Sunday, 19 November 2017

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.

Sunday, 22 October 2017 17:58

Tottenham Hotspur 4 -1 Liverpool

A Harry Kane double inspired Tottenham as they punished a poor defensive performance by Liverpool at Wembley to move level on points with second-placed Manchester United in the Premier League.

Kane scored the opener after four minutes as Kieran Trippier's chipped pass went over Dejan Lovren's head and the England striker took the ball around Simon Mignolet, who had rushed from his goal, to score from 12 yards.

Eight minutes later Spurs doubled their lead as Hugo Lloris' long throw was not dealt with by Lovren, who missed a header on the halfway line and Kane was able to square to Son Heung-min to slot home.

Liverpool got a goal back as Jordan Henderson's wonderful cross-field pass found Mohamed Salah, who outpaced the Tottenham defence and finished off the inside of the post with a scuffed shot.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp responded by taking off Lovren for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after 31 minutes, but Dele Alli added a third for Spurs just before half-time as he lashed in a volley from 18 yards.

Kane got his second in the 56th minute as he followed up a rebound from Jan Vertonghen's shot after Mignolet failed to clear a free-kick.

Liverpool's best chance in the second half fell to Philippe Coutinho but his shot from the edge of the area was pushed on to the crossbar by Lloris with a one-handed save.

They dropped to ninth in the table - 12 points behind leaders Manchester City - while Spurs prepare for a meeting with United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The game also saw a Premier League record attendance of 80,827.

Kane breaks Wembley duck

Despite Kane's 15 goals for club and country this season, one question mark over the 24-year-old had been his lack of league goals at Spurs' temporary home.

Those demons can now be put to bed as Kane finally scored under the Wembley arch, with his 29th shot at the stadium.

Ballon d'Or nominee Kane worked tirelessly in attack and caused the Liverpool defence nightmares with his movement, hold-up play and composure in front of goal.

It was his fourth double in the league this season and he has now scored 45 goals in 2017 for Spurs and England.

One slight worry for Tottenham was when manager Mauricio Pochettino brought the striker off in the 88th minute with what looked like a hamstring problem.

Liverpool defensive woes continue

This fixture was Klopp's first Premier League game as a manager on 17 October, 2015.

Liverpool have conceded 16 goals in the league this season, their worst defensive record after nine top-flight games since 1964-65.

They have struggled most on the road, conceding 15 goals, the most in the league this season.

Defensive performances like Sunday will make the failed pursuit of Southampton and Netherlands Virgil van Dijk in the summer hurt even more.

Lovren will be singled out for his errors, but even after his substitution and Joe Gomez moved to centre-back alongside Joel Matip, Liverpool still looked a shambles.

Mignolet is another who will have nightmares about the game, at fault for both of Kane's goals.

The Belgium international has made 13 errors leading to goals in the league since making his Liverpool debut in 2013, three more than anyone else.

Mrs. Rakiya Zuberu was infected with HIV by her late husband. The mother of three, who now begs to survive, shares her ordeal with TOLUWANI ENIOLA

Tell us about yourself.

I am from the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State. I am 35 years old. I got married at the age of 15. It was not that I desired to get married at that age. As a little girl, there was little I could do to stop the marriage. My father had the final say. Shortly after I was born, my mother parted ways with my father; so, she left me with my father. I lived with my father and my step-mother. I have three children. Two of them are HIV positive.

Did you attend school?

No, I didn’t. Nobody saw any need why I should go to school. None of my parents’ children attended any formal school. I don’t know what it means to go to school.

When did you discover you were HIV positive?

It all started with a strange sickness in 2008. I was rushed to a hospital. The doctor said an HIV test should be conducted on me when they could not understand what was wrong with me. Initially, when they did the test, it showed that I was HIV negative. But I was diagnosed with tuberculosis. So, I started taking drugs for TB for a period of six months. After that period, I felt better. Then I got pregnant with my second child. I didn’t have money to pay at the hospital. There was a health worker close to my hospital who helped me with the delivery of my child at home. But during the pregnancy, I was always falling sick. When the baby was about three months old, I fell sick again. I started coughing blood. I went to a local chemist where I was given drugs to heal the pains. I finished the medication and went to the chemist for more.

The chemist knew there was more to my illness so he told me to go to a hospital for assistance. It was at the hospital that another test was conducted which showed that I have HIV. At the hospital, I was asked to bring all my children for a test. The same day, the children all tested for HIV. My last two children have the virus. I was told to begin two-month treatment. I could not afford to buy the injection so I didn’t complete the treatment. That was in 2008.

How many wives did your husband have?

