Friday, 15 December 2017

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

The Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator David Umaru has tackle the Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sanitation Bello over his frequent trips abroad while the economy and security of the state is deteriorating.

He described the reasons given by the governor for his trips as unreasonable saying he is always in pursuit of ‘phantom agreements and MOUs’. 

In a press statement titled, “When Silence is No Longer Golden… A Must Read for All APC Wailers”, the Senator asked, ‘Why Should I Keep Quiet? ‘

He said that he have been told to shut up but he cannot keep quiet as the past and recent developments in the state do not seem pleasant enough to afford the luxury of such passive disposition.

He alledged that billions of naira accrue to the state monthly is being squandered with reckless profligacy stating that the leadership has demonstrated its incapacity to use the resources to bring relief to the suffering of the people.

Umaru also said that the APC administration in the state has virtually nothing tangible to show for the billions of bailout funds, budget support funds and Paris club refunds that had accrued to the stat stating there has not been any visible development projects in the state tied to the funds collected.

“Why should I keep quiet when the state of affairs in Niger State has in recent times become worrisome to the extent that some of us involved directly or indirectly in governance under the ruling APC can no longer pretend that all is well. My concern over the plummeting political and socio-economic condition in the state has become more desperate for the obvious fact that I had played a leading role in the campaign that gave power to our party in the 2015 election.

“How can I keep quiet when it is a known fact that I went to every nook and cranny, particularly in Niger East Senatorial District, soliciting for votes based on the conviction that if voted into office our government would bring succour to our suffering people in line with its slogan of change but unfortunately, two years after our victory, that conviction is fast fading and becoming a mirage as our people continue to wallow in hardship occasioned by lack of basic and essential amenities as a result of the administration’s failure to direct available huge financial resources to the benefit and development of the state.

“Why should I keep quiet when as much as one would have wanted to stay aloof and maintain “dignified” silence, past and recent developments in our beloved state do not seem pleasant enough to afford the luxury of such passive disposition. Available records have shown that billions of naira accrue to the state monthly but same is squandered with reckless profligacy. The Leadership has demonstrated its incapacity to use our resources to bring relief to our suffering people.

“The Leadership continues to exhibit serious inadequacy, lack of honesty, lack of accountability, lack of transparency and prudence in the management of the huge amounts coming from federal allocations and special interventions by the Presidency to the state over the years. In essence, this APC administration has virtually nothing tangible to show for the billions of bailout funds, budget support funds and Paris club refunds that had accrued to the state. I am also aware that Mr. Governor has within the year or so approached the state House of Assembly twice or thereabout for legislative approvals to access more funds running into billions of naira but there has not been any visible development project(s) in the state tied to these funds.

“I am told to shut up but I cannot keep quiet while under our watch billions of naira meant for payment of pensioners is alleged to be heartlessly diverted? Why should I not speak out when the government I campaigned to install has continued to be insensitive to the plight of our pensioners through dubious manipulation of pension reform matters thereby jeopardising the already impoverished state of our retirees.”

Senator Umaru further stated that that the inattention of the governor to security have led to the increase in crimes in local government areas across the state.

“Again, why should I keep quiet when the security situation in the state has degenerated to the level that several villages have been sacked by criminals and kidnappers while the government remains clueless and insensitive to the plight of the affected communities in complete abdication of it’s constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of its citizens.

“As I speak to you Tsohon Kabulu, Bakin Nyanyi, Rigogo, Fwapeyi among other Communities in Munya LGA have been dislodged by the criminals who have killed 4 persons and kidnapped 10 others. Why shouldn’t I speak out when the Governor is preoccupied with undertaking trips abroad in pursuit of phantom agreements, MOUs rather than being around to attend to the serious security challenges rocking the state.

“There are several other similar security issues on which the government inaction is evident and they include the Fulani herders/farmers clashes in many parts of the state where scores of people are being killed; The Ebota village incident in Mokwa LGA where over 23 villagers were mercilessly massacred by Fulani assailants and this is still fresh in our memories; the wanton and senseless murder of a woman in Pandogari, Rafi LGA; the Lambata/Izom cattle market clashes and serious kidnappings, armed robbery and rape incidents in Gurara LGA; the Kaffin-Koro communal clashes, and the Kidnappings, rape, armed robbery in Ishau, Paikoro LGA, the Suleja church attacks etc. All these are begging for government attention.

“In the light of the security challenges confronting us, I cannot keep quiet. I urge the State Government to deploy the huge security votes at its disposal to provide logistics and support to the security agencies in the state to enhance the performance of their duties.

