the incident.

“After we came out of the bush, the policemen, who had returned to the checkpoint, said the assassins were shooting into the bush. The policemen said those people are not amateur shooters.”

Efforts to get the command’s comments last night were unsuccessful.

NEWS / Schools Shut In Akwa Ibom
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:17:51 AM »
Academic activities were disrupted yesterday in most public and private schools in Akwa Ibom State.

This followed a rumour that a killer vaccination was being given to pupils.

Although no person has been confirmed dead, parents stormed schools in Uyo, withdrawing their children.

It was learnt that fear became heightened, when a parent, who had taken his children to a school in Oron Local Government, hurried back to withdraw them after hearing the rumour

Investigation showed that by 11am, most schools had been shut.

The rumour spread to adjoining local governments, causing tension and fear, as parents ran to schools to withdraw their children.

Health Commissioner Dr. Dominic Ukpong could not be reached for comments last night, as his lines were not reachable.

But his Information Officer, Mr. Ifiok Udo-Abasi, dismissed the rumour as “false and misleading and capable of causing fear and tension in the state.”

He advised parents to disregard the information, warning those behind it to desist.

NEWS / Ex-Akwa-Ibom Governorship Candidate Seeks Autonomy For
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:17:21 AM »
THE  runningmate to the All Progressives Congress(APC)  governorship candidate in the last election in Akwa-Ibom State, Ben Ukpong, has said local government autonomy is the only way to give power to the people.

Ukpong, during the inauguration of Nlap Isong Akpakip Oro EXCOs,  in Abuja said local government  autonomy should be included in the agitation for restructuring.

As regards the celebration of the 57th independence anniversary, he said the country has a lot to celebrate and be thankful to God, listing the survival of the civil war, economic hardship, emergence from recession and the recovery of the President’s good health as reasons..

Ukpong urged the people to remain calm as the government is doing everything possible to maintain peace and orderliness.

He applauded the Federal Government  for the construction and awards of roads linking Akwa-Ibom State to neighbouring CrossRiver State which, he said had been in deplorable conditions in the past.

The former Deputy Governorship candidate also praised President Buhari for the appointment of indigenes into key non statutory posts such as Managing Director (MD) Oil and Gas Trade Zone Authority, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters and MD Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) among others.

He also hailed the National Assembly for considering the bill to convert Maritime Academy of Nigeria to Federal Maritime University.

Ukpong  called for adequate security measures be put in place for the upcoming council elections in Akwa-Ibom State in other to peaceful and ensure successful conduct.

“When talking about restructuring, in line with the Federal Government’s policy, we believe that the National Assembly and the government can go about to do the restructuring but we are also saying that the Local Government autonomy should be provided as part of the restructuring, because that is the only way you can ensure that power is given to the people.

“We’ve gone through so many things like civil war and God still keeps us together, like the president said we have to make sure that we work together, we have a lot to celebrate for this administration when they came into power things were so bad, we went into a recession and by God’s grace we are out of recession that is something worth celebrating. Another thing worth celebrating is the health of the President God healed him we are supposed to thank God for that.

“I want to urge everybody to remain calm as we try to resolve the lingering issues that took place in the past few weeks, the President is doing its best to make sure that there is peace in the communities. We are not asking anybody to attack government, although people have the right to express your opinion,” he said.

NEWS / Edo Police Chief Gwandu Transferred
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:16:42 AM »
Edo State Police Commissioner Haliru Gwandu Abukar has been transferred.

He  has been under pressure from indigenes and residents over the way he had handled security.

Other police commissioners affected by the posting  are Moses Ambakina Jitoboh and Johnson Babatunde Kokumo.

In July, Abukar, with other CPs like Fatai Owoseni, formerly of Lagos State and Garba Umar formerly of Bayelsa, were redeployed.

The breakdown in the relationship between the Police and Edo people was amplified by the public, who alleged many infractions against the state police command.

Crime rate, especially, kidnapping and robbery, increased in Edo with the police seen as helpless.

The kidnap of Andy Ehenire, a brother of Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, after three policemen were killed by the abductors as well as the abduction of Osayomore Joseph, a popular musician and the brutal killing of Paul Otasowie, a university of Benin professor are some of the incidents that the CP’s team could not unravel

Although Ehanire has since been released, his captors are yet to be apprehended.

