Action Democratic Party (ADP) governorship candidate in Lagos State in the 2019 general elections, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, has condemned closure of the land borders by the Federal Government, saying such decision will undermine Nigeria’s economy. Speaking to journalists at the Salem Touch Awards held at the Lagos State University, Ojo, in Lagos, Gbadamosi, who was given the ”Creative Exponent Award” for his support for youths in the state, said the closure of land borders would have adverse effects on citizens both in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
He said: “The continued closure of land borders will have negative effect on the citizens, even both here and in neighbouring countries. “It is clear that that the agenda behind it is completely not for economic growth, because it will affect the earning capacity of people, and if that happens, many people will not be able to meet their needs. “Consequently, many sectors will be affected within and in neighbouring countries that have built large doses of subscriptions on us.
The closure will more or less affect the economy instead of improving it.” Gbadamosi also stressed the need for government to open the economy in such a way to attract more trade and industries, noting that refusal of government to encourage and open up the economy would hamper the progress of the country.
JUST IN: Chilean Air Force plane with 38 people aboard crashes
A Chilean Air Force plane flying to Antarctica with 38 people on board crashed on Monday afternoon, officials said.
The C130 Hercules, which took off from the city of Punta Arenas, was flying to President Eduardo Frei Montalva Antarctic Air Base when it disappeared, Chile’s Air Force said in a statement.
The plane, which was transferring personnel to a floating fuel supply pipeline, lost radio contact shortly after 6:00 p.m. Officials later said it had crashed.
Twenty-one people aboard the plane were passengers and 17 were crew members, the statement said.
President Sebastian Piñera said authorities were monitoring search and rescue efforts, reports NBC News.
Falana to FG: Sowore not a terrorist, coup plotter
- Coalition issues 14-day ultimatum, threatens mass action
A rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has flayed the Federal Government for comparing the Convener of #RevolutionNowgroup, Omoyele Sowore, with the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group, saying it is highly contemptuous.
Falana told the government that Sowore is neither a terrorist nor coup plotter.
He also said that tactics adopted by the Federal Government and the Department of State Services (DSS), show that the government is not ready for the prosecution of his client, Omoyele Sowore, who was rearrested last Friday by the secret service.
He made the disclosure while reacting to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, in which Sowore was compared with the Boko Haram terrorist group.
According to Falana, it is highly unprofessional for the president’s aide to subject a man who is held incommunicado to scurrilous attacks in the media.
He added that Sowore will surely have a right of reply once the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people are restored because he is not among the well-known merchants of violence and coup plotters that had successfully but illegally removed democratically-elected governments in Nigeria.
Falana stated that comparing Sowore’s call for revolution with Boko Haram insurgency was an attempt to charge the activist with terrorism.
His words: “The link is a justification for the planned arraignment of Sowore for terrorism.
“Since it is common knowledge that Sowore and Olawale Bakare are not among the well-known merchants of violence and coup plotters that had successfully but illegally removed democratically elected governments in Nigeria, we are not going to join issues with Mr. Garba Shehu over the highly contemptuous statements credited to him.
“But as a senior journalist, Mr. Shehu ought to have known that it is highly unprofessional to subject a man who is held incommunicado to scurrilous attacks in the media. We are, however, convinced that Sowore will have a right of reply once the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people are restored.”
He also decried the media trial of Sowore by the Federal Government.
“Even though the Federal Government has failed to engage in the diligent prosecution of the serious case, the presidency has resorted to media trial while the charge of treasonable felony is allowed to hang menacingly on the heads of our clients.
“We are, however, not going to be tempted to join issues with the presidency over a case that is pending before a properly constituted court of law. If the presidency is so sure that our clients committed treasonable felony or any other offence whatsoever, it should keep its powder dry and advise the prosecution to commence the trial without any further delay,” the silk said.
The president’s aide had, in a statement on Sunday, dismissed insinuations in the media about government’s complicity in the re-arrest of Sowore by the DSS, saying no government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilization in the country and do nothing.
Shehu said the DSS does not necessarily need the permission of the presidency in all cases to carry out its essential responsibilities that are laid down in the Nigerian Constitution.
Meanwhile, speaking in Lagos at the public presentation of the third edition of Compendium of High Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria put together by the Human Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) Falana said Sowore became the target of attack because of his status as a publisher of a widely accepted online medium, Sahara Reporters, that is in the business of exposing corruption within the ruling class, adding that his client had not committed any offence, which explains why the prosecution had not been able to submit their witnesses’ statements for the commencement of trial.
