Kidnapped UNIPORT students regain freedom

Four students of the University of Port Harcourt, who were kidnapped over the weekend, have regained their freedom.

Reports indicate that the students were returning from the Ahoada area of Rivers State before their abductors struck.

It was also gathered that the victims had escaped from the kidnappers, on Wednesday morning, when a team of security operatives invaded the hideout with heavy firepower and engaged the kidnappers.

The Public Relations Officer of the University, Sam Kpenu, while confirming the release of the four victims, said the students have since reunited with their families.

Kpenu noted that the students had, as part of their academic exercise, gone to the Orashi area (Ahoada) to conduct vegetation sampling for their final year projects but were apprehended and whisked away while returning to the school.

He said, “Four students of the University of Port Harcourt who were kidnapped last weekend have been released and reunited with their families.

“Gbaa Nenubari, Asumbo Elizabeth, Eze Chimezie, and Onosigho Augustine were abducted on their way from the Orashi River where they had gone for a vegetation sampling for their final year project and postgraduate research work.”

Kpenu hinted that while the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Owunari Georgewill, received the four students in his office, he (the VC) commended the men of the Nigerian Police Force, the Chief Security Officer of the University and his men and the entire security agencies of Rivers and Bayelsa states for their timely and prompt intervention which led to the freedom of the students.

The spokesman quoted the VC as saying, “We are happy that you are back unhurt and now reunited with your family and friends. We sympathise with you for what you went through at the hands of your abductors.

“We are glad to inform the public that two PhD students and two undergraduates, who were kidnapped, have regained their freedom.”

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor urged all staff and students to be security conscious at all times, reiterating the resolve of his administration to always put at the front burner the safety and well-being of all students of the institution.


Suspected illegal miners arrested in Edo

The Edo State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) on Wednesday arrested four suspected gold miners.

Aniekan Udoeyop, Commandant of the corps in the state, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen in his office in Benin, the state capital.

He said the latest arrest brings to 14, the number of suspects arrested for illegal mining in the state in less than two weeks.

Udoeyop disclosed that three of the suspects were arrested on Monday and one on Tuesday at Ojirame in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state.

He stressed that the ban on mining earlier imposed by the state government was still in force and warned against its violation.

The commandant recalled that the ban was imposed by the government to avoid security challenges following the influx of strangers to the locality.

Udoeyop said that those arrested would be charged to court to serve as a deterrent to others who would engage in the illegal venture.


Tension in Southeast as court delivers judgment today on Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial.

Justice Ben Anya of the High Court sitting in Abia State had scheduled Wednesday to deliver judgment on Kanu’s fundamental human rights suit against the Federal Government.

There is palpable tension in the Southeast ahead of the court ruling on a suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

The suit initiated by Kanu’s Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, had prayed the court to declare the invasion of the residence of the IPOB leader in Abia State in 2017 as unlawful and an infringement on his constitutional right.

Kanu, in the suit, also urged the court to declare his rearrest and torture in Kenya last year as unlawful.

The suit, which Ejimakor filed in August, further sought the court to stop the Nigerian government from prosecuting Kanu, mandating the Nigerian government to release the IPOB leader, ordering the Nigerian government to tender an apology to Kanu, among others.

While the Southeast, Nigeria, and the world prepare for the court’s judgment, IPOB had relaxed its sit-at-home order on Wednesday.

Despite relaxing the sit-at-home, some hoodlums have hijacked and tried to enforce the order across the Southeast.

On several occasions, some people suspected to be IPOB members have enforced the sit-at-home order, despite the group’s warning.

But, the separatist group had severally denied that those behind such illegal enforcement are its members.

On Tuesday, some youths suspected to be IPOB members had invaded a Catholic Church in Onitsha, Anambra State.

However, Kanu’s Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor downplayed the possibility of violence after the ruling.

When asked by a reporter about the possibility of violence after the judgement, Ejimakor said: “No. Not at all. Not a chance.”

On the possible outcome of proceedings, Ejimakor said: “Honestly, I can’t predict the trajectory of the judgment. Even if I can, rules of court mandate that I shouldn’t, as such may amount to pre-empting the court.

“All I can say is that I have made the best case for enforcing Nnamdi Kanu’s fundamental rights and against his extraordinary rendition.”


Seyi Shay reveals she’s engaged

Nigerian singer, Seyi Shay has announced her engagement.

Seyi Shay made this known in a recent interview with Beat Fm.

Flaunting her ring, the singer confirmed she said yes to a man who promised to marry her.

She, however, failed to reveal the identity of the man.

The interviewer asked “Is that ring an engagement?”

Responding, Seyi Shay said, “Yes, I am engaged, some guy gave it to me and would marry me.

“It’s a diamond ring for real and it’s forever.

“I was already glowing before I met him, if I was not a package, I wouldn’t have said yes.”


Suspected robbers attack driver, hijack truck with goods

Suspected robbers have hijacked a truck loaded with goods belonging to Unilever company along the Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode highway, Ogun State.

Police said the seven suspects were members of a syndicate who specialized in hijacking trucks on the expressway.

The suspects, who have been arrested by the police were identified as Onyegbuchi Nwafor, Idakole Benjamin, Ibrahim Musa, Abolade Shola, Ikem Ejimofor, Adebayo Jamiu, and Ayeye Edwin.

They were arrested following a distress call received at Odogbolu divisional headquarters on December 8, 2021.

At about 3am, the police got information that the gang had blocked the way to hijack a truck loaded with Blue Band products of Unilever Nigeria Ltd.

The robbers were said to have overpowered the driver and the motor-boy.

The duo were reportedly taken to the bush and they were tied down before their truck was driven away.

“On the strength of the distress call, the DPO Odogbolu division, SP Awoniyi Adekunle, quickly led his patrol team to the scene, but the hoodlums had moved away from the scene before their arrival.

“They started tracing the hoodlums based on the description of the hijacked truck. Their efforts paid off when the truck was sighted at Nairaland area of the expressway moving towards Ijebu-Ode road,” the Ogun State Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said on Tuesday.

Oyeyemi said the police succeeded in arresting Musa Ibrahim, Shola Abolade and Edwin Ayeye while others escaped in a Honda space wagon car.

It was said that the fleeing members of the gang hired a lawyer and briefed him that police had unlawfully arrested some of their friends.

“On getting to the office of the DPO, the lawyer was told to produce those who briefed him about the case before those in police custody could be released.

“The lawyer there and then called them to come as the case is about to be settled. The duo of Nwafor Onyebuchi and Idakole Benjamin, who was later identified as dismissed police sergeants came around and they were subsequently arrested by the DPO and his men,” it was said.

