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Senators take over Imo APC structure

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Senators take over Imo APC structure

An alliance of two serving Senators of the All Progressive Congress (APC); two former Senators; the Imo Deputy Governor and other key stakeholders of the party last Saturday, thoroughly overwhelmed Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state and his faction of the party in the Ward Congress of the party.

 

The governor who watched them forge the alliance and strategize toward upstaging his faction in the congress, took the ‘Allied Forces’ for granted.

 

Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, representing Imo North who was Okorocha’s Speaker in his first term is the APC National Convention Committee Secretary and Senator Hope Uzodinma representing Imo West made up of 12 LGAs, who joined the party recently and pitched his tent with the Imo APC ‘Allied Forces’ combined with Senator Osita Izunaso, the National Organizing Secretary of the party and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, a renowned war horse in party politics in Imo state to scheme Governor Rochas Okorocha out of proceeding during last Saturday’s ward congress.

 

The group which had Okorocha running from pillar to post trying to make meaning of unfolding events during the congress, for the duration of the exercise stayed a step ahead of the governor on all fronts.

 

At the end of the day, while the senators were commending party faithful for their support and hopefully waiting for the result of the exercise, Okorocha and his group who had alleged that sensitive congress materials were missing, called for the cancellation of the exercise.

 

And while the governor held on to the cancellation of the congress, the state chairman of the party, Dr. Hilary Ekeh and 20 LGAs party chairmen endorsed the congress as credible and successful, stressing that it was losers in the election that were spreading the cancellation hoax.

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Abiodun appoints Chokor as new Ogun HoS

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Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has appointed Mrs Amope Ajibola Chokor as the new Head of Service (HoS) in the state.

 

Chokor, an accomplished town planner and administrator, was the Permanent Secretary in the State Civil Service Commission until her appointment.

A statement on Saturday by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said the appointment took immediate effect.

 

Chokor, who hails from Imapa Quarters at Ota in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of the state, succeeds the immediate past Head of Service, Engr. Lanre Bisiriyu, who retired on Friday.

 

Bisiriyu, alongside 11 Permanent Secretaries, bowed out of the public service of the state on Friday and an elaborate valedictory programme was organised to mark their retirement.

 

Abiodun had promised at the valedictory event to apply merit in the appointment of Bisiriyu’s successor.

 

According to the governor, the state has a legacy of excellence to protect in its public service that produced the likes of late Chief Simeon Adebo and A.K. Degun.

“The Ogun State Government, under Governor Abiodun, knows that TPL Chokor, who has proven over the years to understand the system, would put to use her vast knowledge in the management of the State Civil Service and also maintain the high standard that the service is known for,” Somorin said in his statement.

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DSS: We re-arrested Sowore outside the courtroom, not inside

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DSS: We re-arrested Sowore outside the courtroom, not inside

The Department of State Services (DSS) has said that it never re-arrested the convener of the #Revolution Now Movement, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, inside the courtroom, on Friday. Rather they carried out the arrest outside the court, the Service posited.

This is contrary to reports that Sowore, who is also the publisher of Sahara Reporters, was arrested by DSS’ personnel inside the courtroom.

Sowore and an activist, Mr. Olawale Bakare, are standing trial before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja, over treasonable felony and other related charges.

In compliance with a 24-hour ultimatum, the secret service had released the duo, who appeared in court on Friday.

However, it was widely reported that operatives had allegedly disrupted the day’s proceedings, shortly after the court had adjourned the case until February, 2020.

But in a statement, Saturday, by its spokesperson, Dr. Peter Afunanya, the DSS said the commotion in court, was caused by Sowore’s supporters, who were shielding him from what they referred to as an “imaginary arrest”.

The statement said: “It has become important that the Department of State Services responds to the serial misinformation being circulated in the media about its involvement in the incident that occurred on 6th December, 2019 at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

“It is instructive to note that during the court proceeding of the day under reference, Defence Counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), called the attention of the Judge to a suspicion that the Service was planning to re-arrest Omoyele Sowore immediately after the court session. The Court discountenanced his alarm and asserted that the Service was law abiding and would not engage in such and subsequently adjourned to February, 2020.

