The Department of State Services (DSS) has defied a court order to produce the 12 detained aides of Yoruba-nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered the DSS to produce in court on July 29, the 12 aides who have been in their custody since July 2, 2021.
Their case was expected to proceed regardless of the annual court vacation slated to begin on July 26.
But since the DSS failed to bring the aides before the court on Thursday, the case has stalled yet again, with Justice Egwatu now issueing another order, asking the DSS to produce the 12 aides in court on Monday, August 2.
While giving the order, he stressed that when a court of competent Jurisdiction, gives an order, such must be respected and obeyed.
Akwa United Football Club of Uyo is now one point away from being crowned champions of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season.
The Promise Keepers consolidated their push towards the league title playing 1-1 with FC Ifeanyi Ubah on matchday 36 in Nnewi, a vital point that will keep them ready for their next league assignment against MFM Football Club of Lagos. If they get a point or win that match in Uyo, they will win the NPFL title.
They have also sealed continental football for next season.
In the clash at Nnewi, Ubong Friday shot the league leaders into the lead in the 77th minute with a brilliant free-kick before Uzochukwu Ifejiofor headed the hosts back on level terms three minutes from time as both teams shared the spoils in a fixture that the Anambra Warriors needed a win so bad to consolidate on their efforts to stay in the NPFL.
Akwa United are on 68 points from 36 matches, with a massive goal difference of +27 and with just four losses so far, the league title is definitely theirs to lose.
Slim Hopes For Solid Miners, Enyimba & Pillars
In Uyo, a major league contender, Nasarawa United held Dakkada FC to a goalless draw to stay in the race for the title. The Solid Miners, the highest goalscoring team in the league did all they could to get the win but the Chosen Ones kept the visitors checked to secure a point.
With the result, Nasarawa United maintained their second spot on the log but improved to 62 points.
The only hope for coach Bala Nikyu’s team to stay in the race for the title is if Akwa United lose their next match against MFM FC and they win theirs against Rangers International on matchday 37 in Lafia. Dakkada moved to 9th on the table with 50 points.
Kano Pillars dropped to 4th on the log after a disappointing 1-0 loss at Kwara United. Michael Ohanu scored the only goal of the encounter for the Harmony Boys to keep their home invincibility, secured a 17th win of the season and returned to 6th on the log.
The defeat puts a bad dent on the league ambitions of Sai Masu Gida who can only hope to bounce back in their next fixture against Wikki Tourists. It means Enyimba will move to third position after playing 1-1 with Lobi Stars in Makurdi. In the opening minutes of the match, Samuel Tiza opened scoring for the hosts but just before half time, Reuben Bala scored from the spot for the People’s Elephant.
Drama, Intrigues & Goals
It was a festival of goals in Okigwe as Abia Warriors thrashed relegated Adamawa United 5-1 to keep hopes alive in retaining top-flight football.
Man on fire, Chukwuemeka Obioma, scored a hat-trick while Godwin Obaje and Yakub Hammed registered goals to secure the Warriors 11th win of the season and moved them to an almost safe 14th on the log with 44 points.
It was also goals galore in Bauchi as Wikki Tourists beat Heartland 4-2 to continue their fight against relegation. The Tourists are 15th on the log with 42 points and have a difficult task against Kano Pillars on matchday 37.
Sunshine Stars also strengthened their fight to avoid the drop with a 3-2 win over Plateau United. It was a game filled with drama and it started from the 80th minute. The hosts were leading 2-1 when the visitors won a penalty and missed it. In the 83rd minute, the Peace Boys were awarded another penalty in the 90th minute and this time it was scored by Zulkifilu Muhammed. Scores levelled!
In the closing minutes of additional time, Ejike Uzoenyi scored to give the Owena Whales a crucial win. The screams from the stadium was heard all over South-West Nigeria. It’s the 10th win of the season for Sunshine Stars, a team that has struggled with this campaign. They are now 16th on the log and if they can win their next match against Enyimba in Aba, they might be saved from relegation.
