Friday, 31 March 2017 18:03


in News

President Muhammadu Buhari has deployed four of the newly approved ambassadors to some critical foreign missions.

The president announced the deployments through his twitter handle on Friday.

Mr. Buhari said Tijjani Bande from Kebbi State has been deployed as Ambassador/Representative to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.

He also said Itegboje Samson from Edo State is the new Ambassador/Deputy Representative, at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN Headquarters in New York.

The President also deployed Kadiri Audu from Kwara State as Ambassador/Representative to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mr. Buhari equally announced the posting of Bankole Adeoye from Ogun State as Ambassador/Representative to the Embassy of Nigeria /Permanent Mission to Africa Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The announcement is coming hours after the nominated ambassadors concluded their induction training at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa Abuja.

The deployment is also coming after almost two years without substantive ambassadors in the various bodies.


Friday, 31 March 2017 18:00


in News

Nigeria stands to experience a shortfall in its oil exports earning as Shell Plc said it had shut down Nembe Creek Trunk Line, which exports Bonny Light crude oil. The company said it shut the trunk line to remove theft points.

Managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said the company was working to “remove a significant number of oil theft connections and repair any leaks on the pipeline".

The line, operated by Aiteo, is one of two along with Trans Niger Pipeline that carries Bonny Light crude oil to the export terminal.

Exports of roughly 232,000 barrels per day (bpd) were planned in April, according to loading programmes, but it was not immediately clear how much of this would be impacted by the pipeline shutdown.

“SPDC will work with the security forces during shutdown to clear illegal connections on NCTL", SPDC said.

Shell declined to comment on the impact of the pipeline outage on its operations, but oil traders said the loading programmes were so far not affected.

There have been widespread loading delays on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil, with yet another revised export plan issued on Friday. 


Friday, 31 March 2017 17:55


in Foreign

South Africa faced political and financial turmoil on Friday after President Jacob Zuma fired the finance minister in a Cabinet reshuffle, intensifying a rift in the party that took power after the 1994 end of white minority rule as well as concerns about corruption at top levels of government.

The currency slipped, and people protested outside parliament and the national treasury against the dismissal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the widely respected steward of one of Africa's biggest economies and a bulwark against perceived efforts to raid state coffers for personal gain.

The reshuffle of 10 of the country's 35 ministers was announced after midnight in a move that likely was designed to soften negative impact on markets but also deepened intrigue and shock in South Africa, whose pride in its democratic credentials, forged in the struggle against apartheid, has been diminished over the years by scandals around Zuma.

"South Africa is not for sale," said Gordhan, denouncing any graft in government as well as murky allegations that he had been conspiring against the nation during London meetings that were meant to encourage investment in South Africa. He was abruptly called back from those meetings earlier this week.

At a news conference after his dismissal, Gordhan urged South Africans worried about the direction of their country to draw on past protest experience during white rule, saying: "What should the public do? Organize. Organize."

The departure of Gordhan exposed tensions within the ruling African National Congress party, which lost control of key metropolitan areas in local elections last year, partly because of dissatisfaction with Zuma. While the party's reputation as the main movement against apartheid has been tainted, it is still seen as the front-runner ahead of general elections in 2019.

Gordhan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba, a former home affairs minister and ex-head of the ruling party's youth league.

Gigaba "is humbled by the opportunity extended to him to serve the country and the people of South Africa" as finance minister, the national treasury said in a statement. He held discussions with Gordhan and agreed to a meeting with his predecessor soon, it said.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized Gordhan's firing in a rare public rebuke of the president, and Gwede Mantashe, the ruling party's secretary-general, said on Radio 702 that effective Cabinet ministers were dismissed and ineffective ones were kept. However, key party factions including its youth and women's leagues expressed support for Zuma, whose office said the reshuffle was aimed at promoting efficiency, as well as women and younger lawmakers.

In a statement, the ANC acknowledged "varying opinions" in the party, and urged members and leaders "to focus more on what contributes to unify the nation than what divides us."

The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, said it would file an urgent legal request to block the planned swearing-in of the new ministers later Friday.

The DA also is pushing for a vote of no-confidence in Zuma, who has survived similar votes in the ANC-dominated parliament in the past. Zuma, in the midst of his second and final five-year term, also overcame an attempt by senior party members to oust him late last year.