“However, when Sowore stepped out of the court and sighted operatives of the Service within the premises, he ran back into the courtroom. In a bid to shield him from an imaginary arrest, his uncontrollable supporters mobbed him while chanting ‘you can’t arrest him’ thus the pandemonium that ensued”.

According to the secret service, a careful analysis of some videos in circulation, will attest to its position.

“A critical look at the videos in circulation would convince any objective viewer that there was no DSS personnel during the entire period the Sowore crowd acted out its orchestrated drama. Its personnel were never, at any time, involved in the incident. In actual fact, it was his people who seized him. And from the latest developments, it has become obvious what the intent for such mischief was meant for – simply to serve a propagandist purpose as well as bring the Service to disrepute.”

This was as it noted further that: “Eyewitnesses and several media accounts have disclosed that the court had adjourned peacefully without an untoward incident when suddenly the unruly crowd imported into the courtroom went into frenzy on the mere suspicion that DSS was sighted at the court premises. The eventual re-arrest of Sowore by the DSS was effected outside the courtroom. His lead counsel has affirmed this.

“The DSS, as a professional, responsible and law abiding organisation, could not have invaded a courtroom including the one presided over by a respected Judge who is not only handling its case but whose order was unconditionally obeyed within a 24 hour ultimatum.

“The Service holds the judiciary in utmost respect and will continue to work with it for national peace and public safety in Nigeria”.

It continued: “It has therefore become unarguable and raises a moral question as to who, between Sowore and the Service, dislikes or disobeys the courts. In this regard, public attention may be drawn to the 25th July 2019 statement of Sowore that: “I’m not talking of protest. I’m embarking on revolution… Don’t tell me about legal implications or what a Judge will say. I don’t care…

“On December 5 when Sowore was released, he had, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja addressed a group of persons who, he reassured of his cause to create anarchy in the country.

“It may be recalled that the Service had on 3rd December, 2019 raised alarm about a plot to destabilize the country. It is quite remarkable that the plot has already started playing out. To ensure this objective is further achieved, some persons and groups are scurrying to seize the opportunity of the misleading court incident and the wrong narrative against the DSS to organize an insurrection in the country. They have continued to falsely curry and mobilize international sentiments and attention, through clear misrepresentation of the facts, for their selfish ends.

“For emphasis, it should be noted that Sowore is facing trial not as an activist, journalist or a politician, but for his resort to call for violence, forceful takeover of government and suspected transnational illegal activities. It is most unfortunate that Sowore, shortly after being released from custody, based on court order, resorted to acts inimical to security. To this effect, only Sowore has been re-arrested as his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was not picked up even when Falana had promised to deliver him to the Service that is not presently interested in him.

“Though sections of the populace have been fed with spurious narratives about these developments, Nigerians and the international community should not be gullible or even vulnerable to the machinations of groups desirous of misleading them.

“The Service is committed to the discharge of its mandate of detecting and preventing threats against the internal security of Nigeria. It supports democracy in the country and will do all that is legal to protect it. It will also ensure that efforts of anti-democratic forces are frustrated.”

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Popular televangelist Reinhard Bonnke is dead

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Popular televangelist Reinhard Bonnke is dead

Popular televangelist, Reinhard Bonnke, is dead.

Bonnke’s wife, Anne, announced his death on Saturday via his verified Facebook page.

Anni wrote: “Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ. It is with sorrow that the Bonnke Family would like to announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.

“He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on December 7, 2019. For the past 60 years, he has preached the glorious Gospel of Jesus throughout the entire world. We want to thank you on behalf of him and our family, for your kind love and unwavering support, which enabled him to preach the matchless message of salvation to countless people. He preached Jesus.”

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Kenya police officers among 10 killed in bus attack

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Kenya police officers among 10 killed in bus attack

Kenyan police officers were among those killed when gunmen suspected to be from Islamist militant group al Shabaab attacked a bus on Friday near the border with Somalia, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office said on Saturday.

The vehicle belonging to the Medina Bus Company was attacked on a lonely stretch of road in the Kotulo area as it travelled between the towns of Wajir and Mandera.

