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NEWS / Groups Allege Environmental Pollution By Steel Firm
« on: Today at 07:27:49 AM »
The group alleged that workers and residents of the area are exposed to serious health risk owing to the dangerous smoke emitted by the firm, just as it worries about its attendant impact on the environment.

Want Company’s Activities Investigated

A non-governmental organisation, Environmental Watch Network (EWN), has called on the Lagos State government to urgently look into environmental pollution allegedly perpetrated by an iron and steel company, Hongzing Company Ltd, at Amuwo Odofin Commercial Scheme, Mile 2, Lagos.

The group alleged that workers and residents of the area are exposed to serious health risk owing to the dangerous smoke emitted by the firm, just as it worries about its attendant impact on the environment.

Also, another non-governmental organisation/ anti-human labour organisation, Freebonders, has called for a proper investigation into the firm’s activities

According to a representative of EWN, Oladayo Adewunmi, “the dangerous smoke from the company is putting workers in barbaric working condition, as they are exposed to raw flames.”

In their petition, Freebonders said: “We call on the ministries of health and environment, LASEPA, NESREA, SON, and other agencies to stand up and save the situation by getting Hongzing Company to stop the inhuman gas emissions,” the group said.

Some residents and firms in the neighbourhood, who fear for their safety said while the dangerous smoke has caused several health problems to them, heavy trucks used by the company have also made roads around there impassable.

The National President of Nigerian Cassava Growers Association, Pastor Tayo Adewumi, told The Guardian that most of their members are yet to recoup their losses after suffering several attacks by herdsmen.

Increasing attacks by herdsmen on cassava farms across the country and lack of support by Federal Government for cassava value chain has caused prices of cassava products to hit rooftop, The Guardian has learnt.

The National President of Nigerian Cassava Growers Association, Pastor Tayo Adewumi, told The Guardian that most of their members are yet to recoup their losses after suffering several attacks by herdsmen. He said farmers no longer feel safe in their farms because herdsmen are chasing them away from farms.

“For eight months, we were not getting market for our produce, but when we started making some sales, herdsmen are chasing us away from the farm. So, we are at the mercy of market forces and because of lack of patronage, people are feeling discouraged to go back to farm,” he said.

The NCGA president explained that following damage done to their farms by herdsmen, they demanded for compensation from the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance (NAIC), having insured the farms, but only to be informed that NAIC does not pay for malicious damage.

He said: “We insured all the 33,500 hectares of farm the association planted for the production of high quality cassava flour. And when herdsmen came and destroyed it, we wrote to NAIC, asking for compensation, giving them all the details of the farm, police report, affidavit and all other evidences. They sympathised with us and told us that, unfortunately we didn’t insure against malicious damage, so they couldn’t compensate us. Those were the things that discouraged farmers from planting cassava. You are not even sure you will be safe while on the farm.

NEWS / NDDC: Too Little To Show 17 Years After
« on: Today at 07:26:13 AM »
• Only 3, 483 Projects Completed Out Of 8, 558
• Received N594b For 7 Years
• Cannot Account For N7.4b

17 years after the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), oil-producing communities are still grappling with physical and socio-economic concerns that necessitated its creation.

Among other things, the NDDC was created to help identify factors inhibiting the development of oil-producing states, to conceive, plan and implement, in accordance with set rules and regulations, projects and programmes for the sustainable development of the area in the field of employment, industrialisation, agriculture and fisheries.

Rather than excel in these areas, the interventionist agency has made a huge success of littering the entire region with hundreds of sub-standard and abandoned projects worth billions of naira, while also awarding sleazy contracts, as well as, issuing certificates of completion for contracts not executed.

Also at the root of the commission’s abysmal showing are poor planning in some cases; failure to properly incorporate community residents in development decision processes, and lack of coordination among development agencies in the region leading to duplicated, abandoned and sub-standard projects.

In addition, the commission in its 2nd Quarter Report for 2016 (on page 33), mentioned as one of its challenges, “non-compliance with procurement procedures, resulting in the incidence of high failure rate of projects and programmes. The report also stated that out of 8, 558 projects initiated by NDDC since inception, only 3, 483 (representing 40.7%) were completed as at June 2016.

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) early this year revealed that the commission received the sum of N594 billion between 2007 and 2014, but could not account for about N7.4 billion allocated for developmental projects.

Peeved by the avalanche of abandoned projects across the nine benefitting states, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, who supervises the agency, recently directed an immediate audit of all projects abandoned by the agency.