Many South Africans are now concerned that the economy could be downgraded to junk status by credit ratings agencies. Gordhan's firing is another blow an economy that grew just 0.5 percent last year and has an unemployment rate of around 27 percent.

"The effects are manifold. We have a weaker currency, we are likely to get a weaker currency and that's going to have an impact on interest rates and inflation," economist Mike Schussler said.

"South Africans are getting poorer, and on top of that they will pay more for their food, whilst there will be less money for social welfare, and under those circumstances I think the chances of further political instability have just increased," he said.

Fitch Ratings predicted that the reshuffle will raise tensions within the ruling party and could weaken public finances and governance standards.

Scandals surrounding Zuma include more than $20 million in state spending on his private home - Zuma paid back some funds after the country's top court ruled against him - and the president's links to the Guptas, an Indian immigrant family accused of trying to influence past Cabinet appointments.

Gordhan was finance minister between 2009 and 2014 and was reappointed in December 2015. At that time, Zuma had abruptly fired Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with a relatively unknown figure, unsettling markets.

In his last public appearance as finance minister, Gordhan said subterfuge had no place in a democratic South Africa.

"Ordinary South Africans shouldn't pay the price for any nonsense created elsewhere," he said.


Friday, 31 March 2017 17:51


in News

A military man, Sunday Umaru, has been dragged before a Barkin-Ladi High Court in Plateau, for allegedly killing his lover, Charity Thomas, over a phone call.

Umaru, a married man, was a Private in the Nigerian Army and on posting at the Special Task Force (STF), sector 7, Barkin Ladi, at the time of the incident, on Jan. 23, 2016.

The hearing, scheduled for March 30, could not hold following the absence of Justice Samson Gang, who was said to be attending a function elsewhere. Umaru was first arraigned on July 14, 2016 on a one-count charge of culpable homicide.

He was specifically accused of killing his lover, Charity, who came to visit him from Kaduna, by stabbing her with a knife in the stomach and slaughtering her thereafter. According to the prosecutor, Mr W.T Awe, of the Plateau State Ministry of Justice, the accused person committed the crime on Jan. 23, 2016 in Barkin Ladi.

Awe, during the arraignment, told the court that the Nigeria Army had court-martialed the accused, dismissed him after they found him guilty, and handed him over to the police for prosecution.

He said that the accused person had told the police, in a confessional statement, that the deceased visited him sometime in January 2016, after which they had a misunderstanding which led to her death.

“In the statement, the accused alleged that the deceased used a kitchen knife to stab herself after which he (accused), removed the knife and `helped’ her to complete the act by slaughtering her,” Awe stated.

Awe further quoted the accused as saying that he was in the sitting room while Charity was in the kitchen at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23, when Charity’s phone rang and he picked the call.

The accused, in the statement, said that a man’s voice at the other end insisted on speaking with Charity, but that he (accused) demanded to know who he (caller) was. He claimed that instead of answering his inquiries, the voice rained insults on him.

Umaru, according to the statement, dropped the call, went to the kitchen and asked Charity who the caller was, but that Charity refused to provide answers to his questions, opting to remind him that he (Umaru) was a married man.

The accused further claimed that Charity, in a fit of anger, called off the relationship and declared that she was no more interested in him (Umaru), especially since her parents had consistently warned her against the affair.

“Umaru said that he got angry and slapped her, which angered Charity, who quickly picked a knife and stabbed herself in the stomach,” Awe told the court.

The statement further indicated that Charity fell down thereafter, with the accused removing the knife from her stomach and slaughtering her “to complete the job she started”. Umaru thereafter took her body outside, left it there and reported for duty at 8 p.m.

The prosecutor said that the accused, from his duty point, went to to see his family at the Maxwell Kobe Cantonment, Rukuba Barracks, after telling his boss that his wife wanted to see him over “a very pressing issue”.

“Charity’s lifeless body was found the next day by neighbours, while military men, who came to evacuate the body, trailed the blood marks to the accused person’s house. “Friends of the accused also recognised the girl as Umaru’s lover, who was seen with him the previous day,” Awe told the court.

He said that a team of military men, mobilised to go after the accused, arrested him at his home in the barracks, while in the company of his family. According to Awe, the accused was court-martialed by the military and dismissed, after which he was handed over to the police for prosecution.