The police spokesman said the suspects had confessed to being the ones who hijacked the Blue Band truck.

At the State CIID, the suspects had confessed that “they have so far hijacked four trucks loaded with different types of goods, such as pampers, Nutri C drinks, Blue band and Honey-well flour. The value of the hijacked goods so far is estimated to be N25,688,000.

“They confessed further that they have a readymade buyer, in one Alhaji Jamiu who lived in Kwara State. The said Alhaji Jamiu was traced to Erin-Ile in Kwara State where he was promptly arrested.

“Their major receiver and financier Ikem Ejimofor was traced to Jakande Estate, in Lagos where he was also arrested.

“While Alhaji Jamiu confessed that it was his truck the suspects used in blocking the road when the last truck was hijacked, Ikem Ejimofor on his part confessed being the receiver of all the robbed goods which he bought at a very ridiculous price.”

The Commissioner of Police in Ogun, Lanre Bankole, has directed that the suspect must be arraigned in court without delay.


Three suspects arrested over murder of Abuja doctor

The Police Command in the Federal Capital Territory has arrested three persons over the alleged murder of a medical practitioner, Obisike Ibe, and his friend in Abuja.

The Commissioner of Police in charge of FCT, Babaji Sunday, disclosed this at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that Ibe, a staff member of Zenith Lab and Kidney Centre, Abuja and his friend, Ezekiel Edoja, both of House D2, 24 Street, Games Village Estate, Abuja, were allegedly murdered by the suspects.

Sunday said that the command had, since the receipt of the information, deposited the corpse at the morgue and embarked on an aggressive manhunt, amidst painstaking investigations.

He said that the perpetrators of the dastardly act also carted away an envelope containing about $1,000, the mobile phone of the doctor, his ATM card and a vehicle.

He said that the ATM card was used to withdraw money to the tune of N2 million from the deceased account on December 13, 2021.

The CP said that the three suspects arrested, upon interrogation, confessed to having plotted and committed the offence.


Senate proposes bill to peevent landlords from collecting rent annually

A bill seeking to make it an offence for any landlord to demand payment of advance rent from tenants of residential and office buildings and spaces beyond three months was laid before the Senate on Tuesday.

The lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi, sponsored the bill, titled, ‘Advance Rent for Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, Etc, Regulation Bill 2022.’

Adeyemi, who addressed journalists after the bill passed first reading, said the bill would enable tenants to make a maximum advance payment of three months’ rent, with subsequent monthly payment.

He said, “We discovered that landlords are compelling tenants to make one-year and two-year advance rent payments before they would give them keys to their apartments.

“It may not be an issue to quite a number of people but to many others, it is a great pain for them. Most Nigerians need the protection of the law to be able to meet their basic needs after paying rent”.

“Many landlords did not secure loans to build their houses; they are products of free money they acquire from the system. Yet, they make life difficult for poor Nigerians who do not have such privilege of making ill-gotten money from the system and put up structures.

“The buildings are constructed in such a manner that an average Nigerian would not be able to afford it. Many people are involved in corrupt practices to get their rents paid, while the ladies took to prostitution.

“The law we are proposing stipulates a maximum advance rent payment of three months. After the expiration of the three months rent, the tenants are expected to pay monthly.

“There are many tenants whose salaries are competing with their rents because they live in cities like Abuja. The law will prevent the poor workers from any form of oppression.”


We now live in fear in our town,villages – Yewa elders react as Ogun farmers and herders renew clash

Elders in the Yewa axis of Ogun State have said residents of the area now live in fear with the renewed clash that ensued between farmers and herdsmen on Thursday in the Imeko area of the state.

A report by DAILY POST recalls that no fewer than five persons were killed in the clash, even as houses and other properties were set on fire at Idofa village.

In the first quarter of 2021, many residents of Yewa North and Imeko Afon local governments fled their homes and became refugees in Benin Republic due to incessant night attacks by suspected herdsmen, who killed and razed houses.

So the fresh killing and destructions that occurred last week have created tension among residents of Ogun West, who do not want a repeat of last year’s experience.

The people of the area said the recent clash came at a time when they thought things were getting better between the host communities and the herdsmen, urging the government to nip the crisis in the bud.

The President of Yewa Think Tank and Vice Chairman of Yewa People Development Council, John Aihonsu, described the incident as unfortunate and shocking.

“The issue is rather unfortunate and uncalled for because we thought things were getting better, but with that incident, we don’t know where we are yet. It’s rather shocking.

“That’s not what we should be experiencing at this point in time. The authority should make sure the root cause of this issue is appropriately addressed to put a stop to such an incident forthwith. It’s really dehumanising for us to be experiencing such things in that area this time.

“We know what we have suffered in the time past and we thought we were getting some respite, but unfortunately this recent one now has thrown everybody into a state of fear and kind of unsettled mind. So, it should be totally condemned,” Aihonsu lamented, calling on agencies and powers-that-be to rise up and put an end to such incidents,” he said.

The Yewa leader spoke further that repeated clashes between herdsmen and their host communities have hindered development in the zone due to a lack of unity and progress.

According to him, people of Yewa have been compelled to ask if they have any sense of belonging in the society or if there is anyone who has their interest at heart.

He added, “This incident is sad and it will be condemned by any well-meaning person. It is something that one does not pray to continue in that area because it does not bring unity, progress or development.

“It makes people continue to live in fear. And when you are living in fear, you hardly can think right. There is no development that can come in that kind of situation.

“It brings in a situation where you begin to ask yourself, is there any sense of belonging into this community at large? Or do we actually have people who have our interest at heart?

“And that is a very challenging statement to anybody who is in a position of leadership or in governance at this point in time. We think those in authority will see it from that angle and address it appropriately before it is too late,”

Aihonsu debunked allegations that Yewa elders and leaders have been docile and nonchalant over the crisis rocking the senatorial district, saying,

“That’s an insinuation which will not be totally right. No reasonable elder in the land will be nonchalant when it comes to the issue of life and property. Elders and leaders, to my knowledge, are doing their best so far. But then, there is no individual or group that does not have limitations.

“The elders are doing their best according to the resources at our disposal and we are not resting on our oars. The matter is being discussed from time to time. But if we have not reached the goal, it will still appear as if one is not doing much.

“The elders don’t have control of law enforcement agencies. It is the government that has authority over them. That is why we are appealing to the government to do the needful.”


Nurse, fiancee killed in a road accident weeks after their engagement

A Nigerian nurse, Kareem Oluwagbemiga, and his fiancee, Usulam Enoch, have been reported dead after they were both victims of an accident that occurred on Jos-Abuja road.

