Saturday, March 23, 2019

FG condemns assassination of Nigerian immigration attaché in Sudan

The Federal Government on Friday strongly condemned the assassination of a Nigerian Immigration Attaché I, Mr Habibu Almu, in the Nigerian Mission in Khartoum, Sudan.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Dr Tope Elias-Fatile, on Friday in Abuja, the federal government described the killing as “unfortunate”.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has received an official report from our Mission in Khartoum, Sudan on the death of the Immigration Attaché I in the Mission, Mr Habibu Almu.
“He was killed in his official quarters on Thursday. This, indeed, sad news.
“The untimely death of the officer is certainly a great loss to our country.
“The Federal Government sympathises with the family members of the deceased on this unfortunate incident,” he said.
Read More: Nigerian diplomat feared killed in Sudan
He said that the Mission was working very closely with host authorities in their investigations over the incident
He assured that the government would do everything possible to ensure that those behind this dastardly act are made to face the full wrath of the law.

2019 Elections: EFCC investigating top politicians for vote-buying

EFCC is tracking financing of campaign by political parties as part of new measures to tackle vote-buying. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched a massive investigation into “political actors” who are engaged in the practice of vote-buying during elections in the country. Vote-buying is the practice of paying voters to compel them to vote for particular candidates during an election, and has become a hot-button issue ahead of the 2019 general elections.The All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) were strongly condemned for paying voters between N3,000 to N5,000 to influence their electoral decisions in the July 14 Ekiti gubernatorial election. Ahead of the September 22 gubernatorial election in Osun State, EFCC has disclosed that it is tracking financing of campaign by political parties as part of new measures to tackle vote-buying.In a statement signed by the anti-graft agency’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, on Friday, September 21, 2018, he said the agency is committed to ensuring the prosecution of everyone engaged in the practice.He said, “As part of the commission’s proactive efforts in securing the integrity of the electoral process and preventing the exercise from being used as avenue for money laundering, the EFCC has already launched massive, but discreet, surveillance of the financial flows of all the actors in the various political parties.”We must guard against electoral malpractices – MaguUwujaren also quoted the agency’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, as disclosing that the EFCC will be working in collaboration with other security and intelligence agencies to protect Nigeria’s democratic process.He said, “We will be working with all stakeholders especially from the security and intelligence community to stop the practice of vote buying and other financial malpractices that undermine the integrity of our elections.”It is important to state here that those who offer bribes for votes are as guilty as those who receive such gratifications. My candid advice to the electorates is to be vigilant and resist the temptation to sell their votes.”After the widely acclaimed peaceful transfer of power from a sitting president, who was the candidate of the then ruling party, to the candidate of the opposition party in 2015, the 2019 general election offers Nigeria the opportunity to deepen her emerging democratic culture that is free and participatory. We must guard this process by shunning all forms of electoral malpractices.”Uwujaren disclosed that the ongoing tracking process to fight vote-buying will continue till all the scheduled elections in the country are concluded.

Nigeria to benefit a lot as new FCWC president, says Lokpobiri

Heineken Lokpobiri
Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, says several advantages will accrue to Nigeria as the new president of Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC).The minister said this on Friday in Abuja, while speaking to newsmen on the sidelines of 10th Annual Ministerial Conference of FCWC.
He said that the benefits included capacity building and technological application schemes aimed at scaling up fish production.He said that Nigeria was appointed the new president of FCWC, in line with the extant protocols which required any country hosting the annual FCWC meeting to chair the committee for next one year.
“Nigeria will benefit more because FCWC has enough funds; all the annual contributions total about 255,000 dollars but every year, the committee gets up to one billion-dollar support from EU, Norway and other donor partners.

