Saturday, 24 February 2018
Headliners

Headliners (1858)

The Auditor-General of Kogi State and chairman, technical committee, state pension reform, Alhaji Yakubu Okala has revealed that N4 billion belonging to pensioners in the state was diverted into private pockets between 2010 and 2015.

This he said was perpetrated by few individuals saddled with the responsibility of handling the pension funds.
Okala who made this known on Thursday in Lokoja during a stakeholders meeting heralding the new contributory pension scheme by the state government said that all those that were involved in the pension fraud will be apprehended and brought to justice.

According to him, embezzlement of the funds in the state has thrown pensioners into a piteous condition to the point that many of them were ashamed of being identified as retired civil servants.

He added: “Pensioners at the local government level are worst hit by the fraudulent act. Investigation on the councils’ pension is on-going and we must see it to the end.

“Government has tried its best in releasing money for the payment of pension in the state, but the handlers have failed woefully.”

He lamented that in 2007, a pension reform bill was sent to the State House of Assembly, and passed into law, but that the scheme did not commence until after ten years as a result of lack of political will by previous administrations.

He called on the civil servants at the state and local government levels to key into the new contributory pension scheme in order to better their lives after retirement.

He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for his courage in actualising the new contributory pension scheme for civil servants in the state.

The chairperson of the state pension bureau, Hajia Sa’adatu Atima explained that for the success of the new pension scheme, the state government will contribute 10 percent while individual workers will contribute eight percent.

She described the scheme as safe and laudable, urging workers in the state to key into it.

Posted On Thursday, 26 October 2017 16:24 Written by

Kenya will hold a controversial repeat presidential election on Thursday as planned, the head of the election commission has announced.

Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking a second term, won in August but the poll is being held again over irregularities.

Amid reports of unrest, he urged Kenyans to vote and remain peaceful.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga has called on his own supporters to join him in boycotting the ballot, which he wants to hold later.

A bid to delay the election fell apart after only two out of seven Supreme Court judges showed up for a hearing.

One judge, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, failed to appear after her bodyguard was shot and wounded by unknown gunmen on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court annulled the original election in August by a 4-2 majority, saying there had been "irregularities and illegalities".

Some international observers have reduced their involvement in the poll because they say the conditions are not conducive for a free and fair election.

There have been running battles between police firing tear gas and stone-throwing protesters in the city of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold.

Posted On Wednesday, 25 October 2017 23:47 Written by

The House of Representative has called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to arrest former Chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.

The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara made this known on his official and verified twitter handle and also disclosed that the House of Reps will investigate the re-absolving and elevation of Maina from the rank of Assistant Director to Acting Director.

He said, “The House of Representatives today resolved to set up an adhoc committee to investigate resurfacing, reabsorbing and elevation Mr. Abdularasheed Maina from the rank of assistant director to acting director and to recommend strong sanctions against any person who are implicated in the scandal”.

“We also call on the EFCC to immediately arrest Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina for subsequent prosecution in order to serve as deterrent to others who might have corrupt tendencies”.

“It would be recalled that the wanted former pension reform boss was was reinstated and made director after being on the run for alleged N2b scam, among others”.

But President Buhari yesterday in a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, ordered his immediate disengagement and probe of his recall.

Maina who since last year had been evading arrest, is still on the wanted list of the International Police Organisation, (INTERPOL).

INTERPOL had February last year issued a red alert on Maina, who was believed to have fled the country following his dismissal by the Civil Service Commission in 2015 for fraud.

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EFCC seals eight properties belonging to Maina

 

Maina properties sealed in kaduna

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has sealed some properties belonging to the embattled former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, in Kaduna State.

Recall that Maina was accused of being involved in a N2bn fraud and on the wanted list of the EFCC for the alleged offence. He had since gone into hiding and the agency had launched a manhunt for him.

According to the EFCC’s Kaduna Zonal Office spokesman, Ibrahim Kamiludeen, the agency has sealed six properties, besides sealed two companies sealed on Monday.

One of the Properties

Addressing newsmen over the telephone on Tuesday, Kamiludeen said that the properties include a two-storey shopping plaza located on 2C Ibrahim Taiwo road and a one storey duplex at Katuru road all in the state capital.

All the properties acquired by Maina were being identified by the anti-graft agency for possible forfeiture to the federal government.
Posted On Tuesday, 24 October 2017 22:47 Written by

Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning last season saw him win the 2017 Best FIFA men’s player of the year trophy as Real Madrid dominated a star-studded awards ceremony in London on Monday.