There was also drama in Lagos where MFM FC staged an unbelievable comeback against Rivers United. Nelson Esor and defender Joseph Onoja scored to give the Pride of Rivers a healthy 2-0 lead and just when they thought it was done and dusted, the Olukoya boys initiated a fight in the 90th minute. Imeh Atobasi pulled one back and minutes later, Michael Mbonu with a stunning strike rescued a point for the hosts.
In Enugu, Rangers International FC beat Katsina United 1-0 to record their 17th win of the season while Jigawa Golden Stars and Warri Wolves, two teams fighting relegation played 1-1 to wrap up matchday 36 action that produced 29 goals, five victories, and five draws.
Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Babatunde Babade, has been arrested for trafficking illicit drugs.
A statement issued on Sunday by the Director, Media & Advocacy NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, Femi Babafemi, said the transport union leader was arrested along with two others – Ilesanmi Shola and Babajide Johnson.
He was caught with 52.5 kilograms of skunk in Akure, the Ondo state capital following intelligence that he was conveying bags of the banned drug in his 1997 model blue Mazda car with registration number: Ekiti JER194 AE from Akure to Ekiti state.
Babade, popularly called BB, was taken into custody along with the two others soon after his arrest at about 2:00 pm on Sunday, July 18, for interrogation. In his statement, he admitted to owning the vehicle used for conveying the drugs.
He further explained that the car had been intercepted earlier by some security agents who detained the two other suspects, his car and eight bags containing cannabis sativa while his brother who drove the vehicle fled.
He, however, claimed that following his intervention, the security agents released the suspects and his car to him after taking two of the eight bags containing the drugs as well as the sum of N60, 000 from him, before he later ran into NDLEA officers while on his way back to Ekiti.
Meanwhile, officers of the Benue State command of the Agency have intercepted another suspected interstate drug trafficker, Odinaka Ugwuanyi along Apir road, Makurdi with 124,000 tablets of Tramadol, Diazepam and Exol-5, all weighing 22.55 kilograms.
The suspect arrested at about 8:00 am on Saturday July 17, in a commercial vehicle, said he was from Nsukka local government area of Enugu State.
He, however, claimed another passenger who sat next to him in the vehicle dropped the bag containing the drugs with him and fled upon sighting NDLEA officers.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the efforts of the commanders, officers and men of the agency. He also charged them to remain resolute in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities.
Nigeria’s senior men’s basketball team, the D’Tigers have lost 84-67 to Australia in their opening Group B match at the Tokyo Olympics.
Two weeks ago in Las Vegas, the Boomers were 39 points better than Nigeria but in today’s encounter at the Saitama Super Arena, Coach Mike Brown’s team got off to a good start but in the crucial stages of the match, poor shooting let them.
Both teams combined for 46 turnovers with Australia contributing 22. The first quarter was a tight affair, it ended 23-23 and the direction of the match was hinged on the second-quarter performance.
Australia won it 20-17. Nigeria lost seven free throws, easily they would have taken the lead into the break.
In the third quarter, the arena’s buzzer couldn’t function properly and that affected the momentum of the game. Notwithstanding, the Boomers got their shooting right, Nigeria struggled with theirs and lost the quarter 15-12.
In the 4th quarter, Patty Mills took things personally with exceptional shooting and the Boomers won 26-15 to wrap up a fine performance with defense being the main focus for coach Brian Goorjian’s team.
Mills was Australia’s best performer with 25 points while Joe Ingles and Dante Exum recorded 11 apiece. Nigeria’s Obi Emegano had 12 points, Josh Okogie finished the game with 11 points while Jordan Nwora and Precious Achiuwa recorded 10 points each.
The D’Tigers will hope to make amends when they take on Germany in their second group match on Wednesday, 28th July.
Armed kidnappings for ransom along highways, and from homes and businesses now make almost daily newspaper headlines in Africa’s most populous country.
