Author Archives: Nigeria Now

Freedom Foundation Premieres Inspiring Rehabilitation Stories in ‘My Lagos Diaries’ Series | Saturday, January 21st

Freedom Foundation, a faith-based nonprofit organization of the House of Freedom, will on the 21st of January publicly premiere a documentary series ‘My Lagos Diaries’, at the FilmHouse IMAX Cinema, Lekki, Lagos.

According to Tony Rapu, Senior Pastor at This Present House, ‘My Lagos Diaries’ is a first-hand experience of challenges people face trying to survive in the city of Lagos. Since inception, the Freedom Foundation has transformed and positively impacted several lives in impoverished communities including but not limited to Ejigbo, Ijora, Iwaya, Bariga and Somolu, led to the creation of this video journal which documents 10 years of my team and I’s experiences in these areas’.

‘My Lagos Diaries’ ultimate goal is to sensitize the general public about the struggles of these underprivileged persons while providing an opportunity for interested individuals and organizations to support Freedom Foundation’s vision via donations and funding.

The premiere will launch the 13 week documentary series which will begin airing online on Freedom Foundation’s YouTube channel as well as on television from the end of February. It will tell some of the real stories of rehabilitated prostitutes, armed robbers, drug addicts, beggars and other neglected individuals in the society.

The premiere will also feature a private viewing of “Reflections”, a unique photo exhibition by Kelechi Amadi-Obi where he uses notable celebrities as models to depict thought provoking poverty scenarios. This exhibition is designed to build further awareness and trigger social change and soul searching amongst Nigerians.

Date: Saturday, January 21st, 2017.Venue: FilmHouse IMAX Cinema, Lekki, Lagos.
You can find out more about My Lagos Diaries and Freedom Foundation on www.mylagosdiaries.com.ng or join the conversation at #mylagosdiaries on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Freedom Foundation

Freedom Foundation is a faith based, non-profit organization, committed to addressing the ever-mounting and staggering challenges in our society by empowering individuals who are plagued by various categories of social and economic challenges. We actively partner with the Government, other NGOs, civil society organizations, corporate institutions and individuals to make this mission a reality.

At Freedom Foundation, we believe that everyone has the right to live freely, free from addictions, free from sex slavery, free from ignorance and free from poverty.

For further information, please contact:

Address: Freedom Foundation, Plot 17 Adeniyi Coker Road, Off T.Y. Danjuma Street off LigaliAyorinde Street, V/I, Lagos.Tel: 08087290000Email: [email protected]: www.freedomfoundationng.org

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From Freedom Foundation Premieres Inspiring Rehabilitation Stories in ‘My Lagos Diaries’ Series | Saturday, January 21st by Bella Naija (News)

Ding-dong in Jigawa Assembly

By Aliyu Dangida

A FRESH leadership crisis is rocking the Jigawa State House of Assembly following the impeachment of Alhaji Idris Garba as speaker, last week.

Garba was removed for alleged for high-hardness, misappropriation and arrogance by 25 members of the House.

The fresh controversy arose after Idris and his loyalists claimed that the impeachment did not follow due process and hence the resort to the courts.

To that effect, about 14 of the 25 members, who signed the impeachment register and the state Attorney  General were served with a court sermon through a Kano-based legal practitioner, challenging their action by the former speaker.

Alleged  greed

Members had, last week, reconvened on the prompting of the deputy speaker, Hon. Ahmed Garba, to deliberate on the impeachment, which they had been nursing on account of alleged greed members had raised against the speaker.

While some concealed their ill feelings against the former speaker, others claimed that he behaved arrogantly to his colleagues and failed to answer phone calls from some members.
Associates of the former speaker, however, dispute the claim saying the action was essentially a political move to damage Idris. Sources close to the state assembly nevertheless claim that there were underlying reasons for the impeachment.

It was gathered that the aggrieved members deliberately refused to state financial mismanagement as part of the reasons for his removal to avoid portraying themselves in bad light as the alleged scam will put some members and other principal officers of the house in bad light.

Part of the alleged financial mismanagement raised against Idris Garba involved the Christmas/New Year cash gift given to members by the state governor, Mohammed Abubakar and the fund released for the renovation of the state assembly complex and former speaker’s official residence.

When the impeachment notice was circulated, last Monday, in the assembly, the deputy speaker, Ahmed Garba explained among other reasons that the removal of the former speaker was informed by his rigidity, uncompromising disposition and unilateral opinion in implementing the decision of the assembly.
His words: “We, the undersigned, the 25 members of Jigawa State House of Assembly representing various constituencies have unanimously resolved to impeach the speaker, Garba Idris with immediate effect. “He arrogates too much power to himself, which led to a loss of confidence in his ability as a leader for effective leadership.”

Idris, however, rejected the assertion and the process used against him as he immediately went to court.
Counsel to the embattled Idris, Barrister Sale Mohammed Tirmizi, said his client had sued the 25 members of the assembly that signed for his impeachment and the Attorney General of the state.
Barrister Tirmizi explained that his client had instituted the case before the state High Court because the procedure followed for his impeachment was contrary to section 6 (4) Rules of  Jigawa State House Assembly 2011, which stipulates that for a speaker or his deputy to be removed a copy of allegations necessitating for removal from office must be made available to the person concerned.

Child’s play  and deceit

According to him, the affected person must step aside to give way for a  committee to investigate the matter and the officer in question must also be given an opportunity to defend himself adding that in this situation the processes were not followed.

“Based on the reasons made available, the so-called impeachment is illegal, therefore, null and void. We can’t fold our arms as law makers to see others breaking the law; it is a child’s play and deceit,” the former speaker voiced out.

From Ding-dong in Jigawa Assembly by Vanguard (Politics)

NFF rejects CAF’s request to host U-17 Nations Cup

By Jude Opara, Abuja

THE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) may have turned down a request from the Confederation of African Football, CAF to bail it out and host the 2017 edition of the African U-17 Championship.

CAF had last week stripped Madagascar of the right to host the championship even as it had not made any concrete arrangement for another host.

A reliable source at the NFF informed Sports Vanguard in Abuja that on Monday the federation received a letter from the continental body requesting it to bail it out by staging the competition scheduled to take place later in the year.

According to our source who did not want to be mentioned, the NFF who has been battling a nagging financial crunch did not waste time in declining the offer.

“Yes we have received a letter from CAF but there is nothing we can do to help them because we know the prevailing situation in the country. The nation is presently in recession and it will be foolish on our part to begin to request the government to venture into such. In fact that would have presented us in a very bad light before Nigerians.”

The executive committee of CAF had met last Thursday in Libreville, Gabon and announced the withdrawal of the hosting right from Madagascar; a development many analysts believe is a way of getting back at the president of the Malagasy Football Federation, Ahmad Ahmad who is the only candidate that will contest the presidency of CAF with the age long incumbent, Issa Haytou.

Hayatou a Cameroonian had been in charge of CAF since 1998 and despite a change of its bylaws last September to limit the tenure of its officers, CAF tactically left a window for him run again and if he expectedly wins, will be in office till 2021.

From NFF rejects CAF’s request to host U-17 Nations Cup by Vanguard (Sport)

It’s in APC’s interest not to kill PDP – Gov Dickson

By Emma Ujah,   Abuja Bureau Chief

Gov Seriake Dickson was in Abuja, last weekend to pay his state’s N422 million water project counterpart fund. At that event, he spoke to journalists on a wide range of national issues, including why it is not in the interests of APC for PDP to be destroyed and cautioned that the federal government must guide against turning security agencies into organs of APC. Excerpts:

The environmental situation in the Niger Delta remains a challenge.   How are you handling this at a time the nation needs to boost oil production?

We have always been very concerned about the issues of  protection of the environment particularly the fragile eco-system of the Niger Delta. I got a brief about the recent landslides and I asked the deputy governor to go and assess the place personally. This is the second time we are experiencing this within a few months.We are very concerned and hope that the relevant agencies will work with us. I will write a formal letter to the appropriate agency and the Minister of Environment so that appropriate studies can be carried out so that we will know exactly where we are on environment.

The second issue is about the need for peace and stability in the Niger Delta to enable oil production to be maximized and therefore increase the capacity of governments to meet their obligations. This is key because if you are talking about raising several trillions of Naira to fund the federal budget and the state budgets are also predicated on oil revenue, then we must be concerned about what happens at the source of that money. So it is an issue that everybody must be concerned. We in the Niger Delta, my colleagues and I, are trying our best.

Security and  peace-building

As you know, Bayelsa is the safest state in this country, clearly one of the most stable states in the Niger Delta even though historically it is the epicentre of this crisis but because of the efforts we have made and the collaborations we have forged and continue to establish and encourage, there is no doubt Bayelsa will continue to be safe. We will continue to double our efforts and invest more in security and peace-building.

•Gov Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa
But all of these take some level of partnership and collaboration; while we, governors, try our best and while leaders like Edwin Clark and others are trying their best and security agents are doing their best, community leaders are doing their best, we also expect the political leadership at the centre to also appreciate these challenges and then follow up, encourage and build understanding, promote dialogue and peace-building.

Unfortunately, like chief Edwin Clark said, not much is happening from the federal side.  I am not saying that they are not concerned they are because they also know the implications. Part of the reasons our country went into recession is because of the situation, the crisis in the Niger Delta.

All in all, we would like to see more commitment and more proactive engagement by the federal government and their agencies.

The issues in the Niger Delta revolve around security, stability and development and the need to expand economic opportunities. These are the challenges that I see. And for me we will continue to keep Bayelsa safe and protect strategic assets to enable production take place and I know that my colleagues are also doing the same. All we ask is that the federal agencies should be more sensitive, show greater commitment, be more proactive and engage.

I cannot recount how many times former President Obasanjo and his National Security team led by Aliyu Gusau convened  conferences and meetings at different levels.

Corresponding partnership

You remember immediately after his election, the first place Obasanjo went to was Warri, Port Harcourt and at every major development the President would be calling the governors to direct, and the National Security Adviser would be calling. Even though there were challenges, there was a consented meeting of minds by the leadership.

We will continue to do our part because as a governor that is my responsibility, not just to my state but also to the country, to try to do what we are doing to stabilize. But then there has to be a corresponding partnership and support.  But I think in the end, we are going to work to address most of it because these are long-standing challenges and issues.   They are not issues that started with this government; the issues of lack of development, the issues of environment, the issues of economic exclusion, these are long standing things.

How are you coping with the federal government as a PDP governor? 

In spite of all the challenges, we are still Africa’s largest party. The other party is not a party yet.   They are learning to be one. We pray for strong parties to evolve, we need a strong party in government, cohesive party in government and we also need a cohesive party in opposition.

It is not in the interest of the party in government for the PDP to disintegrate or be in perpetual crisis.   I think that realisation should be there. It is in the interest of the country and it is also in the enlightened self-interest of the APC and its leadership to ensure that PDP does not die or  implode because you hear all kinds of talk about mini-party, mega party and most of the noise we know the direction it is coming from.

Just to say that we are concerned about development in the party and personally as chairman of the reconciliation committee and as someone who interacts with the whole range of the leadership of our party across this country, that process of interaction would go on. There are indications that very soon with the efforts of top leaders of the party, we will  have some way forward. These are all normal challenges, it is a process of self discovery.

