Friday, 19 January 2018
Items filtered by date: July 2017
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 01:06

NIGERIA: Buhari, Osinbajo meet in London

Nigeria’s ailing president Muhammadu Buhari and the country’s acting president Yemi Osinbajo are meeting in London, the Presidency said on Tuesday.

“AgP @ProfOsinbajo meeting with President @MBuhari in London today, and returning to Abuja immediately afterwards,” the Presidency tweeted. But there was no detail on the subject of the discussion.

The president has spent most of this year in London receiving treatment for an unspecified medical condition. He left for London for a medical check-up on May 7, leaving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lead the country. His aides said only his doctors can determine when he can return to the country.

“The length of the President’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. The government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice President,” presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.

Adesina, however, insisted that there was “no cause for worry.”

Buhari had left earlier Nigeria on January 19 for London to “undergo routine medical check-ups” during a short holiday. He only returned on March 10 after an extended period of medical treatment.

Though he hinted at the possibility of him going back for more treatment and acknowledged that he was terribly sick, he did not disclose the true nature of his ailment.

His office released an audio message during the Eid-el-Fitr celebrations purported to be from him. The message delivered wholly in Hausa angered more than a few Nigerians who accused him of being sectional with the choice of language he conveyed his message in.

Last month, Ekiti state governor Ayodele Fayose advised Buhari to resign but his supporters rejected the suggestion.

Published in Politics

•Fishim granted bail on self-recognisance

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned judge of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Justice Agbadu Fishim, for allegedly collecting N4.65 million from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs).

The judge, who was arraigned before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of an Ikeja High Court, was however granted bail on self-recognisance.

Justice Fishim was arraigned on a 19-count charge of unlawful enrichment. 

EFCC’s prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo alleged that Justice Fishim received an aggregate of N4.65 million from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, one other Lagos-based lawyer and a law firm between 2013 and 2015.

Oyedepo claimed the money was paid into the judge’s First Bank account, numbered 3008199491.

He said the judge could not give a reasonable explanation of how the money came into his First Bank account.

Justice Fishim, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

His counsel, Prof. Amuda Kehinde, pleaded that his client be granted bail in self-recognisance.

Kehinde argued that his client is a sitting judge and would not jump bail.

He said he was served with the court papers yesterday about 5p.m and he responded immediately.

“He is a sitting judge and he has a lot to lose, if he decides to jump bail,” Kehinde said.

Oyedepo did not oppose the bail application.

He, however, asked the court to attach conditions to the bail such that the defendant would be mandated to attend trial.

Justice Adebiyi granted bail to Justice Fishim and directed him to deposit his international passport with the court registrar.

“It is the discretion of the court to grant bail to the defendant. It should be noted that the main function of bail is so that the defendant attends trial.

“The defendant is a sitting Judge of the National Industrial Court, who is facing a 19-count charge of unlawful enrichment, which is a bailable offence.

“I hereby grant the defendant bail on self-recognisance and he is also expected to deposit his international passport with the court Chief Registrar,” Justice Adebiyi ruled.

In the charge sheet, the EFCC alleged that the judge received N1.4 million from Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) between December 5, 2013 and February 26, 2015.

He was alleged to have received N1.1 million in multiples tranches from  Paul Usoro (SAN) between August 5, 2014 and March 26, 2015.

Other SANs, from whom the judge allegedly received money, were Chief Gani Adetola-Kazeem, who allegedly gave him N100,000 on February 10, 2015; and Mr. Uche Obi, who gave him N250,000 between October 17 and 20, 2013.

Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) allegedly gave the judge N500,000 on June 20, 2013; and Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who gave him a total of N500,000 in two tranches  on June 3, 2013 and February 26, 2015.

The EFCC claimed that Justice Fishim received N250,000 from Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), in two tranches on December 12, 2014 and September 10, 2015.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Enobong Etteh, was said to have transferred N300,000 to the judge on October 27, 2014.

A law firm, Alliance Law Firm, according to the EFCC, also paid N250,000 into the judge’s account on August 21, 2015.

Justice Fishim’s trial has been adjourned till October 11, 2017.

Published in Business and Economy

Nigerian, Fawaz Olanrewaju Animasaun will spend the next two years in jail in the United States for defrauding East Texans and others out of nearly $1m.

Twenty-seven-year-old Animasaun, is one of two persons named in a federal indictment for charges of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, as well as aiding and abetting.

He was travelling to the U.S. from Ghana, by way of Amsterdam, when he was arrested at the airport in New York in November last year.

Just a few weeks later, the 7-foot-1-inch tall Nigerian was an inmate at the Gregg County Jail awaiting his turn in a federal courtroom.