He said: “Government has not shown any readiness to prosecuting him. If you recall, we were told that Sowore went to Dubai to collect millions of dollars to overthrow the government. But the government discovered that Sowore has never been to Dubai before and that aspect collapsed like a pack of cards.
“I have not seen any indication to show that they are ready to prosecute him. All the government is doing is to embark on media trial without leading evidence in court.
“You also have to examine the fact that at the time Sowore is harassed, you also have the Hate Speech and the Anti-Social Media bill going on, they are all linked. The whole idea is to cow Nigerians into submission so that nobody is in a position to criticise the government.”
The compendium, which consists of pending 100 corruption cases of prominent Nigerians before the judiciary, was researched and published to document and assist the public, the media and researchers with information for easy reference.
In his review of the compendium, Mr. Adeola Soetan, said HEDA published an ugly diary that the ruling elite will hate to see, adding that the report covers corruption cases in all the sectors of the country.
On his part, the Executive Director of HEDA, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, who was represented by Mr. Sina Odugbemi, said the motive of the compendium, which was done with support from the MacArthur Foundation, was to ensure that justice is administered swiftly on those who steal from public coffers.
Imo is Nigeria’s least corrupt state, says NBS
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has rated Imo has the least corrupt state in Nigeria.
The rating was contained in the bureau’s latest report titled, “The 2nd Corruption Survey Report in Nigeria,” released at the State House Conference Center in Abuja, on Friday.
Imo was rated the least corrupt state in Nigeria with 17.6%, followed by Jigawa and Plateau states.
The NBS conducted the survey with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in collaboration with other partner international agencies.
Highlights of the survey were presented by the Statistician General of the NBS, Dr. Yemi Kale and the Country Representative of the UNODC in Nigeria, Mr. Oliver Stople.
He said that the first corruption survey report on Nigeria was conducted in the last half of 2018, where Imo State was ranked very high in the corruption index.
This was during the era of Rochas Okorocha administration.
According to him, the NBS described the 2019 report as, “home grown”, disclosing that data was collected from a total of 33,067 persons in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The survey was developed as a tool to assess the impact of the measures put in place by states in fighting corruption in the period since after the 2019 elections. It also gives Nigerians the opportunity to assess and evaluate the impact of those measures.
“The report gave a state-by-state record of the corruption index in Nigeria, with Kogi State leading as the most corrupt state (48%), followed by Gombe at 43%.
“The report also suggested that there is a remarkable decrease in the prevalence of corruption in Imo State in the short time span. In the survey also, Nigerians identified unemployment, insecurity and corruption as the biggest problems of the country,” NBS stated.
Buhari replaces Fowler with Nami as FIRS boss
…directs agency’s boss to hand over to most senior director
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Muhammad Nami as the new chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Nami replaces Babatunde Fowler as the organisation’s chief executive.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday said Buhari also approved the composition of a new board for the organisation.
The Presidency described the new FIRS boss as a renowned tax consultant.
Fowler, who was appointed in 2015, has been directed to hand over to the most senior director on the board.
The board is composed of a member representing each of the six geographical zones and statutory representatives from a select number of ministries and government agencies.
Shehu said: “Mr. Muhammad Nami, a well-trained Tax, Accounting and Management professional with highly rated qualifications and professional practice and licenses from relevant professional bodies, has almost three decades of practical working experience in Auditing, Tax Management and Advisory and Management services to clients in the banking, manufacturing, services and public sectors as well as non-profit organisations.
“He is an expert in rendering advisory support services to investors in respect of new business start-ups and management of existing businesses. He has also continuously rendered outsourced services to clients in trading, service and manufacturing sectors of the nation’s economy.”
Nami attended Bayero University, Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology (1991) and a Masters of Business degree (2004) respectively.
He is a fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Institute of Debt Recovery Practitioners of Nigeria and Associate Member of Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria.
He started his career with PFK in 1993 and rose to the position of a senior consultant in charge of tax management and advisory services. He is currently the managing consultant of Manam Professional Services (Chartered Tax Practitioners and Business Advisers) based in Kaduna, Abuja, Niger State.
Nami has served, and is still serving, on many companies’ Board and Statutory Board Audit Committees. He was appointed as a member, Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Stolen Assets in November 2017 by President Buhari. He is married with children.
Fowler, whose term of office expired on Monday, 9th December, 2019, is expected to hand over to the most senior director on the board, who will take charge, pending the Senate confirmation of the new board.
