Saturday, July 22, 2017

3 Israelis civilians stabbed to death in West Bank attack

Three Israeli civilians have been stabbed to death in a settlement near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Another Israeli was wounded in the attack in Halamish. The Israeli army says the attacker was shot and caught.

The attack came near the end of a day of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces over new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site.

Three Palestinians were killed and hundreds were hurt in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he is freezing all contacts with Israel after it installed metal detectors at the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Israel says the extra security is needed after two Israeli policemen were killednear the site a week ago.

On Friday, four Israeli civilians were stabbed in Halamish (also known as Neve Tsuf) after "an assailant infiltrated a private home", the Israeli army said.

Israeli media reported the victims were a man in his sixties and his son and daughter, both in their forties. Another woman in her sixties is being treated in hospital for injuries sustained in the incident.

The Israeli army said the attacker was a young Palestinian man called Omar al-Abed, who hours before the attack, posted on Facebook linking his actions to events at Jerusalem's holy site.

He was shot by a neighbour - who was a soldier with the Israeli Defense Forces - and taken to hospital, but his condition was unclear.

His house was raided on Saturday, and his brother "apprehended", the military said.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman also said they were taking steps to prepare the Palestinian attacker's house for demolition - a measure regularly taken by Israel, which says it is a deterrent, but condemned by rights groups as collective punishment.

AFP/GETTY IMAGES*The attacker is reported to have been captured after the attack in Halamish

There has been a wave of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings of Israelis predominantly by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since late 2015.

At least 47 Israelis and five foreign nationals have been killed in nearly two years of such attacks.

At least 255 Palestinians - most of them attackers, Israel says - have also been killed in that period, news agencies report. Others have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

Israel says Palestinian incitement has fuelled the attacks. The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.

Source: BBC

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Riots, strikes as India rape accused killed in custody

A mob sets a police station ablaze in Kotkhai, around 62km from Shimla, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh on July 19, 2017. A man accused of the gang rape and murder of a girl in northern India has been killed in police custody, an official said July 20, sparking angry riots in the usually tranquil Himalayan region.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / -

A man accused of the gang rape and murder of a girl in northern India has been killed in police custody, an official said Thursday, sparking angry riots in the usually tranquil Himalayan region.

Hundreds of protesters furious over the police handling of the case chanted "we want justice" in the popular tourist hill resort of Shimla, with businesses remaining closed in some parts of Himachal Pradesh state.

There have been vigils and strikes across the region since the 16-year-old victim was found naked and mutilated in a forest, with many accusing police of bungling the investigation.

Tensions escalated further after a suspect held for the gruesome crime was killed in his cell by another inmate during a scuffle.

Nepalese national Suraj Singh, struck his head against the wall "and was taken to hospital where he was declared dead," said Z.H. Zaidi, the police inspector general.

News of his death triggered fury, with rioters torching a police station and vehicles.

The brutality of the crime shocked residents in Himachal Pradesh, a Himalayan state with some of India's lowest rates of sexual violence, and prompted calls for a swift investigation.

An autopsy confirmed the girl was gang raped and strangled. She sustained severe injuries in the assault, including a broken leg.

Six men were arrested but those calling for swift justice accused police of bungling the case, saying the main culprits were still at large.

"The main accused is roaming free. How can anyone die in police custody?" one protester in Shimla told Indian broadcaster NDTV on Thursday.

India has a gruesome record on rape. Nearly 40,000 rape cases are reported every year but the real number is thought to be much higher, with victims wary of how their complaints will be handled.

Nearly 2,200 rapes were registered in 2015 in the Indian capital New Delhi -- an average of six per day.

Himachal Pradesh recorded 244 rapes that same year, among the lowest rates in India.

Source: AFP

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Passenger films Ooni of Ife as his aide performs ritual inside a Canadian bound plane

Britain’s Daily Mail, in this report tells the unusual story of an aide of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, performing a ritual while boarding a plane to Canada on Tuesday.

It’s certainly not something most passengers have witnessed while boarding a plane.

But, in footage which has swiftly gone viral, one of Nigeria’s most powerful figureheads had his aide perform a spiritual ritual involving African rattles before taking his seat.

Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the 42-year-old millionaire ‘Ooni of Ife’ – who is the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people – was travelling with his high chiefs on a flight bound for Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, according to local reports.

Witnessed from the economy cabin aisle, the aide, dressed in traditional African clothing, can be seen wandering up and down and shaking the rattles above his head.

Once the formality was over, the Ooni proceeded to take his seat on the commercial carrier.

Ogunwusi is of very high status in his native country.

Revered among his community, he is the most powerful and influential monarch among the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria – who are the country’s second biggest ethnic group after the Hausa-Fulani.

Together, the Yoruba predominate six southwestern Nigerian states, and number some 40 million.

The powers of the Yoruba kings and other traditional rulers were reduced under British colonial rule and their role is now largely ceremonial.

But they are still regarded as custodians of culture and still wield influence on their people in local matters.

Ogunwusi, from one of the ruling houses in the Ife kingdom, was installed as the 51st Ooni in December 2015, succeeding Okunade Sijuade, who ruled for 35 years until his death.

He’s the son of a retired radio and television broadcaster and was selected for his title from more than 20 candidates.

Born on October 17, 1974, Ogunwusi is one of Nigeria’s youngest traditional rulers.

