Sunday, 25 February 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Tubes Creation.

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Tubes Creation.

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Tubes Creation.

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Tubes Creation.

The Senate on Thursday invited the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, to appear before it to explain how the $600 million Euro bond sourced from the Chinese Government was used.

The upper chamber said $600 million loan received to revive the power sector was allegedly diverted by the Federal Government to remodel four airports in the country.

It noted that there was $600 million Euro bond from the Chinese Government for the rehabilitation of the power sector, out of which $100 million was allegedly diverted as counterpart funding for the remodeling of Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhghide, issued the summon at the meeting of the committee on Thursday.

Urhoghide, (Edo South), said the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Director- General of Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs. Patience Oniha, would also appear before the committee on the matter.

Urhoghide, who spoke when the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari, appeared before his committee, said those invited should appear before the committee next week to explain the rationale behind the movement of such loans from its original purpose to another.

He said there was the need to establish the desirability of the loan.

”My mistress usually inserts sticks inside my vagina, hits me with iron rods, wires and also ties me with chain whenever she is going out.

“My Aunty always use blade to cut my skin.

“These scars, injuries on my head, body and lips were inflicted on me by my Aunty for 4 years, ‘’ Miss Faith Nwanja, 12-year-old house help narrated her ordeal in her dialect.

Nwanje, currently in custody of Ezza-South Local Government in Ebony state, disclosed in Abakaliki, the dehumanizing treatment meted on her by her mistress, Mrs Nkechinyere Bartholomew in Onitsha, Anambra state.

The girl, a native of Okoffia-Ohaji, said Bartholomew, now at large, subjected her to serious torture for the four years.

The victim said she was suffering great pains in parts of her body where her mistress used different objects, including iron rods and wire to beat her.

Mrs Ngozi Nwanja, the mother of the victim, said her daughter was 8 when she was handed over to Bartholomew.

She said efforts to see her daughter was not successful as the Bartholomew’s mother always claimed that her daughter’s contact number was not reachable.

“When Bartholomew came for my child through her mother who resided in Idembia Ezza-South LGA, she promised that her daughter will take good care of her.’’

The brutalised maid

The Vice Chairman of the Council, Mrs Caro Ewa, explained that the victim was brought to her on February 12 by Head of Department of Education and Social Welfare of the council.

She said the Chairman of the council, Mr Sunday Ogodo, ordered the arrest of the mother and brother of the accused because they were conniving to shield Bartholomew from arrest.

“Her mother and brother have been released by the police, but her younger sister is still in detention because she stays in Onitsha with them and also brought the victim back to Ebonyi along with her aunty.

“No government will support this evil, because the level of injuries on the child’s body is weird,” Ewa said.

Meanwhile, Mr Godwin Igwe, Head of Department, Child Development in the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, described the degree of injures on the victim as “real damage’’.

According to him, the perpetrator boasted that she will settle the matter with money.

“This is worrisome. There is increasing cases of child brutalization.

“From all indications Nwanja’s hand is condemned and we don’t know the extent of damage to her brain and other parts of her body,” Igwe said.

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State

Igwe appealed to the government, Civil Society Organisation (CSO), philanthropists, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), the police and public who are interested in Child protection to save children from abuses.

Bartholomew, he said, would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others and the victim would be taken to the hospital for medical examination and treatment.

Nwanja with her mangled arms

“We will take steps to stop the trend as its portraying a negative image of the country before the International community,” Igwe said.

 
 

South African stocks index rose as much as five per cent on Thursday, putting the main index on track for its biggest one-day gain in more than three years.

The currency remained on the front foot, soaring to its firmest since early 2015, in the wake of Zuma’s exit.

Analysts have, however, warned the rally faces serious obstacles ahead of a budget speech next Wednesday.

Zuma quit late on Wednesday, reluctantly heeding orders by the ruling African National Congress ( ANC ) to bring an end to a nine-year tenure punctuated by scandals, stagnant economic growth and policy uncertainty.