FG moves to secure $500m AfDB loan for tech
The Federal Government has initiated moves to secure a $500 million African Development Bank (AfDB) fund for technology innovation, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has said.
Adebayo said this in an opening address at the 11th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital.
He said the government would also work towards the realisation of one agro processing zone in each senatorial district to encourage farmers in the country.
The minister also expressed commitment to ensure credit access to 10 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at single digit rate and fully activate the private sector six special zones in Lekki, Enyimba, Funtua, Ibom, Kano and Benue.
Adebayo explained that the policies were meant to boost government strategy towards the realisation of taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
He said that the ministry had already initiated and implemented the One Local Government One product Programme expected to generate over 4,900 new jobs and had established three facilities to help revamp MSMEs in Sokoto, Aba and Minna.
“The National Enterprises Development Programme being implemented is generating one million jobs annually.
“The programme is a strategic way of delivering enterprise development in the country directly addressing the critical factors that have inhibited the growth of the MSME sector.
“It is of interest to intimate the council that tremendous progress has been recorded in the areas of improved registration of enterprises, increased access of MSMEs to grants, improved capacity of MSMEs and job creation opportunities, amongst others.
“There are over 100,000 MSMEs registered under the Business Innovative and Growth (BIG) platform, which is the only channel through which MSMEs can access the project intervention programme,” he said.
The minister expressed the hope that the Council meeting would help in articulating pragmatic means of repositioning the Small and Medium Scale businesses for alleviating poverty and uplifting of Nigeria to the next level of economic development.
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state stated that ongoing construction of a coconut plantation and refinery and the Ibom Deep Sea Port projects were programmes aimed at providing massive direct and indirect employment opportunities for skilled manpower.
GenCos, DisCos lament, seek N1.23trn bailout
- Senate urges FG to declare emergency on power
- Govt to empower states on solid mineral exploration, control
Strong indications emerged yesterday that the nation may sink into total darkness in coming weeks if the Federal Government failed to urgently provide N1.2 trillion for the electricity generation and distribution companies.
This was as the Senate urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the power sector in order to tackle the seeming intractable perennial problems threatening the sector.
These issues came up at a one-day roundtable discussion organised in Abuja, by the Senate Committee on Power with the theme: “Addressing Nigeria’s Power Problems.”
Relating the pathetic state of Nigeria’s power sector, the Country Representative of Energy Market and Rate Consultants, Mrs. Rahila Thomas, said that for the generation (GenCos) and distribution companies (DisCos) to survive, the Federal Government had to urgently inject the sum of N1.23 trillion into the sector.
She noted that the sector was bedevilled by multifarious problems, which had put investors into huge debts and broken down trust in the entire value chain.
Her words: “Issues bedevilling the power industry in Nigeria started with fatal flaws inherent in the 2013 privatisation anchored on wrong assumptions inhibiting investors from taking care of their losses, let alone delivering on the required electricity supply in the country.
“The fatal flaws or wrong assumptions upon which the privatisation was carried out in 2013 have to do with generation capacity, which government put at 6,500 megawatts, but later turned out to be 3,453 megawatts.
“The assumption in the loss for every naira of kilowatts was put at 21 kobo, but later turned out to be 52 kobo loss per every naira of kilowatts with attendant unanticipated losses totalling far above a trillion naira now.”
She further lamented that unbearable loss in the sector by investors arose from subsidies promised on yearly basis by government on the 21 kobo loss per one naira kilowatts, which later increased to 52 kobo loss per naira kilowatts without required subsidy payments by government.
“Even the N600 billion reported to have been put on the table for the sector this year has not been accessed by investors 21 days to the end of the year.
“Another factor is that of forex, because exchange rate of naira to U.S. dollar as at November 2013 when the sector was privatised was N157, but now between N350 and N360.
“Liquidity is the key problem in the sector due to unattractive investments in the industry,” she said.
Thomas, however, said that the country had the capacity to improve the generation capacity from the current 4,000 megawatts to the projected 7,000, 11,000 and 25,000 megawatts in years to come, if the prevailing challenges were adequately tackled.
However, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, while declaring the event open, called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the power sector.
He pointed out that if there was any sector of the economy that was important and yet so challenged, it was the power sector, stressing the urgent need to take drastic actions to rescue the ugly situation.
“The truth is that we all know what is wrong. What we really need to do is to have the political will to take on the challenges. I believe this is a sector that needs a declaration of emergency.