Before becoming the Ooni, Ogunwusi – a trained accountant – made millions as an entrepreneur in real estate and marketing, and commodities from Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man.

Nigerian Police parades housewife for arranging her own kidnap to get money from husband

A housewife, Mrs Bukola Ogun, has been arrested by the Oyo State Police Command for allegedly staging her own kidnap with the intention of extorting money from her husband, and to also make the man, who is an American citizen, relocate her to the Unites States.

The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Abiodun Odude, who was speaking during the parade of 12 arrested suspects in the state at the Police Headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan, said the 37-year-old businesswoman, had conspired with a two-man gang, among whom was his cousin, Kayode Adepoju, to orchestrate her own kidnap in order to fraudulently obtain money from her husband.

The police boss said the incident happened at about 7:45p.m. on Tuesday, July 4, when three armed hoodlums stormed the residence of the supposed victim and ‘kidnapped’ her to an unknown destination.

“Barely four hours later, the suspects contacted the victim’s husband, demanding for N10million as ransom as a condition for his wife’s release.

“Unknown to the husband that the kidnap was actually arranged by his wife, he reported the case to the police, and upon the receipt, operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) began a manhunt for the hoodlums.

“During intensive investigation, two suspects were arrested, and they let the cat out of the bag, as operatives were stunned to discover that the victim was the architect of the fake kidnap.

“The woman, for the three days she was away, lodged in a hotel at Imalefalafia area, Ibadan, while efforts were on to rescue her, but after two of the suspects were eventually arrested in their criminal hideout at Imalefalafia area, they confessed to the crime and the mastermind was arrested,” the police boss said.

However, while speaking, the woman, Mrs Ogun, said she called her cousin, Kayode, informing him that she wanted her husband to relocate her to the United States, so wanted to stage her own kidnap so after her rescue, her husband would be left with no option than to send her abroad.

“So I left home on Tuesday, July 4, and returned on Thursday, July 6, acting as if I was kidnapped. It was then that my husband started calling about that I had been kidnapped before finally informing the police.

“Everything is still like a child’s play; he is an American citizen and I just wanted him to relocate me to the US. I told the gang to demand for N10million from my husband; I knew he could not afford that kind of money, but just for the whole plan to look real.

“And within the three days I was away, I lodged myself in a hotel, but I regret everything now,” Mrs Ogun, who had been married to her husband for six years with two children, said.

While speaking on his role in the whole case, Mrs Ogun’s cousin, Kayode, said the woman just called her one day, informing him that she wanted to stage her own kidnap so that her husband would agree to relocate her to the United States since he is a citizen.

“So she told me to find one of my friends who has a car and we would come to her house in the evening of the day we wanted to stage the kidnap.

“When we even got to her house, she was the one who walked out herself and entered the car we brought, and we took her to the hotel where she lodged for three days.

“After that, we called her husband, asking for N10million ransom, just to make the whole plan look real, but we didn’t collect anything from him.

“However, I was arrested the following day after she returned home; policemen came to my office to arrest me, and we had no option than to tell the police the truth,” Kayode said.

The Oyo police boss, however, said that the suspects would be charged to court as soon as possible so as to serve as a less to others who might be planning such stunts.

The police were also able to arrest a gang that specialized in stealing industrial batteries from telecommunication firms’ generating sets.

According to Mr Odude, five suspects, Abayomi Gbenga (24), Ayilara Ahmed (24), Bamimore Nurudeen (32), Adedokun Opeyemi (19) and Bakare Farouk (19), had stolen about 48 inverters from telecommunication masts at Tede, Sepeteri, Igboho, Komi and Ogboro in Saki area of the state.

“The bandits, who were armed with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, attacked the companies’ security guards before carting away various inverters and other equipments belonging to the firms.

“However, following a distress call received about a robbery operation, SARS operatives launched a manhunt for the hoodlums, and the efforts yielded result when three suspects were arrested along Ago-Are/Sabe road, and the stolen property recovered from them.

“Further investigation carried out led to the arrest of other suspects from their criminal hideouts,” the police boss said, while revealing that one locally-made pistol, 48 inverters, a Peugeot 505 saloon car with registration number ET246APP, a long cutlass and three iron cutters were recovered from the suspects.

The police commissioner said that 12 suspects, included nine suspected armed robbers and three kidnappers, while four arms, 23 ammunition and two vehicles, among others, were recovered.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

50 % of foreign-trained Nigerian doctors fail practice test

More than half of the foreign-trained doctors and dentists failed examinations to secure practice licence of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, this year.

A total 334 doctors and seven dentists who graduated from medical colleges outside Nigeria sat for the assessment this year, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered. 

Only 160 doctors and four dentists passed--a 40 per cent success rate.

At their induction at the MDCN headquarters, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, called the pass rate “worrisome.”

“Parents, please ask questions before you send your ward to overseas institutions. The fact it [the institution] is foreign does not make it good or excellent. Shine your eyes before you spend your hard-earned dollars sending your child to a school that’s not good,” he said. 

The acting MDCN Registrar, Tajudeen Sanusi, said the council’s examination was to ensure that the medical training Nigerian students get abroad measure up to standards in Nigeria. 

Passing the examination determines eligibility of new practitioners to be provisionally registered by the council.