Under a plea agreement finalised in May, Animasaun is serving three years in prison on the conspiracy charge. He is ordered to pay $930,737.60 in restitution to three financial companies.

Court documents show Animasaun will pay $135,989 to East Texas-based Austin Bank as part of that restitution.

In addition, the agreement states that Northern Trust Company is due $46,800 and UMB Financial Corporation is due $747,948.60.

Animasaun and his alleged accomplice Idowu Temitope Omolade, also from Nigeria, are believed to be involved in at least 21 fraudulent wire transfers between April and August of 2012.

And that may not be all.

A rare footnote made by a U.S. Attorney in the 21-page federal indictment reads, “Because the purpose of this complaint is to set forth only those facts necessary to establish probable cause to arrest, I have not described all the relevant facts and circumstances of which I am aware.”

The indictment says the purpose of the conspiracy was to “… unlawfully obtain money through unauthorised transfers of funds from bank accounts and brokerage accounts.”

To do that, the Nigerian men allegedly impersonated actual account holders in emails exchanged with banking and financial services personnel. In those email conversations, the indictment says the suspects “… harvested details about the target accounts, including account balances, and obtained wire transfer instructions.” With those details, the suspects were then able to initiate a wire transfer without the account holder’s knowledge or authorization.

The indictment said that the money was moved through a series of accounts using “money mules,” or people who may or may not have known they were assisting in the transfer.

Other financial institutions affected include Wells Fargo, UMB Bank, UMB Financial Corporation, Northern Trust and Northern Trust Corporation.

Animasaun was transferred out of the Gregg County Jail on June 28, in the custody of the U.S. Marshals. Federal Bureau of Prisons records show he is now in a detention centre in Brooklyn, New York, and will remain there until June 2019. He could have received up to 30 years in prison for each count of the indictment.

The indictment states that Animasaun kept Omolade informed of the progress, and told him when to expect specific wire transfers. Omolade is not listed as a federal inmate, and there is no record of an arrest. Aliases listed in the indictment include “Michael Chernick” and “CLICKIDONLINE.”

Animasaun is listed in the indictment with four aliases, including “Larry Hoover” and “Slim Husstle Olanraywaju.”

Published in News & Stories


An investigator yesterday told an Ikeja High Court in Lagos how a former Nigerian Maritime Adminstration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)  Director General and five other officials stole N754 million belonging to the agency.

Mr Chukwudi Orji of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spoke during his testimony in the ongoing trial of ex-NIMASA Director General Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others on a 13-count charge of stealing and fraud.

Akpobolokemi’s co-defendants are: Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company — Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd.

Orji told the court: “Vimsat Committee, a committee of NIMASA, opened an account in a bank, which had only two inflows.

“On Aug. 29, 2015, N498.4 million was paid into that account by NIMASA and on May 20, 2015, N318 million was also paid into that account by NIMASA.

“This gave the account a total inflow of N816.2 million. On Sep. 29, 2015, there was a transfer of N11 million into the account of one Lakewood Garden Ventures Ltd from the Vimsat Committee account.

“The money was never used for research work as it was mandated to be. This money was part of the sharing formula of the defendants.”

Orji, explaining the role of Vincent Udoye, one of the defendants in the alleged scam, said:”On March 6, 2015 N7.8 million was transferred from Vimsat account into the another account with Diamond Bank account with number -0020802815 of the fifth defendant (Udoye).

“On June 4, 2015 he transferred N5 million from that account into another Diamond Bank account with number 006567038 which was also operated by him.

“The N5 million transferred was fixed on the same day and was liquidated on Sep. 2, 2014 and he was paid an interest of N24,000.

“The N5 million is still in his account as at the time the EFCC asked for his statement.

“He also transferred N2.5million into the bank account of Adegboyega Olopoenia (the sixth defendant).”

The N7.8 million disbursed by the defendants, Orji said, was part of funds from Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd which were originally from the account of the Vimsat Committee.

“All these transfers were done in a bid to conceal the source of the funds,” he said.

Throwing more light on the role of Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd in the alleged fraud, Orji said Adegboyega Olopoenia (the sixth defendant) was a signatory to the account of Gama Marine.

According to him, N10 million was transferred to Vincent Udoye in six tranches from that account by Olopoenia, totalling N60 million.

“It was conceived to be used under the guise of award of contract to Gama Marine but there was no contract.”

The investigator also told the court how another company, Arrow World Consulting Ltd, was used to transfer money from NIMASA by the defendants.

“In relation to Arrow World Consulting, the third (Ekene Nwakuche) and fourth (Governor Juan) defendants were the signatories to the account .

“Our findings were that the accounts of Arrow World Consulting received the bulk sum from the Vimsat Committee account on Feb. 12, 2015.

