Wednesday, 03 May 2017 08:24

OONI REACTS TO FIRE AT PALACE OF OBA OF LAGOS

in News

The fire at the palace of the Oba of Lagos on Tuesday has nothing to do with the Lagos’ monarch’s relationship with the Ooni of Ife, an official has said.

Spokesperson of Ooni’s palace, Mr Moses Olafare, said that the Ife monarch, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, is unhappy with the fire incident.

“We are not happy over the fact that the palace of Lagos king got burnt, we can only sympathise with the palace on the development,” he said.

 The fire occurred about one week after a video showed the Lagos monarch, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, snub the Ooni.

 There have been rumours on social media that Tuesday’s fire was caused by the snub, reports denied by Olafare.

“People are entitled to their own views,” he said. 

 "But what people say doesn’t mean that is the position of the palace.

“What happened is mere coincidence and should not be traced to the incident in Lagos, we send our sympathies,” he added.

PT

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Tuesday, 02 May 2017 05:59

BUHARI'S ILLNESS TAKING TOLL ON NIGERIA'S HEALTH - BISI AKANDE

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Former interim National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, has appealed to Nigerians to start praying for the restoration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s health in order to avert a looming crisis which the development could throw the nation into.

Akande, who made the appeal in a statement he issued on Monday, said he knew the President was seriously ill when he did not show up in Kaduna last Saturday for the wedding ceremony of his grandson.

He stated that Nigerians needed to pray for the recovery of the President, whom he said had been fighting corruption seriously since he assumed office.

He said that corruption had started fighting back now and the nation needed Buhari to hold on to ensure a total victory against the forces of evil.

 Akande, however, warned those who might want to make political gains from the President’s ill health to have a rethink, saying Nigeria of today was quite different from that of 1993.

The statement read: “The health of the leader is intricately intertwined with the health of the nation. It is more so in a delicately fragile union of nations called Nigeria. I did not see President Buhari at the wedding of his grandson in Kaduna last Saturday. I was sad and I wept.

  “When last we met at the wedding of his daughter in Abuja last December, I complained to him that I was not happy about his stressful looks. His reply connoted some allusions to circumstances where an honest man fighting corruption is surrounded mostly by unpatriotic greedy ruling class. He felt painfully frustrated. 

“He assured me he would soon be going on vacation. I then knew that corruption had effectively been fighting back. And I prayed for Nigeria. That was why Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and I rushed to meet him in London in February this year when he was sick and could not return as scheduled from his vacation. The rest is history but we must appreciate that his poor health is already taking its toll on the health of Nigeria as a polity.

 “There are two challenges facing the country today. The first and the most critical is the health of the President which, unfortunately, is a development beyond his control and for which we did not prepare. The second is the disorder and lack of cohesion between the National Assembly and the Presidency.

“These are two great red-flag dangers that have the potential of plunging the country into unprecedented chaos and of destabilising the gains of democracy since 1999.

Punch

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Tuesday, 02 May 2017 05:56

TAKE MEDICAL LEAVE IMMEDIATELY, FALANA, OTHERS TELL BUHARI

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Civil society leaders have urged ailing President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately take medical leave to attend to his health.

Several activists, including notable lawyer, Femi Falana, and Jibrin Ibrahim, said the president should heed the advice of his personal physicians without further delay.

“As we join the Nigerian people of goodwill to pray for a speedy recovery of President Buhari, we are compelled to advise him to heed the advice of his personal physicians by taking a rest to attend to his health without any further delay", they said in a statement Monday.

Others who signed the statement are Debo Adeniran, Chris Kwaja, Y. Z. Ya’u, Chom Bagu, Olanrewaju Suraju, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Anwal Musa Rafsanjani, David Ugolor, ‘Sina Odugbemi, Muhammed Attah and Adetokunbo Mumuni.

 Read the group’s full statement below:

When President Mohammadu Buhari was recently in the United Kingdom on a medical vacation, which lasted 49 days, many public officers said that he was “hale and hearty.” But upon his return to the country President Buhari disclosed that he had never been that sick in his entire life. Even though the President did not disclose the nature of his ailment, he revealed that he went through blood transfusion. While thanking the Nigerian people for their prayers, the President announced that he might soon travel back for further medical treatment.