“Finally, let it be known that I speak out because the resources accruing to our State is our commonwealth and does not belong to any one family and their friends. I will not keep quiet for the sake of our suffering jobless young people, women and children and our future generation. “

Published in Headliners

The Gambia has become the latest country to deny that it is selling a Siberian businessman land for his plan to revive the Russian monarchy.

The Gambia "has not signed any memorandum of understanding with the Romanov Empire represented by Arch Chancellor Prince Anton Bakov," the Gambian president's website says

Mr Bakov told reporters back home that The Gambia had agreed to let him build artificial islands on its Bijol islets as a base for his Romanov Empire micro-state, in return for $60m (£44.8m) and use of the proposed hi-tech "smart city" of Saint Nicholas, the Argumenty i Fakty website reports.

But the Gambian government says it did not agree to Mr Bakov's proposal during his visit last month.

Government lawyers rejected the plans on the grounds that the Romanov Empire is "not a real state... and does not have the authority to enter into an international treaty," the president's website says.

Planned Romanov Empire islands in GambiaImage copyrightROMANOV EMPIRE WEBSITE
Saint Nicholas, Africa's proposed first 'smart city'

They also raised concerns about the environmental and financial implications of the artificial islands project.

Mr Bakov, a former MP, created the Romanov Empire micro-nation in 2011 for "people unhappy with President Vladimir Putin's regime". It is nominally led by "Nicholas III", a German aristocrat with a Romanov grandmother, but has little support among Russia's traditional monarchists.

Mr Bakov has tried and failed to persuade a series of other countries - most recently Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean - to let him use their islands as a territorial base for his Empire.

But this latest rebuff seems unlikely to dampen his enthusiasm for restoring Russia's imperial glory in exile. "I never put all my eggs in one basket," he told reporters in his home city of Yekaterinburg.

Russian businessman and claimant to the Russian throne Prince Karl Emich of LeiningenImage copyrightANTON BAKOV/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Mr Bakov (left) discusses imperial projects with "Emperor Nicholas III" (right)
Published in News & Stories

The UN has warned of a rise in trafficking of the synthetic opioid tramadol across West Africa, as one official revealed it is being found in the pockets of suicide bombers.

Seizures of the drug have skyrocketed since 2013, from 300kg (660lb) to more than three tonnes a year, the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.

In September, three million pills in UN-logoed boxes were found in Niger.

The opioid is known to be popular with Islamist militants Boko Haram.

The pills - which can be legally prescribed as painkillers - are thought to be used to calm the would-be attackers, with the Guardian previously reporting the terrorist group stuff it into dates which they then feed to children before sending them to their deaths.

Some 600,000 pills bound for the group were seized on the Nigeria-Cameroon border in August.

Pierre Lapaque, the UNODC's West and Central Africa representative, warned the situation could not be allowed to "get any further out of control", as it continues to undermine global security.

"Tramadol is regularly found in the pockets of suspects arrested for terrorism in the Sahel, or who have committed suicidal attack," Mr Lapaque said.

"This raises the question of who provides the tablets to fighters from Boko Haram and al-Qaeda, including young boys and girls, preparing to commit suicide bombings."

The UNODC says the abuse of the drug - usually smuggled from Asia through the Gulf by criminal gangs - is escalating into a major health crisis in the Sahel, particularly in northern Mali and Niger, with sub-Saharan Africa's young population potentially providing traffickers with an even larger market.

One woman in northern Mali told the agency she regularly saw children little older than 10 walking around "after taking or being given pills in their tea in order to help reduce their feeling of hunger".

People taking the drug illegally are thought use a dose up to five times higher than usual medical prescriptions, the UNODC added.

Published in Business and Economy

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reversed Senate President Bukola Saraki’s acquittal of false assets declaration charges.

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgment by a three-man panel, led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe Wilson, ordered Saraki to return to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for the continuation of his trial.

The court held that the prosecution led direct and credible evidence to establish a prima facie case against Saraki in three of the 18 counts contained in the charge for which he was tried.

The counts on which Saraki is to enter defence are 4, 5 and 6 in relation to his alleged failure to declare some houses he acquired in Ikoyi, Lagos.

In Count 4, Saraki is alleged to have falsified his Assets Declaration at the end of his tenure as Kwara State Governor in 2011 and on assumption of office as a senator in 2011 when he declared that he acquired No. 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The prosecution contended that the defendant falsely declared that he had acquired No 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi on 6th September 2006 from the proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.

In Count 5, he is also alleged to have falsified his Assets Declaration at the end of his tenure as Governor of Kwara State in 2011 and on assumption of office as a senator in 2011 when he declared that he acquired No. 17B, McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos.