“People, among them police officers, were brutally murdered,” Kenyatta’s office said in a statement.

Police said 10 people had been killed and that the attackers had specifically targeted non-Somalis after flagging down the bus. The area is mostly inhabited by ethnic Somali Kenyans, reports Reuters.

“The attackers separated local Somalis from non-locals, and in the process, shot 10 non-locals dead,” police spokesman Charles Owino said in a statement.

He said security forces were pursuing the gunmen and that the driver and conductor of the bus were in custody and helping with investigations.

Al Shabaab said it had carried out the attack and that it had killed 10 people including “secret security agents and government employees”.

The Somali-based group has targeted Kenya many times since the East African nation sent troops across the border to fight the militants in their homeland in October 2011.

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Man has end of penis amputated after docs noticed it was rotting away

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Man has end of penis amputated after docs noticed it was rotting away

A man needed to have the end of his penis amputated after doctors spotted that it was rotting away during a routine check-up.

The 43-year-old patient, who hasn’t been named, was having dialysis treatment for kidney failure at a hospital near Adelaide, South Australia.

But during his examination, medics noticed that the end of his penis had turned white with black spots.

Surgeons quickly realised that it was gangrenous and the dead flesh needed to be sliced off urgently to prevent it from spreading, reports thesun.co.uk.

Rare disease

Writing in an article, published in BMJ Case Reports,medics explained that the man had developed a rare disease called penile calciphylaxis.

It’s a build up of calcium deposits in the small blood vessels, causing them to narrow and cut off circulation.

This can lead to the tissue dying and if it’s not caught quickly, it can cause gangrene which can spread quickly and is incurable.

Calciphylaxis can be caused by chronic kidney disease because the organs stop filtering the calcium out of the blood.

Lucky to be alive

In this case, the medics, led by Dr Rowan David, said that the man was lucky to have survived the condition, which kills around six in 10 patients.

He wrote: “The majority of patients who develop penile calciphylaxis progress to gangrene and sepsis”.

The patient was taken for an emergency operation to remove the rotting flesh but his wound got worse and he needed further surgery to remove the entire tip.

They managed to reconstruct it with a skin graft four days later but he was left with what they described as a “penile stump”.

Despite his ordeal, the man appeared to be doing well when he returned for his two-month check-up.

What is calciphylaxis?

Calciphylaxis is a rare, but serious, kidney complication.

The condition causes calcium to build up inside the blood vessels of the fat and skin.

Calciphylaxis is also called calcific uremic arteriolopathy.

It’s most often seen in people with advanced chronic kidney disease, or people with kidney failure who are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant.

In dialysis, a machine filters and purifies the blood because the kidneys are unable to do so on their own.

Calciphylaxis results in the formation of very painful skin lesions. It often causes serious infections that can be fatal.

Symptoms of calciphylaxis include:

fatigue

weakness

cramps

depression

body aches

If you have any concerns, see a GP immediately.

Source: Healthline

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Indian rape victim dies in hospital after being set ablaze

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Indian rape victim dies in hospital after being set ablaze

A 23-year-old rape victim set on fire by a gang of men, which included her alleged rapist, has died in a New Delhi hospital, the doctor treating her said on Saturday.

The woman was on her way to board a train in Unnao district of northern Uttar Pradesh state to attend a court hearing over her rape when she was doused with kerosene and set on fire on Thursday, according to police.

She was airlifted to Delhi for treatment later that day, reports Reuters.

The attack, the second major case of violence against women in the past two weeks, has sparked public outrage in India.

The woman died on Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest, Dr. Shalabh Kumar, the head of burns and plastic department at New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital told Reuters.

“She was having 95% percent burns,” he said, adding the woman’s wind pipe was burned and “toxic and hot fumes” had filled her lungs.

The woman had filed a complaint with Unnao police in March alleging that she had been raped at gun-point on December 12, 2018, police documents showed.

Having been subsequently jailed, the alleged rapist was released last week after securing bail, police officer S.K. Bhagat said in Lucknow.