“They received N230 million and they received another N17 million from the account on May 6, 2015.

“Nwakuche and Juan used fictitious names while operating the Arrow World Consulting account; Nwakuche operated as Philip Emesike and Juan operated as Udoh Emakop.

“When we invited Nwakuche to our office, he confessed to be using the alias Philip Emesike saying he used the name in bank documents.

“He explained to me and my team embers that he used to sign as Emesike and he demonstrated to us how he used to sign the signature.

“N70 million was sent by Nwakuche into the bank account of Dorcas Nwakuche and N70 million was paid into the bank account of Kadice Oil and Gas Ltd.

“The third and fourth defendants also made various transfers to different accounts from the Arrow World Consulting account,” he said.

Orji told the court how the EFCC uncovered the forged documents used to carry out bank transactions by Arrow World Consulting.

“Arrow World Consulting did not do any work for NIMASA, I personally led the team to visit the company’s  address at 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island.

“I met the younger brother of the original owner of the company who was residing at the premises, I was told that the owner of the company had travelled out of the country.

“Shakespeare Solicitors, the lawyers to the real owner of Arrow World Consulting, came to the EFCC office with a power of attorney and made a statement.

“The lawyers commenced an action at the Ikeja High Court against the bank in which judgment was given in favour of the real owner of Arrow World Consulting.

“The real owner of Arrow World was awarded N10million damages by Justice F. Bankole-Oki against the bank for opening the account without the consent of the owners — the number of that suit is LD/1872/CMW/2016,” Orji said.

Oyedepo, the EFCC prosecutor, sought to tender as evidence, a letter written by Shakespeare Solicitors on the alleged fraud to the EFCC to which a copy of the judgment was attached.

Mr Seni Adio (SAN), lawyer to Nwakuche, however, objected to the tendering of the letter as evidence, saying it was irrelevant to the charge of the defendants and also not part of the original proof of evidence.

Justice Raliatu Adebiyi, in her ruling, held that the letter was relevant to proceedings and was, therefore, admissible as evidence.

She adjourned the case until today for continuation of trial.


Published in News & Stories

Thurmond (not his real name), a white American construction worker who I met at a site a while ago lamented to me thus. “Look, the order of significance in America regarding human and other rights is children first, women second, pets such as dogs and cats third, and men last, if at all.”

I chewed this information for a while, decided after some reflection that perhaps there was some merit in it before countering thus. “Count yourself lucky Thurmond. In my country Nigeria, there are hardly any human rights at all, but the order of significance under the current Buhari Administration is Fulani herdsmen first, other Fulani men second, Fulani cattle third, Fulani women and girls fourth, Nigerian Muslims fifth, other supporters of the present administration sixth, and the rest last, if at all.”

“Where do you belong then?” he asked me inquisitively. “Well like yourself I belong to the ‘last or if at all’ category,” I replied honestly.  Thurmond my interlocutor ejaculated. “No you are further down the totem pole than myself. I thought my case was bad, but yours seems even worse. What can I say to you?  I can only thank God that I am an American. Sorry about that bro.” he said as he walked away, contemplatively shaking his head in sympathetic amazement.

Both Thurmond and myself have long since finished our respective jobs in the particular site where we met and have each moved on to other job site assignments. But if I happen to run into Thurmond again given what I have watched, seen and heard over the last couple of days I surely would have plenty to tell him.

Indeed, on January 20, 2017, some American protesters demonstrating against Donald Trump’s emergence as the 45th President of the United States were smashing windows a couple of blocks away from the Capitol Building where he took the oath of office. Yet the American police and security agents handled the situation most professionally. A number of arrests, at the last unofficial count 217 persons, were made, but to the best of my knowledge there were no severe injuries or fatalities.

A much bigger anti-Trump demonstration the so-called Women’s March on Washington D.C. took place on January 21, 2017 and went off successfully. Similar demonstrations against Donald Trump took place in several cities and towns within the US and many cities around the world with unconfirmed reports estimating that as many as 3 million people participated worldwide. But apparently all these global demonstrations went on smoothly without any significant untoward incident of police brutality, demonstrators’ injury or possibly fatality.

The sole global exception apparently is Nigeria where a peaceful demonstration which held at Port Harcourt on January 20, 2017, in support of Donald Trump by members of peaceful separatist groups, led by the  Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), was broken up by the Nigerian police and other security agents with extreme violence including the use of live bullets leading by some media eye witness accounts to the possible loss of about 11 lives (IPOB claims 20 fatalities), gunshot injuries to about 70 persons and about 200 persons missing or still unaccounted for.

