Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Nollywood Actress, Oby Edozien Expecting First Child



Nollywood actress and movie producer Oby Edozien and husband, former Nigerian pop icon, Alex Okoroigwe, popularly known as Alex O are expecting their first child together as Oby is said to be pregnant and already showing.
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The couple have been married for 2 years and there were reports that Oby was once pregnant but suffered a miscarriage.
Congrats to them.

Man Walks 40km Through Forest With Pregnant Wife On Shoulder To Save Her Life



In an effort to save his pregnant wife and their child, a man walked through forest for about 40km in heavy rains carrying the ailing woman on his shoulders to get her to a hospital, India.
Man Walks 40km Through Forest With Pregnant Wife On Shoulder To Save Her LifeThe tribal youth, Ayyappan, carried his seven-month pregnant wife, Sudha set off for the hospital from the Konni forests on Tuesday last week.
Ayappan walked to Kokkathod, said to be about 40km from the place he was staying in the forest, and then managed to get a jeep to take his wife to Pathnamthitta district hospital from where she was referred to Kottayam medical college hospital as she had convulsions.
"The woman's life had been saved since she was carried all the way, but the baby could not be saved.
Labour was induced for the delivery of the dead foetus," Dr Kunjamma Roy, head of the Gynaecology department of the Kottayam Medical college hospital told PTI.
The delivery was on Wednesday and the mother is recovering, she said.
When the woman was brought to the hospital, she had oedema, high blood pressure and convulsions. Convulsions during pregnancy can affect both mother and child, Dr Roy said.
The couple were living in the Konni forests and eked out a living by selling honey and various other products from the forest.
As media reports came in about the couple, offers of financial assistance have started pouring in.

Empowered & Entrepreneurial: Nigerian Women Receive Boost From New Business Network



Launched on 1st March 2013, Women Of West Africa In Entrepreneurship (WOWe) was created to meet the needs of Nigeria’s ‘missing middle’, young educated African women who are driven to start in business but face significant challenges in competing with their male counterparts.
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The Global Banking Alliance for Women says women entrepreneurs drive 20% more revenue in spite of 50% less being invested in them. This picture becomes even more extreme when viewed at a national level; according to the IFC, in Nigeria women owned businesses represent over 25% of registered businesses but have access to less than 3% of commercial bank finance.

Launched just a few weeks ago; Women Of West Africa In Entrepreneurship (WOWe) has garnered wide support from the female business community in Nigeria, connecting a landmark 10,000 members in just under 4 weeks. Entrepreneur and WOWe member Victoria Benedicta Okpanachi says “I have waited a long time for this kind of organisation. I have two products, both are doing well but there are lots of challenges in getting things done. Labour is scarce for me to get as a starter; I can't pay more than I gain. The banks are not helping matters at all. If more women get empowered in Nigeria things will get better.”

The organisation’s first conference will take place on the 20th and 21st of June at the Eko Hotel on Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, and workshops will take place on the 22nd at the Wheatbaker Hotel on No 4 Opitolo Rd, Ikoyi, Lagos. The objective of the WOWe conference is to raise the profile of excellence in entrepreneurship to Nigerian women between 18 – 40, as well as profile and promote young upcoming female entrepreneurs. A key aim is to make entrepreneurship accessible to women through social media, interactive panels, Q&A sessions and participation from young upcoming female entrepreneurs.

PhD Student, Entrepreneur and WOWe member Tosin Alabi agrees with this approach, “I get inspiration, especially from the stories of other women who have succeeded in their own businesses. These success stories reassure you that with hard work you can also succeed. It is not just a community for me anymore, it’s a family of successful female entrepreneurs who encourage and support each other.”

She goes on to observe, “Nigeria has a population of about 50% women and only in the last couple of years did their role in development gain serious attention. As women, there is still a lot of work to be done as regards our contribution to the development of Nigeria. Women are still yet to totally overcome the clutches of the cultural set back placed on them, as they are often viewed only as mothers and wives. I believe we can only contribute our quota by working hard ourselves and encouraging as many hard working women around us as we can.”

The cultural obstacles faced by women are universally acknowledged. It is widely accepted that creating entrepreneurial opportunities and building capacity in financial literacy, business and financial management and ICT for women and girls is critical for economic development and prosperity in Nigeria. However, while there are many high profile initiatives, funds, grants and training programs available to empower and support women in this regard, there isn’t an impartial national platform that allows all the key stakeholders in this sector to meet.

Additionally, many women entrepreneurs are not aware or have the skills or network to take advantage of these initiatives designed for their development. In fact some of the funds and special budgets allocated to support women entrepreneurs remain unspent in Nigeria. Student and WOWe member Anurika Kenneth says “We need to enlighten society on the dangers of excluding our women and girls from education. Society also needs to know the potential dangers of such acts to national development.”

Recently, CBN launched N200bn fund for SMEs, 60% of which should go towards women-owned enterprises providing them with single digit interest rate repayment terms. According to a study released by the World Bank, if girls in Nigeria were employed at the same rate as boys, they would add $13.9 billion to the country’s annual GDP. Unlike men, women tend to invest 90 percent of their income back into their families and communities (Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on April 29, 2013).

Speaking at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Christine Lagarde said, “When women do better, economies do better.” The writing is on the wall, the message is clear and the time in now for the women of Nigeria to drive their nation’s development to the next level.