The Portuguese ace, who has scored 44 goals in just 48 games for club and country so far this calendar year, played a major role in Real winning both La Liga and the Champions League.

He scored twice in a 4-1 win over Juventus in the continental final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on June 3.

Ronaldo saw off competition from longstanding Barcelona rival Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, the world’s most expensive player.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane took the corresponding manager of the year award, with the Spanish giants providing five players in the FIFPro team of the year.

Ronaldo won the inaugural Best FIFA men’s player of the year award last year following the end of a six-year merger between the FIFA honour and the Ballon D’Or.

The 32-year-old previously won the FIFA World Player of the Year award, the precursor to the Best FIFA award, in 2008.

“Thanks a lot for voting for me,” said the former Manchester United favourite after receiving his trophy from Argentina great Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Ronaldo at the London Palladium theatre.

“I mention Leo and Neymar, great to be here. Real Madrid supporters, my team-mates, my coach, they all support me all year.

“We are in England for the first time and I win consecutive awards,” he added. “This is a great moment for me. I have fans all over the world.”

Zidane won out ahead of Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and Juventus’s Massimiliano Allegri to be crowned men’s coach of the year after becoming the first man to oversee a successful defence of the European Cup in the Champions League era.

“I’d like to thank all of the players for making this possible,” said Zidane. “This is a very special prize.”

Real’s superb campaign was recognised in a FIFPro team that featured Ronaldo and club-mates Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos.

The XI also included FIFA’s goalkeeper of the year, Gianluigi Buffon.

AC Milan’s Leonardo Bonucci and PSG’s Dani Alves were in the defence, with Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta in a side also featuring Messi and Neymar.

Giroud wins best goal

Juventus and Italy shot-stopper Buffon topped a three-strong shortlist for the goalkeeper award ahead of Real’s Keylor Navas and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.

“It is a great honour to receive this award at my age,” said the 39-year-old Buffon.

“I would like to finish with a fantastic victory for Italy next summer (at the 2018 World Cup in Russia).”

Monday also saw the Puskas Award for the best goal of 2017 go to Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud.

The France striker received the award named in honour of Hungary great Ferenc Puskas for a spectacular ‘scorpion-kick’ against Crystal Palace in January.

“I’m delighted to receive this trophy today in front of legends of football,” said Giroud.

The Frenchman’s flicked volley with his left foot that went in off the crossbar won ahead of goals from Venezuela’s Deyna Castellanos, 18, and South African goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.

Meanwhile tournament hosts the Netherlands’ achievement in winning their first major female football title, the 2017 Women’s European Championship, was recognised with Women’s Coach of the Year and Player of the Year awards for Sarina Wiegman and Lieke Martens respectively.

Supporters of Celtic won the Fan Award for the way they marked the 50th anniversary of the ‘Lisbon Lions’ European Cup triumph that saw the Glasgow side become the first British club to lift the trophy after they beat Inter Milan in the Portuguese capital.

The Fair Play award went to Francis Kone for saving the life of goalkeeper Martin Berkovec, who nearly suffocated as a result of swallowing his tongue during a Czech league match in February.

Voting for the bulk of the awards was equally weighted between national team captains and coaches, media and fans.

Posted On Tuesday, 24 October 2017 03:13 Written by

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate disengagement of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, from service.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

Adesina said Buhari has also directed the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, to submit a report on the circumstances surrounding Maina’s reinstatement to his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, before the close of work.

The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the immediate disengagement from service of Mr Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms.

“In a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the President equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior.

“The report is to be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the end of work today, Monday, October 23, 2017.”

Posted On Monday, 23 October 2017 23:16 Written by

The World Health Organization has revoked the appointment of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador following a widespread outcry.

"I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

He had previously praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health.

But critics pointed out that Zimbabwe's healthcare system had collapsed in recent years.

During the first 20 years of his 37-year rule, Mr Mugabe widely expanded health care, but the system has badly been affected by the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy since 2000.

Staff often go without pay, medicines are in short supply, and Mr Mugabe, who has outlived the average life expectancy in his country by three decades, travels abroad for medical treatment.

Mr Tedros said he had consulted with the Zimbabwean government and decided that rescinding Mr Mugabe's position was "in the best interests of" the WHO.

He said he remained "firmly committed to working with all countries and their leaders" to build universal health care.

Mr Tedros, elected in May under the slogan "let's prove the impossible is possible" had said he hoped Mr Mugabe would use his goodwill ambassador role to "influence his peers in the region".

