Monday, 17 June 2013

Anambra 2014: I Won’t Impose Any Candidate –Gov Peter Obi


The Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has said he has no plan to impose or support any candidate in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
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Obi’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Mike Udah, told SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday that the governor had insisted on letting the people choose his successor.
He said, “Governor Peter Obi has not tipped anybody for the forthcoming governorship election. He is not supporting any particular aspirant, and has no plan to do so.
“He wants a level playing field for everyone that wants to contest the governorship poll. He wants everybody to vie and anyone who emerges victorious in a fair and transparent manner should be the governor. He said he is not interested in who succeeds him. It is up to Anambra people to choose their next governor.”
Udah added that Obi was confident that a credible candidate would emerge on the platform of his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, and would defeat candidates of the other contending parties, without his support.
In addition, a leader of APGA, Maxi Okwu, who was elected national chairman at the party’s last convention, said the party was doing everything possible to ensure its primary leading to the governorship election was fair and transparent.

Nigeria Must Prosecute IBB, Obasanjo – Opadokun


Former Secretary of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, and Publicity Secretary of the National Democratic Coalition, Chief Ayo Opadokun, in this interview explains the national mistakes in June 12 and the danger ex-military chiefs pose to Nigeria’s democratic system.
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Have you ever been worried that June 12, is being celebrated annually only in the South-West?

PDP To Expel Amaechi, Wamakko


There are strong indications that Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and his Sokoto State counterpart, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, may be in for tougher times.
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Our correspondent gathered in Abuja on Sunday that hardliners within the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party were pushing for their expulsion from the PDP on the grounds that they had remained recalcitrant.
A source in the NWC, who confided in our correspondent, said that the party was prepared to go the “all the way” to instil discipline in its ranks.
He said, “We are not under any illusion about the place of discipline in any organisation, especially in a political party such as ours.  The PDP has the capacity to manage its internal issues.
“Yes, we have suspended the two governors  and  they could be expelled if the need arises. They have remained recalcitrant. We must have a disciplined party.
“Those of them (governors) who are being deceived by the opposition can go if they so wish.  We all have a constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of association.
 “The party is insisting on discipline because it is better to go into a battle with a compact, disciplined, loyal and well- equipped army than go   with a motley crowd of people pretending to be troops.
“History has shown that such troops will desert you at the most critical point in battle. Let’s look at it this way, who among these governors challenging the President (Goodluck Jonathan) today can take half of what they are giving him (Jonathan) from local government chairmen in their states?
“This is not about Jonathan as a person but about a PDP Presidency and the supremacy of the party.  We are prepared to expel them if it becomes necessary.”
However, the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, denied knowledge of any such a move.
 Metuh,who   said  the mood within the party was that of peace and reconciliation, explained that the PDP had  been receiving pleas from well-meaning Nigerians and party elders concerning the matter.
He assured that, “We are not taking an extreme position since everybody is preaching peace. By tomorrow (today), we will look at our (PDP) constitution and do what’s best for the party.”
Going into specifics about the two cases, he said, “In the case of Rivers State, we have an investigative panel in place; so saying anything now will be wrong.
“What I am aware of is that in the case of Sokoto State, we have not instituted any panel yet. We are not unmindful of the peace being preached; we also have to listen to these pleas.
“We have received pleas from our leaders on this and other cases; we will look at them in the overall interest of the system and our party.”
The Publicity Secretary added that the recent constitution of a panel by the President to broker peace within the party was one of the steps towards a lasting peace in the PDP.
The PDP suspended Governor Amaechi hours after he emerged as chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
He was alleged to have flouted an instruction by the Rivers State chapter of the party to reinstate the Obiakor Local Government chairman and councillors who were sacked by the State House of Assembly.
Wamakko earned his suspension for alleged gross disrespect and insubordination to the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and his office.

My Visit To PH Was Not To Unseat Amaechi — Patience


Wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, on Sunday said her current visit to Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, is not meant to unseat Governor Rotimi Amaechi as being insinuated in a section of the media.
Mrs. Jonathan, an indigene of the state, had been in the news for allegedly backing the anti-Amaechi members of the state House of Assembly, with a view to removing the factional chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, an allegation she has denied.
In a statement by her spokesman, Ayo Osinlu, the President’s wife said none of the purposes of her latest visit to the state had to do with politics.
She said apart from the fact that the entire country was her constituency, she equally had the liberty to visit any part of the state.
The statement read, “We have observed reports in some of today’s (Sunday’s) national dailies which are an obvious attempt by certain interests to link the current visit of the First Lady, Dame Patience  Jonathan, to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with a desire to unseat the governor of the state.
“For the purpose of protecting the innocent public from misinformation by these interests, it becomes important for us to state the facts of the First Lady’s presence in Port Harcourt as follows:
“Her Excellency was the Special Guest of Honour at the official commissioning of the Yitzhak Rabin International School, Port Harcourt on Friday,  June 15, during which she also received an award from the Yitzhak Rabin Centre for African Development for her successful advocacy for women empowerment and the achievement of enduring peace in Nigeria and around the continent.
“She also featured eminently as Mother of the Day at the wedding of her brother and member of the Rivers State Legislature, Evans Bipi, on Saturday.
“The First Lady will finally receive well wishers at the burial of her grandfather on Sunday, the 23rd.
“It is difficult to see how any of the activities above is associated with the political circumstances of anyone.
“Perhaps we need to remind those who are crying wolf and are being harassed by their own ghost, that Rivers is the home state of the First Lady, which makes her a principal stakeholder with all the rights and privileges to visit the state as she considers needful.
“This is besides the fact that the entire country is her constituency as mother of the nation, a situation that comes with the liberty to visit any part thereof at will.”

NGF Crisis: Stop Impersonating Me, Amaechi Warns Jang


Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi on Sunday warned his Plateau State counterpart, Mr. Jonah Jang, against impersonating him as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
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Amaechi was reacting to media reports on Saturday that Jang had invited the NGF members to a meeting scheduled for Monday (today) in Abuja.
Jang, who lost out to the Rivers State Governor during the May 24 governors election, had in a statement said that the NGF forum meeting would hold at 6pm.
In the statement in which he addressed himself as the NGF chairman, Jang stated that after their meeting, the governors would meet with President Goodluck Jonathan at 9pm in the Presidential Villa.
He explained that the governors would meet “in view of the impasse arising from the Federal Allocation Accounts Committee meeting.”
State commissioners for Finance had on Thursday stormed out of the FAAC meeting in Abuja because of N60bn unpaid arrears.
But on Sunday, Amaechi distanced himself from the meeting announced by Jang, saying the he (Jang) should not tarnish  the integrity of governors.
The Rivers State governor said, “As the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum elected by my colleagues to safeguard their integrity and that of the forum, it has become imperative for me to request my brother, Governor Jang, to remain within the confines of decorum and cease to impersonate me and to stop parading himself as NGF chairman.
“There is only one chairman of the forum, duly elected by a vote tally of 19:16 on Friday, May 24, 2013. For the avoidance of doubt, I, as chairman of the NGF have not called for any governors’ forum meeting for Monday, June 17, 2013.
“Governor Jang is my brother and a friend and I harbour no ill feelings against him;  but it is important that he stops this impersonation, as it could threaten all the good work we all have done together.”
“The only meeting scheduled for Monday June 17, is a meeting of all governors with His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan scheduled to hold at 9pm at Aso Rock Villa.” He therefore enjoined all the governors to “please ensure attendance at this meeting with Mr. President.”
He reminded Jang that a legal action that had been instituted against him (Jang) by the Lagos State Governor, Mr.  Babatunde Fashola (SAN), asking him to stop parading himself as the chairman of NGF.
“As leaders elected by our people, Nigerians are closely watching us. We must comport ourselves according to the dictates and principles of democratic and lawful practices and norms,” Amaechi added.
He, however, reassured his colleagues that the leadership “crisis in the NGF would be resolved and the forum would be reunited as one family committed to the country.”
Amaechi stated that the forum would continue to support the President’s  “vision for a Nigeria that safeguards the rights of all its citizens to good governance and democratic norms.”
But in a swift response, Jang insisted that the NGF meeting would hold as scheduled on Monday.
The governor, who spoke through the Sole Administrator of his NGF faction, Mr. Osaro Onaiwo, added, “The meeting  would hold as scheduled and the agenda is the Federation Allocation Accounts.  After that members would proceed to the Presidential Villa to have a meeting with President Jonathan.”