The prosecution contended that the defendant falsely declared to have acquired No. 17A, McDonald, Ikoyi on 6th September 2006 from proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.

In Count 6, Saraki is accused of making a false declaration in the Assets Declaration Form at the end of tenure as governor in 2007 and on assumption of office as executive governor in 2007 when he failed to declare his outstanding loan liabilities of N315,054,355.92 out of the loan of N380,000,000 obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

The CCT  on June 14, upheld Saraki’s no-case submission, discharged and acquitted him, a decision the Federal Government appealed.

The Appeal Court, in its judgment yesterday, resolved four out of the five issues identified for determination in favour of the appellant.

The court said the tribunal was wrong to have held that Saraki was not invited to make a statement in the course of investigating the allegations against him.

It said the Senate President made a statement in the course of investigation, which was tendered and admitted by the tribunal as Exhibit 46.

The appellate court also faulted the CCT’s decision that the joint investigation team constituted by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the allegations against Saraki was unknown to law.

It said there was no law forbidding the CCB from collaborating with other investigating agencies of government to effectively discharge its mandate.

The court also faulted the tribunal for holding that the prosecution failed to prove its case by not tendering the original copies of Saraki’s assets declaration forms and his statement.

It said the certified true copies (CTC) of the forms and statement were sufficient under the law to be admitted as exhibits in favour of the prosecution.

On whether the tribunal was right to have upheld Saraki’s no-case submission, the appellate court resolved the issue against Saraki.

After a thorough analysis of the evidence led by the prosecution, the appellate court said the prosecution led credible and direct evidence in respect of three counts – 4, 5 and 6 – of the 18-count amended charge, to warrant his being called upon to enter his defence.

The court said the prosecution was unable to discharge the burden of proof placed on him by the law in relation to counts 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.

It said some of the prosecution’s witnesses gave both oral and documentary hearsay evidence that are inadmissible in law. It also said the prosecution failed to call witnesses in relation to the 15 counts.

For instance, the court noted that the prosecution, though accused Saraki of earning double salaries from the Kwara State Government and as a senator, it failed to call witnesses from the Kwara State Government and the National Assembly in support of the allegation.

The court ordered that the case be remitted back to CCT for Saraki to enter his defence.

Other members of the panel – Justices Tenimu Y. Hassan and M. Mustapha – agreed with the lead judgment by Justice Akomlafe-Wilson.

A two-man panel of the CCT, headed by Danladi Umar, on June 14, 2017, upheld the no-case submission filed by Saraki after the prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), closed its case after calling four witnesses and tendering 48 documentary exhibits.

In upholding the no-case submission, the tribunal dismissed the amended 18 counts preferred against Saraki on the grounds that the prosecution, was unable to establish any prima facie case against the Senate President.

Umar, in his lead ruling, exonerated Saraki, holding that failure of the prosecution to obtain his  statement and make it part of the proof of evidence was fatal to the case.

He adjudged as “absurd” that neither Saraki’s statement nor the report of the investigation said to have been carried out was produced before the tribunal.

He agreed with the defence team, led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN),  that the prosecution’s evidence had been manifestly discredited during cross-examination by the defence.

He added that the evidence adduced by the prosecution, led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was “so unreliable that no reasonable tribunal could convict” based on it.

The tribunal chairman specifically noted that the third prosecution witness, Mr. Samuel Madojemu, who is Head, Intelligence Unit of the Code of Conduct Bureau, only gave hearsay evidence on the information the witness purportedly received from the EFCC.

But the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, through  Jacobs, on June 20, filed a 17-ground notice of appeal against the CCT’s judgment.

The Federal Government faulted all the grounds on which the CCT predicated Saraki’s acquittal, describing the entire judgment as unreasonable and unconstitutional.

Jacobs subsequently filed an appellant’s brief on July 28, formulating five issues for determination.

Saraki, through his lead counsel Agabi, also filed his respondent’s brief on August 22.

While adopting his appellant’s brief on November 22, Jacobs urged the court to grant the Federal Government’s appeal and hold that the judgment of the CCT was perverse. He also reiterated that the CCT erred by adjudging the oral evidence of the prosecution’s third witness, Madojemu, the Head, Intelligence Unit of the CCB, as hearsay.

I’ve been vindicated, says Senate President 

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday described the Court of Appeal verdict as a vindication for him.

In a statement by his media adviser Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki expressed the belief that upholding a no-case-submission with regards to 15 of the 18-count charge confirmed his innocence.

“At least, today’s judgment has confirmed the position of the Tribunal that the prosecution’s case was entirely based on hearsay, not on any concrete evidence.