A violent approach to managing the peaceful exercise of dissenters’ fundamental human rights has been the hallmark of the apparently blood-thirsty Buhari Administration which has continuously met the peaceful demonstrations of non-Fulani Nigerians particularly the neo-Biafrans and Nigeria’s Shiite Muslim community with savage acts of brutality and denied many Nigerians particularly the aforementioned peaceful groups their fundamental human rights of freely and publicly expressing their views.

It should be pointed out that not all of the radical separatist views of IPOB are shared by many Nigerians including Igbos for that matter. Nonetheless provided their approach is peaceful and non-violent, it is within the realm of their fundamental human rights to engage in free speech, peaceful public demonstrations and free association with other aggrieved Nigerians of like minds.

However, at the same time, the very same Buhari Administration has turned a blind eye to and perhaps passively instigates or covertly supports the terroristic activities of segments of his own Fulani ethnic group who under the guise of nomadic cattle rearing, engage in expansionist land grab activities, outside the Fulani traditional ethnic homeland. These expansionist activities are actively propped up by State coercive and non-coercive organs. The sum total of this assured State support is the mindless slaughter of anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 innocent non-Fulani peasant Nigerian citizens across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

Recent major hotspots of the terroristic Fulani aggression against bona fide citizens of Nigeria leading to the loss of many lives under President Buhari’s watch include Agatu in Benue State where the official local government count indicates that more than 3,000 lives were lost during the carnage while 2,000 lives were subsequently lost in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps due to the criminal neglect of traumatized displaced Agatu indigenes by the Federal and State Authorities. Other local government areas of Benue State have hardly fared better.

 In Southern Kaduna State about 808 lives (according to the Catholic Church records) were lost recently due to the terroristic activities of Fulani Herdsmen. Last year in Enugu State many lives running into double digits were reportedly lost when the terroristic Fulani Herdsmen extended their murderous rampage to that area. The murderous carnage of terroristic Fulani cattle herdsmen has been felt in Delta State, Ondo State, Oyo State, and Rivers State among others.

In none of these cases has President Muhammadu Buhari personally, openly, unequivocally and in a timely manner, sympathized with the victims of his kinsmen’s terrorist rampages. Where the Administration has been forced by public and mostly international outcry to commiserate with the victims, meaningless sympathies not backed by a resolute determination to fish out the perpetrators of these heinous terrorist actions, have been expressed belatedly and half-heartedly through paid media assistants and public relations advisers.  

Instead what has been witnessed is an all-out government effort to seize by any means possible, including through the proposed unorthodox engagement of the Nigerian Army in cattle ranching, the landed territory of ethnic sub-nationalities across the length and breadth of Nigeria with the barely disguised intention of forcibly transferring same down the road to the terroristic Fulani herdsmen as grazing lands which they would hold onto in perpetuity without paying royalties or acknowledging their tenant status in such lands.

Now as many Nigerian ethnicities who have hosted Fulani settlements in their ethnic homelands freely attest, the current generation of nomadic Fulani cattle herders are no more the good neighbors’ previous generations used to be. Armed to the teeth with offensive weapons including sub-machine guns in flagrant disregard of and disobedience to extant Nigerian Laws, the current Fulani herdsmen engage in criminal and subversive acts of rape, murder, armed robbery and wanton destruction of the cultivated lands of whichever community is unlucky enough to be their immediate unwilling hosts.

Any attempt to challenge them results in the kind of murderous onslaughts witnessed in Agatu, Southern Kaduna and other areas enumerated above. The Fulani terroristic herdsmen strut the length and breadth of the nation like proud colorful peacocks adorned with bullet straps, amulets and sophisticated weapons, answerable to nobody and held in awe by all and sundry, military, security forces and civilians alike.  

Since the emergence of the Buhari Adminstration, an additional swagger has been noticed in their comportment. Governors of States where carnages have taken place are not immune from the general intimidation of the populace by terroristic Fulani herdsmen. Many State Governors apart from the Governor of Ondo State, Ayodele Fayose, have been reduced to empty weeping vessels or pitiable castrated objects cowering in the face of terroristic Fulani bravado.

Recently thousands of peasant women in Delta State, fearful for their lives and aggrieved at the loss of personal security in their farmlands, their only source of livelihood, took to the streets in their thousands and blocked the Warri-Port Harcourt express way which is the major highway linking the two major commercial cities in the Niger Delta region. The women lamented about incessant cases of violent rape and murder in their farmlands perpetrated on a daily basis by terroristic Fulani herdsmen. The aggrieved women vowed that they would not evacuate the highway until they were personally addressed by the Governor of Delta State. It is uncertain if the Delta State Governor, the designated Chief Security Officer of the State, who may have been otherwise engaged, responded to their request, by honoring them with his physical presence in order to personally reassure them of their personal safety and security in their farmlands.

