Ethiopian Is Next WHO DG

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia, has been elected as the next Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

He will be the first African to head up the UN agency, after winning the most votes from 186 member states.

Tedros, 52, was former Ethiopian minister of health and foreign affairs, and chairman of the board of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria.

He will be taking over from Margaret Chan, who will step down from her 10-year post at the end of June.

 

Manchester Attack: A Dastardly Act, Says Ag. President Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has on Tuesday condemned the attack in Manchester, United Kingdom, that killed 22 people.

 

Osinbajo described the attack as a dastardly act and heinous crime.

In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo assured Prime Minister Theresa May that the prayers and thoughts of Nigerians are with the British people as they mourn the victims.

“On behalf of the people and Government of Nigeria, Prof Osinbajo expressed heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the government and people of the United Kingdom in the period of grief.

“He prayed that God Almighty will comfort the bereaved families and also wished a speedy recovery for the injured,” the statement added.

Just In: Assailants Kill Masquerade, Three Others In Kogi

Some yet to be identified assailants have reportedly killed a masquerader and three other persons in Okene local government area of Kogi State.

The incident took place at Idare district on Wednesday.

An eyewitness said the masquerade and his followers were gunned down by two men on motorcycles during the “Eche-Anee,” an annual festival in Kogi Central.

Meanwhile, the state government has suspended the event to avoid further crises.

 

Life Continental Beer Holds Hi-Life Regional Auditions

Life Continental Beer  held its third regional auditions for its on-going Hi-Life Fest on Sunday, May 21, 2017. The event, which is part of the brand’s initiative to promote the culture and heritage of the people of the South East, was held at the New Berries Park in Enugu.

Registrations and auditions were held between May 15 and May 16, 2017 while the semi-final was held at the same venue on Friday, May 19.

A team of judges consisting of seasoned music producers and guest personalities witnessed numerous performances while they also engaged the audience in deciding the best acts at the event.

The winner of the auditions in Enugu, Chibest David expressed his excitement saying: “Being a part of this competition is a wonderful journey for me, and winning the Enugu regional auditions makes me exceedingly happy. When I auditioned, I wasn’t sure I would win and qualify for the grand finale. Life Continental Beer has authenticated my talent and I am thankful for that.”

David joins past winners, Roselyn Akpan and Umunnakwe Nwajiaku from Port Harcourt and Owerri respectively as they await winners from other regional auditions in the grand finale in Onitsha where the overall winner will be rewarded with the sum of one million Naira and a one-year recording deal.

Speaking at the regional finale, Emmanuel Agu, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager and Stout, NB Plc., said Life Continental Lager Beer is using Hi-Life Fest to uphold the culture and tradition of the people of the South East and extend the boundaries of progress.

“The Igbo culture is strong, progressive and lively, and Life Continental beer recognises and represents those strengths. Hi-Life Fest, which is another way of showing Life Continental Beer’s commitment to the people of the South East, also provides them a platform to fully express their aspirations and dreams through music,” Agu said.

Cash prizes were also given to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th winners of the regional finals.

Auditions continue in Aba from June 5 to June 11 with the grand finale holding in Onitsha on June 18, 2017.

Osinbajo Opens Kano Economic Summit, Reassures Of Determination To Tackle Economic Problems

