Thursday, 23 February 2017

Food sufficiency: AJimobi urges academic, research institutions to close ranks

L-R: Oyo State Governor. Senator Abiola Ajimobi; Director of Agriculture and Youths Laboratory, Michigan State University, United States, Dr. Julie Harward; Provost, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, Prof. Gbemiga Adewale; the institution's Registrar, Mr. Niyi Feyintola; and Acting Bursar, Mr. Josiah Ajayi, during a visit to the governor by a team of agric experts, in Ibadan... on Wednesday. Photo: Governor's Office
Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has urged the country’s research and academic institutions to close ranks and evolve pragmatic strategies for the development of agriculture to enhance food sufficiency and job creation.
The governor gave the advice while addressing a delegation from the Michigan State University, United States, led by the institution’s Director of Agriculture and Youths Laboratory, Dr. Julie Harward, in his office, in Ibadan, on Wednesday.
Also on the team were the Deputy Director-General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Kenton Dashiel and Provost, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, (OYSCATECH) Igbo-Ora, Prof. Gbemiga Adewale.

Amnesty International Report, biased, lacks merit – Global Amnesty Watch

The Global Amnesty Watch (GAW) has described the recent report by Amnesty International (AI) about the Nigerian Army as biased, unprofessional and lacking merit which does not reflect the realities on ground. 
The President of GAW, Philip Agbese, at a Press Conference in Abuja today (February 23, 2017) described the latest report by Amnesty International on Nigeria as a ridiculously new low in a bid to blackmail military and security institutions while openly supporting terrorists, insurgents, separatists and fifth columnists and treating Nigerians as the enemies.  
GAW said: “AI has issued several reports that openly lie against Nigeria, its government and critical institution, apparently with the sole intent of undermining them.”
The Global Amnesty Watch, an organization out to address the use of international Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) by some big countries to undermine their territorial integrity, sovereignty and the national laws of the country said, it is rightly concerned that the plots to destabilize otherwise stable countries is gathering pace instead of slowing down in the face of global outrage over the damage being done.

NIMASA, Customs partnership will help Nigeria’s economic progress – Dakuku

Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside and the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) in a photograph with Top Management of both Agencies during a courtesy visit to the Headquarters of the NCS in Abuja.

Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stated that NIMASA and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) are partners in progress in bringing the desired growth and development to the Nigerian maritime industry and by extension the Nigerian economy. 
The DG who made this statement when he led NIMASA top Management on a courtesy visit to the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja described both leadership of the two Agencies as sticklers for transparency while doing things that will serve the best interest of the country.
In his words, “The Nigerian Customs and NIMASA are both working to accomplish one purpose, which is to facilitate trade to our country, enhance the revenue of government and ensure that those who do business with us respect the laws of our land and that ultimately they don’t take advantage of our people. As we are all working towards a common purpose, this even becomes more glaring with the new leadership of our both Agencies”.  

ICPC docks PSC Director over N11.75m fraud

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has arraigned the Director of Finance in the Police Service Commission (PSC), Mr. Emmanuel Ibe, over alleged mismanagement of N11, 750, 000 belonging to PSC.
Mr. Ibe was arraigned by ICPC on a 9-count charge before Justice C.N. Oji of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 21, Apo.
Counsel to ICPC, Golden Iwuagwu, while pressing the charge against the Director averred that he fraudulently paid N11, 750, 000 to some selected staff of PSC in March 2015, as airfare and airport taxi allowances to travel from Abuja to seven states within Nigeria on official duties even while there were no connecting flights from Abuja to any of those states.
He told the court that Mr. Ibe allegedly facilitated the payment of the money to the said staff of PSC to travel from Abuja to Bauchi, Niger, Benue, Kaduna, Kogi, Nassarawa and the FCT, thereby contravening Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under the same section.

Nigerian Army jails errant personnel for molesting a civilian

Nigerian Army, 6 Division has charged, tried and found Private Suleiman Olamilekan of 6 Division Garrison, Port Harcourt guilty of the maltreatment of Miss Ebere Ohakwe. He was accordingly sentenced to 28 days Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL) and the forfeiture of his salary for same number of days to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that there was a report in the social media that the soldier maltreated one Miss Ebere Ohakwe at Omagwa Checkpoint along Port Harcourt - Onitsha Road on 30th January 2017.
According to Colonel,Aminu Iliyasu, Deputy Director Army Public Relations, “This prompted the decision of the authorities of the Headquarters 6 Division to thoroughly investigate the matter with the view to serving justice adequately as required by the laws of the Nigerian Army. Consequently, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Enobong Okon Udoh ordered the immediate arrest of the soldier and his Guard Commander for investigation and disciplinary action. He also invited the victim to his office and assured her that the matter would not be treated lightly.

Etisalat empowers subscribers with Facebook free connectivity, Facebook Flex

L-R: Global Director, Mobile Partnerships, Facebook, Francisco Varela; Vice President, Product, Kampe Health Services, Odunayo Adekoya; Director, Digital Business, Etisalat Nigeria, Adia Sowho and Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, at the launch of Etisalat Facebook Flex in Lagos on Thursday, February 23, 2017. 
Nigeria’s telecommunications company, Etisalat, is treating its customers with another innovative service to stay connected with their friends and families on Facebook and access to other basic internet services at absolutely no cost.
This new feature, Facebook Flex, provided by Etisalat in partnership with Facebook, allows subscribers on the Etisalat network to switch seamlessly between free and data modes thereby making it possible for them to chat, post, comment, like or share content for free with friends and families.

