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Tambuwal appoints Bello as spokesman

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Tambuwal appoints Bello as spokesman

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has appointed Muhammad Bello as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

The appointment was contained in a statement by the immediate past Director-General, Media and Public Affairs and now a Permanent Secretary, Malam Abubakar Shekara, yesterday in Sokoto.

The statement said Bello, 51, is a 1994 Sociology graduate from Bayero University, Kano. He also holds Masters degree in Conflict, Peace and Strategic Studies from Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja.

Prior to his appointment, Bello, a journalist of over 20 years, was a former District Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Funtua, Katsina State.

He was the Editor of LEADERSHIP Friday and LEADERSHIP Weekend newspapers and a former Deputy Editor of The Authority newspaper.

Bello, who was the Regional Editor of THISDAY newspapers in the South-South, also covered the House of Representatives and the Presidential Villa, Abuja, for the paper between 2012 and 2015.

He was a freelancer for the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) in Port Harcourt and also held forte as the Bureau Chief of Daily Trust newspapers.

Bello started his journalism career at the Kano State Government-owned Triumph newspapers, where he rose through the ranks to become Assistant Editor, Sunday Triumph.

He later joined the then The News, TEMPO and PM News as North-West Correspondent based in Kano.

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Insecurity: FG overwhelmed, security should be decentralised, say Catholic bishops

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Insecurity: FG overwhelmed, security should be decentralised, say Catholic bishops

Kunle Olayeni, Abeokuta

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has expressed concern over the continued insecurity in the country saying the Federal Government appears overwhelmed by the development.

The episcopal body, which noted that various security challenges have made living in Nigeria very precarious, called for proper decentralization of security agencies for effective results.

Rising from the CBCN second plenary meeting held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the bishops said in a communiqué issued that there can be no stability and enabling environment for meaningful development without adequate security of lives and property.

The communiqué, titled “Moving beyond precarious living in Nigeria,” was jointly signed by the CBCN President, Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze, and the Secretary, Most Rev. Camillus Umoh.

It observed that the nation’s democracy was fast derailing, noting that the qualities of accountability, transparency, independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights, observance of the rule of law, and fair and credible electoral process were still lacking.

It appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in the country, adding that there should be fairness in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources, and distribution of social amenities.

While acknowledging efforts being made to fight insecurity in the land, the Catholic bishops declared that a lot more still needs to be done.

The CBCN urged governments at all levels to provide the enabling environment for the creation of job opportunities for teeming youth population, noting that this would minimise the menace of insecurity in the country.

The second plenary meeting was held between September 11 and 20 at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta.

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Israel’s president begins talks to form new government

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Israel’s president begins talks to form new government

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin began two days of crucial talks Sunday with party leaders before selecting his candidate for prime minister, after a deadlocked repeat election was set to make forming any new government a daunting task.

Israel’s largely ceremonial president is tasked with picking the politician with the best chance of forming a stable coalition government. While usually a mere formality, this time Rivlin plays a key role after an election result in which neither of the top candidates has an outright majority.

“The president, in this case, will be very, very involved in the particulars. He will ask for clear answers,” Harel Tubi, the president’s top aide, told Israel’s Army Radio. “I think he’ll turn the consultations this time into consultations that have the ability to present other possibilities, of the sort that the public hasn’t heard about yet.”

In last week’s vote, Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party won 33 seats in the 120-member parliament, while incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud took 31 seats. Neither can muster a parliamentary majority with their traditional smaller allies.

The deciding factor looks to be Avigdor Lieberman and the eight seats his Yisrael Beitenu party captured. Lieberman is demanding a broad unity government with the two major parties that is secular and excludes the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties. That appears to be the emerging compromise between Blue and White and Likud, though both are insisting upon leading it.

Possible corruption charges

Complicating matters is Blue and White’s refusal to sit with Netanyahu because he faces a likely indictment on corruption charges.

