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A file photo of BRT buses at a park.

The Lagos State government has announced an increase in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) bus fares for all routes in the state.

Operators of the BRT buses, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) announced this in a statement on Thursday.

It disclosed that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved an additional increase of N100 for fares across all routes, saying bus passengers would have to pay the new fares effective from July 13.

LAMATA explained that the decision followed the increase in the cost of diesel and the lack of spare parts to replace damaged components of the buses.

It said, “To sustain the operations of regulated bus services in Lagos State, the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved a flat rate increase by N100 in bus fares for all Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and standard routes. The increase, which will come into effect on Wednesday, 13 July 2022, is aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the BRT and standard route schemes.

“Operations of the transport scheme, of late, had been hampered due to rising cost of inputs required for sustainable service offering and the attendant high number of buses out of operation as a result of lack of spare parts.

“For instance, the exponential increase in the pump price of diesel from N187 to N830/litre between August 2020 and June 2022, had greatly affected the optimal performance of the bus operating companies leading to the withdrawal of buses from the operation and longer waiting time at bus stations.

“The governor, in consenting to the fare increase, also approved a proposal for a bailout for the bus operating companies in other to cushion the effect of the harsh operating environment and safeguard private partnership investment and forestall the demise of formalised bus operations in the state.

“With the increase, a bus ride from Ikorodu – TBS will now cost N600 from N500 while Berger to Ajah is now N700, up from N600. Oshodi to Abule Egba will cost N450 from N350 and Abule-Egba-CMS-Obalende will attract a fare of N600.”
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The Federal High Court Abuja has granted the request of the mother of a late 14-year-old student of the Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Keren-Happuch Akpagher to be joined in the suit filed by her school, seeking to stop the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) from investigating the circumstances, which led to her daughter’s death.

Ruling on Mrs Vivien Akphagher’s application for joinder, the trial judge, Justice Evelyn Maha held that the applicant had placed sufficient documents before her to justify her request to be joined in the suit. She also noted that there was no objection from any of the parties.

Keren was allegedly raped at Premiere Academy and a condom was left inside her by the rapist, infecting her with sepsis and compromising her immunity, which led to her tragic end.

Following a formal complaint lodged by Keren’s mother at the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, accusing the school of breaching their contract of a duty of care and protection of her daughter, leading to her rape and death, the commission summoned the school demanding information and explanations.

However, miffed by the summons from the FCCPC, the school accused it of attempting to usurp the statutory powers of the police, asking the court to stop it.
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Hon. Jude Ise-Idehen

The member representing Ikpoba-Okha/Egor federal constituency of Edo State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jude Ise-Idehen, has died.

It was gathered that Ise-Idehen, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) passed away in the early hours of Thursday, although the cause of his death is yet unknown.

In a statement on Friday, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, described the death as shocking and painful, noting that Ise-Idehen was an illustrious Edo son who worked for the upliftment of his constituents in particular and Edo citizens in general.

“I received the shocking news of the passing of Hon. Jude Ise-Idehen with rude shock. It is indeed a painful and great loss for the people of Ikpoba-Okha/Egor Federal Constituency, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, and the country at large,” the governor said.

“A consummate politician, he was a community mobiliser; firm and considerate in the discharge of his duties. He was compassionate, kind and hardworking.

“For the people of Ikpoba-Okha/Egor Constituency, he was a force to reckon with. He served diligently and promoted projects that enhanced the living standards of his people.

“He will be remembered for his selfless service and commitment to the development of his constituency.”

“I commiserate with the Ise-Idehen family, as well as friends of our great son, and pray that God will grant all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
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Two vigilantes have allegedly killed a 22-year-old man at the Mkpulogo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The victim – Philip Okoro – was shot on June 29 and was later confirmed dead after he was rushed to a hospital.

Following the incident, police operatives swung into action by arresting the vigilantes for their roles in the murder of Okoro.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Daniel Ndukwe, identified the suspects as Annene Idu and Chijioke Ezugwu, saying a pump-action rifle has been recovered.