Police arrest vessel, crew for illegal dealing on suspected refined petroleum products

The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has frowned at the constant vandalization of pipelines, destruction of oil and gas facilities and illegal oil bunkering in the country because of its consequences of economic hardship, damage to public infrastructures, and loss of Government huge investments in the oil sector.
According to CSP Jimoh O. Moshood, Force Public Relations Officers, Force Headquarters in a press conference, “in order to halt this trend of wanton destruction of lives and property in a critical sector of the economy, the IGP has reorganized and empowered IGP’S Task Force on Illegal Petroleum Bunkering to decisively tackle these criminals and their collaborators.”
Four suspects have been arrested in connection with this including Olajide Kabir ‘M’ (Nakem Deport Manager); Ogbolu Louis ‘M’ (Captain); Izuazu Anayo  ‘M’ (Chief Engineer) and Solomon Agbanoma (Able Seaman).

Nigeria Police Force launches manhunt on kidnappers of two (2) German archaeologists

The Inspector General of Police IGP Ibrahim K has launched a manhunt on the kidnappers of two German Archaelogists in Kaduna. The archaelogists were kidnapped on the 22nd December, 2017 while working in collaboration with National Commission for Museum and Monuments on the relics of NOK Culture in Nigeria in  an excavation site at Janjala area of Kagarko LGA of Kaduna. The IGP has deployed Special Police Forces comprising the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), the Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU), the Anti Kidnapping Unit, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), the Police Mobile Force, Police Surveillance Helicopters and Special Investigation Team on kidnapping and terrorism Cases under the command of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations to Janjala Village under Kagarko LGA of Kaduna State to search and rescue the two Germans unhurt and arrest the perpetrators.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Time for Nigeria, US to deepen relationship based on trust--Osinbajo

The time has come for both Nigeria and the United States to deepen the long-standing relationship between the countries based on mutual trust, according to Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo spoke earlier today at the Presidential Villa while receiving the Commander of the US-Africa Command, General Thomas D. Waldhauser and the American Ambassador in Nigeria, Honorable W. Stuart Symington.
“We will be very open and willing to build a relationship based on trust, so that we would benefit from it and of course our relationship as nations would benefit tremendously from it,” the Acting President stated.
Nigeria’s relationship with the US, he observed, is a very important one “and has been so for many years, even so now at a time like this for us,” adding that the Federal Government is appreciative of US support over the last few years.
According to him, it is the belief of the Buhari presidency that the United States is committed to helping us with some of our challenges especially in the Northeast, explaining also that issues around human rights concerns in the country should be viewed against the context of an unusual kind of warfare with terrorists and insurgents.

Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency:Wike advises INEC/Police to shun electoral malpractices


L-R: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike,PDP Candidate for the Etche/ Omuma Federal Constituency, Mr Jerome Eke and Former Acting National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus during the PDP Campaign for the Etche/ Omuma Federal Constituency

Ahead of the conclusion of rerun elections in Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency on Saturday, February 25, 2017, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has advised the Nigerian Police and other security agencies to shun electoral malpractices and violence .
The governor also appealed to INEC  to desist  from  actions that would negatively  affect the smooth conduct of the conclusion of the election in the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency. 
Speaking on Wednesday  at Okehi in Etche Local Government Area  during the PDP Campaign for Etche/ Omuma Federal Constituency, Governor Wike said the forthcoming conclusive rerun elections presents INEC  and Police the opportunity  to  redeem  themselves.

17 vehicles recovered from Dikko, ex-customs’ CG

Seventeen exotic vehicles have been recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from Abdullahi Dikko, a former comptroller-general (CG) of Nigeria customs service.

The vehicles were said to be found in Dikko’s warehouse at Nnamdi Azikwe street in Kaduna.
The anti-graft agency said the recovery was made after it recieved an information “proceeds of crime” were being stored in the warehouse.
Upon receipt of the intelligence, a team of operatives from the Kano zonal office were deployed to carry out the investigation,” the EFCC said in a statement.
On arrival at the location, two individuals who were discovered to be the custodians of the property, Dantala Mohammed and Ahmed Balarabe were presented with a search warrant.
Upon executing the search warrant, a total of seventeen amongst them brand new cars, shuttle buses and SUVs were discovered.
Consequently, the vehicles and the two individuals who are now also suspects in the investigation were conveyed to the commission’s zonal offices in Kaduna and Kano respectively for further investigation which revealed that the warehouse in question actually belongs to the former customs boss.”
The vehicles included:

GSMA calls for policies to drive digital economies

Governments have been urged to pursue policies that “incentivise investment and promote development of digital economies”, in a report created in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group. According to GSMA, As the digital and mobile revolution continues to accelerate, new technologies – artificial intelligence, robotics and IoT – promise great benefits, but also continued disruption resulting from the digitalisation of many industry sectors. Forward-looking policies can enable citizens, businesses, societies and countries to prosper, improving lives and livelihoods, while mitigating the possible adverse effects that can accompany economic change,” said John Giusti, chief regulatory officer of the industry association.
Despite the benefits of digitalisation, the GSMA warned the pace of change creates the possibility of a gap between those who are digitally connected and those who are not. Governments therefore have an important role to play in creating a policy environment which allows for an inclusive digital society, “where few feel threatened or left behind”.

