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The Organised Labour, Thursday, cleared the air on the implementation of the national minimum wage in Abia State, explaining that the state started paying N30,000 as minimum wage since 2011.

Labour in a press briefing in Umuahia, said the clarification had become necessary following misinformation and lies being peddled in some quarters that the state does not implement minimum wage.

Abia State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Uchenna Obigwe, who read from a prepared text jointly signed by the Chairman, Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, Comrade Chris Okoro; and Chairman, Trade Union Congress, TUC; cautioned those behind the speculations not to cause trouble in the state.

According to the Organised Labour, “Abia State is the best in the South East in the implementation of minimum wage”.

It said that Abia workers started enjoying what other states in the zone are enjoying as minimum wage since 2011.

” What Ebonyi is taking now was what Abia took as minimum wage since 2011; Abia has implemented CONHESS and CONMES to their health workers since 2011″, Labour said.

The union urged its national body to rather encourage the state to do more for its workers instead of causing trouble for the workers.
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It was a great day of celebration at Ogoni Olomu, Delta State as Nigeria oldest King, HRM, Ovie, Dr. Richard Layeguen Ogbon, OON, Ogoni-Oghoro 1, the Ohworode Of Olomu Kingdom, offered thanks to God for his 105th year birthday.

The thanksgiving service which had the Archbishop of Bendel Province, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion and Bishop of Ughelli Diocese, His Grace, Rt. Rev. Cyril Odutemu, Ph.D, JP, as the Chief celebrant, also had the presence of notable monarchs in Delta State including Ovie of Ughelli, Okobaro of Ughievwen kingdom as well as Council of Chiefs, Sons and Daughters from Olomu Kingdom, friends and well wishers of the monarch in attendance.

The Olomu Monarch who took the first reading to the admiration of all present without using a pair of eye glasses at the age of 105, also had his wife, children and relations in attendance.

In his sermon taken from 1 Thessalonian 5:16-18, Archbishop Odutemu harped on prayers and thanksgiving to God, noting that just as the scripture stated, there is need to be happy and rejoice at all times, but to be prayerful everyday.

He maintained that though the numbers of years here on earth cannot be compared to the number of years one will spend in heaven with God, but that it is an obligation for us to thank God for the gift of longevity.

The Archbishop further revealed that Satan is always sad whenever the children of God are happy, in same vein he said, one need to be prayerful whenever he or she is happy.

He called on the monarch to be prayerful as there are many good things ahead, adding that God knows the reason why he has kept him all these years.

Archbishop Odutemu further called on all to be thankful at all time as that is the key that can open any door. While congratulating the king, the Anglican Archbishop urged him not to pay evil with evil but to thank God.

He appealed to all Olomu indigenes not to abandoned their kingdom but to come back home and invest in their land as God has blessed the land with a righteous king.

In his birthday message, the revered King noted that his heart felt appreciation goes to God who kept him alive and also thanked all who has come to celebrate with him especially the Archbishop of Bendel Province, Archbishop Cyril Odiroghene Odutemu Ph. D, JP, and all Olomu sons and daughters and prayed God to bless all with long life of good health and mind.

High point of the Church service was a thanksgiving offered by the celebrant and joined by all well wishers before proceeding to the palace for a sumptuous reception.
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Anambra State governor elect, Professor Chukwuma Soludo

Anambra State governor elect, Professor Chukwuma Soludo has said that his manifesto, which he will start implementing from March 17, 2022, is a contract between him and the people of the state.

Speaking during the inauguration of members of his transition committee at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu in Anaocha local government area, Soludo said the manifesto is not just a tool to lure the people into voting him into power, but a social contract with the people of the state.

According to him, the manifesto is a vision for Anambra’s transformation and informed the committee members that the work at hand is huge and requires the cooperation of everyone.

Soludo said his vision is for a better, newer, liveable and industrialized Anambra which, according to him, is achievable, adding that efforts must be put in place to bring it to reality.

He said: “My manifesto is not just for campaign, but a contract I have signed with Ndi Anambra and since they have chosen me amongst all the other qualified candidates that contested the last election, I am committed to undertake the transformation of Anambra and ensure impactful leadership. 