Worried by NDDC’s growing irrelevance, the Coordinator, Centre for Peace Development and Child Welfare, Inemo Samiama, insists it was time that government took decisive steps to end the agency’s poor run.

“Somebody needs to take some drastic measures to sanitise the place because the people are awarding contacts to themselves through proxies. Worse of all, they award contracts that are never executed and pay mobilisation fees. The number of contracts and projects that are abandoned, and littering the Niger Delta is simply shocking.

Somebody has to do something about the high level impunity in the NDDC. So, I think it is time for some people to be penalised otherwise the Niger Delta people would not reap any benefit from the commission,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, chairman of Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, claimed the NDDC has never truly been an intervention agency set out to improve and accelerate the economic and social development of the region.

Nsirimovu demanded a complete purge, and punishment for those, who have engaged in primitive accumulation of wealth at the expense of the fundamental objectives of the body. This he said would serve as a just recompense for varying shades of atrocities committed there over the years.

On her part, founder of Agape Birthright, Ms. Ann-Kio Briggs, said it was regrettable that 17 years after the NDDC was set up to drive the process of sustainable development of the Niger Delta in the areas of health, education, employment, industrialisation, agriculture and fisheries, water supply, and electricity, oil producing communities remain neglected, impoverished, and abused by poor management at the agency.

• Sultan Announces Sighting Of Moon, Declares Ramadan Over

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians irrespective of religious affiliations to live in peace and refrain from making remarks capable of causing disunity. This was contained in his message on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitri signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, last night.

The message read: “I am immensely grateful to God for his mercy in guiding us successfully to conclude another Ramadan fast. My greetings to all Nigerian Muslims and our brother Christians on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitri.

“May the lessons of Ramadan namely; piety, self-denial, prayers and generosity to the poor and needy be with us for all time. “I, again, appeal to all Nigerians to avoid reckless statements or actions against our fellow countrymen. We should all resolve to live in peace and unity in our great country, which is the envy of many less endowed nations. “Happy Eid-el-Fitr,” the statement said.

The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, while declaring the new moon yesterday night at his palace in Sokoto, said the new moon was sighted in parts of the country including Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

He therefore asked Muslims all over the country to cease to fast as it is not permitted to fast on Sallah day. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in a goodwill message on the occasion of Eid-el- Fitri Sallah, urged religious leaders to continue to preach and promote the virtues of unity, genuine love for one another and peaceful co-existence for Nigeria to attain greatness and eschew divisive and hate tendencies.

He said Nigerians must learn to live in harmony, tolerate one another and see the nation’s diversity as a source of strength. While congratulating Muslims Ummah on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast, he called on them to imbibe and demonstrate the lessons of kindness, tolerance and submission to higher authority, identified with the holy month and put Nigeria first in all their endeavours.

Reiterating his call for continued and sustained prayers for the health of President Buhari and the prosperity of the country, the Speaker expressed optimism that with the passage and subsequent signing of the 2017 budget, as well as legislative and executive measures put in place, Nigeria is on the verge of surmounting current recession and fulfilling its potential as a great nation.

Former Lagos governor and All Progressives Congress national stalwart, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has spoken against those calling for violence or issuing quit notice to other Nigerians to leave their areas to desist from such.

“Voices calling for violence must be roundly condemned for it is wrong to incite brother to go against brother and neighbour to combat neighbour. Voices calling for secession and break-up are wrong and should not be followed,” he said in his Eid-el-Fitri message to Nigerians at the weekend.

The statement issued on Saturday by Tinubu Media Office and signed by his Media Adviser, Tunde Rahman said the spirit of sacrifice, self discipline, goodwill, justice, tolerance, mercy, forgiveness and compassion inherent in the Ramadan Fast should remain with Muslim faithful to guide their day-to-day interactions and relationships with one another.

Asiwaju Tinubu said in the statement: “For all Muslim Brothers and Sisters and indeed for all Nigerians, may this be a happy and peaceful Eid-el-Fitri. “The holy month of Ramadan has now past but we dare not allow the spirit and the true meaning behind the holy month also pass. We must keep hold of the excellent and wonderful things the holy month of Ramadan signifies.

“Ramadan is more than a month of fasting. We fast to strengthen our relationship and our appreciation of Allah. We fast to make ourselves better servants of both Allah and our fellow man. As such, we must emerge from the fast imbued with the spirit of sacrifice, self-discipline, goodwill, justice, tolerance, mercy, forgiveness and compassion.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also felicitated with Muslim faithful in the country and all over the world on the celebration of the Eid-el-Fitri. Which marks the end of the Ramadan period.