Event Information

The first WOWe conference will gather representation from women from all walks of life from female entrepreneurs to aspiring businesswomen. The forum will also include banks, financial services organizations, development finance and impact fund investment institutions, Government agencies with responsibility for the empowerment of women, SME development organisations, corporations, NGOs and Charities, ICT & mobile companies.

This event will be one of the largest Women Entrepreneur Conferences to hold in Nigeria.

WOWe is sponsored and supported by Eden Lifestyle, Internal Revenue Service Lagos State, QuickBooks Accounting Made Easy, The Wheatbaker Lagos and more!

WOWe also has strong media partners including Forbes Africa, New African Woman Magazine, Ventures Africa, Exquisite Magazine, The Guardian Newspaper, Thisday Style, Bella Naija, Cool FM, Nigeria Info, Wasabi FM, Precious Success, TW Magazine and more!

No Cellphones For Unmarried Girls, No Jeans For Women


India — Joining the ranks of "self-appointed" guardians of public morality, BJP's Rajya Sabha member and Madhya Pradesh party vice-president Raghunandan Sharma has come up with bizarre suggestions to check crime against women: Girls shouldn't be allowed to use mobile phones before marriage and women shouldn't wear jeans.No Cellphones For Unmarried Girls, No Jeans For Women
Sharma's gave vent to his thoughts while addressing a meeting of Brahmins in Ratlam district on Sunday. He termed cellphone usage by students, particularly young girls, as a big menace and the genesis of other evils.
The BJP leader lambasted girls wearing jeans, saying it was the attire of American cowboys and in no way gelled with the Indian culture.
When contacted by TOI over phone on Monday, Sharma stood by his statements, but said these were his individual views and in no way reflected the BJP's official line.
The Congress and National Commission for Women have condemned the statements.
Commission's chairperson Mamta Sharma said it seems that the politician still wants women to live in the ancient era. '
"This leader must be deplored by all women."
The Congress demanded a public apology from Sharma as well as the BJP.
"These statements have once again proved beyond doubt the double standards in the ruling party in MP. While chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan tom-toms his pro-women schemes, senior leaders of his party like Vijay Shah, Babulal Gaur, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Raghunandan Sharma by their statements have revealed the anti-women face of the party.
We demand a public apology not only by Sharma, but even his party over his statements," state Congress spokesperson Narendra Singh Saluja said.

Mixed Reactions Greet Cremation Bill



Mixed reactions have greeted the signing into law of the cremation bill by Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State.Mixed Reactions Greet Cremation Bill
The law had given legal teeth to state authority to burn unclaimed corpses in its mortuaries– after a period of time.
Reacting to the development, Mr Charles Audu, a lawyer, told NAN that the signing into law of the bill was a commendable effort by the governor because it would help reduce the problem of unclaimed corpses.
“This is a commendable effort by the Governor because it will help reduce the problem of mortuaries being filled with unclaimed corpses,” he said.
Mr Adewale Adeleke, also a Lagos based lawyer, told NAN that though the Lagos state government had signed the bill into law with good intentions, including decongesting morgues, some other things should have been considered.
“This is Africa where we have people with different beliefs, superstitions and traditions that could contradict the idea of cremating corpses. I just personally feel all these things should have been considered.”
Mrs Olaitan Aina, a teacher, said that though the act was not compulsory on all residents, but the feelings of the masses should have been considered before its enactment because nobody would like to see or hear that the corpse of a relative, friend or family member was burnt.
“The act of cremating unclaimed corpses could have psychological effects on their families, if they later find out and think of what must have been done to the body. I just hope there is a form of counselling for them,” she said.
Miss Adenike Sobowale, a trader, noted the novel idea behind cremating unclaimed corpses, but questioned what happened to those without the means for burying their relatives.
“If we can’t keep the corpse at home and we have no money for a burial yet, are we now going to be forced to leave the corpse for cremation?”, she asked.
The law empowers medical practitioners, with government approval, to cremate abandoned and unclaimed corpses, after a reasonable period of time has been given as notice.

ATTEND THE LARGEST XPERIENTIAL MARKETING CONFERENCE IN WEST AFRICA



Brands are realizing that awareness is no longer enough—it’s about brand experiences and creating brand relationships. Hence the need to stay ahead of the curve, utilizing new ways to create and amplify brand experiences.
 
Participate in the forthcoming Xperiential Marketing Conference (XMC) 2013 set to hit Lagos Nigeria on June 28-29th 2013 at the Civic Centre Victoria Island, Lagos.
 
Over 200 middle to senior level marketers from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique and Ghana have secured their seats. Why not join them and participate in this revolutionary conference. Thanks to our support partners and exhibitors, you can now pay 20% less. The first 300 delegates also get a book by Max Lenderman.
 
Xperiential Marketing Conference features International renowned experiential methodology strategists like Erik Hauser (Global Speaker and Thought Leader on Experiential Methodology, Founder Experiential Marketing Forum, Founder IXMA International Experiential Marketing Association, Executive Creative Director epicentre USA) and Max Lenderman, (Executive Creative Director MDC Partners ‘The Arsenal USA, Team Enterprises, Director OuterActive at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Award Winning Author, Global Speaker on subjects of strategic branding, experiential marketing and emerging global business trends).
 