A few weeks ago, Governor of Kaduna state, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai urged Nigerians to give President Buhari time to recover from his sickness. The plea was made after the Governor had visited and presumably assessed the state of the President at the presidential villa in Abuja. However, due to the apparent deterioration in the President’s health condition, he has neither been seen in public in the last one week nor attended the last two meetings of the Federal Executive Council. His absence at the last Jumat service in the villa has fuelled further speculations and rumours on President Buhari’s medical condition.

 But instead of embarking on regular briefing on the actual state of the health of President Buhari, officials of the federal government have continued to assure the Nigerian people that the is no need for apprehension over the matter. In defending the absence of the President at the last FEC meeting and other state functions, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu stated that “the president’s doctors have advised on his taking things slowly, as he fully recovers from the long period of treatment in the United Kingdom some weeks ago.” 

As we join the Nigerian people of goodwill to pray for a speedy recovery of President Buhari, we are compelled to advise him to heed the advice of his personal physicians by taking a rest to attend to his health without any further delay.

PT

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Tuesday, 02 May 2017 05:47

SARAKI, DOGARA, OTHERS HARRASED OUT OF MAY DAY RALLY

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There was pandemonium, yesterday, at the Eagle Square, Abuja venue of National May Day celebration, organised by leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and their Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterpart, as aggrieved workers disrupted proceedings over absence of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo.

 The workers were infuriated that President Buhari had not attended a Workers’ Day celebration since he took over power in 2015 and had not deemed it necessary to send the Vice President to represent him. 

They expressed angst that the President kept sending the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, to represent him, an official they feel could not take responsibility or make categorical statements on matters affecting workers.

Trouble started when Mrs. Abiola Bawa, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Empoyment was called to present the address of the minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, who sat at the state box with other dignitaries.

 At this point, the workers became restive, insisting the Minister delivered the address himself. 

Efforts made to persuade the workers to allow the Permanent Secretary read the minister’s address fell on deaf ears as they started chanting: “We no go gree, we no go gree!”

At this juncture, Senator Ngige stood up from the state box and ran to the podium.

 Initially, there were cheers for him, but as he started to talk, the workers did not allow him, as they said he had come to make another empty promise as he did during the last May Day.

In the melee, former President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, also rushed to the podium to calm the situation but the cheers that greeted his coming died down immediately he wanted to address the workers as they also resisted him.

As confusion persisted, attempts by the Police to clear the podium were also resisted by workers, who started throwing empty water cans to the podium. 

Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, was immediately whisked away by security operatives through the exit door of the state box, followed by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

As soon as the dignitaries were spirited out of the venue, many unions left the venue without the traditional march-past.

 However, a few  unions that were left observed the march-past without any government official taking salute.

 However, the Federal Government also, yesterday, assured of speedy passage of the new National Minimum Wage bill.

President Muhammadu Buhari said this in a message to mark the 2017 May Day Rally. His words:

“I am happy to inform you that Government will give expeditious consideration to the proposal contained in the Technical Committee’s Report which was submitted to it on April 6, 2017.

“Government will take necessary steps to implement the final recommendation of the Main Government/Labour Committee as it relates to the setting up of  new National Minimum Wage Committee and the needed palliatives.

“This is in order to reduce the discomfort currently being experienced by the Nigerian working class.

“I want to assure you that government will continue to do all at its disposal to better the lot of all Nigerians and more importantly to provide a commensurate welfare for all Nigerian workers", he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Ngige, who stayed behind after other government officials left the venue, claimed intelligence reports revealed that the rally was infiltrated by non-union members.

His words: “What has happened today is that this place has been infiltrated by non-workers and as you know, there is some factionalization within the labour federation in Nigeria. So what is playing out here, as we can understand from intelligence report, is that there is some infiltration by people who don’t belong to the unions here and so that is what we are seeing.

 “The Federal Government has been paying salary as at when due. The Federal Government has bent backwards not to retrench in such a situation that we have found ourselves but that is the cardinal programme of the administration, that we will not lay off any worker; we pay them.

“In fact, sometimes the Federal Government has to borrow to fund the budget to pay. So, we have been doing that; we are worker-friendly, we have been doing promotions, we have been doing new recruitment in the civil service and in the parastatals. So, this government is really friendly, labour-friendly, worker-friendly.”