Meanwhile, a mandatory one-year housemanship for new doctors goes online and it will be centralised from next year, it was gathered.

Potential house officers will seek random slots through online application for posting to any hospital nationwide.

The health ministry said centralising housemanship placement will remove  favouritism.

With 4,000 young doctors and 4,300 slots, there’s enough placement but desire to serve in favourite hospitals means many doctors don’t ever get placement.

A committee setting up the online centralised placement for house officers would start work next week.

Source: Daily Trust

U.S to crackdown on Nigerians, Brazilians, others with overstayed visas

A crackdown on visitors with visa overstays is imminent in the United States of America with Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, China and  Colombia listed as countries with the most total overstays that do not participate in the visa waiver programme.

The Trump Administration says it has a problem with visa overstays in the country and is now determined to step up enforcement to try to cut down on the violations.

Consequently, the government is introducing a face scan for all US citizens travelling abroad.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this is aimed mainly at better tracking visa overstays and also at tightening security.

The agency said it’s the only way to successfully expand a programme that tracks non immigrant foreigners.

A report in May showed that more than 54 million visitors checked in last year – and nearly 630,000 of them didn’t go back home.

John Wagner, the Customs deputy executive assistant commissioner in charge of the programme, confirmed in an interview that U.S. citizens departing on international flights will submit to face scans.

The number of visa overstays was about 200,000 higher than the previous 12-month period.

Libya, a country of special interest because of terrorism concerns, saw 43 percent of its students refuse to leave on time, while a staggering 75 percent of students from Eritrea broke the terms of their deal, the report said.

Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Centre for Immigration Studies, said those kinds of rates should force a rethink at the State Department, which issues visas, and should spur immigration officials to put more effort into deterring and deporting overstays in the U.S.

“The fact that more than 700,000 visits were overstayed last year shows just how much we need to step up interior enforcement to create more of a deterrent, not only by identifying and deporting overstays, but by weakening the job magnet by cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers,” she said.

 Credit: The Nation

Armed robbers attack top Nigerian actors, Odunlade Adekola, Mr. Latin

Bolaji Amusan, popularly called Mr Latin (R), and Odunlade Adekola (L)

Two popular Nigerian actors, Bolaji Amusan, popularly called Mr Latin, and Odunlade Adekola were attacked by armed robbers on Saturday night.

The actors were returning from a Glo music show in Ijebu-Ode, when their cars ran into the armed robbers who had laid siege along Ilishan-Sagamu road.

Mr Latin narrated the ordeal to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday.

“We left Ijebu-Ode after the show and heading to Abeokuta, when at about 7.30 p.m. we ran into the armed robbers already stationed themselves on the road,” he said.

The actor explained that Odunlade was driving ahead of his car when he sighted the road block by the bandits. Odunlade attempted to make a detour, but the bandits rained‎ bullets on the tyres forcing the car to a halt, he explained.

Mr Latin, who drove in his Toyota Camry behind Odunlade’s Toyota Avensis, said he and his colleague, alongside some of their aides, had to abandon their vehicles and run into the bush.

He said they were in the bush for almost two hours, while the bandits ransacked their vehicles, carting away valuables including money and mobile phones.

“We took to our heels as the robbers pursued us with guns. We were in the bush for about two hours, before we later regained freedom after the robbers left the scene,” Mr Latin stated.

He said some vigilante members later came to their rescue and they were taken to Ogun State University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu for medical treatment.

He said‎ the matter has been reported to the police and thanked God for sparing their lives.

Source: Premium Times

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nigeria's ex -Oil Minister, Diezani warned business partner Kola Aluko about buying $80m yacht


Diezani Alison-Madueke *

Court documents filed by the US Department of Justice in Houston have revealed that Nigeria’s former oil minister, Diezani Aliso-Madueke tried to warn Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore, her business partners against lavish spending, including splashing millions of dollars on a yacht.

“If you want to hire a yacht, you lease it for two weeks or whatever. You don’t go and sink funds into it at this time when Nigerian oil and gas sector is under all kinds of watch,” she said to Aluko in a recorded conversation.

But her warning was not heeded as Aluko went on to buy Galactica Star, a luxury yacht, for $80million.

The yacht, a stupendous luxury on water, was once rented by Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce for close to a million dollars during a holiday last year. It also once hosted Beyonce’s 32nd birthday in 2013.

Both Aluko and Omokore are alleged to have paid bribes between 2011 and 2015 to Diezani who ensured that shell companies owned by the businessmen received billion-dollar contracts to sell Nigeria’s crude oil.

The oil swap contracts were a controversial barter arrangement which saw Nigeria use middlemen to sell crude oil in exchange for refined products. With local refineries under-performing, oil swap deals were used to shore up local demand for petroleum products.

Between 2010 and 2014, under Diezani’s watch, Nigeria was estimated to have channeled over 352 million barrels of oil worth a total of $35 billion into oil swap deals.

But with the contracts mostly opaque, Nigeria reportedly lost more than $900 million in crude oil swap deals between 2009 and 2012.

The deals came under severe scrutiny with former Central Bank Governor now Emir Muhammadu Sanusi describing them “not properly structured, monitored and audited.”

President Buhari cancelled the oil swap arrangement in November 2015, seven months after taking office.

The US Justice Department (DOJ) lawsuit has provided more insight into the scale of theft of Nigeria’s oil riches under Diezani Alison-Madueke’s watch.