The police equally deposited his corpse in the mortuary for preservation and autopsy.

While Idu is accused of shooting the Okoro, Ezugwu is said to be the Chief Security Officer of the LGA where he led the vigilantes to the scene of the incident to arrest hard drug dealers.

According to the police spokesman, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abuabar Lawal, has ordered a probe into the incident.

Specifically, he directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department to conduct a full-scale investigation into the alleged shooting.

“Consequently, two members of the Vigilante Group directly linked to the shooting and murder of the victim have been arrested. They include one Annene Idu (m), alleged to have shot the deceased, and Chijioke Ezugwu (m), the Chief Security Officer of the L.G.A. said to have led the Vigilantes to the scene of the incident to arrest hard drugs dealers. Additionally, the Pump Action used for the act has been recovered,” he said.

“Meanwhile, in protest of the death of the said victim, an angry mob set ablaze the house of the mentioned team leader. However, the fire was put out by Police Operatives, who swiftly mobilized to the scene on receipt of a distress call, before the building could be burnt down.”

The police commissioner also asked residents of the community to remain law-abiding and avoid acts capable of breaching public peace in the area, while supporting the police in the ongoing investigation.
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President Muhammadu Buhari has described Thursday’s attack in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State as a direct assault on Nigeria which will not go unpunished.

He condemned the attack by bandits on a mining site in the state in a statement on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

The mining site located at Ajata-Aboki in Gurmana Ward of Shiroro LGA came under attack on Wednesday.

Apart from the attack which reportedly left 13 policemen and civilians killed with several missing, including four Chinese nationals, the terrorists also ambushed a team of soldiers who responded to a distress call.

While sources said nearly 30 bodies of security operatives killed by the bandits were recovered from the bush, the Nigerian Army authorities said: “a number of personnel paid the supreme price in the fierce firefight that ensued”.

Two days after the incident, President Buhari paid tributes to the gallant men of the security forces who lost their lives in the process of repelling the attack.

“We honour our security forces, and particularly those brave souls who have given their lives fighting against the evil that is terrorism,” he said. “They constitute the best that Nigeria has to offer, and we remember each of them.

“Sadly, Nigeria’s fight against terrorism continues. It is a battle that is taking its toll on all of us. But we shall not relent, nor shall we surrender. We say it again that we have reduced Boko Haram to a shell of its former self. But terrorists are parasites. They thrive when the world is suffering.”

The President added, “This atrocity only serves to further strengthen us against them. Nigeria is united in obliterating these demons. Each day we grow closer to that goal. When they lash out during times of global suffering it is the act of a cornered animal, an act of desperation.

“As always, their goal is the same: to sow fear and division amongst us. We will not let them. Instead let us pray for the families and loved ones of those who sacrificed their lives in the fight against evil, and let us pray for the safe and speedy return of those abducted. We will do everything possible to ensure their return.

“And to the sadists, I say this: we are coming. No matter what rock you crawl under, what hole you sink into, what lie you hide behind, we are coming, and we will find you. Shiroro will see justice. Nigeria will know peace,” the President assured.”
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Senator Peter Nwaoboshi

The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday convicted and sentenced Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, to seven years imprisonment along with his two companies: Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd.

This was contained in a statement from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which prosecuted the case.

In addition, the Court of Appeal ordered that the companies who were the second and third respondents in appeal be wound up in line with Section 22 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and their properties forfeited to the Federal Government.

The panel, comprising Justices Abdullahi Bayero, Obande Ogbuniya and Peter Affen in their judgment held that the trial court erred because the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the respondents and thus reversed the earlier judgement discharging and acquitting the respondents.

The EFCC had challenged the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court which on June 18, 2021 discharged and acquitted the defendants of a two count charge of fraud and money laundering.