For their part, to their credit and in an unmistakably mark of their supreme confidence in their invincibility, the terroristic Fulani Herdsmen have serially owned up to their terrorist actions. Reacting under the canopy of their umbrella body, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeding Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) of which President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a cattle rearer is the Grand Patron, they have never denied their involvement in all the genocidal carnages, not associated with the renowned and distinct Boko Haram terrorist group, which Nigeria has witnessed in recent times and particularly under the Buhari Adminstration. What they have repeatedly said is that their genocidal activities are reprisal attacks for the loss of their cattle and sometimes members to cattle rustlers from the host communities.

Indeed, it is some State Governors mostly of Fulani origin, particularly the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai (a prominent member of President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet and reputed as his potential successor), who have been spinning the narrative that the terroristic Fulani elements causing mayhem in Nigeria are non-Nigerian Fulani migrating into Nigeria to cause havoc from far-flung countries like Niger, Mali, Chad etc.

This disingenuous explanation raises more serious questions than it answers. Firstly, what is the motivation behind the eagerness of the Nigerian Government authorities to extricate Nigerian Fulani herdsmen whose leadership is well-known by all and sundry, from their self-confessed responsibility for genocidal acts in Nigeria and transfer the responsibility for these very same acts to unknown and unknowable non-Nigerian Fulani herdsmen? Is it to shield them from the long hands of the Law as perpetrators and shield themselves as instigators?

Secondly, assuming but not conceding that the Nigerian Government officials implicating non-Nigerian Fulanis in these genocidal acts are correct in their narrative, is it not a culpable humongous admission of failure for Government to admit that foreigners came from outside Nigeria into Nigeria, to kill bona fide Nigerian citizens and the governments at State and Federal levels are not able to identify, arrest or extradite these foreign elements and bring them to justice?

Granted that the President is the Chief Security Officer of the Nation, who collects humongous, un-retire-able amounts of money daily, weekly or monthly as the case may be from the National Treasury in the name of Security Vote, and yet is unable to provide security for Nigerians, is this not enough cause to call for the President’s resignation, or impeachment or replacement as Chief Security Officer? The same applies to the State Governors who are the Chief Security Officers of their own States. Do Nigerians through their elected representatives not have a right to know how and why so much money is voted for Security in the nation and yet there is no security at all?

By the way, it is our view that the legality of the so-called Security Vote be investigated under the tenets of the Nigerian Constitution. If it is legal, there should be more transparency in its utilization, if found to be otherwise and to be based solely on precedence it should be scrapped immediately and the money directly remitted to the heads of the various security agencies who would then be held publicly accountable for the breakdown of law and order anywhere in Nigeria.

Coming back to the self-acknowledged complicity of Nigerian Fulanis in the terroristic acts of genocide in Nigeria, assuming but not conceding that these actions were provoked by cattle rustling and killing of their members, who and what gave the terroristic Fulani Herdsmen the right and audacity to administer instant justice in Nigeria without recourse to the established Judicial Authorities?

No Nigerian citizen has the right to administer justice on other human beings in Nigeria, citizen or non-citizen alike, without recourse to the established organs of the Judicial system. No amount of provocation, including the purported willful murder of its members and stealing of its cattle by elements of their host communities confers on the Fulanis of Nigeria the right to take the laws into their own hands and administer terroristic justice as they deem fit.

That the terroristic Fulani herdsmen routinely bypass the established channels of securing redress including reporting criminal matters to the Police and presenting their complaints before the Law Courts, is indicative of the amount of disdain and contempt in which they hold the Nigerian State. Yet this same Nigerian State acting under the direction of unpatriotic Fulanis in power, attempts to shield them by all means possible from the long hands of the law while subjecting other non-Fulani Nigerians especially IPOB members and Shiite Muslims to violent reprisals for actions and activities permitted under the Law.   

It is this disdain for the law, which is aided and abetted by actions of commission or omission in the highest levels of Government that is ultimately responsible for all the recent acts of genocide committed in Nigeria by terroristic Fulani herdsmen in their desperate expansionist grab for land outside their traditional ethnic domain. For these genocidal acts, their sponsors now very clearly exposed and identified by all shall be held accountable someday either by man or by God.

It is in the context of this injustice, daily crying to God for vengeance, that the so-called peace pact; recently struck between the King of Agatu people and their terroristic Fulani invaders; which pact cedes Agatu land to the very same Fulani elements who decimated them; and which pact was recently signed between the King of Agatu and the Fulani in the presence of the Governors of Benue State and Nassarawa State and some of which details were exposed by the Local Government Chairman of Agatu; should be recognized by all and sundry for what it truly is.