Digital technologies to influence 45% of retail sales by 2025---GSMA report

Latest report just released by the GSMA has estimated that digital technologies will influence up to 45 per cent of all retail sales by 2025.
The report, titled, “Embracing the Digital Revolution: Policies for Building the Digital Economy,” developed in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), also called on policymakers to encourage digital advancement and prepare for the changes that lie ahead, while highlighting the risk of inaction.
According to the report, governments must pursue policies that encourage investment and promote development of digital economies, while building an inclusive digital future for their citizens.
“Digital and mobile technology has delivered far-reaching social and economic benefits at both the global and national levels,” John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, said, adding that, “As the digital and mobile revolution continues to accelerate, new technologies artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things promise great benefits but also continued disruption resulting from the digitalisation of many industry sectors. Forward-looking policies can enable citizens, businesses, societies and countries to prosper, improving lives and livelihoods, while mitigating the possible adverse effects that can accompany economic change.”

Army rejects report of Amnesty International on alleged death of Biafran agitators

The Defence Headquaters has dismissed the report recently published by the Amnesty International (AI) alleging death of 177 pro Biafran agitators, as yet another in its series of spurious fabrications aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Nigerian military, according to a statement by Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, Acting Director Defence Information. The statement read:
Without mincing words, the allegations contained in the said report are not only inconceivable but has no place in the Nigerian military. The report is rather contrived lies orchestrated to blackmail and ridicule the Nigerian Armed Forces which they have unsuccessfully tried to do in the past.
It is on record that Amnesty International embarked on such series of false allegations against the Nigerian military and other security forces as far back as the inception of the military action against terrorists in the North East. Amnesty International would only encourage activities of non-state actors who take up arms against the state, killing, maiming and destroying public property but would always accuse security forces who are sacrificing everything to restore peace and normalcy.

Air Cargo Africa 2017: E-commerce in Africa, huge potential that needs to be unlocked

JOHANNESBURG – AIR CARGO AFRICA (ACA) 2017 kicked off its discussions with an interactive dialogue on the subject of “Unlocking Africa’s civil aviation potential: the time is now to set the rules for tomorrow”. 
The session, held on the first day of the fourth edition of the biennial trade fair, ACA 2017, organised by STAT Media Group at the Casino Convention Resort, Emperors Palace in the City of Ekurhuleni from February 21 to 23, commenced with a look at Africa’s current growth potential as well as the challenges hindering economic development. 
The continent’s burgeoning young population formed a strong area of focus during the debate, which explored Africa’s population as both a future workforce and customer to stimulate prosperity. 

Currently, the region has the youngest population in the world and it is estimated that by 2050, Africa will make up 20 percent of the global population. This places it in a solid position to become a major player in the e-commerce industry. 

Expert urges military to counter terrorism through Social Media

With the advancement in technology and the influence of internet-based resources for effective communication, the Nigerian military has been urged to tackle insurgency through social media.
Speaking as a Guest Lecturer at the Air War College (AWC) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, Mr. Yushau Shuaib, the brain behind the 2016 Global Award winner in Crisis Communication and expert in social media, pointed out that the battle ground has shifted from physical combat to Cyberspace where social media is the tool of engagement.
He said “The military needs to train and equip social media warriors whose responsibility is to engage the audience with truthful, factual and convincing arguments of operations towards the well-being and better informed public.”
Shuaib, who is  also the publisher of PRNigeria, Nigeria’s foremost News Releases platform, delivered a paper to senior military officers on “Managing the influence of Social Media on Military Operations.”
Shuaib said: “The enemies are hidden in their cocoon using the social media in recruiting volunteers, mobilizing resources and attacking public consciousness, mostly through threats of violence and terrorism”.
The military as an institution that can effectively counter terrorism should realise that conventional weapons have their limitations in psychological warfare. They should therefore explore the benefit of Social Media which is cost effective for engaging large audience; providing adequate Information; responding timely to enquiries; sharing educative media data and coordinating activities with different groups”, he said.

Poor funding of ICPC, others worries Senate

The Senate has observed that the fight against corruption in Nigeria may be scuttled by the growing underfunding of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Chukwuka Godfrey Utazi, who raised the concern during the budget defence of ICPC at the National Assembly Complex noted that poor budgetary allocation to the Commission would hinder ICPC from attaining its set targets.
He said, “If we want to fight corruption, we must fund the fight. You want to fight corruption without funding? It won’t work. Agencies like ICPC need to get into the consciousness of Nigerians. They need to do enlightenment and educate the people on the ills of corruption. This will help us to look at the ‘cause’ which is less expensive than what we are doing now by running after the corrupt.”
Senator Utazi assured ICPC that the Senate would ensure improved budgetary allocation to the Commission.

Professionalism is key to growth of maritime industry – NIMASA DG

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside flanked by the; Executive Director Operations, NIMASA Engr. Rotimi Fashakin (L), and the President of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) Engr. Charles Uwadia ®, during courtesy visit by the members of AMES to the NIMASA Head office in Lagos recently. 