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would remain resolute in tackling the economic challenges facing the country.
He made the assertion today, in Kano, while declaring open the 2nd Kano Economic and Investment Summit taking place at the Coronation Hall, Government House, in the state capital.
Represented by the Minister of Interior, retired Lt. Gen. Abdurrahman Dambazau, Professor Osinbajo said the Federal Government was also committed in the fight against corruption and insecurity which were impediments to economic prosperity.
He said: “We will remain committed on the three focused areas which include fighting corruption, insurgency and providing employment to the teeming number of unemployed youths in the country”.
The Vice President maintained that the Kano Investment summit was in line with the Federal Government’s effort geared toward economic revitalization, assuring that such initiatives would be encouraged so as to improve the doing business climate and make life better for the people .
He expressed the hope that the summit would come up with recommendations that would promote investment opportunities not only in Kano State but the country at large.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma announced that funds have been provided in the 2017 Federal Budget to provide infrastructure for the revival of the Free Trade Zone in Kano to stimulate industrial activity. He added that funding has equally been provided for the revival of the Export Expansion Grant by way of tax relief, as a further incentive to exporters.
Senator Udoma assured that the Federal government would support Kano state towards regain the lost glory of its major industrial estates so as to create jobs and lift Nigerians out of poverty
“There is no doubt that Kano leather craftsmen are some of the best in the world. We must provide the enabling environment for the leather industry to grow and become a mark of quality recognized worldwide”, the Minister added.
In his remarks, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje explained that “the idea of conceiving this summit is to generate perspectives, strategies and best practices that would showcase viable investment opportunities with a view to attracting local and foreign investors for the sustainable economic transformation of Kano State and by extension Nigeria at large”.
“Our vision is to have a private sector driven economy and in line with the Federal and State Governments resolutions to improve Nigeria’s ranking on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index”, he added.
To fast track development in the state, he stated that his administration has made substantial and far reaching investments in agriculture and infrastructure, while effort is ongoing towards addressing the state’s power challenge, which has crippled many industries.
Dr. Ganduje further remarked his administration has secured a of $1.85 million loan from China, for the Kano intra city light rail project, which would go a long way in enhancing commercial activities in the state capital.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III on his part, called on the 19 northern governors to invest on the Small Scale Enterprises, to make life better for people in the region.
Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III said, “our people are not greedy like our elite who would want to have all, support the common man with small business to enable them have something to fall back on, and when you do this they would be happy, and we would have peace and decent society”.

Atiku’s Wife Explains How Pastor Defrauded Her Of N918m

A wife of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, Titi, yesterday denied entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with her business partner, Pastor Nsikakabasi Akpan-Jacobs, to dispose of a bonded terminal established by her company, THA Shipping Maritime Services Limited.

Mrs Abubakar stated this while being cross examined by Mr. Amos Ibe, counsel to Akpan-Jacobs, who allegedly defrauded her of N918million.

The case is before an Ikeja High court presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye.

“I never entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with him to sell the company. That is why I’m in court.  When he couldn’t repay the loan, he sold the company to Dana Motors Limited.

“When the fraud happened, we initially agreed to settle out of court, but instead of settling, he went to sell the cranes and the company, giving the EFCC N16 million which I received,“ she said.

The Economic and Financial Crimes  (EFCC) had charged Akpan-Jacobs, Abdulmalik Ibrahim and Dana Motors Limited with a 15- count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of property worth N918 million belonging to THA Shipping Maritime Services Limited.

The EFCC had also alleged that Akpan-Jacobs, welding a fraudulent shareholding power, sold a property belonging to the company to Dana Motors Nigeria for N918 million.

The property is said to be located at Plot C63 A, Amuwo-Odofin Commercial Layout along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos.

During  proceedings yesterday, the defence attempted to dispute Mrs Abubakar’s claims that she invested over N1.2billion into the business transactions with the defendants.

“Your petition stated that you invested over N200 million and in another document it stated that you invested over N1.2billion, which fact is correct?

“Do you have accounting reports, did you hire an auditor to look at the accounts? How did you arrive at N1.2billion?

“N200 million is the money I spent in building the bonded terminal, by the time it was ready, it was worth N1.2billion.

“Akpan-Jacobs never gave me any records. I was in the state service. I did not get any auditor, Akpan-Jacobs has the evidence of the money I spent, I didn’t know that our business transactions would become a court case,” she said.

She insisted that she trusted the first defedant and thought that, being a pastor, he would not defraud her.

“I thought that he was being genuine with me during our business dealings,“ she said.

Mrs Abubakar accused Akpan-Jacobs of allegedly using her company property as a collateral for a bank loan that he sought when he wanted to run for the Akwa-Ibom gubernatorial elections.

“He used my bonded terminal as collateral for a loan when he wanted to run for Akwa Ibom governor.  When he couldn’t refund the money, the bank wanted to acquire the bonded terminal, he sold it to Dana Motors Limited.