Other notable speakers and panelists expected at the conference are Folake Ani-Mumuney, (General Manager Marketing, First Bank of Nigeria Limited) and Dele Anifowose (The Marketing Director, Cadbury Nigeria) Kayode Olagesin (Managing Director Towncriers) Joshua Akinbanjo (Director and Head of Promotions & Sponsored Assets, HNI & Enterprise Portfolio in leading Telco) Tolu Medebem (Managing Partner Eventplus Integrated Marketing Services) and lots more.
 
If you are still considering why you should register, we will give you THREE REASONS why this event is a MUST ATTEND!
 
1. LEARN & BE INSPIRED
The speakers will inspire you with fresh ideas. Germaine questions and issues as relating to the evolution taking place in the marketing world will be discussed. Getting direct access to some of the brightest minds in the business is an invaluable asset and source of inspiration and knowledge.
 
2. STAY INFORMED
Get the latest trends from leading industry professionals, Share and Discuss Case Studies and Participate in the Interactive Panel Discussion.
 
3. CONNECT & NETWORK
Join key influencers in the marketing industry. Company Directors, CEOs, Marketing Managers, Brand and Communications Managers, Account Directors, Event Managers alongside entrepreneurs and SMEs from across Africa. Re-connect with old industry buddies and make new experiences.
 
There will be exhibition points for brands to showcase their product and services
XMC is expected to become the largest yearly experiential marketing conference and exhibition in Africa, attracting international participants from America, Europe and Asia.
 
Facebook like page; www.facebook.com/XMConference
Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/XMConference Trends on twitter (#xmcng)
 
Register Today! Visit www.xmc.com.ng
 
For more enquiries call 08106762999, 08106768000 or send an email to info@xmc.com.ng

VIDEO: Racist Police Officers Caught Beating Woman



The video without audio captures two Texas police officers slamming an afroamerican woman’s head into a counter top and wrestling her to the ground.
VIDEO: Racist Police Officers Caught Beating Woman
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As the woman, 25-year-old Keyarika Diggles, speaks to her mother on the phone to make an arrangement for payment, Officer Ricky Grissom cuts the line off.
He then hands her something, and she snatches it off of the counter. He gets visibly angry and approaches her, screaming in her face drill sergeant style.
Then another cop, Officer Ryan Cunningham, comes into the picture and tries to detain her.
He wrestles her to the floor but not before slamming her face on the counter and pulling her hair — with such force that her scalp is visible — and handcuffing her. And if you thought the attack was over, it wasn't.
It is very disturbing that this happens even in the most civilized nations. Where is the respect for human rights?
One cannot help but wonder how often incidents like this happens where it isn't reported or caught on camera.
While she is on the floor, Officer Cunningham attempts to drag her by her foot, but he holds onto her shoe, which slips right off and sends him tumbling backward into a little hallway.
VIDEO: Racist Police Officers Caught Beating Woman
But that does not stop him from dusting himself off and trying again, this time with a better grip. He drags her around the counter while Officer Grissom struggles to hold open the door to the holding cell.
Just then another woman who works at the station comes from seemingly nowhere and holds the door open. However, you see in the second half of the video from the other angle that this woman stood there watching the entire attack take place.
The woman tried to file a written complaint, and when her protests were ignored, Jasper City Council Member Alton Scott handed the tape to a local news station.
After both officers were terminated on Monday, the council requested both officers be investigated for possible criminal charges.
She is being represented by Cade Bernsen, a top Jasper lawyer. In the attack, Diggles suffered her hair being pulled out, her braces coming loose and a broken tooth.
This attack comes on the heels of the 15-year anniversary of the famous Jasper racist attack on a man who was dragged behind a pickup truck and ultimately decapitated by a culvert.

Democracy Has Come To Stay Despite Imperfections – Abdulsalami



Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has said democracy has come to stay in Nigeria despite imperfections still being experienced.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to be patient as the nation wades through the learning process.
Abubakar who transited Nigeria into the current democratic dispensation in 1999 told journalists in Jos, weekend, that democracy was still on track despite various challenges which he viewed as part of the learning process.
He spoke after a courtesy call on Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State during which he commended the gradual peace being experienced in the state.
He regretted the crisis that rocked the once peaceful state in the past  and called for collective effort to sustain the peace, adding: “May this evil never visit us again.”
The former military leader who was on his way to Bauchi, commended Jang for the transformation the state had witnessed in recent times, noting how he did not recognise Rayfield, where he once served during his military career, because of the new road network.
He urged the governor to continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people and enjoined the people to cooperate with government to sustain peace.
Jang praised Abubakar for being the midwife of the current democracy in the country, adding that without his patriotism and personal sacrifice, democracy might have remained elusive.
He described him as a man of destiny who has continued to contribute to the development of the country in various capacities

Ghana To Deport 200 Chinese Illegal Miners


Some Chinese involved in illegal small scale mining are to be deported after their   arrest in southern Ghana over the past several weeks, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) announced on Monday.
Francis Palmdeti, the Head of Public Relations of the GIS, who made this known while fielding questions from journalists said the Chinese had “voluntarily” opted to be repatriated.
A task force set up by President John Dramani Mahama had been arresting foreign nationals involved in illegal small-scale mining in the Central, Western, Eastern and Ashanti regions over the past several weeks.
They include Chinese, Italians and Niger nationals.
Palmdeti said the Chinese, who were at the GIS, would be screened before being deported. The Chinese embassy last week complained of the arrests.
The Ghanaian authorities have been concerned about the increase in activities of small-scale miners that had degraded the environment and polluted water bodies.
Illegal miners pollute rivers with the use of chemicals such as mercury used in recovering the gold. There has been an invasion of the area by foreigners, especially Chinese, who use heavy earth moving equipment in their operations.
The government has called for swift and decisive action against illegal mining, which is rampant in gold and diamonds. Some of the illegal miners encroach on concessions of registered mining companies.Illegal mining has also led to deaths of illegal miners in pits that collapsed on them or are flooded by rains

Single Tenure: Presidency Gives Condition For Support



The Presidency on Monday gave a condition for it to support the six-year single term for President and governors recommended by the Senate Committee on Constitution amendment.
 