The Minister in his Eid-el-Fitri message by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, congratulated Muslims on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast, stressing that witnessing another Eid-el-Fitri is a special privilege from the Almighty Allah who has control over the destiny of man.

And in a message to her constituents on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitri entitled: ‘One Nigeria,’ Senator Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central Senatorial District said Nigerians need one another and the variety of their contributions. She enjoined Muslim faithful and Nigerians to shun all attempts to cause disunity in the land.

Also, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday, urged Nigerians to be tolerant and cooperate regardless of their ethnic, religious or social status, as it is only in such atmosphere that the nation can make meaningful progress.

The governor, in his Eid-el-Fitri message, said it is only by embracing peace, unity and fairness that Nigerians can put the country back on leadership pedestal. According to him, Nigeria is in dire need of brotherly love and harmonious co-existence among her citizens above all other things, as a means to overcome numerous challenges threatening her fledgling unity, especially with the disturbing trend of hate speeches.

Ambode thanked Lagos residents for their continued harmonious and peaceful co-existence in the midst of diverse ethnic origin and religious affiliation.

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has challenged all Muslim faithful to imbibe lessons of the holy month of Ramadan by keeping them alive in their hearts, even as the fasting period has come to a close.

NEWS / Shiites Deny Alleged Boko Haram Infiltration
« on: Today at 07:24:37 AM »
• Says DSS Lied To Stop Procession

Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, yesterday, accused the Department of State Services (DSS) of cooking up lies to deceive the public and forestall their planned procession last Friday.

The Shiites maintained that contrary to allegation that the agency uncovered plot by members of Boko Haram sect to infiltrate their group and cause havoc during their planned nationwide procession, they were well fortified against any infiltration by Boko Haram or any other terrorist organisation.

President of the Media Forum of the organisation, Ibrahim Musa, told The Guardian in Abuja, that the DSS allegation was a grand deception to thwart the group’s procession, stressing that Boko Haram cannot infiltrate the group.

Musa declared: “I will like to state categorically that IMN cannot be infiltrated by anybody who is not a member of the movement. We have our own guards, that is those who take care of security when we are conducting our processions.

“We are not just people who are not organised, we are people who are organised and we have been conducting our processions for the past 40 years. So, for the DSS to come now and say that Boko Haram will infiltrate us, we don’t agree with that.”

The DSS had at weekend reported a foiled attempt by Boko Haram to bomb major cities during the Eid-el Fitri celebration. They also claimed the terrorists planned to infiltrate the IMN.

NEWS / Northern Youths Urge Sack Of NSA, IGP, DSS DG
« on: Today at 07:23:41 AM »
Citing the inability to arrest leaders of the Northern Youths Coalition that issued ultimatum for Igbo to vacate the north by October 1 this year, another youth body, Arewa Youth Assembly, has called for the immediate sack of the National Security Adviser, Director General Department of State Security and the Inspector General of Police; for dereliction of duty and threat to national security.

The members of Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA) contended that if the signatories to the Kaduna Declaration are allowed to go scot-free, what may follow could be full-scale war, leading to massive loss of lives and destruction of property.

In a statement issued in Kaduna at the weekend by its leader, Mohammed Salihu, Arewa Youth Assembly described those who signed the Kaduna Declaration as ‘agents of darkness’, stressing that they must be arrested to serve as deterrence to others.

They said: “The Acting president should move ahead and order the arrest of all those behind this plot, even Biafra agitators and bring them to book. While the NSA, the DG – SSS and IGP should be sacked for failing to apprehend all those behind Kaduna declaration.

NEWS / Appropriation Palaver: NASS Replies Fashola
« on: Today at 07:22:56 AM »
Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

Accuses Him Of Deceit, Selfishness Over Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

The face-off between the executive and the National Assembly, regarding the 2017 budget has evidently taken a turn for the worse.

This is as the Senate, yesterday, opened up on why it reduced funds allocated for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and spread it across other projects not initially provided for in the budget proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Senate spokesperson, Aliu Saabi Abdullahi, who clarified the position of the upper arm of the NASS accused Works, Power and Housing Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, of being deceitful and selfish in his handling of matters concerning the road project.

Abdullahi, who defended the position of the National Assembly, said it acted in national interest, and to ensure that equity and fairness was achieved in the distribution of projects.