“I was the largest shareholder of THA Shipping Company with 49% of shares, my German partner Fred Holmes had 26% and Akpan-Jacobs has 25%,

“Akpan-Jacobs never contributed a dime to the company. I couldn’t be involved in all the documentation because I was in service.

“He did the registration and promotion of the company, he brought all the papers to me at the Villa to sign, he later fraudulently changed. The shareholding powers of my shipping company to favour himself”.

She claimed that Akpan-Jacobs, who also doubled as the company’s Managing Director and Secretary, had gone to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to alter the shareholding in his favour by forging the company’s board resolution.

She alleged that under the shares arrangement organised by her partner, Akpan-Jacobs allotted 70 per cent to himself and 15 per cent shares each to her and Holmes.

When questioned why she used different names in company documents relating to the company like Florence Doregos used in the petition from the EFCC as well as other fake names in documents, she said: it was under her instruction and direction that the petition was written.

“My name is Florence Doregos, my name is Titi Amina Atiku Abubakar, the Mrs in the petition is a mistake made by my Lawyer.

“Florence is my name and it was easy for me to use Doregos while I was in state service.

“The name of my biological father is Dorego Albert, we are from Ilesa (Osun State) but I have cousins who are from the Republic of Benin.

“I can choose Doregos, I can choose Albert as my surname, they are all my names, even Dino Melaye, his name is Daniel but he calls himself Dino.

“I can twist my name anyhow I want.”

Mr Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC counsel, opposed Ibe’s request.

He recalled that there had been four adjournments at the instance of the defence.

He said he had another witness who had travelled on four occasions for 15 hours by road from Yola and the case kept being adjourned.

He requested for a cost of N750,000 from the defendants to cover the financial expenses of the witness.

Justice Ipaye granted a cost of N100,000 against Akpan-Jacobs and adjourned the case until July 5 and 6 for continuation of trial.

Customs Intercepts Container With 440 Guns In Lagos

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday impounded another 440 pump action rifles at the Tin Can Island Command, Lagos.

According to the the zonal commander, Tin Can Island command, Monday Abue, he said that the cargo was shipped into the country from Turkey.

Abueh told journalists that customs agent were able to carry out the arrest based on intelligence report.

According to him, the pump action rifles were manufactured in the U.S and Italy but imported from the Turkey.

Abueh who stated that arrests had been made in connection with the importation, added that for security reasons, the service was not ready to reveal their identities for now.

“They are pump actions of various designs, this is black colour, they are all pump-action and also the single barrel device that you’re familiar with.

“Based on intelligence report our officer under the command of Controller Bashar (Tincan Island Command), the container was identified and intercepted.

“We discovered that they used POP to conceal the importation and so there is no way you could know but based on intelligence report, we were able to know that the container was laden with arms.

“We have one defendant but due to security reason, we don’t want to make it public for now even the consignee, we are still keeping them under wrap because such information could hamper investigations which are still ongoing,” he said.

According to the ACG, the nation has been saved from another round of problem that the pump actions would have caused.

Recall that Customs operatives attached to the Federal Operations Unit had earlier this year intercepted 49 containers with 661 pump action rifles at the Mile 2 area of Lagos.

Three persons among who are the importer, the clearing agent and the driver were arrested in connection with the 661 rifles.

Sokoto Releases N1Bn To Support SMEs

Sokoto State Government said it has released the sum of N1 billion to support small and medium scale enterprises in the state.

The money is part of its counterpart fund in a N2 billion intervention fund to be floated in collaboration with the Bank of Industries (BoI).

A statement issued in Sokoto Tuesday by Tambuwal’s spokesman, Malam Imam Imam, said the Governor spoke when he led officials on an inspection visit of SG Adiya Farms in Bodinga LGA of the state.

It quoted Tambuwal as saying that local businesses in Sokoto will soon access the funds to boost up their capital base and expertise.

He said with the payment, the funds will be made available to beneficiaries as soon as the BoI released its portion of the counterpart funds.

“As we stated during the signing of MoU with the Bank of Industry last year, the fund will focus on micro, small and medium scale enterprises.

“This is important because SMEs are critical component in implementing the industrialization policy of this administration.