EFCC had arraigned the three defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million. Part of the money paid to the vendor, precisely a sum of N322 million transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd , was alleged to be part of proceeds of fraud.

But in his judgment, Justice Aneke held that the prosecution failed to call vital witnesses and tender concrete evidence to prove the elements of the offences for which it charged the defendants.

Justice Aneke said the evidence of PW2 “proved that the third defendant obtained a loan of N1.2 billion from Zenith Bank for purchase of additional equipment and as provision of working capital.

“It also proved that the loan of N1.2 billion together with interest of N24 million was properly granted to the third. Nothing else was proved by the complainant or prosecutor in this case,” the judge said.

He claimed a fatal blow was dealt the case of the prosecution by its failure to call officials of Sterling Bank “to testify and probably tender exhibits F and F10”.

Consequently, he discharged and acquitted the defendants.

However ruling on the EFCC’s appeal on Friday, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in dismissing the charges against the respondents. It said the prosecution had proved the ingredients of the offence and consequently found the defendants guilty as charged.
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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the release of the official details of an alleged organ donor to a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, who gave the order in a judgement delivered on Friday, directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), and two commercial banks to release the details in their possession to the couple.

By the court order, all official information in relation to the donor, including the account opening package, are to be released to Senator Ekweremadu and his wife to ascertain his real age.

This followed an originating summon filed by Senator Ekweremadu and his wife through their counsel and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Adegboyega Awomolo.

The couple are being detained by the United Kingdom authorities over allegations of conspiring to bring a child to Britain for organ harvesting with the donor said to be the victim.

Following their arrest by the London Metropolitan Police, the duo appeared before a UK court which ordered that they should be remanded in custody till July 7 while investigations continue into the allegations against them.

Although the Met police said the donor was 15, the NIS said it issued an international passport indicating his age as 21 after due process.

In a bid to clear his clients of the allegations, Awomolo approached the court in Abuja, seeking an order directing the NIMC to produce the Certified True Copy of the biodata of the donor.

Awomolo had prayed the court that the donor’s National Identification Number (NIN), which is in the possession of the NIMC, should be produced for the purpose of facilitating the criminal investigation and tendering same to establish his client’s innocence.

He asked that the Comptroller General of NIS be directed to provide his clients with the documents and application form which the donor presented to obtain his international passport, for the purpose of assisting the criminal investigation and tendering same before the Uxbridge Magistrate Court in the UK.

The SAN had also prayed the court for an order directing Stanbic IBTC Bank and UBA to provide the Certified True Copy of the donor’s mandate card and account opening package in their custody.
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Annalena Baerbock, German Foreign Minister, and Lai Mohammed, Minister of Culture of Nigeria, signing a memorandum of understanding for property transfers of valuable Benin bronzes. Photo: Britta Pedersen/dpa

Germany signed an agreement on Friday to begin sending hundreds of Benin bronzes back to the Federal Government, rubber-stamping the biggest effort yet by a European country to return the looted artworks.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Culture Minister Claudia Roth signed the deal with their Nigerian counterparts in Berlin after Germany first announced that it would begin returning the bronzes last year.

Minister of Culture, Lai Mohammed, thanked Germany for having “taken the lead in correcting the wrongs of the past”, hailing “the dawn of a new era of cooperation”.

“This will go down as one of the most important days in the celebration of African cultural heritage,” Minister of State for Foreing Affairs, Zubairu Dada added.

The first two artworks — the head of a king and a plaque depicting three warriors — were on Friday handed over to representatives from Nigeria.

“Today we have reason to celebrate, because we have reached a historic agreement — the Benin bronzes are returning home,” Baerbock said.

“These pieces are not only magnificent artefacts — they are some of Africa’s greatest treasures. But they are also telling a story of colonial violence,” she said.

Thousands of Benin bronzes, metal plaques and sculptures that once decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin are now scattered around European museums after being looted by the British at the end of the 19th century.