But mass school abductions have soared this year, with almost 1,000 students kidnapped, according to UNICEF. Most are released after negotiations but many are still being held in forest hideouts like the Bethel pupils.
The list of missing from Bethel makes heartbreaking reading: 121 names, the oldest 19, the youngest just 10. Most are under 15.
“I am a mother and I would not like anybody to take my child away from me for one day. Imagine the trauma,” Hassana Ayuba, whose daughter Judith was taken, told AFP.
“The children are harmless, the children did not offend anybody.”
The attack has devastated the tightly-knit, religiously faithful community. At the school, parents hold daily hours-long prayers and vigils and call for President Muhammadu Buhari to help free the children.
The Socio-Economic Rights and AccountabilityProject (SERAP) and the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development have filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, over the order stopping journalists and broadcast stations from reporting details of terrorist attacks and victims.
They are asking the court to declare the order illegal.
Joined in the suit as Defendant, is the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The suit followed the directive by the NBC, asking journalists, television and radio stations in Nigeria to stop “glamourising and giving too many details on the nefarious activities of terrorists and kidnappers” during their daily newspaper reviews.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/725/2021 filed last Friday, SERAP and PTCIJ are seeking: “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the government of President Buhari, the NBC, and Mr Lai Muhammed or any other persons from imposing fines or other sanctions on broadcast stations for carrying out their constitutional duties of reporting details of terrorist attacks and victims during daily newspaper reviews.”
They are also seeking “an order to compel and direct the NBC and Mr Lai Muhammed to withdraw the directive asking journalists and broadcast stations to stop reporting details on terrorist attacks and victims, as the directive is unlawful and inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], and the country’s international human rights obligations.
“An order setting aside the directive on reporting of terrorist attacks and victims, for being inconsistent and incompatible with sections 22 and 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
According to SERAP, “unless the reliefs sought are urgently granted by this Honourable Court, the directive by the NBC and Mr Lai Muhammed would be used to impermissibly restrict Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression, access to information, media freedom, and victims’ right to justice and effective remedies.”
SERAP and PTCIJ are arguing that the failure by the government to withdraw the directive, violates sections 5[a] and [b], 147 and 148 of the Nigerian Constitution, Code of Conduct for Public Officers [Fifth Schedule Part 1], and Oath of office [Seventh Schedule] of the Constitution.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP and PTCIJ by their lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “The NBC and Mr Lai Muhammed lack the power and authority to restrict the ability of journalists and broadcast stations to carry out their constitutional duties and to unlawfully impose penalties such as fines and other sanctions on any journalists and broadcast stations for reporting on details of terrorist attacks and victims in the country.”
“SERAP and PTCIJ together with several millions of Nigerians easily access information, news and form opinions on government policies through the daily newspaper reviews by journalists and broadcast stations in Nigeria.”
SERAP believes that while the NBC has the powers to make rules to enable it perform its statutory functions under section 2 [a] to [u] of NBC Act, such statutory powers ought to be exercised in line with the Nigerian Constitution, and the country’s international human rights obligations.
The Federal Government has approved the extension of the deadline for the National Identification Number (NIN)-SIM data verification to October 31.
This was disclosed in a statement jointly signed by the Head, Corporate Communications, Nigeria Identity Management, Mr Kayode Adegoke and Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde of the Nigerian Communications Commission, on Saturday.
They said the decision to extend the deadline was made following a request by stakeholders to accommodate registration in hard-to-reach remote areas, foreigners and diplomatic missions, diaspora and address low enrolments in schools and hospitals, as evidenced by enrolment statistics.
It also followed a review of the progress of the exercise which indicated significant progress hence the need to consolidate the gains of the enrolment and NIN-SIM verification process across the country.
“As at July 24th, 2021, there are over 5,500 enrolment systems within and outside the country and this would significantly ease the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM,” the statement read.