“Sokoto state government is determined to give the people all the required support to improve their businesses. I urge our entrepreneurs, businessmen and women to partner with government to ensure the success of this important policy,” the Governor added.

Speaking on the SG Adiya Farms, Tambuwal commended the owner for maintaining standards and providing employment opportunities to many citizens of the state.

He said the government will partner with the organisation to train youths in agri-business and also avail it with loan facility to expand its operations for the benefit of the state.
He added that the synergy created between the state government and the BoI would provide a veritable platform for Sokoto State to experience accelerated economic growth and transformation.

In his remarks, the Managing Director of Adiya Farms, Alhaji Abdullahi Adiya, said the farm has been at the forefront of service to the people of Sokoto for decades.

He said it is a leading enterprise that produces chickens, eggs, milk, packaged water among others.

“We need government’s support to maintain our position as one of the leading farms not only in the North but in the country as a whole,” he added.

Senate To Investigate Increase In Rape And Sexual Assault

The Senate on Tuesday passed a motion to investigate the increase in rape and sexual assault across the country. The motion titled: “Urgent need to investigate the alarming rate of Rape and Sexual Assault against Women, Children and Vulnerable people across the country” was introduced by Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South).

Na’Allah in his lead debate called for urgent attention to the “frightening increase in cases of sexual violence, notably rape where more than half of the victims are minors below the age of consent.”

He noted that in most cases, the perpetrators are individuals familiar to the victims and include neighbors, employers and family members adding that the motion in meant to express Senate’s concern that the activities of certain sexual predators represent a serious security threat to vulnerable segments of society.

He stated that rape and sexual assault figures reveal that these crimes ignore gender as both males and females are victims. “What is worse, many perpetrators are never brought to justice due to poor rates of prosecution and convictions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has lauded the Deputy Majority Leader, for introducing the motion and rallying his distinguished colleagues behind the effort to raise the alarm on the rise of rape and sexual assault in the country.

“The distinguished Majority Leader has once again shown that he is a leader of compassion who believes in the rule of law. The crimes of rape and sexual assault that afflict today’s Nigeria cannot be tolerated and demand increased attention from law enforcement and civil society,” the Senate President said.

The Senate in its resolutions urged the Inspector General of Police to investigate and prosecute violent sexual abuse to the fullest extent of the law and mandated the relevant Senate Committees to exercise their legislative and oversight function to seek solutions that would drastically reduce the incidents of rape and sexual assault.

The Red Chamber further urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other security agencies to establish functional help desks to provide increased support for victims.

They further urged judges and magistrates to revisit court sentencing policies on violent sexual offences to reflect the very serious nature of the crimes.

“Our nation has no choice but to address the increase of rape and sexual assault as a security priority,” Dr. Saraki said.  He further added that “not only must we crack down severely on perpetrators, but we must arrest the very idea that Nigeria is unsafe for children, women and vulnerable persons.”

50th Anniversary: Kwara Grants Tax Relief To SMEs

As part of efforts to encourage small business owners and reduce poverty in the state, Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has directed the state’s revenue service to put in motion a five year tax relief regime for small business owners.
According to the governor, the five years tax relief regime is imperative to allow for economic growth and development of the state.
Dr Ahmed, who gave this directive yesterday in Ilorin at a lecture to mark the 50th anniversary of the state, maintained that the state has not introduced fresh taxes but “only succeeded in blocking leakages in the system through effective management of the collection processes.” “Our business is not to kill your business but to grow your business,” he assured business owners.
He therefore, directed Chairman of the state Internal Revenue Service to coordinate the process of the tax holiday.
Earlier, the guest speaker, and former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Sarah Alade, advised the state government to design an economic blue print so as to strategically reposition the state for economic prosperity.
In her paper titled “Socio-Economic Development of Kwara State: An Agenda for the future,” Dr Alade said Kwara State has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and should never be among the poorest. She, therefore, urged the government to step up its Public Private Partnership concept.
Chairman of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, Dr Murtala Awodun had in his remarks stressed the need for tax holiday for micro, small and medium enterprises if the state must open up for economic growth and development.
He explained that report has it that more than 70 per cent of small business dies within the first five years of their existence.
He therefore, called for tax waivers of five years for small businesses with a view to creating economic prosperity in the state.

