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Wike: Rivers, a Christian state



Wike: Rivers, a Christian state

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has maintained his position that he governs a Christian state. He said that the Christian Community stood firmly to defeat the forces of democratic darkness during the March 9, 2019 governorship election.
He noted that Rivers’ Christians insisted that Rivers mandate must be respected, despite the ugly plots against the state, adding that he would continue to support the church for the role it played.

He spoke at the 2019 Election Victory Thanksgiving Service in his honour and Deputy Governor Ipalibo Harry Banigo by all the Anglican Dioceses of Rivers State at Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Port Harcourt yesterday.
He said:”I want to use this medium to thank the Church for their support. It is important for us to realise that but for the support and prayers of the Church, we wouldn’t have attained victory.

“I heard that some people are angry that I declared Rivers as a Christian state. With what happened on March 9, 2019, it re-emphasised my conviction that Rivers is a Christian state. Nobody can intimidate me into changing my position…
“I will not disappoint the Church. I will continue to support the Church. When people who think that they are God came, Christians stood firm and showed that Rivers State is a Christian state “, he said.
He promised to grow the state during his second term, insisting that even though some of his policies might be tough, they will be pro-people in nature.
The governor also reiterated the state’s rejection of RUGA settlements for herdsmen in whatever form, stressing that the state can only donate ocean water to the system via the laying of water pipelines to serve the cattle in the northern part of the country.

In a sermon, the Anglican Bishop of Okrika Diocese, Rt Rev Tubokosemie Abere, said the Thanksgiving Service marked the beginning of a glorious era in Rivers State.

He said: “Today marks the journey of a glorious era of our state. The attitude of Thanksgiving will never end in our state”.

Bishop Abere urged all Rivers politicians to work with the Rivers State Governor to develop the state in line with the hand of reconciliation extended by Wike.

He commended the Rivers State governor for his outstanding performance in his first term and urged him to step up the tempo in his second term.

The Cleric noted that the Thanksgiving Service was necessary to appreciate God for standing with Rivers people during the elections and stopping the enemies of democracy who wanted to impose a governor.

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EFCC, FBI move against internet fraudsters



EFCC, FBI move against internet fraudsters

…as Diaspora body partners Commission

Worried by the rising spate of cyber-crimes in the country, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have begun a joint operation to clampdown on suspects.

A total of 16 cyber-crime suspects (‘Yahoo Yahoo Boys’) have been arrested in Abuja, since the joint operation codenamed, “Operation Wire Wire, Re-Wired”, was launched.

Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who made the disclosure at a press briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Friday, vowed to identify and bring suspects to deserved justice.

According to Magu, most of the ‘Yahoo Yahoo Boys’ had relocated to Ghana, owing to intensified raids on their hideouts.

“It is very sad. It’s like the era of these 419ners,Yahoo Yahoo Boys is coming back.

“I remember we worked with the FBI in Lagos (and others); we carried out this operation Wire Wire.

“We are reenergising; we will go out and storm all their hideouts. Most of them have relocated to Ghana, because the heat is on them,” Magu said.

He pledged the readiness of the commission to sustain the on-going collaboration with relevant agencies, with a view to curbing the menace of cyber-crime.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, expressed concern over the arrest of 77 Nigerians in the United States, in connection with alleged cyber-crime.

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Polio: Osinbajo, former US envoy meet on eradication



Polio: Osinbajo, former US envoy meet on eradication

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former US Ambassador to the UN, Mr Andrew Young, on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja met to discuss ways to sustain the fight against the Wide Polio Virus (WPV) in Nigeria.

Young, who came under the aegis of Emeka Offor Foundation, was accompanied by Offor, a Nigerian businessman, whose foundation also worked to eradicate the WPV in Nigeria.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Young said that the struggle to eradicate polio had been going on for 70 years and that it would soon be achieved.

“I am here because Nigeria has a chance to strike the final blow in ending wide polio by vaccinating every child as soon as they can.

“Everything cannot be done by government; civil society has a strong role to play in education, in health and every aspect of life.

“To make change in life, you have to have almost 60 per cent but a small group of dedicated individuals under the leadership of civil society like Offor can make a big difference.”

He said that Offor had taken the lead in making the final steps in stemming the spread of the virus in Nigeria.