The condition which is a U-turn on its earlier promise to abide by any law on single term, is that such an amendment must take effect from 2019.
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak, made this known while featuring on a Channels Television programme, Sunrise.
Gulak had on May 1 said President Goodluck Jonathan was ready to forget his ambition to run for second term in 2015 if the proposal for a single non-renewable six-year tenure sailed through.
He had added in an interview with The PUNCH that Jonathan’s ambition to stage a return would be shelved if Senators decided in favour of a single term for the President and governors.
The Presidential aide had said, “Nigerians will remember that it was President Jonathan that suggested an idea of a single term from the beginning. So if the proposal becomes a law, the credit should go to the President.
“If it becomes a law and is enshrined in our constitution, the President and everybody will be bound by the provision of that law. We are not seeing the move as a way of stopping the President from re-contesting in 2015. The law cannot be made because of one individual. When it takes effect, everybody will be bound by it.”
But on Monday, Gulak hinged support for the single tenure amendment on 2019 commencement date. This, he explained, would give President Jonathan and first term governors the opportunity to contest the 2015 elections.
Gulak said by 2019, the President and state governors who are currently serving their first term of four years would have completed their second and final term as allowed by the 1999 Constitution.
He said with the amendment taking off in 2019 , the country would then start on a clean slate with the President and governors that would emerge then already aware that they would serve only a single tenure of six or seven years as the case may be.
Gulak insisted that denying the incumbent President and first time governors the opportunity of participating in the 2015 elections would be unfair to them since the constitution under which they were elected allows them to contest a maximum of two terms.
He said, “The President has the single tenure idea and he still stands by it. The difference is that the amendment should not be in such a way that it will be targeted at a group of people.
“The committee’s proposal is that those incumbent governors and the President who are supposed to enjoy second term will not participate.
“What we are saying is that laws are not amended to target a particular group of people. It could have been okay if all those first term governors are allowed to participate, and after 2019, anybody coming in will know that he is going to be elected under the amended constitution.
“As it is today, it appears that the first term governors will be shortchanged because their rights to be re-elected or to contest under the 1999 Constitution as amended would have been abridged if this proposal goes through.
“Is it proper to shortchange them when they were elected under a constitution that allows them two terms of four years each? That is the crux of the matter.”
Gulak explained that Jonathan agreed not to benefit from the single tenure proposal when he moved the idea because he believed that the amendment would commence after he or the governors might have finished their second term.
He expressed the belief that the proposal would not scale through since the process involved in amending the constitution was a long one.
He was confident that party politics would come to play at the appropriate time.
On the proposal by the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, for the party’s automatic tickets for the President and first term governors, Gulak said the suggestion was his (Anenih ) personal opinion.
He said since the party’s constitution recognised primary elections, automatic tickets were not the position of the party and that of the President.
Gulak said, “One of our leaders was the one who said his opinion. That was his opinion; it was not the opinion of the party. It happens all over the world. In the United States, Barack Obama did not contest primary election in his party when he was running for a second term.
“If we are to follow the US option, it therefore means that the incumbent President or governors should be given the first choice of refusal but here we are in Nigeria, in 2011, the President was subjected to primary when he was an incumbent President.”
Meanwhile, Afenifere, the pan Yoruba socio – political group, has described as improper, any move that could exclude the President and first term governors from seeking releection.
Secretary General of the group, Bashorun Seinde Arogbofa, in an interview with our correspondent in Akure, said, “It is not proper to make laws that would favour some people and exclude some others. We should not give excuse to legitimise illegality.”
Arogbofa noted that Afenifere had never supported the fact that the National Assembly should amend the constitution on behalf of Nigerians because most of the members were not the real representatives of the people.
He however described the single term tenure proposal as commendable because it would reduce a lot of problems usually identified during second-term struggle by elected politicians at the federal, state and council levels.

67-Year-Old Man Commits Suicide In church Premises



A 67-year-old church guard identified as Matthew Isidahume, yesterday,  reportedly committed suicide with his lifeless body found dangling  within the premises of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Gbagura, Ago- Oka, in Abeokuta  North Local Government of  Ogun State.
It was learnt that members of the church who converged for the morning prayers discovered the corpse of the deceased where he allegedly hung himself.
When the scene was visited, men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and some policemen were seen at the place.
Contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi,  who confirmed the incident said  three guards were supposed to be on duty when the incident happened.
Adejobi  said: “The deceased left a suicide note which is currently assisting us in our investigation, but the command will do a thorough job toward getting to the bottom of the matter.”
However, a  member of the church council, who identified himself as Adekunle Adegoke, said the deceased was the church’s night-guard, adding that those who came for the morning prayer meeting met the gate locked and waited for about 30 minutes thinking the late Matthew was busy.
He said: “When there was no trace of him, the people decided to push a small boy across the fence and  the boy later returned with the sad news that Matthew had hung himself.
“Really, if you see him, the first thought will be that there was a sort of complex issue, probably there is a foul play. But looking closely you will see his footprints on the generator which showed that he climbed, tied something on his neck and then jumped.”