The civil lawsuit, brought by DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is seeking to recover $144 million in assets, including a $50 million luxury condo apartment in New York and the $80 million yacht.

Prosecutors say both assets were proceeds from bribes paid by two Nigerian businessmen for lucrative Nigerian oil contracts. The lawsuit seeks the forfeiture of both assets.

Prosecutors claim that the businessmen, Kolawole Aluko and Olajide Omokore, laundered money through the US by purchasing lavish assets.

The $50 million New York condo is at One57, located opposite Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan. The building currently holds the record for the most-expensive residential sale in New York following a $100.5 million apartment purchase in 2014.

Aluko’s $50 million condo is the 8th most expensive in the building, but following a loan default, his mortgage lenders are set to auction the apartment on July 19.

Aluko is also said to have purchased Galactica Star, a $80 million 65-meter yacht which hosted Beyonce’s 32nd birthday bash in 2013.

Aluko’s yacht and penthouse are not the only items under scrutiny by the DOJ.

The government also alleges that Aluko, Omokore and others funded a lavish lifestyle for Alison-Madueke.

According to the allegations, they conspired to purchase millions of dollars in real estate in and around London for Alison-Madueke and her family members, then renovated and furnished these homes with millions of dollars in furniture, artwork and other luxury items purchased at two Houston-area furniture stores at Alison-Madueke’s direction.

According to Financial Times, the two are accused of buying a total of four residential properties in and around London worth 11.45 million, and furnishing them with furniture, artwork and other luxury items.

“In one day in May 2012, Mr. Aluko was said to have wired $461,500 and $262,091 to two furniture stores in Houston from a Swiss bank account, on behalf of Mrs. Alison-Madueke, the civic complaint filed in the court claimed.

In return, the government alleges Alison-Madueke used her influence to direct a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to award Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) to two shell companies created by Aluko and Omokore: Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Ltd. and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd. (the Atlantic Companies).

Under the SAAs, the Atlantic Companies were required to finance the exploration and production operations of eight on-shore oil and gas blocks. In return for financing these operations, the companies expected to receive a portion of the oil and gas produced.

However, according to the complaint, the Atlantic Companies provided only a fraction of the agreed upon financing or, in some instances, failed entirely to provide it.

The companies also failed to meet other obligations under the SAAs, including the payment of $120 million entry fee.

Nevertheless, according to the allegations, the companies were permitted to lift and sell more than $1.5 billion worth of Nigerian crude oil.

The government contends the Atlantic Companies then used a series of shell companies and intermediaries to launder a portion of the total proceeds of these arrangements into and through the U.S.

Source: NAN

Southern, Middle Belt leaders meet, reaffirm demand for restructuring

 Leaders from the South and Middle Belt regions of the country, on Saturday in Abuja, affirmed their support for restructuring and implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

The leaders in a communiqué issued after the meeting convened by Chief Edwin Clark, the Ijaw leader, said restructuring was solution to rising agitations.

The meeting was attended by leaders from the South-South, South-West, South-East and Meddle Belt.
Those in attendance were Chief Olu Falae, Prof. Jerry Gana, Idris Wada, Dan Suleiman, Labaran Maku, among others.

The communiqué was read by Dr Yinka Odumakin, an activist.
He said that the summit was convened to find viable solutions to the rising agitations for a fair, just, equitable and balanced restructuring of the federal system.
He said that the leaders affirmed their loyalty, love and support for the Federal Republic of Nigeria as one nation.
Odumakin said the leaders were of the view that the current federal structure was ‘’unbalanced, unjust, unfair, over centralised, unstable, anti-development and therefore unacceptable.
“Accordingly, we firmly our support for the demand to restructure the federation in line with the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
“Recommendations to restore the country to the principles of federalism enshrined in the Independence Constitution negotiated by our founding fathers.
“ For the federation to function properly in the interest of the constituent parts there should be fundamental devolution of powers and functions to the federating units.
“This is important so that each federating unit can effectively serve the development interests of the people.
“This is the central essence of a good federation, not the current over-centralisation of powers and functions in the central government.’’
Odumakin said that as a logical derivative, Nigeria must work out a new fiscal formula that would move the country away from the current over-dependence on oil and gas revenue to a diversified economy.
“A diversified economy where all federating units are encouraged to develop their abundant natural human resources for regional and national development.
‘’`The federating units shall remit agreed percentage of their revenue to the federation account, ‘’ Odumakin said.
The leaders, according to Odumakin, also urged the Federal Government to take appropriate and urgent steps to ensure the full implementation of the resolutions and recommendations contained in the 2014 National Conference report.
They also called on the Federal Government to immediately review “the discriminatory appointments into key offices of government and the public service’’ in compliance with Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.
The leaders, according to Odumakin , also condemned what they described as “ irresponsible and wicked destruction of lives and property,’’ by invading herdsmen throughout the Middle Belt and Southern states.
“We call on the Federal Government to immediately disarm all herdsmen in the country and bring an end to this organised terror.
“State governments are also called upon to outlaw open grazing in favour of organised ranching.’’
He said that the summit also condemned the quit order issued by Arewa youth to Igbos to vacate the North by Oct. 1.
“The quit order is reprehensible and we insist that any harm done to the lgbos will be taken as an attack on the entire South and the Middle Belt.’’