My Visit To PH Was Not To Unseat Amaechi — Patience



Wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, on Sunday said her current visit to Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, is not meant to unseat Governor Rotimi Amaechi as being insinuated in a section of the media.
Mrs. Jonathan, an indigene of the state, had been in the news for allegedly backing the anti-Amaechi members of the state House of Assembly, with a view to removing the factional chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, an allegation she has denied.
In a statement by her spokesman, Ayo Osinlu, the President’s wife said none of the purposes of her latest visit to the state had to do with politics.
She said apart from the fact that the entire country was her constituency, she equally had the liberty to visit any part of the state.
The statement read, “We have observed reports in some of today’s (Sunday’s) national dailies which are an obvious attempt by certain interests to link the current visit of the First Lady, Dame Patience  Jonathan, to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with a desire to unseat the governor of the state.
“For the purpose of protecting the innocent public from misinformation by these interests, it becomes important for us to state the facts of the First Lady’s presence in Port Harcourt as follows:
“Her Excellency was the Special Guest of Honour at the official commissioning of the Yitzhak Rabin International School, Port Harcourt on Friday,  June 15, during which she also received an award from the Yitzhak Rabin Centre for African Development for her successful advocacy for women empowerment and the achievement of enduring peace in Nigeria and around the continent.
“She also featured eminently as Mother of the Day at the wedding of her brother and member of the Rivers State Legislature, Evans Bipi, on Saturday.
“The First Lady will finally receive well wishers at the burial of her grandfather on Sunday, the 23rd.
“It is difficult to see how any of the activities above is associated with the political circumstances of anyone.
“Perhaps we need to remind those who are crying wolf and are being harassed by their own ghost, that Rivers is the home state of the First Lady, which makes her a principal stakeholder with all the rights and privileges to visit the state as she considers needful.
“This is besides the fact that the entire country is her constituency as mother of the nation, a situation that comes with the liberty to visit any part thereof at will.”

Jonathan’s Aide Faults Buhari On Southern Kaduna Marginalisation



Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Mr. Isaiah Balat, has dismissed claims by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, that Southern Kaduna had gained nothing for supporting the PDP since 1999.
photo Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Mr. Isaiah Balat, has dismissed claims by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, that Southern Kaduna had gained nothing for supporting the PDP since 1999.
Balat made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone interview in Jos on Sunday.
He said, “That claim is simply laughable because the area has witnessed lots of infrastructural growth as well as the appointment and election of its people into key positions.
“In fact, our people have never had it so good; the dividends are glaring no matter which indices you use. The resolve to support PDP is even stronger now than ever.’’
Buhari had, at meeting of the yet-to-be-registered All progressive Congress in Kagoro, near Kafanchan, dismissed the PDP as “a colony of deceivers’’, and advised the people to join the APC.
Former FCT minister Nasir el-Rufai; Kaduna military governor, Brig. Lawal Isa (retd.); and ex-Chief of Naval Staff, Ibrahim Iko, also criticised the PDP, and advised the people to join the APC.
Balat, a former Minister of State for Works and Housing, in a reaction, said the criticisms by Buhari and others were “figment of their imaginations’’.
He added, “Our people know the state of their roads from Kaduna-Gimi, Saminaka-Kafanchan, Kagoro-Jos, and many others before 1999.
“They also know how large rivers separated communities, especially Bondong and Chawai, because there are no bridges. They can compare then and now.
“Aside the infrastructure, it is in the PDP governments that we have had our people rising to the pinnacle of their chosen fields.
“Our sons and daughters have risen to become Chiefs of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Naval Staff. The incumbent Group Managing Director of the NNPC is also our son.
“And don’t forget that we also produced an elected governor.
“The PDP-led Federal Government has also provided the multi-billion dollar Gurara Dam that has ensured thousands of hectares of land for irrigation aside electricity and drinking water for the immediate environment and the FCT.
“The average Southern Kaduna has never asked for unmerited favour.”
He described the allegations that PDP had taken the area for granted as false and untenable, pointing out that every community had gained from the PDP government in one way or the other.
Balat said that Buhari was the “least qualified’’ to allege any neglect of the area.

Senator Oluremi Tinubu Denies 2015 Gov Ambition



The Senator representing Lagos Central in the National Assembly, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, has denied nursing an ambition to become the governor of Lagos State in 2015.
photo The Senator representing Lagos Central in the National Assembly, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, has denied nursing an ambition to become the governor of Lagos State in 2015.
Tinubu, who spoke on Saturday at a press briefing on her ‘Two years of representation at the Senate’, said governing Lagos State was not for the “tender-hearted”.
The Senator is the wife of former governor of the state, Bola Tinubu.
She said, “Truly, it is never my ambition to run for the governor of Lagos State.  My husband did it for eight years and I was not an outsider to it. It is not a job for the tender hearted. It is a lot of work to govern Lagos. I don’t think I have the strength to govern the present state of Lagos.
“There is still a lot of work to be done for Lagos; it’s not a child’s play. I don’t have such ambition. Maybe, I can be the Vice-President, not the governor.”
She said her primary concern was to ensure that the poverty in society and the rot in the system was reduced.
She said, “My concern is for the young and the old. What kind of Nigeria do we want to leave for the younger ones? A good parent will always want leave an inheritance for the children. What kind of inheritance or legacy do we want to leave for our children?”
This, she said, was the motivation behind the two bills she sponsored, with one of them seeking social security for the elderly and the other seeking to expunge part of the Labour Act that prevents women from taking certain jobs.
Tinubu said both bills had passed through second reading at the Senate, adding that she was working with other Lagos State senators to achieve a special status for the state.
She added, “On my part, I have sponsored two bills aimed at providing social security for Nigeria’s elderly citizens and amending sections of the Labour Act, which restricts employment opportunities for women all of which have passed the second reading.
“I am currently working with other senators on a third bill aimed at providing special economic assistance to Lagos.”

New Visa Policy To Priotise Security Over Diplomacy


The new visa policy planned by the Nigerian Immigration Service will give priority to security over diplomatic and economic considerations, the The PUNCH gathered on Sunday.
photo The new visa policy planned by the Nigerian Immigration Service will give priority to security over diplomatic and economic considerations, the The PUNCH gathered on Sunday.
The fresh initiative, it was learnt, was to check the infiltration of terrorists into the country.
The former acting Comptroller-General of Immigration, Rilwanu Musa had hinted of the review, saying it would prevent terrorists, religious fundamentalists, and other illegal immigrants from entering the country.
A security source told our correspondent on Sunday that as part of the new immigration policy, visitors to Nigeria would be profiled, particularly those of them from the Middle East.
“Such foreign nationals will be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival, and systems will be put in place to require them to report to the NIS on a regular basis and provide information regarding their whereabouts and activities in the country,” a source noted.
It was learnt that the NIS planned to impose tougher sanctions against foreigners who violated immigration laws.
The NIS Public Relations Officer, Ekpedeme King, declined to speak on the new visa policy, saying the new Comptroller-General of Immigration, David Padarang was the only competent to talk about it.
“I can’t say anything on the matter, but the CG will talk to you on it. He is the only person that can give you the details of the visa protocol; I am sorry, but I can’t speak on it,” he said in a telephone interview on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Department of Monitoring and Enforcement of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board arrested 14 illegal immigrants along the Ring Road by Finance Quarters in Wuye District of Abuja.
Parading the suspects before handing them over to the NIS Anti-Human Trafficking Department, the Head of Information and Outreach Programme of the AEPB, Mr. Joe Ukairo, said their arrest followed a tip-off.
According to him, some of the suspects, who claimed to be Nigerians, did not know their local government of origin.

Gunmen Attack 4 Churches In Borno; Kill Pastor, 2 Others


One month after the declaration of emergency rule in order to fight insurgency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, violence has erupted again, as gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamist terrorist’s sect attacked four communities of Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga of Gwoza Hills settlements, torching four churches with Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDS) and petro-bombs Thursday afternoon.

According to Tada Garuta, a resident of Kunde, the gunmen climbed the hills on foot with explosives and petro-bombs, and chanted ‘God is great’ in Arabic, before setting four local churches ablaze; and ransacked and emptied their bans of grains along with some livestock to the next community of Gathahure and Hwa’a at dawn.