“There is no stopping of my work plan for a better Anambra.  “Anambra must be transformed to that mega industrialized economy; our roads both in the rural areas and cities, markets, environment challenges, must be addressed”.

Speaking further, Soludo said he would prefer to be addressed simply as ‘Mr. Governor’ instead of the title ‘His Excellency’.

The governor-elect said those who find it inappropriate to call him by his name can feel free to address him as Mr Governor.

 “I was called His Excellency a while ago, but may I plead that that Excellency tag should please wait for now.

“That is part of what we will discuss in this committee. You may just need to learn how to call me by my name, but if that isn’t good for you, then, may I request that you simply call me ‘Charlie Nwangbafor.

“If that one is so difficult for you that you must be formal in addressing me, then you can address me as Mr Governor”.
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House of Representatives, Thursday, resolved to investigate the alleged disappearance of 178,459 arms and ammunition from the police armory.

The House also called on the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to take urgent action to apprehend those culpable of the depletion of the armoury of the Force.

The resolution followed the consideration of a motion titled “Need to Investigate the Alleged Missing Firearms and Ammunition of the Nigerian Police”, moved under matters of urgent public importance by the deputy minority leader Hon. Toby Okechukwu at the plenary.

Moving the motion, Okechukwu noted that the 2019 report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation on alleged disappearance of about 178,459 different arms and ammunition of the Nigeria Police Force in 2019 recently reported in our national daily newspapers.

He said “The audit of Arms Movement Register, Monthly Returns of Arms and Ammunition and Ammunition Register at the Armoury Section reveals that a total number of lost firearms as at December 2018 stood at 178,459 pieces.

“Out of this number, 88,078 were AK-47 rifles, 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols across different police formations, which could not be accounted for as at January 2020.

“In the report that the police high command failed to keep record of unserviceable and expired firearms and ammunition; owing to non-compliance to the internal control system of the Nigeria Police Force.

“Records of the total number of unserviceable firearms were not produced for examinations and there were no returns from Adamawa State Command, Police Mobile Force (PMF) 46, 56, 64 and 68 for the period under review.

“Dully completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) were not presented. Records obtained from force armament at Force Headquarters showed 21 Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron, Abuja did not report a single case of missing firearm, whereas schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF showed a total of 46 missing arms between year 2000 and February 2019.

“The value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination.

“The worsening state of security, kidnapping and banditry in the country and concerned that the missing arms could have found their ways into the wrong hands. Also Mindful that Nigeria did not undertake any war in recent times”.
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The thirty-six State Governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, Thursday resolved to engage the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC on the proposed removal of fuel subsidy.

According to the Governors, the meeting with the NLC on the issue has become imperative because as stakeholders, they must be involved in order to arrive at a conclusion of ensuring that Nigerians at the end of the day would not be at the receiving end.

The Governors have also denied playing any role in the planned removal of subsidy, even as they said that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC is now a private company and cannot be dictated to on how to carry out its activities.

Addressing Journalists in the early hours of today after the meeting of the governors, Chairman of NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said “The forum also discussed the issue around petroleum subsidy and concluded to engage the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress on how best to address this issue without causing any disaffection but with a view to salvaging the Nigerian economy for the Nigerian people at the end of the day.

“So we shall be engaging the Nigerian labor Congress, as sub national leaders and with a view to ensuring that the outcome of our engagement will also be fed into the national discourse.”
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Former President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Goodie Ibru, has thrown his weight behind calls for the removal of subsidy on fuel by the government, saying whatever fund is gained from the process could be used to subsidise education and health.

According to him, subsidising education and health on a larger scale would make every Nigerian to be adequately equipped to compete better in the global market place of opportunities.

Ibru, who is also a former President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, stated this on Thursday while delivering the 2022 Distinguished Personality Lecture Series of the Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo, Lagos.

The lecture was titled, “Imperatives of a 21st Century Nigerian Economy: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective.”

He also suggested that the Federal Government should make it mandatory for International Oil Comoanies, IOCs, to set up refineries in the country before granting them operation licences, adding that it would help the country conserve scare foreign exchange being spent on importing refined products.