PDP is going through a process of discovering itself, finding its true feet and identity because all along we have been spoon fed as the government in federal power and now suddenly we are learning to be in the cold and playing opposition. So we are gradually adjusting and all of this is a process of adjustment and self discovery.

Unfortunately, more of that is even happening in the party in government; so we wish the party in government well, I personally do. A lot of the leaders in the APC are people that one has known and interacted with and one has a lot of respect for. A number of them have made sacrifices for the democratic development of this country by even working to bring up the APC, in the first place.
People like us who are in opposition appreciate that it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice on their part to bring up the APC and it is a good development for our country, even though my party lost power.
So, I wish the APC to remain strong and united, cohesive and also to allow the PDP to remain strong, united and cohesive. And state institutions should not be immersed in the political process because once that happens you politicise everything and the next thing is an indication of a failing state and we hope that that doesn’t happen in Nigeria.

On whether he shares the view that the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan,  one of his subjects in Bayelsa State, is being persecuted by the present administration?

First, you need to understand that I am not the spokesman of former President Jonathan. I am governor. President Jonathan is from my state no doubt, he is an elder brother and someone who retired as a leader and former President of our country, he deserves to be treated with respect and to be given a fair treatment even as a private citizen that he has now become.

Logical  conclusions

I don’t want to go into the several issues that are being raised because as former President Jonathan himself said, we need to be careful about commenting on some of these processes because a number of them are just unfolding and a number of them have not been taken to their logical conclusions for things to be proved one way or the other. So we should be very careful about that.

I just feel that, talking generally now, not just President Jonathan and his family, the perception that some of the policies of the present government are selective or are targeted at some persons and some sections is inimical to the success of a number of  reforms of the federal government and that is not helpful. It may just be a perception and probably it is not real but you see, perception is also as important as reality.   That should be addressed.  Let us see how things play out, there should be less sensationalism, let us see facts if there are issues.

I think this country with time will appreciate the kind of sacrifice and service that the Jonathan presidency and Jonathan as a person rendered. He tried his best and particularly in the area of application of public authority, he never used authority to harass or intimidate any person or any particular group and the contributions to the democratic process. You can see what is happening in Gambia now, they are in crisis.

And for some of us, when with time our memoirs comes out then people will know the roles and some of the difficult decisions that people had to take in the national interest. But I think overall I am someone who believes that leaders should be respected generally and we can disagree and in fact we need to disagree more and agree in the common interest, in the national interest but in doing so we treat one another with respect. Treat people you disagree with respect, people who don’t share your political party and your political ideology with respect, people who don’t believe in your religious denomination or faith with respect because in the end what should matter to us and I think that is where we missed it in this country, it is our common humanity first and then our shared Nigerian if we are indeed a nation because that is what nation building is.

Nation building is not something that comes overnight, we need to all make sacrifices, learn from our mistakes and leaders are not perfect, no leader is perfect including me. So what is important is underline ideals of respect for one another, tolerance and then if there are issues those issues need to be handled by the appropriate institutions, so that way you address these perceptions which as I said may not even be real. So let’s not pre-judge, let us wait and I don’t want to join the sensational boat. In all I say treat people with respect.

I don’t think we have an alternative, like I said I continue to do so much to maintain peace and stability and order in Bayelsa even though some people at the federal level continue to prefer to see me as a PDP governor. After election,   party platform takes a back seat, after election we should be talking about service delivery, we should be talking about the people, the country and that is right attitude.

You don’t carry partisan divide after election because after election we should be governing and we have shared responsibility for law and order, shared responsibility to work for stability of this country and Nigeria cannot be safe or stable until every state within Nigeria is safe and stable and no state can be safe and stable until every community is safe and stable.

So the responsibility that a governor has, which is why whether people recognise to partner or not I go on performing my duties and that is why Bayelsa continues to be stable and that is why we keep working for more stability, we don’t have an option because it is my responsibility and duty to the constitution and to my people, the same responsibility that the President has.

It is just that in his case he is the ultimate repository of the national forces of cohesion and he has to realise that it is his duty to apply that to support the stability of the country. And that is why I said people continue to ask me Bayelsa is the hot spot of this crisis and yet it is stable; a governor first duty is law and order and security and that means sometimes overlooking a lot of things, that means doing things differently, even playing politics differently to create that atmosphere of stability as part of leadership.

And on their part, it is the part of those in charge of the federal government to know that when elections are over, party differences go out and we support development and security.
What are your challenges?

Challenges remain funds. I just talked about major projects being stalled and delayed and I am very sad about it. The second thing is the federal collaboration for security and development. That means that if a person is misguided and he is misguiding people to be violent, it means taking care of that according to the law, without saying this is my party man; once you do that it means the country is failing.
Any country where you have to survive or people have to survive just because their party man is holding a security position, that is a failed state because what you are saying is that the other people should go and arm themselves and non state actors should now take over.

These are the things that really bother one. I have said it to everybody that look the support I need is stability, security; don’t play politics with security, law and order at least in my state. I don’t do that, don’t also do it, I won’t allow it.

If you don’t apprehend criminals, I may get to a stage where I will mobilize citizens. But I won’t tolerant any unlawful and illegal behaviour, and that is what is affecting the overall security and stability environment in Bayelsa because they know that this governor does not condole lawlessness, criminals know it.

Anybody they post there, I don’t lobby for any Commissioner of Police, I would tell you that you are welcome on board; my duty here is to support you to fight crime and criminality and enforce law and order and stability. I have never given an order for any security personnel to go and molest any person, I don’t do that. Opposition politicians are free, they hold meetings and they criticize me.   It is their right.   That is democracy we are practicing.

If you want to hold a rally I would give you even the stadium to go and do that. President Buhari came to campaign as candidate, I declared security to protect him even when people were blackmailing me because some expected that I should have made the state uncomfortable for him and throw him out as my predecessor had done to him in 2011.

That is the sort of attitude that political leaders in this country must have, that is the attitude that even the President himself must have; you don’t allow state institutions to be used to undermine opponents so that EFCC will have to be part of APC or SSS has to be an arm of APC or the military; you want to destroy the country. I am not saying that is what is happening, all I am saying is that it should not happen.

From It’s in APC’s interest not to kill PDP – Gov Dickson by Vanguard (Politics)

Apology: "I was young and stupid" – Bullet of Ruff N Smooth tells ex-girlfriends

Hiplife musician, Bullet, of Ruff N Smooth fame has apologised to all his ex-girlfriends through Facebook.

The “Shaba” singer, took to Facebook yesterday to describe all his break ups with his ex-girlfriends as ‘stupidity’ and the results of his youthful exuberant.

Bullet took to his personal Facebook profile to say (unedited): “Sorry for the few girls I broke their heart.I was young and stupid.as a man I now know there is nothing like a perfect woman. We all have our flaws. pls forgive me.”

Bullet has recently been in the news for fighting a TV3 programme producer who refused to play Ghanaian music videos during his interview.

He was heard yelling in the video saying he has been at the TV station’s premises for long but Nigerian music videos were featured throughout his waiting period.

From Apology: “I was young and stupid” – Bullet of Ruff N Smooth tells ex-girlfriends by Pulse.ng (Celebs)

U.S. warns Yahya Jammeh: ‘Handover to avoid consequences’

The U.S. has warned the embattled President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia, saying he is losing opportunities to peacefully handover to President-elect Adama Barrow and avoid the consequences of his actions.

Jammeh’s tenure ends Jan. 19, the same day that Barrow is expected to be sworn-in as his successor.

Both the African Union and ECOWAS have said that Jammeh will cease to be recognised as Gambian President from the date.

Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Mr John Kirby, said at a press briefing on Tuesday that Jammeh was putting his legacy and The Gambia in peril.

“President Jammeh is losing opportunities to respect the will of the Gambian people and to peacefully hand over power to the president-elect, which is supposed to happen on Thursday.
“Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect the Gambian people from potential chaos.

“Failure to do so will put his legacy – and, more importantly, the Gambia – in peril, and we have been clear about this,” he said.

According to him, the accusation by Jammeh of external interference in The Gambia’s internal affairs is not tenable.

“I don’t know what interference he’s referring to, but we obviously want to see The Gambia succeed.
“And we want to see the president-elect properly installed and to have in place a government, which is responsible for and responsive to the needs of the Gambian people.”
The U.S. had on Friday, indicated support for ECOWAS to take all necessary action on Jammeh if he fails to handover to Barrow.

The U.S. had regretted that Jammeh’s action had made the situation in The Gambia to become “very uncertain”.
“We call on President Jammeh to listen to his own people, to listen to the Gambian people who have clearly called on him to accept the results of the Dec. 1 election.
“And to again agree to what he already agreed to, which is a peaceful handover of power to President-elect Barrow.”

Kirby, however, said the U.S. “believes that ECOWAS can certainly play an important role in providing security and addressing some of the concerns that there could be violence around the transition”.
He also said that the U.S. was not ruling out its support to a military action, saying: “We do, and I’m not trying to back away from that in any way, shape, or form.
“I just would say that we do, obviously, support ECOWAS as a force for peace and security in the region, and specifically in The Gambia.

“Well, again, I don’t want to speak to what possible actions they may take. I don’t want to get out in front of those decisions,” he said.
Kirby noted the unfortunate accidental airstrike on an internally displaced people’s camp in Rann locality of Borno.

According to him, the U.S. will continue providing the Nigerian Government with counter-terrorism assistance against the Boko Haram insurgents.

From U.S. warns Yahya Jammeh: ‘Handover to avoid consequences’ by Vanguard (News)

Rita Ora: Singer celebrates 11m followers on Instagram

Rita Ora has just hit 11m followers on Instagram and celebrated the milestone with a sexy but cute photo.

The singer shared a snap of herself sitting on a bed wearing sweatpants and a bra, while she posed as if offering her boobs in gratitude for the 11m written on her chest.

She wrote, “This is for all 11M of you! Thank you so much! I have so much in store for you this year! Bring on 2017”.

Rita seems to be a little obsessed with her boobs and has actually revealed that she has lost count of the number of times she has exposed her rack in public.

At least, she’s offering her fans her best asset.
Big congrats to her.

From Rita Ora: Singer celebrates 11m followers on Instagram by Pulse.ng (Celebs)

Kogi Assembly rejects staff audit committee’s report

The Kogi House of Assembly on Tuesday unanimously condemned the report of the State Staff Audit Committee, and ordered the executive to furnish the house with a comprehensive report “”within 24 hours”.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance, raised by Mr Friday Sani (PDP-Igalamel-Odolu), in which he decried the declaration of a chunk of the civil workforce as “uncleared and therefore, ghosts”.

In the motion, which he tagged: “Save the Souls of Kogi Workers”, the lawmaker said that there was an urgent need to save the souls of civil servants at both the state and local government levels.
“I am constrained to move this motion considering the overwhelming evidences of non-payment of state and local government workers in the state, and the consequent suffering that is leading to high poverty, disease and death.”

He regretted that the screening exercise, which started since the inception of Gov Yahaya Bello’s administration, had lingered and came to an end with the sack of a great percentage of workers on flimsy excuses such as multiple age declarations, among others.