Source: Daily Trust

Federal Capital Territory (FCT) indigenes demand state status, governor

Indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), under the aegis of Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA), have called on the Federal Government to accord state status to the capital territory to enable them elect their own governor.

Pastor Danladi Jeji, President of OIDA, made the call on Saturday in Abuja, during a town hall meeting by FCT natives on the future of Abuja indigenes.

Jeji said, for over 41 years, several resettlement and relocation experiments were carried out in the FCT by various governments, but “no headway due to policy inconsistencies”.

He said that if the natives were allowed to elect their governor, members of house of assembly, and more local area councils created, there would be more accountability and development.

“The failure of the Federal Government to resettle, relocate and compensate our people at the initial cost of N2.8 billion in 1978 has led to several policies summersaults.”

“In spite of all the challenges, we are still stay here, and we are not prepared to go anywhere, because we have nowhere to go.”

“All we want is to also be represented in the Federal Executive Council,” Jeji said, adding, “the natives no longer want a city-centered minister that focuses on developing elite districts”.

He stressed that the constitution should be amended to reflect cosmopolitan nature of Abuja.

Jeji said: “This is our own idea of restructuring, a restructuring based on devolution of governmental powers from federal authorities to Abuja city authorities.”

“We no longer want the present military contraption, where a minister is appointed to run the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) like a cantonment.”

“We must change the constitution to reflect our wishes for a modern and cosmopolitan capital city.”

The president promised to sustain the struggle for FCT natives’ emancipation through constitutional amendments at the National Assembly, through peaceful dialogue and negotiations.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

INEC speaks on suspension of Senator Dino Melaye’s recall

Senator Dino Melaye [Photo: dinomelaye.com]

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has refuted negative insinuations trailing its decision to suspend the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West, in compliance with a court order.

Okechukwu Ibeanu, a national commissioner and acting Chairman of INEC said in a statement on Saturday in Abuja that the attention of the commission had been drawn to some media reports about its decision to obey the court order.

Mr. Ibeanu, a professor, said some of the reports were claiming that INEC was being blackmailed into abandoning the process as a result of the decision of the Senate to probe the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TEFUND).

He said relating INEC’s decision to the Senate’s intention to probe TETFUND, where the present INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, previously served as executive secretary, was false and misleading.

He also described it as deliberate attempt to portray the commission in a bad light and cast aspersions on it.

“The commission wishes to state unequivocally and categorically that these reports are totally incorrect and mischievous,” he said.

Mr. Ibeanu said while the commission formally acknowledged the receipt of the petition submitted to it by some registered voters from Kogi West, it also notified Mr. Melaye about the development in writing.

He added that in line with the powers conferred on it by the Constitution and the Electoral Act, the Commission on July 3, formally announced the timetable and schedule of activities for the recall of the Senator.

He stated that the commission, in line with its issued timetable for the recall, pasted the Notice of Verification at the Kogi West Constituency (INEC Office in Lokoja) on July 10.

“However, on the same July 10, INEC received an order given by the Federal High Court, Abuja, and dated July 6.’’

He said that the order in respect to suit filed by Melaye, directed the “parties to maintain the status quo till the determination of the plaintiff’s motion on notice.’’

Mr. Ibeanu added that the Judge, in granting the relief sought by the Senator, also fixed Sept. 29 as the date to hear the Motion on Notice.

He said that by this date, the 90-day timeframe established by the Constitution for the entire recall process to be completed, would have lapsed.

He said deeply concerned by this situation, INEC considered the court order and its implication for the Commission’s ability to carry out its constitutional function regarding the petition to recall the Senator.

He stated that after weighing all the options, the commission, as a responsible organization, decided that it should not be seen to be disobeying a court order, “however inappropriate it may consider the order.

“However, in this particular case, the commission also decided to take immediate steps to vacate the court order and for the matter to be heard and determined expeditiously.

This, he said, was to ensure that the case was determined within a limit of 90 days from the date of the presentation of the petition that the exercise must be completed.

Mr. Ibeanu added that INEC also decided to call the attention of the chief justice of Nigeria to the order, in view of its effect on the performance of the its constitutional duty to conduct the referendum for the recall.

“Besides, the Commission considered it important to draw the Chief Justice’s attention to the matter for immediate judicial intervention.’’

This, according to him, is to avoid situation where, if a similar cases arises in the future, the Commission’s work will be imperiled, as any individual could rush to court to stop what is clearly a constitutional process.

“In fact, contrary to the impression given by the misleading reports, the INEC Chairman, Yakubu, was not even at the meeting where the Commission took the decision to obey the court order.

“Yakubu is currently leading a team of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) on an official fact-finding mission to some West African countries, in his capacity as the body’s President,” he explained.

He assured Nigerians that INEC would continue to diligently carry out its constitutional functions without fear, favour, affection or ill will.

Source: NAN

Friday, July 14, 2017

Beyonce shares first picture of herself with her twins

INSTAGRAM/BEYONCE*

Beyonce has shared the first picture of herself with her twins to celebrate them turning one month old.

The US singer also confirmed they are called Sir Carter and Rumi - which had been rumoured after she and husband Jay-Z filed a trademark for the names.

The picture showed the 35-year-old mother-of-three and the twins draped in a purple floral sheet, while she wore a blue veil.

