Trump Becomes Third US President To Be Impeached

Donald Trump has become the third United States President to be impeached. (File photo)
Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

President Donald Trump was impeached for abuse of power in a historic vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, setting up a Senate trial on removing him from office after three turbulent years.

By a 230 to 197 vote in the Democratic-majority House, the 45th US president becomes just the third occupant of the White House in American history to be impeached.

Democrats said they had “no choice” but to formally charge the Republican president, whose impeachment along stark party lines places an indelible stain on his record while driving a spike ever deeper into the US political divide.

“What is at risk here is the very idea of America,” said Adam Schiff, the lawmaker who headed the impeachment inquiry, ahead of the vote.

Trump will now stand trial in the Senate, where his Republicans hold a solid majority and are expected to exonerate him.

US Speaker Nancy Pelosi presides over Resolution 755, Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald J. Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 18, 2019. SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

The House vote came four months after a whistleblower blew open the scandal of Trump pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate his potential White House challenger in 2020, the veteran Democrat Joe Biden.

After a marathon of 10 hours of debate, lawmakers were to vote quickly on the second article of impeachment facing Trump — for obstructing the congressional probe into his Ukraine dealings by blocking the testimony of subpoenaed White House aides.

Despite testimony from 17 officials that Trump leveraged his office for domestic politic gain, the president maintained his innocence throughout the impeachment inquiry — furiously denouncing it as a “witch hunt,” an “attempted coup” and on Wednesday as an “assault on America.”

Trump spent the first part of the day holed up at the White House, sending out tweets reflecting his frustration, anger, and predictions of revenge in the 2020 election.

But as the vote took place, the 73-year-old was on the friendlier territory.

In an extraordinary split-screen moment, while the House was casting votes to impeach him, thousands of Trump’s most fervent supporters were cheering him at a rally in Michigan where he railed against a “radical left” he said was “consumed with hatred.”

Democrats are “trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans,” he charged.

“Four more years, four more years,” the crowd chanted back.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said “the president’s reckless actions” made his impeachment necessary.  Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

‘Threat to national security’

Neither of the two previous presidents impeached since 1789, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, was convicted in the Senate, and both held onto their jobs.

But despite the high likelihood of Trump being cleared by Senate Republicans, Democrats said the evidence against him was overwhelming and forced them to act.

“It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It is a matter of fact that the president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections.”

Both camps approached the vote with solemnity.

“It’s a big responsibility, it’s sobering, and I think the members feel that way too,” House Democrat Diana DeGette told AFP.

“I come to this floor not as a Republican, not as a Democrat, but as an American,” said independent legislator Justin Amash.

“Impeachment is about maintaining the integrity of the office of the presidency.”

This combination of pictures created on December 18, 2019, shows the three US Presidents that have been impeached (from L) a circa 1860-1865 photo of former US President Andrew Johnson, US President Bill Clinton in 1996 and US President Donald Trump during a tour of the Flextronics computer manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, on November 20, 2019. 
MANDEL NGAN, CHUCK KENNEDY, MATHEW BRADY / AFP / National Archives

 

‘Triggered into impeaching’

The day of dramatic and often angry oratory saw both sides delving deep into Constitutional law, citing the intentions of the country’s hallowed founders such as Benjamin Franklin or Alexander Hamilton.

Republicans repeatedly drove the line that the Democrats rushed the investigation; Trump was treated more unfairly than witches put on trial in the 17th century Americas — or even than Jesus Christ, they claimed.

“Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats afforded this president and this process,” said Georgia Republican Barry Loudermilk.

They accused Democrats of being driven by a party fringe of socialist extremists and “Trump-haters,” and warned that impeaching Trump would backlash against the party in national elections next November.

“This is not about Ukraine, it’s about power,” said Republican Matt Gaetz.

“Voters will never forget that Democrats have been triggered into impeaching the president, because they don’t like him, and they don’t like us.”

Democrats countered that Republicans were not addressing the charges and evidence, instead of issuing blanket denials and counter-accusations.

“We do not hear, because we cannot hear, because they cannot articulate, a real defense of the president’s actions,” said Jerry Nadler, whose Judiciary Committee drafted the charges against Trump.