Mass Defection: APC still has majority in the National Assembly – Ahmed Lawan

The Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said this while briefing newsmen in Abuja after a closed door meeting of APC caucus members. Members of the All Progressives Congress(APC) Caucus in the Senate, has said that the party remains in control of the National Assembly.The Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, while briefing newsmen in Abuja after about three hours closed session, said there was no cause for concern.He said, “out of the 109 senate seats, the APC has 52, the PDP has 50, the ADC has three and APGA has two.“Recall that we lost two of our colleagues, one from Katsina, one from Bauchi. So, we have two vacancies. If you put this together we have 109.“I want to assure you that by the grace of God, INEC will conduct by-elections to fill in the vacancies in Bauchi and Katsina and by the grace of God they are our safest seats.“We are  still expecting some of our colleagues in the PDP who are originally our members to defect.“They have expressed willingness to join APC and for our collleagues that have left we are still optimistic that many of them or all of them will have a change of heart.“APC remains the majority party in the Senate and in the House of  Representatives,” he said.The lawmaker said the APC lawmakers would continue to support President President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on his promises to Nigerians.He gave the names of the 52 senators still with the APC to include Adamu Aliero-Kebbi, Yahaya Abdullahi-Kebbi, Bala Ibn N’Allah-Kebbi, Aliyu Wamakko-Sokoto, Ibrahim Gobir-Sokoto and Ahmed Yerima-Zamfara.Others are, Kabiru Marafa-Zamfara, Tijjani Kaura-Zamfara, Abu Ibrahim- Katsina, Umar Kurfi-Katsina, Kabiru Gaya-Kano, Barau Jibrin-Kano, Abdullahi Gumel-Jigawa, Sabo Mohammed-Jigawa, Shehu Sani-Kaduna.They also include, Ahmed Lawan-Yobe,Bukar Abba Ibrahim-Yobe, Ali Ndume-Borno, Abubakar Kyari-Borno, Baba Kaka Garbai-Borno, Sabi Abdullahi-Niger, David Umaru-Niger, Mustapha Mohammed-Niger, Abdullahi Adamu-Nasarawa.Others are George Akume-Benue, Joshua Dariye Plateau, Francis Alimikhena-Edo, Andy Uchendu-Rivers, Magnus Abe-Rivers, Ovie Omo Agege- Delta, John Eno-Cross River, Nelson Effiong-Akwa Ibom, Andy Uba-Anambra, Sonni Ugboji-Ebonyi, Hope Uzodinma-Imo, Ben Uwajumogu-Imo, Danjuma Goje-Gombe,They further include Binta Masi-Adamawa, Ahmed Abubakar-Adamawa, Yusuf Yusuf-Taraba, Oluremi Tinubu-Lagos, Gbenga Ashafa-Lagos, Solomon Adeola-Lagos, Tayo Alasoadura-Ondo.They equally include Gbolahan Dada-Ogun, Soji Akanbi-Oyo, Ajayi Boroffice-Ondo, Yele Omogunwa-Ondo South, Abdullahi Buhari-Oyo, Babajide Omoworare-Osun, Olusola Adeyeye-Osun, Fatima Raji Rasaki-Ekiti.ALSO READ: Oshiomhole says he’s not disturbed that 51 National Assembly members dumped APC“This administration of APC is focused, the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing so much for this country.“We need to work to support the president to ensure that Nigeria reduces its deficit in infrastructure, so that the social investment we are making will come to fruition.“Every well meaning Nigerian is supposed to support the president to fight all those few challenges that we have across the country,” he said.Fourteen lawmakers had earlier at plenary on Tuesday, announced their defection to the PDP and other parties.

Smartphones: 4G phones grow in popularity as Africa’s market recovers in 2017

Drop in prices for entry-level 4G phones and an increase in the number of 4G networks across the continent are the driving forces for the growth in 4G devices. Africa’s smartphone market recovered from two consecutive declines to post quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth of 4.4 percent in Q3 2017, according to the latest insights released today by International Data Corporation (IDC).During the period, 4G-enabled smartphones grew in popularity with shipments increasing by 5.5 percent quarter on quarter to account for majority share of the smartphone market at 52.9 percent.According to IDC’s research, drop in prices for entry-level 4G phones and an increase in the number of 4G networks across the continent are the driving force for the growth in 4G devices. ALSO READ: The best and worst features of the Samsung Galaxy S9This pointer was revealed in the global technology research and consulting firm’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which shows that smartphone shipments for the quarter reached 21.7 million units, spurred by ongoing economic recoveries in some of the continent’s major markets. Year on year (YoY), shipments were down -5.5 percent, but this still represents an improvement on the YoY performance seen in the previous two quarters.In the feature phone space, shipments totalled 33.7 million units, down -3.6 percent QoQ after increasing for the three previous quarters. However, YoY, the feature phone market was up 11.5 percent. Feature phones still constitute a significant 60.8 percent share of the total mobile phone market as they adequately address the needs of African consumers that have limited purchasing power and require a reliable long-lasting mode of communication, particularly those in rural areas.ALSO READ: This is what your smartphone is doing to your brain — and it isn’t goodCombining smartphones and feature phones together, the overall Africa mobile phone market saw shipments of 55.4 million units in Q3 2017, which represents a slight QoQ decrease of -0.7 percent but an increase of 4.2 percent YoY. There were contrasting fortunes for the continent’s two biggest markets, with Nigeria seeing shipments increase 1.7 percent QoQ while South Africa suffered a decline of -8.0 percent over the same period. Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC said “the Nigerian economy is slowly coming out of recession and we’re seeing signs of steady improvement in consumer demand for mobile phones.” “However, consumer spending remained slow in South Africa during Q3 2017 as many consumers opted to delay their purchases until Q4 when major campaigns take place around Black Friday and the lead up to Christmas. In addition, an unstable currency and challenging economic environment do not present favourable conditions for a surge in mobile phone shipments in the country,” concluded Ramazan.Looking ahead, IDC expects Africa’s overall mobile phone market to grow 6.2 percent QoQ in Q4 2017, spurred by the increase in demand that typically accompanies the festive season. However, the forecast for the year ahead is not as positive, with IDC expecting overall shipments to remain relatively flat through 2018, with a decline in feature phone shipments and slower uptake of smartphones causing the market to contract -0.5 percent YoY.The economic downturn of 2017 saw growth in demand for feature phone by consumers in Nigeria.