He assured that in the next three months, the minimum wage committee will start work, while government has concluded plans to pay backlog of arrears of allowances. 

Reacting to the development, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said workers were not happy that neither the President nor the Vice-President was on ground to address the burning issue of minimum wage.

 He said: “Workers are insisting that either the President or the Vice-President should be here today (yesterday). Many of our members are facing serious hardship. It is an expression of the way workers are feeling, the situation is biting very hard.

“Some of them could not make it here today. Some of them cannot afford one square meal per day. So, it is a demonstration of the situation on ground. The truth is that Nigerians have been pushed to the wall.”

Addressing workers earlier in his May Day speech, Wabba insisted on upward review of the national minimum wage, restating NLC and TUC’s demand for N56,000 minimum wage.

He called on the National Assembly to immediately pass the whistle-blower bill  into law, saying “we call on the National Assembly to speedily promulgate the whistle-blower bill, which the Executive Arm of government informed Nigerians last December, was before the National Assembly.

“We call on the National Assembly to expeditiously pass into law the two Executive Bills that we consider critical to make the fight against corruption effective, as follows: “The Special Criminal Courts Bill”, which was submitted to the National Assembly last year; and the “Whistle Blowers and Witness Protection Bill”, meant to protect whistle blowers and witnesses from injury, death, economic sabotage, job termination, etc.”

On his part, President of TUC, Bobboi Kaigama, lamented that the nation’s economy was almost prostrate and needs urgent action to bring it to life.

 “Is it not painful that even the NNPC does not know how many barrels of crude is produced daily? Our economy is sick, so our priorities must be right. If we miss it now, we may never get it right again.

“I personally feel irked each time politicians and employers recommend downsizing, redundancy and slash in wage as the only way to sustain their business instead of cutting down on their ostentatious and flamboyant lifestyle.”

Meanwhile, President of United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, Joe Ajaero, in another rally at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, insisted on N96,000 minimum wage, arguing that there were no signs that Nigeria was getting out of recession.

He said: “We want to reiterate that recession is not mere statistics but something that is objective and felt concretely in the lives of the ordinary people of Nigeria. Recession for Nigerian workers and peoples means deeper poverty, it means hunger, it means denial of access to basic education, health care and other social services.

“It means more diseases and sicknesses, it means little nourishment and much more, it means more death for the working poor. It means increasing abuse and violations of our rights and privileges in the various workplaces as the bosses seek ways to beat the stranglehold of recession.

“This, to us as workers, is the reality called recession. It is on record that many state governments are unashamedly owing their workers salaries of up to one year, while government officials are immersed in unbridled consumption.”

 In another development, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State has assured the state’s civil servants that his government would immediately implement the proposed N56,000 national minimum wage, if the Federal Government approves it.

 The governor, who gave the assurance at the commemoration of 2017 Workers’ Day in Gombe yesterday, was represented by his deputy, Charles Iliya, who is currently the acting governor. 

“As soon as the Federal Government approves the new minimum wage, our administration will implement it within the limit of our resources,” he said.

He called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Nigerians to be resilient and support government efforts  at moving the country out of current economic recession.

 Similarly, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, reiterated his call for a N50,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

 In his  statement through his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu said: “I felicitate with our workers who toil day and night to move the nation forward. But we must collectively show the workers that we care beyond lip service. Importantly, it is high time we raised the minimum wage from N18,000 to N50,000. It does not make sense to preach anti-corruption alone without giving people the opportunity to earn honest and meaningful living. The truth is that the take-home pay can no longer take the workers home.”

Where it does, it cannot keep their homes happy because they can hardly afford a bag of rice, let alone pay school fees, and foot other basic bills.” 

Vanguard

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Monday, 01 May 2017 18:59

POLICE ARRESTS 11 CULTISTS IN OGUN

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Eleven suspected members of a notorious cult group said to be terrorising Ijeja area of Agbado have been arrested by officers of the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Police Force.

This was disclosed in a statement released by the Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi. 

According to him,  "the suspects were rounded up in their hideout where they were planing to launch an attack".