On Thursday, the rape victim was seized by five men, beaten, stabbed and set on fire, local media reported citing her statement to police.

Still ablaze, she walked nearly a kilometer, seeking help before finally calling the police herself, according to Aaj Taj TV news channel.

The victim’s father alleged that their family was harassed and threatened by the family of the accused.

“They should be either hanged or shot dead,” he told India Today news channel.

Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state and has become notorious for its poor record regarding crimes against women, with more than 4,200 cases of rape reported there in 2017 – the highest in the country.

On Friday, Indian police shot dead four men who were suspected of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinarian near Hyderabad city, drawing applause from across the country angry over violence against women.

But many were also concerned that police had over reached in shooting the alleged suspects without any trial.

“What will it take (to end rapes)? Not the encounter of just the poor men who rape but swift arrest and certain punishment of all rapists, however powerful or closely related to the victim,” said Karuna Nundy, a lawyer practicing at India’s Supreme Court who was instrumental in shaping the country’s anti-rape laws in 2013.

“And that takes real change, it’s not as easy as passing a legal amendment to increase sentencing.”

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Soyinka, others flay DSS for invading court, re-arresting Sowore

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Soyinka, others flay DSS for invading court, re-arresting Sowore

 

 

Noble Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday described the commando fashion, in which the Department of State Security (DSS) officials yesterday invaded a courtroom to re-arrest the convener of #Revolution- Now movement, Omoyele Sowore, as alarming and degrading of the nation’s judiciary even as Sowore’s counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), said it was “horrendous, bizarre, and barbaric contempt of court” never experienced under “even the most brutal of past dictators that have ever ruled Nigeria.” He added: “Under the military regime, the so-called enemies of the government would not be arrested in the web of the court which is considered a sanctuary.

 

“The military regimes would always show some respect for the court and would only arrest after the person left the court premises. What we have witnessed today is alien to Nigeria.”

 

At a meeting which Justice Ojukwu called to be held in her chambers along with the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), the judge “expressed dismay” over the development as she recounted that “she was made to flee her court”. The invasion, which paralysed judicial activities in the court, was like a scene from a war movie as armed DSS operatives cocked their guns to re-arrest Sowore just after the judge had adjourned his trial till February 2020.

 

Sowore and his co-defendant, Adebayo Bakare, who are being prosecuted on charges of treasonable felony following their call for the #RevolutionNow protests across Nigeria, were earlier released from a four-month custody after the court issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the DSS for their release. The judge had adjourned till Friday for a report of compliance with his fresh order for the release of the two men.

 

At the close of yesterday’s proceedings, Sowore and Bakare were leaving the courtroom and the judge was already attending to another case when about 15 armed DSS operatives who, appeared to have laid ambush for them, made to arrest both men.

 

The move forced Sowore and Bakare to make a dash for the courtroom but Sowore was quickly held by an operative as a struggle ensued. Sowore, who managed to free himself, ran back into the court with the invading operatives cocking their guns as they went after him.

 

The development disrupted the ongoing proceedings at Justice Ojukwu’s court, forcing the judge to quickly flee the court and call off the day’s proceedings. Sowore, along with some of his supporters, was able to resist the arrest for a while as he continued to raise the alarm that the DSS’ moves were aimed at eliminating him.

 

After emerged from the meeting with the judge, Falana offered to drive his client to the DSS headquarters in Abuja, an arrangement to which the operatives agreed as they positioned their vehicles in front and behind Falana’s car as the convoy headed to the DSS headquarters. Falana later briefed journalists that said on reaching their office, DSS officers refused ti let him meet Sowore as he was asked to come back later.

 

In a related development, a group of protesters under the aegis of Guardian of Democracy Initiative, on Friday, stormed the premises of the Federal High Court, venue of the ongoing trial of #RevolutionNow convener Omoyele Sowore. The protesters, who booed at Sowore upon his arrival in court, demanded for the prosecution of the former presidential candidate as they displayed placards and chanted anti-revolution now songs.

 

They demanded that Sowore must be prosecuted for trying to destabilise the peaceful co-existence of Nigeria.