Court dismisses Rickey Tarfa’s no-case submission, N520m damages

Rickey Tarfa
Justice Adedayo Akintoye of an Igbosere High Court in Lagos on Friday dismissed the no-case submission by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa.The judge also refused to award the N520 million damages applied for by the defendant against the EFCC for “malicious prosecution”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Tarfa with a 26-count offence bordering on bribery and attempt to pervert the course of justice.
However, at the end of the prosecution’s case, Tarfa through his lawyer, Mr Jelili Owonikoko, made a no-case submission in bribery charge slammed on him by the EFCC.
He said they had reviewed the prosecution’s case and concluded that the defendant had no case to answer.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, Justice Akintoye, while ruling on the application, said the prosecution had established the essential elements of the offences which the defendant was charged with.
“What is expected of this court at this stage of no-case submission is to look at the evidence adduced so far and determine whether a prima facie case has been disclosed against the defendant.
“At this stage also, the prosecution is not required to have established its case beyond reasonable doubt against the defendant as the guilt of the defendant is not in issue now.
“I have carefully evaluated the evidence so far with the totality of evidence adduced before this honourable court, it is my opinion that the prosecution has established the essential elements of the alleged offences with which the defendant is charged,” Akintoye said.
She said the court would require some explanations in respect of the charge preferred against the defendant.
“The evidence of the prosecution witnesses has not been discredited by the cross-examination of the defence counsel to the extent that no reasonable tribunal will simply convict based on it.
“I, therefore, hold that a prima facie case of failing and refusing to declare his assets, making false information to an officer of the EFCC and offering gratification to a public official as stated in the amended information filed before this court has been made against the defendant.
“Therefore, the defendant is called upon to enter his defence and the no-case submission filed on his behalf is hereby dismissed,” Akintoye ruled.
She added:“With regards to the defendant’s applicant claim for exemplary damages for malicious prosecution against the EFCC, I find no merit in this claim of N520 million damages and same is refused.”Akintoye adjourned the case until March 13 for the defence to open its case.
NAN recalls that Tarfa had on Jan. 17, asked the court to award N520 million damages against the EFCC after a no-case submission.He urged the court to see the 26-count charge brought against him by the EFCC as “malicious”.
He also wants the court to “make an example of the anti-graft agency and slam the hammer” on it with a N520 million damages.The lawyer has been standing trial since March 2016 and on Oct. 23, 2017, the EFCC closed its case.

I’ll report at EFCC today, says Fayose

Former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose is expected to report at the Econimic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today to respond to allegations against him.
Fayose’s tenure expires today as his successor Kayode Fayemi steps in.
The ex-governor told Peoples Democrtic Party (PDP) governors and leaders at a valedictory dinner for him on Monday in Abuja that he would “stay and fight this battle”.
He said: ‘Tell them at the Villa; my name is Ayodele Fayose, Peter the Rock.  By the Grace of God, I will be at the EFCC on Monday by 1pm. I am not a coward.
“Let it be said to them that today is their own.  Tomorrow is our own. I will not run away, they will rather run away. They took me to Court 13 years ago, I won after eightyears.
“They harassed my family and I got judgment three times against them. This time will not be an exception. Those who wait for me will wait in vain. EFCC is no court”.
The EFCC said it had prepared three teams of investigators to quiz the former governor.
Those at the ceremony were Governors Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Darius Ishaku (Taraba); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); and the National Chairman of the PDP Uche Secondus.
Secondus urged the EFCC to follow the rule of law and the constitution in trying Fayose.
“The world is watching, international communities are also watching what will happen to this gentleman that has performed well in Ekiti.
“So when you invite him and he honours it, he is not a coward. If you tamper with his Human Rights and you detain him the whole world will cry out’’. “Ekiti State is not the same anymore. If you go to Ekiti now you can see the best of the roads, one of the longest bridges, buildings infrastructure and development in all facets
“We are proud of you as PDP governor. We are also proud of other governors of PDP. In fact, for this country, the PDP governors have set the pace for development all over our states.
“I am proud to say that all over our states around the country, you can see great achievements of our government.’’
Secondus added that the party was also proud of the choice of the former Governor of Anambra, Peter Obi as the running mate to the PDP presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP in a statement yesterday by spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan, also alleged plans by the EFCC to detain Fayose indefinitely on the Federal Government’s order.