This was announced by Nurses on Air on their official Facebook page on Tuesday, as they mourn the death of Oluwagbemiga and his fiancee, who was also a nurse.

The announcement read, “It’s so sad to hear the passing of a dear colleague, Nurse Kareem Oluwagbemiga, admin of @nursingcouncillecture, and his fiancee.

“They both died after being a victim of an accident on Jos-Abuja road. This is a great loss to the nursing community. May the Lord console their family and the whole nursing community.”

Oluwagbemiga got engaged to his fiancee on December 6, 2021, in a ceremony attended by family and friends.

Pictures of their engagement were available on Oluwagbemiga’s Facebook page, which has now been flooded with sad messages following their demise.

Before their death, Oluwagbemiga and his fiancee were both intern nurses at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola, Adamawa state.


16 kidnap victims rescued by security forces in Kaduna

Kaduna State Police Command has rescued 16 victims from the den of kidnappers in the State.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Muhammad Jalige, in a statement, explained that through its Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Buruku, the command received information that some persons were sighted around Masallaci area, along Birnin Gwari road, suspected to be victims of kidnapping.

The statement further explained that, “on the strength of the report, the DPO immediately mobilized personnel on rescue mission to the area.

“On sighting the advancing troops, the hoodlums took to their heels leaving behind sixteen (16) victims whom the operatives successfully rescued, namely: Patience Markus ‘F’, Mercy Musa ‘F’, Gloria Sunday ‘F’, Yunis Sunday ‘M’, Peace Ayuba ‘F’, Grace Sunday ‘F’, Sarafina Sunday ‘F’ and Mechak Musa ‘M’.”

It stated that the victims are residents of Udawa village of Chikun LGA, while “Musa Mudu ‘M’, Joshua Mudu ‘M’, Jummai Musa ‘F’, Alfa Markus ‘M’ are of Gadagi Baggi Village of the same Local Government Area.”

Other victims, according to the statement are “Abdulaziz Shola ‘M’, Tanimu Muhammed ‘M’, Mutari Idris ‘M’ and Sani Musa ‘M’ from Lagos, Kano, Zamfara and Niger States, respectively.”

The statement noted that the success recorded by the Command was not unconnected with the community participation and vigilance, cum prompt reportage to the security agencies.

The Command also acted on a report that a Toyota Corolla vehicle was seen parked in a seemingly suspicious manner at old Tipper Garage, Mando, Kaduna.

The statement stated that the Police Operatives of the Command, attached to Kawo Division, immediately swung into action and recovered the vehicle with Reg. No KSF 674 HD to the station for further investigation and possible arrest of the perpetrators.

It explained that preliminary investigation revealed that the said vehicle was snatched at gunpoint in Zaria metropolis and that effort was on to identify the rightful owner.


Pay us N24m tax now to avoid attacks-Bandits threaten Zamfara communities

Bandits terrorizing many parts of Zamfara State have placed N24 million levy on at least nine communities in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of the State.

The assailants, who reportedly issued letters to community leaders in the affected areas, asked each community to pay from N500,000 to N5m or be faced with attacks.

According to reports, the bandits threatened to kill all members of the nine communities if they failed to adhere to their instructions.

Residents of the communities told journalists yesterday that the communities have started mobilizing to pay the bandits as demanded.

It was gathered that the letters were delivered to community leaders through some kidnap victims who recently regained freedom.

The nine communities include, Yangalma, Tungar Gebe, Wawan Iccen Ibrahim, Wawan Iccen Salihu, Galle, Nannarki, Ruwan Kura, Gangara and Gaude.


CACOVID to rebuild 44 police stations, donates N100bn for arms

The Central Bank Governor , Godwin Emefiele , has said the Coalition Alliance Against COVID – 19 will rehabilitate all the police stations that were damaged in the country as a result of wanton destruction and lootings that followed the recent EndSARS protests .

Emefiele spoke during a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday at the office of the CBN.

He also disclosed that CACOVID had so far spent N 43 . 27 bn on the acquisition of medical equipment and supplies , and food palliatives for the vulnerable , among others.

The CBN governor said the alliance planned to spend N 150 bn on youth empowerment.

He said , “ CACOVID has committed to fully rehabilitate all 44 damaged and destroyed police stations nationwide in a bid to restore provision of security in affected locations.

“ To further strengthen the security apparatus in the country , CACOVID has committed to provide over N 100 bn to procure equipment and gadgets for the Nigerian Police Force over the next two years ; as our contribution to fully modernise the Nigerian Police. ”

He said its preliminary analysis indicated that unemployment , particularly among the youth , was a critical factor behind the unrest.

As a result , he said , CACOVID had committed to create a high impact youth development programme that would provide technical and vocational education to over four million Nigerian youths over the next five years.

“ Over N 150 bn is expected to be deployed towards the set up and implementation of the youth development programme , which will be available at select training centers across the country , ” he said.

Emefiele said selected students on conclusion of the programme would be certified by the appropriate standards board and would be eligible to receive loans to support their entrepreneurial pursuits.

So far , he said , over N 25 bn would be domiciled in a fund to support these entrepreneurial pursuits, which would also include acquisition of related equipment to conduct business activities.

According to him , these efforts represent some of the essential steps that were important in rebuilding trust and preventing future unrest within the communities.


NMA begins indefinite strike in Imo

The Imo State branch of the Nigeria Medical Association has downed tools.

The group announced the commencement of the strike on Wednesday in a statement signed by its Chairman , Dr Chidiebere Okwara.

The statement disclosed that the 21- day ultimatum which the association gave the government to meet its demands expired on November 9 , 2020.

According to Okwara , the association extended the ultimatum by 14 days following a meeting with state governor , Senator Hope Uzodinma , which expired on November 22, 2020.

He said the NMA was engaged in a struggle for the survival of the medical profession and improved level of medical care in the state.

Okwara said , “ All our demands hinge on the revival of the undergraduate and postgraduate medical training in our only teaching hospital , restoration of the dignity of the medical profession through the institution of the appropriate wages in all state establishments, improved infrastructure and fair and friendly private practice environment . ”

“ We have had many meetings with the government without any tangible result . There is no better time than now to remain resolute for the common good.

“ While the strike lasts , we shall remain available and open to the government for an amicable resolution of these challenges . ”


Protect universities, others, Reps charge FG

The House of Representatives , on Wednesday, has raised the alarm over a spread of the recent attacks on the Ahmadu Bello University , Zaria , in Kaduna State to other institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.

The House called on the Federal Government to “ urgently and without further delay ” erect a secure wall round the campuses of the ABU as was done for the University of Maiduguri in Borno State and the Gwagwalada campus of the University of Abuja.