The Senate spokesperson claimed that Fashola did not give members of the public full details of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, which has been on a private finance initiative from the beginning, adding that Fashola would prefer an arrangement that allows his ministry to continue awarding contracts and funding the project through government budgetary allocations, even at a time that the nation’s revenue is dwindling.

NEWS / Quit Order Is Treason, Ohanaeze Insists
« on: Today at 07:22:06 AM »
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, stated that the quit order given to Ndigbo in the north was a declaration for a new state of Nigeria without the Igbo, insisting that being an obvious violation of the constitution, it amounted to treason.

The organisation stated that it was worried that none of those who issued the October 1 quit order has been arrested despite directives of the Kaduna State governor and Inspector general of Police.

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who made assertions in Enugu while inaugurating the planning and strategy committee of Ndigbo, said Ohanaeze doubts seriously if there won’t be conflagrations in the Northern part of the country at the expiration of the deadline if the quit order was not complied with.

His words: “Quite recently we have witnessed very provoking and unpatriotic remarks from Arewa youths. Their remarks have grown from whispers to a national quit notice to Igbos to leave northern Nigeria.

“While we applaud the immediate and unequivocal condemnation of their utterances by the Governor of Kaduna State, northern governors forum, the Middle Belt Forum and the rather mild and equivocal condemnation from the Arewa Consultative Forum.

“The defiance of the Arewa youths by threatening and daring the police to arrest them, the clear incapacitation of the police and unwillingness to arrest them, their renewed aggression following the issuance of another statement involving an association of wider youth organisations in the north and the support offered to them by splinter elements of the northern elders forum point to a swell of reasonable support from a section of northern Nigeria.”

Ohanaeze said “what remains worrisome is the incapacity of the police to make needful arrests in this situation, pointing to double standards from our security forces. A desire and public proclamation for a state of Biafra cannot be too different from a quit notice, which amounts to a declaration for a new state of Nigeria without the Igbo.”

NEWS / CIS Celebrates Students, Gives Awards
« on: Today at 07:21:26 AM »
Children’s International School (CIS), Lekki, Lagos recorded another milestone, recently, when it rolled out the drums to celebrate its Senior School Leavers Class of 2017. As educators, who are absolutely student-focused, the event will remain memorable for the school, as it signified the send-forth of another set of prospective global ambassadors.

The occasion held alongside the Senior School Awards ceremony, and it recorded a large turnout of parents, well-wishers and other guests, who came to celebrate with the school leavers and awardees.

The awards cut across all subjects and featured some special categories, including: the ‘Model Student Award,’ which was bestowed on a student from each Year Group and the ‘Head of School Award, ’ which went to only one student. Interestingly, the nominations for these awards centered on the display of the CIS ethos.

The management and staff of CIS congratulate and rejoice with all the awardees, while wishing the Valedictorians the very best, as they move on to greater heights.

NEWS / No Rift Between Amaechi, Abe — Ex-Lawmaker
« on: Today at 07:19:43 AM »
A former Deputy Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Leyii Kwanee, has said that there is no rift between Rotimi Amaechi and the lawmaker representing Rivers South East, Senator Magnus Abe.

Kwanee, who spoke with journalists on Saturday, explained that Amaechi and Abe had been friends for a long time, adding that recent statements credited to Abe did not show that there was any form of animosity between the duo.

The chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, who said he took a sabbatical from politics after he served as deputy speaker, noted that he had to make a return to build the party ahead of the 2019 elections.

A group, Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum, has called on Arewa youths to withdraw the October 1 quit notice issued to Igbo living in the North.

The forum also called on the coalition of the Niger Delta militants to withdraw the quit notice it issued to northerners in the oil-rich region and the ultimatum issued to northerners to return oil blocks they control.

The spokesman for the forum, Imoh Okoko, said in Port Harcourt on Saturday that the withdrawal of such quit notice and ultimatum for the return of oil blocks would engender peace in the country.

Okoko expressed gratitude to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for his efforts in dousing the tension created by hate speeches by some ethnic groups in the country.

He pointed out that the forum would, on Thursday, organise a meeting of youth leaders from all ethnic groups in the country with a view to charting a way forward for a peaceful and united Nigeria.

Okoko said, “We are doing this for peace to reign and for the unity of this country. We urge the Arewa youths to see Nigeria as a place where people can stay and do business without fear. We want them to see the Igbo as their brothers. The Igbo people should also stop the agitation for Biafra. We are aware that there are a lot of problems causing these agitations and we appeal to the Federal Government to see how these problems can be solved.

“It is necessary for the Federal Government to begin to speak with the youth of various ethnic nationalities in the country.”