The first step out of the quagmire is the consultations at the president’s residence, where each of the parties is asked to make its recommendations. Though Netanyahu’s Likud dropped in support, its allies appear to give Netanyahu the support of 55 members of parliament. For Gantz to compete, he’ll need the backing of the Joint List of Arab parties, which emerged as the third largest party with 13 seats, and has traditionally refrained from openly endorsing a candidate for prime minister.

The Arab-led parties have never sat in an Israeli government and its leader, Ayman Odeh, says he is aiming to become opposition leader in case of a unity government. But he hasn’t ruled out giving Gantz his recommendation to the president to thwart another Netanyahu-led government. It would make the first time since 1992 the Arab parties played a role in the process. The decision will come down later Sunday, before party representative meet Rivlin.

Rivlin’s eventual candidate will have up to six weeks to form a coalition. If that fails, Rivlin could give another candidate for prime minister 28 days to form a coalition. And if that doesn’t work, new elections would be triggered yet again. Rivlin has said he will do everything possible to avoid such a scenario and no one appears interested in a third Israeli election within a year.

Last week’s vote happened because Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition after April’s election without the support of Lieberman, an unpredictable ally-turned-rival who has upended Israeli politics in recent months. The nationalist, yet secular, former defense minister is still being coy about whom he will recommend as the next prime minister.

Overhanging the whole process is Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearing scheduled in two weeks, after which he could face charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud in three separate corruption cases. Netanyahu had hoped to secure a narrow majority of hard-line and religious parties that support granting him immunity from prosecution. With immunity now off the table, Netanyahu is desperate to remain in office despite the long odds.

Israeli law does not require a sitting premier to resign if indicted. But if he is charged, as is widely expected, he would come under heavy pressure to resign, reports The Associated Press(AP).

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Iran says it will destroy any aggressor as tensions build in Gulf

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Iran says it will destroy any aggressor as tensions build in Gulf

Iran has threatened to pursue and destroy any aggressor, and says war may be unavoidable in the wake of drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oilfields and a US troop build-up in the Gulf.

A day after the head of Iran’s elite Republican Guards said on state TV that “limited aggression will not remain limited,” the Iranian foreign minister told American network CBS that he was not confident that war could be avoided, while again denying Iranian involvement in the attacks on Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with Face the Nation due to be aired Sunday morning, US time, foreign minister Javad Zarif said: “I’m not confident that we can avoid a war. I’m confident we will not start one, but I’m confident that whoever starts one will not be the one who finishes it.”

Asked by host Margaret Brennan what that meant, Zarif replied: “That means there won’t be a limited war.”

The US and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly accused Iran of being behind the September 14 attacks on Saudi oilfields, which were claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and currently fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.

Zarif, who is in New York for the United Nations general assembly, said he was confident Iran played no role in the attack, and described the US decision to send troops to bolster Saudi air defences as unhelpful posturing.

He said any independent inquiry would clear his country. “These attacks did not take place from Iran for the supreme leader to approve them,” Zarif said. “Had they taken place from Iran then he would have had to approve them. But it didn’t take place from Iran.”

The interview came after the head of the Republican Guards, Maj Gen Hossein Salami, said on Iranian TV on Saturday: “Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. We will pursue any aggressor. We are after punishment and we will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.”

Donald Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defences. Trump’s move drew fire in Washington on Saturday from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called it his “latest outrageous attempt” to circumvent Congress.

“These unacceptable actions are cause for alarm,” Pelosi said in a statement accusing Trump of turning “a blind eye” to Saudi violence against innocent Yemenis, human rights abuses and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The United States cannot enable more brutality and bloodshed,” she added. “Congress will do our job to uphold the constitution, defend our national security and protect the American people.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace branch, Amirali Hajizadeh, said any attacks on Iran would receive “a crushing response“, the official news agency IRNA reported.

Hajizadeh was speaking at a public exposition called Hunting Vultures, where what Iran said were remains of downed drones were displayed, along with the Iranian air defence system that shot down a US military drone in June.

The exposition is part of annual events commemorating the start of the 1980-88 war with Iraq, which also includes air and naval displays in the Gulf and military parades on Sunday.