He said that during investigation, the police discovered several gory pictures and videos of the deceased that the accused took in his phone, immediately after the murder. The accused has, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

At his first appearance in July 2016, Umaru’s counsel, David Adudu, prayed the court to grant his client bail, citing section 36(5) of the 1999 constitution which says that an accused is presumed innocent until otherwise proven.

Adudu had added that if the bail was granted, his client would neither jump bail nor interfere with police investigation. Justice Samson Gang admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N200,000 and two sureties in like sum.

Gang, who ordered that the sureties must reside within the jurisdiction of the court, said that they must submit two copies of their recent passport photographs, copies of their national ID cards, GCE certificates and copies of their Rights of Occupancy.

The matter was adjourned to May 25.


Friday, 31 March 2017 17:29


in News

A fake Doctor, Mr. Sunday Adeyeye wielding a forged Certificate of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria has been apprehended after he tendered the certificate for revalidation at the Ogun State Ministry of Health Headquarters, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

The Director, Hospital Services in the Ministry, Dr. Sola Adebiyi said the culprit had been hired by the owner of a health facility called  Ganny-hash Clinic and Maternity Hospital, Ifo to secure the facility’s revalidation with the Ministry.

Adebiyi revealed that after a painstaking screening of the alleged fake doctor’s academic records, it was discovered that the certificate with which he has been practising was fake.

"We were suspicious when the owner of the facility, Mr. Ganiyu Okewole presented the fake certificate belonging to the doctor for revalidation of his facility. Going through the Ahmadu Bello University Certificate he presented and comparing it with the ministry's records, there, we discovered he has been practicing with a forged certificate and we immediately called in the police to effect his arrest", Dr. Adebiyi said.

Responding to questions from journalists, the fake Doctor Sunday Adeyeye said he was not a doctor, that the ABU certificate was forged in his name in Zaria, adding that he has been working with the hospital since February, 2017.


          It would be recalled that since the ministry began its revalidation exercise for private health facilities in the state, it has so far apprehended six fake doctors while 168 Private health facilities had been shut down.


Friday, 31 March 2017 13:22


in News

Increasing demand for dollar at the parallel market on Thursday resulted in the rise of the greenback currency to N380 from N370 on Wednesday in Abuja.

Naira also depreciated against the Euro, exchanging at N400, from N390 on Wednesday.

Naira, however, appreciated against Pound Sterling, trading at N465 from N470 on Wednesday.

A Bureau de Change, BDC, operator, who preferred anonymity, attributed the rise in the dollar exchange rate to the present high demand for the currency.

He said high profile customers had begun going to the parallel segment to deposit in advance for available foreign exchange.

"Demand at the black market is still high. You will think that it will reduce since the banks are now giving BTA to customers, but the reverse has been the case in the last two days.

“This is a problem because price of commodities will not go down if BDCs and parallel market cannot meet demand.”

Another operator, located at the popular Zone 4 area of Abuja metropolis, on anonymity, said that the market might not stabilise if CBN did not increase Forex supply to the BDC segment.

“We got dollars from CBN today at N360 as promised. However, 8,000 dollars per BDC in a week is too small. This amount needs to be upped to at least 50,000 dollars per week", he said.

With the losses recorded by the local currency in the last 24 hours, analysts say that CBN needs to review its present strategy if it is to achieve its objectives of an exchange rate convergence.

However, CBN on Thursday reviewed upwards its weekly release to BDC, to $10,000.

The Central Bank on Tuesday slashed the rate at which it sold forex to BDCs in Nigeria to N360 and directed BDCs to sell to end users at not more than N362 to a dollar.

This came barely 24 hours after CBN’s directive to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country.

The apex bank directed all DMBs to sell dollars obtained from it to retail end-users at not more than N360 to a dollar for invisibles such as school fees and medicals.




Friday, 31 March 2017 13:18


in News

A notorious syndicate that specialised in impersonating prominent politicians and public office holders has been cracked by the Police Intelligence Response Team, with four members arrested.

Speaking while parading the suspects at Force Headquarters, Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, said the suspects impersonated Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and a national leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu.

Other prominent Nigerians impersonated by the gang, according to the Police’s spokesman, include National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Minister of State, Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu; Finance and Transport Ministers.

Moshood said: “On February 28, IGP Intelligence Response Team, IRT, cracked the gang and arrested the members, who posed as prominent Nigerians.