NEWS / APC Prays For Buhari
« on: Today at 07:18:14 AM »
Youths in the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress have prayed for good health for President Muhammadu Buhari to advance the fight against graft and ensure Nigeria’s unity.

Leading thousands of youths in the exercise in Uyo, the state capital, Dr. Chris Ekong, cited Buhari’s many feats, including the appointment of the state’s indigenes into key federal positions.

“All this happened in only two years of Buhari’s administration. Akwa Ibom State APC youths see Buhari’s love for the state and his support as something that should be cherished by us because we didn’t expect such. To reciprocate this love and support, the state APC youths have risen in unison to seek God’s mercy and total healing for his servant, President Muhammadu Buhari, to enable him complete his tenure,” he said.

Also, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Legal Matters, Research and

Documentation, Prof. Adamu Usman, who identified corruption as Nigeria’s greatest problem, urged the youth to appoint a leader who have their interest at heart.

He said, “If you appoint a good leader, your future will be bright. But if you appoint a bad leader, your future, for sure, will be bleak.”

NEWS / Youths Decry Neglect Of Abia Oil Communities
« on: Today at 07:17:28 AM »
Youths from the oil communities in Abia State have decried the neglect of the oil-producing communities in the State by the Niger Delta Development Commission.

A communiqué signed by the  President, Supreme Council of Ukwa /Ngwa Youths, Obinna Nwachukwu, said the youths were worried that the state had no representative in the NDDC.

The communique partly read, “We hereby call on the NDDC, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and other Niger Delta  agencies, as a matter of equity, justice and fairness to ensure that all rights and privileges due to the oil-producing areas be given to them.”

The youths urged the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to take swift steps in arresting and prosecuting those who threatened  Igbo people in the North.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday urged Nigerians to live in peace and avoid making reckless statements.

A statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, explained that Buhari’s appeal was contained in his Eid-el-Fitr message to Nigerians which he sent from London, United Kingdom, where he is currently receiving medical attention.

The President’s message read, “I am immensely grateful to God for his mercy in guiding us successfully to conclude another Ramadan fast.

“May the lessons of Ramadan — namely: piety, self-denial, prayers and generosity to the poor and needy — be with us all the time.

“I, again, appeal to all Nigerians to avoid reckless statements or actions against our fellow countrymen. We should all resolve to live in peace and unity in our great country, which is the envy of many less endowed nations.”

Buhari left the country on May 7 for another round of consultation with his doctors based in the British capital. He had, in a letter to the National Assembly, said the duration of his medical trip would be determined by his doctors.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has called on Nigerians not to relent in sharing love.

Obasa stated this in his Eid-el-Fitr message which was contained in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Musbau Razak.

He also urged Nigerians to continue to work for the unity and peaceful coexistence of citizens.

The Speaker also urged Nigerians to be vigilant at all times and cooperate with the government at all levels to fight crimes in the society.

Wife of the Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs. Rachael Umahi, has called on police authorities to arrest and prosecute a policewoman, Mrs. Joy Awoke, for allegedly pouring hot water on her house help.

Umahi made the call on Friday after a team from her office and officials of the state Ministry of Women and Social Development rescued the girl from the home of the policewoman at Mile 50 area of Abakaliki, the state capital.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the victim, identified as Chinyere Igwe, 15, hails from Igbere community in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State.

Chinyere told our correspondent that her mistress got annoyed that she refused to prepare egusi soup the way she wanted.

“My mistress poured hot water on me and the water touched her a little; she then turned around to say that I poured hot water on her.  She hit me with an iron. She sprayed tear-gas. I started running, begging her to leave me. I have suffered various forms of inhumane treatment while living with her,” she lamented.

She said she accepted to live with the policewoman because her father had died, adding that her mother was poor.

However, Awoke denied that she poured hot water on her house help intentionally.

She said, “Out of annoyance, I threw the pot at her when she was running, the water poured on her. I did not do it intentionally.”

The Director, Child Welfare Development in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr. Godwin Igwe, and the state Chairman, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Mrs. Livia  Okpareke, said the policewoman must be brought to book.

They enjoined the police authorities to prosecute her to serve as a deterrent to others.

When contacted, Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer, Jude Madu, said he has yet to receive a report on the incident.

NEWS / Alaafin Supports Akintola
« on: Today at 07:14:33 AM »
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has appealed to the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress at both the state and national levels to ensure that the governorship ambition of Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN, received their blessings.

Adeyemi made the appeal on Saturday when the legal luminary paid him a courtesy visit in Oyo town.