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has stated that professionalism has a key role to play in the development and growth of the maritime industry in Nigeria.
 Dr. Peterside who made this assertion when members of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) paid a courtesy visit to the Head quarters of NIMASA in Lagos, described the role of the body to the sector as indispensible and called on them to bring to the fore their expertise in helping the Agency actualize its core mandate of regulating the industry.
 While describing them as highly skilled and focused professionals that cannot be brushed aside, the DG intimated them that the current Management of the Agency is working hard and leaving no stone unturned to reposition and rebuild the maritime sector to make it world class.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

APC not behind PDP crises

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has debunked allegations in a statement credited to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleging that the APC is responsible for the action of the Police, which prevented some members of that faction from meeting at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja, initial venue of their stakeholders’ meeting.
In that same statement, the Markarfi-led faction of the PDP also alleged that the APC had somehow influenced the Appeal Court decision which ruled against it in its quest to be named as the authentic PDP by the court.
But a statement by the APC said neither of these allegations is true in any respect.
The Police does not take instructions from the APC. The Police themselves have explained why they stopped the Markarfi group from meeting at the ICC. If the factional PDP is dissatisfied with the Police explanation, they could seek further clarifications from the Police or pursue alternative means of redress.

Fake news, bigger threat than insurgency, militancy -FG



From Left; the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar, Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello; Commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral SI Alade; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni; President, Alumni Association of the National Defence College, Brig.-Gen. JN Temlong (Rtd); and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the 7th National Security Seminar of the Alumni Association of the National Defence College in Abuja on Tuesday.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the threat posed by the fake news phenomenon is greater than that posed by insurgency and militancy, hence the need for the military to strategise on how to counter it with the same vigour with which it confronted Boko Haram.
The Minister stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 7th National Security Seminar of the Alumni Association of the National Defence College.

100 Days: Centennial musings on Obaseki’s economic administration

By John Mayaki
That Mr Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki’s government in Edo State would be a colossal success should never have been in doubt. The handwriting had always been on the wall; but those who are wanting when foresight is being deployed could not have perceived it. 
His background in finance and international business is a pointer to the timeliness of his emergence as governor, especially seeing as Nigeria is going through such a harrowingly inflationary strait in its financial affairs. In times as these, when virtually every state economy in the country seems headed for the rocks, it will require nothing more than a skilled economist and leader at the helms of affairs, and compliantly adjuvant people to sail against the tide and pull through.
Barring an insignificant number of unhappy partisans, there is already enough belief in Governor Obaseki’s capability to move Edo to the next level. The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku’ Akpolokpolo Ewuare II paid him a visit and said he would support his administration.

Save Lagos Group wants Assembly to throw out draconian environmental bill

Save Lagos Group has written to the Lagos State House of Assembly with a call on members to halt further work on the proposed environmental law pending before them.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker, Mr. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa and other members of the Assembly dated on the 14th of February, 2017, the Save Lagos Group described the law as draconian and against the interest of the people of the state.
Convener of the group, Comrade Adeniyi A. Sulaiman stated in the letter that the law if eventually passed as forwarded to the Assembly by the executive arm of the state government would leave the people at the mercy of some shadowy elements in government whom he (Sulaiman) accused of making frantic attempt to corner the wealth of the state to themselves.
He accused the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of substituting the now moribund Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) with a new entity solely for the promotion of a hidden agenda that is at variance with the interest of the people of the state.
Specifically, he faulted the contents of the bill tagged A Law to provide for the Management, Protection and Sustainable Development of the Environment in Lagos State as capable of further impoverishing the people of the state who are already feeling the pang of the current economic hardship in the country occasioned by the recession in the economy.

Ooni of Ife to host renowned space astronaut next week

Preparations are in top gear for His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ile-Ife to host the renowned astronaut, adventurer and inventor, Nik Halik for the Nigeria edition of “Rocket your Success” a motivational program for young and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Astronaut, Nik Halik, who is presently on a world tour, will be in Ile-Ife next week Wednesday and Thursday respectively to pay homage to the foremost traditional ruler before proceeding to Lagos for the Rocket your Success” conference on 4th March to promote the entrepreneurial and adventure spirit among young people.
Speaking about his upcoming trip to Nigeria, the astronaut said, Nigeria presents a unique opportunity in the future of space science and technology.
In many ways, Nigeria and Africa as a whole, is open for many opportunities to develop its young people and foster interest in a future thriving space program and adventure. In my trip to Africa, I have seen eager and curious minds wanting to take on the world. Now is the time to encourage them to attain their full potential.”