Earlier, foreign minister Zarif had denounced renewed US sanctions against its central bank following the Saudi attacks as an attempt to deny ordinary Iranians access to food and medicine, and said the move was a sign of US desperation.

The US on Friday imposed more sanctions, targeting the Central Bank of Iran, the National Development Fund of Iran – the country’s sovereign wealth fund – and an Iranian company that US officials say is used to conceal financial transfers for Iranian military purchases.

“This is a sign of US desperation … When they repeatedly sanction the same institution, this means their attempt at bringing the Iranian nation to its knees under ‘maximum pressure’ has failed,” Zarif told state television.

“But this is dangerous and unacceptable as an attempt at blocking … the Iranian people’s access to food and medicine.”

Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi rejected what he called “unreal and repetitious accusations by certain Saudi officials” about the attacks, state media said.

A senior Saudi official said earlier that Riyadh would wait for the results of a probe before responding to the attacks on its oil facilities, for which it believes Iran is responsible.

Zarif said he would on Wednesday meet foreign ministers of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord, which was agreed with Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia as well as the United States.

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Afflictions pushed me into 41-day dry fasting, says SS1 student

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Afflictions pushed me into 41-day dry fasting, says SS1 student

Recuperating SS1 student of Ishieke Secondary School, Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has revealed why he embarked on a 41-day dry fasting which landed him in the hospital after concluding it.

 

 

Oke, who hails from Ohataekwe in Umuezeokaoha community, Ezza North Local Government Area of the state had collapsed after the marathon praying and fasting on a mountain in Azugwu, Abakaliki metropolis.

 

 

Oke, who commenced the fasting on July 23, sneaked to the mountain without informing his widowed mother, Elizabeth and his elder brother, Obinna Oke who lives with him in Ishieke.

 

 

Some of his prayer colleagues hurriedly carried him to the elder brother who consulted a patent medicine dealer who administered drip and some drugs on him to revive him following his sudden collapse.

 

 

A former House of Rep member in the state, Peter Edeh, who is an old boy of Ishieke Secondary School and who was not satisfied with the local treatment, instructed Nteoma Chimaobi to take him to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA) for proper medical examination and immediate treatment.

 

 

Edeh also donated N40,000 for Oke’s treatment.

 

 

The 19-year-old boy stayed in the hospital for more than a week. He reportedly died on September 9 while in hospital. He had gone into coma and was placed on oxygen life support before he reportedly passed away.

His mother, who was taking care of him at the hospital, started making arrangements on how his body will be taking out of the hospital for burial.

 

 

But Ikechukwu reportedly came back to life after about an hour.

Few days later, he opted to be discharged from the hospital.

 

 

The boy had severally complained of hardship in his family and sort assistance from government and private individuals but to no avail.

 

 

He hawks sachet water otherwise known as pure water and gala in Onitsha Anambra after every academic term in the school calendar, to raise his school fees and decided to embark on 41-days praying and fasting to seek God’s intervention.

Ikechukwu spoke to Sunday Telegraph from his Ohataekwe village. His two legs are very swollen and he still looked malnourished.

 

 

He said: “I am fine, I have no health issues. I embarked on 41-days dry fasting for the welfare of Ebonyi my dear state, the country Nigeria, all over the world and above all my family that has been passing through difficulties.

 

 

“There are afflictions everywhere and it is only God that can deliver us. Life has not been easy for us and I believed it was high time to seek God’s intervention.

“I also embarked on the dry fasting to serve him, I want to be a

 

Catholic priest and need God’s help to achieve this goal. I have burning desire to serve God; he has called me to serve him. This dry fasting has revealed to me that God is the ultimate God and it has also shown me that I will later serve him.

 

“Since I finished the dry fasting, I have not been eating solid foods. I only eat fruits, drink tea. I am having pains inside my stomach but I know it is just for a while, it cannot last. Another problem I have is these my swollen legs.”

 

 

His aged widowed mother, Elizabeth Oke told our Correspondent that the boy has passed through very tough times in life as things continue to be very difficult for the family since the demise of her husband in 1996.