My husband was married before he took me in as his wife. But the first wife left him. After then, he didn’t marry any other person.

How did you get HIV?

In 2005, my husband fell sick. We took him to a hospital in Zaria, Kaduna State, where he was treated. He came back home feeling better. But after some time, the sickness returned. That was when he got tested for HIV and it showed he was positive. He said he didn’t believe he could be infected with HIV. Although he knew his status then, he didn’t tell me.

Later in 2008, I discovered I was HIV positive. I went to the hospital to get the anti-retroviral drugs. I realised that when I went to the hospital to collect my drugs, he would ask me to give him out of my own drugs which I did. At a point, his sickness worsened. Doctors said he had a kidney problem and that he needed to do a kidney transplant. He sold half of his plot of land. From Kaduna, he was referred to the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria. He was placed on oxygen. He got better but later went into a coma within five days. After he regained consciousness, he insisted that he did not want to stay any longer at the hospital. After five days at the hospital, we brought him back to Kaduna. He didn’t spend up to a month. He died at home.

What did he tell you before he died?

Before he died, I had suffered a lot. I was so exhausted after bringing him back home. He called me and sat me down. He told me he needed to tell me something important. He told me he knew he would die any moment from then. He said he needed to seek forgiveness from me on a matter. I was curious; so, I asked him to go ahead. He said, “Please forgive me for all I have put you through. I knew I had HIV but I am sorry I didn’t tell you.” I told him there was no need to beg me for forgiveness. I complained bitterly about my sufferings and what life would be for me if he dies. He said, “Anybody that comes to this world must definitely die.” When he died, I felt bad.

How have you been surviving since his death?

It has been continuous suffering for the past nine years. Most times, my children and I skip meals to survive. It’s becoming unbearable for my children. Most times, when I run into a crisis, I would start crying. Sometimes, I think about killing myself because the suffering is much. Sometimes, I ask myself the essence of my life. Sometimes I say, “Why don’t I just die?” But anytime I survive the crisis, I would become remorseful for thinking about killing myself. But most times, I feel death is the best way to end the problem.

My children are not in school. I would rather use the little money I get on the street to feed them than think of enrolling them in a school. Apart from not attending school, the children are malnourished. Sometimes, they stay for 10 days without bathing with soap. Sometimes, we stay for weeks without washing our clothes because rather than use the money to buy soap, we would rather use it to buy food. My daughter’s limb is paralysed as a result of complications from HIV.

Fatimah is about 13. Abdulazeez is over eight years. Fatima likes school and would like to go to school. The ARVs are free in the hospital but other drugs are not. Even though the ARV is free, sometimes, I don’t have the money to go to the hospital to get it. I used to go to a mosque in Tundun Wada and a market to beg for alms.

I want my children to be educated. But there is no money to do so. If there is any way my children can get help to go to school, I would be very grateful. Even if they cannot go to school, at least if I am able to feed them, I would be happy. I used to go to the villages before to buy maize and sweet potatoes for sale. But now things have been so hard that I can’t buy farm produce any longer.

Why didn’t you seek assistance from your family?

When I tested positive to HIV, I went to my father. I told him about my plight. He said I should ignore the diagnosis, that if I had HIV, I would have died immediately after contracting it. He simply told me there was nothing like HIV. Since then, I stopped going to him again. He killed my spirit.

Do you experience any stigma as a result of your situation?

One of my friends is HIV positive. At the hospital, they gave us one handbill with the inscription, “HIV does not kill.” She showed people her handbill and since then, people started running away from her. She was so sick that I was the only person going to visit her. The woman got better. I realised that if I disclosed my status, it would only worsen my problem as people would run away from me as well.

Why didn’t you remarry after your husband’s death?

After my husband died, some men showed interest in marrying me. I told them my children were still very small. Besides, I didn’t want to disclose my status. One particular man came and insisted he wanted to marry me. I told him he could not marry me. He wanted me to tell him my problem. I told him I was sick. He said no problem, that he would marry me despite the sickness. He insisted on knowing why I said I could not marry just any man. I refused to tell him. Then he started mentioning names of sicknesses one by one until he mentioned HIV. When he mentioned HIV, I said yes. Then he said, “No problem. I will marry you.” But from then, I never heard from him again. Nobody wants to marry an HIV positive person. Since then, nobody has come to ask for my hand in marriage. I will like to get married because I’m still young.

What lessons has your illness taught you as a mother?