Don't expect me back any time soon, Buhari tells Nigerians

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he needed a longer period of time to rest in London, United Kingdom where he had gone on medical vacation.The president said the need to further rest in London was necessitated by the series of medical tests he had run.
He however expressed gratitude to Nigerians who have been praying for him, saying that there was no cause for alarm.
The president's appreciation was contained in a brief statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

Tambo International Airport set to drive economic growth in SA

JOHANNESBURG – Industry estimates suggest that in 2016 airlines transported 52 million metric tonnes of goods, representing more than 35 percent of global trade by value but less than 1 percent of world trade by volume. That is equivalent to $6.8 trillion worth of goods annually, or $18.6 billion worth of goods every day.
As such, the air cargo sector also plays a significant role in the economic and subsequent social progress of a country, and numerous cities around the world are using their airports as engines to drive economic development and growth.
For a few years now, Africa has been viewed as a window of opportunity with a great deal of untapped potential for trade and business. However, what the continent requires very much is an infrastructure that can prop up the aviation industry in general, and in particular the air cargo industry, to fuel the economic growth of the continent.
South Africa, with Johannesburg leveraging the opportunities presented to it by the OR Tambo International Airport, one of the African airports managed by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), has shown itself to be the leader amongst African nations in developing these capabilities, redefining the future of aviation on the continent.

Wike says sustained injustice by Federal Government affecting Nigeria's unity

L-R  Secretary General OHANEZE NDIGBO,  Uche Okwukwu, Dr John Nnia Nwodo, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Deputy Governor; Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo during the visit of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide to Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday. 

Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike has regretted  that heightening injustice  by the Federal Government is negatively  affecting  the  unity of  the country. 
He also berated the Federal Government for engineering insecurity in Rivers State through  the  use of pliant  security  agencies to manipulate the security infrastructure of the state. 
He spoke on Tuesday  at the Government House, Port Harcourt when he granted audience to the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr John Nwodo and the executives of the association. 

Information and Culture Ministry signs MoU on the Grand Book

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle)

flanked with the Chairman, Leadership/Folio Limited, Mr. Fidelis Anosike and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the ministry and the Leadership/Folio Limited for the production of the Nigerian Grand Book in Abuja on Monday

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Monday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Leadership/Folio Limited for the production of a Grand Book titled “Publication of Nigeria: Our Heritage Book (National Souvenir).''
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, signed on behalf of the ministry while the Chairman of Leadership Folio Limited, Mr. Fidelis Anosike, signed for the production company.

ISS seeks collaboration with DHQ

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin has commended the leadership of Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and her efforts in capacity building.  The CDS noted that with the array of faculties in the institute, ISS is doing a lot to improve the knowledge of intelligence gathering of the participants which could impact positively in the ongoing war on insurgency and other allied criminalities in the country. The CDS made this commendation when he played host to participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course 10 of the ISS who were on a geo strategic tour of notable security institutions in Abuja.
The CDS observed that with the current rate of insecurity facing the country, threat analysis requires comprehensive knowledge and urged the institute to strive to chart a new intelligence policy to meet up with the current realities.

Forex Intervention: CBN releases $370mn

Sequel to its promise to ease the difficulties encountered by Nigerians in obtaining funds for Foreign Exchange transactions, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, carried out wholesale interventions in the interbank FOREX market by providing a total sum of $370,810,810.79 to 23 banks to meet the visible and inviable requests of customers.
A source at the CBN disclosed that the qualified bids for the United States dollars ranged from N315 to N360, adding that seven banks received full allotments of their respective bids valued at $37,500,000 each. Other banks received allotments ranging from $46, 512.50 to $15,578,081.51. 
Confirming the information, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the Bank’s intermediation in the Forex market was the first wholesale intervention aimed at easing the pressure of access to forex by Nigerians who intend to meet obligations that fall under visible and invisible needs categories. 
He further explained that the CBN offered $500,000,000.00 for sale to the banks, but not all of them provided enough naira backing to pay fully for their respective bid amounts. 
While expressing optimism that the wholesale intervention of the CBN would substantially ease the foreign exchange pressure on visible and invisible needs of customers, Okorafor assured that the Bank would continue to make interventions based on qualified bids from the banks on the requests of their customers. 

AGF, Sagay, Falana, others to attend SERAP’s improving anticorruption institutions roundtable

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, Professor Itse Sagay SAN Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, and Femi Falana SAN are among those that have confirmed their participation at the maiden Strategic Dialogue on Improving Anticorruption Institutions in Nigeria being organized by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in collaboration with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Scheduled for tomorrow February 22, 2017 at the Westown Hotels, Jummy Hall, Sheraton Opebi Link Road, Ikeja by 10:00 a.m., the theme of the roundtable is: “Combating Corruption and Impunity: The Imperatives of Improving the Effectiveness of Anti-Corruption Institutions and the Justice System in Nigeria.”
The roundtable is expected to come up with key programme agenda for among others prosecuting high-level public officials for corruption; responding to the tactics of suspected corrupt officials to delay and frustrate corruption cases against them; improving the independence and freedom of action of anticorruption institutions, and empowering and mobilizing the citizens to take ownership of the fight against corruption in the country.

Expect changes in nation’s ports, business visas, others soon-Osinbajo

Committed to achieving its objective of creating a conducive business environment in Nigeria, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has approved a 60-day national action plan to push through short term reforms.
The Acting President, who addressed journalists after the Council’s meeting attended today by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara at the State House, said the Council will within the stipulated period focus on areas that will not only deliver tangible changes for SMEs but also help improve Nigeria’s entire business environment within the shortest possible time.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, ``we are trying to improve the business environment in three broad respects; the entry and exit of goods; entry and exit of persons into Nigeria, and then general government transparency- transparency and efficiency in government agencies, parastatals.
``The whole idea is that we are able to provide an environment for those who want to do business in Nigeria- local businesses and of course, foreign businesses.’’
The Acting President said the participation of National Assembly’s leadership at Tuesday’s meeting was to ``work together, trying to improve the business environment in Nigeria.’’