The monarch described Akintola as a formidable pillar in legal practice and recalled that the aspirant had applied sheer legal prowess to save situations for the progressives in the South-West on many occasions.

He said, “If Niyi (Akintola) does not come out, someone else will. Fools will take over the political sphere when those who are wise and intelligent refused to contest elections. When the party chooses you, we know the next move.”

He commended the incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi, for what he called his “socio-infrastructural renewal” across the state.

NEWS / Robbers Kill One As Police Tighten Security
« on: Today at 07:13:46 AM »
The Oyo State Police Command said it had beefed up security in the state as Muslims celebrate Sallah.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Abiodun Odude, in a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the command, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said he had directed area commanders, divisional police officers and others to tighten security in their respective jurisdictions.

The commissioner added that the command had deployed special units like the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Counter-Terrorism Unit, the Explosive Ordinance Department, Skynet, Swift Response Squad and similar outfits to patrol the state.

Meanwhile, a man was killed in a crossfire between a gang of robbers and the police on Friday evening at Mokola in Ibadan.

Ajisebutu, who confirmed the incident, told our correspondent that the gang had robbed an individual coming out of a bank with some money.

NEWS / Two Brothers In Police Net For Murder
« on: Today at 07:12:57 AM »
The Ogun State Police Command says it has arrested two brothers, Mathew Elegbede, 27, and Sunday Elegbede, 33, over the alleged murder of a 73-year-old man, Odeyemi Adebari.

According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, the suspects were arrested following a complaint from the deceased’s son, who reported at Agbara Division headquarters of the command that the two brothers attacked his father with a cutlass, resulting in Adebari’s death.

The victim was said to have died four days after the attack in a hospital he was taken to.

The younger Elegbede was reported to have broken into an apartment in the house of the deceased, causing the occupier, a tenant, to raise the alarm.

Oyeyemi said, “The old man then came out to challenge Mathew. Mathew was said to have run away only for him to return with his elder brother, armed with a cutlass in which they used to inflict injury on the deceased, which resulted in his death.

The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, was said to have ordered the transfer of the case to the homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Abeokuta, for further investigation.

NEWS / Eid-El-Fitr: Police Ban Rallies, Guns In Niger
« on: Today at 07:12:09 AM »
The Niger State Police Command has banned all forms of rallies, processions and demonstrations in all parts of Niger State before, during and after the Muslim festival of Eid-el-Fitri.

The command, on Saturday, reiterated that the law prohibiting the use of firearms is still in force.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said no item other than prayer mats and rosaries would be allowed at all the prayer grounds during the Sallah.

According to Elkana, Muslim faithful attending the Sallah prayers will be properly screened in addition to not being allowed near the grounds with any bag.

The spokesman warned that the police would deal decisively with anyone that fomented trouble in the state during the festive period.

“We will not tolerate lawlessness during this period,” he said.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 4,555 security operatives have reportedly been mobilised to provide security in the 25 local government areas of the state.

Of the operatives, 1,555 were said to be men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, while the others were policemen.

In the same vein, the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, has said the corps is working towards ensuring that there will be no death as a result of road crashes during the Eid-el-Fitr celebrations.

He added that the FRSC had mobilised its officers nationwide for an intensive campaign and operation for a hitch-free and accident-free celebration. He advised motorists and commuters to be safety-conscious and abide by traffic regulations and rules.

The Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Command, Mr. Lawan Ado, through the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi, on Saturday, noted that 3,000 police personnel would be deployed in the state to maintain law and order during the holiday.

Also, the state Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Mr. Pedro Ideba, through the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Bilesanmi Henry, said 2,000 NSCDC personnel had already been deployed in the state.

Boboye, who spoke in Ilorin on the sidelines of FRSC’s 2017 mega public enlightenment rally, said though 5,000 accidents are recorded in Nigeria annually, the corps had been working hard to reduce the trend.

He also noted that 77 lives were lost during the 2016 Easter celebration, adding that there had been a decline in road accidents as a result of strategies adopted by the FRSC.

The corps marshal said, “We are targeting zero death for this holiday. For the first quarter of this year, we reduced crashes by 10 per cent, even though our target is 15 per cent reduction in crashes and 25 per cent in fatalities. We recorded a greater reduction in fatalities. I am very optimistic that with the trend, we will be able to stabilise the crash level.”

In a related development, the Kano State Police Command, on Saturday, in collaboration, with the Army, Air Force, the Department of State Services, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the NSCDC, carried out an operation codenamed “Show of Force” in Kano.