 

She disclosed that four of her daughters have dropped out of school as a result of lack of money to carter for them in their studies which according to her was one of the reasons Ikechukwu embarked on the fasting.

 

She said: “When we were in the hospital, some persons visited us to know how Ikechukwu was doing. Ikechukwu himself was the one that compelled us to return home and leave the hospital. He said he was not feeling comfortable in the hospital and opted to be discharged. While in the hospital, he was always complaining of attack and insisted we must leave.

 

 

“On September 9, he went into coma and he was on oxygen, sadly he later died. Doctors and nurses did all they could to revive him. I had to contact his elder brother and other siblings including my first daughter and we started making arrangements to bring his corpse home for burial.

 

 

“I was gathered his clothes I washed and spread on ropes, preparing for his body to be taken home when his elder brother, Obinna, who rushed to the hospital after receiving my call that Ikechukwu is dead, came to me and told me Ikechukwu had started moving his body and I told him to stop deceiving me that the oxygen they put on his nose is just for formality sake, that he is dead and we have to take the corpse out of the hospital before they deposit it in the morgue and it becomes another expense for us which we will not be able to carry.

“I gathered all his clothes and came back to the ward and saw

 

 

Ikechukwu already seated on the bed and he told me we should go home immediately. We told him to remain in the hospital for proper medical treatment but he refused. His siblings had no option than to push for his discharge after some medical tests were conducted on him by the hospital management.

“We finally left the hospital last Friday, September 13 and returned home. There is tremendous improvement; he speaks what one can hear, baths, and eats by himself although he has not started eating heavy foods like fufu and others. He only drinks tea, palp, vegetables and fruits. He sleeps well at home and he studies his Bible, prays very well. He was not doing all these things when we were in the hospital and that is why is said there is great improvement.

 

 

“Ikechukwu is an ardent Catholic; he is very committed in the church. He started very early that he wants to be a Reverend Father but that his father who would have helped him actualize the dream is no more alive. I put him in primary school in the village and he graduated successfully. After concluding the primary school, he said he wants to go to seminary school so as to become Catholic Priest but Obinna, his brother, told him no that he must attend secondary school and then enter Seminary school and that it is the procedure.

 

 

“Since their father died in 1996, I have been suffering to train them. I mix concrete in construction sites and I do other menial hard jobs to carter for them. Life has continued to be very difficult for me and my children.”

 

 

On his part, Obinna Oke his elder brother said Ikechukwu will return to school when he recovers fully.

He corroborated his mother that the boy was the one that insisted that he should be discharged from hospital to enable him relax, pray and study his Bible.

 

 

“I will bring Ikechukwu out of the village back to my base in Ishieke after recovering very well to enable him continue his education. He cannot drop out school because of this problem. I decided to relocate to the village and go to work on daily basis from the village because of Ikechukwu’s condition.

 

 

“I want to monitor him and he is doing well in the village than when he was in the hospital. While in the hospital, he said we should go home that his problem is not something that can be handled medically, that it is a spiritual matters. He said he should be discharged so that he will have enough time to pray and study his Bible,” said Obinna.

 

 

Nteoma Chimaobi, who was the one that assisted in taking Ikechukwu to hospital, described Ikechukwu as a strong Christian who preaches the word of God with zeal.

 

 

He revealed that N15,000 medical test was conducted on the boy to ascertain his health condition after the fasting and that only N200 drugs were prescribed for him by doctors.

 

 

Speaking further Chimaobi said: “The government has not done anything so far. The Local Government Area Chairman, Mrs Nora Allu is yet to do anything, for the family.”

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Tension in PDP over Ayu’s report

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Tension in PDP over Ayu’s report

•BoT, NWC divided over House of Reps minority leader

 

 

•Nobody leaving party –Ologbondiyan

 

 

C

risis is brewing in the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), similar to the post-2015 leadership tussle which nearly led to its extinction.

Last Thursday, the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting witnessed one of its longest sessions, but in the end, it failed to resolve one of the knotty issues facing the party.