Another batch of 171 Nigerians deported from Libya

A Libyan returnee being interviewd at the Airport
Again, a batch of 171 Nigerians who have been stranded in Libya  and wanted to  return to the country were Tuesday  assisted to return to Nigeria by International Oganization for  Migration , IOM after the Federal government called for their assistance on getting  the news that some Nigerians were being dehumanized in Libya and were willing to return home.
The aircraft, an Airbus 329 with registration number Nouvelair TS-INB  conveying the​ returnees landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) around 4:00pm.The returnees were received at the Hajj Terminal by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

FG, states and LGE’s share N465.149 billion for the month of January 2017

A total of N465.149 billion has been distributed as Federal Allocation for the month of January, 2017 between the  Federal Government, State Governments and Local Government Councils. 
The  communiqué issued by the Technical  sub -Committee of Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) at the end of the meeting indicated that the Gross statutory revenue received is N324.990 billion which is  higher by N76.275 billion when compared with the N248.635 billion received in the month of December, 2016. 
The shared amount comprised the Month's Statutory distributable revenue of N282.406 billion, Value Added Tax of N73.522 billion, Exchange gain of N48.371 billion and  Excess PPT Account of N60.850 billion.
There  was also a N6.330 billion refund to the Federal Government by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Therefore, from the Net Statutory revenue, Federal Government received N133.192 billion (52.68%); States received N67.557 billion (26.72%); Local Government Councils received N52.083 billion (20.60%); while the Oil Producing States received N20.620 billion as 13% derivation revenue. 
Furthermore, from the Revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT), Federal Government received N10.587 (15%); States received N35.291 billion (50%) while the Local Government Councils received N24.703  (35%).

Edo Govt to hold technical, basic workshops in Benin

The Edo Government in its quest to overhaul the education sector in the state, has planned two different Education workshops in Benin.
This is coming barely a month after the Agribusiness workshop organized by the Godwin Obaseki led administration. 
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr John Mayaki, the Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and made available to the journalists in Benin on Tuesday.
The workshops with the themes: "Revamping Technical and Vocational Education in Edo State" and "Repositioning Universal Basic Education in Edo State" are scheduled to hold from Feb. 22 to 24 and 24 to 26 respectively.
The Technical workshop is to be chaired by Prof David Awanbor, a renowned educationist while the Basic Education workshop will be chaired by Chief Sam Igbe, the Iyase of Benin.
Participants from the National Technical Examination Board (NATEB) and other relevant education stakeholders are expected to attend the workshop

Why APC Gombe caretaker committee was reconstituted – Sen. Goje

(L-R) Deputy National Chairman (North), All Progressives Congress (APC) Sen. Lawal Shuaibu; APC National Treasurer, Alh. Bala Mohammed Gwagwarwa and State Chairman, Gombe State APC Caretaker Working Committee, Hon. Idi Barde Gubana during the inauguration.

The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has stated reasons why the Gombe State Caretaker Working Committee was reconstituted.
The Party’s Deputy National Chairman (North), Sen. Lawal Shuaibu on Monday evening while inaugurating the newly constituted four-member caretaker committee, cited “irreconcilable differences” among members of the previous Caretaker Working Committee.
Sen. Shuaibu said: “We have had a lot of challenges running the Party in Gombe state, challenges which I narrated when we inaugurated the first caretaker committee. We got to a stage where a consensus was reached as to how we can move the Party in Gombe state forward. Arising from that, we constituted a caretaker committee. The caretaker committee did a wonderful job, but along the line we observed some irreconcilable differences among the members.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Pension law: Ebonyi denies deducting workers salaries

Ebonyi state government Monday denied deduction of  workers’ salaries before the passage of the new pension law recently  signed by Governor Dave Umahi.
It described the allegation of labpour leaders in the state that the government was deducting salaries of workers before the law came into being as baseless and attempt to mislead and incite the workers against the government.
Addressing journalists in Abakaliki, the Special Adviser to Governor Dave Umahi on Labour Relations, Comrade Grace Chukwu urged the labour leaders support the new pension law.
She expressed surprise  that the labour leaders who were part of the process that led to the emergence of the new pension law could claim that they were not  involved before the passage of the law.
“The labour leader were consulted, they were involved in the whole process. They were there at the state House of Assembly during public hearing on the matter and they made their input.

Senate condemns Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in S/A

Nigerians Protesting Xenophobia attack in South Africa at South Africa High

The renewed Xenophobic atta‎cks on Nigerians living in South Africa has been condemned by the senate , just as it asked the Federal  Federal government to take harder stance against the country.
Senate Committee Chairman on Diaspora, Senator Rose Oko‎ who expressed dissatisfaction over  continuous killings of Nigerians in South Africa, said that she has written a  letter to the Ministry of foreign Affairs to furnish the committee with what really transpired, adding, "We have written to Ministry of foreign Affairs to avail us with ‎happened in South Africa between the Police and the man.
"We condemned in very strong term these attacks on Nigerians and Several terms, there are extra -judicial killings in south Africa and there is Xenophobic Attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
"You aware that in 2016 alone, about 20 Nigerians were killed in extra-judicial manner before this time, several have been killed in extra-judicial manner. There are several incidences of Xenophobic Attacks on Nigeria in South Africa. You are also aware that Nigeria/ South Africa have excellent diplomatic ties‎. In 2013, when there was Xenophobic Attacks, former President signed Memorandum of Understanding to re-enforce diplomatic ties ."