Jonathan: I was inspired to community service by King Justin

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has described the late monarch of his community, Obanema of Otuoke, King Lot Justin as a great leader who inspired him to commit to community service as a young man.
The ex-President stated this in his tribute to the late King whose internment held on Saturday, 25 November, 2017.
The former President who attended the service of songs on Thursday and the lying in state of the late King on Friday in Otuoke community of Balylsa State, further described King Justin as an extraordinary man who was selfless in his commitment to community development.
According to him, the late Obanema was an exemplary leader who was well respected and loved by his people.
“On a personal note, long before he was made the Obanema of Otuoke, LJ as he was known then, encouraged me to commit to community service as a young man. He was an inspiration to a lot of us in Otuoke and beyond.
“The late Obanema was a leader par excellence.

Population Census: Statistician advises FG to adopt alternative models

Olubusoye, a lecturer at the Department of Statistics, University of Ibadan gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. A statistician, Dr Olusanya Olubusoye, has advised the Federal Government to adopt alternative census models, rather than the current estimated model, to measure the nation’s population for effective planning and development.Olubusoye, a lecturer at the Department of Statistics, University of Ibadan gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.The don said most countries had moved from estimated model and decennial census (conducted every 10 years) to adopting alternative census models.“A number of alternative census models are now available and these include: The rolling census, register-based census and virtual census which involve the linking of registers to surveys and administrative sources.“The register-based population census could be a panacea to the challenge of conducting national population census in Nigeria.“Some of the available administrative registers in Nigeria with potential use for census taking include: voters register which currently has over 70 million people in the database, Tax Identification Number (TIN) register.“National Identity Management register, Bank Verification Number (BVN) register, National Driving Licensing register and vital registration of births and deaths which National Population Commission (NPC) is mandated to undertake,’’ he said.“Why is it difficult to link these databases of registers collected by government agencies for the purpose of producing census figures for the country?’’According to him, the models are even more credible than the traditional headcount.Olubusoye, however, questioned the estimated population figures recently announced by the Chairman of NPC, Mr Eze Duruiheoma at a conference in New York.The NPC has put Nigeria’s current population at 198 million people with urban population growing at an average annual growth rate of about 6.5 per cent.“The figures, according to him, are estimated (underline estimated) rather than actual. For me, this is the issue of greatest concern.“ In some countries, the census is held every 10 years (decennial census) or at any regular interval below 10 years as recommended by the United Nations.“In Nigeria, there is no clear cycle for conducting the census.“The last census was held in 2006 and another round should have taken place in 2016, but we are in 2018 with no clear announcement regarding when the next census will be conducted.’’Olubusoye said it appeared the country was not willing to move away from the traditional approach.He said that Nigeria was not willing to move away from the traditional approach of conducting population census, based on complete enumeration of statistical units or persons in the country.The don said that many countries were now migrating from this approach for a number of reasons.“Some of these reasons are: First, to reduce the statistical burden on citizens, as most of the information solicited during the census taking already exists in many government and private databases.“Second, to reduce the complexity and the growing cost of labour, equipment and materials, security, administrative and others associated with census operations.“Lastly, to improve the frequency of outputs from every 10 years (decennially) to every five years (quinquennial) and possibly at higher frequency.’’Olubusoye said the dynamic nature of the modern societies had led to the rapid increase in the demand for statistical information.He said it had also led to demand for statistical information and the need for more frequent updates which were not possible with the traditional censuses.“Sometimes, the result of the traditional census data may have been out-of-date even before it is published.“Therefore, it is generally acknowledged that the traditional census taking approach is extremely expensive in operation and it requires a lot of planning, administration, work with collection, checking, registration and coding.