As at 1530 GMT, the blue chip Top-40 index surged four per cent to 52,665 points, pulling back from a high of 53,072 achieved earlier but still on course for its biggest one-day gain since Sept. 2015.

The broader All-share index was up by 3.72 per cent at 59,533 points.

“The big news is that Zuma has now resigned and that has created a lot of euphoria.

“South African incorporated, banks, retailers and the like are all looking sharply better as a result,” said Independent Securities’ trader Ryan Woods.

South African banks considered the barometer of both economic and political sentiment were a feature on the gainers’ list.

The banking index surged 5.8 per cent with Nedbank rising 5.37 per cent and rival FirstRand up 6.4 per cent.

Banks have largely borne the brunt of Zuma’s policy decisions that included the sacking of two respected finance ministers, Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan.

That, along with a weak economy, contributed to sovereign credit ratings downgrades to junk by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch.

In reaction to Zuma’s resignation, ratings agency Moody’s said it was focused on the new leadership’s response to economic challenges. S&P Global Ratings said the leadership change would not immediately affect the credit status.

Cyril Ramaphosa, former chairman of African biggest telecoms operator MTN Group, was sworn in as president on Thursday.

Ramaphosa, who has vowed to fight corruption and revitalise the economy, is seen by business leaders and investors as well placed to turn around the economy.

South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to grow by less than one percent this year.

Another key issue facing the 65-year-old president is policy uncertainty in South Africa’s mining industry, an important economic engine, which has been fighting in court with Zuma’s mines minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, over an increase in black ownership targets.

But some analysts said that the former union leader’s to-do list is way too long to make an immediate impact.

In the foreign exchange market, the rand advanced to levels last seen in February 2015.

“The good gains the rand has made could be extended toward 11.55/dollar, and move toward 11.00/dollar baring any further credit rating downgrades for S.A. and a credit positive budget,” said Investec’s Chief Analyst Annabel Bishop in a note.

At 1515 GMT, the rand was at 11.6600 against the dollar, having reached a session-best of 11.6025 earlier per cent stronger than its New York overnight close and at levels last seen in Feb.  2015.

“The economy is coming off an extremely low base so there is good chance the optimism will be around for some time, but Ramaphosa has to very soon move from the honeymoon phase to the doing phase,” said Chief Executive of Canon Assets Management Adrian Saville.

Friday, 16 February 2018 01:06

Army places N3m bounty on Shekau

The Nigerian Army on Thursday offered a N3million cash reward for anyone with credible information that would lead to the arrest of the factional leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen. Sani, said in a statement issued in Abuja that anybody with credible information on Shekau should contact the Military Command and Control Centre of Operation Lafiya Dole or the Nigerian Army Call Centre number 193.

According to the military authorities, Shekau, who has be on the run now disguises as a woman in hijabs due to the heat turned on him by troops in the Sambisa general area.

The statement reads: “The Nigerian Army will give out Three Million Naira (N3,000,000.00k) cash reward for any credible information that leads to the arrest of the fugitive factional Boko Haram terrorists’ group leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 22:23

South Africa’s President Zuma resigns

Jacob Zuma, South African President has announced his resignation on Wednesday after the ruling ANC party threatened to eject him from office via a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will arraign the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Yakubu Umar, in connection with alleged N10million bribery scam on March 16.

He was alleged to have demanded for the bribe from a former Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo.

Umar will be arraigned at the High Court of Federal Capital Territory.

In the charge sheet, marked CR/109/18, the CCT chairman was alleged to have collected N1.8million bribe, suspected to be part of the N10million through his Personal Assistant, Alhaji Gambo Abdullahi.

The suspect will be prosecuted by Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) on behalf of the Federal Government.

Morgan Tsvangirai, popular Zimbabwean opposition leader who fought Robert Mugabe’s regime for many years, has died at the age of 65 after battling with cancer, a party official said.

His death on Wednesday night throws uncertainty over his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party less than three months after the army ousted 93-year-old foe from the presidency.