“I believe that we have to declare a state of emergency on power and courageous decisions must be taken by government. This is an opportunity for us in this roundtable to discuss not only the challenges of the power sector in Nigeria, but to also look for the way forward,” he said.
Lawan noted that from the Electricity Power Reform of 2005 to the privatisation of GenCos) and DisCos, “everything is fraud”.
“If we went wrong with our privatisation of GenCos and DisCos, the time has come to look into whatever we have to review in these things. We must move in the interest of the country. We must admit there was something wrong.
“We need to revisit the privatisation, because, apparently, there are flaws and that we have to address whether it is at the expense of government or not.
“We have to get out of this quagmire, otherwise we will continue to be complaining and talking about these things until even the 4,000 megawatts we enjoy becomes a challenge to us.
“No single sector is so important and yet challenged like the power sector, which, going by problems bedevilling it, requires a declaration of emergency.
“We all know what is wrong. What we really need to do is to have the political will to take on the challenges. Electricity power reforms of 2005 to the total privatisation in 2013 are more or less fraud, based on realities on the ground.
“Power failure in the country has reduced Nigeria from a country that was competing and comparing herself with other countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Brazil, among others, in the 60s to a country now comparing herself with Ghana, Togo and Republic of Benin.
“The matter is even worse to the point that even citizens who have capital to invest no longer do so in Nigeria, but relocate to Ghana where there is constant electricity supply.
The ugly trend must be stopped and that is the reason why the Senate is organising this round table discussion where measurable roadmaps will be set in positively turning things around for Nigeria and Nigerians,” he stated.
Other stakeholders at the session, including the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, Minister of State for Power, Prince Goddy Jeddy Agba, Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi and Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswam, expressed optimism that the round table discussion would proffer solutions to the problems hampering the sector.
Drinking coffee could lower risk of metabolic syndrome
Researchers under the auspices of Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, yesterday said coffee consumption may help to reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome (MetS), also known as insulin resistance syndrome.
The report on the association between coffee consumption and lower risk of metabolic syndrome was released by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
The researchers reviewed Italian and Polish cohort studies to identify any correlation between coffee consumption and metabolic syndrome.
Research pertaining to links between moderate coffee consumption and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease was also examined.
Meta-analyses from a Mediterranean cohort based on correlations between coffee consumption and metabolic syndrome were also reviewed, in addition to another study involving 22,000 participants from the Seguimiento University of Navarra.
Based on the findings, consuming only one to four cups of coffee per day, was linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. However, higher consumption did not lead to similar results.
The results were consistent for both genders, the research team noted.
“The inverse association between coffee consumption and metabolic syndrome was shown in both men and women,” according to the ISIC report.
“Meta-analyses have suggested that a moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may be associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.”
“Further research is required to better understand the mechanisms involved in the association. To date, in research, the importance of polyphenols and hydroxycinnamic acids has been of note.”
Polyphenols were micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. They’re packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It was thought that polyphenols can improve or help treat digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
Metabolic syndrome was expected to affect more than one billion people globally.
P&ID scam: Court dismisses Briton, Nolan’s plea for bail variation
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday threw out the application for bail variation filed by the British national, James Nolan in the alleged Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) scam.
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, in dismissing the application, held that it lacked merit.
The judge wondered why Nolan could not respond to the serious allegation levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he forged resident permit and that if granted bail, he might jump bail.
According to Justice Abang, “I took a risk in admitting the 3rd defendant (Nolan) to bail.”
The court had, on November 7, admitted Nolan to bail in the sum of N500 million.
The judge, who granted the bail in an application filed by Nolan, ordered that the applicant must produce a surety in like sum, who must be a Nigerian and a serving senator not standing any criminal trial in any court in Nigeria.
Besides, he held that the proposed surety must submit a three-year tax clearance certificate and sign an undertaking to always be present in court with the defendant throughout the duration of the trial.
“The senator must have a landed property fully developed in Maitama District of Abuja and fully certified by the FCDA.
“The surety must submit two passport photographs,” Abang had ruled.
Likewise, the court ordered the defendant to surrender all his international passports, even as it mandated the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to confirm how many passports were issued to him within the past 20 years.
EFCC had, on October 21, arraigned Nolan and Adam Quinn (at large), both British nationals, over their alleged complicity in the $9.6 billion judgement against Nigeria.
P&ID, an Irish engineering company, had secured the award against Nigeria following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) the company had with the Federal Government.
The arraignment of the two British nationals came weeks after two P&ID directors were convicted over the deal.