The attacked communities are located in Gwoza council area of Borno state of Mandara Hills, and 151 kilometres South of Maiduguri, the state capital.

Two churches at Hrazah and Hembe of hill dwellers communities; were also torched by the gunmen in April this year with the killing of two residents.

Garuta also told newsmen in the Maiduguri, Bama road Motor Park on Sunday that after torching another church in Hwa’a community, the gunmen also killed Reverend Jacob Kwiza (rtd) of Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), while picking mangoes at his father’s orchard on the hills settlement of Hwa’a.

20 Killed In Renewed Benin City Cult War



No fewer than 20 persons have been killed in the past four days in different parts of Benin City, following a renewed cult war between suspected members of  Eiye Confraternity and Black Axe.
Over 10 persons were said to have been arrested by the Edo State Police Command in connection with the incident.
It was gathered that some of the leaders of the groups are on the run following the collaboration of security agencies with the state government to hunt for the suspects.
Vanguard was informed that the latest face-off was triggered  last Thursday when members of one of the groups went to the home of one of the suspects currently on the run, whose father was said to belong to one of the warring groups to resolve some money related issues.
It was learnt that while they were settling the issue, the suspect went upstairs to fetch a pump action gun and shot a member of the rival cult group on the leg.
The victim was rushed to the hospital by his colleagues while the suspect fled. Consequently, colleagues of the victim mobilised  for reprisal attacks, visiting the homes of members of the rival  group.
It was learnt that the attack led to the killing of a colleague of the suspect who started the shooting at New Benin. As expected, the cult war escalated. There were killings in Idu Owena, after Ugbowo, Isihor, Ugbiyoko, Textile Mill Road, New Benin and Igbesanwa.
Vanguard was reliably informed that no fewer than 20 persons have been killed so far. As a result, night life in Benin City has been affected as people no longer relax in bars in the evenings due to fear of being attacked by the rampaging cultists.
Oshiomhole summons security meeting
Worried by the development, it was learnt that Governor Adams Oshiomhole convened an emergency security meeting last Friday, asking security operatives to fish out the killers. Vanguard learnt that about 10 persons have been arrested so far while efforts were on towards finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
The Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr Folounsho Adebanjo, who could not confirm the casualty figure, described the killings as unacceptable and vowed that the police would deal with the situation.
According to him, “we are not relaxing at all. We are in search of the leaders behind this. Some persons have been arrested while some are on the run. The killings will stop because our officers are all on the alert now. I can assure you that anybody arrested will be dealt with very seriously.
“All security agencies in the state are concerned. The governor is equally concerned, residents of the state are concerned. So we will not relent until we stop this madness. It is very sad that people no longer value human lives.”

Aisha Shaba Is Cover Girl Of Happenings Magazine



Photo - Aisha Shaba Is Cover Girl Of Happenings Magazine
Aisha's photo is on the cover of Happenings magazine, which will be released very soon.
You go girl, you rock!

Oshiomhole Vows To Destroy Any Okada, Keke NAPEP On Edo Cities’ Roads As Ban Comes Into Effect Today


The Edo government on Sunday threatened to destroy commercial motorcycles or tricycles, popularly known as Keke NAPEP, that flouted the orders on their use.
photo The Edo government on Sunday threatened to destroy commercial motorcycles or tricycles, popularly known as Keke NAPEP, that flouted the orders on their use.
Gov. Adams Oshiomhole, in a state broadcast, banned the use of motorcycles and tricycles in  major streets in five local government areas of the state.
The governor said the decision was painful but that it was in the overall security interest of the state adding that the ban took effect from midnight on Sunday.
The affected local councils are Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha including Aduwawa in Uhnmwode and Ekosodin in Ovia North East.
Mr. Oshiomhole also barred private owners of motorcycles from using them within those areas.
The governor appealed to the residents to comply with the directives as security agencies had been mobilised to enforce the ban.
Mr. Oshiomhole said he had discussed alternative means of livelihood with the commercial motorcyclists but warned that the measures were for those in the state only.
According to him, the government does not want to make anyone to suffer but is determined to enforce the ban.
“I advise all bike riders to comply and keep off the road. Should any bike rider flout this order, he will be dealt with ruthlessly. The bike will be confiscated and destroyed.
“In the interest of our collective security, I ask you to appreciate that this is a sacrifice that you have to make. Everyone must make sacrifice and be security conscious.
“We are currently facing security challenges across the country and the progress made in some parts of the country has its own challenges in other parts of the country.
“There will be time this issue will be resolved and everyone will be happy. Do not doubt our will to enforce this decision.
“Motorcycles will be destroyed on my orders. Keep out of the roads in the stated areas.
“I care about your welfare but we are not about to replace motor bike with Keke NAPEP. Please stay out of trouble.
“It is not my wish to visit hardship on anyone. It is my duty to provide security for the people of the state. Please respect this order,” Mr. Oshiomhole said. (NAN)

Czech PM To Resign Over Aide’s Scandal


Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas has announced that he will resign on Monday after days of political turmoil.
BBC says his ruling coalition will try to form a new government led by someone nominated by his Civic Democratic Party (ODS).
Pressure had been growing on Mr. Necas to quit since prosecutors on Friday charged his chief of staff Jana Nagyova with corruption and abuse of power.
Two former MPs, an ex-minister and the current and former heads of military intelligence have also been detained.
All except one have been remanded in custody.
President Milos Zeman has said the charges, brought after armed police raids on government and private offices on Wednesday are “serious.”
Up to 150m koruna (£5m; $8m) in cash, tens of kilograms of gold and large quantities of documents were seized during the raids.
Detectives have said Ms Nagyova was suspected of bribing the former MPs with offers of posts in state-owned firms. It is alleged this was in exchange for them giving up their parliamentary seats.

We Will Bomb Fuel Tankers –MEND



Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has resumed hostilities in the Niger Delta region.
photo Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has resumed hostilities in the Niger Delta region.
The militant group’s field operatives yesterday about 5 am  stealthily attached portable military limpet explosives magnetically to two articulated tanker vehicles laden with petrol in a queue outside the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) depot in Abaji, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In a statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, the devices with a predictable outcome were timed to detonate simultaneously several seconds later.
He said this segment of Exodus codenamed ‘Operation Touch and Go’ is targeted at the soft underbelly (downstream sector) of the oil industry in Nigeria.
“From today, every tanker vehicle we find distributing petroleum products, including propane gas has become a legitimate target in our war against injustice, corruption, despotism and oppression.
“Drivers of tanker vehicles continue to drive them at their own risk. The public is hereby advised to maintain a safe distance from such vehicles as they can explode anytime and anywhere, ” he said.
He warned that harassment of the tanker vehicles would be sustained until the following demands are met: “Henry Okah, his brother Charles and other innocent persons set up as scapegoats and held over the October 1, 2010, twin car bombings in Abuja should be released unconditionally.
“That an unreserved apology be tendered by the Nigerian government to MEND for presenting a forged email letter threatening the South African government  purportedly originated from us and used as evidence in the sham trial and conviction of Henry Okah.
“That a separate independent body outside Nigeria investigates the forged letter so as to ascertain its authenticity and make their findings public.
“That since our struggle has never been about Goodluck Jonathan’s Presidency, nor about being beneficiaries of dubious pipeline protection contracts and other forms of bribery, a conference to address the injustice, underdevelopment, environmental degradation and outstanding root issues confronting the Niger Delta region must be fixed to hold within three months and that Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke resigns as Minister of Petroleum.”

Nigeria Has Never Had It This Bad Since Independence - Ribadu


Pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Malam Nuhu Ribadu reiterated his earlier statement that Nigeria is like a sinking ship because of corruption, insecurity, injustice and wanton killings of people.
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Ribadu who spoke to the British Broadcasting Commission, BBC, Hausa Service, lamented the present situation in the country which he said has never been this bad since independence.
Ribadu’s latest comment might elicit another round of rebuke from the presidency which had only just recently described him as “ethically challenged and a political prostitute” for expressing similar view points at a public lecture organised by the Students Representative Assembly of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
 In the BBC interview, Ribadu was quoted as saying, “We have never found ourselves in such situation, considering the level of blood shed. Some places are under emergency rule, crises in other places, level of poverty, injustice and corruption. I do not thought (sic) it will ever happen in Nigeria the way it is happening in the last two years.
“Go to the airport and see how many private jets are parked – there are 400 private jets standing from here (Abuja) to Lagos. Each of these jets cost the owner $10m, $20m, $30m to $50m and the cost of one jet can build a university, big hospital. But many people have it. Our leaders today are no longer using chartered flights because each of them uses his own. We never experienced this before. We are blessed with wealth but the money never goes to the common people. The only solution is for leaders to fear God and do justice,” he said.