The public also criticised the Edo police under Abukar of being selective in the protection of citizens and residents in Edo State. They cited the incessant harassment by herdsmen in Edo State as example. Rather than protect vulnerable communities, the police deploy, instead to protect herdsmen on routine grazing of their cattle. Governor Godwin Obaseki took up the matter with the Presidency after which he visited the office of the National Security Adviser.

The friction between the public and police led to protest by civil society at the Abuja headquarters of the police and the National Assembly.

NEWS / PDP Must Avoid Incompetent Leaders-Group
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:14:28 AM »
A group under the aegis of Peoples Democratic Party Volunteer Movement has blamed the party’s failure in the 2015 general elections on incompetent leadership.

The group said the party must not repeat the same mistake. National Patron, PDP Volunteers Movement Ambassador Auwal Alhassan and National Organizing Secretary of the group, Hon. Desmond Minakaro, spoke  at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

The movement, which is supporting the chairmanship bid of a former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, urged members to resist people with questionable character.

The group said: “The problems that dragged our Party to failure during the 2015 general election was solely due to incompetent leadership. Having come this far, it is therefore, very important never to repeat such a mistake of leaving our Party in the hands of unscrupulous elements again.

“Men and Women of high proven integrity and genuine love for our Party must be identified and handed over the affairs of our great Party, if we must regain our lost glory.

“People of questionable character, who have been tested before on different capacities and found wanting, should be resisted. Its time to sanitize and make our party the envy of all.

“It may interest you to note that, the PDP Volunteers Group have X-ray all the contestant for the position of PDP National Chairman and found out that all the Contestants are good but His Excellency, Otumba Gbenga Daniel is found to be the best.

“He has been a strong supporter and lover of PDP and above all, he has the right connections with people from all over the federation to administer good leadership to PDP, haven served as Executive Governor.”

NEWS / Suspect Arraigned For Allegedly Stealing Pot In Ibadan
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:13:03 AM »
THIRTY-three-year-old Olalekan Rauf, who allegedly pretended to be scavenging on the premises of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, was yesterday arraigned at a Senior Magistrates’ Court in Ibadan.

He was arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy and unlawful possession.

The prosecutor, E. Adeyeye, said the defendant and another at large, on October 12, about 2 pm, entered the house of a senior worker and stole items.

A security officer, who apprehended the suspect, Mr. Yahaya Taofeek, said Rauf, pretending to be a scavenger, picked metals on the institution’s premises and burgled a three-bedroom flat belonging to a senior worker, who was outside the state on an education tour.

Taofeek said before the defendant was arrested, he destroyed the metals, to make people believe they were no more useful.

The suspect was alleged to have stolen items, such as iron pot, stabiliser, computer, a pair of slippers and cooking gas.

Taofeek said when he apprehended Rauf, he pleaded that he would cooperate with security guards if they promised not to injure him, adding that his accomplice fled.

The accused pleaded not guilty.

Senior Magistrate S. O. Babalola granted him bail at N20,000 with two sureties, and adjourned till November 20.

NEWS / Hands On Deck Puts Smiles On Orphans’ Faces
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:12:22 AM »
Foremost red carpet and event organiser, CSI Media, has organised a pet project to put smiles on the faces of orphans at the Ondo State Children’s Home in Akure.

It mobilised youths from within and outside the state to paint the children’s home and give out food items, toiletries, writing materials, among others, to children.

Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s son, Babajide, speaking at the launch of the event, said the governor was impressed at the turnout and the joyous atmosphere created by the CSI Media team.

He said: “Arakunrin has given mandate to everybody to go out and impact on the lives of people, who are less privileged. This is what the Hands on Deck project is all about, putting smiles on the faces of the less privileged.”

The Project Manager of Hands on Deck, Halimah Olatunji, said: “Painting for charity is one of a kind. It allows us to put smiles on the faces of these beautiful children and pass a message to other young people that you are not too young to start giving back to the society; if not money, then maybe your time.”