Sani particularly faulted the responses of the media aides to the governor and his Chief of Staff to the recent protest of workers in state-owned tertiary institutions over non-payment of their salaries.
““The question one is forced to ask therefore, is whether Kogi’s state and local government workers are being owed salaries. If yes, we should be able to situate the idea behind the bailout fund and to what purpose it was put.

“”The fact stares into our faces that the people have lost total confidence in the entire screening exercise considering the complexities and complications that were deliberately brought in to mess up the exercise.

“”In this circumstance, this house has a duty to salvage the people and the state from a total breakdown of law and order; we must take steps to avoid more sufferings, diseases and deaths,” he said.
Sani, in his prayers, urged the house to resolve the lingering issues and urged the state to keep the screening report in abeyance and pay all the workers using the last voucher used by former governor Idris Wada’s administration.

““This is very necessary to avoid the loss of more lives and despondency,” he argued.
Idris Ndakwo (PDP-Lokoja II), who seconded the motion, described the screening exercise, and particularly the final report, as ” `evil, satanic, fraudulent, condemnable, null and void”.
Ruling on the motion, the Speaker, Alhaji Umar Imam, described the idea behind the screening exercise as a lofty one, but regretted that its execution was shoddy and a sham.

He said that he personally handed over the assembly staff list to the committee but that the list was disregarded.

The Speaker ordered the committee to bring a complete report of its activities to the house within 24 hours, and directed the joint committee on establishment, judiciary, pension and local government, to study the said report and revert to the house within one week.

From Kogi Assembly rejects staff audit committee’s report by Vanguard (News)

Mohamed Aboutrika: Egyptian football star placed on ‘terror’ list

An Egyptian court has added former football star Mohamed Aboutrika to the authorities’ terror list, his lawyer said on Tuesday, based on suspicions he financed the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2015 a government committee froze the assets of the former player for Cairo-based club Al-Ahly and Egypt’s national team, two years after he retired.
The government accuses him of financing the Muslim Brotherhood, which was classified as a terrorist organisation at the end of 2013.

According to an anti-terror law imposed in 2015 by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, anyone on the country’s terror list is subject to a travel ban, with their passport and assets liable to be frozen.
Aboutrika, one of the most successful African footballers of his generation, had publicly endorsed the presidential bid of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in 2012.
Morsi went on to become Egypt’s first democratically elected president, only for the army to oust him one year later and ban the Brotherhood.

Aboutrika’s lawyer Mohamed Osman said that the court’s decision was “contrary to the law” saying the retired player “has not been convicted or formally notified of any of the charges against him.”
“We will appeal this decision,” he said, adding that “if he is added to the list there will be many legal consequences, notably the travel ban.”

The freeze on Aboutrika assets is still in force, despite two court orders that it be lifted, Osman added.

In an interview with state-run Al-Ahram newspaper in May 2015, Aboutrika denied that his company — or any of his partners — had ever funded the Islamist movement.

Since Morsi’s overthrow, a police crackdown against the Brotherhood has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.

Aboutrika retired in 2013, and the 37-year-old has since avoided expressing his political views publicly.

From Mohamed Aboutrika: Egyptian football star placed on ‘terror’ list by Pulse.ng (Sport)

FA Cup: Allardyce off the mark, Lincoln, Sutton spring surprises

Christian Benteke spared Sam Allardyce’s blushes as the Crystal Palace striker came off the bench to inspire a 2-1 win over Bolton, while Lincoln and Sutton pulled off shock victories in Tuesday’s FA Cup third round replays.

Palace manager Allardyce had gone five matches without a win since replacing the sacked Alan Pardew just before Christmas.

He was in danger of an embarrassing Cup exit when the struggling Premier League team fell behind to James Henry’s 48th minute goal at Selhurst Park.
But Allardyce sent on Benteke and the switch paid immediate dividends as the former Liverpool striker headed Palace’s 68th minute equaliser.

Benteke completed Palace’s revival with a fierce finish from Andros Townsend’s cross in the 77th minute to set up a home tie with Manchester City in the fourth round.
“Wins grow confidence. There’s no doubt about that. How much confidence we get from this will show on Saturday,” Allardyce said.

At Sincil Bank, National Conference leaders Lincoln sent second tier Ipswich crashing out with a surprise 1-0 win.
In their first game since his death last week, Lincoln paid a memorable tribute to their former player and manager Graham Taylor.

Danny Cowley’s fifth tier side are into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1975-76, when they were still managed by Taylor.
Nathan Arnold got the winner from Adam Marriott’s pass to book a fourth round tie at home to Championship high-fliers Brighton.

“A non-league team into the fourth round of the FA Cup? It’s what dreams are made of and we’ve got to enjoy it,” Arnold said.
Sutton, currently 15th in the fifth tier, lived up to their reputation as FA Cup giant-killers with a shock 3-1 win at third tier AFC Wimbledon.
Sutton famously stunned Coventry, then playing in the top-flight and just two years removed from winning the competition, in the third round in 1989.

Lucrative

Beating Wimbledon can’t quite equal that feat but winning at their south-west London neighbours was still an impressive achievement that booked a lucrative home fourth round tie against Championship promotion chasers Leeds.

Tom Elliott put Wimbledon in front with a 10th minute header, but the hosts had defender Paul Robinson sent off five minutes later.

Sutton, in the third round for the first time since 1994, made the most of their numerical superiority in a dramatic finish as Roarie Deacon equalised in the 75th minute.
Maxime Biamou tapped in the crucial second goal in the 90th minute before Dan Fitchett capped Sutton’s thrilling finale with the third moments later.

In the night’s third upset, fourth tier Blackpool, FA Cup winners in 1953, enjoyed a 2-1 win at Championship side Barnsley.

Kelvin Mellor put Blackpool ahead in the 30th minute and Angus MacDonald equalised four minutes after half-time before Bright Samuel grabbed the winner deep into the extra-time.
Blackpool travel to second tier strugglers Blackburn in the fourth round.
Burnley piled on the misery for struggling Sunderland with a 2-0 win at Turf Moor.

Sunderland boss David Moyes, whose side are second bottom of the table, is more concerned with Premier League survival and he paid the price for leaving star striker Jermain Defoe on the bench.
Burnley went ahead in the 44th minute when Wales forward Sam Vokes struck with a clinical header.
Andre Gray came off the bench to seal Burnley’s win when he slotted in to the far corner in the 83rd minute.

Burnley’s fourth round opponents are second tier Bristol City, who beat Fleetwood 1-0 in their replay at Highbury Stadium thanks to Jamie Paterson’s 17th minute goal.

From FA Cup: Allardyce off the mark, Lincoln, Sutton spring surprises by Pulse.ng (Sport)

Enugu Govt. recruits 1,000 primary school teachers

Chief Ikeje Asogwa, the Chairman, Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), says the state government has recruited no fewer than 1,000 teachers.

Speaking in Enugu on Tuesday at a prayer rally organised by workers in the state, Asogwa said that the recruited teachers would work in primary schools across the state.

He said that the successful applicants whose names had been published by ENSUBEB were part of the 2,000 teachers proposed for employment in the state.

Asogwa said that a second list of successful applicants would be ready soon.
In his remarks, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi commended organised labour in the state for their wisdom in initiating and sustaining the annual prayer rally.

Ugwuanyi said that his administration appreciated the cordial relationship and solidarity it had with workers in the state.

The governor assured them that their welfare would remain a priority.
He urged residents of the state not to waver in their faith in God and assured them that his administration would continue to implement policies that had positive impact on the people.
“Prayer is certainly the key to our survival in these very turbulent and challenging times.
“For all these, we will continue to give glory, praise and adoration to the Almighty God,” Ugwuanyi said.
Earlier, the state Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Igbokwe Chukwuma, said that the workers appreciated the existing cordial relationship with the state government.

He said that the state governor had always engaged them in dialogue whenever issues concerning workers’ welfare arose.

He said that the presence of the governor at the prayer rally was heartwarming, adding that it was a sign of his commitment to the welfare of workers in the state.
He said that workers and pensioners in the state were grateful for the prompt payment of salaries they had continued to enjoy since he assumed office.

Igbokwe said that the ongoing employment of teachers was the most appropriate step to tackle the basic problem of primary education in the state.

From Enugu Govt. recruits 1,000 primary school teachers by Vanguard (News)

Lagos LG election: APC, PDP in showdown in Ikorodu

By Bose Adelaja

NOT less than 100 members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ikorodu Central Local Council Development Area are warming up for the forthcoming local government elections. The contestants are vying for the chairmanship and councillorship tickets of the two major parties.

The APC, on the surface, seems to enjoy dominance and appears more noticeable on the streets.

Reflective of the political intrigues playing out in the area, APC Chairman Alhaji Rilwan Jinadu, popularly called R.I, disclosed that no one has formally shown interest in any position. However, he admitted that some aspirants were on the side entrenching themselves and planning ahead of the flag off of campaigns.

He said: ‘’We are awaiting the release of the electoral guidelines from the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission LASIEC, so that the candidates can obtain forms.”

Democratic  processes

Against the background of insinuations of the imposition of candidates in the past, Jinadu disclosed that party policies have changed from imposition to democratic processes saying that party members will be free to choose the candidates of their choice without interference from any quarters.
Hon Jinadu who has been the party chairman since 2006 was not coy to admit that he could himself contest if the rules do not disqualify him.

‘’I have been building my political career because I know where I am going. Ikorodu needs a vibrant chairman that can lead them to gain the dividends of democracy. If elected, I will fix the infrastructure ranging from roads, healthcare, water and electricity to complement the job of the sitting governor.”

Despite the inroad made into the state by the PDP in the 2015 general elections, he dismissed the PDP as a walkover. “I can say categorically that as far as Ikorodu is concerned, there is no party that can intimidate us because all the notable personalities in the opposition party have converted, so we have nothing to worry about. In essence, we have gained a larger percentage of PDP members which means that the opposition party is as good as dead in Ikorodu,” he said.

The assertions of the APC chairman nonetheless, the PDP is itself pushing for a showdown with the ruling party despite the internal challenges in  the opposition party.
The chairman of the party in the area, Hon. Adesina Musiliu, played down the matter, assuring that the two factions in Abuja are resolving their problems

A visit to the PDP secretariat at Olubi Street indicated skeletal activities. Musiliu, nevertheless, admitted that about 60 aspirants had signified interest in the  chairmanship and several councillorship tickets.

He dismissed insinuations that the crisis at the national level would affect the chances of the party in the area.

“The internal crisis has nothing to do with the growth of the party, and I want to assure you that if the election is free and fair, we have all it takes to win,” adding that if elected, PDP would fix bad roads in the area.

The PDP chairman was quick to make some pitches towards the electorate in Ikorodu promising that the party would renovate the many primary schools he said were in bad shape and address the concern of the people as regards  markets in the area that have been described as expensive and out of reach of common traders.

The PDP chairman, however, expressed his reservations on the logistics for the polls. He complained that polling centres are being located in residential homes rather than public places.