“The cost of petrol subsidy is enormous and incalculable. The Federal Government in November last year estimated that it will cost N1.8 trillion in 2021 (about $4.32 billion). At an average of N150 billion, that roughly approximates the annual budget of 12 state governments combined.

“To buttress this point, the total sum of the 2022 budgets of the six North Central states of Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, and Nasarawa is N908.7 billion, while the average for the six states is N151.45 billion. The total FG budget for the health sector in 2019 was N1.191 trillion and the total budget proposed for road and housing in the 2022 Appropriation Bill was N481.96 billion.

READ ALSO: CBN and importance of development financing
“In 2022, the FG plans to spend about N3,000 ($7) per person for health, while the cost of petrol subsidy for next year could reach N13,000 ($32) per person. Not only is the petrol subsidy costly, but it mainly benefit richer households,” he said.

Quoting a report by globalpetrolprice.com, Ibru said Nigeria had the seventh lowest price of petrol in the world.

“As at January 3, 2022 in Nigeria, the price of Octane-95 gasoline is N167.6 per litre. For comparison, the average price of gasoline in the world for this period is N503.05, Nigeria has the seventh lowest pump price of petrol in the world. The prices range from N10.319 in Venezuela to N1,079.273 in Hong Kong,” he said.

Ibru, who highlighted the major problems facing the Nigerian economy to include too much dependence on crude oil, foreign exchange scarcity among others, called on youths to embrace entrepreneurship and technology that could help them be self-employed.

He charged tertiary institutions in the country to focus on producing graduates that would be self-reliant, saying the time had changed from chasing white collar jobs to being an employer of labour.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, described entrepreneurs as the engine room of a nation’s economy.

“Entrepreneurs add to national income. Entrepreneurial ventures help generate new wealth. Existing businesses may remain confined to existing markets and may hit a limit in terms of income. New and improved products, services or technology from entrepreneurs enable new markets to be developed and new wealth created. It is a crucial developmental cycle,” she said.

The Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Gbolahan Elias, SAN, said the choice of Ibru as the lecturer was apt given his immense contributions and knowledge about industry, law and commerce.
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Muridia and Yaqub Ganiyu have been living peacefully as a couple for 17 years.  They are blessed with four children.

Sadly, the union is on the verge of complete collapse, owing to a startling revelation by Muridia that Yaqub is not the biological father of their  14-year-old daughter.

Yaqub, a commercial motorcyclist who is yet to come to terms with the reality of his wife’s confession, told Vanguard that he fainted twice out of shock when his wife broke the news.

During a visit to his one-room apartment on Matomi Street, Alagbado, a border town between Lagos and Ogun states,  the father of four said the issue had affected the teenager in question, emotionally and had also truncated the peaceful atmosphere in his home.

At the moment, the husband and wife are living apart, an action Yaqub is displeased with, as he alleged that he was mandated by So-Safe Corps, a vigilante group, to be giving his wife N5,000 weekly for the upkeep of the children.

In this interview with him, he recalled: “I met Muridia 17 years ago when she was an apprentice.  I assisted her financially until she mastered the skill. Thereafter, we started dating and living together. I brought her to Lagos, from Otu Village, Oyo State, to set up a business for her.  

“We are blessed with four children, a daughter and three sons – aged  14, 8 and 4 years and three months respectively.

“Initially, things went smoothly in the family while I was working as a truck operator.  At a point, I lost that job. I started riding a motorcycle in order to put food on the table.

“Recently, I  noticed that my wife started behaving strangely.  I kept calm to allow peace reign until she brought a Tecno-5 Phone home.  When I asked where she got it from, she gave a flimsy reason.  I also noticed she had been communicating with a man whose identity I did not know. I had to seize the phone. 

“About a month ago, she woke me up at midnight and told me that I was not the biological father of our 14-year-old daughter.  She said her former boyfriend who lives in Germany is the biological father of the child. You won’t believe that this same man and I were once neighbours before he travelled abroad.

“I fainted out of shock and disbelief, twice. It was neighbours that resuscitated me. What baffled me was that the man she claimed to be the biological father is a relative and an old friend of mine. His father has two wives, one of them is my aunt.