Speaking on the motive behind the project, Toyosi Ayeleso, partner and brand strategy manager, CSI Media, said: “Hands on Deck is the Corporate Social Responsibility platform (CSR) of CSI Media. Very much unlike what you find in the mainstream, Hands on Deck is actually much more hands-on. A mix of colours, lights, people, music and aids and an indelible experience was born, one the kids will forget in no little time. CSI humans and the team got down and dirty; and with brushes in the air- they were painting for charity. This was only the first edition, the next promises to be even more engaging and exciting. Social responsibility is part of life, just find a good cause you are passionate about and be a part of it.”

NEWS / Adebule, Others For Motailatu’s Educational Seminar
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:11:43 AM »
Lagos Deputy Governor Dr Idiat Adebule will lead other eminent personalities to a one-day educational seminar, with the theme: Nigeria and Qualitative Education: How Would Religious Bodies Partner the State in Getting It Right?

The seminar will hold on November 4, at the headquarters of Motailatu Seraphim and Cherubim Church Worldwide (MSCCW), beside Mayfair Garden, on Lekki-Epe Expressway.

The Head, Department of Religious Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. David Ogungbile, will be the guest speaker.

A statement yesterday by Supreme Head/Prelate of the church, Baba Aladura Israel Akinadewo, said the seminar is part of the 53rd activities of the church.

NEWS / Inject New Blood Into Civil Service, Aregbesola Tells New Hos
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:11:01 AM »
Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has urged the new Head of Serviceý (HoS), Dr. Festus Olowogboyega Oyebade, to inject new blood into the state’s civil service to enhance productivity.

The governor spoke yesterday at the swearing-in of Dr. Oyebade at the multi-purpose hall of the Local Government Service Commission at the state secretariat in Osogbo, the state capital.

The ceremony came on the heels of the retirement of the immediate past HoS, Elder Sunday Owoeye, who voluntarily retired on Monday.

Aregbesola urged Oyebade to, within three months, harmonise the civil service in a way that government employees could have the capacity to work anywhere and in any office in the state.

The governor said the era of partitioning departments in the civil service was gone and should be replaced with organic network and fluid movement ýfrom one office to the other, from one department to the other and from one ministry to the other.

According to him, the harmonisation order will encourage any employee to work in any of the state’s establishments, regardless of the criteria he or she entered the service with.

Aregbesola noted that the fluidity of movement would also expand the office space in such a way that any worker – either in the local government or state – can easily be moved round  to any ministry, department or agency without any hindrance to his ability to work.

The governor said the decision was taken to strengthen bureaucracy, enhance productivity, promote efficiency, diligence and effectiveness in all strata of the state’s civil service.

He said: “Oyebade’s biggest task in repositioning the service will be changing perception on the role and responsibilities of the workers in government.

“This is because our experience, given the challenges we faced recently, suggests that this understanding is lacking, particularly in the larger society.

“Workers, by this I mean all categories of employees, including active workers, passive workers and the political appointees, primarily, are the instruments for delivering on governance and not the objects of governance.

“The government exists to serve the people of the state, although this will include the workers also, since they are residents and tax payers. Workers are the instruments of service. The government, therefore, must not be reduced to the exclusive preserve of workers.

NEWS / ‘Nothing Else But Fasting & Prayer’
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:10:20 AM »
The annual 30 days fasting and prayer meeting of Holy Fire Evangelical International Church  (Miracle Child), with the theme: “Nothing Else But Fasting and prayer”, will hold at Ogudu Government Reservation Area, opposite MRS Filling  Station, on Oworonshoki Expressway, in Kosofe Local Government, Lagos.

A statement by the General Overseer, Bishop Edward Benson, said: “The programme is a yearly fasting and prayer meeting to intercede for Nigeria. It is also meant for members to petition God to intervene in their affairs. They are expected to usher in the New Year in a glorious way. It began on October 1 and is expected to end on  October 30. God solves problems through prayers.”

NEWS / Man In Court For Allegedly Seducing Married Woman
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:08:54 AM »
The police yesterday arraigned Ibrahim Bawa at a Minna Magistrates’ Court, Niger State, for allegedly seducing a married woman.

He is standing trial on a one-count charge of seducing a married woman, punishable under Section 389 of the Penal Code.

The prosecutor, Ahmed Saidu, told the court that Alhaji Tanimu Salihu of Paikoro reported the case at a police station on August 26.