FG Uncovers 46,821 Ghost Workers, Saves N118.9bn



The Federal Government on Monday said it had so far identified 46,821 ghost workers in 215 of its ministries, departments and agencies where it had introduced the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System.
The IPPIS is a new innovation of the government that is meant to enhance efficient personnel cost planning and budgeting by making personnel cost to be based on actual verified numbers and not estimates
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, confirmed the development during her presentation at the 2013 Ministerial Platform in Abuja.
The event provided an avenue for ministers to present their mid-term stewardship to Nigerians about their contributions to the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Okonjo-Iweala said as of January this year, the IPPIS had 153,019 members of staff of 215 MDAs, adding that work was currently ongoing to bring in the other 321 MDAs into the system.
This, she said was part of the reform measures aimed at ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of government resources.
The minister said, “The Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System enhances efficient personnel cost planning and budgeting, as personnel cost will be based on actual verified numbers and not estimates.
“Two hundred and fifteen MDAs (153,019 staff) are on the IPPIS as of January 2013. Savings on payroll cost to date is N118.9bn and work is ongoing to bring in other 321 MDAs not yet on the IPPIS. About 46,821 ghost workers have also been identified.”
The minister also said the introduction of the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System in April 2012 had helped to boost the speedy execution of the budget.
She said, “The GIFMIS is aimed at improving the acquisition, allocation, utilisation and conservation of public financial resources, using automated and integrated, effective, efficient and economic information systems.
“Fifty-eight per cent of the budget is now executed through GIFMIS. This is expected to rise to 79 per cent by end of the third quarter of 2013.”
On the Treasury Single Account, which is a unified structure of government’s bank accounts that gives a consolidated view of the cash position, Okonjo-Iweala explained that its introduction had helped to reduce how government’s accounts were being overdrawn.
“Ninety-three MDAs are currently on the TSA. Government’s overdrawn position has dropped from N102bn in 2011 to N19bn in 2012,” he said.
The minister also said the Federal Government had taken adequate measures to increase non-oil revenues.
For instance, she said through tax enforcement mechanism, the government had recovered over N10.65bn as outstanding tax liabilities.
She also said the modernisation of tax administration and operation helped the government to register 227,140 new tax payers in 2012 alone.
Okonjo-Iweala also used the occasion to clarify what she called misconception about the country’s debt position.
She said that contrary to the widely held opinion that Nigeria was becoming a highly indebted nation; the country’s national debt was still low.
The minister explained that what the government was doing was to reduce domestic borrowing and take advantage of the interest-free loans from international financial organisations.
Giving a flow of the domestic borrowing, Okonjo-Iweala said N107bn was borrowed in 2006; N200bn in 2007 and N155bn in 2008.

Youths Hunt Boko Haram In Maiduguri



There are reports that youth groups from several areas in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, have launched a manhunt for suspected Boko Haram members.
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According to witnesses, yesterday, that the youths who are on a voluntary mission to help security operatives, arrested some suspects, weekend, tied them up and handed them over to the Joint Task Force.
 
More than 500 youths from Gwange I, Gwange II, Blabirin, Mafoni and Hausari wards of Maiduguri are said to have organised themselves and resolve to go after insurgents who are sneaking back to the city, and hand them over to the authorities.
 
The JTF spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa could not be reached for comments. The absence of mobile telecommunication services and the ongoing offensive against the Boko Haram have left journalists in Maiduguri handicapped in reaching out to military authorities.
 
But when contacted, Defence spokesman Brigadier General Chris Olukolade said he could not confirm the story but that the military would welcome any such cooperation from the civil populace.
 
“I am not aware. But every effort that is complimentary or consistent with current security operations by way of  cooperation  from the civil populace  to put an end to the activities of  terrorists in the land will continue to be welcomed,” he said.
 
Many members of the Boko Haram are believed to have run back to the city following the military offensive which began shortly after President Jonathan declared state of emergency and moved in troops into northern Borno to fight the insurgents and recapture territories under their control.
 
“We, the youths in Maiduguri have resolved to fish out any member of Boko Haram sect who ran back into the city, to his or their house or community, after they had left for villages and bushes from where they were recently displaced by the federal troops,” a vigilante group leader in Gwange II ward said.
 
The leader who prefers anonymity added: “We thank God that we in Gwange II have so far caught more than 10 Boko Haram members in our area and handed them over to the soldiers and we are glad that our counterparts in GwangeI have also mobilized themselves for this patriotic community service. Insha-Allah we will soon carry this movement to Gwange III, Gwange IV and even other communities which are yet to take similar action.”
 
A witness told our correspondent that some youths in Hausari ward, last weekend crossed over to a neighbouring ward, Blabirin, and fished out a Boko Haram suspect who had ran back to the area, and handed him over to soldiers.
 
“This action of Hausari youths had provoked some Boko Haram members who manoeuvred their way into the city for reprisal; they came from the outskirts of Maiduguri, disguised as villagers conveying a corpse to the cemetery in a pick-up van. But they were repelled by the JTF,” a resident said.
 