“The administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the extension as part of efforts to make it easier for its citizens within and outside the country, and legal residents to obtain the NIN and it is important to take advantage of the extension.
“The NIN-SIM linkage also makes it easier for the security agencies to carry out their statutory duties and the relevant parastatals under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy are supporting them as required”.
According to the statement there are now a total of 59.8 million unique NIN enrolments with an average of three to four SIMs per NIN.
It also noted that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on behalf of the Federal Government, commended the Kano State government and other states that have made NINs a key requirement for school enrolments and access to other important services.
He thanked Nigerians for what he described as their patience and compliance with the directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise so far.
Similarly, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Garba Dambatta, and the Director-General/CEO of that National Identity Management Commission, Engr Aliyu Azeez, have urged citizens and legal residents to make sure they use the opportunity to complete the process of enrolment and verification before the October 31 deadline.
With the Delta variant pushing US Covid cases back up, fully vaccinated people are wondering whether they need to start masking indoors again.
Covid vaccines remain extremely effective against the worst outcomes of the disease — hospitalization and death — and breakthrough infections remain uncommon.
But experts told AFP that one size doesn’t fit all, and people should consider factors like community transmission, personal risk levels, and their own risk tolerance to help decide what’s right for them.
Risk low for vaccinated
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its mask guidance for vaccinated people in May.
At the time, cases were plummeting and the administration of President Joe Biden was keen to declare a return to normal on the back of a vaccination campaign that was still going strong.
On Thursday the country registered more than 50,000 cases, a surge driven by the now overwhelmingly dominant Delta variant, the most contagious strain to date, and centered in low-vaccination regions.
Crucially, however, the rise in cases has been largely decoupled from hospitalizations and deaths.
With 80 per cent of seniors fully vaccinated, average daily deaths remain in the 200s — much lower than the more than 3,500 deaths per day seen in the worst wave over winter.
More than 97 percent of hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said last week, while 99.5 percent of people dying were unvaccinated, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said last weekend.
Walensky defended the unchanged mask guidance Thursday, stressing the agency has always said communities and individuals should consider local conditions.
“If you’re in an area that has a high case rate and low rates of vaccination where Delta cases are rising, you should certainly be wearing a mask if you are unvaccinated,” she said.
“If you are vaccinated, you get exceptional protection from the vaccines. But you have the opportunity to make the personal choice to add extra layers of protection if you so choose.”
Why local conditions matter
Joseph Allen, an associate professor at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, said he supported the CDC’s view.
While the World Health Organization has urged fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks, that is in light of the global situation where just 13.4 percent of the world population is fully vaccinated.
“I just don’t think we’re at the phase in the US and other highly vaccinated countries where this top-down blanket guidance makes sense anymore,” he told AFP.
“For me, the goal is and has always been with all the vaccines to prevent severe disease, and death, and that’s exactly what they do really well.”
As far as breakthrough infections go, a recent study of a US prison found 27 positive cases from 2,380 vaccinated individuals, or 1.1 per cent. All were asymptomatic and detected through routine screening.
Research shows that asymptomatic people are less likely to transmit, while people who develop symptoms are supposed to self-isolate.
Still, the greater the community prevalence of the virus, the more likely such breakthroughs become.
People’s personal risk levels vary by their age and underlying conditions, some people may have high-risk people at home they want to protect, while some just have lower risk tolerance.
On and off ramps
The divergence in case levels across the country closely correlates with vaccination rates, and parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida are currently experiencing the worst spikes.
Celine Gounder, an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist, compared the situation prior to Delta surges to driving your car in your own neighborhood, while the current scenario is closer to driving on a race car track.
“When you’re driving around in your neighborhood, a seatbelt is enough,” she told AFP, with the seatbelt representing a vaccine.
“But if you’re driving on a NASCAR race track, in addition to seatbelts, those drivers also have helmets, they have airbags,” she added, emphasizing that masks add an additional layer of protection.