Germany has around 1,100 of the 16th- to 18th-century artefacts, split between some 20 museums.

The biggest collection is held by the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, which has 440 — considered the most important collection outside London’s British Museum.

Negotiations are still ongoing as to which of the bronzes held by the Ethnological Museum will be returned to Nigeria, and which will remain in Berlin on loan.

Nigeria has been negotiating the return of Benin bronzes from several European countries and plans to build a museum in Benin City in southern Edo state, where it hopes to house them.

France in November handed back 26 of the treasures, while two were returned by Britain earlier this year, with talks ongoing for more to follow.
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President Buhari alongside Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa witness the signing of MOU between Nigeria and Portugal by Secretary of State for Internalisation Bernardo Ivo Cruz and Acting CEO NIPC Emeka Offor accompanied by Chairman & CEO Investment Agency Luis Castro Henriques and Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama during the Closing Ceremony of the Nigeria-Portugal Business Forum in Lisbon on 30th June 2022

Nigeria and Portugal on Friday in Lisbon signed several Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in different sectors. 

The signing ceremony was done by cabinet level officials from the two countries as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s State Visit to the European Union country. 

President Buhari and the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa witnessed the signing ceremony.

The MoUs signed include Political Consultations; Diplomatic Training, Research and the Exchange of Information and Documentation; Cooperation in the Field of Culture; and Cooperation in the Field of Women and Girls Development, Empowerment and Gender Affairs; Youth; and Sports.  

At a business forum organised during the visit, at which some of the MoUs were finalised between the two countries' investment promotion agencies and chambers of commerce, President Buhari had described the progress in signing the agreements ‘‘as excellent foundations for increased bilateral trade.’’ 

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President Buhari meets with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and receives Portugese National Honour in Lisbon on 30th June 2022

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon and City Council Members, expressing heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to them for accommodating Nigerians as well as those fleeing the war in Ukraine. 

The President also used the occasion to congratulate him and his party on their electoral victory and his emergence as the Mayor of Lisbon. 

The Nigerian leader thanked Fernando Medina for graciously receiving the Nigerian delegation in the ‘beautiful and historic coastal city of Lisbon,’ commending the excellent manner the city is administered, as a prime global tourist destination.

‘‘The city of Lisbon shares a number of similarities with some Nigerian cities such as Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, whose name was given by the Portuguese explorer Rui de Sequeira, who visited in 1472, naming the area around the city, Lago de Curamo, which means Lake of Curamo.

‘‘Both cities are rich in history and are also commercial nerve centres that host multinational corporations, industries, and major seaports. We are optimistic that these shared features can be harnessed to promote increased trade and people-to-people contact for the benefit of our two countries. 

‘‘Nigeria, like Portugal, has many unique, historic, and cultural assets, as well as a developing hospitality industry, which both countries can exploit to promote tourism. 

‘‘We are also keen to establish a direct air link between our two countries to further stimulate tourism, people-to-people contact and social, sporting and cultural relations,’’ he said.

President Buhari highlighted that Nigeria has made great strides in diversifying its economy beyond oil and gas, recording successes in agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructural development, among others. 

He, therefore, invited prospective investors to Nigeria as the next top investment destination, saying ‘‘we are ready to extend our bilateral trade beyond oil and gas. 

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, extolled Nigeria's greatness, especially in her ability to turn diversity into greatness: “We have one thing in common. We believe diversity is key. Nigeria is a great nation. Former President Obama said that about you, that you strive to overcome division and turn Nigeria's diversity into a source of strength, so you are able to build the largest economy in Africa. I so much agree with that.” 

“Diversity is a matter of innovation and that’s why we both have excellent innovation ecosystems. You have just opened one of the biggest Urea plants, I think the second in the world and the largest fertilizer centre in Africa making your country self-sufficient.” 