South African timeslive.co.za yesterday corroborated this when it quoted local residents as saying that 10 attackers came into Hausari in a pick-up truck, with a coffin in the exposed flatbed rear.
 
“Everybody thought they were going for burial until they alighted from their vehicle and started bringing out their guns. They opened fire into different direction,” it quoted a local resident, Mohammed Aji as saying.
 
It also quoted military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa as confirming that gunmen launched attacks on Friday evening in the neighbourhoods of Hausari, Fizzan and Gwange.
 
Meanwhile, as a result of the closure of all roads leading to the northern and southern parts of Borno, village dwellers are reported to be suffering from food shortages because they cannot access markets to buy food items.
 
“There is no food in our villages. All the foods we stored have finished and our people have been dying from hunger. If the situation continues, no one would be spared,” a food trader, Adamu Kuranabasa who maneuvered his way from Gwoza through bush paths of Cibok to Damboa into Maiduguri, lamented.
 
“Our people who are dwelling in villages came this week as usual to buy food items on market day of this week in Gwoza, unfortunately just a few of them were lucky to get some food items and I am sure it will not take them up to next week; that was why I decided to come to Maiduguri through these risky roads,” he added.
 
Commenting on this, military spokesman Olukolade said Special Forces only mounted road blocks on designated areas for stop-and-search exercises, often causing delays for travellers. But he urged people moving along such roads to be tolerant with the soldiers.
 
“There was no basis for soldiers to block the roads and put off movements. In fact I was in the area last week and I didn’t see any spot where roads are blocked and people could not move. But those who are patient enough with the troops have been passing through the check points,” he said.
 
He said : “You only have the necessary control of movement essentially to keep the populace out of harm. There is certainly no intention to make life unbearable as movement of essential goods and services have not been restrained, especially when they have been duly cleared, or authorized to the satisfaction of commanders on the ground.  Safety of the people is very paramount now.”

You Are Backing Boko Haram – PDP Tells ACN



National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP yesterday alleged that the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN was supporting the activities of members of Boko Haram that have engaged in massive killing and wanton destruction of property in the country.
In a statement yesterday by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party noted that for ACN to criticise the Federal government’s order to proscribe all terrorist groups in the country, the opposition party never liked the country.
According to PDP, the ACN was out to use the press as a subterfuge to hide its support for insurgents as well as whittle the current efforts by the Federal Government to end acts of terrorism in the country.
The PDP however reinstated its support for President Goodluck Jonathan for the move, adding that contrary to claims by the ACN, no part of the Presidential Order proscribing terrorists groups, directly or indirectly violated any provision of the constitution or impinged on the freedom of the press in the country.
Metuh who described the allegation by the ACN that the order was aimed at gagging the press as despicable and a clear indication of how far the opposition party can go to distort facts to support violence and cause disaffection among Nigerians, said, “Our attention has been drawn to a statement sponsored by opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in which, in its usual homage to falsehood, deceit and distortion of facts, tried to suggest that the recent order by President Goodluck Jonathan proscribing groups engaged in acts of terrorism violates the constitution and aimed at stifling the press.
“This deliberate distortion of facts clearly betrays ACN’s support for such groups as well as the heinous attempt to whittle efforts by the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to end insurgency in the country.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no section of the order stifled the press; violated or seeks to violate any provision of the constitution. Instead the order reinforced the provisions of the constitution guaranteeing the security and welfare of all Nigerians.
“Section 5 (1), of the order which the ACN is kicking against prescribes a term of imprisonment of not less than 20 years ”for any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support for the commission of an act of terrorism or to a terrorist group”.
“The ACN is feverish because the order defined “support” to include ”incitement to commit a terrorist act through the Internet, or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information”.
“By all indications, it is clear that neither this section nor any other section of the order for that matter, infringed on the rights of Nigerians and the freedom of the media as guaranteed by the constitution. Rather the section clearly seeks to stop incitements to commit a terrorist acts”.
“In trying to distort the facts, the ACN sought to weaken the fight against insurgency, but ended up betraying its support for acts of terrorism and Nigerians have taken note.’’
According to PDP, it was solidly behind President Goodluck Jonathan in what it termed, his untiring efforts to ensure an end to acts of terrorism in the country. It commended the President for the Order which it described as a welcome development adding that “those who have nothing to hide need not be afraid”.
The party therefore urged Nigerians to continue to go about their legitimate businesses as well as note the activities and interests of parties such as the ACN

FG Appoints Paradang As New Immigration Boss



Contrary to speculations that the acting Comptroller -General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Alhaji Rilwan Musa, would be confirmed as substantive successor to the former immediate NIS boss, Rosemary Uzoma, the federal government yesterday shocked Nigerians when it announced Mr. David Paradang as successor to Uzoma.