“I later got to know that things were not going smoothly with him. When they enquired to know the cause spiritually, it was revealed that he had a child somewhere and that until he accepts the paternity of the child, there won’t be any solution to his issue.

“Initially, I thought my wife was out of her senses. I  contacted her family members to pray for her so that she could get well but I didn’t know she had other plans.

Two weeks ago, she reported the matter with So-Safe Corps at Abule-Iroko, Ogun State. I was arrested and detained by the Corps. Its officials ordered me to pick up my belongings and leave our one-room apartment.

“It did not end there, they ordered me to return the phone  I seized to her and pay  N5,000 weekly, for the family upkeep. I have been homeless since then. The attention of both families have been drawn to the matter but from all indications, Muridia’s family members are in support of her action.

“I have an aged mother and an elder brother who are not medically fit to intervene.

“The man my wife claimed is the father of my daughter said I should stay far away from her or face the consequences, boasting that he has the financial muscle to deal with me.

“I used to have three motorcycles but sold them to enable me to fend for my family. The one I am currently using was bought on hire purchase.”   

But when Vanguard met Muridia, she clarified that she was already pregnant for another man who she identified as Teslim, when she met her husband.

She said: “When I discovered I was six weeks pregnant, I told Teslim about it but he sent me away and asked me to terminate it.

“Luckily for me, Yaqub walked into my life and slept with me. A few weeks later, I told him I was pregnant for him, he accepted paternity and we pulled resources together to rent an apartment. Teslim and I were in the village while Yaqub was visiting from Lagos.   

“I am a hairdresser but our stay together had been hellish as Yaqub has no tangible source of income to fend for the family.

“Several attempts to walk away from the marriage were unsuccessful as he tactically tied me down with pregnancy. This is the fourth rented apartment I have paid for but he always disrupts my chances of staying alone.

“One day, I got a call from  Teslim’s friend, who requested to know what happened to the pregnancy of 15 years ago,  I did not give him any response.

“I was in church one day when Teslim’s relative sent a Tecno-5 phone to me because mine was faulty. Teslim called me to say he was in Germany but that settling down maritally had been difficult. He told me that upon divination, he was told to go and claim the paternity of the baby he abandoned in order to have a settled life.

“Two weeks ago, Yaqub and I had a quarrel in my shop. Neighbours intervened by contacting the So Safe Corps which effected his arrest. 

“My uncle and other members of my family are aware of this matter. There are moves to conduct a DNA test to ascertain the biological father of my daughter, Zainab,” she said. 

In a chat with Zainab, she innocently told Vanguard: “My mummy and daddy are fighting because of me. They said something happened when I was young,” 

Investigations revealed that the So Safe Corps personnel who handled the matter had opened a communication channel between Teslim and Zainab. The personnel was quoted to have threatened to re-arrest Yaqub and seized his motorcycle which is his only means of income.

When contacted the Commander, So -Safe Corps, Soji Gonzalo, on phone, he said he was at an official function in Abeokuta and would be unable to respond to her inquiry.

However, it was learnt that through the effort of a human rights activist, Comrade Adewale Ojo, the National Coordinator, Human Rights Advocacy & Monitoring Group (HURAMG), the So Safe Corps personnel has been summoned to the Corps headquarters in Abeokuta, Ogun State where he is being interrogated. 
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House of Representatives has said that 3 out of every 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or another.

Quoting the World Health Organization statistics, the House added that over 20,000,000 Nigerians were currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.

To this end, the House mandated its Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health towards improving mental health facilities around the country and further carry out serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue.

It also asked the Committee on Health Institution to explore the modalities of liaising with stakeholders in the health sector to promote, educate and sensitize Nigerians on mental health.

The resolution however followed a motion titled “Need to Address the Rising Cases of Mental Health in Nigeria” presented by Hon. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi from Rivers State and considered by the House at Thursday plenary.

Presenting his motion, Nnam-Obi noted that the World Health Organization, WHO considers mental health as a state of wellbeing in which the individual can cope with the stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community.

According to him, mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.

He said: “According to the World Health Organization statistics, over twenty million Nigerians are currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.

“3 out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, presently there is no mental health legislation in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria, discouraging stigmatization against persons with mental disorders and has institutionalized standards for Psychiatric practice.