Nigerian banks’ foreign-currency liquidity declines, a credit negative (Moody's commentary)

Last Tuesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria released data showing that foreign-currency deposits, which are predominantly US dollars, declined by 14.2% to $14.5 billion in December 2016 from $16.9 billion in June 2016.
We believe the majority of the withdrawals are related to Treasury Single Account (TSA) remittances, which require federal government agencies to keep excess cash in a single account 
at the central bank rather than at banks. Additionally, withdrawals of foreign currency (FX)
 deposits are attributable to depositors transferring FX balances abroad amid dampened confidence and uncertainty regarding Nigeria’s FX environment. The reduction in FX deposits is credit
 negative for Nigerian banks because it lessens banks’ already-weakened FX liquidity buffers.

I was born Igbo, raised by the North & empowered by the West--Okorocha

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha has said that having been born an Igboman, raised up in the North and empowered by the West, he has no other option than to allow such lofty development guide his actions and utterances, adding that he cannot hate his origin, or hate where he grew up and neither would he bite the fingers that fed him.
Governor Okorocha spoke when a powerful delegation from the Olowo of Owo Kingdom in Ondo State, HRM Oba (Dr.) Folagbade David Victor Olateru Olagbeji III visited him in Owerri Monday to express their appreciation over what they described as the governor’s commendable role in the victory of their son, Barr. Rotimi Akeredolu in the November 26, 2016 governorship election in Ondo State, stressing that he would continue to sing the song of Unity and not that of division among Nigerians.
His words “the visit to me, is a bridge-building event that will further cement the relationship of the Igbo with the Yoruba. I was born an Igboman, raised in the North and empowered by the West. I cannot hate my origin or hate those who raised me up and neither would I bite the fingers that fed me. I became who I am today by the help and association of Yoruba people”.

Speaker Dogara calls for more permanent solution to N/Delta crisis

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has advocated for a permanent solution to the crisis of the Niger Delta region. 
Dogara was represented by House Minority Leader Hon. Leo Ogor, said this  when he declared open an investigative hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement and Niger Delta Affairs on the alleged violation of public procurement Act/Abuses of the Amnesty Programme in Abuja.
The Speaker states that as representatives of the people, the House noted the urgent need to take necessary steps to solve the problems bedevilling the amnesty proggramme, and restore it to the ideals for which it was set up.
"Let me use this opportunity to state that a more permanent solution which directly empowers the areas and stakeholders where oil and gas is produced should be instituted in order to achieve better fiscal, social and environmental equity," he said.

Niger probes N4.4bn bail out funds to LGAs

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger has inaugurated a 7-man administrative panel of enquiry to ascertain the utilisation of the N4.4 billion bail out to 12 local government councils for payment of salary arrears to workers.  
The panel headed by a retired Permanent Secretary in the state Civil Service, Mr. Daniel Clifford Tarachi, is to unravel why the affected local government councils failed to pay staff salaries despite the bail out by the state government. 
Governor Sani Bello said the setting up of the panel became necessary following high level of financial recklessness and impunity at the grassroot level and the need to curtail the development from further causing more havoc. 
He frowned at what he called "irresponsible behaviour of some of the local government chief executives" for refusing to pay their staff even when the state government has released funds to assist them.
He observed that some of the affected local government councils have started paying when they heard of government's move to look into the immediate and remote cause of their failure to pay. 
"I find it necessary to set up this panel to know what really happened, what went wrong, how the fund given was disbursed and what it was used for. I cannot understand why primary school teachers and local government staff will be owed 3, 4 or 5 months salary after the councils have been given money to pay.

CBN releases new forex policy action

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is providing direct additional funding to banks to meet the needs of Nigerians for Personal and Business Travel, Medical needs, and School fees, effective immediately. The CBN expects such retail transactions to be settled at a rate not exceeding 20 percent above the interbank market rate.
A. Travel Allowances
Having cleared the historic backlog of matured letters of credit at the inception of the current flexible exchange rate system, the CBN would immediately begin to provide foreign exchange to all commercial banks to meet the needs of both personal travel allowances (PTA) and business travel allowances (BTA) for onward sale to customers. All banks would receive amounts commensurate with their demand per week, which would be sold to customers who meet usual basic documentary requirements.

Dabiri-Erewa calls on African Union to intervene on xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans

Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior  Special Assistant to the President  on Foreign  Affairs and Diaspora has called on the South African government to take decisive and definitive measures to protect Nigerian citizens and other Africans within South African borders.
She equally called on the African Union to intervene urgently in the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa,  described the attacks as an unnecessary setback.
The Nigerian Community in South Africa led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.
Anyene said that the union had reported the incident to the Nigeria mission and South African police.
As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans", Anyene said.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Police postpone date of national security summit on kidnapping

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris has announced a shift of date of the National Security Summit on kidnapping, farmers-pastoralists clashes, violent crimes and other forms of criminality in Nigeria earlier scheduled to hold on 22nd and 23rd of February, 2017 in Abuja to a new date that will be announced in due course.
According to a statement signed by CSP Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters,the change of date was necessitated by the need to make the summit all encompassing and allow more stakeholders to participate actively in the conference.

