BREAKING: Police Recover 39 Dead Bodies In Truck Near London

British police said 39 bodies were found near London Wednesday in the container of a truck thought to have come from Bulgaria.

Essex Police said the people were all pronounced dead at the scene in an industrial park in Grays, east of London. Early indications suggest the victims are 38 adults and one teenager.

A 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives,” Essex Police chief superintendent Andrew Mariner said in a statement.

“Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened.”

The police said they were alerted by the ambulance service shortly before 1:40am (0040 GMT) following the discovery of a truck container with people inside at the Waterglade Industrial Park.

“We are in the process of identifying the victims. However I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process,” said Mariner.

“We believe the lorry is from Bulgaria,” said Mariner.

He said it was thought the truck entered Britain on Saturday at Holyhead on the northwest tip of Wales — one of the main ports for ferries from Ireland.

“We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries continue.”

Source: AFP/ChannelsTV

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Maina: Court Orders Temporary Forfeiture Of 23 Properties

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the temporary forfeiture of 23 properties linked to a former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Mr Abdulrasheed Maina.

The trial judge, Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo, gave the order on Tuesday while ruling on a motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In the suit, the anti-graft agency urged the court to order the temporary forfeiture of the properties linked to Maina

It also sought an order of the court to publish an advert on the properties in a national daily, to enable anyone who has any reason why they should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government to come forward and prove same.

The EFCC supported its motion by a 30-paragraph affidavit which it brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Money Laundering Act.

Delivering her ruling on the motion, Justice Ogunbanjo granted the prayers of the anti-graft agency.

She also ordered the EFCC to return to the court on November 19, for the mentioning of the case.

According to the EFCC, the temporarily forfeited properties are situated in Kaduna, Borno, and Sokoto, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

See the list of properties the trial judge ordered to be forfeited temporarily below:

Source: ChannelsTV

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Saraki: Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Property

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday 21st of October 2019, ordered the interim forfeiture of two properties located at Ikoyi area of Lagos state belonging to the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Ilorin zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an exparte application filed by the commission’s lawyer Nnaemeka Omewa approached the court seeking an order of interim forfeiture of the properties, alleging that they were acquired through proceeds of unlawful activities.

Delivering ruling on the application, Justice Mohammed Liman who ordered the interim forfeiture of the two properties said the EFCC should publish the order in a national daily within fourteen days and further the matter for report of compliance with the order of court.

The commission had sought for four orders before Justice Liman, in respect of the controversial property.

Part of the relief sought by the EFCC include “an order of this honourable court forfeiting to the federal government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as no. 17a Mcdonald road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa local government area of Lagos state found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity ”

“an interim order of this honourable court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the landed property with its appurtenances situate, lying and known as no 17 Mcdonald road, Ikoyi in Eti Osa local government area , Lagos state found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity ”

Justice Liman relying on the documents attached to the matter resolved all the issues raised in favour of the EFCC.

The commission in an affidavit alleged that the former president of the Nigerian Senate acquired the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activity.

Part of the affidavit reads, “trend of cash lodgments into Saraki’s account became suspicious and in order to further disguise the source and origin of this money, the respondent changed the pattern of payment and started making payments into exhibit EFCC 3 using fictitious names ”

The EFCC further alleged that the former Nigeria number three citizen while serving as the executive Governor of Kwara State withdrew over twelve billion cash from the account of the Kwara government and paid directly into his account domiciled in Access and Zenith banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama at different intervals.

Source: ChannelsTV

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BREAKING: South Africans Attack Nigerians Again

South Africans living in Mpumalamga province have attacked Nigerians in a fresh wave of xenophobic violence.

Channels Television correspondent in South Africa reports that further information concerning the attack is still sketchy as the crew is on its way to the province for details.

The leadership of Nigerian Citizens In South Africa (NICASA) and Nigeria’s Consular General to South Africa are also on their way to Witbank in Mpumalanga province to gather more information on the attack.

This fresh attack comes a few weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari visited South Africa and called for the protection of Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in the country.

Buhari during the visit also condemned the xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg, South Africa’s capital which led to the looting of shops owned by foreign nationals.

He demanded that measures should be put in place to prevent the re-occurrence of the attacks.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in response repeatedly apologised over the attacks and reiterated his government’s “deep regret at the incidents of public violence.”

About 600 Nigerians returned from South Africa early in September after xenophobic violence in Johannesburg. The second batch of 315 Nigerians later returned mid-September and many more have continued to leave South Africa in the wave of the deadly attacks.

Source: ChannelsTV

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Nigerians are spending over $8bn (N2.4tn) to import vehicles every year.

The Federal Government has said Nigerians are spending over $8bn (N2.4tn) annually to import vehicles.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made the disclosure on Monday in Abuja while unveiling a competition on ‘automotive design initiative’ organised by the National Automotive Design and Development Council.

According to him, the huge foreign exchange being spent on importation would have been saved had Nigerians concentrated on local manufacturing of vehicles.

The minister assured that the Federal Government would give legal backing to the National Automotive Policy.

The Bill on the National Automobile Policy was passed by the Eighth National Assembly but it was denied assent by President Muhammadu Buhari due to certain unclear clauses.

Malami offered to revive the bill, which he said addressed concerns of policy inconsistency in the country’s automotive sector.

“We spend about $8bn on vehicle importation annually. If we concentrate on designing and manufacturing these vehicles locally, we would save a lot of that foreign exchange.

“The Federal Government would support your efforts in ensuring that we design and manufacture cars for public transportation and agricultural equipment,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola  Ajayi, commended the initiative.

According to him, the competition will offer opportunities for younger people to grow careers in the automotive sector.

“We need this type of innovation to drive the economy. This is a great vision of the government and just like the border closure, this competition would challenge us to think out local solutions to our numerous problems,” he said.

The 2019 edition of the challenge focuses on the design of applicable mini-taxis and cost-effective mini-tractors in Nigeria.

Source: Punch News Paper

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Again: Gunshots in Abuja as police disperse protesting Shi’ites

The police have dispersed a procession of members of the banned Islamic Movement of Nigeria who trooped out to call for the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The protest started on Sultan Abubakar Road at about 1:55 p.m. Friday.

The protesters in their numbers hoisted two flags, one red and the another black, with the chant: “Labaika yah Hussein. Free Zakzaky”, loosely translated as “Welcome you Hussein. Free Zakzaky”.

Hussein is seen by the Shi’ites as their first imam.

As the protesters marched, a team of police officers followed behind, shooting in the air and firing tear gas canisters.

Soon, the procession of protesters thinned out, with members blending with other Muslim worshipers returning from Friday jummat prayer.

Details later…

Source: Premium Times

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FG & Labour reach agreement on Minimum wage

The Federal Government and organised labour on Thursday finally agreed on the percentage increase on the consequential adjustment in workers’ salaries as a result of the new minimum wage of N30,000.

As the meeting reached an advanced stage, the Minister of State for
Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, tweeted from the venue that both
parties had reached an agreement, but he did not give details.

“After some delicate negotiations (with both ministers as conciliators), the government and labour have finally reached an agreement on the consequential adjustment of other wages following the implementation of the enhanced minimum wage of N30,000. We are working on the communiqué,” Keyamo had tweeted.

In a statement, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye; and the Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, confirmed the peace pact, commending the Federal Government and Labour for their patience while the negotiations lasted.

The statement reads, “We commend the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, and her team for their sincerity.

“Though they argued that the government could not afford to meet our earlier demand
of N30,000 minimum wage across board because of the economic situation in the country, we made them understand that some people could not be more Nigerian than others.

“If we are tightening our belts, government should also do so.”

The secretary of the Joint National Civil Service Negotiating Council, Alade Lawal, also confirmed the figure to our Correspondent through a text message after confirmation on what was agreed with the FG was sought from him.

Lawal had earlier told our Correspondent that the parties had reached an agreement on the wage crisis.

He said both parties agreed on 23.2 percentage increase for workers at grade level 07; 20 per cent for those at grade level 08; 19 per cent for workers at grade level 09; 16 per cent for those on levels 10 to 14; and 14 per cent for workers at grade levels 15 to 17.

The agreement came 182 days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed
the new minimum wage into law.

Source: Punch

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BREAKING: Turkey to Withdraw Military Operation from Syria

Turkey has confirmed the suspension of its offensive in Syria until Kurdish militants withdraw from the area, the foreign minister said.

“We are suspending the operation, not halting it,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists in Ankara. “We will halt the operation only after (Kurdish militants) completely withdraw from the region.”

Details shortly…

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BREXIT: There would be “no further delay” – EU’s Juncker

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker congratulated Prime Minister Boris Johnson on their Brexit withdrawal deal on Thursday and said it meant there would be “no further delay”.

“We have a deal, and this deal means there is no need for any kind of prolongation,” Juncker told reporters as he welcomed the British leader to EU headquarters ahead of summit talks.

British MPs are expected to vote on the deal on Saturday.  Pro-EU parliamentarians hope they can defeat it and Brexit can still be delayed to allow a general election or a new referendum on whether to leave the EU at all.

Arriving later at an EU summit of leaders expected to endorse the new withdrawal plan, Juncker said he hoped British MPs would pass the plan as agreed so that Britain can leave on October 31.

“There will be no prolongation. There is not an argument for further delay — it has to be done now,” he said.

“We have a deal. The British prime minister has to make sure it passes the hurdles of the British parliament. I was ruling out any sort of prolongation. We have a deal.

“I’m satisfied that we were able to find a deal. I’m sad that Britain will be leaving the European Union,” he said, adding that Johnson agreed that there should be no more delay.

(AFP)

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Akanu Ibiam Airport: Buhari approves N10bn for Upgrade

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N10 billion as intervention fund for the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State.

Buhari made this known via his verified Twitter handle on Thursday.

He added that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika had assured him that work on the airport would be done speedily and that work done would be of a high standard.

He tweeted, “I have approved the sum of 10 billion Naira for an Intervention fund for the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. I have the assurance of the Minister of Aviation that the work will be done speedily and to the highest standards.”

He added, “Even as we have many items competing for our limited resources, we will continue to prioritize infrastructure investments in every part of the country. It is our responsibility to ensure Nigeria’s infrastructure is fixed; we will keep doing this.”

President Buhari on Thursday hosted South-East governors at the Villa.

Source: Punch

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‘Nigeria may have borrowed more in last three years than it did in 30 years’

At current levels of over N25 trillion, it means that Nigeria has borrowed in three years more than it borrowed in 30 years previously, and the country to remain peaceful and get the economy working better, it must return to the basics of federalism, as the foundation of her national enterprise.

A former Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Prof. Anya O. Anya, who stated this, noted that the political challenge is how to operationalise Chapter II of the Constitution, as the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.

Speaking in Lagos, yesterday, at The Niche Newspapers yearly lecture, themed: “Business and Accountable Governance: The Obligation of Leadership,” Anya said Nigeria’s economy is faced with two fundamental obstacles. While the economy is growing at a miserly rate of two per cent, the population is growing currently at 3.8 per cent nearly double the economic rate of growth.

This showed that there is a fundamental dissonance between demography and the economy, he told guests, which included Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, as chairman; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, among others.
    
Making reference to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Anya noted that the agency informed that Nigeria’s debt as of 2015 was a little over N12 trillion, but is now over N25 trillion.
   
“Much of the extra loans have been applied to recurrent expenditure given that most state governments could not even pay salaries. Indeed, it has been alleged that we spend 60-70 per cent of our total earnings in servicing debts that is paying interests (not re-paying loans),” he stated.
He said despite these, the normal metrics of economics continue southward, stressing that unemployment, inflation, productivity are not giving Nigerians any cheering news either.He pointed out that although the empanelling of an Economic Advisory Council is a step in the right direction, there is a need to face the gravity of the current situation.

“In this context, we must appeal to our leaders to wean themselves from an emerging attitude that is not helpful in our present circumstances, the tendency, to reply without deep reflection and usually with opinions rather than facts to any comments on our economy or other affairs often occasioned by new facts from research, whether from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, foreign and local respected think tanks.”
   
Anya said the issue of trust is also critical in governance, noting that absolute trust in a leader is vital. “A leader who will lead in an era of change must enjoy total confidence and trust of the citizens.”
   
According to him, the current social crisis is as frightening, given the economic crisis with tales of banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, insurrection, militancy and the rampaging herdsmen.“As an aside, it is also important to observe that the campaign against corruption is an important issue on this matter in order to tackle the disease and not merely the symptom.”  
 

Source: The Guardian

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“It is a big shame and some of the personalities who are illegally in the Villa are granting interviews” – Odumakin on Maman Daura

The spokes person of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has described as shameful revelations by the daughter of Mamman Daura, Fatimah, that they have been living in the Presidential Villa for over three years.

Afenifere further stated that it was most unfortunate that an unelected man could hijack the seat of power as revealed by the First Lady, Aisha Buhari.

The Spokesman for Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said this during an interview with PUNCH on Tuesday.

Odumakin said, “It is unfortunate that Nigeria has reached the point where someone who was not elected or appointed and holds no position known to our constitution has become this powerful

“It is a big shame and some of the personalities who are illegally in the Villa are granting interviews. It shows the level of impunity. It shows that our nation and the seat of power have been desecrated.”

Odumakin said with the new revelation, the ball is now in the court of Nigerians to continue to be ruled by proxy or break free from the chains of the cabal.

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Gov. El-Rufai Presents N257.9bn 2020 Budget To Kaduna House of Assembly

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has presented a budget proposal of N257.9 billion for the 2020 fiscal year.

The state deputy governor, Hadiza Balarabe, submitted the appropriation bill on behalf of the governor to members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly on Tuesday in the state capital.

The document tagged ‘Budget of Progressive Renewal’, has N190.04 billion capital expenditure and N68.87 billion recurrent spending.

According to the deputy governor, the appropriation bill is in the ratio of 73.7 per cent to 26.3 per cent representing capital and recurrent spending respectively.