This , the House stated, is necessary in order to “ forestall incursions from the bandits and other miscreants . ”

The House also called on the Inspector -General of Police, Mohammed Adamu , to “ urgently and without further delay ” establish units of its Mobile Police Force personnel at the institution , particularly at the Phase 2 segment of its Samaru campus to ensure the security of lives and property at all times.

The House further called on the Chief of Army Staff , Lt . – Gen . Tukur Buratai , to also “ urgently and without further delay ” establish a battalion of the Nigerian Army at the southern border of the ABU “ to forestall incursions into the campus from that end , which has attained a certain notoriety in this regard. ”

In addition , the House mandated its Committees on Tertiary Education ; and National Security and Intelligence to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Education , the Chief of Army Staff , the Inspector General of Police and other relevant agencies of government to implement the resolutions and report back within three weeks.

A member representing Sabon- Gari Federal Constituency in Kaduna State , Mr Garba Muhammad, had moved a motion of urgent national importance , titled ‘ Urgent Need to Address the Security Threats Posed by the Phenomenon of Banditry , Particularly Kidnapping and Abduction , to the Ahmadu Bello University , Zaria , and Other Tertiary Institutions Across the Nation . ’

Moving the motion, which was co -sponsored by some other members from Kaduna , Messrs Tajudeen Abbas, Shehu Balarabe , Muktar Ladan and Ibrahim Hamza, Muhammad said the spate of insecurity in Nigeria has been “ a matter of grave concern to all well – meaning patriots for several years now . ”


Senate summons communications minister Pantami

The Senate on Wednesday , mandated its committees on Legislative Compliance and Communications to summon the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy , Isa Ali Pantami.

The panel was asked to impress on the Minister , the need to implement the resolutions of the Senate regarding security issues related to the mandate of his ministry.

The red chamber took the decision following a resolution after the consideration of a motion on the spate of growing insecurity in Nigeria.

The Senator representing Taraba South, Emmanuel Bwacha, moved the motion, rising under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules.

He noted that the rate of insecurity in Nigeria had not only increased astronomically but had reached a melting point.

Bwacha said the unfortunate development had led to kidnapping , banditry, armed robbery, assassination and other criminal activity in the country.

He said , “ The assassination of the Nasarawa State APC Chairman and other high profile cases are still fresh in our memories.

“ A Chinese national was recently abducted in my community , his whereabouts is still unknown.

“ There is growing suspicion of complicity of officials of state saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens but compromised in the process.

“ This is heightened by the arrest of several security operatives involved in armed robbery and kidnapping activities across the country.

“ It is only in Nigeria that communication facilities can be used without a biometric process , no valid identification of passport details ( in the case of foreigners ) in place to check abuse , ” the senator added.

He added that bandits and terrorists now negotiate for ransom using telephones and get away with it.

He said , “ How can we be so negligent and insensitive to the safety and security of citizens ?

“ Senate is concerned that the confidence between the protected and the protector is being increasingly eroded resulting in the breakdown of law and order as demonstrated in the #EndSARS protest which was subsequently hijacked by miscreants.

“ The Senate further notes that political permutations across the landscape are attracting politicians to recruit criminals for the purpose of destabilising the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“ These evil intents can be easily achieved given the poor control over communication facilities viz inability of our security apparatus and service providers to effectively manage this all – important sector , ” Bwacha said .


Buhari inaugurates 5,000bpd refinery in Imo

The President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd . ) , has said the realisation of the refinery roadmap that was rolled out two years ago will enable Nigeria to export petroleum products to neighbouring countries and other markets.

Buhari said this on Tuesday at the inauguration of the 5 , 000 barrels- per- day Waltersmith Modular Refinery and the groundbreaking for a 45 , 000 – bpd plant in Imo State.

He commended Waltersmith Group , an indigenous oil firm , and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for the collaboration that led to the construction of the refinery.

He directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources , the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , the Department of Petroleum Resources and all other relevant government agencies to provide all the necessary support to the refinery with regards to access to crude oil and condensate feedstock.

Buhari said , “ We rolled out our refining roadmap in 2018 , to address challenges in the downstream sector . After many years of government giving out modular refining licences without any coming on – stream , we are today seeing a commissioning within two years.

“ The plan to commence the expansion of this refinery to 50 , 000 bpd capacity , to refine crude oil and condensate , is a demonstration of the economic reform Nigeria is undergoing . ”

According to the President , the refinery roadmap includes the rehabilitation of the existing refineries , collocation of new refineries and construction of greenfield plants.

“ The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, not only to our neighbouring countries but to other wide markets , ” he said.

The Chairman , Waltersmith Group , Mr Abdulrazaq Isa , said the refinery would deliver over 271 million litres of refined petroleum products yearly , including kerosene , diesel , naphtha and heavy fuel oils , to the domestic market.

He said the refinery started operations in November and had already supplied five million litres of petroleum products to the domestic market .


End to joint ownership of LAUTECH won’t affect Osun indigenes -Makinde

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State disclosed on Saturday that the dissolution of the joint ownership of Ladoke Akintola University , Ogbomoso would not affect the indigenes of Osun State working in the university as the institution would be positioned to have global appeal.

This came as the LAUTECH Alumni lauded Governor Makinde and his Osun State counterpart, Gboyega Oyetola , on the final resolution and transfer of ownership of the university to Oyo State.

Responding to questions during a live programme on FRESH 105 . 9 FM , Ibadan on Saturday , the governor maintained that with the development , the state had taken full financial responsibility on the university.

He said , “ When we came in we had to intervene and for this year 2020 , Oyo State has been funding LAUTECH alone and we have appropriated enough money in the 2021 budget to continue doing this.

“ Nothing is going to change . Of course , we have issues with how the university had been running in the past , we have to change it but it won ’ t matter where you come from . There won ’ t be Osun must go , it is a university , we have what it takes to put LAUTECH where it used to be nationally and also put it on the African and international ranking.

“ I went to my brother , Gboyega Oyetola and I spoke to him to let us keep ego aside, I explained to him that it is a universality and it should be universal and he saw reasons with me and we give God the glory.

“ It was a major point of disagreement between us then and we have been saying that higher education should be affordable . When we came I said instead of spending four or five years at LAUTECH they spend double that not because of their own fault but because of bad elements creating confusion between the two states . I spoke with my brother , university is universal . I spoke with my brother (Governor Oyetola) and he saw reason with me.