Ogun, Ekiti Propose 15% Increment For Striking Teachers


Governments of Ogun and Ekiti have proposed to pay striking teachers in their states 15 per cent of the 27.5 Teachers Salary Scale that the tutors are demanding.
photo Governments of Ogun and Ekiti have proposed to pay striking teachers in their states 15 per cent of the 27.5 Teachers Salary Scale that the tutors are demanding.
The Nigeria Union of Teachers leadership had two weeks ago urged teachers in 11 states, including Ogun and Ekiti states, to embark on industrial action following the inability of the states to pay the 27.5 TSS.
But the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Segun Odubela, while speaking to reporters on Saturday in Abeokuta, noted that although the government was still negotiating with the NUT leadership, it could not afford the 27.5 per cent being demanded by the union.
Odubela said the teachers in the state under the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools and NUT would be paid the 15 per cent largesse from the end of July 2013.
He said, “Concerning the NUT strike, I can assure you that we have been having negotiations with them and, of course, the government has agreed to pay 15 per cent. You know they are agitating for 27.5 per cent but the government is prepared to pay 15 per cent and they have been informed of this.
“The implementation will be from the end of July. It is there in a statement released by the Secretary to the State Government. From the end of next month, the government will begin to implement the 15 per cent. We are talking about our teachers. Where they belong is not the business of government. What we are saying is that we are concerned about our teachers. But as far as we are concerned, we are looking at the teachers as a whole.”
But the state NUT Chairman, Dare Ilekoya, has vowed that members of the union would not accept anything less than the 20 per cent of the 27.5 per cent of the allowance.
But Ilekoya’s comment came as the ASUSS state President, Mr. Tunde Folarin, accused the NUT of working against the ASUSS.
The ASUSS earlier hinted that its members would accept the government’s proposed 15 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Government has appealed  to teachers in the state to accept 15 per cent allowance and end the strike.
The state Commissioner for Education, Mr. Kehinde Ojo, his counterparts in Information and Labour,  Mr. Tayo Ekundayo and Mr. Oluwole Ariyo, made the plea at a briefing in Ado Ekiti on Friday.
Ekundayo said the government activities would be crippled if it implemented 27.5  per cent for the teachers.
He explained that implementing this would increase the wage bill of the state by N1.8bn yearly.

Port Concessionaires Fleece Importers Of Billions Of Naira Annually


The arbitrary increases in port charges, unfriendly nature of the seaports and absence of a commercial regulator were, last week, listed among the factors that have led to the perennial fleecing of importers and clearing agents of billions of naira annually by port operators. This was the verdict of some stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry.
Investigations by Daily Sun revealed that the three aforementioned factors also account for the rising cargo drought experienced in the country as some shipping companies now prefer to call at other West African ports, where they enjoy huge incentives and reduced charges.
These factors are equally responsible for the rapid increase in smuggling, because some importers fear they may not make profit after paying all charges at the ports.
A comparative analysis of the charges shows that as at 2002 the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), approved progressive storage charge of only N4,000 per container.
However, the figure, through arbitrary increases, was hiked to N8,000 as soon as the concessionaires took over the ports…later pegged at N12,000/day per container by all the port operators.
Unfortunately, the figures do not have the approval of either the Transport Ministry, nor the NSC.
Similarly, a combination of Terminal Charge, Delivery Charge and Labour in Nigeria is N52,682 per container, while in Ghana and Benin Republic, it is about N9,655 and N24,000, respectively. But in Senegal, it is according to the weight and volume of cargo.
However, in these countries there is a body responsible for the regulation of commercial activities at the seaports, which is lacking in Nigeria.
The NSC and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have lobbied to be made the commercial regulator but the National Assembly says it is seeking a neutral body outside the existing two to handle regulation.
Although the Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, told Daily Sun, in a recent interview, that the concessionaires are not responsible for the high cost of doing business at the ports, importers and clearing agents think otherwise.
They explained that when containers require scanning and landing, the terminal operator gives them seven days to complete the process.
“But there is a deliberate delay in positioning it for scanning, all in a bid to accumulate illegal charges for themselves,” they said.
“They noted that the importer, painfully and helplessly, pays N12,000 daily per container for these seven days, due to the inefficiency of terminal operators. Statutorily, the seven days should be waived because the delay was their fault,” an importer alleged.
While the APMT management is commending itself for bringing about efficiency in the port system, it is usually silent about the prohibitive charges.
According to the President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Eyis Amiwero, the terminal operators are killing importers and Customs agents with high charges. They increase the charges as they want. This, he alleged, was because nobody is monitoring what they are doing, since there is no commercial regulator.
According to him, many legitimate importers actually pay higher container charges than import duty. “By the time you pay about N1.5 million on duty for one container and N2.5 million for various port charges, you end up running at a loss and that is what is encouraging smuggling,” he explained.
Amiwero said Nigeria was simply playing politics with the maritime sector while neighbouring countries are building millennium ports, improving efficiencies in existing ones and hell-bent on siphoning Nigeria’s cargo.
“Drop in cargo through put should not come as a surprise to anyone in the maritime sector. The sector is in crisis. Things are in disarray. There is no economic regulator. Everyone does what he/she likes. The shipping companies cannot function in such a disorganized atmosphere. There are more serious West African countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire with more organized maritime system,” he revealed.
Also commenting on the anomalies, the founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam, said the government should be held responsible for the crisis in the sector.
He said it was only the government that can call the terminal operators to order as “nobody is above the law but the enforcer must enforce the law unless it is abused.”
But according to Bolaji Akinola, Media advisor to APMT, the company has drastically reduced the cost of terminal handling charges at the port, contrary to claims by importers that cost of operations at the terminal has gone up.
“At the time we took over operations of the terminal in 2006, the Federal Government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) forced us and other terminal operators to reduce terminal handling charges by 33 per cent,” he claimed.
It would be recalled that before we took over the terminal, there was chronic congestion at the terminal. Everything and everywhere was chaotic. No cargo handling equipment, no defined processes and procedures. There was also vessel queue with ships waiting for an average of 40 days to get berthing space.

How Nigerian Celebrities Are Killing Themselves


Apparently basking in the euphoria of a new status, many Nigerians in showbiz throw caution in the wind in the process of “living it up”.
These days, hardly does a month end without news of someone in Nollywood or the Music industry, getting involved in car accident or public brawl...
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This comes as no surprise, especially to those who are in the know of the background of today’s stars. Most of them, even in wildest dreams, never thought they would attain their current standing in the society. In fact, not only do they talk about the rise to fame in interviews, they also author books and record songs on it.

It is worrisome that the mints these guys stack in bank accounts have overwhelmed them, so much that some can no longer think properly. In 2013 alone, there have been at least a dozen auto crash involving celebrities. On the average, that is a scary 2 to 3 cases per month. Names like Samklef, Danagog, Maye Hunter, America, Nashville, Asa and others form the lot.

The most recent involving fabulously talented Ayo “Wizkid” Balogun, rattled virtually every music lover; this is because the young man is adored by the younger generation.
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The 23-year old has everything going on well. Good looks, sold out concerts, record sales, endorsement for big-paying coys, successful international tours, connection to foreign superstars, huge fan base, that feminine attraction, houses and expensive cars, what is more? He now has his record label, StarBoy Entertainment, with three acts including Legendary Beatz signed on.

Weeks ago, the "I Love My Baby" and "Pakurumo" crooner posted a picture of his newly acquired Porsche Panamera. The car is priced at $80, 000 – $150, 000 (depending on the sub-model). As expected, the photo went viral on social media. But by 0400 hours of Saturday June 15, 2013, the same car had become a wreck. The gist – as always – is that a tyre of the automobile burst while on motion.