This so-called pact is an act of coercion of the hapless peasant Agatu people by terroristic Fulani herdsmen using the very same intimidating instruments of State which they willfully ignored before proceeding on their terroristic rampage. Peace is a very good thing. But peace must be accompanied by justice and the terms of any peace must be freely and democratically accepted by a majority of Agatu people freely exercising their will.

The terms of this peace must not be dictated to the Agatu victims through the auspices of their King and Local Government Chairman ostensibly negotiating on their behalf under the influence of State Government duress, their personal goodwill notwithstanding. In addition, while seeking peace the State must also administer justice by impartially investigating and addressing all acts of criminality including bringing the so-called Agatu elements who purportedly stole Fulani cattle before the Agatu carnage (if they are still alive) to justice. The state must also round up and bring all the members of the terroristic Fulani herdsmen community and their sponsors who planned and executed the so-called Agatu reprisal carnage to justice. The same should apply to all the cases of terroristic carnage in Nigeria.

The Nigerian State must summon the will and courage to subject the terroristic Fulani herdsmen to its judicial authority.  To do otherwise is to kick the can of justice further down the road and sow the seeds for the next round of carnage in the foreseeable future.

Anthony Chuka Konwea, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, MNSE, FNIStructE, MNICE.

-- THE END --

Published in Parliament

Kenyan MPs, who are some of the best paid lawmakers in the world, are to get a pay cut intended to reduce the public wage bill.

The MPs' $7,200 (£5,500) monthly pay will be cut by 15% and they will lose some generous allowances.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) said that the salary review was part of a plan to reduce Kenya's public sector wages by 35%.

The average income in Kenya is $150 a month.

The new salaries will be effective after the 8 August election.

The review will affect pay and allowances of national and county government officials, including the president, whose gross salary has been reduced from $16,000 to $14,000.

MPs' current benefits:

  • Personal car loan up to $67,400 - repayable at 3% interest
  • An official car grant of $48,000 per 5-year term
  • Mileage (or business class travel by air or rail in lieu) and car maintenance of $3,440 monthly
  • Mortgage $190,000
  • Salary $7,200

Figures from Africa Check and media reports

The lawmakers blocked previous attempts to tax and/or cap their pay, saying that their constituents depended on the MPs to help them financially.

The review reduces their salaries to $6,100 and scraps some of their allowances.

SRC boss Sarah Serem said the abolition of mileage and sitting allowances, which are favoured by the MPs, "were prone to abuse".

Instead of mileage allowances, the SRC has created zones for which state officers will get a one-month allowance, the Daily Nation reports.

"There were claims of up to Sh2 million ($20,000) per month," Ms Serem said of the abuse of mileage allowance, the report adds.

SRC said the salaries were set after comparing them with countries within the East African Community, South Africa, India, Canada and the US.

It says it also considered the country's GDP before setting the salaries.

Ms Serem said that despite the reduction, the MPs will still remain some of the best paid legislators in the world.

The salary review is also meant to harmonise the pay structure of other workers in the 700,000 strong public sector.

Published in Headliners

In an exclusive interview, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku have told ESPN FC that destiny brought them together at Manchester United.

Belgium international Lukaku had a medical with the club on Saturday ahead of a move from Everton and has been holidaying with his friend and future teammate Pogba in Los Angeles, which happens to be the base for United's preseason U.S. tour.

The pair said playing for the same team was a dream that both had held for a long time.

"Well, I always knew he wanted to play with me," Pogba said. "I'm just kidding. We knew it would happen one day. One day. I don't know when and where, and now it's happening, so I'm very happy for that."

Lukaku added: "I'm really happy. I'm delighted. I always said that the moment would come. When we were younger, I would say there will be a day that we'll play together and we can compete for the trophies that we want to win.

"And now the moment has arrived, so I'm delighted. It's nice to play with one of your best friends in the team. Now it's up to us to challenge ourselves, first of all, and then the rest of the team to become better each day."

Lukaku, 24, had been linked with a return to his former employers Chelsea this summer, only for United to move ahead of the Premier League champions with their own bid last week.

Pogba said he had been lobbying for his club to make a move for the striker, but in the end it was United manager Jose Mourinho that had to make the decision.

"I mean, it was just luck that I was in Manchester United, but obviously for me, if I can push, I will push," the France international said. "But it's not my decision, by the way. It's not my decision. It's the manager's decision, all the technical staff. Obviously, I think the players, we're all happy that he's playing for United, and we're very happy for that."

Rivals from a very young age, the pair first met as teenagers when Lukaku's Chelsea hosted Pogba's Manchester United.

"We met for the first time at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea played Man United," Lukaku said. "We were both in the stands looking at each other like: 'What are we doing here?'