Mr Tsvangirai, who founded the MDC in 1999, was among the most prominent critics of Mugabe, the long-time authoritarian leader who was ousted from power in November.

Elections are due within the next six months and Tsvangirai’s illness and now death leaves his party in disarray, to the advantage of the ruling ZANU-PF party, now led by former Mugabe deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“It is sad for me to announce that we have lost our icon and fighter for democracy,” Elias Mudzuri, one of the vice-presidents of the MDC, said on Twitter.

Mr Tsvangirai’s death was confirmed to The Telegraph by a family member.

Mr Mugabe’s government detained him on numerous occasions over his vocal criticism of the regime.

Security forces swooped on Mr Tsvangirai in 1989 after he bluntly warned about the rising tide of political repression in the country.

The opposition leader also claimed to have been the target of four assassination attempts – including one in 1997 in which he said attackers attempted to throw him out of his office window.

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on Tuesday said Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari is under a trance in view of wanton insecurity that has engulfed the nation, especially the herdsmen crisis.

Soyinka, who was answering questions during a press conference at the Freedom Park on Lagos Island, Lagos  said if he had an opportunity of meeting President Buhari today, he would tell him that he is under a trance.

Soyinka emphasised that the sooner the president got out of the trance, the better for the nation.

He also lamented that the president was committing lots of unforced errors, saying he could not imagine why Buhari should reinstate the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Umar Yusuf who was suspended over questionable circumstances and was being investigated.

Addressing newsmen on the herdsmen crisis in the country, Soyinka decried the onerous and total failure of the Federal Government to protect the lives and properties of the masses as herdsmen had gone on killing spree across the country.

He described as unacceptable and irresponsibly the nonchalant attitude of the government in handling the herdsmen crisis, saying that it had reached a point where the people would have to protect themselves.

Soyinka also decried series of cow invasion of his premises and some other parts of the Southwest State, saying that he had reported to the police several times but warned that next time cows invaded his territory, there might be suya feast.

The Nobel laureate called for organised resistance against herdsmen invasion in territories in order to avert the wanton killings that occurred in Benue State and some other states in recent times.

Soyinka urged voluntary organisations and associations like hunter associations to form themselves into groups to disarm any herdsmen found with arms.

According to him, once a herdsman was found with weapon, the police should first be reported to for prompt action and that if the police failed to act, the voluntary organisations, such as Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, hunter associations and others should move in to disarm such herdsman or herdsmen.

He charged the various associations to intensify surveillance to nip in the bud herdsmen invasion in their communities in the Southwest if the police could not do their jobs properly, leaving the people with no choice than to defend themselves.

Soyinka further said the crisis between farmers and herdsmen was not new, noting that the way the crisis had been ignored in recent times had created problems.

“We need to understand that the confrontation between farmers and the cattle rearers are not new. But the issue of concern is the way the attack had been handled by the government and the lies that followed after the attacks, especially from remarks from the public officeholders, especially from the Minister of Defense.

“Can one imagine the minister of defense opening his mouth to utter words in support
for the attacks perpetrated by the herdsmen across the country? With those words, why is that man still in office? What sought of government is that?”

Soyinka also kicked against the proposed establishment of colonies as a way of solving the herdsmen/farmers crisis, saying that ranching was preferably as it was being done in other parts of the world, adding that no business should warrant killings of people for whatever reason.

“Establishment of ranches is the solution that many countries have adopted to prevent clashes between these two set of people. There is something I called governance body language.  The body language of the government is sad and it has allowed the attack to
continue for long. The long term planning proposed by the Federal Government has not gone hand in hand with the security necessity,” he stated.

The Nobel laureate also said there were lots of stolen money in the  system which disgruntled elements could use to destabilise the nation, especially when the 2019 elections were around the corner.

Soyinka also backed the introduction of State Police, saying it could help in solving the herdsmen crisis, adding that a situation where there is centralise police system had not helped the system.

 
 
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