“ Now, real work has started . We have to ensure it is well funded and it contributes to the economy of Ogbomoso and Oyo State . I will be going to Ogbomosho to meet with the stakeholders very soon, however , I want to plead with the lecturers that there is no Osun forum, no Oyo forum. ”

On asset sharing, he said processes of distribution of assets of the institution was transparent , stating that it was valued and monitored by the Nigeria University Commission.

A statement signed by the President , LAUTECH alumni , Onilede Solomon Limo , read in part , “ Governors Gboyega Oyetola and Seyi Makinde have displayed a high level of maturity and spirit of sportsmanship worthy of emulation by all leaders despite political differences . ”


Inflation climbs to 14.23%

The hike in food prices and other individual consumption across the country further increased the rate of inflation in Nigeria to 14. 23 per cent in October.

Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed that the country ’ s inflation increased again in October , moving up by 0 . 52 per cent when compared to what was recorded in the preceding month.

This came as analysts stated that the continued closure of Nigeria ’ s borders and the persistent hike in petrol price , among others , further worsened the rate of inflation in Nigeria.

The NBS said , “ The Consumer Price Index , which measures inflation increased by 14 . 23 per cent ( year- on – year) in October 2020.

“ This is 0. 52 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in September 2020 (13 . 71 per cent ). ”

It was observed that increases were recorded in all Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose divisions that yielded the headline index.

On a month- on – month basis , the headline index increased by 1. 54 per cent in October , representing 0. 06 per cent rate higher than the rate recorded in September ( 1. 48 per cent ).

The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12 – month period ending October over the average of the CPI for the previous 12 – month period was 12. 66 per cent.

This showed a 0 . 22 per cent point rise from 12 . 44 per cent recorded in September.

The urban inflation rate increased by 14. 81 per cent ( year- on – year) in October from 14 . 31 per cent recorded in September.

Rural inflation rate, on the other hand , increased by 13. 68 per cent in October from 13 . 14 per cent in September.

On a month- on – month basis , the urban index rose by 1. 6 per cent in October , up by 0. 04 from 1. 56 per cent recorded in September.

The rural index also rose by 1. 48 per cent in October 2020 , up by 0. 08 from the rate recorded in September (1 . 40 per cent ).

The corresponding 12 – month year- on – year average percentage change for the urban index was 13 . 29 per cent in October.

This was higher than 13 . 07 per cent reported in September , while the corresponding rural inflation rate in October was 12 . 09 per cent compared to 11 . 86 per cent recorded in September.

A professor of political economy and management expert , Pat Utomi , said Nigeria was in need of investments to rejig economic activities.

He said , “ Typically , what you do to bring down inflation , from the monetary policy point of view , is to reduce the money supply to the economy. However , we desperately need investments to resume economic activity.

“ Already , there is very little money reaching the investor . The investment to jumpstart growth is not taking place .

“ To make money expensive by hiking the interest rate ( which is a natural response to inflation ) will make matters worse . This is because it will discourage investment and we will get a really awkward situation.

“ The Nigerian economy will not grow until we have banks sensitive to development . For too long , banks have been profitable from lending to three or four people in the economy.

“ The banking industry has not supported real growth in the economy. Now, we have a situation where the supply chain has made products unavailable, pushing costs and therefore we have inflationary pressures . ”

Utomi said that the challenge of the moment was to ensure that whatever credit available goes to the productive sector and to crash the cost of governance.

He called for stimulus responses and more investments to create growth , saying Nigeria might go on the path of Venezuela.

The President of the Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria , Prof . Uche Uwaleke , stated that the rise in inflation was caused by many factors.

Uwaleke said , “ With the effect of COVID – 19 on the economy still lingering , especially from supply chain disruptions , it is no surprise that headline inflation has continued to rise.

“ This is with the NBS October number coming in at 14 . 23 per cent up from 13. 71 per cent the previous month.

“ Contributory factors include the continuous border closure , the increase in VAT and implementation of stamp duty.

“ The high exchange rate, especially in the parallel market , and the increase in the pump price of fuel also contributed because , according to the NBS, a major cause of core inflation came from increase in transport cost . ”

Uwaleke further noted that the rise in food inflation was worrisome , adding that this was despite the interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“ Consequently , government should focus on increasing food production by aggressively implementing the massive agricultural programme contained in the Economic Sustainability Plan , ” he said.


Naira plunges to 475 as dollar demand rises

The naira weakened further on Monday , trading at 475 to the United States dollar in the parallel market amid a rise in demand for the greenback.

The local currency , which has come under pressure in recent days , fell to 470 per dollar on Friday from 468 on Thursday . The naira was trading at 462 – 463 at the unofficial market at the start of this month.

In the Investors ’ and Exporters ’ forex window , the naira closed at 386 to a dollar on Monday , compared to 385 . 50 at which it opened , according to data from FMDQ Group.

The CBN has kept the official exchange rate at N 379 /$1 since August , when the naira was devalued for the second time this year from 360 per dollar . It was first devalued to 360 in March from 306.

The forex reserves fell to $ 35 . 60 bn as of November 13 , 2020 from $35 . 69 bn on October 28 , the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed.

Financial experts said foreign portfolio investment in the country had plummeted , adding that diaspora remittances had also declined significantly.

The MD / CEO , Financial Derivatives Company Limited , Mr Bismarck Rewane , had said earlier this month that the naira would weaken in the parallel market and likely depreciate to 470 – 475 against the dollar in November and December.

He said with oil prices still under pressure again, the supply of forex into the country would be further limited.

He said the resumption in international flights , trading and manufacturing activities will heighten forex demand pressures.

The Deputy Governor , Corporate Services Directorate , CBN Mr Edward Adamu, said the demand pressure in the forex market had remained elevated in the face of declining accretion to external reserves and declining private inflow.

He added that legitimate sources of forex demand , speculation and other frivolous demands had contributed to sustaining pressure on the naira exchange rate.

Bloomberg reported last Friday that the naira had lost all ground it gained after the regulator started weekly interventions , signaling the continuous existence of pent-up demand for the greenback.

The CBN resumed sale to licensed Bureau de Change operators in September after the Federal Government opened up international travel following the lifting of COVID – 19 restrictions .


Yellow fever outbreak spreads to three Enugu LGAs

There was palpable tension in Enugu State on Monday following the report of a suspected Yellow Fever outbreak in three more local government areas of the state.

Enugu State had been battling to contain the outbreak of the disease in two communities of Ette Uno and Umuopu in Igbo – Eze North Local Government Area of the state , which reportedly claimed 52 lives between late October when the outbreak was first reported and November 2020.

The state government has also confirmed it had received reports of strange deaths within communities in Nsukka, Isi – Uzo , and Igbo – Etiti LGAs.