She explained that this was in line with the present administration’s agenda of spending more on serving the people than in running the government.

Balarabe informed the lawmakers that the priority of the budget was to complete all 2019 projects and pay all contractors who have worked for the state government.

She added that most of the spending would be in the economic and social sectors, with N140 billion allocated to education, health, and infrastructure.

In the budget estimate, education got the highest allocation of N64.64 billion (25.07%), while health has N39.61 billion (15.36%) and infrastructure got N66.34 billion (25.72%).

The deputy governor disclosed that the government has declared 12 years of free and compulsory primary and secondary education for all children in Kaduna, as part of efforts to eradicate illiteracy and poverty in the state.

She announced that the government would complete the renovation of more primary schools and extend the building of more classrooms, including multi-storey blocks to address congestion and land availability constraints in urban centres.

Balarabe informed the lawmakers that the state government has recorded a significant achievement in the construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of state roads, as well as making significant investments in health and education infrastructure, equipment, and staffing.

In his remark, the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Aminu Shagali, commended Governor El-Rufai for the timely presentation of the budget.

He gave assurance that the House would continue to give its support towards ensuring progress, peace, and development of the state.

Since the inception of the present administration in 2015, the El-Rufai administration has sustained a tradition of presenting the yearly budget in a good time, usually in October.

The presentation of the 2020 budget proposal is quite different because it is the first time a state deputy governor is saddled with the onerous responsibility of presenting a budget to the Assembly in the country.

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2020 Budget Proposal of N10.33trn 2020 To NASS (FULL SPEECH)

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday presented a budget of N10.33trillion for the 2020 fiscal year to the joint session of the National Assembly.

The president while presenting the Budget described it as a budget of Fiscal Consolidation to strengthen Nigeria’s macroeconomic environment; investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job-creating sectors.

President Buhari said the 2020 budget is based on the new VAT rate, adding that the increased revenues will be used to fund education, health, and infrastructure.

The increase in the budget also reflects the new national minimum wage.

Below is the full speech by President Muhammadu Buhari.

2020 BUDGET SPEECH:

Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation

Delivered By:

His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

At the Joint Session of the National Assembly, Abuja

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

PROTOCOLS

1. I will start by asking you to pardon my voice. As you can hear, I have a cold as a result of working hard to meet your deadline!

2. I am delighted to present the 2020 Federal Budget Proposals to this Joint Session of the National Assembly, being my first budget presentation to this 9th National Assembly.

3. Before presenting the Budget, let me thank all of you Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, for your avowed commitment to cooperate with the Executive to accelerate the pace of our socio-economic development and enhance the welfare of our people.

4. I will also once again thank all Nigerians, who have demonstrated confidence in our ability to deliver on our socio-economic development agenda, by re-electing this Administration with a mandate to Continue the Change. We remain resolutely committed to the actualization of our vision of a bright and prosperous future for all Nigerians.

5. During this address, I will present highlights of our budget proposals for the next fiscal year. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide full details of these proposals, subsequently.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN 2019

6. The economic environment remains very challenging, globally. The International Monetary Fund expects global economic recovery to slow down from 3.6 percent in 2018 to 3.5 percent in 2020. This reflects uncertainties arising from security and trade tensions with attendant implications on commodity price volatility.

7. Nearer to home, however, Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to continue to grow from 3.1 percent in 2018 to 3.6 percent in 2020. This is driven by investor confidence, oil production recovery in key exporting countries, sustained strong agricultural production as well as public investment in non-dependent economies.

8. Mr. Senate President; Right Honourable Speaker; I am pleased to report that the Nigerian economy thus far has recorded nine consecutive quarters of GDP growth. Annual growth increased from 0.82 percent in 2017 to 1.93 percent in 2018, and 2.02 percent in the first half of 2019. The continuous recovery reflects our economy’s resilience and gives credence to the effectiveness of our economic policies thus far.

9. We also succeeded in significantly reducing inflation from a peak of 18.72 percent in January 2017, to 11.02 percent by August 2019. This was achieved through effective fiscal and monetary policy coordination, exchange rate stability and sensible management of our foreign exchange.

10. We have sustained accretion to our external reserves, which have risen from US$23 billion in October 2016 to about US$42.5 billion by August 2019. The increase is largely due to favourable prices of crude oil in the international market, minimal disruption of crude oil production given the stable security situation in the Niger Delta region and our import substitution drive, especially in key commodities.

11. The foreign exchange market has also remained stable due to the effective implementation of the Central Bank’s interventions to restore liquidity, improve access and discourage currency speculation. Special windows were created that enabled small businesses, investors and importers in priority economic sectors to have timely access to foreign exchange.

12. Furthermore, as a sign of increased investor confidence in our economy, there were remarkable inflows of foreign capital in the second quarter of 2019. The total value of capital imported into Nigeria increased from US$12 billion in the first half year of 2018 to US$14 billion for the same period in 2019.

PERFORMANCE OF THE 2019 BUDGET

13. Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, you will recall that the 2019 ‘Budget of Continuity’ was based on a benchmark oil price of US$60 per barrel, oil production of 2.3 mbpd, and an exchange rate of N305 to the United States Dollar. Based on these parameters, we projected a deficit of N1.918 trillion or 1.37 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

14. As at June 2019, Federal Government’s actual aggregate revenue (excluding Government-Owned Enterprises) was N2.04 trillion. This revenue performance is only 58 percent of the 2019 Budget’s target due to the underperformance of both oil and non-oil revenue sources. Specifically, oil revenues were below target by 49 percent as at June 2019. This reflects the lower-than-projected oil production, deductions for cost under-recovery on supply of premium motor spirit (PMS), as well as higher expenditures on pipeline security/maintenance and Frontier exploration.

15. Daily oil production averaged 1.86 mbpd as at June 2019, as against the estimated 2.3 mbpd that was assumed. This shortfall was partly offset as the market price of Bonny Light crude oil averaged US$67.20 per barrel which was higher than the benchmark price of US$60.

16. Additionally, revenue projections from restructuring of Joint Venture Oil and Gas assets and enactment of new fiscal terms for Production Sharing Contracts did not materialize, as the enabling legislation for these reforms is yet to be passed into law.

17. The performance of non-oil taxes and independent revenues such as internally generated revenues were N614.57 billion and N217.84 billion, respectively.

18. Receipts from Value Added Tax were below expectations due to lower levels of activities in certain economic sectors, in the aftermath of national elections. Corporate taxes were affected by the seasonality of collections, which tend to peak in the second half of the calendar year.

19. On the expenditure side, 2019 Budget implementation was also hindered by the combination of delay in its approval and the underperformance of revenue collections. As such, only recurrent expenditure items have been implemented substantially. Of the prorated expenditure of N4.46 trillion budgeted, N3.39 trillion had been spent by June 30, 2019.

20. In compliance with the provisions of the 2018 Appropriation Act, we implemented the 2018 capital budget till June 2019. Capital releases under the 2019 Budget commenced in the third quarter. As at 30th September 2019, a total of about N294.63 billion had been released for capital projects. I have directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to release an additional N600 billion of the 2019 capital budget by the end of the year.

21. Despite the delay in capital releases, a deficit of N1.35 trillion was recorded at end of June 2019. This represents 70 percent of the budgeted deficit for the full year.

22. Despite these anomalies, I am happy to report that we met our debt service obligations, we are current on staff salaries and overhead costs have also been largely covered.

2020 BUDGET PRIORITIES

23. Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, let me now turn to the 2020 Appropriation, which is designed to be a budget of:

a. Fiscal consolidation, to strengthen our macroeconomic environment;

b. Investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job creating sectors;

c. Incentivising private sector investment essential to complement the Government’s development plans, policies and programmes; and

d. Enhancing our social investment programs to further deepen their impact on those marginalised and most vulnerable Nigerians.

PARAMETERS & FISCAL ASSUMPTIONS UNDERPINNING THE APPROPRIATION BILL AND THE FINANCE BILL

24. Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) set out the parameters for the 2020 Budget. We have adopted a conservative oil price benchmark of US$57 per barrel, daily oil production estimate of 2.18 mbpd and an exchange rate of N305 per US Dollar for 2020.

25. We expect enhanced real GDP growth of 2.93% in 2020, driven largely by non-oil output, as economic diversification accelerates, and the enabling business environment improves. However, inflation is expected to remain slightly above single digits in 2020.

26. Accompanying the 2020 Budget Proposal is a Finance Bill for your kind consideration and passage into law. This Finance Bill has five strategic objectives, in terms of achieving incremental, but necessary, changes to our fiscal laws. These objectives are:

a. Promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation;

b. Reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices;

c. Introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets;

d. Supporting Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses in line with our Ease of Doing Business Reforms; and

e. Raising Revenues for Government.

27. The draft Finance Bill proposes an increase of the VAT rate from 5% to 7.5%. As such, the 2020 Appropriation Bill is based on this new VAT rate. The additional revenues will be used to fund health, education and infrastructure programmes. As the States and Local Governments are allocated 85% of all VAT revenues, we expect to see greater quality and efficiency in their spending in these areas as well.

28. The VAT Act already exempts pharmaceuticals, educational items, and basic commodities, which exemptions we are expanding under the Finance Bill, 2019. Specifically, Section 46 of the Finance Bill, 2019 expands the exempt items to include the following:

a. Brown and white bread;

b. Cereals including maize, rice, wheat, millet, barley and sorghum;

c. Fish of all kinds;

d. Flour and starch meals;

e. Fruits, nuts, pulses and vegetables of various kinds;

f. Roots such as yam, cocoyam, sweet and Irish potatoes;

g. Meat and poultry products including eggs;

h. Milk;

i. Salt and herbs of various kinds; and

j. Natural water and table water.

29. Additionally, our proposals also raise the threshold for VAT registration to N25 million in turnover per annum, such that the revenue authorities can focus their compliance efforts on larger businesses thereby bringing relief for our Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses.

30. It is absolutely essential to intensify our revenue generation efforts. That said, this Administration remains committed to ensuring that the inconvenience associated with any fiscal policy adjustments, is moderated, such that the poor and the vulnerable, who are most at risk, do not bear the brunt of these reforms.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE ESTIMATES

31. The sum of N8.155 trillion is estimated as the total Federal Government revenue in 2020 and comprises oil revenue N2.64 trillion, non-oil tax revenues of N1.81 trillion and other revenues of N3.7 trillion. This is 7 percent higher than the 2019 comparative estimate of N7.594 trillion inclusive of the Government Owned Enterprises.

32. The increasing share of non-oil revenues underscores our confidence in our revenue diversification strategies, going forward. Furthermore, in our efforts to enhance transparency and accountability, we shall continue our strict implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) to capture the domiciliary accounts in our foreign missions and those linked to Government Owned Enterprises.

PLANNED 2020 EXPENDITURE

33. An aggregate expenditure of N10.33 trillion is proposed for the Federal Government in 2020. The expenditure estimate includes statutory transfers of N556.7 billion, non-debt recurrent expenditure of N4.88 trillion and N2.14 trillion of capital expenditure (excluding the capital component of statutory transfers). Debt service is estimated at N2.45 trillion, and provision for Sinking Fund to retire maturing bonds issued to local contractors is N296 billion.

STATUTORY TRANSFERS

34. The sum of N556.7 billion is provided for Statutory Transfers in the 2020 Budget and includes:

a. N125 billion for the National Assembly;

b. N110 billion for the Judiciary;

c. N37.83 billion for the North East Development Commission (NEDC);

d. N44.5 billion for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF);

e. N111.79 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC); and

f. N80.88 billion for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which is now supervised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

35. We have increased the budgetary allocation to the National Human Rights Commission from N1.5 billion to N2.5 billion. This 67 percent increase in funding is done to enable the Commission to perform its functions more effectively.

RECURRENT EXPENDITURE

36. The non-debt recurrent expenditure includes N3.6 trillion for personnel and pension costs, an increase of N620.28 billion over 2019. This increase reflects the new minimum wage as well as our proposals to improve remuneration and welfare of our Police and Armed Forces. You will all agree that Good Governance, Inclusive Growth and Collective Prosperity can only be sustained in an environment of peace and security.

37. Our fiscal reforms shall introduce new performance management frameworks to regulate the cost to revenue ratios for Government Owned Enterprises, which shall come under significant scrutiny. We will reward exceptional revenue and cost management performance, while severe consequences will attend failures to achieve agreed revenue targets.

38. We shall also sustain our efforts in managing personnel costs. Accordingly, I have directed the stoppage of the salary of any Federal Government staff that is not captured on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform by the end of October 2019. All agencies must obtain the necessary approvals before embarking on any fresh recruitment and any contraventions of these directives shall attract severe sanctions.

39. Overhead costs are projected at N426.6 billion in 2020. Additional provisions were made only for the newly created Ministries. I am confident that the benefits of these new Ministries as it relates to efficient and effective service delivery to our citizens significantly outweighs their budgeted costs.

40. That said, the respective Heads of MDAs must ensure strict adherence to government regulations regarding expenditure control measures. The proliferation of Zonal, State and Liaison Offices by Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (‘MDAs’), with attendant avoidable increase in public expenditure, will no longer be tolerated.

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

41. As I mentioned earlier, investing in critical infrastructure is a key component of our fiscal strategy under the 2020 Budget Proposals. Accordingly, an aggregate sum of N2.46 trillion (inclusive of N318.06 billion in statutory transfers) is proposed for capital projects in 2020.

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42. Although the 2020 capital budget is N721.33 billion (or 23 percent) lower than the 2019 budget provision of N3.18 trillion, it is still higher than the actual and projected capital expenditure outturns for both the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, respectively. However, at 24 percent of aggregate projected expenditure, the 2020 provision falls significantly short of the 30 percent target in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.

43. The main emphasis will be the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible, rather than commencing new ones. MDAs have not been allowed to admit new projects into their capital budget for 2020, unless adequate provision has been made for the completion of ALL ongoing projects.