While we all thank God for sparing the lives of our stars, isn’t it time we ask some questions. Bearing in mind the busy schedules, why would someone driving a car worth N15million not take such for regular checks? Or are expensive cars immune from faults?
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Uche Jombo Car Accicent

It is an open secret that our acts, and their entourage, sometimes use “active agents” before and after attending/performing at events. It is also an open secret these artistes or their friends sometimes get behind the wheels under the influence of alcohol. But nobody is saying anything, solely because of the blind love we have for them. I am not saying this happened in the case of Wizzy, but it does happen.
Some find the demise of celebrities too hard to bear. This is understandable, as despite harsh government policies and dwindling economy, they are able to make us happy; they put smile on our faces; they liven up our homes, streets, vehicles, clubs and parties and so on.

Our celebrities have a responsibility to look after themselves and not live life like there is a duplicate kept somewhere. They should for goodness sake be more careful while on the road; they should ensure those around them are the type that of positive influence; they should do away with hard drugs and excessive alcohol; they should reciprocate our affection by staying focused and do only the right things at all times. These crashes are becoming too many; we don’t want to pass through another agony please!

If you think you are popular and then go about ‘feeling fly’, the day you die an avoidable death, your name will trend for a few days; news sites and blogs will as usual talk about it for, at most, two weeks. The rest of us will move on. Live continues. Chikena.

FG Approves N300m For Capacity Building For Nollywood


The Federal Government has approved N300 million out of the three billion naira intervention fund for capacity building to boost the Nigerian film industry.
This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by Mr Paul Nwabuikwu, Spokesman for the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“Action on the three billion naira support promised the Nigerian film industry by President Goodluck Jonathan has formally commenced with the roll out of a N300 million capacity building fund.’’
The statement noted that the capacity building fund was the first of a series of initiatives planned under “Project Act Nollywood’’, adding that It was made up of two components.
According to the statement, the first component is a Training Fund of N150 million, dedicated to training and skills acquisition for Nollywood practitioners in all competencies along the entire value chain of the industry.
The statement said it include; scriptwriting, directing, production and production design, special effects, lighting, sound, HD techniques, acting, cinematography, make-up and editing, among others.
It said that the second component was the Capacity Development Fund which was also worth N150 million.
According to the statement, grants will be given to existing Nigerian-owned private institutes that offer training courses, programmes, and technical certification in the movie industry.
The statement said the fund might be used to upgrade existing facilities, procure equipment and develop internal capacity to offer a set of courses and training programmes that would address key skills gaps.
It said that institutes to benefit from the fund must have a prove of registration from Jan. 1, 2013, and be competent enough to train people according to global best practices.
The statement said that the intervention Project ACT Nollywood, would be managed by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and the Minister of Tourism, Chief Edem Duke.
Okonjo-Iweala in the statement said the establishment of the fund underscored government’s commitment to supporting Nollywood in recognition of its contributions to the economy.
“This is the first of the initiatives planned under Project Act Nollywood, and it shows that the president is keeping his word to the industry and to Nigerians.
“Nollywood deserves this support because it has added value to the economy by creating jobs and acting as an ambassador to the country.
“It is also projecting Nigeria to many parts of the world that hitherto, knew little or nothing about the country,” it quoted Okonjo-Iweala as saying.
It said that the overall objective of Project Act Nollywood was to support the industry in a sustainable way that practitioners could leverage on to improve their capacity and output in key areas.
“The fund is open for applications from July to December 2013. Courses commencing after Dec. 31st are eligible provided the application is received before Dec. 31 2013.’’
It said that guidelines for applications indicated that applicants must be Nigerians and industry practitioners among other requirements.

I Regret Not Doing A Song With Fatai Rolling Dollar - 2Face Idibia


The death of veteran musician, Fatai Rolling Dollar shocked some Nigerians even though he died at a ripe age of 86.
He was the oldest active musician in Nigeria. While he was alive, he helped many up and coming artistes in Nigeria.

One artiste that has reacted to the death of the late iconic artiste is 2Face Idibia, who is also heading to be a legend in the Nigerian music industry.

Reacting recently, 2Face reportedly regretted that he didn’t do a collaboration with Rolling Dollar before he died.
He said, “regrettably, I didn’t have the opportunity of recording with him but I was in a show where he performed too. I performed alongside him.”

Five Hour Gunfight Between JTF and Boko Haram In Yobe



Residents of Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, have reported about a gun battle between security forces and members of the Boko Haram, which lasted for over 5 hours on Sunday night.
The relative peace which currently being enjoyed in Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, suffered a setback as sound of gunshots were heard throughout the night.
Sporadic gunshots were heard within the Damaturu metropolis around 9pm and lasted for over five hours.
Although an official statement is still being expected from either the Joint Task Force (JTF) or the police on the cause of the gunshots, residents believe it was a clash between security forces and the radical Islamic sect, the Boko Haram.
Yobe State government had four days ago reviewed the restriction of movement from 9pm to 6am in Damaturu, while curfew in other towns remained 6pm to 6am daily.
The last time gunshots were heard in Damaturu was 9 months ago when a field commander of the radical sect; Bakaka was killed in a gun duel with JTF at Khandahar area of Damaturu.

Actor Saidi Balogun Is Going To Remarry



Photo - Actor Saidi Balogun Is Going To Remarry
Years after ending his marriage with popular actress Fathia Balogun, actor, producer and director, Saidi Balogun is getting ready to give marriage another try.
He will wed the love of his life, Funke Sowofora, on July 7th. Funke is not an actress, she works in the Lagos State Auditor General's office. She's Oba Saheed Elegushi's sister.

Jonathan Attacks “Clueless” Emergency Rule Critics, Praises Youth Fighting Boko Haram

Dozens of youth in northeast states, seeking out and handing over Boko Haram insurgents to soldiers, are “new national heroes” whose collaboration with the military, enforcing emergency rule in the area, has proven critics of the operation “clueless”, President Goodluck Jonathan said Sunday.
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President Jonathan denied mostly foreign media reports that thousands of Nigerians were fleeing to Niger, to escape harsh tactics by soldiers sent into Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states under the emergency rule he declared a month ago.
“The bulk” of those displaced to neighbouring Niger, are nationals of that country who are simply retuning home, the president claimed in a statement by his spokesperson, Doyin Okupe, on Sunday.
“Also contrary to a report in some media that 8,000 Nigerians were fleeing to Niger Republic as a result of the emergency rule, the National Emergency Management Agency and the Borno State government have confirmed that only 126 Nigerians have so far been displaced by the operations and that the bulk of the refugees referred to in the report were Nigeriens returning to Niger,” the statement said.
The president said his decision to declare state of emergency in the three states was “timely, effective and strategically unassailable” as it was clear the war on extremist fighters responsible for thousands of deaths, was being won.
That success, to a large extent, was possible with the cooperation of residents who have reportedly taken upon themselves to hunt insurgents and turn them over to security offices, he added.
Dozens of youth now bandy together as vigilante groups, armed with sticks, iron bars, and axes, as they go about searching for Boko Haram members. Many of their quarries, surrendered to the soldiers, are reportedly summarily executed.
During a recent revenge mission, the insurgents concealed arms in a coffin to evade military checkpoints, before launching an attack on some members of the vigilante. The fighting left more than a dozen people dead, reports say.
In his first reaction to the development, Mr. Jonathan praised the bravery of the youth, calling them “heroes”.
“Without doubt, these youths are the new national heroes who have risen up to the occasion in an unprecedented patriotic fashion to work together with their government by going after their tormentors. This is heart-warming and clearly indicative of an awakened consciousness of civic responsibility,” the president said.
He said a prove to the restoration of normalcy in the affected areas is the reopening of markets, schools, and that sacked communities are being re-inhabited while commercial activities in major towns in the affected states are approaching pre-insurgency period.
The president launched attack on critics who condemned the emergency declaration and his recent proscription of Boko Haram and Ansaru.
“The results have proven that the opposition political leaders who opposed the decision on the emergency rule as well as the proscription of terrorist groups are actually clueless and unfortunately blinded by their political pursuits,” the statement said.

Lagos Businessman Meets His Death While Having Sex With A Popular Big Girl


A popular big girl in Asaba, Delta State capital has been arrested by detectives following a mysterious death of a Lagos businessman in the hotel room the lady and the deceased had booked.
The 35 year old died while “having an affair” with the popular big girl according to ASP Lucky Uyabaeme, the police spokesperson in Delta State. Details emerged that the Lagos businessman was in town for some business deals and asked a friend to “arrange” a romping session for him.
The deceased man’s friend assisted them check into a popular hotel (name withheld) with the lady whose name has just been given as Stella.
The lady was seen running out of the room 40 minutes after they got in screaming for help. Hotel workers rushed into the room and found the businessman lifeless on the bed.
The lady vanished during that commotion but was later caught and delivered to the police. Investigations into the man’s death – who has only been referred to as Peter is still going on.