 

 

The board was convened to discuss the report of five-man investigative committee into the minority leadership crisis in the House of Representatives, which it inaugurated. The committee was headed by former President of the Senate, Iyorchia Ayu.

 

 

A source at the meeting disclosed that the members failed to adopt the recommendations of the committee, which included the exoneration of seven members of the party led by Ndudi Elumelu who went against the decision of the PDP on the choice of minority leadership of the House of Representatives.

 

 

BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jubrin and the Secretary, Senator Adolphus Wabara, openly disagreed on the resolution on the board.

 

 

While Wabara told journalists that a decision had been taken and the handed over to the National Working Committee (NWC), Jubrin said the board would meet again on the matter.

 

 

PDP BoT Chairman later said in a statement he circulated after the press conference: “In view of conflicting reports that the BoT has submitted its report of Senator Ayu committee that investigated the emergence of Hon Elumelu as the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, I want to state categorically that such report is yet to be sent to the National Chairman because as one family, the PDP is handling the matter internally.

 

 

“I assure you that everything will soon be resolved amicably.”

 

The source said this was an indication that there was crack.

He disclosed that the NWC was not comfortable with the report of the Iyorchia Ayu’s Committee and wanted the BoT to reject it.

 

“It was a confirmation that something went wrong somewhere. We are not saying that the committee was compromised but there is a lot of explanations members of the committee have to make.  Why the outright exoneration of Elumelu and others of any offence?

 

 

“Remember the report was submitted in Asaba (Delta State). Why did they choose Asaba of all places?

 

“The committee was constituted in Abuja but they travelled all the way to Delta State where Elumelu comes from, to submit their report!” the source wondered.

 

 

It was learnt that BoT members were divided on the report. While some members wanted it to be submitted to the NWC and allow it to handle the matter, others said the NWC was an interested party and might not be fair.

 

 

Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike had earlier accused the committee members of corruption.

 

PDP is also yet to receive Senator Wabara investigative committee into the voting pattern of its lawmakers during the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly leadership last June.

The 10-member committee was inaugurated July 9 and were given three weeks to submit its findings.

 

The party leadership had directed its lawmakers to vote Senator Ali Ndume and Hon. Umar Bago as President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.

 

But at the inauguration of the National Assembly on June 11, some PDP lawmakers went against this directive resulting in the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to the two positions.

PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on June 24, described the action of the lawmakers as “embarrassing.”

 

A source at the party’s secretariat told Sunday Telegraph that there was pressure on the party leadership to drop the matter.

 

But the party’s Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, however, said the party is still waiting for the probe committee’s report.

 

When reminded that the three-week period given the committee has expired, he responded, “They might have asked for extension of time.”

 

According to him: “The committee is not under pressure to submit its report.”

 

The Wabara committee was mandated to probe “whether there is any involvement of the ruling party in the decision taken by the members involved;

 

 

 

“Where there are established reasons for taking the action by members, the committee should identify such so that the party can create mutual and political atmosphere for reasonable interaction with senators and House members.”

In the meantime, PDP has debunked reports making the rounds that some of its members were planning to leave the party.

 

There were reports that some aggrieved members of the party, during the last primaries in Kogi and Bayelsa states, have defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

Those reported to have defected were former speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, Clarence Olufemi and the Senator who represented Bayelsa East in the Senate between 2007 – 2011, Senator Mimi Barigha-Amange.

 

Olufemi, who was Director General of Abubakar Ibrahim Campaign Organisation, was at the press conference addressed by Abubakar who came second in the Kogi State primary, last week. He denied that he had left the PDP.

 

There were, however, still conflicting reports concerning the status of Senator Amange as the PDP chapter in Bayelsa State denied that he had also defected.

 

Ologbondiyan, in an interview yesterday, said the party has not received any report that any of her members had joined another party.

 

“There was no truth in the rumour. What you have to understand that once there is an election, there will be contestation.

 

 

“We know where the rumour is coming from and we are not surprised.