AFP

Estonian Minister Asked To Resign For Calling Finnish PM ‘Shop Girl’

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin gives a press conference during a European Union Summit at the Europa building in Brussels on December 13, 2019. Alain JOCARD / AFP

 

Estonia’s opposition called for interior minister Mart Helme to resign on Tuesday after he labeled Finland’s new prime minister a “shop girl”.

Helme said on Sunday the new Finnish government was trying to destroy its own country, comments that opposition leader Kaja Kallas said were humiliating to Estonia.

Estonia’s president has already apologized to Finland, whose new leader 34-year-old Sanna Marin became the world’s youngest prime minister last week.

Veteran Helme is leader and founder of the far-right Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), which joined the governing coalition after winning almost 18 percent of the vote in an election earlier this year.

READ ALSO: World’s Youngest PM Takes Office In Finland

“Mart Helme has repeatedly injured the reputation of the Estonian state, if we let him go on as minister, he’ll be able to humiliate Estonia even further,” said Kallas.

The Reform Party leader added that her call for him to quit was supported by other opposition parties and even a lawmaker in the governing coalition.

However, a parliamentary motion of no confidence in Helme on Tuesday got only 44 votes in favour — falling seven votes short of the number required to force him out of his post.

Helme had told a radio interviewer that he doubted Marin and her government were capable of running Finland, riffing on Lenin’s maxim that a cook should be able to run a country.

“Now we see that a shop girl has become a prime minister and some other street activists and uneducated people have also become members of the government,” said Helme.

He went on to describe the new centre-left government as an act of “historic revenge by the Reds… desperately trying to destroy the Finnish state, turn Finland into some sort of ‘Euro-province'”.

Joshua Hopeful Of Better Unification Showdown With Fury Than Wilder

British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning the heavyweight boxing match between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles in Diriya, near the Saudi capital on December 7, 2019. Fayez Nureldine / AFP

 

Anthony Joshua has offered to be Tyson Fury’s sparring partner if it helps his fellow British fighter beat WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

Joshua has been left frustrated in his attempts to lure America’s Wilder into the ring as he bids to unify the division following his victory over Andy Ruiz Jr last weekend.

The 30-year-old, who regained the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, feels he has a better chance of landing a blockbuster unification showdown with Fury than with Wilder.

Fury faces a re-match with the American on February 22, having drawn their first encounter, and Joshua told Sky Sports News: “I think honestly he might beat Wilder next time.

“I think Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder would, so, if that’s the case, I want him to win. Imagine that fight on British soil.

“If Tyson needs me, I’ll go out and spar with him to get him ready for Wilder.”

Joshua remains desperate for a showdown with Wilder that would see both men attempt to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.

“It still puzzles me as to why it’s so difficult to pin this man down,” Joshua said. “This is the man I need to pin down to get the last ring and conquer this division.”

“You’ve got the two lords of the rings here,” he added. “The last one to unify, undisputed, the division. I’ve got four (including the IBO belt), he’s got one. I just need one more.”

Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev is the IBF’s next mandatory challenger for Joshua, while the WBO has ordered the Londoner to fight Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk.

And speaking about a potential third meeting with Ruiz Jr, the Mexican-American who stunned the boxing world by beating Joshua in June, the British boxer said: “One trillion per cent.

“I always said I’d fight him in Tijuana, with his uncle as referee. Me and Andy will soon see each other in the ring again.”

 

AFP

Pope Lifts Papal Secrecy For Sex Abuse Cases

(File) Pope Francis speaks as as Prefect of the papal household Georg Gaenswein (L) looks on during an audience with participants in the Course on the Internal Forum, on March 29, 2019 at Paul-VI hall in the Vatican. Andreas SOLARO / AFP

 

Pope Francis has waived the ability to cite papal secrecy in dealing with sexual abuse cases, the Vatican said on Tuesday in a statement.

So-called “pontifical secrecy” is a rule of confidentiality designed to protect sensitive information related to the governance of the Roman Catholic Church.

More to follow…

Zimbabwe VP’s Wife In Court On Attempted Murder, Fraud Charges

 

The wife of Zimbabwe’s vice president was remanded in custody on Monday after appearing in court to face charges of fraud, money-laundering and attempted murder of her husband.

Marry Mubaiwa, 38, who is the wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, was arrested by Zimbabwe’s anti-graft commission on Saturday.