But the appointment was met by a wave of surprise and condemnation. The UK government, the Canadian prime minister, the Wellcome Trust, the NCD Alliance, UN Watch, the World Heart Federation, Action Against Smoking and Zimbabwean lawyers and social media users were among those who criticised the decision.

Posted On Sunday, 22 October 2017 18:17 Written by


•Died after wife of 17 years delivered triplets

Tragedy has befallen the home of a director in the employ of the Kogi State public service, Edward Soje (54). He committed suicide barely 10 days after his wife was delivered of a set of male triplets.

The couple had been childless in their over 17 years of marriage.

Soje, a director with the Kogi State civil service, reportedly hung himself with rope on a tree in Lokoja, the state capital.

The Nation gathered on yesterday that Soje’s dangling body was discovered on a tree behind the mammy market at the Maigumeri Barracks, housing the Nigeria Army Command Record.

Soje, a Grade Level 16 officer in the Kogi State Teaching Service Commission (TSC) decided to take his life barely 10 days after his wife was delivered of a set of male triplets in a private hospital in Abuja.

Soje, who hailed from Ogori town in Ogori-Magongo local government of Kogi, was allegedly being owed 11 months’ salary arrears as at the time he took his own life.

He reportedly travelled to Abuja, leaving a suicide note for the wife who is said to be a federal civil servant, before committing suicide.

The suicide note read, “Psalm 121:3: God will not suffer your foot to be moved: He that keepeth you will not slumber. Amen. You and the three boys, God Almighty keep you and make you prosperous. Amen. I love you.”

Confirming the incident, the Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. William Aya said that the dangling body of Soje was found on a tree behind the barracks, around 5.55 pm on October 16.

Aya, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) said that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Area D Division received information about the incident from the military intelligence office in the barracks.

He said, “Police moved to the scene and removed the corpse to the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja. Investigation is on-going.”

According to the police, nothing was found on the man to help trace his address and family.

However, a search party organised by some relations and friends, led them to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), where his corpse was discovered at the morgue of the hospital on October 20.

Family sources said that Soje had been going through a tough patch occasioned by financial pressure and non-payment of his salary for 11 months.

He was said to have sold his car and a yet-to-be completed three-bedroom bungalow he was putting up at the Otokiti area of Lokoja.

The property, said a source, was sold at a give-away price of N1.5 million in April, to meet pressing family needs.

According to the source, Soje’s woes were compounded when the wife gave birth to a set of triplets through caesarean operation in a private hospital in Abuja on October 7.

He remained at the hospital looking after the wife and new born children till October 13, a day before their naming ceremony, when he returned to Lokoja.

On his return to Lokoja, Soje was said to have headed straight to his bank, where he withdrew the N30,000 balance in his account, and thereafter notified the bank in writing, of his decision to close the account.

He subsequently returned to the hospital in Abuja, and handed over the N30,000 to the wife. Soje and wife were joined by two clergymen and some relatives for a brief naming ceremony of the triplets in the hospital.

He later left the hospital with the excuse that he wanted to pick some things from the wife’s apartment in Abuja with a promise to come back quickly.

But for hours, he did not return and did not pick any of the many calls made to his telephone line, a development which forced the wife to send somebody to the house to go and ascertain what was happening to him.

The person, on getting to the apartment knocked the door severally but got no response and thereafter called his telephone number. On hearing the telephone ring out from the apartment, he was said to have knocked severally again but no response, which made him seek the help of neighbours to force open the door.

On entering the apartment, they saw Soje’s mobile handset placed on a suicide note on the centre table in the sitting room, while he was nowhere to be found.

When the wife was informed, she quickly contacted people for a search for him in Abuja while relations and friends in Lokoja were also informed of the development.

Efforts made to locate him did not yield result until relations decided to visit hospitals in Lokoja, where the corpse of Soje was found in the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja on Friday, October 20.

A family member said that the management of the hospital explained to them that Soje’s corpse was brought in by the police who found it dangling on a tree. He described the late Soje as a very quiet and lovable human being.

He said that some members of the family have been sent to Abuja to break the news to the wife.

Posted On Sunday, 22 October 2017 13:42 Written by

A pastor who had claimed to foresee President Robert Mugabe's death on Tuesday is apparently trying to save face now that his prophecy hasn't come true, reports Times Live, saying "God has changed His mind".

Times Live reports Pastor Phillip Muguzada as saying: "As to why God postponed that‚ He never told me that - so I really don’t know why God chose that direction. I know many people were actually expecting the fulfillment of the prophetic word‚ because of what is happening in this nation. "

It's still the top trending story on the South African news site, reflecting the mixture of incredulity, mirth and confusion with which people people have reacted to the story.