“The increase in cases of depression is traceable to multifactorial inter and intrapersonal issues which leads to suicidal death in the country and this requires urgent attention.

“Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20 million citizens suffering from mental disorders.

“With the few functional Mental Health Facilities and inadequate mental health Practitioners in the country, mental health cases are left for traditional practitioners, hence the upsurge in mental health in Nigeria.

“The statistics are troubling and the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the country will simply cause the situation to degenerate”

Adopting the motion, the House gave 6 weeks to the Committees within which to carry out the assignment and report back to it for further legislative action.
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The leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, never denied being the leader of the Igbo nationalist organisation while taking his plea at a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has said.

According to the lawyer, the clarification became necessary because of what he described as “deliberate misrepresentation/falsehood and wrong narratives being perpetuated by some mischief makers” and gaining prominence in social media.

Ejiofor said this in a statement on Thursday titled, “Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu never denied being the leader of IPOB – Let the records be set straight”.

According to him, it was pertinent to provide clarification and clear the doubt.

He said, “S.M. Labaran Esq, who stood in yesterday (Wednesday) for the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation is a colleague I hold in high esteem, but I shall resist every mischievous ploy being adopted to misinform the unsuspecting members of the public who were not privy to the details of the proceedings in court yesterday, with a wrong and mischievous interpretation of the purport of the plea taken by our indefatigable client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“For the records, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu never denied being the leader of IPOB while taking his plea, but only stoutly denied the fact that IPOB is a terrorist organisation and that being its leader is an offence, which position is well informed.

“Members of the public should be well guided that the status of the black market order proscribing IPOB is a subject of Appeal in Appeal Number: Appeal No. CA/A/214/2018, pending before the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.

“That being said, it is only laughable that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in their desperate but futile attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, brought a charge bordering on the status of IPOB, a subject matter of a competent Appeal, where issues have been joined with the same FGN.

“Therefore, be properly guided UmuChineke, because we have sufficiently addressed the emptiness of that count an entire charge in our compelling submissions before the Court, now adjourned to be heard on February 16, 2022.

“We do not wish to dwell further on this subject, but be rightly informed that Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu never denied being the leader of IPOB while taking his plea yesterday.”
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230 new cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria;

Lagos-115
Gombe -29
FCT -24
Imo -20
Rivers -10
Ondo-9
Kano-5
Abia-4
Kaduna-4
Oyo-4
Kebbi-2
Ogun-2
Borno-1
Jigawa-1

251,571 confirmed 
225,280 discharged 
3,117 deaths 

Today’s report includes:
▪️4 confirmed cases reported for Abia state for 18th January 2022
▪️2 confirmed cases reported for Kebbi state for 18th January 2022
▪️1 confirmed cases reported for Borno state for 18th January 2022
▪️203 community discharges for FCT for 19th January 2022
▪️13 discharged cases reported for Abia state for 18th January 2022
▪️5 states with zero cases reported: Ekiti, Nasarawa, Osun,Plateau and Sokoto

For a breakdown of cases by state visit: http://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng
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The Kaduna Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 arraigned a serving airman, Lance Corporal Haruna Samuel of the Nigeria Air Force Base, Kaduna before Justice Darius Khobo of the Kaduna State High Court sitting in Kaduna on a one count charge bordering on theft and criminal misappropriation.

The defendant was alleged to have on December 3, 2020 received a credit alert of the sum of N 20, 014,300 (Twenty Million, Fourteen Thousand, Three Hundred Naira) into his bank account. The money was sent in error from the account of his employer. Knowing full well he wasn't expecting any payment of such magnitude, the defendant instead of reporting the issue to his bank or employer, went ahead to withdraw part of the money for personal use, including settling debts.

After carrying out this fraudulent act, the defendant absconded from his duty post to Plateau State where he was eventually arrested by operatives of the Commission.

Count one of the charge preferred against the defendant reads: “That you, Haruna Samuel sometime in December 2020 in Kaduna within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly misappropriated the sum of N20, 014,300.00 (Twenty Million and Fourteen Thousand, Three Hundred Naira), property of NAF Ground Training Centre which was erroneously sent to your Zenith Bank account No. 2189705893 which said sum you dishonestly converted to your own use and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 293 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, 2017 and punishable under Section 294 of the same Law”.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him.