I have gone through a lot in life. I wish my husband told me his HIV status and began treatment early enough. He wouldn’t have died. Also, we were told during the counselling sessions at the hospital that if more women knew their status, they could protect their children from contracting the virus when they are pregnant. I never knew all these. I gave birth to my children at home. I regret that my children have to live with the virus and go through the pain of taking drugs every day. I want to advise more women to know their HIV status. That way, they can protect their unborn children. There is still a lot of ignorance in Kaduna about HIV. The government has a lot to do. All I want in life is to see my children succeed and never to suffer. My prayer is to get a drug that will cure HIV. I appeal to people in government to help me.


•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.

The Nigerian Army Council has approved accelerated promotion for Garba Abdullahi from Master Warrant Officer to Captain for gallantry, bravery and selfless service.
 
The army authorities described the development as a reward for unprecedented show of bravery culminating in an Executive Commission for Abdullahi who moved from Master Warrant Officer to a Captain.
 
Abdullahi is of the 159 Battallion, Nigerian Army with serial number 79NA/31553.
 
A statement Thrusday night from the Director of Army public Relations, Brig General Sani Usman, noted that Abdullahi displayed exceptional acts of bravery while carrying out his assignments against the Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast to the admiration of his superior commanders.
 
 The statement reads: “In recognition and reward for gallantry, unprecedented show of bravery, courage and selfless service, the Army Council has on Monday 16th October 2017, approved the granting of Executive Commission to 79NA/21553 Master Warrant Officer Garba Abdullahi of 159 Battalion, Nigerian Army, to the rank of Captain for gallantry.
 
“The accelerated promotion was due to observed outstanding qualities of military professionalism such as gallantry and dedication to service demonstrated by the Non–Commissioned Officer.
 
“Garba Abdullahi’s leadership qualities endeared him to his Commanding Officer who deemed it fit to assign him a higher responsibility as platoon commander of one of the arrow head sub-units of the Battalion, the role he played excellently to the admiration of both his superiors and subordinates alike.
 
“Under his able leadership, his platoon achieved great exploits of daring, bravery and courage for which the Battalion was reputed. The 159 Battalion is of one the rugged and most experienced cohesive fighting unit that make up Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
army
 
“The Battalion covers five Local Government Areas in Yobe State and serves as the Brigade’s first line of defence in the northern front adjoining Niger Republic and Borno State.
 
“The Battalion primarily occupies a blocking position from where it conducts Counter Terrorist and Counter Insurgency operations to defeat Boko Haram terrorists, deny them freedom of action and assist the civil authority in maintenance of law and order and restoration of socio-economic activities within its area of responsibility.
 
“Since their deployment into the theatre about two years ago, the unit has contributed immensely to the decimation of Boko Haram terrorists and also involved in humanitarian activities to the host communities.
 
 
 “The elevated Garba has played a significant role in all the successful operations achieved by the unit. The newly commissioned Garba Abdullahi has since been decorated with the badge of his new rank of Captain at the Battalion Headquarters located in Geidam, Yobe State by his Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Owoicho Augustine Obochi, to the admiration of both officers and soldiers of the unit.
 
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai has congratulated the newly commissioned officer”.

The wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, on Thursday temporarily blocked the Federal High Court in Abuja from hearing an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission seeking an order of interim forfeiture of two properties traced to her in Abuja.

Usually, such ex parte applications are heard by courts without the knowledge or participation of the other parties whose properties are at stake.

But somehow, Patience’s legal team led by Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) got wind of the fact that the EFCC’s ex parte motion was to be heard by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Thursday.

The legal team quickly filed a motion challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the ex parte motion and also attended court on Thursday to block the hearing.

Justice Dimgba was set to hear the EFCC’s motion on Thursday but had to adjourn until November 11 after Adedipe and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), appearing for Mrs. Jonathan, argued that the ex parte could not be heard since their client had filed an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain it.

The EFCC was represented by Best Ojukwu and ‎also later by Tahir Sylvanus.

After the back-and-forth arguments between the EFCC’s and Mrs. Jonathan’s legal team, the court fixed November 11 for the hearing of the applications.

The trial of a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Raymond Dokpesi resumed Thursday with two prosecution witnesses telling a Federal High Court in Abuja that Dokpesi bought house hold items with funds allegedly paid to him by former National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Dasuki.

The witnesses – Peter Imoekor and Fabian Ozoemina – informed the court that they supplied generators, a transformer and security doors valued at millions of naira, to Dokpesi’s houses in Lagos and Agenebode, Edo State, and his offices at different times after N2.1bn was allegedly paid to him by the Office of the National Security Adviser between January and March 2015.

Dokpesi and his firm, Daar Investment and Holding Limited are standing trial on a six-count charge in relation to the N2.1bn they allegedly received unlawfully from the Office of the National Security Adviser between January and March 2015.

They are accused of engaging in money laundering and procurement.