Abdulwahaab Oba

Chief Press Secretary

to the Kwara State Governor

Osun Pensioners Pleads With Osinbajo To Release 2nd Tranche of Paris Refund

pensioners under the aegis of ‘Forum of 2011/2012 retired public servants of Osun state” led by their chairman Ilesanmi Omoniyi today pleaded with the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo through governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, to release the second tranche of the Paris Loan refund so their pending gratuities and pensions arrears can be paid.

Mr Ilesanmi Omoniyi, who led the group in a peaceful rally in Osogbo on Monday said “We are using this medium to appeal to Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President of the federal Republic of Nigeria to use his good office and promptly direct the minister of finance and the Central Bank Governor to release the 2nd tranche of the Paris Club Fund to stem the rate of death of both workers and pensioners as they are the worst hit”.

Recall that the State of Osun had allocated the sum of N2,496,605,100.64 for payment of pensions out of the N13,645,546,673.04 paid out as arrears of four (4) months salaries and Pensions in December, 2016 to the state civil servants and pensioners.

The state through the accountant general, Mr. Akintayo Kolawole revealed last month that, “the sum of N8,519,437.233.43 was paid out as salaries for September, October, November and December. Similarly, the sum of N924,676,305.24 was paid out as leave bonuses for the four months, while the sum of N2,496,605,100.64 was paid in pensions for the same period.”
Osun state received N11,744,237,793.56 from the federal government in November 2016 as first tranche of the Paris Club Refund.

The Untold Story of Bama, Once BokoHaram Stronghold By Abdul-Razaq Jimoh

“Seeing they say is believing” was what was going on in my mind during the sojourn to Maiduguri, Borno State especially during our one day visit to BamaLG, the second largest local government after Maiduguri town.

On the 15th of May, our flight took off from NnamdiAzikwe International Airport, Abuja with members of the Presidential Committee on North East (PCNI) and Victim Support Fund (VSF) on a mission to commission the reconstruction of Bama town destroyed  byBoko Haram insurgents.

Over the years, I have heard so many stories, news reports both in Print and electronic media but this mission has exposed me to the reality and the magnitude of destruction of public and private buildings, shops, business centers, motor parks, and the social amenities. These cannot be over emphasized as I lack words to describe and exactly what I saw.

It is heartbreaking, devastating and shockingwhat could have instigated this war. While inspecting the destroyed and reconstructed buildings, so many stories going on in my mind. How did we get to this stage that a group could build a formidable force that almost run down a region(North East) to the ground, why will somebody decide to destroy his ancestral home in the name of propagating a religion, what was the political rationale and what was the international backing? So many questions begging for answers.

Embarking on the journey from Maiduguri passing through the University to Konduga LG, Dalori IDPs Camp down to Bama, the road was deserted, the houses were wearing a sad look and some of the villages were silent as a graveyard. No sane person will ever wish what happened in the North East to repeat itself in any part of the country. It’s indeed a gory sight.

Up to this time people have not resettled in Bama despite the efforts of the FG and State Government in reconstructing the town, but the fact still remains that things can never be the same. According to GovernorKashimShettima,“He had hoped that people of Bama resettle before the Ramadan, but the  security agents who are still clearing the remnants of Boko Haram advised them to put it on hold. He said the security of the citizens is paramount that it’s not just resettling them but they must be guarantee of security as they will need to go back to their farms and live normal life.

The Presidential Committee on North East (PCNI) and the Victim Support Fund (VSF) ably headed by Gen. TY Danjumartd. has done a great job in reconstructing some of the affected LGs like Dikwa, Madagali, Konduga and Bama. The empowerment of victims affected by insurgents and assistants to medical facilities in the state. It is no doubt that President Buhari has done excellently well in the fight against Boko Haram. It’s worthy to note that as a journalist, public analysts and commentators who have been making all manners of commentary without first hand information need to embark on sight Seeing in order to appreciate what the present government has achieved in the fight against terrorism.

I will not end this piece without commending Governor Shettima, President Buhari and the security agents, local vigilantes who have made it possible to be where we are today. But I must say things can never be the same for the people of North East.

 

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