 

“Our party is intact. Nobody has left, nobody is planning to leave,” Ologbondiyan defended.

 

 

He also denied that some PDP governors were no longer comfortable with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s candidacy, recalling that the governors had already issued a statement in support of the appeal.

 

“They issued a statement signed by their Chairman given their support to the appeal. Mind you, it is the party that went to court, not Atiku Abubakar,” Ologbondiyan added.

 

PDP governors had in a statement by the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, Governor Sierake Dickson of Bayelsa State, pledged their “undiluted loyalty, deserving support and maximum commitment to our great party and the Atiku-Obi Presidential Ticket.

“This is our stand, now and in the future. Posterity would judge us harshly if we did otherwise.”

 

Ologbondiyan also said that the congratulatory message sent to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike should not be interpreted to mean his support to the president.

 

 

“That does not mean that the governor does not support our candidate and the appealing. The same Wike also said the president has refused to pay Rivers State the money it used to execute federal projects,” he further postulated.

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Ezekwesili to FG: You may ‘cage’ Sowore but not his idea

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Ezekwesili to FG: You may ‘cage’ Sowore but not his idea

F

ormer presidential candidate in the last general election, Oby Ezekwesili, has said that the continued detention of co-convener #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore was not only unconstitutional but also unlawful.

Ezekwesili, who was also a former minister, said this on Saturday via her verified Twitter handle.

 

 

She described the government of the day, as one which is intolerant of criticism, which she said is guaranteed in the constitution.

 

 

Ezekwesili said: “We stand on with @YeleSowore and defend his constitutional right and freedom to protest any matter of governance that worries him. Mr Sowore’s convening of citizens to protest poor governance – via #RevolutionNow– is constitutionally guaranteed.

 

“Democracy and voice are Siamese twins. The good kind of Siamese twins. No one regardless of their position is given the right to shut down voices like @YeleSowore’s for daring to disagree. How long shall it take before the FG @NigeriaGov understands the basics of democracy?

 

“Our FG @NigeriaGov led by @NGRPresident @MBuhari may think they have ‘caged’ @YeleSowore because he dared to challenge bad leadership and poor governance through #RevolutionNow. Not so, actually. His idea can never be caged. Why? You cannot cage an idea whose time has come.

 

 

“@YeleSowore is unconstitutionally and unlawfully detained for calling out deadly incompetence of the @NigeriaGov of @MBuhari.

 

 

“Not even the Judiciary is spared this spread of deadly incompetence. Here’s the thing. It is painful that @YeleSowore bears the brunt of the collective dissatisfaction of the citizens of Nigerians toward a grossly incompetent and intolerant @AsoRock.

 

 

“We must thank him for once again reminding us that: the power of the people is greater than the people in power.

 

 

“When the Citizens of Nigeria are ready, neither @YeleSowore nor anyone else need publicly mobilise them and be accused of “wanting to overthrow a government”. The citizens shall on their own rid themselves of a trenchantly incompetent and wicked political class. It’ll happen.”

 

 

It would be recalled that the Federal Government on Friday charged Sowore, who is the publisher of online news platform, SaharaReporters, with treason and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

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Cashless policy: Charges on deposits will derail financial inclusion drive –Analysts

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Cashless policy: Charges on deposits will derail financial inclusion drive –Analysts

•Banks fee income to rise, says CardinalStone

 

A

s reactions continue to trail the new cashless measures recently announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), analysts have said that though the policy is aimed at strengthening the Federal Government’s cashless policy, the move would derailing the financial inclusion drive in the country.

This came as CardinalStone Research have said that the new charges that customers will incur for exceeding deposits and withdrawal limits will further boost banks’ fee and commission income.

 

 

The CBN had in a circular to banks last Tuesday, directed that as from September 18, cash deposits and withdrawals from individual bank accounts would attract additional charges.

 

In explaining the new charges, the Central Bank said that the cashless policy deposit/withdrawal charge is only on the amount in excess of the limit. The daily individual cumulative or single cash withdrawals in excess of N500, 000 would attract a 3 per cent charge, while 2 per cent would be paid on deposits above the amount.