We have gathered that Paradang, an assistant comptroller of NIS until his appointment,was in charge of state coordination at Immigration headquarter. Abuja. Paradang hails from Plateau state.
Alhaji Musa came to power after Uzoma who was put on retirement leave. also seven senior officers will be asked to vacate their current positions from the Deputy Controller General of Immigration and everyone from the Assistant Comptroller General of Immigration (ACGs)
Paradang will be sworn in this morning and be decorated by tomorrow by early as 9:00 am
 

Anambra Communities Seek Juju’s Help To End Kidnapping


The 21 communities in Anambra West and Anambra East local government areas have agreed to consult a traditional oracle to combat kidnapping and other crimes in the area.
Chinedu Obidigwe, the Chairman of Anambra East Transitional Committee, confirmed the move in Aguleri on Monday. Mr. Obidigwe said an oath would be administered to the people to stamp out the kidnapping and killings that had bedevilled the area in recent time.
He said the oracle, known for its powers in the area, would help to instil discipline because the people know its potency. “We decided to resort to traditional oracle because it acts fast, no going to police and seeking for bail or trying to bend the law.
If anyone defies the oracle’s orders, he pays instantly,” he said The Chairman of the traditional rulers of the communities, Roland Odegbo of Nteje, corroborated the development and said that the essence of the exercise was to reduce criminality to the barest minimum.
He advised the citizens to abide by the decision and avoid committing crimes, noting that such did not bring development to the area.
The communities have experienced kidnappings and killings in recent times by rival groups in the area.
Some of the communities in the two local governments are Ezi-Anam, Ifitie-Anam, Nzam and Oweelle in Anambra West; as well as Aguleri, Umuoba-Anam, Igbariam, Nando, Nsugbe, Umueri and Mkpunando-Otu Aguleri in Anambra East.

M.K.O., Rice And A Deadly Cup Of Tea - Fani Kayode



Susan Rice was up until recently the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Her long-standing aspiration of becoming the US Secretary of State was dashed when the Republicans in the Senate started sharpening their knives in anticipation of her formal nomination for that position by President Barak Obama.
Sensing that her nomination would not scale through the Senate and that she would not be confirmed as Secretary of State due to the role she played in the cover-up of the Benghazi shooting in which the US envoy to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other American citizens were murdered by a group of Islamist terrorists, her nomination was withdrawn.
Instead of Secretary of State, Obama has now nominated her for the position of the National Security Advisor which is a job that does not require Senate approval or confirmation. I wish Rice well in her new assignment but I am constrained to ask the following questions: What did she put in the tea that she served to Chief M.K.O. Abiola on July 8, 1998 just before he died? She was one of the last people who saw Abiola alive. She was said to have served him some tea, after which he reportedly coughed violently and one hour later, dropped dead. What was in the tea? Was it Abuja ”green tea”, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Lipton or some other more exotic brand?
Can someone please ask Rice what her role was in the death of Abiola? Who sent her to do the job and who was she working for? As of that time, she was Assistant Secretary of State for America in President Bill Clinton’s government. Was she acting on his direct instructions or simply on the instructions of her boss and controller in Langley?
Abiola was the winner of Nigeria’s freest and fairest election. That election took place on June 12, 1993. The election was annulled by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. Shortly after that, as a consequence of the sheer outrage that was generated by the annulment, Babangida was compelled to ”step aside” and hand over power to Chief Ernest Shonekan. In what was clearly a strategic maneuver, he left Gen. Sani Abacha (his own Chief of Army Staff) behind to be the Minister of Defence for the incoming administration.
A few months later Abacha toppled the Interim National Government of Chief Ernest Shonekan which he had served and seized power for himself. Abiola was arrested and detained. He was never granted his freedom again. Four years later Abacha himself was murdered by forces that are yet to be identified and General Abdulsalami Abubakar took power. Exactly 30 days after Abacha was killed, those same forces that killed him murdered Abiola as well in an attempt to ”balance the equation”.
These are the facts and sequence of events. One thing is self-evident and cannot be denied no matter which side of the divide one may have been on in the June 12 saga — certain questions must be answered. And some of those questions are as follows: Who killed Abiola? Who killed Sani Abacha? What role, if any, did officials of the Abubakar administration play in the murder of both men? What role did the CIA play and exactly what transpired in the room when Rice, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and two other faceless and nameless officials from the American Embassy met with Abiola on the very day that he was meant to have been “released”. Sadly, instead of being released on that day, he dropped dead in what can only be described as mysterious and questionable circumstances.
This is all the more so because Abiola’s security officer and the man that was charged with looking after him and protecting him throughout the time that he was incarcerated (ASP Zadok) told the Oputa panel in 2002 that Abiola was ”hale and hearty” and in ”very high spirits” just before going into the meeting with the Americans.
He went further by telling the panel that as he was about to enter Aguda House (the premises where the meeting was scheduled to be held) with Abiola he was asked to leave his principal, to step out of the premises and to go and pick up another car from somewhere else by one of General Abdulsalami’s security officers. He promptly obeyed the order but half an hour later when he came back he found Abiola in a terrible condition, coughing violently, writhing all over the floor in pain and breathing his last breath. Thirty minutes later he gave up the ghost.
Another question that needs to be answered is the one that the veteran journalist and respected columnist, Mr. Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, has dubbed as ”the question of the missing one hour”. Permit me to explain. According to the testimony that was given to the Oputa Panel by Major Hamza Al Mustapha, who was Abacha’s Chief Security Officer, from the first day that Abiola was arrested right up until the day that he was murdered, he (Al Mustapha) was in charge of his (Abiola’s) security. Each time Abiola was moved from one safe house to another, he had to sign for it.
Each time Abiola ate his food or drank anything, his men tasted and drank it before-hand. He went as far as to say that each time Abiola went to the toilet he was made aware of it and that nothing happened around Abiola or to him without his direct permission and the involvement of his most loyal men. After Abacha was murdered and Abdulsalami Abubakar became Head of State, Al Mustapha was still in charge of Abiola’s security and he still maintained direct responsibility for his life, his well-being and his welfare right up until the minute that he was murdered.
When Mustapha appeared before the Oputa Panel, he exposed the fact that in the entire period of four years that he and his team watched over Abiola, it was only in the one hour that he was killed that they had no knowledge or control of what was happening to or around him. According to him, Abiola was removed from the guest house that he had been staying without his (Al Mustapha’s) signature or knowledge and without anyone seeking his permission. Simply put, he was kept in the dark about the whole thing.
Secret orders were given to keep him out of the loop, to take Abiola to a destination which he knew nothing about and to ensure that none of the usual trusted food tasters and minders was with him. The only person that accompanied Abiola from the old guard of those that had watched over him for the previous four years was Zadok and when they arrived at Aguda House (the venue of the meeting), he was reportedly conveniently sent on a meaningless errand by Abubakar’s Chief Security Officer and told to leave.
Hence, for the first time in four years, Abiola was left completely on his own and he was surrounded by a coterie of strange faces who had no genuine affection or empathy for him. He was with them for one hour and during that period, not one of those that had watched over him, that had secured his safety and that he had grown familiar with him over the entire four-year period of his incarceration, was with him. It was during that ”missing hour”, when he was all alone and very vulnerable, that he was poisoned.
Given these circumstances I have no doubt that this was a case of premeditated murder but the question is whose call was it and why did it have to happen? What was the motive? Was it done just to ”balance the equation” as some said at the time or was it done in an attempt to pave the way for an Obasanjo Presidency one year later? Could Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo have been released from jail and elected President if Abiola had lived and if he had insisted on claiming his mandate? The Nigerian people have a right to know the truth and it is high time that those that have wielded power in this country for the last few decades told them.
The powers that be must appreciate the fact that they cannot sweep things under the carpet forever and that one day, no matter how long it takes, they will be held accountable by God and the Nigerian people for the morbid, secret and oftentimes homicidal choices and decisions that they made.