Even without the CDC, some parts of the country, like Los Angeles County and Philadelphia, have reinstituted mask guidance.
Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor at UC San Francisco told AFP she has been advocating for statistical benchmarks, “as the back and forth is very frustrating for people.”
She suggests tying mask mandates to the local hospitalization rate — a more reliable measure of disease prevalence than cases — and, along with other experts, has proposed fewer than five hospitalized cases per 100,000 people as the threshold for resuming normal activity.
Gandhi, Allen and others argue such “off-ramps” can also be applied to schools when they reopen in fall, while the American Academy of Pediatrics favors universal masking, even among vaccinated teachers and students.
Israel will seek to drastically reduce its carbon emissions by 2050 to help combat the global climate crisis, the foreign ministry announced in a statement Friday.
The “revolutionary and historic decision” agreed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and several cabinet members will be put to a vote before Israel’s parliament on Sunday, it said.
“The Israeli government set to approve an unprecedented decision mandating that by the year 2050 Israel will move to a low carbon emissions economy, while dealing with the climate crisis that threatens all of humanity,” the statement added.
“In coordination with the Paris Agreement and Israel’s international climate commitments, and to prevent crossing the global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, Israel is committed to reaching the goal of zero carbon emissions by the year 2050,” it added.
The ministers for environmental protection, foreign affairs, finance, energy, transport, economy and interior are pushing for the initiative along with Bennett.
The move calls for reducing carbon emissions by at least 85 percent by 2050 compared to 2015 levels, with an intermediary target of 27 percent by 2030.
“This is the first time that the Israeli government set joint national goals to reduce carbon emissions and declare a national strategy to move to a clean, efficient and competitive economy, thus aligning Israel with the other developed countries in the global fight against the climate crisis,” the statement said.
Israel signed the 2015 Paris climate accord, pledging to keep its carbon emissions stable until 2030.
Its 2050 plan includes targets for a 96 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in transportation, 85 percent in the electricity sector and 92 percent in municipal waste.
An additional 25,000 policemen will be deployed to beef up security in the local government elections scheduled to hold on Saturday in Lagos State.
The Chairperson, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), Justice Ayo Philips, disclosed this on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Friday.
Philips explained that the Commissioner of Police for Lagos State gave her the assurance earlier in the day.
“We have worked hand-in-hand for over a month now with the security agencies, the police and the civil defence, who are really the front liners, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the neighbourhood watch and the Department of State Services (DSS).
“We are very aware of the security situation and just this evening I got a message from the Commissioner of Police for Lagos State, that he is deploying an additional 25,000 policemen into Lagos tomorrow to help oversee the elections and to ensure that peace is kept and it will be violence-free,” she said.
“So we believe that tomorrow there will be peaceful elections and there will be no violence and all the members of the electorates will go about their business and will be able to vote in a peaceful and secure environment.”
The election is expected to take place in the 57 Local Government Councils and Local Council Development Areas of the state.
In the run-up to the elections, the Alliance of Social Democrats and 10 other political parties had filed a suit against LASIEC and the state government seeking to stop it.
But a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday rejected the appeal.
The parties had claimed that the Court of Appeal had reversed INEC’s decision to deregister them but despite this, LASIEC did not list their parties on the ballot.
They, therefore, invited the court to stop Saturday’s LG elections.
The Attorney General & Commissioner of Justice in Lagos, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Moyosore Onigbanjo, however, countered this submission.
Onigbanjo told the judge that the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain their claims.
In a ruling delivered Friday, Justice Akintoye Aluko upheld the submissions of the Attorney General on behalf of the Lagos State Government and declined jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.
The court also transferred the suit to the State High Court pursuant to Section 22 (2) Federal High Court Act.
In a related development, the court also upheld the same decision in another matter filed by the Youth Party against LASIEC.
It not only declined jurisdiction on the matter but also vacated the Interim Order of Injunction earlier granted in the matter on July 12.