Similarly, corporate accounts will attract five per cent processing fees for withdrawals and  three per cent processing fee for lodgments of amounts above N3 million.

 

The CBN said the charges would be in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals and will be aimed at encouraging its cashless policy.

 

The statement, however, said that the charge on deposits shall apply in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, and Rivers states as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

 

The nationwide implementation of the cashless policy will take effect from March 31, 2020, it said.

 

Commenting on the development in a note issued last Thursday, the CardinalStone Research analysts stated that: “Overall, we see the news as largely positive for banks’ fees and commission income, notably for cash and e-Business related transactions. Although banks already charge fees on withdrawals in excess of the regulatory limits, we believe the introduction of charges on deposits increases scope for additional income.

 

“First, an induced migration to alternative channels is likely to increase deployment of POS and ATM terminals as well as encourage debit card issuances. This is also likely to lead to increased adoption of banks’ USSD and online platforms by customers. Secondly, customers who fail to migrate will have to pay the required processing fees, which is also likely to be supportive of banks’ fee incomes. BDCs, petrol stations, traders and small businesses who handle a lot of cash are likely to be negatively impacted by the new charges,” they added.

 

President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN), Dr ‘Uju Ogbunka, had stated in a chat with Sunday Telegraph last Wednesday that the reintroduction of charges on cash deposits may discourage savings.

 

He said that while the CBN’s move may help to promote the cashless policy, it could also deter savers.

 

 

Ogubunka said: “The move is a two- edged sword. While it is intended to promote the cashless policy, it could also deter savings.  Why should people be charged for saving their money in their bank accounts? Leaving money in banks is helping the business of the banks. So people will not be happy with the new charges on cash deposits.

 

 

“Indeed, although the move is intended to reduce the use of cash, it could have the opposite effect as people will prefer to be leaving their cash at home and be spending it gradually instead of taking the cash to the bank and be charged fees for it.”

 

 

“If you discourage people from saving, that is not going to help the economy,” the BCAN president said.

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Xenophobia: Why Air Peace boss deserves national honour –Farouk

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Xenophobia: Why Air Peace boss deserves national honour –Farouk

Such action is rare globally, says Gen. Williams

 

 

Former Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Alhaji Idi Farouk, has thrown his weight behind the clamour by well-meaning Nigerians for the Federal Government to bestow national honours on the Chairman, Air Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema, for patriotism and selfless service to Nigeria.

 

In a nomination letter dated September 20, 2019 and addressed to the Executive Secretary, Nigeria National Merit Award (NNMA), Farouk described Onyema as lawyer, businessman and conflict resolution expert who deserved to be honoured for his immense contributions to the development of Nigeria.

 

 

Farouk recalled that in the wake of the recent xenophobic attacks on immigrants of African descent in South Africa, Onyema dedicated his fleet of aircraft to evacuate Nigerians who were being hounded, stranded and had  lost all their sources of livelihood.

 

“With this singular action, Chief Allen Onyema has helped to restore the dignity of Nigeria and Nigerians and have given the returnees a sense of love and belonging which prompted them to loudly sing the National Anthem of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the holding bay of the airport.

 

 

“The fact that he brought succour and hope to a host of Nigerians, rekindled their hope in the fatherland and helped to launder the image of the country, is a feat well deserving of National Merit Award as this will encourage him to do even much more and challenge other well-meaning Nigerians to emulate this laudable gesture,” Farouk wrote.

 

 

The letter was also copied the Office of the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Abuja.

The House of Representatives, last week, held a special plenary session in honour of Onyema, who voluntarily undertook the task of  evacuating Nigerians stranded in South Africa, following the recent xenophobic attacks.

 

 

Speaking in the same vein, one time head, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigerian Army, Major- General Isola Williams (rtd), said what Onyema did was very rare globally not to talk of Africa.

 

Williams said: “He did not wait for the FG to ask. The government-to-government relationship has it limits but party to party-politics, people to people-cultural and business to business-joint ventures go long way to cement ties between African countries.