Sign Death Warrants, Jonathan Tells Govs On Father’s Day


President Goodluck Jonathan has called on state governors not to shy away from signing death sentences passed on convicted criminals saying that as leaders, their responsibilities include doing both the “sweet and the ugly part” a long as it is sanctioned by law.
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In a message at the Villa Chapel to commemorate the Fathers’ day celebration, president Jonathan expressed worry that discipline which used to be the hallmark of the family is gradually being eroded because of negative influence of modernism.
He said: “These days, because of modern life, discipline is almost gone. Discipline can be in various forms. In the states, it could be admonition. Magistrate can just admonish and allow him to go. From admonition to various forms of punishments, it could be imprisonment. The extreme is capital punishment.
“In the case of capital punishment, the state governors will sign (the death sentence). Even governors sometimes find it difficult to sign. I have been telling the governors that they must sign because that is the law. The work we are doing have a very sweet part and a very ugly part and we must perform both. No matter how painful it is, it is part of their responsibilities” the president said.
He president said fathers are expected to be role models where children will want to be like their fathers, saying that they must of fail to discipline their children when necessary.
“I want to urge all of us who are fathers to discipline our children. No matter what you do, even if you show love and provide the needs of the family, if you don’t discipline your children, it is not good. So for us as parents, it is important for us to let our children constantly know that it is good to take the right path. It is good for them to know that they must be upright” the president said.
Earlier in his sermon, The President of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, Rev. Soja Bewarang,  said if Nigeria must move forward, those working with the President must refrain from stealing public funds and must be honest.
“If this country must survive, all men working under the President must practise honesty and they must not steal. He (the President) cannot fight corruption when you are not supporting him. He may try, but he cannot be everywhere. You are his representatives , so you must practise honesty and you must not steal,” he said.
He asked Nigerians to pray for good fathers like Enoch; those who will walk with God like Noah; those who will feat and trust God like Joshua; and men of faith like Abraham.
The special service which had Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State as the special guest of honour was also attended by the President’s mother, Eunice; Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State; Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tony Anenih; members of the Federal Executive Council; new Controller-General of  Immigration, Mr. David Paradang; Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr. Ade Abolurin; and members of the National Assembly.
Others were the Ambassador of Ireland in Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Fhearghail; the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Uriel Palti; former House Leader, Tunde Akogun; Ndidi Elumelu; and Nollywood stars among others.

Confederation Cup: Super Eagles Still Not In Brazil, 24 Hours To Crucial Match


The Nigerian national football team, Super Eagles, have yet to arrive in Brazil, 24 hours to their crucial Group B encounter with Tahiti, in Belo Horizonte at the 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup.
Agitation over match bonus payments "grounded" the team in Windhoek after playing a 1-1 draw with hosts, Namibia, in an African qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, also to be hosted by Brazil.
A PANA Correspondent, covering the eight-team tournament, reports that the late arrival of the Super Eagles may have resulted in the general fan apathy for the tie taking place on Monday.
Only 17,210 tickets for the match had been bought as at Friday night while the venue of the match can hold 62,547 spectators.
According to the organisers, additional 36,134 tickets are still available for the Nigeria match but local football followers appeared skeptical, fearing either a 'no-show' or a below par performance, considering the rating of Tahiti and the apparent apathy the Nigerian side is putting up.
Even, 2,308 of the tickets sold for the Monday game were yet to be collected.
In contrast, all tickets for the Brazil-Japan opening game of Saturday were expectedly bought.
Also sold are tickets for the group matches between Mexico and Italy in Rio on Sunday and that between Spain and Uruguay in Recife on the same day as well as Brazil and Italy in Salvador on June 22.
For Saturday's opening match, 64,721 tickets were sold while Mexico-Italy match already had 71,407 tickets sold and collected.
The only Nigerian match that has attracted significant interest is the potentially explosive encounter with World Cup holders and European champions, Spain, slated for Fortaleza on 23 June.
About 45,234 tickets have been sold for the match, while additional 9,465 are being offered for sale.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles will lodge at the Caesars Park Inn when they arrive in the sixth Brazilian most populous city of Belo Horizonte.
Their late arrival will not afford the Nigerians the opportunity to have a feel of the match venue, the sumptuous and historical Estadio Mineirao, where the U.S. shocked England in a World Cup match 63 years ago.
The stadium has since 1965 been reconstructed
Jet lag permitting, the Super Eagles may have light training at the Estadio Raimundo Sampaio.
On the other hand, Tahiti which has been intensifying training sessions since arriving Brazil on June 7 will again have another feel of the Estadio Mineirao on Sunday evening (6.30pm Nigerian time) with a two-hour training session.
They will then round off their public activity for the day with a press conference.
Owing to the late coming of Nigeria, no activity has been slated for the Super Eagles who may not have a pre-match conference.

PHOTOS: Burial Of Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, Popular Nigerian Market Leader And Mother Of Ex-Governor Of Lagos State


The remains of Alhaja Abibat Mogaji, the mother of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was today buried at the Vault and Garden Cemetery, Ikoyi, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Mogaji, who was the President General, Association of Nigerian Market Women and Men died in her home on Saturday at Sunday Adigun, Alausa in Ikeja at the age of 96.
Prayers were offered for her at the Lagos Central Mosque, Lagos by the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Alhaji Garuba Akinola, who was represented by Alhaji Mujitabah Giwa

Eagles Go For Tahiti’s Jugular


Today in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, African champions, the Super Eagles will begin their Confederations Cup chase with a Group B match against Tahiti, who are the champions of Oceania.
 
Sixty three years ago, the Brazilian city was the location for one of the biggest upsets in footballing history, USA’s win over England during the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Should Tahiti emulate that result, shock-waves will be felt across world football.
Tahiti have been in Brazil since 7 June, while Nigeria touched down eight days later, laving many to think that the extra preparation time benefit the islanders?
The Super Eagles will be looking to take an early lead at the top of Group B by giving their goal difference a significant boost against a team who are 107 places below them in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. With Uruguay and Spain lying in wait, Stephen Keshi’s side will be looking to put their part-time opponents to the sword. Tahiti meanwhile are daring to dream.
This is the pair’s first meeting at international level, although they did square up at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2009 in Egypt. Nigeria prevailed 5-0 on that occasion, a first-round match held in Cairo when Obiora Nwankwo, Ibok Edet, Kehinde Fatai, Nurudeen Orelesi and Daniel Adejo were on target.
Nigeria are one of two undefeated sides in the FIFA Confederations Cup, the other being Denmark. The Super Eagles went unbeaten in their previous participation in 1995, earning one win, two draws and losing only on penalties to Mexico in the match for third place.
Eagles defender, Efe Ambrose said that the Eagles are ready for the Tahiti tie
“It is a match we know we need to win and, to do that, we need to be fully concentrated. We cannot afford to take any chances. Big shocks have happened before in these kind of tournaments and we don’t want to be the victims this time,” said the Celtics defender.
On his part, Tahiti striker, Steevy Chong Hue said that they were not going to be awed by their more illustrious foes.
“For an amateur player it is a dream to face the best players in the world. However for it not to become a nightmare we have to keep working really hard so we are ready for the first game,” he said.

Two Get Life Imprisonment For Raping Pastor’s Daughter



A high Court sit-ting in Ughelli, Delta State has sentenced two persons, described as “notorious rapists,” Ernest Steve, 30 and Jerry Godwin, 29, to life imprisonment for raping a 17-year-old daughter of a Pastor.
 
The incident took place on November 5, 2007 when the duo broke into the residence of the parents of the girl at Young Africa Close, Ovwian, armed with a gun and knife.
Prosecution told the court that after robbing parents of the young girl of valuables, they went ahead and had carnal knowledge of the girl (names withheld) serially, causing her severe injuries and psychological trauma.
Delivering judgment, the trial judge, Justice O. Tobi said the confessional statements of the accused admitted in evidence during trial passed the veracity test and was not in doubt, saying the prosecution led by P. T. Daubry had proved the essential ingredients of the three-count charge preferred against the accused persons.
The court declined the plea for mercy by the defence counsel, Mr. M. Oshemele, on the ground of law and proceeded to hand down the mandatory punishment for the offence they committed as prescribed by law.