Young said that Osinbajo informed them at the meeting of Nigeria’s free education for every Nigerian up to the 9th grade, which he described as a revolution.

“That is a revolution; that is a phenomenal achievement; education and health determine the rate of progress; the number of jobs; the manner of wealth.

“I am just pleased that Nigeria with all the faults, everyone else talks about Nigeria as a strong country that was holding together in spite of all of its differences.”

On his part, Offor expressed delight that Nigeria had not had any case of WPV in three years, adding that the effort must be sustained until the virus was eradicated in the world.

He said that they looked forward to WHO certification which would come in March 2020.

Offor said that after the certification, the advocacy had to continue as massive immunisation would continue.

“We have to make sure that our borders that are porous are manned because the wide polio virus travels from one country to the other with human beings travelling.

“That is what we need to do; and the momentum of advocacy should be maintained at the level it is now so that you create awareness.

“So that mothers should be able to bring out their children to be immunised without having the negative ideas that were given by detractors.

“They should know that every child that is immunised will be polio free.

“When a child is normal, the child will be mentally fit, the child will help in building a better Nigeria.

“As a Rotarian, what we are doing, our goal is that polio will be wiped out, not just in Nigeria or Africa, but on the earth because until that is done, we are not safe,” he said.

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Wife of Anglican Bishop kidnapped in Imo




Wife of Anglican Bishop kidnapped in Imo

Steve Uzoechi, Owerri


Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted Mrs. Anuri Maduwuike, wife of the Anglican Bishop of Ikeduru Diocese, Emmanuel Maduwuike.

Mrs Maduwuike was said to have been abducted Thursday afternoon, on her way home from Owerri.

Our correspondent learnt that the prelate’s wife was blocked off the road along the bad stretch of road at Ekemele, by gunmen operating in an unmarked vehicle. She was then bundled into the assailants’ vehicle and driven away to an unknown destination.

A lawyer and media practitioner, Mr. Emperror Iwuala, who is also an adherent of the Anglican Church, posted the incident on his Facebook page calling for prayers.

His post read: “Wife of the Anglican bishop of Ikeduru Diocese, Mrs. Anuri Maduwuike was kidnapped yesterday (Thursday) by unknown gunmen. We need prayers for God’s intervention and for the safety and freedom of God’s handmaid.”

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the development when contacted.

The police spokesman, however, added that her abductors were yet to establish contacts with the victim’s family.

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Chad seeks INEC’s help in conducting parliamentary polls



Chad seeks INEC’s help in conducting parliamentary polls

The Independent Electoral Commission of Chad (CENI) has called on its Nigerian counterpart, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come to its aid in conducting the long overdue parliamentary elections.

CENI Vice Chairman, Mr. Adama Djibert, who led a delegation on a visit to INEC on Friday, said the electoral commission could not conduct the parliamentary election, which was long overdue since 2015, due to security and financial reasons.

According to him, the Chadian National Assembly had finished its tenure since June 21, 2015, and had practically finished another tenure without going to the polls.

“The tenure was four years. It is those circumstances that made the tenure of the assembly to prolong till this day.

“Among those circumstances is the evil we are facing together, which is Boko Haram in Lake Chad Basin. Today, our armed forces are doing great work in the region of Lake Chad Basin.

“Apart from the issue of Boko Haram, Chad has also come down to rescue Mali when they were facing some challenges also. Today my country Chad has closed down borders with Libya, Sudan (and) Central African Republic.

“The government has declared state of emergency in all these borders. So you understand the difficulties that the country is closing now,” he disclosed.

While acknowledging the previous supports of INEC to CENI, Djibert further requested the assistance of the commission, noting that Republic of Chad is yet to enjoy the support of any foreign donor agency.

“We have considered Nigeria as a brother. That is why we still turn our face to you, and in this respect, to seek for your assistance for the conduct of elections in Chad.

“I want to make it clear that none of the countries, not even organisation, has come to help the Republic of Chad.

“We have received some promises from the European Union but up till now, there is nothing tangible thing from their promises,” he added.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, promised that the commission would render technical support to CENI in the conduct of its parliamentary elections.

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Impeachment: CJ constitutes panel to investigate Kogi Deputy Gov.