Trump Rally: Army says it didn't kill IPOB members

The 6 Division Nigerian Army has refuted what it called a baseless and unsubstantiated allegation by one Mr. Emma Powerful who claims to be the Media and Publicity Secretary of a criminal gang that goes by appellation "Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)" in which he claimed through the media that 11 of its members were killed by soldiers on 20th January 2017 in Port Harcourt while conducting a solidarity rally to commemorate the election of Mr. Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.
According to a statement by Colonel Aminu Iliyasu,Deputy Director  Army Public Relations , “the allegation is false, malicious and existed in the figment of his imagination. We therefore wish to warn Mr. Emma Powerful and  other like minded mischief makers that the Nigerian Army will no longer tolerate such spurious and unfounded allegations that are injurious to the hard-earned image and reputation of the Nigerian Army, its selfless and dedicated officers and soldiers by any group of criminals regardless of their appellation.

SERAP to FG: Go to court over alleged diversion of N388.304bn Paris Club loan refunds by states

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has written to the Accountant – General of the Federation Alh. Ahmed Idris, FCNA requesting him “to urgently pass on information to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN relating to the release of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds to 35 states by the federal government so that Mr Malami can take steps to initiate legal action against the states that allegedly diverted and mismanaged the funds.”
The organization asked Alh. Idris to compile and pass on information on the spending of the funds by states to Mr Malami so that he can take appropriate legal action to “compel the states to widely publish, including on a dedicated website, details of spending of the funds by them. We request that you take this step within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel the discharge of duty in this matter.”
In the open letter dated 17 February 2017 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization said: “SERAP strongly believes that passing on information on the spending by states of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds to Mr Malami and bringing a case against the states that have allegedly diverted and mismanaged funds meant for payment of salaries and pension is rational, and would be a powerful tool to deter corruption in the states of the federation.”

We can’t be distracted, says Delta Lawmaker

The member representing Ethiope East Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Evance Ivwurie has described the assumption that the state lawmakers relocated to Labour House as wicked, malicious and diversionary.
Ivwurie told journalists in Asaba that the lawmakers did not relocate to Labour House for sitting.
In response to what he calls “unfair” or “biased” news reports, Ivwurie said the Delta State lawmakers can’t be distracted.
The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources held a public hearing at Labour House” he said.
To put the record straight, Ivwurie said the Delta State House of Assembly adjourned on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, stressing that the lawmakers are yet to resume sitting.
Ivwurie, who is chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, said a warning that participants will be embarrassed by the striking workers and the withdrawal of those saddled with logistics responsibilities in the assembly compelled the committee to make alternative arrangement.

Obaseki commends Fashola over Edo roads, housing

Edo State Controller, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Works Section), Engr. Owhe Oke briefing the Federal Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on the progress of work

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, yesterday, commended the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) for the progress of work at the Benin-Ehor axis of the Benin-Ehor-Lokoja roads.
This was as the minister inspected ongoing works at the Aduwawa axis of the Benin-Ehor-Lokoja road.
While inspecting the road, Fashola (SAN) briefed the Edo State governor of his inspection tour on roads leading into and out of the state.
He said that plans were also in the making to rehabilitate the bad portions at the Ekpoma axis of the same road.
Speaking further, the minister noted that full reconstruction of the bad portion would carried out to ensure durability of the road.
I have gotten recommendations about the fail portions of the Ekpoma axis of the road. I have asked them to get money for the contractor to do full reconstruction of the bad portions, instead of patching it up, which will wear away soon. As soon as we get money, the contractor will come back to site”, he said.

Ajimobi signs new anti-land grabbing bill to law, prescribes 15-year jail term for offenders

L-R: Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Seun Abimbola; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Adeyemo; and the Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at the signing of anti-land grabbing bill into law, at the Executive Council Chamber, Governor's Office, Ibadan... on Friday. Photo: Governor's Office

Forcible seizure of any landed property across Oyo State or an attempt to do so, otherwise known as land grabbing, has become a criminal offence that attracts a maximum of 15 years imprisonment or a fine of N500,000 or both.
This is one of the provisions of the new Real Properties Protection Law, 2016, which the Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, signed into law, at the Executive Council Chambers, in Ibadan, on Friday.  
The law is titled, “A law to protect the rights of property owners and prohibit forceful entry, illegal occupation, violent and fraudulent conducts, in relation to real properties in Oyo State and for purposes connected therewith.”
At the signing ceremony were the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Adeyemo; Commissioner for Lands, Housing, Survey and Urban Development; Mr. Ajiboye Omodewu; and Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Seun Abimbola.
The law also prescribes ten years jail term or a fine of N500,000 upon conviction for illegal entry into any construction site “for the purpose of stopping, disturbing or otherwise” demand for any fee or levy in respect of construction activities.
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