44. Accordingly, we have rolled over capital projects that are not likely to be fully funded by the end of 2019 into the 2020 Budget. We are aware that the National Assembly shares our view that these projects should be prioritised and given adequate funding in the 2020 Appropriation Act.

45. Therefore, I will once again commend the 9th National Assembly’s firm commitment to stop the unnecessary cycle of delayed annual budgets. I am confident that with our renewed partnership, the deliberations on the 2020 Budget shall be completed before the end of 2019 so that the Appropriation Act will come into effect by the 1st of January.

46. Some of the key capital spending allocations in the 2020 Budget include:

a. Works and Housing: N262 billion;

b. Power: N127 billion;

c. Transportation: N123 billion;

d. Universal Basic Education Commission: N112 billion;

e. Defence: N100 billion;

f. Zonal Intervention Projects: N100 billion;

g. Agriculture and Rural Development: N83 billion;

h. Water Resources: N82 billion;

i. Niger Delta Development Commission: N81 billion;

j. Education: N48 billion;

k. Health: N46 billion;

l. Industry, Trade and Investment: N40 billion;

m. North East Development Commission: N38 billion;

n. Interior: N35 billion;

o. Social Investment Programmes: N30 billion;

p. Federal Capital Territory: N28 billion; and

q. Niger Delta Affairs Ministry: N24 billion.

47. Although Government’s actual spending has reduced, our plans to leverage private sector funding through our tax credit schemes will ensure our capital programmes are sustained.

48. For example, we launched the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, pursuant to which I have approved the construction and rehabilitation of 19 Nigerian roads and bridges of 794.4km across 11 States. Indeed, the Scheme has attracted private investment of over N205 billion and the first set of tax credits are being processed by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

49. As I mentioned during my Independence Day Speech, under the Presidential Power Initiative, we will modernise the National Grid in 3 phases; starting from 5 Gigawatts to 7 Gigawatts, then to 11 Gigawatts by 2023, and finally 25 Gigawatts afterwards in collaboration with the German Government and Siemens.

BUDGET DEFICIT

50. Budget deficit is projected to be N2.18 trillion in 2020. This includes drawdowns on project-tied loans and the related capital expenditure.

51. This represents 1.52 percent of estimated GDP, well below the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007, and in line with the ERGP target of 1.96 percent.

52. The deficit will be financed by new foreign and domestic borrowings, Privatization Proceeds, signature bonuses and drawdowns on the loans secured for specific development projects.

DEBT SERVICE

53. Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt service obligations. Accordingly, we provided the sum of N2.45 trillion for debt service. Of this amount, 71 percent is to service domestic debt which accounts for about 68 percent of the total debt. The sum of N296 billion is provided for the Sinking Fund to retire maturing bonds issued to local contractors.

54. I am confident that our aggressive and re-energised revenue drive will maintain debt-revenue ratio at acceptable and manageable levels. We will also continue to be innovative in our borrowings by using instruments such as Sukuk, Green Bonds and Diaspora Bonds.

SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME

55. Our government remains committed to ensuring the equitable sharing of economic prosperity. Our focus on inclusive growth and shared prosperity underscores our keen interest in catering for the poor and most vulnerable. Accordingly, we are revamping and improving the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme through the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

56. The National Social Investment Programme is already creating jobs and economic opportunity for local farmers and cooks, providing funding to artisans, traders, youths, and supporting small businesses with business education and mentoring.

57. The provision of N65 billion for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2020 Budget. Furthermore, to fast track the rebuilding efforts in the North East region, a provision of N37.83 billion has been made for the North East Development Commission.

OTHER STRATEGIC PRIORITIES IN 2020

58. The 2020 Budget is expected to accelerate the pace of our economic recovery, promote economic diversification, enhance competitiveness and ensure social inclusion. We are optimistic of attaining higher and more inclusive GDP growth in order to achieve our objective of massive job creation and lifting many of our citizens out of poverty.

59. The efficiency of port operations will also be enhanced by implementing a single customs window, speeding up vessel and cargo handling and issuing more licenses to build modern terminals in existing ports, especially outside Lagos.

60. Furthermore, completing the reforms to the governance and fiscal terms of the Petroleum Industry will provide certainty and attract further investments into the sector. A consequence of this will be increase in jobs and in government’s take. I therefore seek your support in passing into law two Petroleum Industry Executive Bills I will be forwarding to you shortly.

61. In addition, we need to quickly review the fiscal terms for deep offshore oil fields to reflect the current realities and for more revenue to accrue to the government. The Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (Amendment) Bill 2018, was submitted to the 8th National Assembly in June 2018 but was unfortunately not passed into law.

62. I will be re-forwarding the Bill to this Assembly very shortly and therefore urge you to pass it. We estimate that this effort can generate at least 500 million US dollars additional revenue for the Federal Government in 2020, and over one billion dollars from 2021.

63. Whilst the Budget is our principal fiscal tool to achieve these socio-economic development targets, we remain committed to prudently planning for our future economic prosperity. In this regard, I have directed the reconstituted Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to commence preparations towards the development of successor medium – and long-term economic development plans, particularly as the Nigeria Vision 20-2020 and the ERGP expire next year.

CONCLUSION

64. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, this speech would be incomplete without, once again, commending the patriotic resolve of the 9th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive in the effort to deliver inclusive growth and enhance the welfare our people. I assure you of the strong commitment of the Executive to deepen the relationship with the National Assembly.

65. As you review the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), as well as the 2020 Budget estimates, we believe that the legislative process will be quick, so as to restore the country to the January-December financial year.

66. It is with great pleasure therefore, that I lay before this Distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2020 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

67. I thank you most sincerely for your attention.

68. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

ChannelsTV

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Budget 2020: FG wants to raise N8.1trn, expect oil to seel at $57

President Muhammadu Buhari has presented the 2020 appropriation bill with total expenditure of N10.73 trillion to the national assembly.

While presenting the budget on Tuesday, Buhari said the federal government is targetting a revenue of N8.155 trillion.

Buhari said the appropriation bill is based on the new VAT rate “which will help finance health, education, and infrastructural programmes.”

Debt servicing in the budget is pegged at N2.45trn, out of which local debts would take N296bn, with N426.6bn set as overhead cost.

The oil benchmark is set at $57 at 2.18m barrels per day with capital projects gulping N2.46 trillion.

A breakdown of the budget’s statutory transfers show that the national assembly got N125 billion, the judiciary got N110bn, the National Human Rights Council (NHRC) got 2.5bn while constituency projects got N100 billion.

A total of N37.8bn was budgeted for the North-East Development Commission; N44.5bn for basic healthcare provision fund; N112bn for Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and N80.8bn for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“MDAs are not allowed to admit new projects into their provisions unless adequate provisions are made for the completion of ongoing projects,” he said.

Other provisions include: N55bn for presidential amnesty programme,  N262bn for ministry of works and housing, N127bn for ministry of power, N123 billion for ministry of transportation and N100bn for ministry of defence.

Others are N83 billion for ministry of agriculture and rural development, N82bn for ministry of water resources, N48bn for ministry of education and N46bn for ministry of health.

The ministry of industry, trade and investment got N40bn while the ministry of interior for N35bn with the social investment programmes and the federal capital territory got N30bn and N28bn respectively.

TheCable

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New Sports minister moves office to Abuja stadium

The new Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has relocated his office to the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, his office said.

Mr Dare stated that the move was in line with his promise to ensure that the nation’s sports facilities are restored to become fully functional.

He made the disclosure in a statement by Ramon Balogun, Assistant Director, Press in the sports ministry.

He said that with the move, he has made good on his earlier promise to keep a close tab on the revitalisation of Nigeria’s sporting facilities.

“It is also a sharp departure from what has been regarded as the norm in the past,” he said.

The minister indicated that he will be working some days of the week from the stadium.

He asserted that the Youth and Sports ministry was a critical artery to Nigeria’s human capital development, adding, that 13 ministries have youth development as part of their budgets and mandate.

The ministry according to him, will leverage on the pivotal advantage expressed in the National Youth Policy for socio-economic empowerment of our youths.

He emphasised the importance of communication to youth and sports development while urging the press unit of the ministry to improve on its professionalism by reporting events timely and accurately with authentic and approved facts before disseminating to the Nigerian public.

He also reemphasised his determination to give the youth component of the ministry’s mandate massive attention.

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Senate increases the 2020 budget from N10.002trn to N10.729trn

The Senate, after a long debate on Thursday, approved all the 16 recommendations contained in the report of the National Assembly joint Committee on Finance and National Planning, on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

The red chamber, among others, also increased the proposed nation’s budget for 2020 from N10.002trn to N10.729.4trn.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the development had paved the way for President Muhammadu Buhari to submit the 2020 budget any time next week.

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BREAKING: Sowore, Bakare get Bail at N150m

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, granted bail to the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu also barred them from addressing any rally pending the conclusion of their trial on charges of treasonable felony among others.

She also barred Sowore from traveling out of Abuja and the second defendant out of Osogbo, during the trial.

She granted bail to Sowore in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum.

The sureties who must be resident in Abuja must also have landed assets worth the bail sum in Abuja, and they are to deposit the original title documents of the assets with the court.

The judge also ordered him to deposit the sum of N50m in the account of the court as security.
She granted bail to the second defendant in the sum of N50m with one surety.

The defendants’ lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has described the bail conditions as stringent.

The judge ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of the Department of State Service pending when the would meet the bail conditions.

More details later…

Source: Punch Newspaper

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BREAKING: DSS refuses to receive court order on Sowore’s release

Nigeria’ Department of State Service(DSS) has twice on Friday blocked a bailiff of the Federal High Court in Abuja from effecting a fresh service of the court order for the release of the convener of #RevolutionNow protest Omowole Sowore.

It was learnt that the bailiff first arrived the DSS headquarters in Abuja, where he (Sowore) had been held since August 3, 2019, around 9.30 a.m. on Friday, but was asked to return by 12 noon when the Director-General of DSS, Yusuf Bichi, would be around.

But it was learnt that the bailiff returned to the DSS headquarters at 12.14 p.m. on Friday, but was denied access.

One of Sowore’s lawyer, Sam Ogala, who was at the main gate of the DSS office during the bailiff’s attempt to serve the security agency, confirmed the development to our correspondent.

Sowore’s legal team led by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), had on Thursday expressed shock over DSS’ claim that it had not been served with the order issued by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja granting bail to Sowore.

On Thursday, after DSS’ spokesperson denied that the agency had been served with the court order, Falana said, Ayuba Adam of the Legal Department of the DSS received the court order on behalf of the agency on September 24, 2019 (Tuesday).

The DSS’ denial came after news broke that Sowore’s legal team had commenced a contempt suit against the DSS boss for failing to comply with the court order for Sowore’s release.

The DSS, on August 3, arrested Sowore, the publisher of SaharaReporters and former presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections over his call for a revolution protest scheduled to hold on August 5.

Justice Taiwo, on August 8, granted an ex parte application by the DSS permitting the security agency to keep the activist for 45 days.

The 45 days period expired on Saturday.

Barely 24 hours to the expiration of the 45-day detention order, the Attorney-General of the Federation’s office filed charges of treasonable felony, cybercrime offences and money laundering against him before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

On Tuesday, following Falana’s application, Justice Taiwo ordered the release of Sowore, from the custody of the DSS pending his arraignment in court.

The judge ordered him to submit his passport in the court’s registry as the sole condition for the bail.

Sowore’s lawyers have said that the terms of his bail have since been fulfiled, however, he has yet to be released.

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BREAKING: Court Orders the release of Sowore

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday struck out the application by the Department of Social Security (DSS) to further detain the publisher of SaharaReporters and convener of RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore, TVC reports.

This follows the withdrawal of the application by the state counsel.

Sowore’s lawyer, Femi Falana, persuaded the court to order immediate release of his client as the prosecution is no longer interested to detain him further

Counsel to the DSS, however, challenged the oral application for release saying that a formal suit has been filed whereSowore is being accused of treasonable felony which is a capital offence.

Sowore was arrested on August 3rd, two days before a rally tagged Revolutionnow for allegedly plotting to overthrow an elected government.

The prosecutor is asking the Court to deny the respondent bail due to the fresh charges filed against him.

In response counsel to Sowore said the application for bail was withdrawn and the prosecutor’s application for further remand was also withdrawn. He stressed that the new charges can’t metamorphose In a remand order.

Mr Falana urged the court to disregard the submission on the prosecutor. Mr Falana said the prosecutor can not ask the court to detain a citizen prospectively and in anticipation of the arraignment of the defendant order his detention.

Source: TheNation

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BREAKING: UK’s Supreme Court stops suspension of parliament

Britain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday said that parliamentarians could reconvene “as soon as possible” after ruling that a decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend parliament was unlawful.

“It is for parliament, and in particular the Speaker and the Lord Speaker, to decide what to do next. Unless there is some parliamentary rule of which we are unaware, they can take immediate steps to enable each House to meet,” the ruling said.

(AFP)

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BREAKING: Atiku head to Supreme Court on Presidential Election Tribunal Judgement

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, and his party, have formally filed their appeal against the judgement of the presidential election petitions tribunal at the Supreme Court.

Atiku and party appeal challenging the judgment of the presidential election tribunal which dismissed their petition and affirmed the election of president Muhammadu Buhari

Atiku and his party filed the appeal on five grounds.

They alleged that the panel of the presidential election tribunal erred in law “when they relied on “overall interest of justice” to hold that the 2nd Respondent’s Exhibits R1 to R26, P85, and P86 were properly admitted in evidence.”

They also alleged amongst other reasons that the tribunal erred in law “when they held thus: “My firm view is that Section 76 of the Electoral Act is clearly inapplicable to the issues under consideration. The form referred to are the form to be used in the conduct of the election as FORM CF001 had been taken care of in Section 31 of the Electoral Act and the said FORM CF001 is tied to the steps laid down in the said Section 31 of the Electoral Act.