It clocked up more than two million likes on Instagram in an hour.

Beyonce wrote: "Sir Carter and Rumi 1 month today", with a string of emojis of prayer hands and a woman, man, little girl and two babies.

As well as the twins, Beyonce and rapper Jay-Z are also parents to five-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy.

The style of the image, in which Beyonce stands in a garden barefoot in front of a floral archway, echoes the photoshoot she used to announce her pregnancy on the network. That post, in February, became the most-liked in the history of Instagram.

BEYONCE/INSTAGRAM*The picture which Beyonce used to share news of her pregnancy

Jay-Z's real name is of course Shawn Carter. Beyonce wrote that their babies' names are "Sir Carter and Rumi". So is Sir Carter actually Sir Carter Carter? Or does Rumi just have one name?

Beyonce's mum Tina cleared things up a little, posting a message saying: "hello Sir Carter and Rumi Carter" and also confirmed their genders: "Boy and girl what a blessing."

Beyonce and Jay-Z aren't the first couple to choose some sort of grandiose honorific as a forename - Kim and Kanye have little Saint, Michael Jackson's eldest son is Prince, and Jackson's brother Jermaine named a son, er, Jermajesty.

Rumi, meanwhile, is a popular Japanese girl's name but some people have suggested Rumi may be named after the 13th Century Persian poet.

The world had been eagerly awaiting the first glimpse of the babies ever sinceAmerican media reported the Lemonade singer had given birth last month.

But neither she nor Jay-Z had confirmed any details of the twins until now.

Her father Mathew Knowles had tweetedon 18 June, saying: "They're here!" and "Happy birthday to the twins" - but the timing of Beyonce's post suggest they were actually born on 13 June.

It's no surprise that fans were quick to share their thoughts on the picture.

Source: BBC

PHOTO NEWS : "Kidnapped" Lagos traditional ruler and his brother/accomplice paraded by Police


Alleged suspects, Baale of Shangisha, Chief Yusuf Ogundare (right), with his brother and accomplice, Mohammed Adams (left), being paraded during a press briefing at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Source: NAN

Picture of the Lagos traditional ruler who was suspended by the Governor for faking his own kidnap

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday suspended the Baale of Shangisha in Magodo, Chief Yusuf Ogundare, for allegedly faking his kidnap.

The governor’s order was contained in a memo signed by the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Teslim Folami.

It directed Ogundare to stop parading himself, henceforth, as the Baale of the community till further notice.

The ‘fake’ kidnap allegedly took place on July 5 along Centre for Management Development (CMD) Road in Ikosi-Isheri LCDA.

Folami said: “I am directed to convey the approval of His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the suspension of Chief Yusuf Ogundare, Baale of Shangisha, with immediate effect.

“The suspension is in accordance with Section 38 (1) of the Obas and Chiefs Laws of Lagos State which states that ‘the Governor may suspend or depose any Oba or chief whether appointed or after commencement of this law, if he is satisfied that such suspension of disposition is required according to customary law or is necessary in the interest of peace and good government.'”

According to Folami, Ogundare’s suspension was approved moments after the Lagos State Police Command paraded him alongside his younger brother, Mohammed Adams, for allegedly conspiring to fake the kidnap.

Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said Adams, on July 5, reported the alleged kidnap to the police which collaborated with other security agencies ,especially the Department of State Service (DSS), in the investigation.

Owoseni stated that Ogundare was apprehended by men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in Alausa on July 11, after he was dropped off by a car.

Owoseni said: “On July 11 at about 10pm, a team of RRS patrol officers working around Alausa sighted a vehicle which dropped a male adult in a suspicious manner close by Shoprite along the Secretariat road.

“The speed with which that car drove off attracted them to that spot and, fortunately, before they got to the spot, the car had taken off. But a quick enquiry revealed that it was the Baale that was allegedly kidnapped.

“While Ogundare was being debriefed, he sold a dummy that the kidnappers dropped him off, but, unknown to him, it had been found out that on the 5th of July, the day he was allegedly kidnapped in Lagos, investigation had revealed that he was driving around in Ibadan around Ashi; he went to Ilorin, he went to Iwo, he was just on a frolic.

“Also, unknown to him, his younger brother and his wife were being questioned because of some discrepancies that were noticed in the interaction they had with security agencies.

In furtherance of the synergy existing between the police and DSS, we jointly compared notes and our findings were such that the act of the chief was despicable and amounted to crying wolf where there was none,” Owoseni said.

He said Adams told security agencies that he was with the Baale at CMD Hotel when some people who claimed they wanted to buy land whisked them away and later freed him.

But, according to Owoseni,  Adams was never in the hotel with the Baale but was only at the hotel’s restaurant but left after some minutes.

“The wife of the Baale actually drove the Venza car allegedly used to abduct the supposed victim into the hotel,” he said.

The CP added that after the suspects were confronted with the facts, they confessed.

Owoseni said immediately Ogundare was allegedly kidnapped, Adams went to the community and called the town crier to order traders to close their shops and markets.

Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who also spoke on the incident, demanded the unconditional release of the six children kidnapped from Igbonla Model College since May 25.

He said it was disheartening that while the state government and security agencies were working to secure the release of the children, “some unscrupulous persons deemed it fit to raise false alarm,” on kidnapping.