He alleged that Bawa was fond of inviting the complainant’s wife to his home at night on the pretext of giving her charms to make her husband love her more.

When the charge was read to the defendant, he pleaded not guilty.

The Magistrate, Mr. Mohammed Gabi, granted the defendant bail at N100,000 and a surety.

He adjourned the case till November 6 for further mention.

NEWS / FEC Approves N236m For Completion Of Katsina Dam
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:07:21 AM »
THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N236 million for the completion of Sabke dam in Katsina State.

Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu spoke yesterday with State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Adamu was with the Minister of Health Isaac Adewole and Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina.

The minister said: “We have been committing ourselves to completing many of the irrigation projects we inherited in the past two years. One of such is the Sabke irrigation project. This is a project that started as far back as 1997 during the PTF days but was abandoned and then re-awarded in 2009, completed 95 per cent by 2012 and again abandoned.

“When we came into office, I commissioned a technical audit of all the ongoing project in the ministry and because of the status of that project having attained 95 per cent completion, it became a priority project because it was a low hanging fruit for us to complete.

“Unfortunately, when the contractor was mobilised to site, we found out that a lot of component of the irrigation project had been vandalised and for us to be able to put that project into effective use, we now have to do a lot of rehabilitation works and we, therefore, brought a memo seeking council to give us an augmentation of about N280 million for us to be able to complete the work 100 per cent and make it fit for the purpose and council considered and approved this memo.”

The need to improve the ease of doing business, balancing regulations of products with health hazards, with particular reference to tobacco use and the need for the organised private sector to get involved in the business of lawmaking, were some of the major issues thrown up Tuesday, at a breakfast policy dialogue, organised by the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis held at the Protea Hotel, Isaac John, Ikeja, Lagos.

Dr Vincent Nwani, Director, Research and Advocacy, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, speaking on the topic, ‘Regulations Undoing Diversification of economy’ cited Nigeria’s poor global rankings in strategic indices such as ease of doing business, security, stability of laws, infrastructure and economic competitiveness as some of the major factors that will always hamper the country’s quest for economic diversification.

He cited a case where an importer needs as many as 23 signatures to clear goods and 33 to export, as great militating factors to economic growth. The fallout of these cumbersome trade policies, he said, is the gain of countries like Benin Republic, as importers resort to berthing their goods there – a direct loss to the nation’s economy.

A senior research fellow in Health Economics at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, Dr Damilola Olajide, who gave a presentation on the topic, ‘Balancing Regulations Vs Product Health Hazards,’ which focused on the regulations on tobacco use, advocated lowering of nicotine content in cigarettes, as a way of preventing addiction, and getting tobacco companies to be more responsible to the damages their products cause, as against strangulating them out of business.

Olajide, whose research contributed to the banning of smoking in public places in Scotland in 2006, is a spe...t in micro-economic analysis of interventions towards reducing health inequalities resulting from the impact of lifestyle choices, such as smoking and alcohol, therefore called for caution and a redirection in the nation’s laws and regulations on tobacco use.

Rather than go for a blanket implementation of the World Health Organisation’s convention framework for tobacco control, he advocated a localised approach, especially as the industry, notwithstanding, contributes a great deal to the nation’s economic indices.

Besides, he noted that available data in the country does not support an overly regulated tobacco industry.

NEWS / Amnesty: Fed Govt To Include Fresh Ex-Militants In Ondo
« on: October 19, 2017, 06:44:11 AM »
The Ondo State government yesterday said the Federal Government will, on November 9, incorporate former militants in the riverine area of the state who are willing to surrender their arms into the Amnesty programme.

The state government played a crucial role in the release of six Senior Secondary School (SSS) pupils of Lagos Model College at Igbonla, Epe, who were abducted on May 25, by suspected militants.

One of the conditions the kidnappers, who had allegedly been operating in the coastal areas of Lagos, Ogun and Ondo states, was that the state government would speak for them to benefit from the Amnesty programme.

Ondom Stste Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi spoke yesterday at the National Defence College (NDC) in Abuja where he addressed its officials, following their visit to the state on orientation activities.

Ajayi, who represented Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) at the event, said the Federal Government, through the state, was willing to give Amnesty to youths who are ready to lay down arms and embrace peace.