Okeke Allegation: Falana Denies Ever Appearing For Mrs. Ibru



The intrigues surrounding allegation by retired Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court that a Justice of the Supreme Court tried to influence a case before him, took another dimension with a Lagos Lawyer
Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, denyed ever representing Mrs. Cecilia Ibru as claimed by the judge.
In a statement by Falana in Lagos, the lawyer alleged that the retired judge used the occasion of his valedictory, to accuse a justice of the Supreme Court of interfering with proceedings before him to save his face.
In his defence to the allegation that he represented Mrs.Ibru in a case before the judge, Falana said: “We wish to state, without any fear of contradiction, that contrary to Justice Okeke’s allegation we did not file any application on behalf of Dr. Cecilia Ibru before him or any other judge.
“The clients being represented by us are: 1. Engr. Chief Michael Afolabi Dada, (2) Engr.. Charles Ndubuisi O. Amadi, (3) Mallam Lawan Sheikh Muhammad, (4) Mrs.. Comfort Nduka Odili-Iwuafor and (5) Anthony Abiodun Abikoye who are employees of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.”

45m Nigerians Risk Losing Internet Freedom—Study



More than 45 million internet users in Nigeria comprising the general public are on the verge of losing their Internet privacy on every form of cyber-communication as the federal government intensifies efforts to monitor them online according to a new study by Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), a not-for profit organisation.
Paradigm Initiative in a policy brief entitled “Nigeria: Making a Case for Enduring Internet Freedom” which was sent to LEADERSHIP said it has discovered gaping holes in the actions of the federal government towards curtailing Internet privacy.
Paradigm Initiative had earlier made a request to the federal government through the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to avail it details of the $40M Internet Surveillance Contract awarded by Nigerian government to an Israeli company.
This is in connection with trending information revealing that Command and Control server for FinFisher, a product described by its distributor, Gamma International, as “Governmental IT Intrusion and Remote Monitoring Solutions” had been spotted in Nigeria.
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s Executive Directors, Mr. ‘Gbenga Sesan, and Bankole Oluwafemi said concerns about this state of intended abrogation of Internet freedom by the government compelled them to release the document which is available on the website with the purpose of promoting advocacy towards public freedom in the cyberspace.
The brief raises pertinent issues concerning National Security and Internet Freedom, elaborates on scenarios and causes for concern, and also gives recommendations on the way forward.
It draws analysis from the dawn of the democratic dispensation in the country to the contemporary administrative approach to Internet Freedom and the need for understanding the implications that could militate against the nation’s growth.
Paradigm Initiative’s chief operating officer, Mrs. Tope Ogundipe, said PiN is all out to promote Internet Freedom. “The absence of data privacy and lawful interception laws raises issues of possibility of grave abuse.
A society in which perceived ‘enemies’ of the government could lose their fundamental rights in the name of ‘keeping Nigeria safe’ cannot be said to be free and democratic.
“It is in the interest of all concerned that the Internet surveillance and monitoring contract be annulled. Nigerians must also be sensitised to understand the (direct and indirect) implications of unchecked government access to the private data. Enduring Internet Freedom is in Nigeria’s best interest.”
In another development, lawful interception has already begun in Nigeria. A Netherlands company, Digivox is the key supplier of interception technology tools to Nigerian government and telecommunication operators which includes State Security Service (SSS), MTN, Airtel, Etisalat and Glo.
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