In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Precious C. Onyeneho, prayed the court to fix a date for trial to commence. But the defence counsel, S.A Yahaya moved for an oral application for bail, urging the court to admit his client to bail.

Justice Khobo granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N5, 000,000.00 (Five Million Naira) and a reliable surety in like sum. The surety must be an owner of property in Kaduna backed with a Certificate of Occupancy, to be verified by both the EFCC and the Registrar of the Court.

The case was adjourned till March 10, 2022 for hearing.
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Justice E. A. Obile of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced an oil thief, Francis Ezeakolam to two years imprisonment for illegally dealing in petroleum products without an appropriate licence.

Ezeakolam was convicted on Tuesday January 18, 2022 after pleading "guilty" to a one count charge, for alleged illegal oil dealing.

The charge reads, “that you Francis Ezeakolam on or about the 9th May, 2021 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did deal in petroleum product, to wit: 1,600 litres Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) conveyed in a Volkswagen bus with registration number WER 473 ZZ which is not of good quality contrary to Section 1 (18) (ii) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under Section 18 (1) (ii) of the same Act"

He pleaded "guilty" when thecharge was read to him.

In view of his plea, prosecution counsel Ebiriukwu Deborah, led Prosecution Witness 1, Assistant Superintendent of the EFCC, Olawuyi Ridwan, to review the facts of the case. Ridwan told the court that, the defendant was arrested on May 9, 2021, through verified intelligence by operatives of the EFCC in an anti- bunkering operation around Borikiri/Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for illegal dealing in petroleum products without an appropriate license

He explained further that: "the defendant was also arrested alongside a Volkswagen bus with registration number WER 473 ZZ and Nissan Bus with registration number AE 974 BND while transloading products suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) packed in cellophane bags".

Counsel to the defendant, Francis Echiane prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, stressing that the defendant “is a first- time offender and does not have previous criminal records. In addition, he has learnt his lessons. He is married with children. His wife and children will have no one to provide for them"

Justice Obile convicted and sentenced the defendants to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200, 000.00). He ordered that the 1,600 litres of illegally- refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) be forfeited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and subsequently destroyed. He also ordered that the evidence of destruction of the forfeited products be filed in the court.

This is in addition to an undertaking of good behaviour to be signed by the convict.
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Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Makurdi Zonal Command, have arrested 8 suspects for alleged involvement in computer-related fraud.

The suspects are: Okoha Chinedu Charles, Chibuizor Philip Nnake, Emmanuela Odeh Eneokpe, Ushir Terhile John, Okoro Ossico Osaro, Ejiofor Chibuizor, Wandoo Juliet Baru and Tarbee Destinies.

They were arrested on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 during an operation by operatives of the Commission in Makurdi, Benue State.

The suspects will be charged to Court as soon as investigations are concluded.
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The Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday January 17, 2022 secured the conviction of two internet fraudsters before Justice F. O. Olubanjo of the Federal High Court, Asaba, Delta State.

The defendants, Okunrobo Smart and Osayi Casmir Osaruonameh were arraigned on one count charge of impersonation and obtaining by false pretence. The duo were said to have misrepresented their identities to defraud unsuspecting foreign nationals.

The charge against Osaruonamen reads, “that you Osayi Casmir Osaruonamen (m) sometime between January and 12th of September, 2021 at Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud, sent electronic message which materially misrepresented your identity to Thejasminecarter, a lady in the United States of America upon which she relied and suffered financial loss in the sum of $15,047 and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 14(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015”.

Upon arraignment the defendants pleaded guilty to the charge.

In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, I. K. Agwai prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly. However, the defence counsel, Matthew Adebola however urged the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first time offenders who have become remorseful for their actions.

Justice Olubanjo convicted and sentenced the defendants to five years imprisonment with option of a fine of N1 million each.

In addition, the defendants are to forfeit the balance in their various bank accounts as well as their phones and an apple wrist watch to the Federal Government of Nigeria. They are also to undertake in writing to be of good behavior henceforth.
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The House of Representatives has amended the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 to accommodate indirect primaries as an alternative procedure for nominating the candidates of political parties for elective positions.