He said: “The President has just approved this. Since we can achieve peace through negotiation, we want to engage these boys so that all of them can leave the bush and be part of the society. The ex-militants in the Niger Delta area of the state and those willing to surrender their arms can be part of the society.

“They can be empowered through agriculture at this time that the federal and state governments are committed to diversifying the economy.”

Explaining the programmes and policies of the Akeredolu administration, Ajayi said it was striving to make the state a haven for investors.

The deputy governor said the state had the deepest and longest coast line in the country that could change the state’s and the nation’s economies.

He noted that the military had become friendlier and more responsive than before.

NDC’s Commandant, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo, thanked Akeredolu for allowing Ondo State to be used as part of the college’s orientation activities.

Osinowo said the purpose of the visit had been achieved with more revelation of the socio-economic situation of the visited states.

NEWS / Accused Faces Kidnapping, Robbery Charges
« on: October 19, 2017, 06:43:38 AM »
Chief Magistrates’ Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has remanded 28-year-old Christian Kawanye in custody for alleged kidnapping.

He was said to have allegedly masterminded the kidnap of Mrs. Ebi Firstben on August 20, at Gas Road, Ozuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government.

The accused and others at large reportedly armed with AK 47 and other weapons, abducted Mrs.  Firstben and denied her access to her relatives.

The accused also allegedly robbed the victim of her Itel and Nokia phones, valued at N37,000, jewellery,valued at N200,000 and N5,000.

The prosecutor, Jonas Rufus, told the court that the offence contravened Section 3(B) (a) of the Rivers State Kidnap (prohibition) Laws No.5 of 2015, Section 1 (1) (2) (b) of the Rivers State Kidnap (prohibition) Laws No.5 of 2015, Section 1 (2) (b) of Robbery and Firearms (special provision) Act Cap R ll Laws of the Federation 2004.

The three-count charge was not read out to him and he did not take a plea.

Kawanye was not represented by a lawyer.

The Judge, Amadi A.O. Nna, said the court lacked jurisdiction and remanded the accused in prison.

He ordered that the original case file be duplicated and sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice and adjourned the matter indefinitely.

NEWS / Jonathan, Babangida Meet In Minna
« on: October 19, 2017, 06:42:53 AM »
Former President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-Military President Gen. Ibrahim Babangida met yesterday in Minna, Niger State.

The meeting, at Babangida’s Uphill home, lasted about two hours.

The former leaders, both chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may have discussed the coming PDP convention.

Jonathan, accompanied by Senator Nimi Barigha Amange, arrived at Minna, about 10 am in a black SUV (ABJ 961 ER). Eight vehicles were in his convoy.

None of those who accompanied him were allowed into the meeting; they were entertained in another room.

After the meeting, Jonathan did not speak with reporters, saying there was nothing to talk about since the visit was private.

“Gentlemen, please, I am on a private visit. I have not seen Gen. Babangida since he returned from his medical vacation and felt it was the right time to do so,” he said.

Jonathan added that they are retired politicians and nobody should be bothered about what they do.

NEWS / Edo Warns Against Sponsored Pensioners’ Protests
« on: October 19, 2017, 06:41:29 AM »
Edo State government has warned that it will no longer fold its arms while mischief makers instigate pensioners into embarking on needless and stage-managed protests.

It said they do these to portray it bad and undermine efforts at resolving the pension issue.

In a statement by the Head of Service, Mrs Gladys Idahor, the government said it was not only committed to clearing the backlog of pension arrears, but also instituting a new regime where retirees’ entitlements were not delayed.

According to Idahor, not less than N6.2billion had  been paid to retirees between January and September, explaining that the protest on Monday was an orchestration by disgruntled elements and their political allies designed to undermine the effort of the government to resolve the pension issue.

She said: “The government will henceforth prevent miscreants, who under the guise of agitating for pension payment, disrupt law and order, particularly when there is sufficient evidence showing that they are being sponsored by anti-development agents and mischievous members of the opposition, who have refused to accept the verdict of the people.”

Idahor added: “Governor Obaseki, who is vast in pension matters, having served as a member of the presidential task force, which established the new pension order, has always been very sympathetic to the plight of pensioners. Hence he made a commitment during the presentation of the 2017 budget to resolve the problems of pensioners in Edo State in a sustainable manner.”

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