More importantly, the law is firmly settled that a candidate is not required by the Constitution or the Electoral Act to attach his certificates to FORM CF001 before the candidate can be considered or adjudged to have the requisite educational qualifications to contest the election.”

They also alleged that the tribunal erred in law when they held thus: “There was/is no pleadings in the Petition to the effect that 2nd Respondents failure to attach his certificates to Form CF001 amounts to lack of educational qualification to contest the election.

“In other words the issue of failure to attach certificates which have been flogged throughout the length and breadth of the Petitioners Address (es) in Reply to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents final written address is not the case of the Petitioner in the pleadings. No issue was joined on nonproduction of certificates or failure to attach them as an infraction of section 131, 137 and 138 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

All submission about the failure to produce certificates or attach same to CF001 is hereby discountenanced. Even if it can be said that the submissions made are in tandem with the Petitioners Pleadings on issues 1 and 2 the fact remains that none of the facts pleaded were proved or established as required by law.”
According to them they pleaded and proved the allegation that the president gave false information of a fundamental nature to INEC in aid of his qualification.

They further stated that they also pleaded that the Nigerian Military denied that it held or was in possession of the President’s certificates. And that the failure of the president to produce his Certificates or attach same to Form CF001 in the face of unequivocal denial by the Army that his Certificates were not with them went to the root of the allegation against him that he gave false information of a fundamental nature to INEC in aid of his qualification.

They are therefore asking the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal and grant the prayers sought by them.

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74th UNGA: Buhari Arrives New York

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in New York for the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The president who departed Abuja on Sunday morning arrived in Manhattan at about 8:30 pm.

He will be the 5th on the list of presidents to address the assembly.

According to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Geoffery Onyeama, President Buhari will use the opportunity to articulate the priorities of the Nigerian government to the world.

He also noted that Nigeria is hoping to partake in engagements that will help the country have seats in several organisations such as the International Maritime Organisation, the World Heritage Committee, and the International Civil Aviation Council.

Nigeria will also be pushing for the UN’s support in the war on terror, the humane treatment of migrants, as well as Nigeria’s quest to recharge lake Chad.

Source: ChannelsTV

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Buhari working hard to lift Nigerians —SGF Mustapha

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, has assured Nigerians of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to improving their lives.

Mustapha gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja, at a news conference organised by his office to highlight some of the key activities to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence Day Anniversary.

Represented by Mr Gabriel Aduda, Permanent Secretary, Economy and Political Affairs Office, SGF office, Mustapha said the struggle for Nigeria’s independence from its inception was not an easy one.

According to him, it was as a result of intellectual prowess, patriotic zeal, as well as the love of country that enabled our forebears to succeed in their struggle.

“Nigeria’s leaders since then have made varied contributions to building our nation state.

“Above all, efforts have been made to ensure that the country remains united despite diverse challenges, which are not unexpected in a multicultural society such as ours.

“Independence Day for us is a joyous occasion, but also a sobering one because we are beset with a lot of developmental challenges looking at how far we have come.

“Ideally, we should be far ahead of where we are right now as a people, but never the less President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is not sitting on its oars.

“But working to ensure better livelihoods for the Nigerian people, “ he said.

The nation’s chief scrip said it was Mr President avowed determination to bequeath to the nation, a long-lasting legacy of improved infrastructural facilities and a better economy across the length and breadth of the country.

(NAN)

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Stop telling lies to bring me down – Obi to Ngige

The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February general elections, Mr. Peter Obi,  has said the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige cannot diminish him.

He said Ngige’s achievement as the governor of Anambra State was too little to erase his (Obi’s)  achievements and reputation before the people of  Anambra State who he served for eight years.

 He asked Ngige to focus his energy on how to make Nigeria work, rather than dissipating energy on how to pull him down.

Obi spoke through his Media Adviser, Valentine Obienyem in a statement made available to journalists.

The PDP VP candidate was reacting to a newspaper publication( not The PUNCH) credited to Ngige wherein the minister allegedly said he was ashamed of the quality of roads constructed by his successors, including Obi.

Obi in the statement wondered why Ngige loved attacking him, stating that he had hardly made any bad comments against Ngige even in the heat of electioneering.

He said, “What is most condemnable in Ngige’s attacks are the lies he tells just to bring Obi down. How could he mention roads such as Abatete-Nteje-Aguleri-Otuocha road and Igboukwu-Ezenifite-Umunze, Iseeke roads and deliberately forgot that Obi  did greater portions of those roads?”

“Over 90 per cent of the roads, Ngige mentioned he built were done in his Local Government Area.

The statement said though Obi used local contractors to build roads during his reign as governor, major road contracts in the state were done by expatriates at the time.

It added, “Knowing the importance of road maintenance, shortly before he left, Obi set up the Anambra State Road  Maintenance Agency with full compliments of brand new equipment.

“He also left over N4bn in the Ministry of Works for road maintenance before he handed over.

He asked Ngige to stop comparing his tenure as Anambra State and that of Obi because he achieved little or nothing in his 33-month reign as governor of the state  before a Court of Appeal, Enugu Division nullified his election in 2006.”

Source: PUNCH

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N950m PDP campaign fund: No case submission won’t save you, judge tells Shekarau, Wali, Mansur

A Federal High court sitting in Kano, on Monday, ordered former Kano state governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bashir Aminu Wali and former Director-General to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign Organization in the 2015 Presidential election, Eng Ahmed Mansur to defend the N950 million money laundry allegation levied against the trio by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The court presided over by Justice Lewis Amburus Allagoa, said the no-case submission made by the accused persons is not cogent enough to convince the court to grant their request for the dismissal of allegations against them.

According to the court, the prosecution does not need to tender adequate evidence to convince the court on the case of prima facie.

Having heard the submissions made by the prosecution and counsel to the accused persons, Justice Lewis said the court is of the belief that a case of prima facie has been established against, Senator  Ibrahim Shekarau and two others.

Earlier, the EFCC had instituted a case against the trio before the court, bordering on money laundering and violation of anti-graft laws.

The anti-graft agency told the court that the accused persons, during the 2015 presidential elections collected the sum of N950 million from the Peoples Democratic Party alleging that the monies collected in batches violated the provisions of the law.

Furthermore, the prosecution alleged that  Senator Shekarau in the company of the other accused persons disbursed the monies collected through channels that allegedly contravened the provisions of Nigeria’s Money Laundering Act.

After denying all the charges levelled against them, the trio, Shekarau, Wali, and Mansur, urged the court to admit their plea for a no-case submission.

Besides ruling against their plea of no-case submission, the court further ordered the accused persons to return their international travelling documents, earlier released to them on health grounds to the jurisdiction of the court.

Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to November 18th-19 for the commencement of defence by the accused persons.

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Russia Accepts Paris Climate Agreement

Russia’s prime minister on Monday gave formal support to the Paris climate agreement and ordered Russian laws to be adapted to its obligations, according to a decree posted on the government’s website.

The document signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says that Russia is formally adopting the 2015 Paris agreement and will now “allocate financial resources… to developing countries for prevention and adaptation to climate change.”

While not formally named a “ratification,” the government said in a statement that the decree signifies Russia’s adoption of the agreement and “Russia’s consent to the obligations under the Paris Agreement”.

A government source told AFP that the document is the “last step in the procedure of Russia’s adoption of the Paris agreement”.

Presenting his decree at a government meeting, Medvedev said that it is important for Russia to participate in the process of reducing emissions.

“The threat of climate change is (the) destruction of the ecological balance, increased risks for successful development of key industries… and most importantly, a threat to the safety of people living on permafrost and increase of natural disasters.”

The news comes just hours ahead of a new major UN climate summit, aimed to reinvigorate the faltering Paris accord as mankind is releasing more greenhouse gases than ever into the atmosphere.

One of the world’s key energy producers, Russia has remained one of the largest economies and polluters that signed but failed to ratify the accord.

Greenpeace Russia in a statement welcomed the decision.

“Russia’s actions have great significance: our country has a huge potential to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions,” the environmental organisation said in a statement.

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Seun Onigbinde resigns his appointment As Technical Adviser

Seun Onigbinde, co-founder of BudgIT, has resigned his appointment as technical adviser at the ministry of budget and national planning.

Onigbinde’s appointment sparked off wild reactions from Nigerians on social media. A known critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, the tech expert was flayed for accepting to serve in an administration he once described as a failure.

On Sunday, the Buhari media Organisation (BMO) issued a statement, condemning the appointment of Onigbinde whom they said lacks honour and integrity for accepting to serve in a government he criticised.

But in a statement on his Medium page on Monday, Onigbinde announced he was quitting the job over the outrage.

”Kindly recall that I sent out a note recently on my interest to seek new experiences and that I would be working as a Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning for a short period,” he said.

”It is clear that recent media reports about my appointment have created a complex narrative, which I believe would engender an atmosphere of mistrust, as I planned to proceed.

”Upon further reflections on the furore that has been generated by my new role as the Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, I humbly resign the appointment.”

Onigbinde said his interest is to see a Nigeria that grows and optimises resources for the benefits of all Nigerians.

He said his loyalty to the good cause of the country compelled him to accept the call to provide technical skills, adding that his recent experience has more than strengthened it.

”I also want to wish the Nigerian Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, well. I will always be of help to the federal government in my capacity as the Director of BudgIT, a critical fiscal transparency group, as I have been to several agencies. I would also work to ensure that BudgIT continues to build civic awareness on the right of every Nigerian to know how public resources are managed,” he said.

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Tribunal Dismisses Suit Seeking Atiku’s Disqualification on the grounds of Citizenship

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed the argument by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar was not a Nigerian by birth.

In its ruling on Wednesday, the tribunal said its power does not include determining the qualification of a petitioner in an election dispute.

The court held that the respondents ought to file a cross-petition against the qualification of Atiku for the February 23 poll and not to use it as a defence.

Buhari earlier in his reply to Atiku’s petition seeking his disqualification for not possession prerequisite academic qualifications for the office of President had urged the court to disqualify Atiku on grounds that he was not a Nigerian.

According to Buhari and APC, Jada, the birthplace of Atiku in 1946 belonged to Cameroon and not part of Northern Nigeria.

Source: Channels TV

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To free 20 hostages, Katsina releases six suspected bandits.

The Kastina state government has released six suspected bandits detained by security agencies in exchange for 20 kidnap victims.

This is said to be part of a peace deal between bandits and the state government.

Eight local government areas in the state comprising Dandume, Sabuwa, Faskari, Kankara, Safana, Danmusa, Batsari and Jibiya have come under frequent attacks by bandits.

The situation was said to have prompted the state government to engage leaders of the bandits in a dialogue, during which agreements were reached to release some of their members held by security agencies.

During the handover of the bandits, Aminu Masari, governor of the state, said he and the security chiefs has been visiting the local government areas that shared borders with Rugu forests, which served as a hideout for the bandits.

Masari said part of the agreement was the handover of bandits in detention who had not been prosecuted.

According to him, the bandits would, in return, handover to government the people they kidnapped and were in their custody.

He said the process started on Monday, with the release of five people; two females and three males, while 20 more will be released before the end of September 10.

He added that many more kidnap victims would be released as part of the peace deal.

Source: TheCable

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BREAKING: Tribunal dismisses INEC’s Petition against Atiku/PDP

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the Court of Appeal, on Wednesday, has dismissed a preliminary objection by the Independent National Electoral Commission, seeking the striking out of the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the declaration of Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress as winner of the February 23, presidential election.

INEC’s motion dated May 15, was filed by its counsel, Yunus Usman SAN.
Specifically, INEC contended that the non-joining of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as a party in the petition rendered the case incompetent and therefore liable to be dismissed.

But in a lead judgment, Chairman of the 5-man PEPT, Justice Mohammed Garba held that the non-joinder of Osinbajo could not render the petition incompetent.

Justice Garba stated that the VP is only an interested party and not a necessary party because he was chosen by the 2nd respondent, President Buhari and the APC (3rd respondent) as a running mate.
In a unanimous ruling, the tribunal held that “the motion of the 1st respondent is not well-grounded in law, it lacks merit and is hereby refused”.

Source: The Nation

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BREAKING: court orders seizure of Diezani’s $40m jewellery, iPhone

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the permanent forfeiture of the 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40m, recovered from the Abuja home of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Nicholas Nicholas Oweibo held that Diezani, through her lawyer, Awa Kalu (SAN), failed to show cause why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had told the judge that the jewellery and iPhone were reasonably suspected to be acquired with fraud proceeds.

The anti-graft agency said the items were beyond Diezani’s legitimate earnings.

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Administrator-General to manage transition when incumbent loses election -new House of Reps. Bill.

Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has proposed a bill seeking to allow a President-Elect and his Vice move into the Presidential Villa before their swearing-in.

The bill first introduced in 2016 and jettisoned afterwards is entitled “Presidential (Transition) BL 2016”.

Specifically, the Bill seeks to make provision for the smooth and orderly transfer of power from one Government to another.

Copies of the reintroduced Bill was made available to reporters in Abuja on Sunday

The general principle of the bill states that the upon the declaration of the winner of a presidential election as the President-Elect, he shall after two weeks move into the presidential Villa especially where he did not succeed himself.

In the case where the incumbent President dies not succeed himself, he shall within the period make accommodation available for the President-elect, his vice and 10 others aides.

Below is the synopsis of the bill which shall come under debate when enlisted for second reading in the House.

General Purpose of the Bill

“Section 1 (1). When at any general election for the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the incumbent President is not re-elected, the President shall within 2 weeks of the declaration of the President-elect as the winner of the election provide space for not more than 10 persons designated by the President-elect to begin a review and analysis of budgeted expenditures during the tenure of the current President, review all other necessary documents as may be requested by the President-elect’s transition team and to acquire a working knowledge of the various offices, departments, commissions, boards and other agencies of the executive arm of the Federal Government with a view to promote the orderly transition of the executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a President and the inauguration of a new President.