“You have produced five out of the seven unicorns, the big companies in Africa. You have one of the biggest projects on biometrics identification that has helped the banking system with relevant contributions for some Portuguese companies. So we want to work with you and your innovators.  We need you. We need the African continent. We need to work with you peer to peer.”

He informed the Nigerian leader of his plan for Portugal to launch a "Unicorn Factory" in Lisbon and his desire to “have those African, Nigerian unicorns with us. Young people that could work with Portuguese people. That will be very important for Lisbon.” 

The Mayor, while presenting the keys of the City of Lisbon to President Buhari, emphasized the cultural, historical, political and diplomatic ties between Lisbon and Abuja, describing the keys as "a token of respect and appreciation." 

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President Buhari with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as he received the Portuguese National Honour in Lisbon on 30th June 2022

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night expressed appreciation to Portugal for the deployment of weapons and training of military personnel in ensuring peace in the sub-region.

Speaking at a State Dinner in National Palace Ajuda, Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, the President commended President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for deploying troops for peacekeeping in the Central African Republic, monitoring political developments and providing assistance to some countries in Africa, including Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde and Mozambique. 

President Buhari said at  the dinner attended by the President of the Portuguese National Assembly, Augusto Santos Silva, and Prime Minister Antonio Costa that the Nigerian Government has made it a priority to tackle the issue of insecurity in Nigeria, the ECOWAS, and the Sahel. 

He added that this would not have been successful without our regional as well as global partners. 

‘‘The Boko Haram insurgency in the North-eastern part of Nigeria is being tackled through the efforts of government, as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) of member countries,’’ he said.

President Buhari expressed optimism that his State Visit would further strengthen the goodwill and collaboration between the two countries.  

He noted that the establishment of a Joint Commission, which is one of the main priorities of the visit, would further promote the full realisation of the objectives of bilateral relations, achieving concrete, specific and viable projects and programmes for the benefit of citizens of the two countries. 

‘‘Today, Portugal imports about 60 percent of its gas from Nigeria which makes it our second-largest market in Europe. 

‘‘There is still more that can be achieved between the two countries, especially with the current Russia-Ukraine war which has disrupted steady gas supplies to Europe. 

‘‘Furthermore, Nigeria wants to see trade diversified to non-oil products such as agriculture, power projects, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals where a lot could be achieved,’’ he said. 

The President emphasized the need to revive the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and finalize all pending bilateral agreements so as to boost economic activities and movement of people between the two countries. 

President Buhari described Nigeria as one of the most attractive destinations for investment in Africa, adding that his Government is prioritizing building a business-friendly environment. 

‘‘Nigeria is part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) - the largest free trade area in the world. With a population of over 200 million mainly young men and women, Nigeria is a natural and attractive hub for foreign investment and one-stop market access to over 50 countries.’’ 

The Nigerian leader welcomed the Business Forum organized during the visit and the signing of many Memoranda of Understanding between the two countries' investment promotion agencies and chambers of commerce. 

He described the signing of the agreements ‘‘as excellent foundations for increased bilateral trade.’’  

President Buhari also commended his Portuguese counterpart for extending his country’s engagement with Africa and African issues beyond Lusophone countries. 

‘‘In that context, I wish to remind us that in addition to giving our former capital, Lagos, its name, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in what later became Nigeria, even before the British. 

‘‘During that time, the Benin Kingdom had diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Portugal. The bodyguards of the Oba of Benin were sent from Portugal. 

‘‘Today, there are streets in some states in Nigeria that still bear Portuguese names. This shows a strong bond that has endured a long time between our two countries,’’ President Buhari said.

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Dr John Elaigwu Odogbo

President Muhammadu Buhari has joined sons and daughters of Idoma Kingdom, Benue State, in celebrating the investiture of the 5th Och'Idoma, Dr John Elaigwu Odogbo, whose academic, work and leadership credentials hold promise for his people.

President Buhari noted the zeal and diligence of Dr Odogbo in seeking knowledge and sharing his wisdom, working for more than two decades with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, during which he earned a doctorate in accounting and taxation, and trained many staff. 