“Most of the polling booths are sited in residential houses when they are supposed to be in neutral places like schools, town halls or open fields. As for voters’ cards, many of our people that registered could not access their permanent voters’ cards. This is worrisome if nothing is done before the elections. We are ready for the elections, but our fear is that from all indications, the sitting government may rig it.”

From Lagos LG election: APC, PDP in showdown in Ikorodu by Vanguard (Politics)

Ligue 1: Marseille swoop for young French midfielder

Marseille are set to seal the signing of exciting French midfielder Morgan Sanson from Ligue 1 rivals Montpellier in a deal worth up to 12 million euros ($13 million).

The 22-year-old will arrive in Marseille this week to undergo a medical and becomes Marseille’s first signing of the winter transfer window.

They have also been strongly linked with their former midfield schemer Dimitri Payet, who is agitating for a move away from West Ham.

Sanson, a regular for the French under-21 side, has returned to form after being sidelined early in 2016 with an ankle injury, scoring three goals since the start of the season.

Marseille are sixth in Ligue 1 — 15 points off leaders Monaco — and club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud hailed the arrival of “one of the most promising talents in French football”.

From Ligue 1: Marseille swoop for young French midfielder by Pulse.ng (Sport)

Australian Open: Venus rolls back years to reach third round

Venus Williams rolled back the years on Wednesday with a straight-sets demolition of Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele to move smoothly into the third round of the Australian Open.

The 13th seed, an eight-time quarter-finalist or better in Melbourne, won 6-3, 6-2 against a qualifier who had never been beyond round two.
Williams, the oldest player in the women’s draw at 36, will next play either China’s Duan Yingying or fellow American Varvara Lepchenko.

“I love being here and playing here,” said the American veteran. “I played an opponent who didn’t make it easy. It was a battle.”
The draw has opened up for Williams with fourth seed Simona Halep, whom she was scheduled to meet in the fourth round, already out.

In her 17th Australian Open, the most among active players together with sister Serena, Williams quickly raced to a 3-0 lead against Voegele, using her powerful groundstrokes to good effect.
But the Swiss 26-year-old was up for a fight on Rod Laver Arena and she broke back with a crisp backhand down the line, then held serve to haul herself back into contention.

Jolted, Williams knuckled down and broke again in the ninth game to comfortably take the set.
It went with serve until the composed seven-time Grand Slam champion seized her opportunity in the fourth game, capitalising on errors to break and go 3-1 in front.

The American, who played her first Australian Open in 1998 and is the oldest woman in the draw, was in cruise control and wrapped up the match with a pinpoint backhand in 83 minutes.

From Australian Open: Venus rolls back years to reach third round by Pulse.ng (Sport)

CJN: Bini lawyers accuse Buhari of plotting to sideline Onnoghen

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA— Bini Lawyers Forum, yesterday, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of plotting to sideline Justice Walter Onnoghen from becoming the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN.

The group, in a statement in Abuja, alleged that the President deliberately refused to forward Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation owing to the fact that he is a Christian.
“The forum wishes to note with dismay the plot by some Northern interest/forces led by President Buhari to jettison laid down rules, procedure and convention in the appointment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by the planned removal of Justice Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria simply because he is a Christian and from the South-South zone of Nigeria in order to pave way for the appointment of a Northern candidate.

“It is sad to note that the President has willfully and deliberately refused to act on the recommendation of the, National Judicial Commission, NJC, by refusing to send the name of Justice Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria to the Senate for confirmation three months after the receipt of recommendation from the NJC.

“In line with the written script of the Northern forces as executed by the President, Justice Onnoghen was sworn in as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria in order to perfect their plan to oust him at the expiration of three months to pave way for a Northern candidate.

“We wish to note that Justice Onnoghen, who is presently the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, by providence is the first Southern Justice of the Supreme Court to qualify for the position of CJN in about 30 years after the retirement of Justice Ayo Irikefe in 1987. It will be recalled that after the exit of Justice Irikefe, subsequent occupants of the position came from the North.

“In the light of the above, we humbly demand the immediate submission of the name of Justice Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

“We enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to reject and condemn this dangerous precedent set by President Buhari in the governance of Nigeria, as the President has been driving governance on the wheel of ethnicity and religion since his assumption of office.”

From CJN: Bini lawyers accuse Buhari of plotting to sideline Onnoghen by Vanguard (News)

Buhari in ‘deep sadness and regret’ over accidental bombing of civilians in Borno

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the accidental bombing of humanitarian workers and civilians in Borno state as “a regrettable operational mistake”.

He expressed regret at the tragedy, saying the federal government would lend a hand to the Borno state government in attending to it.

Lucky Irabor, theatre commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, had disclosed the incident to journalists in Borno state on Monday.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has received with deep sadness and regret, the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann, Borno State, by the Nigerian air force, engaged in the final phase of mopping up insurgents in the north-east,” Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, said in a statement issued on Monday.

“President Buhari condoles with families of the dead, wishes the wounded divine succour, leading to full recovery, and sympathises with the Borno state government.

“The president pledges federal help for the state government in attending to ‘this regrettable operational mistake’, and pleads for calm, even as he prays God to grant repose to the souls of the dead.”

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), one of the humanitarian non-governmental organisations whose workers were killed in the accident, condemned the “large-scale attack” and implored the military to immediately facilitate the evacuation and treatment of survivors.

“This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled from extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable,” Jean-Clément Cabrol, its director of operations, said.

Follow us on twitter @thecablengCopyright 2017 TheCable. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thecable.ng as the source.

From Buhari in ‘deep sadness and regret’ over accidental bombing of civilians in Borno by TheCable

Nigeria cashew farmers plan output boost

Nigerian cashew producers are working on a four-year plan to cultivate more land and boost exports more than threefold to 500,000 metric tons a year to feed a growing export market.

With about 160,000 hectares (395,000 acres) of land producing about 150,000 tons a year, farmers are seeking to bring an additional 340,000 hectares into cultivation to achieve industry targets, President, Nigerian Cashew Association which groups farmers and traders, Tola Fasheru, said in an interview in Lagos.

That should raise annual export income from the product to at least $650 million from the $253 million earned in 2015, he said.

Nigeria exports more than 80 per cent of its cashew output, mostly as raw kernels, with about 60 per cent of last year’s shipments going to Vietnam, according to the cashew association.
“Virtually all the states in the country have the potential to grow cashew. Our sights are even beyond the 2020 target,” Fasheru said, as they seek to make cashew one of the country’s biggest exports, he said.

Cashew is among 13 products identified by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government under its national strategic plan to expand agricultural export income and end economic woes that made 2016 likely the first year of growth contraction since 1991 following the collapse of the price of oil, the country’s main export.

Nigeria is Africa’s sixth-biggest producer, ranked behind Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mozambique, according to the association. An output of 500,000 tons would make Nigeria Africa’s second-biggest producer.

Global demand for cashew nuts has surged 53 per cent since 2010, outstripping production in at least four of the past seven years, according to the Reus, Spain-based International Nut and Dried Fruit Council. India is the leading producer with 1.73 million tons of kernels in the 2015-16 season, followed by Ivory Coast with 1.7 million tons and Vietnam with 1.1 million tons as global production rose three percent from previous season to 7.4 million tons, according to the council.

From Nigeria cashew farmers plan output boost by The Nation (Business)

Fed Govt, CBN to close forex rates’ gaps

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the Federal Government is in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to close the foreign exchange (forex)  rates at the official and parallel markets.
“The gap between the official and parallel market… it isn’t helpful.

“If you look at economic recovery and growth plan, it is the expectation that this is a conversation we are having with central bank,” Osinbajo was quoted to have said by Reuters while speaking with reporters at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

The vice-president, who was in the Niger Delta on Monday and early yesterday, led the country’s delegation to the forum, where pivotal issues concerning the Nigerian and global economy will be addressed.

The Special Assistant to Osinbajo on Media and Publicity, LaoluAkande, in a statement, explained that the vice-president would be accompanied by the Special Adviser on Economic Matters to the president, Adeyemi Dipeolu “At the forum, the vice-president will lead a discussion on business in Nigeria, where ministers from the Federal Cabinet who are members of the Nigerian delegation would also feature.
“The yearly forum, which draws together governmental and business leaders around the world to discuss economic issues and review developments, is normally composed of such panel discussions, country/continent-specific themes and other subjects,” the statement read.

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, and Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), are also at the forum.

From Fed Govt, CBN to close forex rates’ gaps by The Nation (Business)

These are Boko Haram’s dying days, APC says after UNIMAID bomb blast

The All Progressives Congress (APC) says the days of Boko Haram are numbered despite its recent attack on the University of Maiduguri.

On Monday, suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers attacked a mosque in the university, killing five and injuring 17.

In a statement on Tuesday, Bolaji Abdullahi, spokesman of the party, said the attack on the university was a desperate attempt to remain in the country’s consciousness.
“The APC condoles with the families of victims of the bomb blasts, which occurred in a Mosque inside the University of Maiduguri on Monday, leading to the death of a professor of veterinary medicine, Aliyu Usman Mani, and four others,” Abdullahi said.

“The APC strongly condemns this cowardly act by Boko Haram, and we view this latest act of terror as another confirmation of the group’s desperation to remain in the national consciousness, having lost its former stronghold to the Nigerian army.

“Even as we mourn with fellow citizens who have fallen victims to the terrorists, we are consoled by the knowledge that Boko Haram’s days are numbered and these indeed are its dying days.
“We once again salute our gallant men in uniform for their heroic efforts and their invaluable sacrifice to our nation. We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping the promise that our Party made to Nigerians that we would end the insurgency and restore peace to the north-east of Nigeria.”
The party further assured Nigerians that with their support and prayers, the attacks by Boko Haram would soon be a thing of the past.

Follow us on twitter @thecablengCopyright 2017 TheCable. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thecable.ng as the source.

From These are Boko Haram’s dying days, APC says after UNIMAID bomb blast by TheCable

Lagos PDP crisis takes new turn

Twists in the crisis rocking the Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been attributed to external influences, particularly those that have left the fold, but are still interested in using it as a springboard for the 2019 general elections. MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE, who has been following the matter, reports. 

THE crisis rocking the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is far from abating. The chapter is under two factional leaders. Both factions have been fighting over the party’s headquarters located in the Shogunle/Ikeja area. The one led by Hon. Moshood Salvador occupies the secretariat. The other faction, led by Mr. Segun Adewale, had attempted without success to dislodge the Salvador-led group from the place. The Salvador camp is loyal to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee. The Adewale group is backed by the Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff-led faction.Adewale has attributed the crisis rocking the party to external forces. He said the crisis was being orchestrated by some forces struggling for the soul of the party, ahead of the 2019 presidential election. The factional chairman specifically accused former Vice President Abubakar Atiku and former National Deputy Chairman of the PDP Chief Bode George of destabilising the party.In a statement personally signed by him, Adewale said the divisive elements were working from outside to get the PDP’s nod for the 2019 election, rather than coming back to join hands with other loyal leaders in the ongoing rebuilding effort in the party.Adewale accused the duo and some members loyal to them, particularly those who he said had benefitted from the party, of being responsible for its dwindling fortune PDP. He said some of them had defected to the other parties. Yet, they want to ride on the back of the PDP to achieve their aims.He, however, insisted that the Makarfi-led faction was working with Atiku to destablise PDP. He also dismissed the accusation that Senator Modu-Sheriff was an agent of the APC.The factional chairman said the accusation was a figment of the imagination of some paid elements within the party.