“(2) The President shall also constitute his transition team who must cooperate with the President-elect and the staff he so designated and provide any assistance that may be reasonably requested.

“(3) The provisions of this section shall apply at all times after each general elections whether or not the power change is within the same party or from one party to another.

“(4) For the purpose of this act, the President shall include the Vice President and the President-elect shall include the Vice President-elect.

“Section 2 (1). The President shall provide for the President-elect in connection with the preparation for his assumption of office as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria the following facilities:

“(a). Office space well-furnished and equipped with all relevant machines and electronics within the Presidential Villa to enhance smooth working relationship with the President’s team; such equipment shall include but not limited to computers/laptops, printers, binding machines, papers, communication services to aid the transition team in achieving the objectives of this Act.

“(b) Payment of allowances for members of the President-elect’s team at such rate as may be determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to cater for the team and such rate must not exceed what is obtainable in the civil service.
PROVIDED that any employee of any agency or department of government may be drafted to be part of the transition team of either of the President or President-elect and he shall continue to be entitled to such compensation provided by law for his regular employment and shall be entitled to the rights and privileges associated with his regular employment without any interruption.
AND PROVIDED that in appointing the Transition Team, the President-elect shall consider key areas requiring professional/expert input to the extent that extra funds shall not be provided by the state to hire the services of Professionals outside the Transition team.

(c ) payment of travel expenses and subsistence allowances

Appointment of Administrator-General

“Section 4 (1). There shall be appointed an Administrator-General who shall oversee the Transition process after each general election.

“(2). The Administrator-general shall be appointed by the President subject to ratification by the Senate.

Functions of the Administrator-General

“Section 5 (1). The Administrator-general shall:
(a) be the Head of the government estates and shall take and keep an inventory of all assets and properties of the Government which assets and properties not vested in the Governor of the states as provided by the Land Use Act 1978.

“(b) Ensure that all assets and properties of government are maintained and are in good condition.

“(c) Ensure that were relevant, such assets and properties are transferred from the incumbent government to the new government in good condition.

“(d) Make recommendations to the President for budgetary allocation required in a transition for passing the reins of power from one government to another.

“(e) Ensure that all budgetary documents and all other relevant documents requested for by the President-elect are provided without any delay and to ensure that the facilities required to be provided by the Transition Team of the President-elect are provided.

“(f) Immediately after the new President is sworn in initiate/commence the prosecution of any person who breaches any provision of this Act.

“Section 5 (2). The Administrator-General shall be removed by the President on the ground of gross misconduct subject to ratification by the Senate.

Authorization of Appropriations

“Section 6 (1). It is hereby authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator-general such funds as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act not exceeding the sum of N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million Naira) only for anyone Presidential transition for the fiscal year in which the transition occurs.

“(2) The President shall include in the budget transmitted to the National Assembly for each fiscal year in which his term of office expires a proposed appropriation for carrying out the purposes of this Act.

PROVIDED that in the event that the incumbent President is re-elected, the funds so appropriated shall not be disbursed.

Criminal Liability

“Section 7 (1). Any person who violates any provision of this Act by failing to provide the necessary facilities required to be provided under this Act or fails to provide any required documents thereby frustrating the efforts of the transition team shall upon conviction be liable to a fine of M10,000,000 or a term of imprisonment of not less than 6 months or to both fine and imprisonment as the case may be.

Source: Dailypost.ng

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BREAKING: Nigeria recalls Ambassador to South Africa, pulls out of WES

Nigeria has recalled its Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala as well as pulled out of the World Economic Summit to hold in South Africa.

It also demanded full compensation, the News Agency of Nigeria has reported, quoting a “presidential source.”Our Correspondent also reported that the move was meant to register serious displeasure with the South African authorities over the ongoing xenophobic attacks on Nigerians resident in South Africa.

The decision was taken at a morning meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday in Abuja, our Correspondent added.The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, also attended the meeting at the Presidential Villa.The source further stated that Nigeria would pull out of the World Economic Forum on Africa, scheduled to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from September 4 to 6.By this action, Nigeria will follow the examples of Congo, Rwanda and Malawi, who have since pulled out of the Forum.

Source: Punch Newspaper

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MTN suspends Nigeria operations until further notice.

The Nigeria division of South African telecoms company, MTN, has announced that it is closing shop until further notice, following reprisal attacks targeting its offices and facilities in Nigeria by irate and opportunistic locals.

The retaliatory attacks on a host of South African businesses in Nigeria arrive on the heels of persistent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa.

The latest attacks in South Africa led to the torching and looting of over 50 shops–most of whom belonged to Nigerians.

“Over the last day, our facilities, customers and some of our stakeholders have been the subject of attacks in retaliation for the ongoing xenophobia situation in South Africa. We have confirmed reports of attacks in Lagos, Ibadan and Uyo.

“While we remain committed to providing uninterrupted services, the safety and security of our customers, staff and partners is our primary concern. All MTN stores and service centres will therefore be closed as a precaution until further notice.

“MTN condemns any acts of violence, prejudice and xenophobia and remains absolutely committed to ensuring a peaceful, harmonious and respectful relationship with all communities in Nigeria and across Africa.

“We are engaging all relevant authorities in this regard and urge them to act swiftly to reduce tensions both in South Africa and Nigeria. We will provide further updates as and when possible”, the statement from the telecom company read.

Violence in the land

Shops belonging to the South African chain, Shoprite, have also been looted in the past 48hours by Nigerians. 

There are about 120 South African businesses in Nigeria, with a market worth of about N6trillion.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, with 58 million users in 2018.

President Ramaphosa and President Buhari held talks in Yokohama, Japan shortly before the latest xenophobic attack (Presidency)

President Ramaphosa and President Buhari held talks in Yokohama, Japan shortly before the latest xenophobic attack (Presidency)

MTN Nigeria also accounts for a third of the core profit of the parent South African firm. 

Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria have issued statements to say they are working hard to end the crisis. 

Source: PulseNG

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Gunmen disrupt Kogi PDP primary election (VIDEO)

The governorship primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi state came to a halt on Wednesday morning as gunmen invaded the venue of the exercise shooting sporadically.

The gunmen were said to have stormed the Lokoja Confluence Stadium after delegates had voted on Tuesday, and during vote-counting in the early hours of Wednesday.

Eight out of the 10 ballot boxes used in the exercise were said to have been sorted out and counted before the attack.

Aspirants and delegates scampered for safety as the invaders shot in different directions.

Ahmad Fintiri, Adamawa state governor, chairman of the electoral committee, was said to have been whisked away to safety by his security detail.

The governor, however, did not continue overseeing the process as he was driven out of the venue a few hours later.

Earlier, Fintiri said 2,388 delegates were accredited out of a total of 2,511 from 21 local government areas of the state.

The aspirants cleared for the primary election are Wada Idris, former governor of the state; Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west; Erico Ameh, Aminu Suleiman, Grace Adejoh, Abubakar Ibrahim, Kabiru Haruna, Musa Wada, Saliu Atawodi, Mohammed Adah, Victor Adoji, Baye Averehi, and Emmanuel Omebije.

Source: TheCable

Watch video:

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How South African president may have inspired the latest attacks (video)

The statement made in March by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South African would probably have emboldened attackers and inspired the latest spate of attacks on foreigners and their businesses. 

As with most politicians, Ramaphosa made a campaign issue out of what some South Africans were believed to be saying about foreign nationals who come to take their jobs and businesses. 

“Everybody just arrives in our townships and rural areas, and set up businesses without licences and payments” began the president while addressing thousands of supporters. 

“We are going to bring this to an end, and those who are operating illegally, wherever they come from must now know.”

Of course, there were pockets of violence targeted at foreigners shortly after this statement and, expectedly, Ramaphosa was quick to condemn this ‘in strong terms.’ 

“It is not acceptable that anyone of us as South Africans can go out and attack people from other countries because they come from other countries,” he returned to say two weeks after. 

Too late? Daniel Dunia, secretary-general of Africa Solidarity Network, would explain that those who spoke with him “said they were acting on the instruction of President Cyril Ramaphosa who they say called for a clampdown on foreign-owned businesses and those without correct documentation.”

Indeed, there have been reports of xenophobic attacks over the years in South Africa, the recent attacks, however, seemed to have triggered a reprisal, especially with Nigerians. 

On Tuesday, aggrieved Nigerians stormed outlets of Shoprite in Lagos with songs of violence. 

Around the Shoprite in Lekki area, one person was killed as many cars were damaged, including a van belonging to the police. 

This development has prompted Shoprite, MTN and DStv, three big South Africa businesses in Nigeria, to close some of their outlets.

While the Nigerian government had summoned Bobby Moroe, South Africa’s high commissioner to Nigeria, Ramaphosa had again reiterated that there’s no justification for attacks on foreign nationals. 

Following the recent attacks, President Muhammadu Buhari’s planned trip to South Africa is now uncertain. 

Source: TheCable

Watch video below:

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We lose 22 million barrels of crude in six months – Obaseki

Godwin Obaseki, the Governor of Edo State, who is the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee of the National Economic Council on Crude Oil Theft, Prevention and Control, has called on stakeholders to join forces and work towards eradicating the menace of crude oil theft that is currently on increasing in Nigeria.

Obaseki made the call at a meeting of stakeholders which at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Abuja, according to a statement from the oil firm.

The governor painted a dire picture of the oil theft menace and stated that in the first six months of 2019, the nation lost about 22 million barrels of its crude oil production to oil theft.

Obaseki noted that if nothing was done to curtail the ugly trend, the figure could double by the end of the year.

He said the twin menace of oil theft and pipeline vandalism were beginning to pose a threat to the national economy.

NNPC said it was excited that the menace of oil theft and its twin-evil of pipeline vandalism were receiving attention at the highest level of governance in the country.

The meeting had in attendance the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, and representatives of the governors of Delta, Bayelsa, Ondo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Police, Navy, Army, Civil Defence, International Oil Companies and some indigenous operators.

In its June 2019 Monthly Financial and Operations Report released recently, NNPC announced a staggering 77 per cent rise in the cases of oil pipeline vandalism across its network of pipeline infrastructure.

The report stated that 106 pipeline points were breached, which was an increase from the 60 points vandalised in May 2019.

Source: Punch

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“Gov. Bello fought to get other aspirants disqualified” – APC aspirants allege

Some of the aspirants for Thursday’s governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi state have accused the state governor, Yahaha Bello of haven fought to have aspirants disqualified for the primary election.

Sources close to some of the aspirants told The Nation that they have information that the governor was working with some unnamed officials at the national Secretariat to alter the delegates list because of fears that some of them may not vote for him.

According to the APC electoral guidelines for the conduct of indirect primaries, only officials of the party from the ward, local government and state constitute delegates for the primary election scheduled to hold in Lokoja on Thursday.

Aside the party officials who constitute delegates, there are also statutory delegates made up of members of the state and National Assembly as well as national officials from the state.

The source showed The Nation a document they obtained from INEC which was supposedly transmitted to the commission on July 24, containing names of the delegates for the primary.

The source said “Bello is afraid that more aspirants have been cleared to contest against him. He is no longer comfortable and so he is doing everything he can to manipulate the list of delegates and import names into the list.

“He was the one produced these officials from the ward to the state level down to the ward. But, right now, he is not comfortable with them and is afraid that they will vote against him because he abandoned them since they came into office.

“He fought to have indirect primary approved for him by the party and also fought to get other aspirants disqualified. Now that more people have been cleared, he is not comfortable with the entire process and because he is desperate to come back, he is working with some officials at the national Secretariat to manipulate the list

“Last week, he invited the ward and local government officials to Lokoja and was abusing some of them. He is no longer comfortable with the party officials as well as the indirect primary he canvassed for.”

The source ask the national leadership of the party to allow a level playing ground for all aspirants band allowed the people of the state to nominate a person of their choice as the party flag bearer.

There are 239 wards within the 21 local government areas of Kogi state and executive members of the parry in these wards and local government and state officials are delegates to the primary

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Osinbajo presides over first EMT meeting 3 months after inauguration

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, presided over the first Economic Management Team meeting three months after President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office.

According to his media aide, Laolu Akande, via his verified Twitter handle, Osinbajo is presiding of the meeting themed, “Next Level Agenda: Budget issues.”

The meeting opened with a review of the 2019 budget implementation.

Present at the meeting include the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Works and Housing, Tunde Fashola, Minister of State, Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clement Ike, and Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

Also present were Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari; Federal Inland Revenue Service chairman, Tunde Fowler;  Directors General from the Budget Office, Debt Management Office, National Bureau of Statistics and Special Advisers on Economic Matters, among others.

See tweet:

Laolu Akande@akandeoj

VP Osinbajo presiding over the first Economic Mgt Team meeting of President Buhari’s 2nd term, themed Next Level. Agenda: Budget issues. In attendance are Ministers: Finance, B&NP; Industry, Trade& Investment; Info; Works & Housing; B&NP State & Petroleum State. There’s also…21312:28 PM – Aug 28, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

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You can’t call for Congress “without consulting party stakeholders” – Abe to Amechi

The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state took a new turn over the weekend as Magnus Abe, former senator representing Rivers south-east, questioned the minister’s power to announce a congress “without consulting party stakeholders”.

The misunderstanding between the duo took a toll on the Rivers chapter of the APC in the last elections as it could not field candidates, losing 50 positions.

Amaechi’s refusal to support Abe’s governorship bid had split the party into two factions. The factions held parallel primaries and congresses that were annulled by the courts.

The warring factions could not resolve the dispute and organise a valid primary before the deadline the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) set for submission of candidates for the elections.

Last week, Amaechi had announced that Rivers APC would hold a fresh congress but Abe kicked against it, asking the minister what gave him the power to announce a congress “without consulting party stakeholders”.

Abe explained that the origin of the crisis in the party started with the congress, asking why Amaechi chose to “reopen the sourest point in the heart of members of the party”.