The President believed the national and international exposure and network of the traditional ruler over many years sets a new standard for the domain, creating a good setting for progress through the marriage of the traditional and the modern, by placing the people first. 

As a public servant, educator and Christian religious leader, President Buhari affirmed that Dr Odogbo's wealth of experience will play out in guiding citizens on the path of peace, prosperity and development in the state and beyond, considering the steadily rising influence and impact of the Idomas in nation building, especially in leadership positions.

The President prayed for the wellbeing of the Idoma nation, and most importantly, good health and wisdom for the Paramount Ruler.  

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Nigeria’s grass root communities and the underserved population of the country will not be left out of the national broadband plan when the implementation comes to fruition.

Speaking in Lagos at a session which discussed the critical issue of financial inclusion expected to be facilitated by a robust infrastructure deployment for broadband availability, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the Commission is mindful of the infrastructure gaps in the country and therefore, committed to driving national digital economy to the grassroots.

“As a Commission, we have a mandate to ensure availability of universal access to telecom services irrespective of circumstances and location of Nigerians and other users in Nigeria," said Bruce-Bennet, who also informed the audience that voice communications enjoys over 100 per cent penetration. 

The EVC of NCC who spoke through Freda Bruce-Bennet of the Digital Economy Department,  reiterated the Commission’s focus in supporting the quest for financial inclusion through provision of robust infrastructure such as broadband. 

At the event hosted by Oriental News Nigeria, an online news organisation, at the Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, which focused on: "Engaging with Critical Grassroots Groups to Develop Effective Financial Inclusion Initiatives", Bruce-Bennet, said the Commission has been at the forefront of driving technology platforms required to drive increased access to financial services by all and sundry.

She cited the current implementation of an open access model (Infraco licensing) for deployment of broadband infrastructure in the six geopolitical zones, as well as Lagos (which enjoys a special status within telecom ecosystem), as one of the strategies adopted by the Commission to ensure a robust infrastructure deployments that will support many platforms that can accelerate financial inclusion. 

Bruce-Bennet said that the Commission had facilitated strategic partnerships with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Fintech Association of Nigeria (FintechNGR), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Rockefeller Partnership Agreement (RPA), and other government agencies, to promote Digital Financial Services (DFS) and Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) in Nigeria.

Bruce-Bennet also stated that the NCC, through its Digital Economy Department, is fostering the development of a portal for the Association of Skilled Vocational Artisans of Nigeria (ASVAN) for information and digital training purposes.

At the event, the Chairman, Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, applauded the Commission  for its regulatory efforts in creating an enabling environment for digitized financial inclusion, and charged the participants and other government agencies present to take advantage of the information portal of the Commission to glean necessary information because robust digital economy will, amongst other things, improve the standard of living of the people who are willing to harvest the benefits.

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332 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria;


257,290 confirmed 
250,229 discharged 
3,144 deaths 

This report includes:
▪️Data for 25th - 29th June 2022
▪️8 States with zero cases reported: Bayelsa, Ekiti, Kaduna, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Plateau and Sokoto

For a breakdown of cases by state visit
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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has approved the board composition and proposed governance framework for the sustainable management and payment of post-privatisation liabilities of the power sector transferred to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) Board.

This was among the highlights of the meeting of the Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The council, during the meeting which was its third this year, also approved the fast-tracking of the work plan for the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant (ZHPP) located in Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger State.

“The composition of the NELMCO board includes the Minister of Finance as Chairman, while members will comprise the Minister of Power; Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE); Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO); Managing Director, NELMCO; and all its Executive Directors.

“It was also resolved that two key members from the private sector be included in the board,” Mr Laolu Akande who is the Vice President’s media aide disclosed in a statement on Friday.