Impeachment: CJ constitutes panel to investigate Kogi Deputy Gov.

The Chief Judge of Kogi, Justice Nasir Ajanah has constituted a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct levelled against Deputy Governor Simon Achuba by the state House of Assembly.

Ajanah disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Lokoja.

He said the constitution of the panel was in line with the provisions of section 188 of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“By virtue of section 188 (7) (b) of the 1999 constitution, the panel has three (3) months within which to submit its report to the assembly,” he said.

The Chairman of the panel is Mr John Baiyeshea, (SAN), while Hajiya Bilikisu Abdulmalik Basher, Mr William A. Aliwo, Canon Z. A. Asun, Alhaji Isa Adeboye, Muhammed A. Aikoye and Mr Ada Shaibu are members.

Mr Bamidele Aina, Depuy Chief Registrar, Special Duties, at the state high Court will serve as Secretary of the panel.

Ajanah said that the panel would be inaugurated on Monday at the Conference Hall of the state High Court complex, Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that state House had during its plenary on August 20 called on the Chief Judge, to constitute a panel of Inquiry to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against Achuba.

The House made the request following adoption of a motion by Majority Leader, Abdullahi Bello-Balogun (APC-Ajaokuta), calling for investigation into the allegations towards impeachment of the deputy governor.

The House request came simultaneously with an interim restraining order from a state high court, asking the Chief Judge not to act on the request for the constitution of the panel.

The court presided over by a Vacation Judge, Justice Abdul Nicodemus Awulu issued the interim restraining order on August 20, while ruling on a suit filed before it by the embattled deputy governor.

Achuba also sought to restrain the defendants from taking further steps in investigating the said allegations pending the final determination of the case.

The House, also in a quick reaction to the court’s ruling, applied for an order, vacating and/or discharging the interim order of injunction granted expate by the court.

The House asked that the ruling be set aside because the court lacked the jurisdiction to disallow it from performing its constitutional duties and that the claimant misrepresented facts.

NAN further reports that the Chief Judge vacated the order before constituting the panel.

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Kenya set for national census after ten years



Kenya set for national census after ten years

Kenya has finalised preparations for conducting a week-long population and housing census that will take place from Saturday, an official said on Friday.

Zachary Mwangi, Director General of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) told journalists in Nairobi that the last census was conducted in 2009 with minimal use of technology.

“The 2019 population and housing census will for the first time, capture data electronically through a mobile device in order to ensure more accurate information, security of data and faster processing of the results,’’ he said.

Mwangi added that enumeration will start on Saturday and end on August 30.

The preliminary results will be released three months after the end of the exercise.

KNBS noted that the preparation, enumeration and tabulation of the census results are expected to cost 18.5 billion shillings (179 million U.S. dollars).

Mwangi observed that all those who will be within the Kenyan borders on the census night will be counted including persons on transit and outdoor sleepers.

According to the government official, the information to be collected will give an accurate picture of the number of people living in the country, reports Xinhua.

The official said the census is expected to help the country in the planning and formulation of policies to enhance the delivery of public services.

Mwangi said that a number of international organisations have been accredited as observers to ensure that the exercise produces credible results.

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Global warming may make Hajj too hot for future pilgrims




Global warming may make Hajj too hot for future pilgrims

Climate change in Saudi Arabia could cause Muslims heading to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage to encounter “extreme” levels of heat, scientists have warned.

As heat and humidity in the Middle Eastern country worsens, pilgrimages that fall during the hot summer months could be the riskiest. Those include next year’s, and those between 2047 to 2052 and 2079 to 2086.

Completing the Hajj pilgrimage at least once is one of the five pillars of Islam and therefore a duty for Muslims who are physically and financially able. Each year, over the course of five days, millions of Muslims take part events in Mecca in a part of the Saudi Arabian desert, which can be hot, arid and humid, thanks to the Red Sea.

Hajj involves outdoor activities such as praying at the Great Mosque of Mecca, visiting the Mount of Arafat between sunrise and sunset, and heading to Mina on the outskirts of Mecca. As the annual pilgrimage unfolds over set days according to the lunar calendar, “very high‐density crowds” result, according to the authors of the study published in the journal Geophysical Review Letters.

Since the 1970s, the Middle East has witnessed a spike in temperatures close to 2 C—well above the global average —and more extreme heat events thanks to climate change, the scientists said.