“Look at the state of our party here today in Rivers State, yet the Minister of Transportation, on assumption of office as Minister of Transportation, the first thing he did was to announce Congresses in Rivers State and I ask myself, this was the same kind of behaviour that led the party to where it is,” Abe said in a statement.

“Everybody in Nigeria knows that the origin of the crisis in Rivers APC was from the Congress and how the Congress was handled and there are extant Judicial pronouncements on the last Congress which the party was misled to ignore and we have all kept quiet in the hope that by keeping quiet we will create room for resolution of some of these challenges so the party can move forward.

“Instead, you become more brazen in your challenge to the rights, feelings and interest of others within the same political party. How do we do that and expect to make progress?

“What kind of Congress, is he the Chairman of the party? Is he the National Working Committee? Is he the Court? What gives him the power to come and announce Congress on the day he was inaugurated as Minister?

“Rather than address the issues of the country and the issues of his Ministry, the first thing he could do was to reopen the sourest point in the heart of members of the party.”

Alleging that Amaechi is determined to “prove to the world that he is a conqueror”, Abe vowed to resist the moves of the minister.

“As I said before, nobody can conquer Rivers people. If you want the support of Rivers people ask for it, work for it and you will get it. Nobody is against anybody. We all left our homes to serve, improve our society and improve ourselves and to do that we need to work with other people,” he said.

“If we work with others and respect the views and sensibilities of others, it will help in creating an avenue for this party to move forward.

“Any other way by force or by fire is nothing but a pathway to self-immolation for the APC in Rivers State and we will not allow anybody to set the party on fire and destroy it.”

Source: TheCable

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Complete List: New NDDC Board

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Pius Odubu (pictured), a former deputy governor of Edo state, as chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Odubu served as the deputy of Adams Oshiomhole when the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was the governor of Edo state.

Olusegun Adekunle, permanent secretary in the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), announced the appointment in a statement.

He said it is sequel to the confirmation of the senate.

Adekune said the interim management headed by Nelson Brambaifa had been directed to hand over to the most senior director in the commission.

He said the chairman and members of the newly composed governing board would visit the secretary to the government of the federation’s office on September 2 for proper documentation and briefing.

Here are names of the new appointees on the NDDC board:

  • Bernard O. Okumagba, managing director
  • Otobong Ndem, executive director projects
  • Maxwell Okoh, executive director finance & admin
  • Jones Erue
  • Victor Ekhatar
  • Joy Yimebe Nunieh
  • Nwogu Nwogu
  • Theodore A. Allison
  • Victor Antai
  • Maurice Effiwatt
  • Olugbenga Elema Ondo
  • Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian
  • Aisha Murtala Muhammed
  • Ardo Zubairu Adamawa
  • Badmus Mutalib
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Nigeria needs a Sovereign National Conference – Afe Babalola

The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, on Tuesday, held that Nigeria’s problems can be solved by conveying a Sovereign National Conference.

He made this known during the ceremony, where he was conferred with the African Role Model and the African Union Agenda 2063 Ambassador awards by the African Union Economic  Socio-Cultural Council.

He said, “The 1999 Constitution is, in large measure, responsible for the problems we have in Nigeria today.  The constitution has discouraged and crippled development in the states. Consequently, Nigeria remains a poor country like most African countries.

“What Nigeria needs is a bill sponsored by the government, asking the Senate to pass a law for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference that the membership will be elected on zero party system.

“It is only through a true federal constitution that transformational leaders can emerge and a true Nigeria nation can emerge from over the 300 nations in the country. Africa needs leaders who can transform the continent. The renaissance has started in ABUAD. We have succeeded in nine years to transform education in the country.”

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We’ll hear Shi’ites’ case challenging proscription on September 11 – Court

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, fixed September 11 to hear a motion filed by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, popularly called Shi’ites, asking the court to vacate the ex parte order it gave on July 26 proscribing its activities in the country.

Justice Nkeonye Maha of Court adjourned the case after hearing the two counsels.

The Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr Ayo Apata, SAN, had applied for more time.

Counsel to the IMN, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, did not oppose the request either.

The court had, upon an ex-parte motion by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation also declared the group a terrorist organisation.

The IMN, in a notice of motion filed, on August 2, by its lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, particularly sought the court to vacate the “ex-parte order made on July 26, in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019 between: AGF vs. IMN proscribing the existence and activities of the group in Nigeria under whatever form, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called or referred to.”

The group also asked the court to set aside the order “restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the IMN, under any other name or platform howsoever called or described in any part of Nigeria.”

The IMN stated that the reasons for its requests include that “the ex-parte order made on July 26, was made without jurisdiction, as the order was made against a non-juristic body.

“This honourable court on July 26, pursuant to an ex parte application brought by the IMN made an order, inter alia, proscribing the existence and activities of the group in any part of Nigeria under whatever form, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called or referred to without affording the Respondent/Applicant the right of fair hearing.

“The said order of the honourable court breached the fundamental right of all members of the IMN in Nigeria to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004 in that no fair hearing was granted the applicant/respondent before the order was made.

“The order ex parte granted by this honourable court has violated the fundamental right of members of the Respondent to freedom of thought, conscience and religion guaranteed by Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

“The order ex parte granted by this honourable court has breached the fundamental right of the members of the respondent to freedom of assembly and association guaranteed by Section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

“The honourable court did not grant the declaration ‘that the activities of the IMN in any part of Nigeria amounts(sic) to acts of terrorism and illegality,”’ the group said.

According to IMN, there was no urgency warranting the granting of the order ex parte.

“No motion-on-notice was filed together with the motion ex-parte.

“The ex-parte order made by the honourable court has determined the fundamental right of the respondent/applicant without affording it fair hearing.

“No undertaking was made as to damages. The order ex-parte was anchored on misrepresentation of material facts and based on suppression of material facts.

“The order ex parte constitutes a gross abuse of the process of this honourable court,” the group stated.

The Federal Government had, July 29, published the order in its official gazette as directed by the court.

It was described in the gazette as ”Government Notice No. 79,” titled: ”Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2019.”

Particularly, pages B597 to 602 of the document spelt out details of the enrolled order of the Federal High Court and the Federal Government’s warning against participating in any of the activities of IMN.

It reads, “Notice is hereby given that by the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit No. FHC/ABJ/Cs/876/2019 dated July 26, 2019 as per the schedule to this notice, the activities of IMN in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, as proscribed, pursuant to Sections 1 and 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended).

”Consequently, the general public is hereby warned that any person or group of persons participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intentions or otherwise of the said group will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended) and liable to prosecution”.

PUNCH/(NAN)

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JUST IN: Court Refuses To Hear Sowore’s Application Challenging Detention By DSS

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declined hearing the application challenging the detention of the convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore.

The application was filed by Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN).

Ruling on the application on Wednesday, Justice Evelyn Maha said proceeding with the hearing of the application amounts to reviewing the order of a court of coordinate jurisdiction.

Justice Maha insisted that the matter is already before Justice Taiwo Taiwo who granted the initial exparte order empowering the department of state services to detain Mister Sowore for 45 days and subject to review.

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From January 2020, banks will charge VAT on online transactions – FIRS

Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, has said that the agency will begin to impose value-added tax on Internet transactions both domestic and international with effect from January 2020.

Fowler, made the revelation on Monday at the African Tax Administration Forum in Abuja.

He said, “We have thrown it out to Nigerians. Effective from January 2020, we will ask banks to charge VAT on online transactions, both domestic and international.

“VAT remains the cash cow in most African countries, with an average VAT-to-total tax revenue rate of 31 per cent.

“This is higher than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s average of 20 per cent.

“This statistics, therefore, is a validation of the need for us to streamline the administration of this tax with the full knowledge of its potential contributions to national budgets.

“It is, however, also bearing in mind the rights of our taxpayers.”

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Heavy rain destroys property in Daura

No fewer than one hundred houses were reportedly damaged in various parts of Daura during a downpour on Sunday, which lasted the whole day.

Areas that witnessed serious destruction in the aftermath of the downpour included Rahamawa, Kalgo, Lungun Kofar Baru, Sarkin Yara ‘A’ ward and Unguwar Kaura.

It was learnt that many of the houses had their roofs blown off by the wind that accompanied the rain while parts of some buildings collapsed.

Sources said no life was lost in the downpour.

It was learnt that due to the downpour which lasted hours, many people whose houses were damaged could not salvage their personal effects including clothing, electronics and foodstuff.

A pensioner, Ahidjo Lawan said the downpour damaged at least fifty houses at Kalgo community.

He disclosed this on Monday.

He said, “We are still salvaging our property from the debris of the damaged houses in my area here at Kalgo. The heavy downpour could not allow us to do much as it rained throughout the day.”

When contacted, Spokesman for the state Emergency management agency, Ukasha Umar said although he heard about the incident, the agency was yet to be formally briefed about it.

Umar said “We might be there tomorrow (Tuesday) to verify things by ourselves. But our agency has not been officially briefed about it.”

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BREAKING: We’ll use your deposit in other banks to settle your loan when you default – CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks in the country have agreed that loan defaults will be settled using deposits made in other banks.

Addressing journalists after the Bankers Committee meeting on Monday, Aishah Ahmad,  CBN’s deputy governor, financial services system, said the directive is to encourage banks to increase lending.

More to follow…

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APC: Court okays indirect primary for Kogi gov poll

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday dismissed a suit challenging the decision of the All Progressives Congress to adopt indirect primary for nominating its candidate for the forthcoming November 16, 2019 governorship election in Kogi State.

The judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, upheld the preliminary objections filed by the APC to challenge the suit, in ruling that the suit had been caught by the statute of limitation.

He said it was needless to go into the proprietary of the party’s choice of indirect primary since the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case on merit, having been statute-barred.

He held that the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019, was a pre-election matter which ought to have been heard and determined within 180 days as provided by Section 285(10) of the Nigerian Constitution.

According to the judge, although the suit was filed only on July 18, 2019, it was clearly premised on another one marked FHC/ABJ/CS/833/2019 which, instead of being determined within 180 days, was only ruled upon on Monday.

The judge, on the grounds of statute limitation, in the earlier judgment on Monday, dismissed the said foundational suit which was instituted by the Chairman and Secretary of a parallel executive committee of the APC in Kogi State, Haddy Ametuo and Tam Adejoh, respectively.

The said foundational suit was instituted against the APC, and Abdullahi Bello, who is the Chairman of the Governor Yahaya Bello-backed faction of the party in the state.

The Bello-led faction of the APC in the state is recognised by the national bodies of the party.

The APC, which opposed the two suits ruled upon by the court on Monday, was represented by Mr. Paul Daudu.

Delivering judgment on the suit challenging the APC’s adopted mode of primary election in the state, Justice Taiwo held, “I do not intend to waste judicial time on this suit FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019 in view of the ruling on the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/581/2018 read a few minutes ago, dismissing the suit for being caught by statute of limitation as provided under Section 285(10) of the Constitution.”

He ruled that “it will be pointless to consider the proprietary of this suit” when its foundational suit had been dismissed.

“The court, not being an academic institution, does not engage in academic exercise,” the judge ruled.

He added, “This suit has been spent and its resolution has become unnecessary in view of my earlier judgment.

“Answering the questions will bear no consequence on the dispute between the parties.

“I therefore have no choice other than to dismiss the suit in its entirety and I accordingly dismiss it.”

The suit was instituted by Destiny Aromeh, Isah Abubakar, Noah Aku and Joy Onu, who are members of a parallel executive committee of the APC in Kogi State.

It was instituted against the APC as the sole defendant.

The plaintiffs represented by Mr. Oluwole Aladedoye, had urged the court to order the party not to adopt indirect primary to pave the way for a direct primary which would allow all card-carrying members of the party to vote.

He said if the National Working Committee of the party was not stopped, the party would go ahead to adopt indirect primary and his clients, not being the faction recognised by the national leadership of the party, would be “shut out” and not allowed to vote as delegates at the primary.

Aladedoye noted that the National Working Committee of the party adopted the indirect primary for Kogi State election in disregard to a pending suit on the disputed leadership of the party in the state.

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BREAKING: Kaduna to pay new minimum wage from Sept.

The Kaduna State Executive Council has on Monday approved the payment of the new national minimum wage and consequential adjustments to civil servants should begin from September 1, 2019.

“Kaduna State will implement the new national minimum wage from September 2019,” the state government had tweeted via its verified Twitter handle @GovKaduna.

A Press release signed by Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, the Special Adviser to the Governor (Media & Communication), reads in part:

“Guided by the twin principles of ability to pay and sustainability, the government considered several scenarios, bearing in mind the trend of internally generated revenues and allocations from the federation account.

“Several salary scenarios were considered, and one option was identified as most prudent. A final decision was suspended as negotiations for a new national minimum wage appeared to gather momentum. It was reactivated after the Federal Government announced the new national minimum wage in April 2019.

“Paying the new national minimum wage and consequential adjustments will increase the wage bill of the Kaduna State Government by 33%. Gross monthly salary outlay will rise to N3.759bn from the current N2.827bn.

“This almost N1bn monthly increase in the wage bill means that salary and pension commitments will take the lion’s share of state government expenditure. Meeting these salary obligations while meeting development objectives for citizens will further raise the pressure to expand and deepen revenue sources and collections.

“According to the new wage structure, the lowest-paid workers in the civil service enjoyed increments of as much as 67%. Middle-ranking officers from Grade 10 to 14 were awarded increments of 60%.”

See the tweet:

View image on Twitter
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BREAKING: Joe Igbokwe makes Sanwo-Olu’s new cabinet list

Joe Igbokwe, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in Lagos, has made the list of the new commissioner and special adviser designates of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

Also on the list is a former Commissioner for Women Affairs in Lagos State, Mrs Lola Akande.

Sanwo-Olu, according to a statement, transmitted the final list of his nominees to the state House of Assembly on Tuesday.