Dokpesi and Daar Investments were said to have received the sum of N2.12bn from ONSA then headed by Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), as payment for a “purported contract on presidential media initiative”.

The two witnesses, who testified as the prosecution’s 7th and 8th witnesses, were led in evidence by prosecuting lawyer, Oluwaleke Atolagbe.

Imoekor, who is the Administrative Manager of Mikano International Ltd, Abuja branch, was the first to mount the witness box. He said that he was invited by the EFCC in February 2016 “to clarify” some transactions which Mikano had with Dokpesi and Daar Communications Plc.

He explained how between February and August 2015 Mikano supplied four units of 140KVA, two units of 200KVA and a 500KVA electric transformer to Dokpesi’s house in Agenebode (Dokpesi’s hometown) and Daar’s offices in Sokoto and Gusau, Zamfara State.

He said “The transaction was in respect of four units of 140KVA Basic (open type). Each costs N3.5m and they all totaled N14m

“Daar made payment for all. The payment was made in two tranches of N7m each through First Bank drafts.

“On March 19, 2015, they came to exchange three of the ‘Basic’ generators with soundproof type and paid the difference of N6, 350,000 through UBA Plc.

“Then on March 30, 2015, delivery was made. We delivered them to Sokoto and Gusau, capital of Zamfara State.

“In the same March,they made a request for the purchase of two units of 200KVA basic generator and payment of N11,657,240 was made through transfer and delivery was made to his (Dokpesi’s) house in Otuake  Quarters, Agenebode in Edo State.

“In August 2015 payment for 500KVA electric transformer was made. The amount paid was in cash. It was N3,073,200. This time the receipt was issued in his name, that is, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi’s name.

“Then a memo was issued to the head office of Mikano International Limited for delivery in Agenebode Edo State. It was subsequently delivered,” the witness said.

He confirmed that the instructions for the transactions were from Dokpesi and that they were mostly carried out by the officials of Daar Communications.

While being cross-examination by Dokpesi’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), Imoekor said did not know the sources of the money paid by Dokpesi and his company for the supply of the products.

He also said he did not know about the income and expenditure of Daar and that there is nothing about the transactions which he considered abnormal until he was invited by the EFCC.

Ozoemina said the EFCC invited him sometimes in January 2016 and asked him what the money paid to my company was for and he said it was for security door.

The witness was later handed a document – a bank statement – and was asked to read from it.

He said, “The narration reads: inward clearing cheque in favour of Gilgal Concept Ltd, on January 27, 2015 – N5m. Inward clearing cheque in favour of Gilgal Concept Ltd on the same day, January 27, 2015 – N1,066,558.”

Ozoemina confirmed that the sums of money were paid into the account of Gilgal, his company.

He said the total sum of N6,066,558 was for installation of security doors at Dokpesi’s house in Agenebode.

The witness further said “We got a total of N6,066,558 for the supply and installation of steel security doors. We installed the security doors. They were installed at chairman’s project at Agenebode. It was installed towards the end of 2014 and early 2015.”

He confirmed that Dokpesi, whom he had known for close to 20 years gave the instructions for the transactions.

While being cross-examination by Agabi, he denied knowing the sources of the money paid by Dokpesi.

On whether he would describe Dokpesi, with whom he said he had related for the past 20 years as a good man, Ozoemina said the 1st defendant is.

The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho subsequently adjourned further proceedings to November 17.

All the players that featured for Super Eagles on their way to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup will share from the N4.5 billion largesse due Nigeria for being among the 32 teams to vie for honours in Russia.

FIFA will pay the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) $12.5 million (about N4.5 billion), which is $10 million (N3.6 billion) for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup tournament and $2.5 million to prepare for the competition in Russia.

Such bonuses are usually paid by FIFA to federations of countries that play in any of their tournaments as qualification bonus and to enhance the country’s adequate preparation for the actual tournament.

According to Breaking Times, so far, 37 players participated in Nigeria’s march to the 2018 World Cup and each of these players will receive a share of the qualification bonus.

Should the Super Eagles make it to the knock out stages of the tournament, they will be eligible to receive more money from FIFA.

Money issues hampered Nigeria’s participation at the Brazil 2014 edition of the competition leading to players refusing to train on the eve of their second round game against France. Nigeria promptly lost the game.

Super Eagles’ technical adviser, Gernot Rohr recently pleaded with Nigerians to support the team by ensuring that monetary issues do not derail the campaign in Russia.

“If we want to do something at the World Cup, we have to prepare well.

“We want everybody who wants to be part of the team to show the same solidarity we currently have in the team. “More importantly, we don’t want the issue of money to be a problem,” he said.