“Also at the meeting, the Council noted that the key objectives of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant concession include leveraging private sector access to finance and reducing reliance on government budgetary allocation to fund the China EXIM Bank loan; and leveraging efficiencies and better facility management (maintenance) culture of the private sector for long-term preservation of the asset.”

When members met in December 2020, the council approved the concession of the ZHPP.

According to Akande, the council was briefed on Thursday on the performance assessment report of the nine Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs), which has been forwarded to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for further review and action.

He said the council noted that a thorough performance assessment revealed that most of the set performance targets were not met by the nine DISCOs.

The meeting had in attendance council members including federal ministers and representatives of federal ministries such as the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Director-General of BPE, Alex Okoh; heads of MDAs, and other senior government officials.
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Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, on Thursday urged the courts to “stop imposing politicians on Nigerians,” arguing that, “the involvement of the courts in the electoral process has not been favourable to the country’s democracy.”

Falana made the call in a paper titled “The Role of the Courts in the Electoral Process and the Time Bomb of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022”, delivered at the Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ondo Branch.

“This involvement has been forced by the neglect of its duties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the arbitrariness and impunity of some of the members of the Executive, and the corrupt activities of political parties,” Falana was quoted as saying via a statement issued by his aide, Tayo Soyemi.

“In order to respect the democratic wishes of the electorate, there has to be a new electoral jurisprudence. Since the people are the greatest defenders of democracy INEC must be made to ensure the votes of the electorate count.”

According to him, the courts have abandoned their primary role of ensuring compliance with the Electoral Act and the relevant legislation of the Constitution pertaining to general elections.

He stated that apart from usurping the powers of INEC in organising and supervising elections, the courts have taken over the mandate of the electorate.

Falana added, “The courts have been involved in the appointment of party officers and endorsement of candidates sponsored by political parties to contest elections.

“Even the meetings of the organs and national conventions of political parties are fixed by the courts. Cases arising from the management of political parties are filed in the high court of the federal capital territory or at the federal high court, outside the venue of the dispute.”

“The winners of primaries and general elections are no longer determined by the electorate but by the election petition tribunals and courts.”
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Two suspected armed robbers have been arrested in Edo State as part of efforts by the police to rid Edo State of criminal elements.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Jennifer Iwegbu, disclosed this via a statement issued on Thursday.

She identified the suspects simply as one Oseghale and Abdullahi, saying they were nabbed by police operatives on Wednesday following credible intelligence received.

The suspects were said to have been terrorising the Agbede area and had been placed on the police wanted list.

They were reportedly tracked and arrested at their hideout in the Aviele area of Agbede in the Etsako West local government area of the state.

Items recovered from them included one locally-made pistol, two live cartridges, and a Toyota Camry car with reg. number KTU-970-GG and weed suspected to be Indian hemp.

According to the police spokesperson, the suspects are cooperating with the police investigation and will thereafter be charged in court.

This is even as the Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, reiterated the Command’s commitment to raiding criminals’ hideouts.

He promised to maintain the tempo until criminal elements change their ways or relocate from Edo State.
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…Prays for his family, accelerated healing of their daughter

…Appreciates FG, NASS, Nigerians for their solidarity, support 

The administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in Enugu State has expressed deep concern over the ordeal of the Senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Mrs. Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, in the United Kingdom.

A statement by the Enugu State Government described Senator Ekweremadu as an illustrious son of the state and a foremost Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The statement disclosed that the government and the good people of Enugu State are saddened by the unpleasant news of arrest, arraignment and subsequent remand in custody of Senator Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, in the United Kingdom.

It, therefore, conveyed the thoughts and prayers of Gov. Ugwuanyi and the people of the state to the entire family of Senator Ekweremadu “in this difficult time as we beseech the most merciful God to grant accelerated healing to Miss Sonia Ekweremadu”.

The state government extended its profound gratitude to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the National Assembly for their empathy, support, solidarity and legal intervention.

It went further to appreciate the prayers of well-meaning Nigerians for early resolution of the issues.