“In a coordinated operation with the Technical Intelligence Unit, TIU, after a painstaking and sustained surveillance by IRT, the suspects were arrested.

“Leader of the four-man notorious syndicate, one High Chief Ovie Ogo, was arrested in a hotel in Kaduna State.

“High Chief Ogo, 47, is a native of Omoku, Rivers State, who impersonates prominent citizens from the South-South and South-East.

“Abdulazeez Eragbe, 40, who was born and brought up in Kaduna, and speaks Hausa fluently, impersonates prominent citizens from the North.

“Babatunde, 49, impersonates prominent citizens from the South-West and North Central, while Samuel Idah, 25, supplies them with SIM cards registered with names of the prominent citizens.

“All the suspects confessed to the crime, claiming to have made over N20 million from their acts within the last six months.

“Chief Ogo further confessed that he posed as the National Security Adviser and collected N13 million from a Ghanaian, who wanted an oil block in Nigeria.

“The gang also posed as Secretary to the Government of the Federation and collected N4 million from a man seeking Federal Government’s appointment.

“They equally posed as Chief of Staff to the President and collected N2.5 million from another individual who was looking for a contract.

“The suspects again posed as the Chief of Staff to President and collected N700,000 from a young man, who was also seeking a Federal Government appointment.

“Investigation is on to arrest other suspects, while those arrested will be charged to court on completion of investigation.”

Thursday, 30 March 2017 17:22


in News

The Presidency on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari has not changed his plan to return to his doctors in London, United Kingdom for follow-ups.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an interview with journalists.

Shehu said it was not true that Buhari had decided to bring his doctors to Nigeria instead of returning to London.

The presidential spokesman however did not specify when Buhari will return to London.

He said, “It is false news (that Buhari is no longer going to London). We are not aware of the reported advance movements.

“The last time the President spoke about this, he said he would return to his doctors after some time.

“We are not aware that this has changed.

Buhari had shortly after he returned to the country after his 49-day medical vacation in London admitted that he had never been that sick in his life.

He then gave an indication that he would return to London for further checkup.

“I am feeling much better now,  there may, however, be need to have further follow-ups within some  weeks", the President had said.



Thursday, 30 March 2017 17:18


in News

There was pandemonium on Thursday as a bird allegedly transformed into a human being in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.

The incident which happened around 8:00am at Agip/Ada-George junction attracted huge crowd from every part of the city.

It was learnt that the bird turned into a lady after it was electrocuted by a high tension wire.

An eye witness, Promise Amadi, who confirmed the incident claimed that the bird was on top of a high tension pole by the junction when suddenly electricity company restored power.

Amadi noted that the bird was electrocuted as power was restored and that was when its fell and instantly turned into an unidentified lady with cowries around her neck.

He stated that other birds that flew to the point numbered over ten and that when eventually the unlucky one fell that the others escaped.



Thursday, 30 March 2017 17:14


in Foreign

Seventeen people have been arrested after a protest at Stansted Airport in Essex temporarily halted take-offs and landings on Tuesday.

Police were called at 21:30 BST as a group entered a non-commercial runway and locked themselves in an aircraft.

Those involved were trying to stop a charter flight which they claim was due to deport people to Nigeria and Ghana.

A spokesman for the airport said the runway was closed as a "precaution" but reopened at 23.17 BST.

In total, 23 incoming flights were diverted to other airports, including scheduled arrivals from Naples, Cologne, Glasgow, Riga, Belfast and Bilbao.

The spokesman said the protest took place in a remote part of the airport used by private operators, away from the passenger terminal or runway.


'Quickly contained'

Essex Police said on Wednesday that officers were at the scene and in the process of removing protesters from the aircraft, which was destined for Nigeria.

Acting Assistant Chief Constable Sean O'Callaghan said police "quickly contained" the protesters in one area of the airport.

"We will continue to work closely with our partners and the airport authority as we are working to apprehend the protesters quickly and effectively", he said.

He added that there was "minimal impact" on the airport. 

The force said three arrests had been made so far, but no more details were given.

The activists posted images of the protest on social media, including a photograph of people lying on the ground as they were surrounded by security staff and police.

In a Facebook post they said the flight was due to "forcibly deport dozens of people to Nigeria and Ghana" but this has not been confirmed.

One of the protestors, Susan James, said: "I don't want to stay silent in the face of mass deportations that are deliberately rushed and secretive."


Page 1 of 43