He added: “These agents are working toward the nomination Atiku as our presidential flag-bearer in the 2019 general election.“They have resorted to cheap blackmail as it is becoming obvious that the efforts of Modu-Sheriff at frustrating every attempt to impose a non-party member as our presidential nominee are beginning to gain the attention of well meaning members.”But, the accused persons have debunked the claims as unfounded, noting that the former Lagos West PDP senatorial district candidate is just being mischievous. Atiku said it was ridiculous to accuse him of working from outside the PDP.Atiku loyalists debunked the claim of the factional Lagos PDP chairman as lies. They said it “only added his voice to a topic that has remained a heresy”.At the office late last week, it all was as silent as a graveyard; some workers at the secretariat were seen performing skeletal services. When the PDP was in power at the centre, its Lagos secretariat was a beehive of activities; notwithstanding the fact that the state has been governed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) since the return to civil rule in 1999.Some chieftains said the development was due to the various litigations over the leadership of the party at the national level.A source that until the courts proceedings are disposed, a resolution of the crisis in the chapter should not be expected. It added that what is happening in Lagos is not peculiar; a similar situation is playing out in many states where the PDP is not in control of government.The crisis in the Lagos chapter, according to political watchers, started when Salvador, a former lawmaker emerged the chairman. He took over from Captain Tunji Shelle (rtd).The former lawmaker said he would turn the party around and ensure unity and peace. But, observers say peace is yet to return to the fold, because it went into the last general elections as a divided house.

Salvador, who claimed that he emerged with a popular vote, has continued to operate with caution, condoning off the secretariat with a retinue of security men each time the party has an engagement.He said: “There are no more warring factions in the Lagos PDP. After my election, we never received any complaints from anybody or heard that there is another faction elsewhere. To the best of my knowledge, Lagos PDP is one. If there is anybody complaining, we are ready to discuss with them and resolve our differences.”But, the faction led by Adewale had challenged him, saying that Salvador’s emergence was ill conceived and devoid of the popular support. He called on Nigerians to ignore the Salvador leadership and reach out to him, as far as the affairs of the PDP in Lagos State is concerned.He also appealed to the media to avoid granting interviews to members of the Salvador-led executive, saying it was an aberration to do so.In view of the support Adewale receives from the Sheriff-led leadership, he had attempted to dislodge the Salvador group from the secretariat. For instance, during last year’s Lagos PDP General Assembly for the ratification of the Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee to proceed with the task of rebuilding the party, there was pandemonium.It was alleged that he entered the secretariat to engage the supporters of the Makarfi-led faction in a fight, with the aid of some youths. This caused some uproar at the secretariat. Organising Secretary, Taiwo Kuye, and two other members, sustained injuries in the process and were later rushed to the hospital.The meeting later resumed, but it was held amidst fear and suspicion. Deputy Chairman, Sakirudeen Olabiwonnu, reportedly calmed the uprising in the secretariat.He apologised for the interruption, adding that it was caused by divisive elements. He added that no individual can kill the collective aspirations of the people and that those who want to hold the party to ransom will be disgraced.Olabiwonnu said what was paramount for the party to be taken to greater heights, to give it a chance to bounce back to power. He said: “We will not allow those bent on creating problem to distract us.

God will support us to surmount the internal wrangling. What happened today was the height of indiscipline. I have moved across party lines, but have never witnessed this type of distraction. I was in the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD); there was never a time a member had the effrontery to take the party to court.“It is in our constitution that you must solve the problem within; and, if you remember, our founding fathers used to say anything that happened in the PDP was a family affair. These people are telling us that they are not part of the family. For any person to come and try to put commotion into what we do or cultivate court cases against any member shows that the person is not normal.”Adewale’s aide, Mr. Tosin Odunsi, said they were not in the secretariat to fight anybody, but to restate that the due process must be followed. He said: “Adewale is the popular chairman. He has been supporting the party and he wants to make the party great. But, what we are saying is that we want change in leadership, because those who have been leading the Lagos chapter have not won any election in the last 16 years.”Observers say the party will bounce back, despite its past challenges. Lagos State PDP chieftain, Hajia Tolani Animasahun, said there is no crisis in Lagos PDP.She said: “What is being peddled is a figment of the imagination of those who do not actually wish the pasty well. We are in 2017 and our preoccupation is to position the party the ahead of the 2019 election.“The PDP is not leaving anything to chance. It is reaching out to Nigerians and members of the party to be united in order to restore hope to the people. They have been at the receiving end of dubious policies and bad governance.

“This is not the time to be talking of Lagos PDP crisis, but how the country can get back on course. Nigerians need food on their table; they need electricity, employment and security.”The Publicity Secretary, Mr. Taofiq Gani, said the hullabaloo was not true. He said Lagos PDP was at peace. He noted that the misadventure facing the country was the leadership of the APC that has made life unbearable for the people.He said Nigerians have woken up to the reality that they took the wrong decision to support the APC that lacks ability to deliver the dividend of democracy to the people. He maintained that the leadership of the PDP will continue to engage in meaningful talk until it finds its way out the entanglements it has found itself.He called on politicians to live up to their responsibilities, stressing that the people have been shortchanged on many occasions.He added: “I am very sure our people have learnt their lesson. They would examine politicians to the bone marrow, when next they approach them for their supports and vote. We are equally using this occasion to urge the Lagos State Government to conduct council polls, so that the people can elect their representatives.”

From Lagos PDP crisis takes new turn by The Nation (Politics)

Ambode’s N812.9b ‘budget of consolidation’

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has signed the 2017 Appropriation Bill into law. The budget has an array of projects planned to impact on the lives of Lagosians. Miriam Ekene-Okoro looks at the highlights of the budget and what it portends for residents.

THERE are indications that 2017 holds so much promises for Lagosians. That was the consensus of observers, after going through the details of the 2017 budget, which was signed into law by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.The signing of the budget into law exactly 41 days after it was presented to the House of Assembly for approval suggests that Ambode is leaving no one in doubt about his renewed quest to hit the ground running and consolidate on the infrastructural development that has become synonymous with his 19-month old administration.Considering the array of projects contained in the N812.998bn budget, there is no doubt that, if well implemented, it will improve the vibrant economy of the state and make life more comfortable for Lagosians.Some of the projects include; construction of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road from Oshodi, Agric-Isawo-Owotu-Arepo Road in Ikorodu, Igbe-Igbogbo Phase II- Bola Tinubu Way in Ikorodu, Ijegun Imore Phase II Amuwo in Ojo axis, Oke-Oso-Araga-Poka in Epe, Epe-Poka-Mojoda in the Epe axis and the completion of the Abule-Egba, Ajah and Pen Cinema flyovers.Ambode said the budget will be successfully implemented to consolidate on the achievements of his administration. He said emphasis would be on the development of physical infrastructure, while social sectors, especially health, education, youth and social development, would get adequate attention.Giving the key components of the budget, he said the recurrent expenditure would gulp N300.535b, while N512.464b would be dedicated to capital expenditure, representing a Capital/recurrent ratio of 63 per cent to 37 per cent.According to the governor, road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance are major highlights of the budget, adding that the idea is to focus road projects that will open up the hinterlands, improve connectivity in the state and reduce travel time.Another aspect of the 2017 budget is that government intends to enter into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to execute some of the projects.

Roads that would be done under PPP scheme include: Oke Oso-Itoikin dualisation project in the Epe axis, Okokomaiko-Seme Road project in Badagry axis and Ikorodu-Agbowa-Itoikin-Ijebu Ode Road project in Ikorodu axis. The governor also disclosed that the Phase II of the 114 Local Government Roads Projects, as well as, the construction of the Fourth Mainland Bridge would kick off during the year.Ambode said the budget will consolidate on the modest milestones recorded so far and that focus will be on key areas of infrastructure, economic, social security and sustainable environment.Not only is the governor optimistic that the national economy would recover from recession, the state’s 2016 budget performance, which stood at 78 per cent, is also a precursor of what 2017 would be.He said the commitments of the administration included prudent financial management, fiscal discipline and equitable allocation of resources for the general good.But, he was also quick to appeal to residents to cooperate towards the successful implementation of the budget through prompt tax payment.The Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, who gave the breakdown, said the total revenue is estimated at N642.848 billion with a deficit financing of N170.151 billion.He explained that N476.309 billion, representing 74 per cent of the total revenue, will be generated internally, while N166.539 billion, representing 26 per cent, is expected from the federal allocation, including the 13 per cent derivation.Ashade said the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) is expected to generate N360 billion, which is equivalent to 75 per cent of the total internal generated revenue, adding that the N170.151 billion deficit will be funded through a N100 billion bond and a combination of internal and external loans.He said: “We intend to scale up the current two per cent revenue gross domestic product (GDP) ratio, to five per cent in 2017 and also bring in more people from the informal sector into the tax net, as well as adoption of an automated single billing system.“We shall maintain zero tolerance to incidence of under declaration of income by tax payers in accordance with relevance laws.”On sectoral breakdown, Economic Affairs had the lion share with a total of N296.717 billion, representing 36.50 per cent, while Social Protection had the lowest estimate of N6.180 billion, representing 0.76 per cent.

Others include: General Public Service, N207.155billion, representing 25.48 per cent, Public Order N39.722, Environment N56.569 billion, Housing and Community Amenities, N50.344 billion, Health N51.447, Recreation, Culture and Religion N12.419 billion and Education N92.445 billion.Giving a sectoral breakdown of the 2017 budget estimates, Ashade said N205.85b was earmarked for General Public Services, representing 25.32 per cent of the budget. N36.43b to Public Order and Safety, representing 4.48 per cent, while Economic Affairs received a lion share of N295.84b, representing 36.39 per cent of the budget.Ashade gave the breakdown of other sectors as: Environment 56.31b, representing 6.93 per cent; Health 57.29b (7.05 per cent); and Education N92.4b or 11.37 per cent of the budget.The commissioner said the Budget would be funded from a total revenue estimate of N642.849b, while the balance of N170.150b would be sourced through a N100bn Bond Issuance programme and a combination of internal and external loans.The N138.249b earmarked for road infrastructure will be used to complete the Abule-Egba overhead bridge, the Ajah bridge, continued massive road rehabilitation in partnership with the Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas. The fund will also be used for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road from Oshodi, the Agric-Isawo-Owutu-Arepo Road in Ikorodu, the Igbe-Igbogbo Phase II- Bola Tinubu Way in Ikorodu, the Ijegun Imore Phase II, the Amuwo in Ojo axis, the Oke-Oso-Araga-Poka in Epe, the Epe-Poka-Majoda in Epe and the Pen Cinema flyover, among others.The N51.376bn budgeted for transportation will be use for the Blue Rail Line, advancement of 10-Lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway, construction of jetties and terminals (especially at Epe and Marina with shoreline protection) and procurement of ferries to improve water transportation and encourage tourism.Ashade added: “The government is also committed to the expansion of Busa Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes in Lagos and we shall pay due attention to Oshodi – Abule Egba BRT Corridor. In the course of the 2017 financial year, we shall carry out fundamental reforms on all our modes of transportation – roads, water and the walkways. In this wise, a Public Transport Infrastructure Bond will be issued in the course of the year.”On housing, he said the N50.290b investment would allow government to focus on affordable housing units through Rent-to-Own schemes in Badagry, Lagoon View Topo-Idale and Imota, while the total sum of N15.291b out of the allocation is committed for the completion of on-going housing estates in Sangotedo, Odo Nasa Agowa and Ikorodu Ibeshe.The sum of N57.290b allocated to the health sector is for the continuous upgrading/renovation of health facilities and completion of on-going healthcare infrastructure, including MCCs, upgrading/renovation of primary healthcare centres, completion/equipping of Drug Quality Control Laboratory (DQCL), prevention of blindness/ special health projects, construction of specialist hospital, construction of Medical Park, among others.In education, the N92.4b earmarked has been set aside for the rehabilitation/upgrading of public school buildings/facilities, continued provision of furniture for secondary schools, construction of new schools, schools improvement plan for secondary schools, provision of equipment for science laboratories, among others.