Lawmakers in the plenary of the House in Abuja on Wednesday, unanimously amended Clause 84 (2) of the bill, which hitherto recognised only direct primaries, as the method for nominating party candidates.

The new provision now accommodates both direct and indirect primaries.

It reads, “The procedure for nomination of Candidates by Political Parties for various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries."

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had withheld his assent to the bill in December last year, giving some reasons, including the cost of conducting direct primaries by political parties and security challenges.

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, presided over the consideration and amendment of the bill on Wednesday.

Before the proceedings began, Gbajabiamila reminded members that the amendment would be restricted to the clause the President objected to in his letter to the House, which was limited to direct primaries.

After the clause was amended, the speaker again clarified that every other provision of the bill as earlier passed, remained the same, except for clause 84 (2), which had been amended to address the President's objection.

"Honourable colleagues, nothing else was changed in the bill.

"Only clause 84(2), which had to do with direct primaries, was amended", he stated.

Earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep. Abubakar Fulata, in line with the rules of the House, moved a motion for a recommittal of the bill to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.

His motion reads, "The House notes that the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the President for assent but the assent was withheld.

"Also notes that in withholding the assent, the President particularly referred to the amendment of Section 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 dealing with the mode of nomination of candidates by Political Parties.

"Further notes that Section 87(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 provides that the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries.

"Recalls that the National Assembly amended Section 87(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 as Clause 84(2) of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to read thus:

'The procedure for nomination of Candidates by Political Parties for various elective positions shall be by direct primaries.'"

"Cognisant of the need to allow Political Parties to choose the procedure for nomination of candidates for elective positions.

"Resolves to commit Section 84(2) of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to the Committee of the Whole for reconsideration in accordance with Order 12, Rule 20 (1-3) of the Standing Orders of the House."

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President Muhammadu Buhari commended the Super Eagles of Nigeria for keeping hope alive in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon by winning all their group matches and advancing to the second round of the tournament in grand style.

The President urged the Austin Eguavoen-led team to maintain and even surpass the terrific form that made them leaders in the group stage, as Nigeria hopefully looks forward to a total of seven emphatic wins in this competition.

President Buhari trusts that the positive reputation of good sportsmanship the traveling fans, sportswriters and the football team have demonstrated in Cameroon will continue to enliven the importance of sports, particularly football, as an enabler of development, peace, tolerance, friendship and cooperation.

The President wished the Super Eagles the very best, pledging that his administration would continue to support the efforts of international, regional and national football organisations to use the sport as a tool to build a better and peaceful world.

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PRESIDENT BUHARI ARRIVES BANJUL FOR INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT OF THE GAMBIA, ADAMA BARROW JAN 19TH 2022

President Muhammadu Buhari ON Wednesday in Banjul attended the inauguration of Adama Barrow, the Gambian President for a second term, as a mark of Nigeria’s strong commitment towards the entrenchment of democracy and good governance in The Gambia and the West African sub region.

Nigeria supported the entrenchment of democracy and good governance in The Gambia following the refusal of Yahya Jammeh the former leader, to surrender power after losing an election and has remained resolute in ensuring that democracy is sustained in the country. Jammeh only agreed to leave after the Nigerian military had made a landing in Banjul, the capital.

The presence of President Muhammadu Buhari in Banjul for the event equally underlined the affinity between Nigeria and The Gambia and indicates the value that Nigeria places on the need to strengthen democratic governance, the rule of law and promotion of fundamental human rights in our sub-region.

It is a testament to the fact that as West Africans, our destinies are tied together, and that Nigeria will continue to offer necessary support within ECOWAS to ensure that member states adhere to these cherished democratic ideals.

At repeated occasions, Nigeria continues to assure The Gambia of assistance through the establishment of strong bilateral economic institutions that will allow the private sectors of the two countries to collaborate in the areas of investment, manufacturing, shipping and air transportation.

There are clear indications that The Gambia’s business environment has gained a lot of attractiveness from Nigerian enterprises.