"But it was a great game to watch, and to learn, as well. After the game, we start speaking -- we exchanged numbers. And we knew the year after would be our year. He went to Juventus and did his thing. I went to West Brom and learned my trade in the Premier League, and here we are now."

Lukaku said, however, that he had known about Pogba's ability well before they met that day in London.

"I knew about him when I was 15, because he played against my brother. I was already with the first team at Anderlecht," Lukaku said. "My dad came to the house, and he said: 'There's this kid for France. Amazing.'

"So I said, 'What's his name?' and he's like 'Paul Pogba, and he's going to play for Manchester United.' Then I started looking some videos up on YouTube. When you're younger that's what you do. You try to look for the guys who are good at your age, so I went and I was looking, and I knew he was a good player."

For Pogba, two months Lukaku's junior, it was a similar story.

"You say 15. For me, it was 13," Pogba recalls. "I was even younger. Everybody knew about Romelu Lukaku. I think when he was 11, he was playing for the first team already! I could see some video.

"So, yeah, obviously I knew about him. Like he said, we saw each other during the game, Chelsea against Man United, and we start talking. We had the same dreams, same goals.

"We were talking like, hopefully the day will come. We just have to keep working hard, and one day we'll start playing for the team. And we kept in touch, and he became one of my best friends outside the pitch and became a top-class player. So I'm very happy for him, yeah."

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 11 July 2017 01:45

Etisalat to quit Nigeria

•Management pact terminated

Telecoms giant Etisalat International has withdrawn from Nigeria, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hatem Dowidar said yesterday.

The withdrawal may not be unconnected with Etisalat Nigeria’s indebtedness to a consortium of banks.

The firm has terminated its management agreement with its Nigerian subsidiary, Dowidar said.

Etisalat Nigeria has three weeks to stop using the brand name.

Last week, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervened to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after talks with its bankers to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed.

Etisalat, with a 45 percent stake in the Nigerian business, said last month that it had been ordered to transfer its shares to a loan trustee after the failed talks.

Dowidar said all United Arab Emirates (UAE) shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria, including state-owned investment fund Mubadala, had left the company.

He said in an interview with Reuters that talks were ongoing with Etisalat Nigeria on technical support, adding that it could continue to use the brand for another three weeks before phasing it out.

“There’s a new board and we are not part of that company. We have sent our termination letter for the management agreement,” he told Reuters

Etisalat Nigeria is the biggest foreign-owned victim of the foreign exchange (forex) caused by lower oil prices and recession.

The telco took a $1.2 billion loan with 13 local lenders in 2013 to refinance an existing loan and fund expansion, but struggling to repay four years later.

Dowidar said Etisalat International had written down the value of the telco on its books, adding that transferring its 45 per cent stake to the lenders after loan renegotiation talks failed had no impact on the group.

Asked whether Etisalat would consider entering Nigeria again, Dowidar said: “The train has left the station on that one. Being in that market as an investor … are we willing to risk more money compared to the reward for the long-term?”

The CEO said Etisalat had been unsuccessful at converting some of its dollar debt to the  Nigerian currency. He also said the group might exit or merge with a local rival in markets where it was not one of the top two players. He did not specify which markets.

Etisalat is among the top two in markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and Afghanistan, he said.

“(Nigerian) lenders may try to continue to operate the company until they find a buyer (or) they may merge the company with the existing players in Nigeria, he said, adding that it was tough to say what lenders would do.

“The brand agreement in either of these two scenarios won’t be a long-term thing, so we take out the brand; in the long term Etisalat won’t be in Nigeria.”

But Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd. (EMTS), trading as Etisalat Nigeria, yesterday said it is aware of reports regarding Etisalat Group’s withdrawal of the right to the continued use of the Etisalat brand in Nigeria by EMTS.

Published in Business and Economy

First Lady hints at power struggle

President Muhammadu Buhari is getting better and will soon be back, going by his wife Aisha’s statement yesterday in London.

The President’s wife last week travelled to London to be with her husband, who is undergoing treatment for an undisclosed ailment. She has also been carrying out other assignments.

President Buhari left the country on May 7 for another round of treatment. He spent more than 50 days during his first medical vaction in London.

On his return, he told the nation that he had never been that sick in his life adding that he underwent blood transfusion. But he did not disclose his ailment.

On her facebook page yesterday, Mrs Buhari, in a response to the July 6 post by Senator Shehu Sani, expressed herself in a figurative manner, using the animal imagery like the senator did.

She wrote: “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas and the jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom.  We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals.

“Long live the weaker animals. Long live Nigeria.”