In the area of Science and Technology, Ashade said N11.006bn has been proposed for strategic information management, building and upgrade of IT infrastructure statewide, e-GIS land automation, single billing system and ease of payment for taxes, levies and other revenue items, as this would include Smart City project targeted at deploying technology to enhance security in the State and will also enhance our revenue generating efforts.In the budget, N11.098b has been proposed for spending in the area of governance. Ashade said N1.250b out of the amount would be spent on various capacity building programmes, through the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions, to expose public servants to both local and international trainings in order to equip them for their role in actualizing the Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025.The commissioner further explained that the sum of N3.8bn has been set aside for the 7.5 per cent government share to pension contribution and N7.15b for Pension Redemption Bond Fund-shortfall.On women affairs, Ashade said N2.193bn has been proposed for various initiatives, such as upkeep and maintenance of skill acquisition centres, special poverty alleviation intervention programmes for women, construction/maintenance of skill acquisition centres and other poverty alleviation related projects at Isheri, Ibeshe, Eredo, among others.The commissioner said the sum of N6.177bn has been proposed for the ongoing development of Lekki Free Zone, Industrial Park development, development of enterprise zones, Badagry Deep Sea Port, Eko Atlantic project and other areas.A total of N9.457b has also been earmarked for the development of four mini stadia, upgrading of Teslim Balogun Stadium hostel, construction of 50 community youth recreation centres across the state and provision of sporting facilities in schools and local governments across the state. The sum of N18.181b has also been proposed for advancement of Adiyan Waterworks (phase II) and rehabilitation of mini waterworks all over the state and the improvement of water pipeline and reticulation.In the tourism sector, N20.247b will provide for the Development of the Heritage centre for leadership (Lugard House), the Centre for Yoruba Culture & History (Lagos House), the J.K Randle Centre, transformation of the Onikan Museum, establishment of Museum for Art and Culture in Ikeja, the development of tourism hubs in Lagos-West and Lagos-East and the construction of five Cultural Theatres in Alimosho, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and Ikeja.Also, the N4.795b earmarked for Agriculture and Food Security will cater for accelerated food expansion programme focused on rice production, animal husbandry and root crops, as well as collaborate with other states in the area of food production.

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, is optimistic about the budget.For him, the judicious implementation of the 2016 budget by Governor Ambode, against all odds, has gone a long way to confirm his financial expertise.The Speaker, who was represented at the budget signing ceremony by the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, said many laudable projects, including the construction of 114 roads across all the local governments within a year, were undertaken by the administration.He said: “That means by 2023, just in eight years, he would have done over 1,000 roads in addition to what the Ministry of Works and Public Works Corporation is doing.“Another area that is unbeatable is the ‘Light up Lagos’, which no doubt increases the economy of our mothers and fathers. That is in tandem with Article of Faith as entrenched in the 1999 Constitution, which summarily explains that the Governor is determined and committed.”Governor Ambode is expected to implement the ‘Golden Jubilee Budget’ to consolidate on the modest achievements and propel the state to enviable heights.

From Ambode’s N812.9b ‘budget of consolidation’ by The Nation (Politics)

Army places N500,000 bounty on insurgents

By Victor Ahiuma-Young, Joseph Erunke, Caleb Ayansina & Omeiza Ajayi

Condemnation, yesterday, continued to trail Monday’s bombing of worshippers in the University of Maiduguri mosque in Borno State, as the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the act.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and All Progressives Congress, APC, have joined other Nigerians to condemn the attack, in which a professor of Veterinary Medicine, Professor Aliyu Mani, and six others were killed.

Also yesterday, some students of the University of Maiduguri, UNIMAID, called for proactive security measures to contain the frequent attacks on their campus by Boko Haram terrorists.
A video featuring an audio recording, purporting to be that of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, was posted on social media late on Monday.

“The bomb that exploded on Monday morning; our brothers are responsible for it,” the recording said.
CAN, while condemning the bombing, commiserated with the families of the victims and expressed optimism that the terrorist menace will soon be history.

CAN President, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said only satanic agents could perpetrate such acts and wondered when worshipping God has become a crime.
He said: “What offence did these worshippers commit to warrant this? Only demon-possessed individuals can be behind this type of act.

“CAN commiserates with the family of the victims of the terrorist attack and prays for the comfort of the Holy Spirit for them.

“The Association as well prays for quick recovery for those that were injured.”
Ayokunle tasked the security agencies to go after the terrorists, who have been dislodged from their strongholds, but are going about attacking soft targets with a view to ending the menace as soon as possible.

He urged members of the public to compliment the efforts of the security operatives by reporting suspected people to them.

Similarly, APC also, yesterday, condemned the bomb attack. In a statement yesterday in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, the party condoled with the families of victims.
”Even as we mourn with fellow citizens, who have fallen victims to the terrorists, we are consoled by the knowledge that Boko Haram’s days are numbered and these indeed are its dying days,” the party said.
It also condemned “this cowardly act by Boko Haram,” saying it views “this latest act of terror as another confirmation of the group’s desperation to remain in the national consciousness, having lost its former stronghold to the Nigerian Army.”

Meanwhile, some UNIMAID students have called for proactive security measures to contain the frequent attacks on their campus by the insurgents.
The students, who made the call yesterday in Maiduguri, said they would not be intimidated by the insurgents.

They urged the management of the university to put in place “proactive security measures’’ to protect students and staff from further attacks.
UNIMAID students react
One of the students, Malam Ibrahim Sale, said Abubakar Shekau had been making empty threats in the past just to scare people.

He said: “This is not the first time Shekau has been making empty threats on UNIMAID. You will recall he even said he would take over the campus sometime ago, but nothing happened.”
Goni Mahmoud, another student, said: “We in Borno have seen it all. Since the university has never been closed even for once, what made him (Shekau) think anyone will take him seriously?
“We believe his (Shekau) days are numbered; the army will be on his trail until he has no more hiding place.”

Speaking on the same vein, Salamatu Bashir urged the military and school authorities to take proactive measures to forestall future occurrence.

NLC raises alarm

Also, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday, warned that the bomb attack on UNIMAID was an indication that the Boko Haram insurgents had regrouped among residents to engage in soft targets.
NLC, in a statement by its President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, warned that the insurgents resorting to soft targets “is as dangerous and frightening as asymmetry warfare is more threatening to lives and properties than can be imagined. Nowhere in the country is safe under asymmetry warfare.”
Congress called on Nigerians to be vigilant as various vigilante groups in the North-East evidently played commendable roles in the battle against terrorism.

Bounty

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has declared a cash reward of N500,000 for any person that volunteers information that can lead to the arrest of suicide bombers and their accomplice.
The Army, in a statement by its spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, yesterday, said it was visibly worried at the current state of suicide bombings in the country.
The statement read: “The spate of suicide bombings in the North-East and in particular, Maiduguri and Madagali metropolis, is assuming a disturbing proportion.

“Consequently, the Nigerian Army is offering a reward of N500,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of a suicide bomber, the guide to the suicide bomber, or discovery of the transit house or factory of the suicide bombers.”

From Army places N500,000 bounty on insurgents by Vanguard (News)

Turkish college kidnap: Fears over victim’s health

By Evelyn Usman &  Daud Olatunji

There were fears yesterday, over the  health of one of the kidnapped students of the Nigerian Turkish International College NTIC , a Sickle Cell Anaemia patient, said to have been experiencing anaemic  crisis since Monday night.

This is just as indication emerged that some relations of the kidnappers so far identified by the police, have been arrested.

As at 6pm yesterday, Vanguard was reliably informed that seven close relatives of the suspected kidnappers were in police custody. They included three women who are married to some Ijaw militants from Orogbo area of Ondo state, discovered by the Police to be among those that stormed NTIC, last Friday.
Some of the arrests as gathered, were made in Warri, Delta State, where some of the women were said to have fled to when news of their husbands alleged involvement in the college’s kidnap filtered in. Others were made in Orogbo, Ondo State and Edo state.

 Apprehension over victim’s condition

Vanguard was informed that one of the parents was contacted at about 9.30pm Monday, with the caller saying that his daughter, a Junior Secondary School Student was complaining of severe pains. Father of the concerned victim said to have earlier appealed to the kidnappers to accept N3 million as ransom for his daughter’s release , informed the caller that his daughter could be having anaemic crisis.
He was said to have passionately begged the kidnappers to release her to him for treatment , in order to save her life. But Vanguard learned that they (kidnappers) assured that a nurse would administer necessary treatment on the ailing girl. They were said to have also demanded to know the exact medication to give.

Efforts to reach the fear stricken father proved abortive. But a relation who spoke on condition of anonymity said; “The state of their daughter’s health has been a major concern to them since she was kidnapped alongside others.

‘’They have been praying against this since they were told that they were taken to an undisclosed creek. Perhaps, she could have been exposed to cold.”

 Access to hideout difficult

The Police had earlier claimed that they had a clue on the location of kidnapped students and staff. But sources disclosed yesterday that Police would not be able to access the coastal terrain without the support of the military.

A senior police officer who would not want his name mentioned, said, “We know the exact location in the creek where the children and members of staff are kept but we cannot storm the place as that will endanger the victims’ lives.

“We will not make mistake of attempting the creek because there is no way the kidnappers will not see us coming and they may end up killing their victims. What we need at this point is the assistance of the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Army, who we think have the wherewithal to penetrate the creek through the air.

“We know the kidnappers’ identities. Some of their relatives are with us. They are appealing to them apparently to appeal to them to release the victims. The family members were picked from Ondo, Delta and Edo States . They are cooperating and assisting us in talking to the abductors. But if this option fails, we will have to use our plan B, which can’t be disclosed now.

“Their identities are well known and they know we know them. But we are applying caution because of the innocent victims. We are not happy with the way they are playing with the lives of innocent children. They have taken the joke too far and the whole world is watching. The most annoying part is that one of the students is a sickle cell anaemia patient who is seriously sick at the moment”.
When contacted on the Airforce Support in the rescue operation,  NAF Director of Public Relations Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, said that the AirForce would always play its constitutional role when necessary.