A statement by the Commissioner of Health , Prof Ikechukwu Obi , released on Sunday night, disclosed that the ministry’ s Rapid Response Team, LGA Rapid Response Teams in collaboration with International and National Partners had visited the communities to investigate the reports and had taken samples for testing.

The statement partly read , “ Following the confirmed cases of Yellow Fever in Igbo Eze North LGA of Enugu State and the concerted efforts to control the situation in the LGA by the State Government , Stakeholders and Partners ; Federal and International , reports have also been received of ‘ strange deaths’ within communities in Nsukka, Isi – Uzo and Igbo -Etiti LGAs.

“ The Enugu State Ministry of Health Rapid Response Team , LGA Rapid Response Teams , International and National Partners have also visited these LGAs to investigate the reports and take samples for testing just as was done for the reports at Igboeze North.

“ The new set of samples from these LGAs have been sent to the National Reference Laboratory at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja for a thorough and complete examination to determine conclusively the reasons for these new set of reports and the results are expected back early this week . ”

While the Health Commissioner condoled with families that lost their loved ones in the unfortunate development , reminded residents of the state that “ Yellow Fever is transmitted through mosquito bites ”.

He , therefore , advised that people should keep their environment clean and remove mosquito breeding sites around their homes.

He added, “ Yellow Fever Vaccination is not for treatment of Yellow Fever , it is for prevention of Yellow Fever.

“ If you have been recently vaccinated against Yellow Fever , you do not need to be vaccinated again.

“ It takes 10 days or more for Yellow fever vaccine to start working after you have received it.

“ If you or your loved one are not feeling well , please visit or take your loved one to a nearby hospital for treatment . Trained Health Workers can recognize most of the diseases of public health importance and know what to do . ”


FG reveals next action if Nigerian lecturers fail to resume

The Minister of Labour and Employment , Dr Chris Ngige , has expressed optimism that the prolonged strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities will be resolved by next week when the Federal Government team meets the union leaders again.

He , however , said if the matter was not resolved by then , he would explore the provisions in the labour law and other channels.
Government had previously appealed to the union to call off the strike.

The union had on March 24 2020 embarked on an indefinite strike over the failure of the Federal Government to keep to the 2019 Memorandum of Action between them as well as the lingering disagreement over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System that ASUU rejected.

Speaking on Politics Today on Channels Television on Friday , the minister said the government had met six of the union ’ s nine demands and that they would meet again next week with the hope of ending the prolonged strike.

He stated, “ Even if countries go to war , at the end of the day they come to the negotiation table . I ’ m inviting them ( ASUU) next week . We are doing side meetings on our part and we are collating everything . I ’ m collating responses from the Accountant General of the Federation ’ s Office and everybody who has something to do with this matter.

When asked if it meant that the lecturers may not return to the classrooms in the next one or two weeks, he said , “ I ’ m not looking at that (long ) period. I ’ m an optimist on this matter. By next week , we will conclude this matter.

” There are so many options left. We have the labour laws and I have options left to me in the labour laws . I have other channels. ”

The minister , who said his children had also been at home as a result of the strike , explained that government had agreed to give the University Transparency Academic Solution , the payment platform proposed by ASUU, a trial.

He however said the feedback he got from the National Information Technology Development Agency , the agency mandated to follow – up the trial with ASUU, showed they had just concluded the first phase and that the second phase to assess the functional requirement of UTAS had not been done.

He added, “ UTAS has yet to be ready but government will not discourage them . And we have told them there is no need using the same old method of strike to make demands since such had been deployed since 2017 . ”

On the revitalisation fund , he said government had agreed to release N 30 bn out of the N 40 bn demanded by the union as the payment for November 2019 and September 2020 , adding that the remaining N 10 bn would be staggered.

“ A committee that looked into the Needs Assessment of universities held a workshop on how funds could be generated came up with the recommendation that other things could be done to raise funds , because revitalisation cannot be done through the budget , especially when the country is running a deficit budget , ” Ngige added .


CCB invites suspended EFCC boss

The Code of Conduct Bureau has invited the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , Ibrahim Magu , for questioning.

This is according to a letter with reference number CCB /HQ / II & M / 007 /2093 dated November 2, 2020.

According to the document obtained by online medium , Peoples Gazette , Magu is expected to appear before the anti -corruption agency on November 17, 2020.

The suspended EFCC boss was asked to come along with acknowledgment copies of all asset declaration forms since joining the public service as well as his payslips and land documents.

Magu was also addressed as ‘ former chairman ’ of the EFCC in the letter even though he had not yet been officially sacked.

The letter read in part , “ The bureau is investigating a case of alleged breach of Code of Conduct for Public Officers against Mr . Ibrahim Mustapha Magu , the former acting Chairman , Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“ You are expected to come along with certified true copies of the following documents : Acknowledgment slips of all your asset declarations to Code of Conduct Bureau since you joined the public service.

“ Copies of your appointment letter , acceptance , records of service, and payslips from January to May 2020 . All documents of your landed properties both developed and undeveloped . ”

Magu was suspended in July based on allegations levelled against him by a panel set up by the Attorney – General of the Federation , Abubakar Malami.

He was accused of buying a home in Dubai worth over N 570 m and being unable to account for the interest accrued to over N 500 bn recovered by the EFCC but he denied the allegations.

The President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd . ) , subsequently set up a panel headed by a former President of the Court of Appeal , Justice Ayo Salami , to look into the allegations.

Over 13 senior EFCC officials loyal to Magu , including the EFCC Secretary , Ola Olukoyede , were suspended by the President pending the outcome of the probe.

However , the panel has yet to submit its report five months later .


ICPC chairman, 71 others make list of new SANs

The Legal Practitioners ’ Privileges Committee on Friday named 72 successful applicants for the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

They will be sworn in on December 14 , according to the Director of Press and Information of the Supreme Court, Dr Festus Akande.

The list of 72 successful candidates comprising 62 advocates and 10 in the academics category was signed on behalf of the LPPC secretary by Akande.

The successful candidates include the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences Commission , Prof Bolaji Owasanoye , in the academics category.

Also on the list are two former General Secretaries of the Nigerian Bar Association , Isiaka Olagunju , and Afam Osigwe.

It also contained the name of a lawyer in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Tijjani Gazali , a former National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress , Babatunde Ogala, a former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos , Prof Oyelowo Oyewo ( academics ).

The statement by Akande said the LPPC elevated the successful candidates at its 143 rd meeting held on Friday.

It read in part, “ The Legal Practitioners ’ Privileges Committee at its 143 rd plenary session held today November 13 , 2020 , has elevated seventy – two legal Practitioners ’ to the inner bar.