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The organised labour movement is planning to hold a protest on the state of the nation.

The protest is to call the attention of the government to the country’s deteriorating security situation, the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the unending energy crisis.

Speaking at two separate conferences in Abuja, the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba and the President of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Mr Ambali Olatunji, decried the worsening security situation in the country and asked the government to act.

“For four months and running, the children of the poor have remained at home,” Mr Wabba said.

“Today as we speak, Diesel is selling for more than N800 per litre. There is no way this situation can be allowed to continue.

“So I think there’s an urgency in addressing this issue.

“And therefore, central working committee decided that there will be a one-day national protest to call the attention of government to resolve this issue immediately.”

The labour leaders also discussed other issues, including the ongoing constitution amendment, especially the aspect that touches on the autonomy of the local government and the judiciary.
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Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court, Uyo has convicted and sentenced a notorious international fraudster, Scales Olatunji, to 235years imprisonment for internet fraud and money laundering.

Olatunji was arraigned on July 2, 2019 on 45-count charges bordering on identity theft, money laundering and conspiracy.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thus setting the stage for his trial.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Scales Olatunji Ishola "M", Meraiyebu Charles "M"(at large), Gabriel Adeyemi Olugbenga "M"(at large), Ojomo Oluwatobi Ayodele "M"(at large) and Adekola Oluwatoyin "M"(at large), between January 2017 to October 2018, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N525,172,580.00 (Five Hundred and Twenty Five Million, One Hundred and Seventy-two Thousand, Five Hundred and Eighty Naira) only, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activities to wit: fraud (Business E-mail Compromise and Identity Theft), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act”

Another count reads: “That you, Scales Olatunji Ishola "M" on or about the 15th day of May 2018, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud did send electronic messages (email) using to one Monica Goulmoen of the Charity Association for providing girls and boys in Kobane with a football pitch, while impersonating a certain Per Ravn Omdal, a former Norwegian Football Association President, demanding the sum of €64,000.00 (Sixty-Four Thousand Euros) to be transferred to you via IBAN GB74HBUK40062132722119 which was paid and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (3)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act”.

EFCC‘s counsel, Nwandu Ukoha opened the case on November 7, 2019 and subsequently tendered thirty-five(35) exhibits through four prosecution witnesses, which were all admitted in evidence against the defendant. He closed the case on January 29, 2021 for the defence to open its defence.

Both the prosecution and defence counsel adopted their written addresses in October 2021, before the court adjourned for judgment.

Delivering judgment on Monday, June 27, 2022, Justice Okeke convicted Olatunji on all the 45- counts preferred against him by the EFCC. Justice Okeke said that, “the evidence of the prosecution witnesses are consistent and the prosecution established the guilt of the defendant in the case of money laundering as it relates to count one to five of the charges. The prosecution also established the guilt of the defendant in the offence of cybercrime as it relates to count six to forty five of the charges. The prosecution, on the totality of evidence before this court, proved the charges against the defendant.”

The judge sentenced Olatunji to seven (7) years imprisonment on counts one to five, and five (5) years imprisonment on counts six to forty-five. The sentence, shall, however, run concurrently with effect from the date of arrest.

The court also ordered that the money in the convict’s account be forfeited to Norwegian citizens through the EFCC. Also, his properties: House No. 6, located on Road 2 West-end Estate, Ikota, Lekki, Lagos State and House No. 10, Donatus Odum Street, Ikate, Lagos State are to be sold by the EFCC and the proceeds restituted to the Norwegian victims.

The convict’s journey to the Correctional Centre started when operatives of the EFCC arrested him on March 20, 2019 at his Ikota, Lekki’s residence based on a petition from the Oslo Police District in Norway, requesting the assistance of the EFCC in investigating a network of Nigerians that had defrauded Norwegian citizens for years.

Investigations revealed that the convict belonged to a syndicate of internet fraudsters who specialized in Business Email Compromise-BEC.