FG reassures Nigerians of safe release of Leah Sharibu

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave the reassurance at the 100 years celebration of St. Andrews Catholic Church, Oro, his home town near Ilorin in Kwara state The Federal Government on Thursday reassured Nigerians that it was doing its best to ensure safe release of Leah Sharibu, the only one of the kidnapped Dapchi school girls who remained in captivity.The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave the reassurance at the 100 years celebration of St. Andrews Catholic Church, Oro, his home town near Ilorin in Kwara stateSpeaking to newsmen after the Centenary anniversary thanksgiving Mass, the minister said Leah, abducted by Boko Haram, is dear to the government.“Nigerians should appreciate that any of our citizens, either boy or girl, Moslem or Christian is dear to us.“We do not look at Leah Sharibu either as Christian or Moslem, but as a precious daughter of the country.“We are doing our best to ensure her safe release and be reunited with her family members,” he said.Boko Haram abducted Leah Sharibu and 109 other girls from their schoolin Dapchi on February 19, 2018.While most of the girls have been released, Leah has remained in captivity, and her abductors had threatened to kill her.The minister also reiterated that government efforts at containing the Boko Haram insurgency were working and they are winning the war against the group.He said what were being witnessed were cowardly attacks on soft targets by the insurgents which were also being tackled.On the centenary celebration, the minister said that 100 years in the life of a Church is historic and significant.Mohammed, a staunch Muslim from Oro, said the anniversary was beyond the centenary, but a celebration of peaceful coexistence of Christianity and Islam in the town.“If you are looking for a community where there is absolute religion tolerance and peaceful coexistence , Oro is a good example.“As you can see, there are many Muslim faithfuls, like me, at this ceremony and that is how it has been from time immemorial.“I recalled a time when I was organising Ramadan prayers, I used the premises of this Church as my venue,” he said.The minister noted that no religion preaches violence and hatred but every religion embraces peace.He appealed to Christians and Muslims where ever they may be in the country to borrow a leave from the Oro community in embracing peaceful coexistence.The Catholic Bishop of Ilorin Diocese, Most Rev. Ayo-Maria Atoyebi gave gratitude to God for the celebration and described the centenary anniversary as the fruits of the Oro community’s fore fathers who accepted Christ early.The clergy thanked God for the light of the Gospel, which he said had dispelled all darkness from the town.ALSO READ: Release innocent Leah Sharibu, religious leaders tell Boko HaramChairman of the Centenary Anniversary Planning Committee, Mr. John Aransiola said it was a special day in the history of Oro community.In a brief history of the Church, Aransiola said Late Rev. Fr. Mathew Wouter, SMA, came to Oro from Osogbo through Offa to celebrate the first Mass in 1918.He paid tribute to a particular parishioner, Late Mr Johnson Aina, whom he said, at that time, encouraged the people of Oro to embrace catholicism.Aransiola said that Aina had spent his youth in Topo, Lagos state, where he learnt about Catholic faith, before coming to Oro.“In 1925, Late Chief Jerome Obada was transferred to Oro and became the first Catechist in the Church, when the first straw roofed church was built.“Obada, was a young boy from the royal family of Kabba in Kogi state, who ran away from home against the wish of his father to become a mission boy to Rev. Wouter in Osogbo where he was baptised.“In 1926, a mission house was built to house the late Chief Obada, the first Catechist,” he said.Aransiola said Rev. fathers were coming from Osogbo for Mass until 1931 when Rev. Fr. Aime Simon SMA became the first resident Parish Priest of the Oro Church.He said the priest spearheaded the building of a well completed St Andrews Church from 1933 to 1935.Aransiola said the Church was replaced by an architecturally well designed modern church dedicated in 2014 by the incumbent Bishop of Ilorin Diocese, Atoyebi, who is also from Oro.He said the establishment of the Church had brought spiritual awakening and educational and social development to the town.

More Africans smoke, die of tobacco-induced sicknesses, says WHO

Groups canvass establishment of control fund
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that unlike in developed countries where the number of people smoking and dying of tobacco products is on the decline, the figure is on the rise in developing countries and continents like Nigeria and Africa.The latest figures released yesterday on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) by the WHO indicate that tobacco use is falling, but not fast enough.
According to the WHO report, tobacco use has declined markedly since 2000, but the reduction is insufficient to meet globally agreed targets aimed at protecting people from death and suffering from cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).According to it, tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure are major causes of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and stroke, contributing to approximately three million deaths per year.
Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, told journalists yesterday in Abuja that tobacco use is key factor in developing ‘heart and related diseases’ that claims 146,000 deaths yearly.
Also, WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “Most people know that using tobacco causes cancer and lung disease, but many people aren’t aware that tobacco also causes heart disease and stroke – the world’s leading killers.
On how second hand smokers are killed, Moeti said: “Tobacco and exposure to second hand smokers contribute to about 12 per cent of all heart disease deaths.“There is no safe level for people, particularly children, women and workers, who have to be in the same room as smokers.”She, therefore, urged strong leadership, political commitment and an informed civil society to work together for: “heart-healthy policies and the right to health.
Also, she called on member-states to implement measures, which could strengthen tobacco control, as found in the WHO framework convention on tobacco control.The effective measures, according to her, include increasing tobacco taxes and prices, which will save lives as well as generate revenues for governments.
Meanwhile, an Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), Ahmed Gabdo, has cautioned parents against smoking cigarettes close to their children to safeguard their health and future development.Gabdo, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri on yesterday, said the warning would safeguard the health of children.
In a similar vein, members of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) have canvassed the establishment of the Tobacco Control Fund. The group, comprising the Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN), Cedars Foundation, Gatefield, Smoke-free Club UniAbuja and other youth groups, called on government to enforce the ban on smoking in public places.
Akinbode Oluwafemi of the ERA/FoEN who spoke at the Garki Ultra-modern market yesterday where the activists addressed the public in the three major languages, said the establishment of tobacco control fund would become useful to government agencies to enforce the nine provisions of the NTC Act.such as smoke-free public places, restriction on under-age access and ban of sale in single sticks.