“The verdict of the Court of Appeal, just like that of the Tribunal before it, aligned with our position that the preposterous claims made during trial by the prosecution concerning operation of foreign accounts, making anticipatory declarations, collecting double salaries, owning assets beyond his income and failure to declare assets owned by companies in which the Senate President owns interests, among others, have fallen like a pack of cards and lack any basis.

“On the remaining three counts, which really touch on two issues, referred back to the Tribunal for the Senate President’s defence, it should be noted that the Appellate Court only gave a summary of its decision today promising to provide the parties with Certified True Copies of the judgment soon. As soon as it makes the details of the judgment available, our lawyers will review the grounds of the decision and take appropriate action.

“We remain convinced about the innocence of the Senate President on the three ( or two) counts because we believe the decision of the Court of Appeal is not consistent with the submissions made by both parties at the Tribunal. Thus, it is our view that that aspect of the judgment will not stand”.

Saraki added that his confidence and faith in the nation’s judiciary and its ability to dispense justice to all manners of people remained unshaken.

Published in Headliners

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as the enemy of Nigeria, saying it would take a united and coherent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to sack the APC government in 2019.

Atiku stated this in a congratulatory message to the newly elected national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus and other officials elected at the just concluded national convention of the party.

The statement, released by his media office on Sunday said the immediate challenge before the newly elected national officers of the PDP was to run an all-inclusive administration where the various interests within the party can find accommodation.

He added that Nigerians are looking up to the PDP for unity in the party, “because it takes a united and coherent PDP to sack the APC government in 2019″.

The statement said, “Our great party, the PDP, is, again, at the threshold of an historical moment. Just as we mobilised to put an end to prolonged military rule in 1999, the people of Nigeria at this moment look up to us to rescue the country from the mis-government of the APC.

“Arising from our elective congress, there should be no victor and no vanquished. Our paramount attention should be focused at sacking a government that deceived the people of Nigeria into power by promising our youths three million jobs annually, only to deliver three million job losses annually; a government that is repeatedly living in denial of its commitment to restructuring. We must be united to take power back to where it belongs: the Nigerian people.

“As members of the PDP, we must take pride in being able to hold a national convention and in so doing live up to the bill of being a truly democratic political party. Our major opponent has not been able to achieve this feat and I join millions of our party members to congratulate the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee.

“I understand that there are complaints and grievances from many of the co-contestants in the congress. I am aware that the PDP has a mechanism for addressing such complaints and it is important that such avenues of redress are made available for members to explore without let or hindrance. Meantime, I call on all our leaders and members to rally the new executive for the sake of our party, Nigeria and the good of our people”.

Published in News & Stories

Borussia Dortmund sacked Peter Bosz as head coach on Sunday and replaced him with Austrian Peter Stoeger, who was only fired by Bundesliga bottom side Cologne last weekend.

Dutchman Bosz, 54, was released after just 167 days in charge as Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen left Dortmund winless in their last eight league games following a miserable run of results.

Bosz was dismissed just hours after the Bremen defeat, when poor defending again led to another dreadful team display.

However, it means a quick turn-around for Stoeger, who has precious little time to prepare for the next Bundesliga game at Mainz on Tuesday.

He has just three matches remaining before the winter break with the Mainz match followed by a league game at home to Hoffenheim next Saturday and a plum German cup third-round clash at Bayern Munich on December 20.

“We will train together today and tomorrow and the first thing will be to talk about the current problems,” said Stoeger at Sunday’s press conference.

“We want to bring some more empathy back into the group.”

– ‘Exceptional opportunity’ –
Stoeger says he has gone from one great club to another after having become a cult figure in Cologne by steering them to the Europa League this season — their first appearance in Europe for 25 years.

“I have come from a really great club and to be able to work in Dortmund is something special, it’s an exceptional opportunity, for my staff and I,” he said.

“You only get a chance like this once in your life.”

Stoeger, who steered Cologne to fifth in the Bundesliga last season before a disastrous winless start to 2017/18, flew straight from Vienna to Germany after hearing from Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke on Saturday night.

The call caught Stoeger by surprise, coming just as he had arrived in the Austrian capital to visit family before heading back to the airport.

“I wasn’t planning on this, but the call changed everything,” he said.

“Now we have to see if we can make everyone happy.”

Published in Business and Economy

PDP governors-backed Uche Secundus has emerged the new national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) following an overwhelming defeat of two other opponents at the Eagle Square venue of the party’s convention on Saturday.

The former deputy national chairman of the party garnered 2000 votes, with a former Minister of Education, Prof. Adeniran coming a distant second with 230, while media mogul Raymond Dokpesi brought up the rear, with a miserly 66 votes.