The objective of the operation, according to the law enforcement agencies, was to demonstrate their collective resolve towards providing comprehensive security to lives and properties across the state during the holiday.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Magaji Majiya, in a statement, warned against any illegal act, adding that the agencies would not relent in tracking and arresting criminals.

“We, therefore, call on the good people of the state to continue to be law abiding and give all necessary cooperation to security agencies in the state,” Majiya added.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it is not aware of the case instituted by Senator Dino Melaye to scuttle its plan to verify the signatures of members of his constituency asking him to leave the Senate.

It said that it merely read the story in the media on Saturday, adding that it would not rely on newspaper publications to do its job.

The commission, therefore, said it would proceed with the programmes it had lined up for the verification of signatures of the voters who asked the senator to return home.

The Director of Publicity and Voter Education, INEC, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said, “We are not aware that any case has been filed against the commission in its determination to do its work. Yet, we heard some things in the media on that, but we have to be served.

“If we are not served, we won’t stop the processes we have lined up for the exercise. As far as we are concerned therefore, the matter will go ahead as lined up.”

Osaze-Uzzi added that the process of verification of the signatures would enable the commission to know the authenticity of those who were said to have signed the petition.

He said the commission would expect the signatories to come forward and identify their signatures, adding that if there were those whose signatures were forged as being claimed by Melaye, they would be free to alert the security agencies.

“It is not our duty to go and report to the security agencies or the police that someone claims that his signature was forged.

“Those who know that their signatures were allegedly forged are free to report. Then the law will take care of that,” he added.

It is, however, uncertain if the exercise will commence on July 3, when the commission is expected to release the timetable for the verification of the signatures.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, has accused the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi and Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, of toying with the future of the institution’s 30,000 students, following the inability of both governors to provide funds for running of the school.

The ASUU Chairman, Dr. Biodun Olaniran, and Secretary, Toyin Abegunrin, in a statement made available to our correspondent on Saturday, said the union was not preventing a forensic audit of the university’s finances, contrary to claims of the two states.

They said the Commissioner for Education in Oyo State, Prof. Niyi Olowofela, was misinforming members of the public on the issues affecting the university.

The statement said, “Our union is disturbed but not surprised about deliberate misinformation and manipulation of facts about the issues on the ground. While ASUU is not a mouthpiece for the university’s administrators, it is strange that the governments which put LAUTECH administration in place cannot demand accountability from their appointees.

“They prefer to create confusion by blaming workers of the university and, thus, put the life and career of about 30,000 students in jeopardy. The operation of the account solely lies with the university administration and it must be held responsible for any infraction.”

The Osi Olubadan and former Oyo State Governor, Rashidi Ladoja, on Saturday said the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, was not in support of the proposed Olubadan chieftaincy declaration review by Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

But after a meeting with the governor, the Olubadan and Ibadan high chiefs at the state’s secretariat, Senator Lekan Balogun threw his weight behind the move, leaving Ladoja, who did not attend the meeting, alone in the fight.

The governor’s Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Yomi Layinka, told our correspondent after the meeting that areas of controversy in the proposal were resolved with the Olubadan consenting to the review.

He also claimed that Olubadan’s consent to the review was recorded on tape.

Speaking on a radio programme monitored in Ibadan by our correspondent on Saturday, Ladoja said the Olubadan did not commit himself to the move. He substantiated his position with a recording where the Olubadan said the proposal would not be effected while he was still the monarch.

The Olubadan was quoted as saying that the crown on his head was given to him by the Ibadan people and that the present chieftaincy process should be maintained.

Ladoja said other high chiefs that backed out of the fight had their reasons, maintaining his position that only the Olubadan and the Olubadan-in-Council had the right to do what the state government was planning.

“They said Olubadan consented to it but there is evidence that he is not in support. I am not against the governor but the government over this issue,” the former governor added.

When contacted about the two recordings that expressed two different views of the Olubadan on the issue, the Director, Media and Public Affairs to the monarch, Adeola Oloko, told our correspondent that the king never committed himself to the governor’s plan.

He said the Olubadan would always uphold his position against the proposal.

Meanwhile, Ladoja has petitioned the chairman of the National Judicial Council and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over the alleged refusal of Justice Diran Akintola to hear an ex parte application filed by his lawyer concerning the chieftaincy law review.

“The only way to regain public trust in the judiciary is for disciplinary action to be taken against Justice Akintola,” he said.