Extreme heat can cause exhaustion and heat stroke, which can lead a person to vomit, experience headaches and even lose consciousness, reports Newsweek.

Researchers used a computer model to predict the temperatures around Mecca until 2100. The team considered the wet-bulb temperature: a measure of “mugginess” used to calculate how quickly sweat can cool from the body at a certain temperature. It involves attaching a wet cloth to a thermometer bulb.

In 60 percent of years, the wet-bulb temperature would meet the U.S. National Weather Service’s “danger” threshold when Hajj falls in the summer.

“This will happen even if substantial measures are taken to limit the impact of climate change, the study finds, and without those measures, the dangers would be even greater,” the authors warned.

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US, Taliban resume talks on ending America’s longest war




US, Taliban resume talks on ending America’s longest war

A United States envoy and the Taliban resumed negotiations Thursday on ending America’s longest war after earlier signalling they were close to a deal.

A Taliban member familiar with, but not part of, the talks that resumed in Qatar said U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad also met one-on-one Wednesday with the Taliban’s lead negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The Taliban member spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with reporters.

Baradar is one of the Taliban’s founders and has perhaps the strongest influence on the insurgent group’s rank-and-file members. Some in Afghanistan fear that Taliban fighters who reject a deal with the U.S. could migrate to other militant groups such as the brutal local affiliate of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Kabul wedding over the weekend that killed at least 80 people.

That attack again raised fears among Afghans that a U.S.-Taliban deal will bring little peace for long-suffering civilians who have died by the tens of thousands in the past decade alone.

The U.S. and the Taliban have held eight previous rounds of negotiations in the past year on issues including a U.S. troop withdrawal, a cease-fire, intra-Afghan negotiations to follow and Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not be a launch pad for global terror attacks.

Previously, Khalilzad has said the intra-Afghan negotiations will be the occasion to work out thorny issues such as constitutional reforms, the fate of the country’s many militias and even the name for Afghanistan, as the Taliban still refers to it as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

It was not immediately clear when a deal might be reached. President Donald Trump, who wants to bring home at least some of the 13,000 troops he says remain in Afghanistan before next year’s election, was briefed on the negotiations Friday.

This week, Trump said it was “ridiculous” that U.S. troops have been in the country for almost 18 years. Two U.S. service members were killed on Wednesday, joining more than 2,400 U.S. service personnel who have died since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 to topple the Taliban, whose government had harboured al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Trump this week also said Afghanistan remains dangerous and “we have to have a presence” — a stance that could complicate talks with the Taliban, whose top demand has been the departure of all U.S. and allied troops, which number close to 20,000. A Taliban spokesman said the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, was at the negotiations in Qatar on Thursday.

The U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in 2014, but American and allied troops remain, conducting strikes on the Islamic State group and the Taliban and working to train and build the Afghan military.

The prospect of a troop withdrawal has created widespread concern that another civil war in Afghanistan could follow as various armed parties jostle for power.

Afghanistan was the world’s deadliest conflict in 2018, and the United Nations has said more civilians died there last year than in the past decade. Over 32,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan in the past 10 years.

The Taliban, which now control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since their 2001 defeat in the U.S.-led invasion, have dismissed the Afghan government as a U.S. puppet but have repeatedly offered talks with anyone who comes to the table as an ordinary Afghan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday night asserted that his government will see the final draft of a U.S.-Taliban agreement for a “comprehensive discussion” before it is signed.

Afghanistan will not be significantly affected even if 5,000 U.S. forces leave in the next five months, an option that has been under discussion, he added in a nationally televised interview.

Khalilzad, who plans to meet with the Afghan government in Kabul on this trip, has expressed his desire for an agreement by Sept. 1, less than a month before Afghanistan’s presidential election. Ghani, who seeks a second term, has insisted the vote must take place to give the government a strong mandate to deal with the Taliban, reports The Associated Press.

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US Govt Denies Visa Restrictions On INEC Chairman, Commissioners, Others



The United State embassy in Abuja has denied reports that the US government has placed a Visa restriction on the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and some commissioners of the electoral body.

A source at the embassy who didn’t want to be mentioned told our reporter that that news is false as none of such directive has been given.