Secondus, in the early hours of Sunday, was declared the new chairman with an overwhelming defeat of Prof. Tunde Adeniran and Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

Intense scheming and horse trading characterized the weekend’s event, as nine aspirants earlier cleared for the election, withdrew before the commencement of voting. These include; Chief Olabode George, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Jimi Agbaje and Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

Chairman of the Electoral Sub-Committee of the convention and former Governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswan, announced the results and said that the election for chairmanship position was keenly contested by four candidates.

“In this contest, nine gentlemen indicated their interests to contest, but here, four of them sent letters of withdrawal and so four were left.

“The other ones we were told have withdrawn but there was no letter to that effect.

“The four gentlemen that contested were Uche Secondus, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Founder of Daar Communications; Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Education Minister and Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Special Duties.

“Secondus scored 2,000 votes; Dokpesi, 66; Adeniran, 230 while Adedoja scored no vote,” Suswan said.

Other elected officers were Sen. Babayo Garmawa, Deputy National Chairman (North); Mr Yemi Akinwunmi, Deputy National Chairman (South); Sen. Umar Tsauri, National Secretary and Mr Agbo Emmanuel, Deputy National Secretary.

Retired Col. Austin Akinbundu is new National Organising Secretary, Yakubu Hassan, Deputy National Organizing Secretary; Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary and Diran Odeyemi, Deputy National Publicity Secretary.

Mr Abdullahi Maibasira emerged National Financial Secretary, Irona Gerald, Deputy National Financial Secretary; Aribisala Adewale, National Treasurer; Wada Masu, Deputy National Treasurer; Adamu Mustapha, National Auditor and Arong Divine, Deputy National Auditor.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mariya Umar was elected National Women Leader, Umoru Hadiza, Deputy National Women Leader, and Emmanuel Enoidem, National Youth Leader.

The Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, commended the Election Sub-Committee for “job well done”.

He also commended all the candidates and delegates who participated in elections and party leaders and members for cooperation that ensured the success of the convention.

Published in Headliners

Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ) chieftain and senator representing Ogun East senatorial zone at the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu has been suspended by the National Caretaker Committee of the party.

The decision which was taken at 3am Saturday morning  is said to be for a month.

The National convention of the party is expected to start Saturday morning , with the election of a new National chairman and other officers as the major highlight.

Published in News & Stories
The 2019 Presidential election is only 423 days away, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Friday.

According to the time table released by the commission, Nigerians are expected to elect the president on February 16, 2019.

Also scheduled for the same day is the election into the Senate and the House of Representatives.

News of the election dates was broken by INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at an induction retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory will follow on 2nd March 2019,” Yakubu said.

The implementation of the 2019 Election Project Plan is to begin on   January 1, 2018.

He said an additional 3,630,529 voters were registered in the recent continuous registration.

“This is an important development in our efforts to ensure that electoral services offered to Nigerians are better, more frequent and easier to access than ever before,” he said.

This exercise will continue until 60 days to the 2019 General Elections, as a provided by the Electoral act.

The INEC Chairman said the commission was “working assiduously to ensure 100% performance of the Card Readers. That is why there is an ongoing pilot to upgrade it by enhancing its features including new superior processors.”

He added: “At the same time, the Commission is exploring ways of improving the integrity of the collation and results transmission processes and has begun to deploy the electronic result collation and transmission platform on a pilot basis.

“Our ultimate aim, learning from the pilot and consequential improvement of the supporting infrastructure, is to deploy the system for all forthcoming off-season elections and, ultimately, the 2019 General Elections. The Commission is working to ensure that this goal is achieved.”

The commission said it has conducted 175 elections across the country in the last two years.

These include 79 Court-ordered re-run elections, 73 end of tenure elections and 23 bye-elections.

Yakubu said that even where electoral tribunals overturned two of the elections conducted, the commission was never asked to do a fresh election.

He also noted that to the credit of the commission, outcomes of most recent elections were not challenged in court.

Published in Headliners

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee on Friday cleared all the nine national chairmanship aspirants to participate in the party’s national convention holding on Saturday.

The aspirants are – Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Prince Uche Secondus, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Mr. Aderemi Olusegun, Prof.Taoheed Adedoja and Chief Olabode George.

The committee chairman, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, presented certificates to the aspirants at the party’s National secretariat in Abuja.

According to Ize-Iyamu, the list of other aspirants cleared for other positions would be displayed at the party secretariat before the national convention.

Published in Business and Economy
Page 1 of 37

Africa Reporters Television (ARTV)

Newsletter

- Advertisement -



Ads