But he advised that “The Police should go to the appropriate authorities and put their request forward . It’s not an issue. They know the procedure.”

Some of the victims’ parents contacted yesterday night refused to speak, saying they had been warned by the kidnappers not to divulge any conversation with them to the Police or newsmen, threatening that it could jeopardise the release of their wards and relatives.

We’ll remain silent until … — Ogun police

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Police command yesterday said that it would remain silent on further reactions or response on the kidnap until efforts to rescue the victims  yield the desired results.
Spokes person for the command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, who described the incident as unfortunate, explained that the command was collaborating with other sister agencies to ensure that the victims were rescued unhurt.

Oyeyemi said: “The Commissioner of Police Ahmed Iliyasu was there for an on- the-spot assessment. Also, the Assistant Inspector- General of Police Zone 2, Kayode Aderanti was there, as well as the Commanding officer a Brigadier General  from Alamala Barracks and operatives of Directorate of State Services, DSS, to know the situation of things. Since then, we have been working in synergy with other sister agencies to rescue the innocent victims unhurt.”

On the progress made by the command to arrest the kidnappers as well as rescue the victims, Oyeyemi maintained that the perpetrators would be brought to book.

He said “At the moment, we will not tell you how close we are on rescuing the victims for security reasons. Very soon, we are going to rescue them. When we do, you will be updated.”

From Turkish college kidnap: Fears over victim’s health by Vanguard (News)

Despite FG’s peace moves, militants ‘blow up’ pipeline in Delta

A militant group has blown up a crude oil trunkline in Ughelli, Delta state, a day after Yemi Osinbajo, vice-president, paid a visit to the Niger Delta region.

Punch reports that the attack was carried out by an “unidentified militant group”.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for this latest attack on an oil installation.
Osinbajo had on Monday led a federal government delegation to the region to kick-start the process of peace and stability.

During the trip, the vice president had met with traditional rulers and key stakeholders.
Speaking in Gbaramatu kingdom, Delta state, Osinbajo put out a clarion call, urging members of the region to embrace peace and “prepare for the future”.
“Our future is the future of progress and development. Unfortunately, there is no time because the future is already here.

“I have come with a message for the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom and the people of the Niger Delta as whole. It is a short message and I quote ‘we must prepare for the future’,” Osinbajo had said.
Follow us on twitter @thecablengCopyright 2017 TheCable. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thecable.ng as the source.

From Despite FG’s peace moves, militants ‘blow up’ pipeline in Delta by TheCable

Premier League: FA examine retrospective diving ban – report

Players in English football found guilty of diving could face retrospective bans from the Football Association, The Times newspaper reported Tuesday.

In neighbouring Scotland, players can receive a two-match ban if they are found to have won a significant advantage for their team by tricking the referee by diving or simulation.
If the referee or match officials did not spot the diving at the diving at the time of the incident, offending players can still be punished by video replay and then banned.

The Times reported the FA are set to send a delegation to Scotland to study the rule.
“On the face of it it’s a good idea,” an ‘FA insider’ told The Times. “The devil is in the detail, but as a tool to penalise blatant simulation versus ‘did he dive or slip?’ it is now being investigated. It is being discussed with the SFA (Scottish Football Association) and some FA people are going up to Scotland for a meeting on how it is working.”

One of the most controversial issues in football, the vexed question of whether players are trying to deceive their opponents into conceding free-kicks and penalties came to the fore again during Sunday’s draw between arch-rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.

Opposing managers Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp clashed after United’s Ander Herrera went down clutching his face when he appeared to be shoved in the chest by Roberto Firmino.
Last month, Hull’s Robert Snodgrass admitted there had been no contact from Scott Dann when he won a penalty against Crystal Palace.

The SFA’s rule on diving, in operation since 2011, make it an offence for a player to mislead a match official to gain a substantial advantage.

SFA chief Stewart Regan told The Times: “Having that rule there is helping the game and reducing the acts of simulation, which we know are frustrating for fans and players, and can be game-changing.”

From Premier League: FA examine retrospective diving ban – report by Pulse.ng (Sport)

135 boys rescued from human traffickers in Jos

Operatives of Operation Safe Haven, a special task force outfit in Plateau state, have rescued 135 children from human traffickers in Jos, the state capital.

According to Channels TV, the children, who are all male and within the age range of four to eight years, were rescued from two trucks headed to Plateau, Kaduna and Nassarawa.

“On Thursday January 12, the special task force, sector 2 located opposite University of Jos, intercepted two trucks conveying 145 children from Bauchi and Jigawa states to Plateau, Kaduna and Nassarawa states,” Mathias Tyopev, spokesman of the Plateau state police command, said.
“Our investigations further revealed that these children, who are all male were to be taken to places where the three mallams, who were coordinating the movement have not even visited.”

The children were being transported in trucks meant to transport farm produce such as grains, animals and other goods across the states.

It was converted to convey the minors under harsh and unfavourable weather conditions in which the children were stacked alongside grains without any comfort for such long distance journey.
The children are in the custody of the Nigeria Police at their headquarters in Jos, while investigation continues.

The police said the suspects, comprising two drivers, eight conductors and three accompanying instructors, are in custody, and they have been providing information about how they came about the children and their destination.

The police added that it would soon embark on the process of establishing contact with Jigawa and Bauchi state governments for the return of the children to their parents.

Follow us on twitter @thecablengCopyright 2017 TheCable. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thecable.ng as the source.

From 135 boys rescued from human traffickers in Jos by TheCable

AFCON 2017: Aubameyang promises better by hosts Gabon

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and hosts Gabon vowed to put a poor start to their Africa Cup of Nations behind them and beat Burkina Faso on Wednesday in the second series of Group A matches.
A “Panthers” team captained by the Borussia Dortmund star striker conceded a last-minute goal to only draw 1-1 with minnows Guinea-Bissau in the tournament opener.

Former African Footballer of the Year Aubameyang put the home team ahead with a tap-in only for Juary Soares to nod the leveller off a free-kick.
With four-time champions Cameroon held 1-1 by Burkina Faso later last Saturday, every team has one point and identical goal records going into the second round of group games.
Gabon and Burkina Faso clash at 5:00 pm local time (1600 GMT) in the 40,000-seat Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville followed by Cameroon against Guinea-Bissau three hours later.

Aubameyang knows he and his team-mates let supporters of the central African team down and has promised a better performance against opponents they beat 2-0 at the same stage two years ago.
“We have learnt from our mistakes,” said the 27-year-old born in France to a Gabonese father and a Spanish mother, making him eligible to represent three nations.
He opted for Gabon, a country once captained by his father who have never gone further than the quarter-finals at the Cup of Nations.

“I remain positive that we can reach our first goal, which is qualifying for the knockout phase,” said the leading Bundesliga scorer this season with 16 goals from 15 matches.
“We have lofty ambitions in this tournament and playing at home in front of our wonderful supporters is a great advantage.

“Mistakes were made against Guinea-Bissau, like conceding a goal in the final minute. We must now rectify those errors and defeat Burkina Faso.”
The Burkinabe, whose best showing was finishing runners-up to 2013 champions Nigeria, fell behind to Cameroon and survived an onslaught before levelling.
Centre-back Bakary Kone, midfielder and captain Charles Kabore and winger Jonathan Pitroipa form an experienced backbone to an unpredictable side.

‘Littered with upsets’

Belgium-born Cameroon coach Hugo Broos is nervous about facing shock qualifiers Guinea-Bissau in the second half of a double-header.

“Playing against less-well-known teams can be tricky,” he warned, “and we do not want to go into our final group game against Gabon needing a win to survive.

“I have studied the history of the Cup of Nations and it is littered with upsets. Remember, Zambia won the 2012 title here (Libreville) against massive odds.
“The days when higher-ranked countries could go into a group game confident of winning convincingly are long gone.

“We want to reach the quarter-finals and then see where we go from there,” said the successor to underachieving German Volker Finke as coach of the “Indomitable Lions”.
Guinea-Bissau sensationally won a qualifying group including former champions Congo Brazzaville and Zambia and continued the fairytale run by holding Gabon.

“We now have the motivation to go far,” said Baciro Cande, who took charge of the “Wild Dogs” when Portuguese Paulo Torres was barred for four matches during the qualifiers.
“My team may not have any big-name footballers, but we have unity and determination, and that counts for so much.

“No one gave us a chance against Gabon and we could have ended up winning that match.”

From AFCON 2017: Aubameyang promises better by hosts Gabon by Pulse.ng (Sport)

Enugu Rangers: Club vows to restore pride next encounter with Nasarawa Utd

The Media Officer of Rangers International FC of Enugu, Foster Chime, says the team is determined to restore the club’s pride when it takes on Nasarawa United in their next encounter in Lafia.
Chime told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Tuesday that the club had high hopes of victory in Lafia and that it would take the three points at stake.

“It is unfortunate that we started the league badly but I am happy that we played well against Abia Warriors at home; we only needed to translate our ball possession to goals.
“I am happy that the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has outgrown the tradition of home advantage as clubs now come away with victories.

“In match day one, two teams opened the floodgates and we were victim of circumstance.
“So against Nasarawa Utd, we are going to take our own pound of flesh to show that we still have a point to prove in the new season,’’ he said.

He noted that Rangers equally lost their first match of the 2015/2016 season and still went ahead to lift the trophy after 36 matches.

“We lost 2-1 to Kano Pillars on the first day of 2015/2016 season at Sani Abacha stadium and this time around to Abia Warriors with the same margin, at the end it may be a coincidence,’’ he said.
Chime said that the Rangers club would not be affected with the result of the first encounter, as it had the capability of getting good results away from home.

“We only need to get three points elsewhere to make up for the match day one defeat to Abia Warriors,’’ Chime said.
NAN recalls that the club has lost two successive matches in 2017.

The flying antelopes lost the charity cup to FC Ifeanyi Ubah by 5-3 in a penalty shoot out before the 1-2 defeat to Abia Warriors on Jan. 14 in their first match of the 2017 NPFL.

From Enugu Rangers: Club vows to restore pride next encounter with Nasarawa Utd by Pulse.ng (Sport)

Experts & Stakeholders Lament Depletion of Resources Due to Health Tourism as Nigerian Woman Racks Up About £350,000 Bill at UK Hospital

A Nigerian woman, who is yet to be identified racked up a £350,000 bill at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (a National Health Service Trust) in the UK, after she had a caesarean section in 2015.

According to DailyMail, “the shocking figure exposes the scale of abuse of the crumbling NHS by health tourists”.

She was transferred to there from another hospital because of pregnancy complications. Her twins then spent two months in intensive care.

All NHS Trusts are mandated to treat patients first before requesting for any form of patients and this is thought to cost about £280 million a year, with health tourists using the most of that amount.
A spokesman for Luton and Dunstable, in response to a mail sent by DailyMail to all hospitals in England, said that the woman is owing the hospital £348,683.
“This patient was an overseas visitor and was referred to us by another hospital because of complications with her twin pregnancy.”

“As an NHS Trust we cannot refuse to treat a patient, wherever they are from, if there is a danger to life. In this case two unborn babies required immediate care.”