Why We Oppose Use Of Condom – Catholic Church



The Catholic church says it opposes artificial family planning techniques, because it encourages bastardisation of sexual activities by young people and “impedes normal procreation.”
 
The Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, made this clarification in a response to an enquiry by The PUNCH on Sunday.
He said, “The Catholic Church believes that modern means, including the use of condoms is morally bad because it impedes normal procreation. You can meet with your wife when you do not want children and those periods when the woman is not fertile instead of having to destroy the sperm and all other forms of artificial prevention.
“They are very artificial means and they do not really give the moral lesson that borders around the use of the sexual organs.
“The one that gives you the opportunity to exercise your sexual urge without the consequences is the natural method and the church says you should go for the natural means.”
According to him, the excuse that it reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS remains invalid and untenable, adding HIV/AIDS is a disease that is prevalent among young people.
Madu added, “When you are talking about condom among young people, you are also talking about promiscuity. People have adduced arguments in case of people with HIV/AIDS and especially couples who do not want children. The use of condom and other modern means are being bastardised among young young people because they will resort to the use of condom so that they can have sex freely without impregnating the woman or getting pregnant.
“Those are various artificial means and the church is strongly against them. Instead, the church endorsed the natural method of copulation.”

How Ex-Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, Laundered Millions Of Dollars



Former Minister of Petroleum Dan Etete laundered hundreds of millions of dollars he extorted from oil companies in a complex web that took investigators years to untangle.
 
Saharareporters has obtained documents that reveal in painstaking detail how Mr. Etete and his main accomplice, Richard Granier-Deferre, executed a series of financial maneuvers that netted them hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mr. Etete began his extensive criminal enterprise shortly after the now deceased military dictator, General Sani Abacha, appointed him Minister of Petroleum on March 20, 1995. His activities as minister came into focus when President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office and filed a complaint with international financial review agencies asking for help in tracing over $386 million that disappeared from the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1994 to 1998. The complaint also noted that another $800 million dollars was missing, with members of the Abacha family strongly believed to have profited from these funds.
In the course of the investigation, millions of dollars in Switzerland, France, Gibraltar and several other tax havens where the world’s biggest money launderers stash their loot were traced to Dan Etete. The investigators first discovered that ADDAX, a company based in the British Virgin Islands and managed by Richard Grainer-Deferre, was used to funnel 1.9 million British pounds sterling and $385 million dollars into bank accounts owned by General Abacha and members of his family. Further investigation linked Mr. Grainer-Deferre to accounts opened in Switzerland for Dan Etete and his brother, Bukazi Etete. Using “forensic” tools for detecting criminal movement of cash, investigators also uncovered other accounts that Richard Grainer-Deferre opened for Mr. Etete using the alias of Omoni Amafega for the former Petroleum minister.
Mr. Grainer-Deferre had founded ADDAX for the purpose of doing business with oil-producing countries. ADDAX then established numerous offshore subsidiaries in countries that had light tax burdens. Its representative in Nigeria, Mr. Jean-Pierre Decker, told investigators that when Dan Etete assumed office as the minister of petroleum, oil companies doing business in Nigeria were expected to give money to Mr. Etete in order for their business to thrive. “It was a generalized racket from which it was impossible to obtain a concession if this type of commission was not paid,” he said. “The company that paid the most commissions to the decision maker could find itself receiving the contract even though its offer was not objectively the best.”
Mr. Richard Granier-Deferre said his company paid Dan Etete over $10 million in hidden commissions to obtain petroleum contracts. “This was a general practice,” he stated.
Mr. Vermeulen, the director-general of ELF TOTAL FINA, Mr. Gavalda, director of ELF Africa, and Mr. Viaud, the director-general of ELF Nigeria all testified that their company paid $20 million to Dan Etete’s account in Credit Agricole Indosuez in Gibraltar in May of 1998 to renew four operating licenses.
“This payment of $20 million dollars was imposed on us by the Petroleum Minister,” said Mr. Vermeulen.
Mr. Gavalda said that ELF could not get around Mr. Etete’s blackmail schemes. “It was necessary to pay because our situation was becoming untenable,” he said.
In his testimony, Mr. Viaud said that Mr. Etete personally passed on the details of the bank account where the corporate bribes were paid into.
Mr. Grainer-Deferre used his contacts in banks in Geneva and Paris to open accounts for Dan Etete and the Abacha family. Also, when given instructions by Mr. Etete, he moved funds from one bank to another for the former minister. The primary route was first to Bukasi Etete, Dan Etete’s brother’s account in Switzerland. From there the money was moved to Omoni Amafegha’s account, which was Dan Etete’s alias.
Through these accounts, Mr. Grainer-Deferre managed oil companies’ bribe money for Dan Etete. With a power of attorney granted him, Mr. Grainer-Deferre moved money around for Dan Etete. He used part of the slush funds to buy real estate for Mr. Etete in France. He also purchased high-priced art and antiquities for the grasping former minister. As investigators began to close in on Dan Etete’s money in Switzerland and France, the former minister ordered his accomplice to move the money to accounts in Lebanon, Monaco and Gibraltar.When a particular bank refused to receive further funds from Nigeria in this manner, Mr. Grainer-Deferre approached another bank manager friend of his and opened another account. He used this maneuver when Banque Constant was facing international scrutiny triggered by money transfers for Dan Etete. Mr. Grainer-Deferre contacted a manager he knew at Banque Hoffman where he opened another account for his money-guzzling Nigerian principal.
In August 29, 1997, Banque Hoffman decided not to keep Dan Etete’s money any longer. Mr. Richard Grainer-Deferre contacted Mr. Bovay, a manager at Credit Agricole Indosuez Geneva, and opened an account in the name of Moncaster Associates of British Virgin Island with Omoni Amafegba (a mask for Mr. Dan Etete) as the sole beneficiary.
The money laundering circuit involved institutions or personalities from Nigeria, Switzerland, Gibraltar and Lebanon. Some of the origins of the funds transferred to these accounts could not be traced by investigators.
Between February 4, 1999 and May 30, 2001, over 96 withdrawal transactions were carried out in France by Dan Etete himself or Eric Ruellan or Marc Daubrey who worked for him. More than 109 million francs was taken out in 40 transactions. Marc Daubrey told investigators that he cashed checks needed by Dan Etete when he bought a town house in Neuilly sur Seiene and offices in Paris. Mr. Daubrey also used his personal account to transfer $25,000 when Dan Etete wanted to buy his Mercedes.
On March 15, 2000, Dan Etete bought a house in Boulay Morin, Eure, for 7.5 million francs and resold it on December 6, 2002 for 657,345 Euros. Dan Etete also purchased 6.3 million francs worth of furniture for his office at 11 Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg. He once owned two boats, the 14.33 meter twin-motor speedboat called the “N’Gozic” and the 27.40 meter-long “Spirit of Ashanti,” built in 1998.
On November 27, 2001, the Tracfin money laundering prevention department identified over 40 million francs in funding transferred to Mr. Etete between July 1999 and May 2000 by Banque de Gastion Privee Indosuez (BGPI), a subsidiary of Credit Agricole Indosuez.
On July 4, 2002, investigators searched the head office of Dan Etete’s private liability company, SARL on 11 Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg, Paris. Several documents were seized. Some of the documents showed that Dan Etete, alias Mr. Omoni Amafegha, owned real estate holdings worth over 50 million francs.
In his defense, Dan Etete claimed that payments made to him were well-established practice in the petroleum sector in Nigeria called “sponsor’s fee.” He said such payments “existed for decades before I took over my position as Minister of Petroleum Resources… a practice that continued after I ceased to be Minister of Petroleum Resources and which continues today.”
Mr. Etete told investigators that he was one of the largest ship-owners in Nigeria. He stated that corruption accusations against him were initiated by Olusegun Obasanjo in an effort to deprive him of the oil block number 245 which Gen. Abacha awarded to his Malabu Oil and Gas LTD.
Nigeria was a civil party in the French case against Dan Etete. Nigeria was represented by Marc Bensimhon and Amale Kenbib.
In a judgment delivered on September 17, 2007, the court in Paris found Dan Etete guilty of aggravated money laundering, defined as the habitual assistance with a transaction for investment, concealment or conversion of the proceeds of a crime. The court sentenced Dan Etete to 3 years imprisonment and ordered him to pay a fine of 300,000 Euros. The court also ordered Dan Etete to pay to the Federal Government of Nigeria the sum of 150,000 Euros as “smart” money and an additional 20,000 Euros under Article 475-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
“It is evident that Dan Etete’s act, consisting of investing improper funds in various countries… has created, by its nature and its impact, an actual loss in the form of a non-pecuniary loss suffered by the Nigerian State,” the judgment said.
In March 2009, Dan Etete’s appeal of the judgment was overruled. A French appeal court reaffirmed Dan Etete’s money laundering conviction and fined him a sum of $10.5 million.
Ironically, four years after Mr. Etete’s conviction, President Goodluck Jonathan discreetly approved the transfer of $1.1 billion (N155 billion naira) to the London account of Dan Etete’s company, Malabu Oil. The president took the decision on April 29, 2011, a day before Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala assumed office as the minister of finance. The money came from funds paid to the Federal Government by two multinational companies, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and Shell Nigeria as part of the settlement of the Malabu oil block case between the Federal Government, Malabu and the two multinational oil companies.
Investigation by SaharaReporters showed that, as soon as the $1.1 billion was posted to Malabu Oil and Gas London account, it was distributed to the accounts of business associates and cronies of government officials. One of the beneficiaries was a man named Abubakar Aliyu, an individual with close links to President Jonathan.
Mr. Aliyu received $532 (N81 billion) through various companies he owned. Aliyu, notorious for shady deals, has long established business ties to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the convicted former governor of Bayelsa state who was recently pardoned by President Jonathan. Mr. Aliyu was also at the center of a NITEL land deal. The shady businessman had bought a parcel of land from the Nigerian government for N1 billion and sold the same land to the Central Bank of Nigeria for N21 billion. Aliyu, long linked with late President Musa Yar’Adua and President Jonathan, is known in Abuja circles as a deal broker who has perfected the art of sharing the loot with government officials who help facilitate his numerous astonishing deals.
The EFCC also investigated the $1.1 billion dollar Malabu Oil deal. The anti-corruption agency called the deal fraudulent. The EFCC then concluded that the funds were transferred to accounts owned by “real and artificial persons” without any clear validation of the job they did to deserve huge payments. According to SaharaReporters investigation, the EFCC inquiry died as soon as the Presidency got wind of it.
Dan Etete formed and registered Malabu Oil and Gas LTD on April 24, 1998 while serving as Petroleum minister. The company initially had three shareholders, Mohammed Sani Abacha (a son of the late Sani Abacha), Kweku Amafagha (another version of Dan Etete’s alias) and Hassan Hindu (wife of Hassan Lawal, a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK). Five days after the company was formed, military dictator, Sani Abacha, awarded it two lucrative oil blocks, OPL 245 and OPL 214.