Kazeem said it was situations such as this that prompted Governor Ambode to sign the anti-kidnapping bill into law.,

The government, he warned, would not hesitate to prosecute anyone who runs fowl of the law.

Kazeem noted that Section 5 of the anti-kidnapping Law prescribes that “a person who overtly or covertly puts himself forward to be kidnapped or abducted by another for the purpose of extracting money or ransom, from another or for any other reason commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to fourteen (14) years imprisonment.”

Source: The Nation

U.S returnee dies at Lagos Airport while undergoing screening

A passenger identified as Dada Isaac Olusola with passport number  A04501199, died on Wednesday, at the arrival hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, after arriving from United States.

The deceased arrived the country with his wife in an Emirates Airlines plane.

The aircraft arrived the Lagos airport at 3:55 p.m.

The passenger, according to a source, slumped while undergoing screening at the airport’s check point.

He was rushed to the airport’s clinic where officials attended to him but died a few minutes later.

Doctors at the clinic confirmed that the passenger died of cardiac arrest.

The deceased remains had been deposited at the morgue.

Officials of Emirates Airlines were yet to comment on the incident.

Source: The Nation

Thursday, July 13, 2017

INEC suspends Senator Dino Melaye’s recall

Senator Dino Melaye [Photo: dinomelaye.com

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will comply with the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and temporarily suspend the recall process of Dino Melaye from the Senate.

Mr. Melaye represents the Kogi West Senatorial District at the Upper Chamber.

The Commission disclosed this in a statement issued by Adedeji Soyebi, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee on Thursday.

Mr. Soyebi said the commission reached the decision after considering the court order dated July 6, at its regular weekly meeting held on Thursday.

The court order had directed all parties listed in the suit filed by Mr. Melaye to maintain the status quo till the determination of the motion on notice.

Mr. Melaye was seeking an injunction against the commission to stop it from acting on the petition by registered voters of Kogi west senatorial district.

“As a responsible, law-abiding institution, INEC will comply with the order.

“However, the commission has also decided to take immediate steps to vacate the court order for the matter to be heard and determined expeditiously.

“Whereas the court had adjourned hearing of the Motion on Notice till Sept. 29, the commission by law has 90 days to complete the process,’’ he said.

Mr. Soyebi further said: “section 69 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) sets a limit of 90 days from the date of the presentation of the petition (21st June, 2017) for the exercise to be completed.’’

The national commissioner however, said the commission did draw the attention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to the order.

Mr. Soyebi said this was in view of the negative effect the order had on the performance of the commission’s constitutional duty.

In another development, Mr. Soyebi said the commission had approved a policy of comprehensive audit after all elections.

“This is in line with its commitment of ensuring transparency and overall improvement of the electoral process,’’ he said.

Source: NAN

President Donald Trump sued for blocking 7 people on Twitter

@REALDONALDTRUMP/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS*The president's personal Twitter account has a huge 33.7 million followers

President Donald Trump has been party to an eye-watering 4,000 lawsuits over the last 30 years, US media say.

And now the mogul turned commander-in-chief has attracted one more, after seven people sued him for blocking them on Twitter.

Mr Trump is an avid user of the social media forum, which he deploys to praise allies and lambast critics.

The lawsuit was filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute, a free speech group at Columbia University.

The seven Twitter users involved claim their accounts were blocked by the president, or his aides, after they replied to his tweets with mocking or critical comments.

People on Twitter are unable to see or respond to tweets from accounts that block them.

The legal complaint argues that by blocking these individuals, Mr Trump has barred them from joining the online conversation.

It calls the move an attempt to "suppress dissent" in a public forum - and a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and the president's social media director Daniel Scavino are also named in the lawsuit.

Last month, Mr Spicer said Mr Trump's tweets were considered "official statements by the president of the United States".

The president's @realDonaldTrump Twitter account has 33.7m followers, while the official @POTUS account has 19.3m.


Trump Twitter museum opens in New York

Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, said the president's love of Twitter means it has become "an important source of news and information about the government".

"The First Amendment applies to this digital forum in the same way it applies to town halls and open school board meetings," he said.

"The White House acts unlawfully when it excludes people from this forum simply because they've disagreed with the president."

According to the institute, the account's blocking habit should be a concern for everyone.

Why? Because even if they can read the president's tweets, what they see has been consciously cleansed of criticism.

Source: BBC

Gov. Ayodele Fayose threatens to release ’11 damaging’ pictures of Buhari's health

President Muhammadu Buhari

Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Ayodele Fayose has condemned Nigeria's acting president Yemi Osinbajo’s claims on President Muhammadu Buhari's health status and threatened to release 11 current pictures of the president if the acting president, failed to tell Nigerians the truth about the ailing leader’s health status.

Fayose’s threat came a few hours after Osinbajo told journalists that Buhari was recuperating and would return soon.

Outraged at Osinbajo’s claim, Fayose swiftly called a press conference at his Abuja private residence and expressed disappointment about the acting president’s version of the story.

He insisted that Buhari was critically sick and that the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had continued to hide the true health status of the president.

“If they go further and try to continue to deceive Nigerians, I will release about 11 damaging pictures anytime from now on the president’s health,” he declared.

Asked to show proof of his allegation, Fayose said: “I’m not going to prove that to Nigerians. It is him (Osinbajo) who said he saw the president that needs to prove to Nigerians. I have made the allegations and I have said it expressly that we are in the age of technology.