Director of Press in Mrs Buhari’s office Mr. Suleiman Haruna, said yesterday that the post was on the president’s wife’s “verified facebook page”.

As at 10pm, about 257 people had made comments on the post, most of which were wishing President Buhari quick recovery.

Senator Sani (Kaduna Central) wrote on his facebook page on July 6.

“Prayer for the absent Lion King has waned; until he’s back then they will fall over each other to be on the front row of the palace temple.

“Now the hyenas and the jackals are scheming and talking to each other in whispers; still doubting whether the Lion King will be back or not.

“Now the Lion king is asleep and no other dare to confirm if he will wake up or not. It’s the wish of the hyenas that the Lion King never wakes or comes back so that they can be kings. It’s the prayers of the weaker animals that the Lion King comes back to save the Kingdom from the hyenas,the wolves and other predators.”

The senator is believed to be referring to those who are scheming to become president in 2019, criss-crossing the country in moves to taking advantage of the president’s absence.

Some people who are holding political positions are also believed to be undermining the system to position themselves in the president’s absence.

The President’s wife also yesterday posted her photograph speaking at an event in London.

She wrote under the photograph: “Today I attended the Babatunde Osotimehin Memorial Lecture at County Hall, London.

“It was an honour to have spoken about his achievements at all levels and his commitment towards women and children all over the world.”

Osotimehin was the Exective Director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activitiies (UNFPA) and a former minister of health, who died last month.

Published in Business and Economy

Wayne Rooney has left Manchester United to rejoin Everton for an undisclosed fee.

The 31-year-old has signed a two-year deal at Goodison Park after leaving Old Trafford.

Rooney said in a statement: "It is some time since I said that the only Premier League club I would play for other than Manchester United was Everton, so I am delighted that the move has happened.

"Thirteen years ago I went to United with the intention of winning trophies and I have been fortunate to be a part of one of the most successful periods in the club's history.

"I have come back to Everton because I believe Ronald Koeman is building a team that can win something and I look forward to playing my part in making that a reality for the club I have supported since a boy."

Everton manager Ronald Koeman told the club's website: "Wayne has shown me that ambition that we need and that winning mentality -- he knows how to win titles and I'm really happy he's decided to come home.

"He loves Everton and he was desperate to come back. He is still only 31 and I don't have any doubts about his qualities. It's fantastic he's here."

In 2004, Rooney signed with United, leaving Everton as an 18-year-old in a £25.6 million deal.

He went on to score 253 goals in 559 appearances, winning the Premier League title five times. In January, he scored his 250th goal for United to break the record set by Sir Bobby Charlton.

Rooney, fifth on United's all-time list of appearance makers, also won the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and three League Cups during 13 seasons at United.

He was appointed club captain by former manager Louis van Gaal in 2014 following Nemanja Vidic's departure to Inter Milan.

United manager Jose Mourinho told his club's official website: "It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of Wayne. He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club and will remain in the history books for many years to come.

"It is never easy to see a great player playing less football than he would like and I could not stand in his way when he asked to go back to Everton. His experience, focus and determination will be missed and I wish him well for the future."

Rooney began to fall down the pecking order at United last season and made just 15 Premier League starts.

He was linked with moves to China and the United States but, when it became apparent he would be leaving United, the chance to rejoin Everton always seemed the most appealing.

United's interest in Everton striker Romelu Lukaku -- for whom they have agreed a fee of £75m with the Merseysiders -- helped ease the way for a return to Goodison Park.

Ed Woodward, United's executive vice-chairman, said: "Wayne has been a fantastic servant to United since the moment he signed for us as a prodigiously talented, explosive teenager some 13 seasons ago.

"Who can forget his storybook debut hat-trick against Fenerbahce, the spectacular overhead kick against City and the countless match-winning performances in his time here? But after much discussion, the club has decided to accept his request to rejoin his boyhood team.

"He goes having created some of the most magical moments in some of the most successful years in the club's history. Wayne leaves us as our greatest ever goalscorer and having won every major trophy in the game.

"His record will take decades for anyone to get close to matching and I am extremely grateful for the way he has led from the front since being appointed club captain three years ago. "On behalf of the whole club and our hundreds of millions of fans around the world, we wish Wayne all the very best for the next phase of his incredible career."

Rooney's departure from Everton 13 years ago did cause resentment among fans but the player has never lost touch with his roots and has spoken about his love of Merseyside.

As time wore on, antipathy towards Rooney from Evertonians eased and he even played for the club again in Duncan Ferguson's testimonial in 2015.

His signing continues a busy summer at Everton with Rooney, also England's record goal scorer, joining Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Henry Onyekuru, Nathangelo Markelo and Sandro Ramirez as new additions.

Published in Sports
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