Wanted militant arrested

The wanted kidnapper, Peregbakumo Oyawerikumo, aka, Karowei, who have been terrorising some local government areas in Bayelsa and Delta states was captured this Thursday morning by soldiers attached to “Operation Delta Safe”.
The dreaded criminal who hails from Buturu Local government of Delta state surrendered himself to men of the military operation at Ogbobagene, Burutu Local government area of Delta state, on Thursday morning.
The notorious Militant leader of he Toru-Ndoro community was alleged to have beheaded a Naval officer, who was at the local government for a peace mission last December.
It will be recalled that soldiers have reportedly staged a reprisal attack on the Toru-Ndoro area on January 3, and according to the villagers set ablaze about 50 houses, with many of the residents deserting their residences for fear of further attacks.

Defection: We will carry out APC’s instruction on Dogara, says Edo Rep.

Akpatason spoke to journalists in Benin on Wednesday, against the backdrop of the recent defection of the speaker to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Mr Peter Akpatason, representing Akoko-Edo in the House of Representatives, says loyal members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the house will carry out the party’s instruction on Speaker Yakubu Dogara.Akpatason spoke to journalists in Benin on Wednesday, against the backdrop of the recent defection of the speaker to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).He said that when the house reconvened, “the needful” would be done regarding the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly.The lawmaker however emphasised that whatever that would be done to address the issue, would be according the law of land.According to the former NUPENG President, it is an aberration for a member of another political party to continue to be speaker of the house of the representatives.“We, as party loyalists, will carry out any instruction we get from the party. We will study the situation when we get back. Whatever the situation is will be what we will react to.“We cannot be happy to have a speaker that belongs to another party. It is an aberration and has to be treated as such,” he said.Speaking on the ongoing APC primaries, Akpatason, who is seeking a return ticket to the House of Representatives, said his constituent were in support of his third term bid.According him, the postponement of the party’s primaries for the NASS would make the aspirants to lose money.He said that any money already given out for “logistics” would not be returned when elections were postponed.The lawmaker also warned the APC leadership against manipulation of the party’s primaries.Akpatason noted that direct primaries was not prone to manipulation like the indirect primaries in which delegates could be bribed.According to him, whoever is planning to manipulate the primaries does not love the party hence the need to watch out for moles.“Such a person wants the APC to lose in the main election. If this election is manipulated, chances of the APC winning the general elections will be slim.“In a situation where you sit down and select people based on sentiments and not on individual popularity and ability to win elections, people will have other options,” he added.