“So we have an acting president of a nation that has visited his boss that cannot show evidence of the meeting. The pictures they are posting on social media are pictures taken a long time ago. The acting president visiting the president that has left this country for about 60 days or more cannot show evidence of the meeting. It shows the president is in a critical condition.”

When further questions were asked regarding the source of his information, the Ekiti State governor said: “Again, if they are not careful, I will release some pictures.

This will, in turn, create so many serious problems for this country. And I’m telling you again that I don’t need to prove anything to Nigerians because they are saying the president is well, hale and hearty. But he has refused to come home in about 70 days. The office of the president and office of the government are offices that encourage the office holders to perform. For a president to have spent so much time outside the country in a year shows clearly that his sickness is a major one.”

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said what Nigerians desired was a live video of President Buhari addressing them, not a visit in which no photograph or video was made available to the public.

When the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua became terminally ill, his close aides attempted to keep the details of his health secret.

The shenanigans of Yar’Adua’s men angered the likes of the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, who was then the National Publicity Secretary of the defunct Action Congress.

In a statement issued on behalf of his party, Mohammed said the health of the president as a public figure could no longer be of interest only to his family and friends. He demanded that a daily briefing based on authentic details be provided by the president’s doctors.

The request was brushed aside just as the request for information about the health of President Buhari is being currently ignored.

Osinbajo, on his return from London, had the opportunity to clear all doubts about the president’s health status, but he chose to keep Nigerians in doubt.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Prominent Russian blogger and internet entrepreneur Anton Nossik dies at 51

VARLAMOV*Anton Nossik was a fearless journalist and activist and pioneered the development of news reporting on the internet in Russia

The prominent Russian blogger and internet entrepreneur Anton Nossik has died from a heart attack aged 51.

Nossik was often described as the godfather of the Russian internet, co-founding and editing Russia's biggest online publications.

News of his death has sent shockwaves through Russian social media.

He argued throughout his career that the internet has always been "an island of freedom" and would remain so despite efforts to curtail it.

"It's simply impossible to believe," tweeted the opposition politician Ilya Yashin. "Rest in peace, my friend!"

A dual Russian and Israeli citizen, he was outspoken in his condemnation of the government's efforts to tighten official control over the internet.

Mr Nossik worked as editor of some of Russia's biggest online news publications including News.ru, Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru.

"For decades, he has been a prolific blogger of cutting commentaries that spared no one, least of all the Kremlin," the Moscow Times said,

In 2012 Nossik defended members of the Pussy Riot punk group who had been jailed for staging a performance which criticised President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral.

Later, he was fined for a blog relating to Russia's support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a country he said should be wiped from the face of the earth.

In the blog he welcomed Russian airstrikes on the country, arguing civilian deaths in Syria were a price worth paying for the destruction of a country he likened to Nazi Germany and was a threat to Israel.

Source:BBC

90 per cent of students in Houdegbe North American University,Republic of Benin are Nigerians – Official

Houdegbe North American University. [Photo Credit: Sharegist]

The President of the Houdegbe North American University in the Republic of Benin, Dada Houdegbe, on Saturday announced that about 90 per cent of its students were Nigerians.

Mr. Houdegbe made the remark at the University’s award of degrees and conferment of honorary awards to its graduating students and other local and international personalities.

“Three years ago, we graduated about 3,000 students from different areas of studies.

“Today, the Houdegbe North American University is graduating about 2,000 students, as well as the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degrees on deserving personalities.

“Let me say that about 90 per cent of students in our university are Nigerians, who are happy being our students,” he said.

According to him, there is currently a growing interest of many young Nigerians in the courses being offered by the university, its affordability and good learning environment.

The president said that the university was meant to build bridges across political, economic, linguistic and cultural divides in West Africa, in particular, and Africa, in general.

Mr. Houdegbe commended former president Olusegun Obasanjo for his belief in the institution’s ideals, as well as the encouragement he had continued to give to the university.

Samia Nkrumah, founder of the Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Centre, said that the time had come for West African and other African countries to embrace the policy of “Education for All’’.

The daughter of former Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkurumah, said that the overall development and transformation of the region and the continent would largely depend on education.

“We must be more committed in encouraging and promoting educational exchanges between West African countries and other African countries.

“We must realise as Africans that we currently have a very fast-growing young population that should be given qualitative education.

“We need to ensure that we actually prepare our young population to be more productive. We, therefore, need to encourage our young men and women to freely acquire education in any university of their choice,
across West Africa and Africa in general,” she said.

Peng-Khuan Chong, an Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Plymouth State University, in the United States, enjoined the graduating and undergraduate students to learn to be competent, confident and have compassion.

“Young men and women in the Republic of Benin, Nigeria and other African countries, should learn to be competent, be confident and have compassion.

“And then, they must be courageously strong, innocently hopeful, and most importantly, be forever hopeful,” he said.

A Nigerian undergraduate at the university, Linus Richard, said that he and many other Nigerian students were happy to have had the opportunity to study at the institution.

Mr. Richard said that the institution’s admission process was devoid of the problems associated with writing a qualifying examination, it’s academic calendar hitch-free, with affordable fees, as well as a conducive study environment.

The university was established in 1992 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, as a private tertiary institution, which offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Source: NAN