 

“No country in the world wants immigrants without education and skills including language and cultural assimilation of the host country.

 

 

“Most of the Youths who migrate run away from the challenges of their country and most end up suffering wherever they find themselves.

 

 

“Let them stay home as necessity is the mother of invention.

“On the other hand, with dwindling population and aging in Western countries including Japan, these countries will be more and more populated by Asians, Latin Americans and Africans with biracial couples and children.

 

 

“In the future, many Africans will come back home like the Asians to further develop their countries and be part of the political, economic and social leadership of their countries.”

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Flood: Over 150 communities submerged in Kogi – Commissioner

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Flood: Over 150 communities submerged in Kogi – Commissioner

Kogi Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Sanusi Yahaya, said over 150 communities have been submerged following flood in nine Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

Yahaya made the disclosure while addressing newsmen after a stakeholders meeting at the state emergency operation centre on Saturday in Lokoja.

 

The commissioner noted that the centre had been activated as the state was already experiencing flood emergency.

 

Yahaya, also the State Coordinator, Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), said that out of the nine local government areas located along the banks of River Niger and Benue, seven LGAs were severely affected while other two were not so severe.

He said the LGAs severely affected are: Ibaji, Kogi Koton Karfe, Lokoja, Ofu, Ajaokuta, Omala and Idah, saying over 90 per cent of Ibaji communities have been submerged.

 

“Particularly, majority of communities at Ibaji are under water, and many households have been affected and displaced.

 

 

“As we speak, the water level has risen very high to about 10.60m on Saturday in Lokoja from the report of the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).

 

“In the last few days, many communities, settlements have been displaced as a result of flooding,” he said.

He said that over 20 camps had been opened by the government to accommodate flood victims, which were spread across the nine affected LGAs.

 

Yahaya advised residents of flood-prone areas and affected communities to relocate to safer places or move to the nearest camps opened by the state and local governments, to avoid loss of lives and property.

 

He said that with the activation of the state emergency centre, the state was collaborating with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure timely and appropriate responses.

 

He, however, noted that no human casualty has been recorded in terms of death, but stressed that the victims were facing precarious situation.

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Fayemi mourns Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti

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Fayemi mourns Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti

Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has mourned the passing away of the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, HRM. Oba Ademola Ajakaiye, Oyinyosaiye Uyin II.

Oba Ajakaiye, the 17th Oluyin, was the pioneer Chief Judge of Ekiti State and former administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

 

Governor Fayemi, who received the news of the Oba’s passage from the royal family, described the death, as a huge loss to the state.

 

Fayemi commiserated with the late monarch’s family, the people of Iyin-Ekiti in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government and indeed the entire citizens of Ekiti State.

 

 

In a statement signed by Chief Press Secretary, to the Governor, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, in Ado -Ekiti on Saturday, the Governor said that the State had lost one of its most cerebral and colourful royal fathers who combined brilliance with admirable traditional flamboyance.

Dr. Fayemi, who described the late monarch as a successful lawyer and respected bencher, during his stint in the legal profession, said the late Oluyin was ever willing to avail the government his wise counsel on issues of development and social justice.

 

He also observed that in spite of the late monarch’s commitment to Christianity, the rich, cultural heritage of the ancient town flourished under his leadership, the same way Iyin-Ekiti witnessed unprecedented level of development, peace and prosperity during his reign.

 

The Governor said the late Oluyin would be remembered as one of the patriots whose commitment led to the creation and successful take off of Ekiti State in 1996. He recalled how Oba Ajakaiye vacated his official residence as Chief Judge for the Military Administrator of the newly created state to live, while he commuted to Ado-Ekiti daily from his personal residence in Iyin Ekiti.

 

“On behalf of the government and the good people of Ekiti State, the Land of Honour, I commiserate with the members of the immediate and extended families of the late monarch, the Oluyin-in- Council, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and the entire people of Iyin-Ekiti on the passage of our highly revered Kabiyesi, HRM Oba Ademola Ajakaiye. Oyinyosaiye Uyin II.

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