“ The rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria is awarded as a mark of excellence to members of the legal profession who have Distinguished themselves as advocates and academics.

“ The swearing in of the seventy – two legal practitioners is scheduled for Monday , December 14, 2020 . ”

Elevating as much as 72 lawyers to the rank of SAN in one batch is record -breaking.

The closest to it was when 38 lawyers were conferred with the rank in 2019.

In 2018 , only 31 lawyers were elevated .
Fewer lawyers were picked in 2017 as only 30 were elevated.

In 2016 , number of lawyers elevated was 22 .
The 2020 list was drawn from an initial shortlist of 137 names.

The rest of the successful candidates in the academics list for 2020 are : Terruka Douglas Pepe , Aliyu Omeza Saiki , Jacob Enunwe Ochidi , Abdulwahab Mohammed, Moses Alfred Ebute , Taiye Abimbola Oladipo , Mumuni Adebimpe Jimoh , Muhammadu Katu Sani Ndanusa , Mohammed Mohammed Ndarani , Gideon Musa Kuttu, Abdullahi Yahaya , Mella Audu Nungh , Yusuf Nya Akirikwen , and Yakubu Abdullahi Hussaini – Ruba.

They also include Nasiru Adamu Aliyu , Abdul Mohammed, Hussaini Zakariyau, Uwadiogbu Sonny Ajala, Ukachi Fredrick Onuobia , Joseph Nnabuezeh Mbadugha, Chukwudi Chudi Obieze , Ejike Chukwugekwu Ezenwa , Chukwuka Nwabueze Ikwuazom , Lotanna Chuka Okoli , Tochukwu Dominic Maduka , Chukwuemeka Obiajuru Nwagu, Henry Okechukwu Akunebu , Uwemedimo Thomas Nwoko , Boma Florence A . Alabi( Mrs ), Efefiom Otu Efiom Ekong, and Lawrence Fubara Anga .

Others on the academics list are , Prof Afeisimi Dominic Badaiki , Prof Erugo Sampson , Prof Sani Mohammad Adam , Prof Zacheus Adangor , Prof Festus Oghenemaro Emiri , Prof Joseph Efeyemineni Abugu , Prof Sunday Damilola Sunday , and Dr Omoh -Eboh Omgbai Ikheowa.

Others include Robert Egwuno Emukpoeruo , Peter Adogbejire Mrakpor , Richard Oma Ahonaruogho, Jean Chiazor Anishere ( Ms ), Uzoma Henry Azikiwe, Osayaba Omorodion Giwa , Yusuf Asamah Kadiri , Babalola George Olatunde , Taiwo Johnson Kupolati , Obafemi Anthony Adewale , Adedapo Osariuyime Tunde -Olowu , Fatai – Ajibola Dalley , Babatunde Kohn Kwame Ogala, Bashorun Oluwatoyin Ajoke (Ms ) , Olumide Folarin – David Ayeni, and Olusegun Johnson Fabunmi.

The rest are John Mofolorunsho Majiyagbe , Funmilayo Adunni Quadri , Akinola Olugbenga Akintoye, Dada Adekunle Awosika, Remi Peter Olatubora , Festus Kayode Idepefo , Rasheed Okiki Adegoke , Musibau Adetunbi , Mahmud Kola Adesina , Oladapo Akande Akinosun, Nureini Soladoye Jimoh , and Oluseun Mobolaji Abimbola .


Pressure mounts on Appeal Court divisions as judges’ vacancies hit 20

The fast – declining number of Justices of the Court of Appeal has dropped to 70 from the 81 that it was as of July this year.

This leaves the court with 20 vacancies on its bench which statutorily has a full complement of 90 Justices.

It was gathered that a total of 11 Justices have left the bench of the appellate court since the last “ interim posting ” of Justices carried out by the President of the court , Justice Monica Dongban – Mensem , in July this year.

Between July and November , eight of the Justices of the court were elevated to the Supreme Court bench , while the three others either retired or died.

It was learnt that this has created some difficulties in seven of the 20 divisions of the court scattered in different states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

The seven affected divisions are Lagos, Ibadan, Benin , Port Harcourt, Abuja , Calabar , and Makurdi , which are now either grappling with increased pressure or unable to form a quorum because of shortage in judicial manpower.

The situation became pronounced because the eight Justices recently elevated to the apex court bench were picked from five divisions , some of which are among the busiest of the 20 divisions of the court.

The five divisions whose Justices were elevated to the Supreme Court are Abuja , Lagos , Port Harcourt, Benin , and Makurdi.

The Benin and Makurdi divisions appear to be the worst hit as they are no longer able to form a quorum required for sittings , except at least one Justice is urgently deployed to each of them .

The Benin Division with previously five Justices is now left with two , which is short of one to make the minimum quorum required for the sitting of the Court of Appeal.

While the Presiding Justice of the division, Justice Helen Ogunwumiju , and Justice Samuel Oseji , were inaugurated as Justices of the Supreme Court on November 6, another of the Justices at the division, Justice Tinuade Akomolafe – Wilson, bowed out after reaching the retirement age of 70 in October.

The number of Justices at the Makurdi Division dropped from three to two with the inauguration of the Presiding Justice, Justice Adamu Jauro , as a Justice of the Supreme Court on November 6.

The Lagos Division , which is arguably the busiest among the 20 divisions of the court became short of two Justices and is now left with seven following the elevation of the Presiding Justice of the division , Justice Mohammed Garba, and Justice Tijani Abubakar , to the Supreme Court.

At the Abuja Division , the Presiding Justice, Justice Abdu Aboki , and Justice Emmanuel Agim , were elevated to the Supreme Court, leaving only six Justices at the very busy division.

The Presiding Justice of Port Harcourt Division , Justice Ibrahim Saulawa , was also among those recently elevated to the apex court bench , leaving the division with four divisions .

Speaking on the shortfall of judicial manpower of the Court of Appeal on Thursday , a Senior Advocate of Nigeria , Chief Adegboyega Awomolo , charged the National Judicial Council to quickly fill in the vacancies.

“ The NJC should do something about it . What has happened at the Supreme Court is already happening at the Court of Appeal – there is a huge backlog of cases that needs to be attended to.

“ There are also wide vacancies at the Court of Appeal . We want to urgently appeal to the NJC to fill in the vacancies . ”

On his part , Mr Kunle Ogunba , also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria , said the ongoing process of appointing more Justices to the Court of Appeal should be expedited .

He said , “ I am aware that there is an ongoing process for the appointment of more Justices to the Court of Appeal . So , we only need to accelerate the process.