Alleged firearms importation: FG asks court to deny accused persons bail

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges, while the court had adjourned for hearing of their respective bail applications. The Federal Government on Wednesday, prayed a High Court in Lagos, to dismiss bail applications filed by two accused, Great Ayogu and Moses Ifeuwa, standing trial over unlawful importation of 1570 firearms.The accused were charged alongside a company, Great James Oil and Gas Ltd, before Justice Saliu Saidu, on Oct. 11, on counts of conspiracy, illegal importation of firearms, alteration of import forms, forgery and false declaration.The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges, while the court had adjourned for hearing of their respective bail applications.On Wednesday, defence counsel Messrs Mahmud Mogaji (SAN) and Wale Adesokan (SAN), urged the court to admit the accused persons to bails on liberal terms, as the prosecution had not been able to contradict all the depositions in their affidavits.They, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the prosecution’s counter-affidavit, and grant bails to the accused.Opposing their applications, the prosecutor, Ajakaiye, urged the court to dismiss the bail applications on grounds of National Security.Citing a plethora of court decisions, Ajakaiye argued that bail applications on related offences, had preciously been dismissed on similar grounds.He, told the court that the third accused, Ifeuwa, who is the alleged shipper of the firearms, had been elusive for more than 12 months, before he was arrested by the men of the Nigerian Customs Service, and other security agencies.He, vehemently opposed the applications for bail, and urged the court to discountenance and dismiss same.After listening to submissions of counsel, Justice Saidu adjourned until Nov. 21, to deliver his ruling on the bail applications.Meanwhile, a co-accused Festus Emeka, who was earlier described as being “at large” in the charge, was on Wednesday produced and arraigned.But the court ordered that he be remanded in prison custody pending a consolidation of the charge against all the accused.According to the charge, the prosecution told the court that between Sept. 6 and 20, 2017, the accused conspired to unlawfully import a total of 1570 pump action rifles into Nigeria, through the Apapa Seaport in Lagos.He told the court that the rifles were loaded in two 20 ft containers, marked GESU 2555208 and CMAU 1878178.Ajakaiye, told the court that the in a bid to illegally bring in the weapons, the accused altered and forged a bill of lading, issued on July 28, 2017, to read Guandong, China, instead of Istanbul, Turkey, which was written on the conveying container.He said that the accused also altered form M (application for Import) and a Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), issued on Aug.28, 2017, with number MF 20170080364 and CN 20170768490/001, respectively, to read Guandong, China instead of Istanbul, Turkey, as country of origin.The accused were also alleged to have altered a bill of lading numbered ISB0281398, issued on July 28, 2017, to read 230 packages of wash hand basin and W/C, as the content in the container used in shipping in the illegal firearms.The offences contravenes the provisions of sections 1 (14) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation 2004.It also contravenes the provisions of Section 1 (2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation 2004.