NEWS / One Dies As Army Rescues Kidnap Victim
« on: Today at 07:06:02 AM »
The 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has rescued a kidnap victim, Malachy Umoren, in Idu Community, the headquarters of Uruan Local Government Area of the state.

It was learnt that a five-man gang abducted Umoren and drove off in a Nissan Primera saloon car when soldiers and the police in joint operation in the area chased them.

The security forces were said to have engaged the kidnappers in a shoot-out until the hoodlums surrendered. They later abandoned their victim and escaped into a bush. One of the kidnappers was arrested by the security officers.

The spokesperson for the police in the state, Chukwu Ikechukwu, confirmed the incident. He said one of the kidnappers, injured during the shoot-out, died in a hospital.

“Investigation is ongoing to arrest others involved in the crime,” he said.

Also, the 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, in a statement by its Assistant Director, Public Relations, Captain Umar Shuaib, said, “The troops, after a shootout with the hoodlums, succeeded in arresting one of the suspected kidnappers who sustained gunshot wounds.

‘‘Both the victim and the suspected kidnapper are presently receiving medical attention at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.”

He added that items recovered from the hoodlums included one pump-action rifle, four locally-made pistols, two cutlasses, three phones, cartridges, four ATM cards, an envelope containing some documents and one Nissan Primera saloon car.

NEWS / Wike Dissolves Cabinet
« on: Today at 07:05:17 AM »
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Saturday, dissolved the state executive council.

The dissolution of the council came barely two days after the Commissioner for Works, Bathuel Harrison, was relieved of his job.

The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George, had resigned on Friday.

A statement by the governor’s Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, indicated that Wike directed the former commissioners to hand over to the permanent secretaries of their respective ministries.

“The governor directed all former commissioners to hand over to their respective permanent secretaries.

“Governor Wike thanked the former commissioners for their service to the state and wished them well in their future endeavours,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the governor has felicitated with Muslims on the successful completion of the Ramadan fasting, urging them to use the celebration to pray for the unity of the country.

Wike advised Muslims to emulate Prophet Mohammed by imbibing the ideals he espoused.

He also urged Nigerians to show religious tolerance, promote peace across the country and support national development.

NEWS / N-Power Workers Bemoan Non-Payment Of Arrears
« on: Today at 07:04:31 AM »
Scores of beneficiaries of the N-Power anchored programme of the Federal Government Social Intervention Programme in Kwara State, on Saturday, lamented the government’s failure to pay their stipends of about five months.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Youth Empowerment, Mr. Saka Babatunde, said over 30,000 unemployed youths in the state registered for the N-Power programme.

Babatunde, however, added that Kwara State was far from the 50,000 target for the second phase of the programme

The governor’s aide, speaking on the sidelines of the sensitisation programme for the Kwara Central Senatorial District, confirmed that some of the volunteers had yet to be paid, adding that the Federal Government had committed to paying the arrears by the end of June.

According to him, the delay in payment is due to documentation and other challenges.

He assured the volunteers that there were no discrepancies in their submitted documents and bank verification numbers.

The affected volunteers complained that the Federal Government had promised to pay them N30,000 monthly. According to the youths, though few of them have been receiving their arrears, majority have not got their stipends.

They lamented that the development had inflicted great hardship on them and called on the government to urgently pay them their arrears.

Among the volunteers are Abdulwaheed Yusuf, who teaches at Oja Iya Primary School, Ilorin, and Ibrahim Abolere, who teaches at Karuma Junior Secondary School, Ilorin.

The acting state Director, National Orientation Agency, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, also acknowledged that some volunteers had not been paid, adding that most of the problems encountered during the first phase of the programme started at the registration process.

He warned against registration by proxy and urged all the participants to ensure all their information was correct as well as their email addresses and BVNs.

He stated that false information provided by participants would lead to automatic disqualification.

According to Babatunde, Ilorin West Local Government Area recorded the highest number of volunteers.

He asked for concerted efforts towards ensuring that the unemployed youths are adequately captured for the programme.

He said it was desirable for the government to achieve the target so as to improve the state’s economy. According to him, if the target is achieved, additional N600m will be allocated to the state monthly.

Babatunde said, “I am aware that some of you (volunteers) have yet to receive any stipend at all. They (Federal Government) promised us by end of June.

“I can assure you that all the problems will be resolved. They gave us assurance in Abuja that even if you have not been receiving any stipend, for as long as you are in the scheme, they will pay you the backlogs. They just want to be sure that it is the same you. They are being careful.  That is why it seems some people have not received any payment.”

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