“ Two of the eight Justices elevated to the Supreme Court were from the Lagos Division . You can imagine what it implies that before the elevation of the two Justices , we were clamouring for the deployment of more Justices to the Lagos Division , so that there could be more panels to handle backlog of cases . So , we appeal that the ongoing process for appointment of more Justices for the court should be accelerated . ”


NNPC raises petrol depot price, marketers to sell at N168-N170/litre

The Petroleum Products Marketing Company , a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , has increased the ex – depot price of Premium Motor Spirit , also known as petrol, to N 155 . 17 per litre from N 147 . 67 per litre.

The PPMC disclosed this in an internal memo with reference number PPMC / C /MK /003 , dated November 11, 2020 , and signed by Tijjani Ali .

The memo, said the new ex – depot price would take effect from Friday .

The ex – depot price is the price at which the product is sold by the PPMC to marketers at the depots.

In its PMS price proposal for November , the PPMC put the landing cost of petrol at N 128 . 89 per litre, up from N 119 . 77 per litre in September /October .

It said the estimated minimum pump price of the product would increase to N 161 . 36 per litre from N 153 . 86 per litre.

The National Operation Controller , Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria , Mr Mike Osatuyi , said the over N 7 increase in ex – depot price would translate into an increase in pump prices .

He said , “ The implication of the increase in the ex – depot price is that there is going to be an increase in the pump price . We are expecting the pump price to range from N 168 to N 170 per litre.

“ Crude oil price is going up , ” he said , noting that the Federal Government has fully deregulated petrol prices.

Following the deregulation of petrol prices in September , marketers across the country adjusted their pump prices to between N 158 and N 162 per litre to reflect the increase in global oil prices.

Petrol price band had also risen from N 121 . 50 –N 123 . 50 per litre in June to N 140 . 80 – N 143 . 80 in July and N 148 – N 150 in August .

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources , Timipre Sylva , said in September that the government had stepped back in fixing the price of petrol, adding that market forces and crude oil price would continue to determine the cost of the product .


CBN Accuses #EndSARS Campaigners Of Terrorism

The Federal Government was able to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners after telling a Federal High Court in Abuja that the funds in their accounts might have been linked to terrorist activities.

This is according to a written address in support of a motion ex parte filed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The CBN had in the second week of October frozen 20 accounts and thereafter approached the court to seek an ex parte order to freeze the accounts.

In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, the CBN, however, made no mention of the fact that the 20 accounts were owned by persons involved in the #EndSARS protests, but told the court that the funds might have emanated from terrorist activities.

The written address read in part, “My lord, the nature of the transactions undertaken through the defendants’ accounts are of suspected terrorism financing in contravention of Section 13(1)(a)and(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act, 2013 and Regulation 31(2)(a)and (3)(b) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2013.”

In a supporting affidavit deposed to by one Aondowase Jacob on behalf of the CBN, it was stated that the Head of the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Governor’s Department, CBN, Joseph Omayuku, had conducted an investigation on the accounts of the defendants and other individuals and entities held with certain banks in Nigeria.

According to the affidavit, the investigation showed that the owners of the accounts may have been involved in terrorist activities.

It added, “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations.

“The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.

“The applicant (CBN governor) is thus desirous to have the court empower him to direct the freezing of the 20 accounts listed on the annexure to this application and all other bank accounts held by the defendants.

“A freezing order of this honourable court in respect of the defendants’ accounts would also enable the investigation of the activities of the defendants to a logical conclusion with a view to reporting same to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.”

The apex bank said unless the order was granted, it would not be able to ensure that the money remained intact, while investigations were ongoing.

The 20 accounts frozen by the CBN are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.

The accounts were said to have been flagged after they received money with the narration #EndSARS.

One of the frozen accounts, marked 0056412470 and domiciled in Access Bank, belongs to Bolatito Olorunrinu Oduala, an #EndSARS campaigner, who was appointed into the Lagos State judicial panel set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Another frozen account marked 0033974485 and domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Bassey Israel, the medical team coordinator for the #EndSARS protests in Port Harcourt.

Similarly, an account marked 0054676984 domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Gatefield Nigeria Limited, which paid freelance journalists to cover the protests.

Justice Mohammed froze the accounts for 180 days subject to renewal, but said anyone who was not satisfied with the ruling was free to challenge it.


Second wave of COVID-19 possible

Nigeria may experience a second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said.

He disclosed this at the ongoing media briefing with reporters organised by the National Youth Service Corps on Monday.

The DG said the country must abide by the protocols and guidelines developed to avoid a second wave of the virus.

He warned that the virus was still around and more dangerous despite the drop in recorded cases.


Buhari wants compulsory health insurance for corps members

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday issued a directive to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to ensure the enrolment of corps members in the National Health Insurance Scheme.

The Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier-General Shuaibu Ibrahim who said this Monday assured that the NYSC has intensified liaison with security agencies for to ensure the security of corps members wherever they are serving in the country.

He said with the annual mobilisation of over 300,000 corp members, the NYSC no doubt, “remains the most critical platform for mentoring Nigerian youths as drivers of national unity and development.”

He added; “I wish to use this opportunity to again express our gratitude to the security agencies and other stakeholders for their support. “

“Furthermore, the scheme has concluded arrangement with the NHIS for the enrolment of corps members into the NHIS in line with a presidential directive.

“We have also expended huge resources on critical health needs of corp members, including footing of medical bills.”


Doctors begin indefinite strike in Ondo over unpaid salaries

Doctors in Ondo State on Monday embarked on an indefinite strike following the non-payment of their salaries by the State Government.

The doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, UNIMEDTH, during an emergency meeting in Akure, the state capital lamented that the government has continued to turn deaf ears to their demands.

The aggrieved doctors had last week embarked on a seven-day warning strike to call government’s attention to their plights.

According to the doctors, the industrial action became imperative due to the failure of the state government to address their demands.

The doctors lamented that they were being owed four months salary arrears by the state government amid the harsh economic situation in the country.

They also decried a situation where other health workers under health management board receive salaries regularly.

Local News

Fuel scarcity looms as PENGASSAN begins strike

Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) nationwide have embarked on an indefinite strike.

The General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, made this known in a letter, dated November 8, 2020, and issued to all members of the association.

According to Okugbawa, all members of the association have been ordered to vacate their duty posts.

He noted that the reason for downing tools was to kick against the enrollment of the PENGASSAN members on  the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

Okugbawa added that the government also failed to make any concrete move as regards the differences between PENGASSAN and government on matters bordering on IPPIS.

He noted that all the Central Working Committee members of the association have also been notified of the nationwide strike.