This is coming four weeks after the governor sent the first batch of the list to the lawmakers for screening.

Thirteen commissioner- and special adviser-designates made the second list, which had already been transmitted to the legislature.

The statement, signed by the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said the second list had names of accomplished politicians and technocrats who “understand the current need of Lagos” and the development agenda of the Governor.

Below are names in the second batch of nominees:

  1. Mr. Oladele Ajayi
  2. Mr. Oluwatoyin Fayinka
  3. Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke
  4. Mr. Olanrewaju Sanusi
  5. Mr. Joe Igbokwe
  6. Mr. Bonu Solomon Saanu
  7. Arc. Kabiru Ahmed
  8. Mrs. Lola Akande
  9. Prince Anofi Olanrewaju Elegushi
  10. Mrs. Solape Hammond
  11. Mr. Moruf Akinderu Fatai
  12.   Mrs. Shulamite Olufunke Adebolu
  13.   Mr. Tokunbo Wahab
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Burna Boy breaks African record in the UK

‘African Giant’, Burna Boy’s latest album, has become the highest-ranking African album ever.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the globally acclaimed album debuted at number 16 on the UK albums chart.

The debut was announced by Official charts through their official Twitter account.

They wrote @officialcharts, “Check out this week’s Official Albums Chart, featuring the Top 40 debut of @BurnaBoy with African Giant.”

The Official Charts, which are compiled by the Official Charts Company, tabulate the relative weekly popularity of songs and albums in the UK, separating them into the ‘Official Singles Chart’ and the ‘Official Albums Chart’.

In February, the Afro-fusion star, scored his first entry into the UK charts, through his feature on Dave’s ‘Location’.

‘African Giant’ also debuted at number 104 on ‘Billboard’s 200’ chart, solidifying his global recognition.

NAN reports that Burna Boy performed at Coachella in April alongside Mr Eazi and subsequently named his album ‘African Giant’.

Asides winning the most awards at the 2019 Soundcity awards, Burna Boy also won the BET ‘Best International Act’ award in June.

(NAN)

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Breaking: Ex-INEC boss Iwu arrives court on N1.2bn alleged fraud

Prof. Maurice Iwu, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, has arrived the Federal High Court in Lagos for his arraignment.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it would arraign Iwu for alleged N1.2bn fraud.

He faces four counts bordering on money laundering, EFCC said.

Iwu was alleged to have, between December 2014 and March 2015, concealed N1.2bn in the bank account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc.

The money was believed to be part of the N23.29bn slush fund allegedly shared by former petroleum minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

Iwu was fingered as one of the beneficiaries of the fund, including some INEC officials who are facing trial.

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Breaking: You can detain Sowore for 45 Days – Court tells DSS

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the Department of State Service (DSS) an application to detain the convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore in their custody.

In his ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo said he will grant the application only for a period of 45 days.

The Judge added that the 45 days will start to count from today.

The DSS had earlier on Tuesday approached the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, seeking leave to detain Sowore, for 90 days to enable it to carry out further investigation.

More to follow…

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Chinese firm to pay N100m illegal importation

A Kano High court sitting at Audu Bako Secretariat has ordered a Chinese firm, Changyi Yuanxiang, to pay N100 million as compensation for indulging in illegal importation of 19 containers with impersonated trade mark.

The court presided over by Justice Ibrahim Musa Muhammad Karaye in a judgment delivered on 31th July, 2019 held that the Chinese firm indulged in unlawful use of the name of Rab textiles limited for the importation of the containers exposing Rab textile limited to tax liability.

The plaintiff, Rab textiles limited represented by Rabiu Abdullahi Ibrahim, told the court that the Chinese firm had abusively use the name for the importation of the goods without the written consent of the plaintiff.

He urged the court to restrain the defendant from further importation of goods using the company’s name without consent.

In his judgment, Justice Ibrahim Musa Muhammad Karaye ordered Changyi Yuanxiang to pay N100m as compensation to the plaintiff, for the unlawful and unauthorised use of the name Rab textiles limited.

The court also ordered the sum of N10 million should be paid to the plaintiff for the physiological trauma suffered by the plaintiff.

Justice Karaye asked the defendant to forfeit the sum of N10million for the upset of solicitors fees, it further ordered the compensatory payment of 10 percent interest rate from the date of the delivery of judgment.

Further, the court instructed Changyi Yuanxiang to refrain from engaging in any business transactions using the name Rab textiles limited.

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Sowore is a loser – Oshiomhole

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has said that every Nigerian has the right to protest but must properly articulate their grievances.

He spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He however condemned the revolution protest by the convener of the Global Coalition for Security and Democracy, Omoyele Sowore.

According to him, Sowore who was the Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC and the Sahara Reporters publisher, decided to lead the protest after failing to win the 23rd February, 2019 presidential election.

Details shortly…

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Ihedioha on Rochas: We are not witch-hunting anybody

Jasper Ndubuaku, chairman of the committee on the recovery of stolen movable assets belonging to the Imo state government, says the committee has recovered 70 vehicles and properties worth N1 billion.

After his inauguration, Emeka Ihedioha, governor of the state, had set up the committee to recover government assets.

Ndubuaku told PUNCH that the committee also recovered two asphalt plants.

He said some of the recovered properties were from aides, appointees and family members of Rochas Okorocha, immediate past governor of the state.

“We are not witch-hunting anybody. The facts are there. We have recovered over 70 vehicles. We equally recovered two asphalt plants. The estimate of things we have recovered is about N1bn. More are to come. We have all the records,” he said.

Ndubuaku said that Okorocha “damaged” the state by allegedly governing the state wrongly.

He had earlier alleged that 67 vehicles were taken away from the state government house in Owerri while “all past commissioners in the state went away with the vehicles in their various ministries.”

Meanwhile, Okorocha had accused Ihedioha of setting out to destroy his legacies, an accusation Ndubuaku described as false.

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All Zamfara LG secretaries sacked by Governor

Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, on Wednesday, sacked all the 14 local government secretaries in the state and approved their replacements.

NAN reports that the governor also approved the appointment of the rector of the state polytechnic and provost of the college of education.

In a statement issued by Yusuf Idris, the governor’s director-general of press affairs, Matawalle directed the sacked council secretaries to submit their handover notes at the ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs.

He, however, did not give reasons for the sack.

The new local government secretaries include Abubakar Bakura, Bakura local government; Rabiu Pamo for Anka LG; Abdulkadir Gora for Birnin-Magaji; Lawali Zugu for Bukkuyum LG; Sani Mainasara for Bungudu LG, Rabiu Hussaini for Gummi LG and Nura Musa for Gusau.

Other are Bashir Bello for Kaura-Namoda LG;  Ahmadu Mani for Maradun, Salisu Yakubu for Maru LG, Abba Atiku for Shinkafi LG; Ibrahim Garba for Talata-Mafara; Aliyu Lawali for Tsafe LG and Bala Dauran for Zurmi LG.

The statement added that Sha’ayau Mafara was appointed by the governor as the rector of Abdu-Gusau Polytechnic, Talata-Mafara, while Muhammad Maradun was appointed as registrar.

Mafara was a staff of Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, before his appointment and holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Liverpool University, UK.

The governor also appointed Ibrahim Gusau as the new provost of the Zamfara College of Education, Maru.

Gusau has an MSc degree in mathematics.

The governor directed the outgoing rector and registrar, as well as the outgoing provost to submit their handover notes at his office.

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Breaking: Kogi assembly to impeach deputy governor

The Kogi State House of Assembly is starting the process of impeachment against Simon Achuba, deputy governor of the state.

On Wednesday, Abdullahi Bello, majority leader of the house, read a petition against Achuba at plenary.

He said signatures of 21 of the 25 lawmakers have been collected for the impeachment.

The member who represents Ajaokuta constituency, cited section 188 of 1999 constitution and thereafter prayed the house to commence investigation ahead of the impeachment of the deputy governor.

Kolawole Matthew, speaker of the house of assembly, agreed to the prayers in the petition and asked that impeachment notice be served on the deputy governor.

Matthew gave Achuba 14 days to respond to the allegations levelled against him.

Achuba had accused Yahaya Bello, governor of the state, of not paying his allowances in the last two years.

He said he is being owed N819 million in salaries and allowances. Achuba also said the governor was after his life, an allegation which Bello denied.

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Release Sowore to ensure peace – Third Force Forum urges DSS

A coalition of former 2019 presidential aspirants and candidates, under the aegis of Third Force Forum, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the Department of State Services to release Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore was abducted on Saturday by operatives of the DSS for organizing a protest, RevolutionNow, against bad governance in Nigeria.

The former presidential aspirants and candidates described the arrest of Sowore as unlawful, positing that he acted within his rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.

In a letter to Buhari, a copy of which was obtained by SaharaReporters, the Third Force Forum also urged the president to respect human rights and adhere to international treaties the country subscribed to.

The group said, “We must also remind you, Mr. President, that in addition to the Nigerian Constitution, Nigeria also subscribes to other international treaties, which prohibit violation of human rights of its citizens.

“To refrain from adhering to these national and international rights is to invite anarchy onto the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“As you are fully aware, Mr. President, every democratic government that subscribes to the rule of law, has time-tested methods of containing any breach of the peace during peaceful protests; without clamping down on our fundamental rights of ‘Freedom of Expression’ and to peaceably assemble, in order to address grievances by the government; even when those views expressed are contrary to the views of the current government.”

The forum stated further: “We implore you to immediately order the applicable agencies of the state to immediately release Mr. Omoyele Sowore unconditionally, in order to maintain peace in our country, and to deter further national and international repercussions on this matter.”

The letter to the president was signed by five presidential aspirants and two presidential candidates at the last general election.

They are Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, 2019 presidential aspirant, All Progressives Congress (APC); Hon. Tope Fasua, 2019 presidential candidate, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP); Hon. Okey Samuel Mbonu, 2019 presidential aspirant, Labour Party (LP); Dr. Thomas-Wilson Ikhubese, 2019 presidential aspirant, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN); Dr. Emmanuel Etim, 2019 presidential candidate, Change Nigeria Party (CNP); Dr. Ayodele O. Favour, 2019 presidential aspirant, Young Progressives Party (YPP); and Hon. Clement Jimbo, 2019 presidential aspirant, Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Sahara Reporters

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Boko Haram Has Been “Substantially Degraded” – Chief Of Air Staff

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, says the Boko Haram terrorists have been substantially degraded.

Abubakar, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s NewsNight on Monday, said the terrorists have been caged to the Lake Chad region.

“The situation (insurgency fight) today is far better than it was some four or five years back. Boko Haram has now been more or less caged to a particular area, mainly the Lake Chad area.

“In 2015, when we saw them coming to Abuja, Nyanya was bombed twice. Madalla, the United Nations headquarters was equally bombed. We also had an explosion in the Bannex Plaza area.

“So if we put the picture of where we are coming from and where we are today, I think it will be very safe to say that Boko Haram has been substantially degraded,” he said.

Although the Air chief admitted that the nation has not totally war the insurgency war, the military operations carried out since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari has recorded much gain.

According to him, the achievements gathered so far is as a result of the Federal Government’s continued support to the Armed Forces and the troops battling the terrorists.

Speaking on the manpower of the nation’s Air Force, Air Marshall Abubabar recalled that the personnel as at 2015 were “grossly inadequate” in view of the security challenges.

But four years down the lane, he said that the nation has recruited about 7,500 servicemen into the system.

“Certainly, the manpower disposition of the service in 2015, in my opinion, was grossly inadequate (4:45) looking at the kind of challenges we are facing.

“And from 2015 to now, I think we have got about 7,500 recruits and we have also enlisted 400 Direct Short Service Commissioned officers apart from the ones coming from the Nigerian Defence Academy,” he said.

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Youth to drive herdsmen out of south-east forests

The youth wing of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Saturday said it would drive out killer herdsmen from the forests in all the 95 local government areas in the South-East.

The President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said the decision  was necessitated by the killing of a Catholic priest, Rev Fr Paul Offu, by suspected herdsmen along the Ihe-Agbudu Road in Agwu Local Government Area of Enugu State on August 1.

He alleged that there were plans to kill more church leaders in the South-East, urging that steps should be taken to avert the impending situation.

Isiguzoro urged Igbo youths, all Biafra agitators and volunteer security groups to enter the forests to drive out killer herdsmen from the South-East.

He said, “We were shocked to read about the murder of a Catholic priest, Rev Fr Paul Offu, who was shot dead by hoodlums suspected to be the notorious and murderous criminal herdsmen along Ihe-Agbudu Road in Agwu Local Government Area on August 1, 2019.

“This is a calculated but provocative action with evil intent aimed at rubbishing the proposed establishment of forest guards and Community Neighbourhood Watch by the South-East governors.

“With the rising tension in the southern Nigeria, it is time for us to drive out all the remnants of killer herdsmen hiding in all the forest reserve areas across the 95 local government areas of the South-East. This is a clarion call to Igbo youths, all Biafra agitators and volunteer groups to do the needful across the bushes and forests in search of the killer herdsmen in the South-East to drive them out.

“These volunteer youths will serve as temporary forestry guardsmen until we pressurise the South-East governors to fund them. Their mandate will be to take decisive actions against any armed herdsmen found, and they should be handed over to security agents.”

The Ohanaeze youths also called on the Federal government, especially the office of the Vice President, to protect Christians all over the country.

Punch Newspaper

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Breaking: EFCC to freeze Bauchi State govt account

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, granted the EFCC’s prayer to freeze the FCMB Operational Account number: 0998552074 of the Bauchi State government.

The judge, who adjourned the matter to September 3, urged the commission to put the party concerned on notice of the order within 21 days.

Details later…

NAN

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Release Sowore – Gani Adams appeals to Buhari

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams has appealed to the Federal Government to release the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore.

Adams said that such arrest portends grave danger for Nigeria’s democracy.

The publisher of SaharaReporters and convener Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria was arrested by the operatives from the Department of State Services over a planned revolutionary protest scheduled for Monday, August 5.