 

Addressing newsmen at the court premises, the leader of the group, Danesi Momoh, declared support for the move by DSS to arrest Sowore and members of his group. Momoh said that they were in court to support the Nigeria constitution, stressing that Sowore must not be allowed to trigger any form of insecurity in Nigeria and cautioning that the only constitutional means of removing a government or taking over power was through the ballot box and not through a revolution.

 

On his part, Olayemi Success of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations said that the protest was a peaceful one to demand the speedy prosecution of Sowore, saying there was every need to protect Nigeria from actions capable of destabilising it to ensure that peace and developments continue to thrive. Soyinka in a statement he personally signed and made available to Saturday Telegraph, reiterated the “nation’s concern, indeed alarm, about the escalating degradation of the judiciary through multiple means, of which disobedience of court orders is fast becoming the norm.”

 

He called on President Mohammadu Buhari to “rein in your wild dogs of disobedience.”

 

The statement titled “LESSONS FROM THE AFRICAN WILD DOG (Lycaeon Pictus)” reads in part: “Only yesterday, in my commentary on the ongoing Sowore saga, I pointed out the near perfect similarity between plain crude thuggery and the current rage of court disobedience. Little did I suspect that the state children of disobedience would aspire to the level of the African wild dogs on a pack hunt. “I apologise for underestimating the DSS capacity for the unthinkable.

 

I reiterate the nation’s concern, indeed alarm, about the escalating degradation of the judiciary through multiple means, of which disobedience of court orders is fast becoming the norm. “May I remind this government that disobedience calls to disobedience, and that disobedience of the orders of the constitutional repository of the moral authority of arbitration – the judiciary – can only lead eventually to a people’s disregard of the authority of other arms of civil society, a state of desperation that is known, recognised and accepted as – civil disobedience.

 

“It is so obvious – state disobedience leads eventually to civil disobedience, piecemeal or through a collective withdrawal of recognition of other structures of authority. That way leads to chaos but – who set it in motion? As is often the case, the state, unquestionably. Such a state bears full responsibility for the ensuing social condition known as anomie.” According to Soyinka, “It has become imperative and urgent to send this message to President-General Buhari: Rein in your wild dogs of disobedience.

 

And for a start, get a trainer to teach them some basic court manners!” Okei-Odumakin: Nigeria beyond redemption The President of Centre for Change, Dr. Joe Okei- Odumakin, has condemned the decision of the Department of State Services (DSS) to re-arrest the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, less than 24 hours after he was granted bail. Okei-Odumakin in a statement issued yesterday, shortly after DSS invaded the Federal High court where So- wore was being tried and rearrested him, said any society that tolerates thuggish disposition of its security forces is lost beyond redemption.

 

The statement reads in part: “Our attention has been drawn to the brazen and barbaric invasion of the Federal High court where Sowore was being tried. “The gangsteric conduct of the men said to be DSS operatives, who led to the chasing away of the presiding judge, harassment of lawyers, journalists and manhandling of Sowore was a crude assault on the hallowed seat of justice and further desecration of our judiciary. “Any society that tolerates this thuggish disposition of its security forces is lost beyond redemption.

 

The only way the government can attempt to prove it does not sanction this bestial conduct is to fish out those responsible for this barbaric conduct and ensure the rule of law is followed in the case of Sowore.”

 

Affront to rule of law, judicial independence – CACOL The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has taken a swipe at the Directorate of State Security (DSS), for rearresting Omoyele Sowore and Adebayo Bakare, aka, Mandate, inside the court premises on Friday. Both men have been standing trial for treasonable felony with the hashtag #RevolutionNow. In a statement issued yesterday by its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, CACOL called on security apparatus of the state to be more circumspect and mindful of democratic requirements under a civil government.

 

“From the video clip of the unfortunate incident at the court earlier today (Friday), it was clear that had it not been for the timely and courteous intervention of some journalists and legal practitioners, including his lawyer, Barr. Femi Falana (SAN), who later cautioned on the implications of the DSS’ insistence to desecrate the known tenets and ethos of democratic practice, by forcefully getting hold and whisking the duo away from the court premises, one could not imagine the dimension of wanton violence and probable loss of lives that could have taken place even in the full glare of national and international media.