• Lawmakers to begin investigation
• 15,000 jobs at risk as dispute lingers
• Maritime workers seek early resolution

The House of Representatives yesterday ordered an immediate reversal of the termination of the contract between Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Adopting a motion sponsored by Diri Duoye under matters of public importance during the plenary session presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the House resolved to raise an ad-hoc committee to ascertain if due process was followed before the termination of the contract.

The House thereby directed the authorities to maintain the status quo ante pending when the committee would turn in its report in two weeks. While leading the debate on the issue, Douye (PDP: Yenagoa: Bayelsa), remarked that there was the need to ascertain whether the termination of the contract was not in breach of the law.

Claiming that INTELS had already invested $900 million in facilities in the Apapa, Warri, and Port Harcourt terminals, he stated that no fewer than 7,000 Nigerians and their dependents could be affected if the termination of the contract was allowed to stand.

INTELS, believed to be mainly owned by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, is responsible for the provision of logistics and facilities in the maritime sector of the country based on the boats pilotage monitoring and supervision agreement whereby the company collects revenue on behalf of the NPA.

Other lawmakers spoke on the issue. Hassan Saleh (Benue, PDP) said it was saddening that an indigenous firm was being treated in such a disdainful manner. He wondered why the authorities refused to renegotiate the contract with the company before terminating it.

Samuel Arabo (PDP, Kaduna) said it beat his imagination for the authorities to revoke a contract of over 17 years, alleging that there was more to the decision than met the eye.

However, Olurotimi Agunsoye (APC, Lagos) and Ali Madaki (APC, Kano) spoke in support of the decision by NPA to terminate the contract.

Madaki, who cited constitutional provisions, argued that the government had the power to terminate any contractual relationship between any of its agencies and any firm over issues relating to the payment of money into the consolidated revenue fund.

Before Dogara called for a voice vote which favoured the motion, he urged the lower chamber to ensure that the law was not breached by either the government or INTELS on the issue at stake.

And worried about the jobs that would be lost, the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) appealed to the Federal Government and INTELS to amicably resolve the misunderstanding that led to the cancellation of the contract.

The President-General of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, in a statement yesterday said the cancellation of the contract would send wrong signals to the international community and scare away investors.

“The Federal Government should avoid anything that will send wrong signals to investors that Nigeria’s environment is not safe and conducive for business.

“Most of these employees are Nigerians with families and responsibilities. We are therefore, worried that if this issue is not resolved amicably, their jobs could be on the line. The socio-economic implications of most of them losing their jobs in a volatile area like Rivers State can be better imagined than experienced,” he said.

“As organised labour, our utmost concern is the job security and welfare of our members in INTELS Nigeria Limited,” he said.

About 15,000 workers that are directly in the service of the INTELS have expressed the fear of losing their jobs to the disagreement. There are about 35,000 others who are indirectly engaged by contractors, agents and vendors that provide support services for the company.

Some of the employees who spoke to The Guardian, expressed disappointment that the government was cancelling a contract it willingly signed years back when the contract duration had not elapsed.

Another employee, who identified herself simply as Chichi, said the assurance given by the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, was not enough guarantee for the security of jobs.

“Who knows the new contractor and what policies he or she would bring to bear? We have had similar experiences in the past. It does not work that way. You will begin to hear different stories by the time we get to that point and that is why the labour union has always resisted this transition thing. It doesn’t work here in Nigeria. It’s a deceit, “ she said.

NPA had relied on legal advice from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, to terminate the contract.

To ensure the safety of ships’ passage within Nigeria’s seaports, the NPA, through INTELS as its agent, provides pilotage services to guide ships into and out of the ports.

Bala-Usman had alleged that INTELS refused to comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government, insisting on deducting its money from source.

She also said that the workers who were likely to lose their jobs as a result of the termination of the contract would be absorbed by the new company that would emerge.

But INTELS’ Spokesperson, Bolaji Akinola, alleged that the management of NPA deliberately frustrated attempts to address the issues raised by the introduction of the TSA in the execution of its pilotage agency agreement.

Akinola said: “The issues arose because the pilotage agency agreement, signed in 2010, did not envisage the TSA, and as such did not factor it into its implementation.”

The company said it borrowed $1.4 billion (N428.4 billion) from banks to execute the agreement with the understanding that the debt would be offset from money realised from the pilotage services paid directly to the banks.

Akinola said meetings, letters and proposals on how to resolve the TSA imbroglio were rebuffed by the NPA managing director. “Deliberate stumbling blocks were placed on the path of resolving the issues and this is indicative of a sinister motive,” he said.

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.

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