The defendants, both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a designated non-financial institution and ICIL Limited, were arraigned on a 16-count charge bordering on money laundering.
EFCC secures 1,900 convictions, recovers N794bn in 4 years – Magu
The Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) has so far secured 1,900 convictions and recovered N794 billion in four years.
Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at the 2019 International Anti-Corruption Day with the theme: “Zero Tolerance for Corruption”.
“Our scorecard in this regard speaks volumes; for the four years that I have been in charge of the commission, we have secured about 1,900 convictions, including top government officials.
“Former governors, captains of industry, oil subsidy merchants and scores of players in the private sector. Former military chiefs and civil servants have also been convicted as well as many illegal oil bunkerers in the Niger Delta.
“On recoveries, there is no law enforcement agency in Africa that has equalled the phenomenal recoveries that the EFCC has made.
“In the four years under my watch, we have recovered more than N794 billion and have ensured hundreds of properties forfeited to the government,” he said.
He added that in the Port Harcourt Zone of the EFCC, a total of 244 trucks were forfeited to the government owing to illegal oil bunkering activities in the region.
“As a commission, we are not unrelenting in our determination to completely eradicate corruption from Nigeria through our fight against corruption.
“Those who doubt our resolve must, sooner, come to terms with the fact that the EFCC is a marathoner and when it comes to the fight against corruption, we never give up,” he said.
Magu said the commission would go into partnership with various sectors in the fight against corruption as everybody needed to be involved in the fight to achieve a sustainable result.
“We have chosen to partner with various sectors because we want to go into not only fighting corruption alone, but select very notorious sectors and partner with them.
“Let us go into sectoral approach in the fight against corruption. We will go with the health sector first because there is a lot of problem in the hospitals with the doctors. This approach might change the narrative,” he said.
Winners emerge in UBA Foundation essay competition
The result for the 2019 edition of UBA Foundation National Essay Competition (NEC) has been released, with female students dominating as prize winners.
A statement issued yesterday by the bank said it was an all-female top three affair, as 14-year-old Oluwatoroti Otokini Jolaosho of Louisville Girls High School, Ogun State, emerged the overall winner.
She carted away the grand prize of an educational grant of N2 million to study in any African university of her choice.
According to the statement, Jolaosho’s essay was declared the best out of over 5,000 entries received by the foundation from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.
This year’s NEC had 12 finalists made up of eight girls and four boys with over 500 per cent increase in participation from pupils across every single state of the federation.
Jolaosho, who was visibly elated, expressed profound excitement as the winner of the competition, saying that the experience had given her more confidence to face great challenges in the years ahead.
She noted that the grant would help in the pursuit of her dream towards becoming a pediatrician.
“This is something I worked very hard to achieve. I read and studied very hard for this competition, and I am very happy that my hard work paid off in the end.
“I am indeed very grateful to UBA and the UBA Foundation for this huge opportunity and for making me believe in myself, and I would like to encourage other students not to stop trying,” Jolaosho said.
On her part, her mother, Mrs. Jaiyeola Jolaosho, said this grant would go a long way to support her bid for quality education for Oluwatoroti.
“Now our dream to give her an education at the African Leadership Academy will be fulfilled with this grant. I am so happy about this, because I noticed that she has a penchant for writing, and we are so elated that she won. I will encourage all her siblings to apply for this competition going forward,” she said.
The second prize was bagged by Precious Ifeoma Okey, aged 15, of Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oyo State, who won a N1,500,000 educational grant, whilst the third prize of N1,000,000 went to Aimeé Okoko, 18 years old.
Aimeé attends Beautiful Beginning Academy, FCT Abuja.
All 12 finalists received brand new laptops from the UBA Foundation.
This year, the foundation introduced a prize for the school with the highest number of essay entries and the Livingstone College, Lagos came tops. They will be receiving gifts worth over N1 million from the UBA Foundation for their participation in the competition.
Congratulating the winners at the event, the MD/CEO of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, commended them for their exceptional brilliance.
“Every student who sent in an entry is a winner. To be confident about your writing skills and ambitious enough to enter a competition to further enhance your educational path is laudable. For those that did not win, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter for the competition again in 2020,” she said.
In his remarks, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc., Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, said the bank was very happy to be touching lives and making a solid impact through its foundation’s national essay competition and the grant it gives out annually to those who emerge winners.
He specifically commended the fact that more females emerged winners this year, adding that it was in line with the bank’s commitment to women empowerment.
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