The Police had accused the activist of a plot to force a regime change in the country.

Reacting in a statement, Adams said the arrest was an abuse of human right to freedom, stating that the planned revolutionary protest could not be said to be treasonable since it was yet to be implemented before he was arrested by the DSS.

Adams, who faulted the rationale behind the arrest, said it was unfortunate that Nigerians usually forgot events and memories of the past.

He said that Nigeria’s problems emanated from the military’s dictatorship and tendency to gag the press and prevent freedom of speech and expression.

Aare Onakakanfo however, said with the information at his disposal, the convener did not consult many of the civil society groups.

The planned protest, he admitted, would have presented to Nigerians, the needed opportunity to express their feelings to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adams said that Nigerians were entitled to express their feelings, provided the protest was peaceful and violent-free and it also represented the feelings of Nigerians.

“Not everybody can have access to the presidency in Abuja. This is democracy, not militarism, where people are cowed and jailed over issues relating to their welfare.

“Sowore is an activist, and he was part of the struggle for this democracy. Therefore, he is entitled to express his feelings and that of Nigerians in a democratic setting.

“I think the Federal Government should consider his freedom as a panacea for peace. For instance, I wonder how a peaceful protest by harmless citizens will now turn to a treasonable felony.

“It is unfortunate that many of the people in the corridors of power today were part of the protests against former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, but today the situation has changed.

(NAN) / Punch Newspaper

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#RevolutionNow: Activists approach human rights agency

DEfiling the heavy rainfall in Abuja, #RevolutionNow activists on Monday stormed the National Human Rights Commission, Maitama, to protest against the poor security situation and other social issues in the country.

The protesters had planned to hold the rally at the Unity Fountain, but our correspondent gathered that they were forced to change the venue following the lockdown of the park by armed policemen.

The protesters delivered a letter to the NHRC in which they expressed their displeasure over what they called the continued silence of the Commission over the undemocratic incidences in the country.

Coordinator of the protest, Dare-Atoye Ariyo said, “The ever-growing proclivity of the President Buhari-led regime for human rights abuses are indicative of a complete departure from all democratic tenets, norms and practices.”

He pointed to the arrest of the #RevolutionNow protest convener, Omoyele Sowore, by the Department of State Services, describing it as undemocratic and disgraceful.

Atoye stated, “We believe that these events are not only undemocratic but they are also disgraceful for a country like Nigeria that practices constitutional democracy.

“However, we are completely dissatisfied by the eerie silence of the National Human Rights Commission in the face of these undemocratic developments.

“Our dissatisfaction is further aggravated by the fact that the role of the NHRC in defending the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians is well-revered and dearly treasured by Nigerians.”

Source: Punch Newspaper

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I’m committed to peace and equitable prosperity – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday restated the commitment of his administration to peace and equitable prosperity.

He gave the reassurance during an audience with Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He said: “In the last four years, this government prioritised Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure development. Our focus in these areas was to create jobs today and ensure peace and equitable prosperity for future generations.”

According to a statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), the President added that it was simply impossible to continue to import food with the nation’s population. “On agriculture, it was simple; a country with a population of close to 200 million has to be able to feed itself. We cannot rely on importing food.”

President Buhari also told the ILO chief that his government had “attacked head-on the big deficit in Power, Roads, Bridges, Rails and Housing … in order to ensure adequate housing is available today and for many years to come.”

He attributed some of the achievements of his government so far to consultations before taking critical decisions affecting the labour force:  “Our achievements to date were as a result of strategic fiscal and monetary policy decisions. In some instances, we partnered with stakeholders such as the labour unions.

“A good example was during the African Continental Free Trade Agreement review and the National Minimum Wage negotiations. This consultative approach aligns with the vision of the ILO to keep communications open, create jobs, ensure social justice and eliminate worker exploitation.”

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“in a short time, Chief Great Ogboru will emerge governor of Delta State” – Omo-Agege

The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege has urged All Progressive Party (APC) supporters in Delta State to remain calm as Chief Great Ogboru will soon emerge Governor of the State.

Omo-Agege made the assertion while addressing a mammoth crowd at his country home in Orogun, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State during his first visit after emerging the Deputy Senate President in the 9th National Assembly.

Omo-Agege, codemixing his speech with pidgin, said he was in Delta in respect of the final burial of APC chieftain, Adolor Okotiebor.

He urged Deltans in Delta North and South to vote APC in the next senatorial election, hinting that “in a short time, Chief Great Ogboru will emerge governor of Delta State.”

The senator, who spoke after goodwill speeches from some leaders of APC from across the State, vowed not to let down the people in the provision of democratic dividends.

“I won’t let you down. I’ll fulfil all the promises. Continue to pray for me Buhari and APC governors.

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“Don’t pray for PDP governors” – Omo-Agege

Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, on Thursday, admonished the people of Delta State not to pray for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Omo-Agege made the assertion while addressing a mammoth crowd at his country home in Orogun, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State during his first visit after emerging the Deputy Senate President in the 9th National Assembly.

He also urged Deltans to pray for himself,  Buhari, all APC governors with the exclusion of governors of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“All I ask for; the biggest tribute you can ever pay to me is to say thank you to President Buhari.

“I have always told him that silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I will give to him.

“In my position and in my capacity as the Deputy Senate President, working with the Senate President, the least we owe Mr President is to create an enabling environment to ensure the content of the Next Level Agenda will be brought to reality.

“So that those days when they turned the Senate to a burial ground to anything Buhari, all of that is over now.

“And when he was being threatened with impeachment, they were even praying that he should die. All that is over now because he has Ahmed Lawan and your son as SP and DSP.

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Election Petition: adoption of final addresses fixed for August 21

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has fixed August 21 for the adoption of final addresses by parties in the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The court’s presiding justice, Justice Mohammed Garba announced the date at the conclusion of proceedings on Thursday.

The court adjourned for adoption of final written addresses after lead lawyers to President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) – Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi -announced that the 2nd and 3rd respondents (Buhari and APC) were closing their defence in the case.

Buhari called seven witnesses and tendered documents between Tuesday and Wednesday.

He was expected to resume his defence today when his lawyer told the court that, having reviewed their case and evidence led so far, they were satisfied that they had done enough.

Fagbemi, who spoke later, also spoke in similar vein with Olanipekun and said the 3rd respondent has also decided to close its case.

Details shortly.

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Tiv-Jukun tension rises with more casualties

THE crisis between Tiv and Jukun ethnic groups in Wukari local government area of Taraba State has taken a different dimension.

Two students and a non-academic staff of the Federal University Wukari were abducted and killed on Thursday.

Taraba State Police spokesman David Misal, an ASP, confirmed the abduction of the trio.

“They were abducted at Kasuwan Shanu, near Chonku,” he said.  The authorities of the university has closed down the institution following the incident.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abubakar Kundiri, told reporters that the slain students and staff, being Tiv, sparked off protest by Tiv students, which was joined by other students.

Kundiri said the abductors had used the mobile phone of the non-academic staff to demand for ransom from the university’s management.

The protesting students demanded for the bodies of the slain persons and relocation of the university. Tension was high, it was learnt.

A Committee of Deans and Directors, on behalf of the university Senate, approved the suspension of lectures and closure of the institution till further notice. The committee asked the students to vacate the premises of university.

The vice chancellor said security has been beefed up by the army and police to ensure the safe exit of students and staff from Wukari.

Jukun and Tiv ethnic group have been at war for more than five months.

The killings have increased tension between the two states as Benue State government yesterday evacuated over 812 students from the university.

A witness, Jerry Lorgaen, told The Nation on phone that the students went out to buy provision before they were ambushed and killed by suspected Jukun militia group.

The President of the National Association of Benue State Students, Tyonor Smith, identified those killed as Msughter Vihior Andura (a Micro Biology, 100 level student) and Mark Tsav (a non-academic staff).

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BREAKING: Buhari, APC in early closure of defence in presidential election dispute

President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) just closed defence in the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the Presidential Erection Petition Court (PEPC).

Barr. Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Buhari’s lead lawyer and lead lawyer to the APC, Lateef Fagbemi announced that the 2nd and 3rd respondents (Buhari and APC respectively) were closing their defence in the case.

Recall that Buhari called six witnesses and tendered documents between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The defence was supposed to continue today but his lawyer told the court that, having reviewed their case and evidence led so far, they were satisfied that they had done enough to earn victory.

Fagbemi, who spoke later, also spoke in similar vein with Olanipekun and said the 3rd respondent has also decided to close its case.

Details shortly…

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Boko Haram using drones to monitor soldiers – Borno Governor

Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has raised the alarm that Boko Haram insurgents have higher expertise and better technological weapons than the military.

He said this yesterday in Maiduguri while welcoming the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and his entourage who were in Borno to assess the situation of the IDPs in terms of their population and their transition from camp to resettlement.

The governor said the insurgents were now using drones to monitor military operations. This, according to him, shows that the sect possesses higher technological warfare and expertise than the government’s joint military task force.

According to him, “The capacity of the military has to be re-examined in terms of technological warfare. Otherwise this thing (insurgency war) will never end.”

“Boko Haram now uses drones to monitor the operations of the military. Without providing proper and up-to-date technological capacity to the military, this thing will never end,” he cautioned.

He urged the Federal Government to increase the “numeral strength” of the security and paramilitary personnel fighting the insurgency war as well as support the civilian JTF to meet the emerging challenges posed by “higher expertise on the part of Boko Haram.”

“Sustained military operations in the Chad Basin cannot be overemphasized in the face of the scaled-up operations of ISWAP in the region”, he said, noting that Borno shared borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Zulum said although all local government areas in the state had been liberated from Boko Haram, “only 10 villages now stand out of the about 500 that used to exist in Northern Borno, only about 20 now stand out of the about 1000 villages that used to exist in Central Borno before 2015.”

Responding, Gbajabiamila said the insurgency continued for “a bit too long and we have to put it behind us.”

Gbajabiamila said the federal legislature had now resolved to collaborate with the executive on the Boko Haram war because “it is not yet Uhuru; we are not there yet and the government can’t do it alone.”

Source: Daily Trust

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“It is not a document from WAEC” – WAEC official tells Tribunal on Buhari’s Certificate

Mr. Osidehinde Adewunmi, a West African Examination Council (WAEC) official, on Wednesday, disowned the Cambridge University’s Moderated International Examination credentials produced by President Muhammadu Buhari and tendered as exhibits before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja.

The two documents earlier admitted as Exhibits 19 and 21 were Buhari’s statement of results and the broadsheet for the results of the 18 candidates who sat for the examinations in 1961.

The Deputy Registrar, School Examinations in Nigeria, of WAEC, who appeared before the tribunal on a subpoena, testified before the five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba, as Buhari’s fourth defence witness on Wednesday.

He appeared in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging Buhari’s victory at the February 23, 2019 poll.

Part of the grounds of the petition was that Buhari lacked the educational qualification to contest the election.

When cross-examined by the counsel for the All Progressives Congress, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Adewunmi said he, as a WAEC official, certified one of the documents bearing the name of the University of Cambridge Moderated Examination earlier tendered as Exhibit marked R21.

The witness, who said he had been working with WAEC for about 30 years, told the tribunal that the examination was conducted by Cambridge University in conjunction with WAEC.

He confirmed that 18 persons sat for the examinations in 1961, adding that Buhari was listed as number two on the list of candidates for the examination.

He confirmed that Buhari sat for eight subjects and had five credits in the examination – Oral English, C5; History, A3; Geography, C6; Hausa, C5; and Health Science, C6.

“He came out with aggregate of 32 and he was awarded Grade 2,” he confirmed.

When asked, he confirmed that “whoever has this (the R21 exhibit) has secondary education”.

Under cross-examination by the petitioners’ lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), Adewunmi was asked if Exhibit R19 was a certificate, he said, “I cannot say whether it is a certificate because my signature is not on the certificate. It is not bearing my name or the name of my organisation”.

Asked again, the witness said, “This document is bearing the name of Cambridge University Assessment International Education”.

Asked if the document was issued by WAEC, he said,  “It is not a document from the West Africa Examination Council”.

Asked about Exhibit R21, he said, “This is the foundation, the primary foundation for issuance of a certificate.”

The witness was also asked if the document was a certificate.

“This is not a certificate,” the witness answered.

When asked, he also said, “I have never worked with the University of Cambridge”.

In his bid to point out out contradictions in the two documents, the petitioners’ lawyers asked the witness to compare the number of subjects listed against Buhari in them.

The witness confirmed that in R21, “The number of subjects listed against the 2nd respondent (Buhari) is eight”, and in R19 “six subjects”.

He also confirmed that the first name on the two documents was “Mohamed” and as against the President’s “Muhammad”.

He also confirmed that WAEC registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadae, issued a WAEC attestation certificate to Buhari on November 2, 2018.

He disagreed with the petitioners’ lawyer that issuance of an attestation certificate was not limited to cases of loss or misplacement.

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U.K Prime Minister appoints British-Nigerian as minister

Boris Johnson, British Prime minister, has named Kemi Badenoch, a UK-born Nigerian, a minister in his cabinet. 

Badenoch was appointed a minister of children. 

Born in London to Nigerian parents, the 39-year-old spent part of her childhood in Lagos. 

She was elected to parliament in 2017, having previously served for the conservatives in the London assembly.

At the parliament, Badenoch talked about her experiences of poverty in Nigeria, including living without electricity or functioning water supply.

She also narrated how she had to do her homework using candles.

Returning to the UK at 16, she studied systems engineering at Sussex University, she also later got a degree in law, and has worked in the IT and banking sectors. 

In a tweet, she said her appointment is a huge privilege to make a positive difference. 

“I’m humbled to have been appointed a junior minister at the DfE.  A huge privilege to be able to serve and make a positive difference on a number of issues close to my heart. I look forward to working with the ministerial team and everyone at @educationgovuk,” she tweeted. 

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