“They were delivered safely but spent two months in our Neonatal Intensive Care and High Dependency units. This is the reason for the high cost and we are currently pursuing the patient for payment,” the spokesperson said.

“The responses from 90 hospitals revealed that 13,077 overseas patients were treated in the UK in 2015-16, including 3,066 mothers who flew in to have their babies.
These women were responsible for some of the highest debts and a significant number are understood to have come from Nigeria.

Imperial College Hospitals in West London said it was chasing a £319,895 bill for a woman who gave birth to triplets. Staff at the trust have since disclosed that this autumn they looked after a 43-year-old Nigerian woman who gave birth to quads. She went into premature labour on the flight to London and one of the babies died.

The costs of caring for the surviving three infants have passed £100,000 and staff predict a final bill of half a million pounds.

Doctors are faced with a dilemma over eligibility because they are obliged to provide immediate medical care regardless of a patient’s nationality or whether they can pay. Experts say our hospitals are being targeted, in particular by wealthy Nigerian mothers-to-be,” Daily Mail said.

According to the report, in 2011, another Nigerian, Bimbo Ayelabola, racked up a bill of £145,000 in giving birth to quintuplets in Homerton Hospital, East London and has not paid the money back.
“Ayelabola has since returned to her home city of Lagos, where she is a makeup artist. She drives a £17,000 car and her five children attend an expensive private school. In 2015 she told the Daily Mail she had never been sent a bill by the NHS. She added: ‘If (health tourism) is a problem, you should talk to the NHS. I have never received my bill. If I had it, I would pay it’,” the report added.

Experts and stakeholders are complaining of the eligibility of patients to access the health services, adding that the NHS Trusts cannot continue to fund “international health service”.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: ‘The NHS is in a critical state due to lack of resources, so any abuse from health tourism should be stopped. The sums of money are astonishing. Most patients would be concerned about the vast sums of money not being reclaimed and the potential for this money to be spent on frontline services and staff – which could improve the quality of care and the time in which people receive care.’ 

Professor Meirion Thomas, a cancer surgeon who formerly worked at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said: ‘These massive debts are staggering and should be investigated by NHS fraud officers. Patients don’t arrive at specialist hospitals with serious illnesses by chance. It is likely there are facilitators and accomplices who enable this fraud. They may be friends or relatives or even health professionals.’

Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘This has been a longstanding problem and it costs millions a year. We need the Health Service to implement a system whereby the person going in for treatment has a right to have it or has the means to pay.’

Andrew Bridgen, another Tory MP, said: ‘Those who are not eligible for free healthcare must pay. If we don’t address this issue it will only grow.

‘There appears to be huge reluctance amongst clinicians not to charge people for free healthcare. We cannot afford to fund an international health service.’

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From Experts & Stakeholders Lament Depletion of Resources Due to Health Tourism as Nigerian Woman Racks Up About £350,000 Bill at UK Hospital by Bella Naija (News)

#RunYourRace: How Nigerians Plan to Take Over 2017!

This is more than a New Year resolution. It’s a call to action for now and the future. The hashtag #RunYourRace is making waves over the internet as Nigerians are talking about their aspirations for 2017. Tweeting various goals, Nigerians are indeed ready to take on 2017.

The current situation of the country is not pulling anyone down as this has enabled them to gather more courage and boldness to live through the year. Nigerians they say, are one of the strongest people in Africa. The highlight of this conversation is the symbolism. Images of individuals snapping their shoes have circulated over the internet symbolizing strength and determination to run fast in 2017.

You can follow the conversation on twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #RunYourRace

Living & Celebrating the African Dream!Catch all the Scoop on www.bellanaija.com
Follow usTwitter: @bellanaijaFacebook: @bellanaijaInstagram: @bellanaijaonline

From #RunYourRace: How Nigerians Plan to Take Over 2017! by Bella Naija (News)

Bank manager testifying against Saraki says he doesn’t know what the issues are

‎Nwachukwu Amazu, head of the fund transfer unit of the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), on Tuesday, said he did not know much about the documents he testified on.

Amazu said this while being cross-examined by Paul Usoro, counsel to Senate President Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Earlier, he had testified that Saraki transferred funds to his accounts in the United States (US) and London at the time he was Kwara state governor.

“The customer, Dr Saraki, with the address Government House, Ilorin‎,  gave an instruction to transfer $73, 223.28‎ to the beneficiary, American Express Services Europe Limited through their bank, American Express Bank of New York‎, for ‎the funding of the amount utilised on Amex card issued to the customer (dollar credit card) No: 374588216836009‎,” he had said.

He had also said that “from his (Saraki’s) pound sterling account at GTB to his Fortis Bank account in London, 761, 904.76 pounds was transferred ‎on the 15th February, 2010″.
It is against Nigerian laws for a public officer to operate foreign bank accounts.
He had given his testimony while being led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the federal government and prosecution.

But under cross-examination, Usoro asked him when he made his statement to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and he said it was on 10 September, 2015 , five days after Saraki was summoned by the tribunal.

He also admitted that there was no evidence to show‎ that the defendant operated those accounts.
He said the transfer of funds to American Express Bank of New York was for accounts operated by American Card Services, and not by the defendant‎.

‎Contrary to his earlier testimony that an operator of a credit card must have a bank account, Amazu said the issuer of Saraki’s credit card was not a bank.
Here is a rundown of the dialogue in parts.

Usoro: Who issued the documents you testified on?
Witness: It was issued by the bank‎.
Usoro: But in the documents, it says public sector group of Ilorin, is that correct?
Witness: Yes.
Usoro: So, you have nothing to do with it?
Witness: Yes.
‎Witness: My lord, I want to say something… I don’t know what the issues in the documents are. The prosecution was only asking me questions and I was responding.
Usoro: You were not in the funds transfer unit when these funds were transferred on 15 February, 2010, is that correct?
Witness: Yes.

Usoro: The first time you saw these documents was in regard to this matter?
Witness: Yes
‎Usoro: You have nothing to do with the documentation of these fund transfers, is that correct?
‎Witness: Yes.

Follow us on twitter @thecablengCopyright 2017 TheCable. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thecable.ng as the source.

From Bank manager testifying against Saraki says he doesn’t know what the issues are by TheCable

Julius Berger: We don’t need to close Abuja airport to repair it

‎Wolfgang Goetsch, managing director of Julius Berger, says the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, can be repaired without closing the airport.

Hadi Sirika, minister for state on aviation, had announced the federal government’s decision to close the airport for six weeks, starting from March 8 to enable repairs on the runway.
He said the Kaduna airport would serve as an alternative during the period that of Abuja would be closed.
But some people have expressed reservations over the idea, advising the government to consider carrying out the repairs without closing the airport in the nation’s capital.

Speaking at the senate on Tuesday, during a special session on the closure of the airport, Goetsch said the runway can be repaired without suspending flight operations.
“The runways can be repaired and without closing but if it is spot repairs it could be worked on in the night and opened up temporarily in the morning,” Goetsch said.
“It can be shut down in the night. The spot can be repaired in the morning and temporarily given back for usage.

“But the state of the runway in Abuja, extent of damage and deterioration. The whole runway from one end to the other end is damaged.
“This means that if the method of spot repair is loose, you start from one side of the runway, lock it in the night and in the morning to open it up for traffic.”
According to him, this means that the spot repair will take two and half years to keep the runway stable.
Goetsch said the runway had to be monolithic needing interlocked layers to guarantee a life span of 10 years.

He said it was in the interest of all stakeholders to ensure that the work on the runway was carried out as quickly as possible.
“On our end, we guarantee that within the 6 weeks, the repair work is done. This is subject to the fulfilment of the obligation of all stakeholders,” he said.
“Under the leadership of the minister of state for aviation, all stakeholders are on board.
“Everything is going on very smoothly according to plan and there is no doubt that the obligation of all stakeholders is fulfilled.”

Follow us on twitter @thecablengCopyright 2017 TheCable. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thecable.ng as the source.

From Julius Berger: We don’t need to close Abuja airport to repair it by TheCable

Kaduna FA Chairman is dead, says Scribe

AbdulKadir Magaji, the Chairman Kaduna Football Association (FA) is dead, the Secretary, Abdulsalam Jere, announced on Tuesday.

According to Jere, Magaji, died at 53 in a Lagos Hospital during a brief illness.

Jere said that he graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), and is survived by his wife, aged father and three children.

Jere added that the former FA chairman was two-time member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly.
The late Magaji also served as Special Adviser to former Kaduna State Governors, Namadi Sambo and the Late Patrick Yakowa.

He equally served as Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Nationwide League (NNL) Independent Committee.

From Kaduna FA Chairman is dead, says Scribe by Vanguard (News)

One killed, three injured as herdsmen, farmers clash in Okoti

By Chimaobi Nwaiwu.Nnewi – The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday averted a bloody clash between herdsmen and farmers in Okoti village in Odoekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area, Anambra State, which left three persons injured and one purportedly killed.

According to an eye witness, the clash resulted following an alleged rumour that some herdsmen had killed a farmer in the bush in Okoti and the natives, mainly youths responded with matchete cut on three of the herdsmen before the arrival of the men of the Onitsha Naval Outpost who on getting the information quickly mobilized and took over the place.

More details soon

From One killed, three injured as herdsmen, farmers clash in Okoti by Vanguard (News)

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic lays down marker

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic doused big-hitting Spaniard Fernando Verdasco to win the opening match of his Australian Open title defence in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The indomitable Serb second seed avoided a potential first round exit against Verdasco, who knocked out Rafael Nadal in last year’s first round.

Djokovic prevailed 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in 2hr 20min on Rod Laver Arena to progress to a second round encounter with either Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin or Croatia’s Ivan Dodig.
“The second set went over an hour so of course when I saw the draw, I thought ‘this is going to be the only match I focus on,'” Djokovic said.

“I could finish early in the tournament. But I managed to start well with great intensity.
“First and third sets went well, the second was a gamble. If he’s on you never know.”
It was a tricky first-up match for the 12-time Grand Slam champion, who had lost to the Spaniard in four of their previous 13 meetings.

But Djokovic’s greater consistency in the pressure moments of an intense match won him the day.
Verdasco has not beaten the Serb for almost seven years, with his last triumph in the quarter-finals at Rome in 2010, although he held five match points in the pair’s most recent meeting this month in Doha before Djokovic went on to win the tournament.

Djokovic is seeded to face Brisbane International winner Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, powerful Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem in the quarters and Canada’s big-serving third seed Milos Raonic in the semi-finals in the bottom half of the men’s draw.

He can take outright ownership of the record for Australian titles if he wins for a seventh time. The Serb is currently tied with Australia’s Roy Emerson on six.
Djokovic got off to a flyer with a double service break to clean up the opening set for the loss of just one game in 31 minutes.

Both players traded service breaks in four games before the second set went to a tiebreaker. Djokovic’s greater consistency and Verdasco’s erratic groundstrokes gave the Serb the tiebreaker and a 2-0 sets lead.

Djokovic cranked it up in the third set, breaking Verdasco’s opening service which he carried through to win on his first match point.

From Australian Open: Novak Djokovic lays down marker by Pulse.ng (Sport)