 

“Apparently, this is not the kind of compliments any responsible and worthy security agency should attract for itself and the country’s leadership even under a dictatorship. “As a responsible civil society organisation, we reiterate our calls for the security apparatus of the state to be more circumspect and mindful of democratic requirements under a civil government so as not to scare foreigners away, thereby jeopardise our investment portfolio or precipitate breakdown of law and order in a way that the sovereignty and survival of the nation itself becomes threatened.”

 

While calling for the unconditional release of the men, CACOL further stated: “Even if the DSS has any cause to file fresh or additional charges against the accused, either before same judge or other court of competent jurisdiction, this would have been done in cognizance of known procedures that would not precipitate contravention of law and order. “We therefore, call for immediate and unconditional release of same accused since nothing has shown them to be any cogent threat to the continued survival and peaceful coexistence of the Nigerian nation, while issues of perennial conflicts are objectively looked into for the nation to take its rightful place amongst comity of nations.”

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Our members attacked Amaechi in Spain –IPOB

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Our members attacked Amaechi in Spain –IPOB

IPOB acclaims attack

 

 

The Indigeneous People of Biafra (IPOB), has claimed that the members were responsible for the attack in Madrid, Spain on the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi. A a report by Thecable, online news portal, the spokeperson for the group, Emma Powerful, confirmed that the attack, which the minister said was by hoodlums, was actually carried out by their members in Spain.

 

Amaechi had yesterday made the attack on his person known himself on his Twitter handle when he confirmed the attack, which was akin to that of the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, in Germany.

 

Amaechi tweeted: “Some minutes ago, I was attacked by a few misguided Nigerians while on national assignment at a climate change event in Madrid, Spain. They were quickly repelled by the Spanish police before they could do any harm. I am fine. I was not hurt.

 

Thanks for your support and prayers.” At the time, Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader, described the attack as targeting “those engaged in selling (Igbo) collective interest to Fulani caliphate”.

 

 

Kanu left the country after security agencies stormed his father’s house in Abia state during a military exercise. He had been granted bail in the course of his trial before an Abuja court, but the judge revoked the bail after he failed to show up in court. According to Thecable, an online news portal, the spokesperson for the Indigeneous People of Biafra (IPOB), Emma Powerful, confirmed that the attack, which the minister said was by hoodlums, was actually carried out by their members in Spain.

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Makinde jokingly jabs Ajimobi in LAUTECH address in video

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Makinde jokingly jabs Ajimobi in LAUTECH address in video

The hardworking Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, explored his soft side days ago during an interaction with students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) during a recent visit. The governor, who continues to resonate with the people through his visionary style of governance and purposeful leadership, was laying out his action plan to the students which he said would be the panacea for the lingering crisis of the university.

 

As he spoke, a few students here and there interrupted him, like they did to immediate past governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi in a viral video a few years ago. But unlike Ajimobi, who delivered his now famous “Constituted Authority” “Are you a student too?” “What course are you doing?” and “Bring that boy for me” among others, Makinde simply, jokingly said: “All these things you people are doing, can you do them in front of Constituted Authority?” It led to an eruption of laughter as the students, lecturers and other stakeholders of the university cheered him.

 

In tweets accompanying the event, Governor Makinde wrote: “We visited the Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso (LAUTECH), this morning to meet with all stakeholders, in order to resolve the current crisis which resulted in strike action by staff on November 18, 2019.”

 

In another, he said: “I assured them Oyo State would intervene in the current crisis so studies can resume, if the various staff unions reach an agreement on how to utilise the intervention fund. However, I told them we need their support to implement a lasting solution to the university’s challenges.”

 

Finally, he noted: “We believe our proposal for sole ownership for LAUTECH is the solution the university needs. I reiterated that this was not a rejection of Osun State people as our brothers and sisters but a pragmatic solution, as Oyo State is financially prepared to shoulder the responsibility.”