They include: (1) Abayomi Agbefolaju m' 25yrs (2) Alaba Ayoade m' 17yrs (3) Olamide Abdul Rasheed m' 21yrs (4) Hakeem Ayoola m' 21yrs (5) Olaoye Gbolahan m' 21yrs (6) Adebayo  Julius m' 21yrs (7) Taiwo Sodiq m' 22yrs (8) Teniola Imoleayo m' 22yrs( 9) Adesina Aminat  f' 20yrs (10) Seun Odemuyiwa f' 18yrs (11) Kehinde Adunoye f' 18yrs. 

Items recovered from them include, one UTC axe, one UTC cutlass, some blue berets ,charms and other dangerous weapons. 

Meanwhile, the commissioner of Police in the State CP Ahmed Iliyasu has ordered that the suspects be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for proper investigation and prosecution.

 He warned that the state will never be conducive for anybody who wants to hide under any cult group to wreck havoc on innocent citizens.

 

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Monday, 01 May 2017 09:16

CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS LOOMS OVER 2017 BUDGET

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Strong indications emerged, yesterday, that there may be constitutional crisis over 2017 budget, if National Assembly failed to pass it this week.

The 2017 budget process, which has already stretched thin the constitutionally allowed window, may run the government into a shutdown this month.

2016 budget, which has its life (especially the capital expenditure) extended to May 5, 2017, will expire this week, thus placing a huge encumbrance on government spending. 

The government has never experienced a shut down since the beginning of the Fourth Republic as it had always come out of budget crisis before the constitutionally approved period.

Investigations revealed that though the law permits the government to spend revenue up to six months, there is no guarantee that the President can assent the new budget in the next one month.

A lawmaker said:  “Even if the budget is passed this week, there is no guarantee that the executive will not pick issues with the document as it has always happened and then the issues would drag for upward of two months.”

Efforts at reaching the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, were unsuccessful, yesterday, as calls to his numbers were not picked.

Senate spokesman, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, could not also be reached through his telephone numbers.

But another senator who spoke in confidence, clarified that it was actually possible the budget was passed this week, even as he noted that the President usually has 30 days to assent to bills or veto them.

"If that happens, the whole constitutionally allowed window of six months would have been exhausted", the senator explained.

Vanguard

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Monday, 01 May 2017 09:14

SYNDICATE COLLECTS N600,000 TO HACK JAMB NETWORK

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Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has arrested a syndicate in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, which confessed to erecting a radio mast to hack the Virtual Private Network of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.

Our correspondent learnt that the syndicate, including a proprietor of Bright Technologies, whose name was not given by NSCDC, confessed to collecting N600,000 for the deal.

 The hacker’s wife and other accomplices were also arrested by the NSCDC crack team from Abuja. Other suspects, identified only as Segun and Jide, are said to be at large.

 One of the suspects, identified as Tosin, said the deal was to extend the JAMB network from an accredited Computer Based Test centre in Abeokuta to some cyber cafe operators for the purpose of illegal registration of candidates for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.

 The corps stated that during the interrogation, the proprietor, who confessed to the crime, said he was paid over N600,000 for the job, adding that he created over 400 User Names and passwords.

 He told the operatives, “We are using unlicensed spectrum to transmit to our customers using 2.4 gigabyte and 5.8 gigabyte radio. 

"On March 28, they came from Kindle e-Learning Service that they wanted Internet services and after three days, they came again, (Tosin, Segun and Jide) that they wanted us to configure VPN for them.

“They told me they needed our services only during the JAMB registration and on April 1, we went to their office. They gave me the IP (Internet Protocol) address and I did pinging from my own Router. I have collected about N600,000 so far from Kindle e-Learning.”

 The NSCDC said the gang specialised in high-tech hacking.

 The JAMB Head of Information, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said the intention of the group was to completely demobilise the Board process.

 He said, “With what we saw, we are of the opinion that DSS should also come in to consolidate on the investigation done by NSCDC.

“This is because if this group has the IP address of any bank; they could take the whole money in the banks.” 

JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, said people, who were bent on thwarting the effort of the board, would not be allowed to succeed.

“You must have also noticed that some people are hell bent on thwarting the efforts of the board but we will not allow such people to succeed. I believe that the law will not allow those who have been caught to go scot-free", he said.

Punch

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