Zimbabwean pastor Phillip Mugadza recently tried and failed in his bid to get the country's top court to throw out charges against him for prophesying that President Robert Mugabe, 93, would die on 17th October 2017.

The case would now return to the magistrates court, where Pastor Mugadza - the leader of The Remnant Church - has been charged with "causing offence to persons of a particular race and religion or alternatively causing criminal nuisance".

At the time of his arrest, his lawyer Gift Mtisi had told the BBC: He's admitting to the facts. He says he didn't lie - that's a message from God. Police will have to prove God didn't say it."

Pastor Mugadza's lawyers asked the Constitutional Court to throw out the charges on the grounds that they violated his right to free speech.

The prosecution alleges that the pastor insulted the Christian religion and African tradition by predicting Mr Mugabe's death.

Predicting the death of a leader is taboo, according to traditional beliefs.

Posted On Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:40 Written by

The leader of a pro-Biafran group that wants to break away from Nigeria failed to appear in court on Tuesday as his treason trial was scheduled to resume.

Nnamdi Kanu, who heads the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement, was nowhere to be seen as proceedings resumed at the Federal High Court in the capital, Abuja.

Prosecutor Shuaibu Labaran said Kanu’s absence was “contrary to the order of this court” but the separatist leader’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said: “I don’t know where my client is.

“The home of of the first defendant (Kanu) was invaded by soldiers and since that time I have not heard from him. I cannot tell… whether (he) is alive or dead.”

Ejiofor also suggested Kanu was “in the custody of the (federal government)”.

Judge Binta Nyako adjourned the case until November 20, pending more information as to Kanu’s whereabouts.

Kanu and three other defendants, who were remanded in custody, are facing several charges linked to his calls for a separate state for the Igbo people, the majority in Nigeria’s southeast.

He was first arrested in October 2015, stoking grievances that have festered since a previous declaration of independence in 1967 sparked a bloody, 30-month civil war.

The conflict left at least one million people dead, most of them Igbos from the effects of starvation and disease, as federal forces blockaded the fledgling state.

Threat of violence 
Kanu, who also runs the London-based Radio Biafra station, was released on bail in April this year on health grounds but under strict terms.

The judge ruled that he should not attend any rally, be in a crowd of more than 10 people or give any media interviews while on bail.

He was ordered to pay sureties totalling 300 million naira ($835,000, 710,000 euros) to ensure his attendance at trial.

Ejiofor told reporters at the time they were “very sure we will fulfil the conditions for bail”. But since then, Kanu has rarely been out of the spotlight.

He told AFP in an interview in May to mark the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence that he was “more determined than ever” to secure a breakaway republic.

He also called for “civil disobedience” until a referendum was granted on self-determination.

Kanu’s whereabouts have been the source of increasing speculation in recent weeks, after a military surge in his home city of Umuahia and the surrounding area.

The IPOB leader’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, said the army attacked the family’s compound last month, killing 28.

The army has denied the claim and also that they were holding Kanu, but their tactics come in for criticism for fueling tensions in the restive region.

Comparisons have been drawn to Boko Haram’s founder Muhammad Yusuf, who died in custody in 2009 during a military crackdown in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

“If anything happens to him (Kanu), the reactions are likely to be very violent in the southeast,” said security consultant Don Okereke.

Posted On Tuesday, 17 October 2017 17:05 Written by

Hundreds of demonstrators in Burkina Faso marked the 30th anniversary of Thomas Sankara’s assassination by demanding truth and justice on Sunday for the assassinated revolutionary leader.

The young army captain, nicknamed “Africa’s Che Guevara,”, was cut down in a hail of bullets on October 15, 1987 on his way to a special cabinet meeting.

Demonstrators wearing T-shirts bearing the likeness of the anti-imperialist crusader chanted “Truth and justice for Thomas Sankara,” with some waving signs that read “Shame on rotten prosecutors and corrupt judges.” 

Sankara was assassinated along with 12 comrades in a putsch that brought his close friend Blaise Compaore to power. Compaore ruled Burkina Faso until October 2014, when he was ousted by a popular uprising.

Compaore, who is in exile in Ivory Coast, is the subject of an international arrest warrant in connection with Sankara’s killing.

About a dozen people have been charged in connection over the assassination including soldiers from the presidential security unit.

“No one… Burkinabe or not, who was involved in these killings should be able to escape punishment,” said Bernard Sanou, president of the Thomas Sankara International Memorial Committee.

Posted On Sunday, 15 October 2017 22:05 Written by
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