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Experts: Early passage of 2020 budget’ll boost economy

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Experts: Early passage of 2020 budget’ll boost economy

Following Federal Government’s return to January –December budget calendar with the 2020 version, economic and financial analysts have declared that the early passage will add value to the economy and also lead to some measure of buoyancy. In their separate submissions to our correspondent’s inquiry, they agreed that the early passage would also allow proper implementation of project distributions.

 

After years of futile attempts to return the country’s budget circle to a predictable and structured January to December budget calendar, the jinx was broken Thursday with the passage of 2020 N10.59 trillion budget by the upper chamber of the National Assembly, the Senate. President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 8, laid the N10.33 trillion 2020 ‘’Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation” before a joint session of the parliament.

The budget was laid at record time before members of the 9th National Assembly, who pledged to work with the executive arm to pass the budget by December. Reflecting on the enormous advantage of January to December calendar, Task Team Leading Consultant for World Bank, Prof. Ken Ife, said the economy would reap positively from the January to December budget circle.

 

He said: “it is a very remarkable achievement for both parties- executive and the legislature. It’s also very important for private sector to syncronise with government spending pattern. It’s also to the advantage of development assistance. Almost two per cent of our GDP comes as development assistance. Most of them function in the same horizon. “In terms of capital releases, it makes sense to release money on time for projects. They have to be released and spent within a particular calendar year. From our previous experiences, projects were delayed because the whole arrangements didn’t sync.”

 

He added that Nigeria’s budget now rooted in January- December calendar, going forward, would impact positively on the economy, noting that it would give private sector players sense of predictability. On his part, the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, advised the Federal Government to expand its revenue sources in order to raise adequate revenue to finance the budget

 

He said government should free itself from funding numerous programmes, saying that would reduce the need for borrowing and the demand for funds to pay back and service debts. “Generally, our revenue projections have severally missed the mark over the years.

 

The projections and forecasts suffer from lack of realism. In 2016, revenue projections fell short by 23 per cent; in 2017, it fell short by 47.73 per cent and in 2018 by 45 per cent. This indicates that overall, a good part of our revenue projections has not been based on empirical evidence. “Further, if projected revenue in 2018 was N7.1 trillion and we missed the mark by 45 per cent and have also missed the mark by 30 per cent in the half year of 2019, the further increase in projected revenue to N8.15tn in 2020 seems to be hanging in the air,” he said. The 2020 Appropriation Bill, officially laid was passed into law after a clause by clause consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

 

The Senate specifically approved N10.59 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year. The breakdown shows that N560,470,827,235 for statutory transfers, N2,725,498,930,000 for Debt Service; N4,842,974,600,640 for Recurrent (Non- Debt) Expenditure; and N2,465,418,006,955 for Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on December 31, 2020. The budget has a fiscal deficit of N2.2 trillion and Deficit/Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1.52 per cent. Also reacting, a former Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who started the pursuit of January to December budget calendar, lauded the new era of budget calendar.

 

Udoma started the campaign for the return to the January to December budget cycle. He consistently blamed the inability to achieve more strategic fiscal cycle on the frosty relationship between the two arms of government; but he was hopeful that the present administration would still achieve it once the leadership of the National Assembly is convinced and aligned with the Executive.

 

In a statement by his Special Adviser, Akpandem James, he regretted that the administration was unable to achieve it in the first four years because of the friction between the two arms of government. He had predicted that “in Mr. President’s second term we might have a situation where the Executive and the leadership of the National Assembly are much more aligned. This will help not only to achieve a return to the January to December fiscal year, but to have a much smoother budget process.”

 

In order to achieve a return to the January 1 commencement date, Senator Udoma indicated that the budget must ideally be delivered to the National Assembly by September. “But when you are operating a budget which commenced only in June or July, by September you would have had no idea how the existing budget is likely to perform. “Indeed, given the procurement process, for a budget which starts running in June or July, there might have been little or no capital releases by September.

 

The only way to return to a January to December fiscal year, under those circumstances, is for there to be agreement between the Executive and the National Assembly to produce a budget on the basis of significant assumptions.” The former minister was delighted that the alignment between the 9th Assembly (in its first budget outing) with the Executive was poised to return the country to the January to December calendar

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