Ahead 2016: Dickson Recruits 10,000 Cultists


Gov Seriake Henry Dickson of Bayelsa State on Saturday stunned the public and observers of political developments with the announcement of enlistment in a youth empowerment programme of 10,000 of the 11,000 youths who reportedly renounced cultism.
 
The governor, who was speaking an elaborate ceremony at the Bounquet Hall in Yenagoa, said he had set aside N1 billion for the programmes to ensure they become self-reliant.
"If we do not help to build you all, then our future will not be assured,” he told them. “You are all aware of what our Restoration Government is doing; building schools, roads, hospitals, investing in security and making our state safe, talking to people to come here to invest so that we can create jobs for you.
“All of these will come to nothing, if we don’t help to equip you with the skills that you need to partake in the economy to protect our future.” He promised that the exercise is just the beginning, and that his team will conduct a meticulous verification exercise to select the 10,000 beneficiaries, local government by local government.
“When we are through with all of these, we are going to engage you in a special youth empowerment programme. A total of 10,000 youths will be engaged” Dickson said.
The announcement however caused a stir among those youths who were not part of the 11,000 that earlier registered to renounce cult participation.
The state government had announced the provision of free transportation from the eight council areas, a development that caused several thousands of youths to join the bandwagon.
One of the so-called “repentant cultists” told our reporter that he was lured to join the group because of the empowerment attached to it.
"I can tell you that most of us here are here for the money, since the government is rewarding the lawless and punishing the lawful we have to play along, first it was the militants, now it is the cultists, may be armed robbers and kidnappers will be the next.
"This same government just increased tax burden on civil servants and has announced it will impose additional levies on citizens for refuse disposal. Since there is nothing for the law abiding ones, we have to survive, that is the game," said one of them.
It was however learnt that Dickson bought into the idea for calculated political gains ahead of the 2015 general elections and his re-election contest in 2016.
Said a resident, "This is just an exercise to worsen the spate of violence, we all know the history of militancy, the initial cache of arms they used were remnants from election duties and that was what took us to where we are today. It is rather unfortunate that we are all sitting on a keg of gunpowder by this policy of government. Let them wake up if they are dreaming.”

ROBERTO MARTINEZ WANTS VICTOR MOSES AT EVERTON



ABOVE: Victor Moses has failed to nail down a first-team spot at Chelsea and may leave if an offer comes in
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Moses played well when called upon by Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez but was not a regular.
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16th June 2013

By Tony Stenson

NEW Everton boss Roberto Martinez is monitoring the future of Victor Moses at Chelsea.

The arrival of £18million German international winger Andre Schurrle has put question marks over Moses staying at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho And the return of Romelu Lukaku from loan at West Brom offers more attacking options.
Martinez reluctantly sold Moses to Chelsea when manager of Wigan. He was influential in adding a new dimension to the player he signed from Crystal Palace.
Moses played well when called upon by Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez but was not a regular.
Martinez, who could yet lose Marouane Fellaini to either Manchester United or Arsenal, would jump at the chance of signing Moses as he shapes his own squad following the departure of David Moyes to Manchester United.

ANDREY ARSHAVIN SET FOR ZENIT RETURN AFTER LEAVING ARSENAL



ABOVE: The Russia international left The Emirates last week after his Gunners' deal came to an end
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger did not offer him new terms, leaving Arshavin free to find another club.
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16th June 2013

By Daily Star Reporter

ZENIT ST PETERSBURG will offer ace Andrey Arshavin a contract following his release from Arsenal.

The Russia international left The Emirates last week after his Gunners' deal came to an end.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger did not offer him new terms, leaving Arshavin free to find another club.
Besiktas are also in the running but Zenit are in the box seat.
Arshavin, 32, moved to Zenit on loan in 2012 and now they are ready to offer him a permanent deal this time around.

DAN GOSLING CAN LEAVE NEWCASTLE ON LOAN



ABOVE: Gosling, 23, is anxious to secure more first-team football to relaunch his career having made just 1
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Newcastle's Northern Ireland left-back Shane Ferguson, 21, could return to Birmingham on loan after a successful stint there last term.
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16th June 2013

By Clive Hetherington

NEWCASTLE will let forgotten man Dan Gosling go out on loan next season.

The former England Under-21s midfielder, signed as a free agent from Everton three years ago, has been plagued by injuries.
Gosling, 23, is anxious to secure more first-team football to relaunch his career having made just 16 appearances for the Toon.
Newcastle's Northern Ireland left-back Shane Ferguson, 21, could return to Birmingham on loan after a successful stint there last term.
Meanwhile, Toon central defender Mike Williamson is a £2million-target for promoted Cardiff.
Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay has previously managed Williamson, 29, at Watford.

TONY PULIS WANTS TO GO FROM STOKE TO... ATHLETIC BILBAO



ABOVE: Tony Pulis is keen to shed his reputation for long-ball football
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But the La Liga club's first-choice is Ernesto Valverde, who used to play for Bilbao and seems ready to return.
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16th June 2013

By Harry Pratt

TONY PULIS wants the Athletic Bilbao job - and the chance to change his image as a long-ball boss.

The Welshman, 55, who parted company with Stoke last month after seven years at the helm, believes a switch to the continent is the best way for him to improve his reputation in the game.
Despite keeping the Potters in the top flight for four seasons, reaching an FA Cup Final and leading the club into Europe for the first time, Pulis could not shed his tag for direct, route-one football.
That is why he has put his name into the frame for the hotseat at the San Mames Stadium - after being encouraged to do so by close pal Rafa Benitez.
But the La Liga club's first-choice is Ernesto Valverde, who used to play for Bilbao and seems ready to return.
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