In addition to this, Volunteers from Nigeria’s Technical Aid Corps (TAC) scheme will soon be made available to assist The Gambia to play active parts in vital sectors, such as education, health services, rural development, justice, security, public health, infrastructure development, environment and entrepreneurship.

Almost five years ago, on January 26, 2017, The Gambia faced a difficult political crisis. ECOWAS, with the strong backing of the AU and the UN, intervened to restore democracy to this beautiful country.

The Presidential inauguration in Banjul was done in the presence of African leaders and a jubilant crowd of Gambians at the Independence Stadium, Bakau.

The Nigerian delegation joined the others in commending The Gambian President as well as the Government and people of the Republic for a peaceful election after a successful first tenure in office.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has joined the sporting community, and the media in celebrating Nigeria's 100m sprinter at the 1980 Olympic Games, Hameed Adisa Adio, as he turns 67 January 20, 2022.

President Buhari saluted Adio, who was the captain of the national Olympic team to Moscow, USSR, for his loyalty and dedication, lifting the country’s flag on the track, and pursuing a career, where he consistently upheld Nigeria’s image, especially at the FIFA 1998 World Cup and 1999 IAAF World Championships in Seville.

As a former public servant and staff of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), President Buhari noted that Adio brought style and ease to sports broadcasting that endeared him to fans of various games, and his witty narratives further inspired many to participate and compete.

The President extoled Adio’s contributions as former Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development in Kwara State, and serving on the various boards of federations, appreciating him for staying relevant in building talents and improving sports administration in the country.

President Buhari prayed for more strength and good health for the sprinter and broadcaster.

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The Area Controller of the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Comptroller Ibrahim Malanta, has claimed that non-compliance with import guidelines by importers and traders was the reason for its counter-check operations.

In the counter-check operations Customs operatives gives clean bill and releases cargo only for another set of operatives to interdict and seize same cargo at a different point.

Yusuf who was fielding question from journalists after presenting the Command’s performance scorecard for the year ended 2021, took time to explain the unfortunate and controversial operations saying that no matter how much Nigerians frown at it, only increased compliance by importers will lead to the stoppage of counterchecks outside the ports.

He said, “Customs release and customs intercepts; well, all these kinds of issues are as a result of lack of compliance. If we are sure of our compliance customs will not stop what customs has already released. The point is that we are not compliant.

“If you are compliant, you can look anyone who stops you on the road eyeball to eyeball, and tell him you have declared the true content of the cargo and paid the true value. As a Nigerian, nobody should intimidate you, but because you’re not sincere, that is why we are having this problem.”

He said if compliance is institutionalized by individual importers like corporate importers, there will be far less non-compliance and hence more imports will enjoy cargo fast track clearance scheme, which is otherwise open to every importer, small or big.

“Have you seen any manufacturer or conglomerate who are very much compliant with their declaration been stopped on the road? Never! We have a lot of ways that will assist the system to facilitate trade, particularly when you look at the fast track scheme, which allows cargo to move seamlessly from the ports to the conglomerates, importers warehouses.

“For those complaining about stoppage of goods on the roads, Customs has layers of control, not only at the seaports. If you go to the border, there are layers of control; if you think you have jumped this one, you will not jump the other one. And this counter controls are yielding positive results, particularly in terms of aiding national security.

“If you go to federal operations units and look at the statistics of their performance, you will be surprised.”
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In the other accident that occurred on the Ogun State axis of Lagos/Ibadan expressway, four people lost their lives while 12 others were injured when a passenger bus ran into a truck.

The incident occurred at about 10.55 am around Oniworo Turning in the Fidiwo area.

According to eyewitnesses, the unidentified Hovo tanker was making a U-turn when the Mazda bus with number plate APP 111 XM, which was reportedly on top speed ran into it, leading to the crash.

It was gathered that 16 persons, comprising 13 male adults and three female adults were on board the bus when the incident occurred but 12 of them survived it with varying degrees of injury but four male adults did not make it as their bodies were later deposited at a morgue in Ipara area.

Confirming the incident, Florence Okpe, spokesperson of Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Ogun State Command, attributed the suspected cause of the crash to excessive speed and loss of control.

She said: “The injured victims were taken to Victory Hospital, Ogere and Idera Hospital, Sagamu.”