Bakare knocks Buhari, IBB tasks him on bloodletting

Buhari• Cleric urges restructuring, says govt merely patching cracked walls
• PDP challenges APC to popularity test, wins Taraba election
• Herdsmen, militia issues may top agenda as president meets Benue leadership
• Myetti Allah blame herdsmen, farmers conflict on attack on members
Former military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Pastor Tunde Bakare have strongly condemned the current insecurity in the country and charged President Muhammadu Buhari to end the bloodletting and other dangers besetting the nation. Bakare, a former running mate to Buhari in the 2011 elections, yesterday, outlined the shortcomings of his ally’s administration, concluding that the country was in urgent need of restructuring.
In a state of the nation broadcast titled: ‘It’s Time To Renegotiate Our Union,’ the head of the Latter Rain Church said although the government anchored its policy outlook on security, job creation and anti-corruption, there are signs of retrogression everywhere.Babangida has called on the Federal Government to urgently end the current bloodletting in the country.
“The Federal Government should stop the flow now,” the former leader stated in a statement on this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day.“We should eschew hate speeches, discrimination and other vices that trigger senseless violence and bloodshed.”
“I must also call on governments at all levels, religious leaders, traditional rulers, social activists and the media to serve as national vanguards in resolving some of the recent disturbing incidents affecting our national security.’’And in the aftermath of the recent violent attacks on communities in Benue by Fulani herdsmen, political, traditional and opinion leaders from the state are expected to meet with Buhari today, to address the security challenges .  
According to the Presidency yesterday, the meeting has become inevitable because of the frequency and disturbing menace of such violence and the reactions that have trailed the incidents.A Presidency source said it has been embarrassed by the large- scale loss of lives caused by such repeated violence against innocent people. 
The source, who did not want to be named, said that the discussions at the meeting will address the issue of the Fulani herdsmen, but may go beyond their menace to include the issue of the arming, training and financing of militia groups by some state governments. Buhari’s government appears to be merely patching cracks on the wall, Bakare said.He stressed that opponents of restructuring were doing so for political gains.
Bakare noted that despite efforts at improving enterprise and job creation, unemployment rose to 18.8 per cent from around 8.2 per cent in June 2015. He said the figure indicates that between 2015 and 2017, the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from about 6 million to almost 16 million.He faulted the economic diversification policy, saying oil still accounts for over 90 per cent of total exports revenue.
The ineffectiveness of the anti-corruption war could be seen in the loss of crucial corruption cases, he said. “For instance, in April 2017, the Federal Government lost four high-profile corruption cases in 96 hours. These are in addition to bizarre developments such as failure of the government to confirm a substantive chairman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite the fact that the same political party controls both the executive and the legislature. This is not to mention the public showdown between EFCC and the Department of State Services (DSS) officials, or the opposition of the director general of the DSS to the confirmation of the acting chairman of the EFCC.”
The government has not only failed to stop killings by herdsmen, said Bakare, “it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks ‘an issue of communal misunderstanding,’ as the Inspector General of Police recently did in respect of the Benue attacks. It has treated the menace with kid gloves, even after the Global Terrorism Index 2015 described militant herdsmen as the fourth most deadly group of 2014.”
He alleged that some of the killings were carried out in collusion with the military.“Despite the antecedents of the marauders, including the recent Adamawa incidents, Mr. President, in his New Year address to the nation, did not consider the menace or the pain of victims of previous attacks worth a mention. It has been reported, for instance, that as a result of the failure of government to act, there have been reprisals on herdsmen, resulting in a vicious cycle of death and destruction. Yet, Buhari is rejecting the call to restructure our nation in order to bring lasting solutions to these and other signs of sectional discontent.”
On whether he would contest the presidency, Bakare said: “I am indeed running, but not for elections. It is a race of destiny and the destination is certain. The method by which God intends to do it is up to Him.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), meanwhile, has challenged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a test of popularity.A statement by party spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the APC as mortally afraid of going into any election, particularly at the grassroots.
“Nigerians are at pains over the poor welfare direction of the ruling party, which has resulted in the penetrating hardship now being suffered under the APC-controlled Federal Government. The APC is petrified because Nigerians have renewed their interest in the PDP as the only genuine people-oriented party,” the PDP said.
It noted that the APC is aware it could no longer return to the electorate it scammed in 2015 “with lies and empty promises; promises of bogus jobs, monthly stipends, free meals, free houses, reduction of fuel price, and bringing of the dollar to the same value with the naira.“The APC knows it cannot face the more than 8 million Nigerians it has rendered jobless with its reckless policies. They know that judgment awaits them from thousands of workers who were unjustly sacked in the states where APC governors rule, particularly Kogi and Kaduna.
“The ruling party also knows it cannot return to the families of those slaughtered in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Borno and other parts of the country by marauders, encouraged and emboldened by the indifference of the Federal Government and unguarded comments from unpatriotic presidential aides.”
According to the party, “The landslide victories of the PDP in the recent elections are incontrovertible response by the people, not only to the achievements of our government in the states, but also to the ideological disposition of the PDP as one genuine democratic platform where all Nigerians are free to socially express, politically aspire and economically flourish.”
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Abdulahi and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, could not be reached for comments.
Prince Tony Momoh, an APC founding member, however, dismissed the PDP as a party without focus.He said the APC is working tirelessly to clear the mess of PDP’s 16 years of misrule.
“The once impassable Enugu-Onitsha Road, which the PDP failed to fix, is now passable courtesy of the APC. The Benin-Auchi Road, which used to be about seven hours’ drive, due to its bad state, is now less than two hours courtesy of the APC. The Second Niger Bridge, which the PDP couldn’t fix, is on the way.”
Momoh added: “When the election proper comes, it is the electoral commission that would conduct it while the people decide. Time will tell which party is popular.”But on Saturday, the PDP defeated the APC at a keenly contested bye-election in Taraba State’s Ardo-Kola constituency.Results from the 10 wards of the local government council showed PDP’s Dominic Bukuni had 8848 votes, while APC’s Sanusi Usman Jambawaile polled 8257.
The returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Manu Donga, described the election as free and fair. The APC agent, Barrister Mohammed Mustapha, however, said the exercise was riddled with malpractices.It came as the PDP in Abia State said it had learned the hard lessons of candidate imposition and would no longer repeat the mistake.
The chairman of the chapter, Chief Johnson Onuigbo, said the party would therefore throw every position open for contest in accordance with the constitution.He told reporters in Umuahia: “We have worked very hard to return to the path of peace and tranquility after what imposition cost us. Our 16 years in the saddle was stolen from us. But following our repentance and resolution, the PDP now has the capacity to change the change that changed us.”
Onuigbo said Nigerians have regretted voting for the APC at the federal level in 2015, because of the hunger they have suffered. And “as if this was not enough, the APC government is unfolding plans that may Islamise the country.”He said the only salvation left for the country is the return of the PDP in 2019 to right the wrongs of the APC. “Our life will change again for the better when the PDP, which has turned a new leaf, returns to power. We shall address the lopsided local government scenario. There must be restructuring of the country,” he added.
The Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has attributed the ongoing attacks by herdsmen in different parts of the country as a revenge for the killing of some of its members, in Mambila, Taraba State and Numan.The general secretary of the association Usman Baba, at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja claimed that the herdsmen have been neglected for so long and 732pastoralists were killed in Mambilla Jo’s including the killing of 82 women and children in Numan.
He described the anti-open grazing law put in place by some state government as draconian and to deliberately chase herdsmen away. He said the Ekiti State Government anti-open grazing law has a human face and represented the interests of the pastoralists.Usman, who admitted that the association still battles with ‘misguided and criminally-motivated elements,’ however emphasised that the fraction do not represent the mainstream of herdsmen.
According to him, there is a need for a federal judicial commission of enquiry to probe the killings and unravel the truth about those behind the attacks.