The source said “the US government refuses to be drawn into any attempt to malign the INEC over the 2019 elections as issues arising from the election are still in court.”
The source also confirmed that quite a number of INEC ‘s Commissioners we’re recently granted Visas to the US.

It would be recalled that the joint forum of over 60 political parties and their presidential candidates in the 2019 election has recently raised the alarm over alleged fresh plot orchestrated by a heavily paid “network of blackmailers to smear the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and discredit the nation’s electoral process.”

According to the forum, ” the ultimate objective of this campaign we have discovered is to sway the minds of the distinguished justices of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court when the matter eventually comes to the Court to rule against the declarations of results by INEC.

Sources within INEC also told our reporter that the report was not true and hinted that it could have been planted to embarrass the Commission.

“This is a lie. We don’t understand why people will go this length to spread false information,” the source said
The source said confirmed that INEC Commissioner Amina Zakary who was mentioned in the blog post as banned from entering the US just returned from the US a few days ago while Commissioner Lecky is right now in the US on official duties.

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Buhari: Huge votes earn Kano, Kaduna two ministerial slots



Buhari: Huge votes earn Kano, Kaduna two ministerial slots
  • Knocks, kudos for president over ministerial portfolios
  • Tribunal dismisses HDP’s petition against Buhari’s election


President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that his decision to appoint two ministers each from Kaduna and Kano states was based on their massive support in the 2019 presidential election.

The president disclosed this during a courtesy visit on the Emir of Zazzau, Dr. Shehu Idris in his palace in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Buhari acknowledged the massive votes he received in Kano and Kaduna states, saying that was why he allocated two ministerial seats to each of the states.

“Kaduna and Kano states are the only two states I gave two substantive positions in my Council, so I have appreciated your votes and paid you back by giving you ministers of environment and finance,” the president said.

In the Federal Executive Council (FEC) inaugurated on Wednesday, Kaduna got two A-Grade ministries – Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Dr. Muhammad Mahmoud, Minister of Environment.

Kano was given two powerful ministries – Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Maj.-Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), Minister of Defence.

Of the 15,191,847 total votes secured by Buhari in the February 23, 2019 presidential election, he got 2,458,213 votes in Kano and Kaduna states.

The president secured the highest vote in the election in Kano State. Buhari got 1,464,768 votes in Kano to defeat his rival and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, who got 391,593 votes.

Atiku could not secure the mandatory 25 per cent of votes in Kano.

In Kaduna, the president polled 993,445 votes against Atiku’s 649,612.

Buhari expressed happiness that people were willing to support his administration without even government talking to them about it, adding that this is genuine support.

“I have been talking to the governor when we were driving, the young people, the population growth here is so big and the 20 and below are the majority.

“And they don’t seem to care how you make it, but they want the leadership to provide jobs, to provide security and all other things that are expected of government.

“A lot of them have not got the opportunity for further education, so let us study the constitution and see the responsibilities of three tiers of government.

“Before you push everything to me, I am just reminding you that I will do my best and I will make sure that the new cabinet is working for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians,” he said.

The president, who noted that issues of unemployment would be quickly addressed when all levels of government lived up to their duties, assured the emir that he would do his best in attending to some requests presented to him before leaving office.

“Your highness, your shopping list is an expensive one and since I have four years to go, I will try and start or do most of them before I go. So that when I eventually go, it will be on your record that I listened to your representation on behalf of your constituency.

“We are in a very difficult time. The emir has mentioned about insecurity and you know it very well that my party and I identified three issues right from 2015.

“Number one is security, because you have to secure a country or an institution to manage it properly and the second one is economy and third is fight against corruption.”

Earlier, the emir appealed to the president to look into the issue of collapsed industries in Kaduna State with a view to proffering urgent solution to the problem.

He pleaded with the president to consider the possibility of reconstructing or rehabilitating Zaria-Pambeguwa road, Kaduna-Jos road and Zaria-Funtua road.

The monarch also reminded the president that the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), being one of the oldest hospitals, established in 1967, was being challenged by lack of funds.

The emir later presented a horse to the president as a sign of appreciation for the visit.

President Buhari, during the visit, also inaugurated the second phase of Zaria Water Project, PZ- Kwangila dual carriage way and ABU Business School.

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