She was initially detained on suspicion of contravening the country’s exchange control act and of fraud.

Mubaiwa appeared in a Harare court on Monday and was held pending a December 30 hearing. She did not speak at the court but her attorney told local media they would apply for bail.

READ ALSO: Pope Lifts Papal Secrecy For Sex Abuse Cases

Prosecutors said between 2018 and May this year, Mubaiwa withdrew amounts of from her foreign currency account in Zimbabwe to deposit into bank accounts in neighbouring South Africa under the pretext of paying for goods bought in that country.

She allegedly used part of the money to buy a house in the Waterkloof Golf Estate in the South African capital Pretoria and two luxury cars.

Prosecutors accuse Mubaiwa, a businesswoman and former model, of attempted murder while she accompanied her husband when he was airlifted for medical attention in South Africa.

In South Africa she allegedly took the ailing Chiwenga to a hotel, refusing to take him to hospital until his aides forced their way and took him to a clinic.

Prosecutors said “with intent to cause serious harm,” Mubaiwa went to Chiwenga’s hospital ward and asked his security aides to leave saying she wanted to have a private conversation with her husband.

Alone with the bedridden Chiwenga, Mubaiwa allegedly removed an intravenous line and a catheter from Chiwenga causing him to bleed profusely, the prosecution said.

“The accused then forced the complainant off his bed and took him by the hand and started walking out of the ward before being intercepted by the security personnel at the door,” the charge sheet for attempted murder count said.

Chiwenga, who led the ouster of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, went to South Africa to seek emergency medical attention for an undisclosed ailment, before being transferred to a Chinese hospital from where he was discharged late November.

On his arrival he was welcomed by China’s deputy ambassador to Harare while his wife Marry was absent. There was also not a welcome ceremony held for Chiwenga at his rural home.

AFP

PHOTOS: Results For Kogi Gov Election Start Arriving At Collation Centre

Results for the Kogi State governorship election are being brought to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s collation centre in trickles from the local governments.

There is tight security at the collation centre in Lokoja where the final results will be collated with residents and Nigerians eagerly waiting to find out the outcome of the keenly contested election that was at moments threatened by violence.

See photos by Channels TV’s Sodiq Adelakun below:

LIVE UPDATES: Bayelsa, Kogi Governorship Elections


Residents of Bayelsa and Kogi states are awaiting the outcomes of the elections to choose who will govern the states for the next four years.

In Bayelsa, 45 candidates are in the governorship race, according to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Mr David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are believed to be the top contenders in the race.

The race is expected to produce a successor to Governor Seriake Dickson who is in the final months of his second term.

In Kogi, a tight race is expected, involving 24 candidates.

It is a heated race with Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) seeking re-election, while Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, the younger brother of the man Bello and his party ousted from power four years ago, is a leading candidate to stop the governor and reclaim the seat for the opposition party.


Sensitive materials displayed inside the INEC office in Lokoja. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun: Channels TV

 


The build-up to the election has been dramatic and sometimes violent.

Just on Thursday, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Natasha Akpoti, was attacked outside the venue of a meeting between stakeholders and the Inspector General of the Police and the INEC Chairman.

An added dimension to today’s election in Kogi is the Senatorial election rerun in Kogi West which pits old foes Dino Melaye of the PDP and Smart Adeyemi of the APC against each other once again.

Melaye had ousted Adeyemi from the Senate as a member of the APC in 2015.

At the time, Adeyemi was a member of the PDP.

Both men later switched camps with Melaye being declared winner of the February 23, 2019 election in the district, a declaration the court later nullified and called for fresh elections.

Ahead of the elections, President Muhammadu Buhari called for fairness and transparency and the IGP promised to ensure peace so the people can vote.

Opposition party leaders, however, expressed fears about whether the votes would be peaceful and fair.

Channels TV reporters are on the ground to keep you updated about happenings in both states. Stay with us and keep refreshing this page for fresh updates.


 

5:26 PM: Officials prepare for the collation of election results at the INEC Headquarters in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.


5:20 PM: Officials prepare for the collation of election results at the INEC Headquarters in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.


3:30 PM: Soldiers parade Lokoja-Okene Expressway following violent attacks on some polling units in the Kogi State capital.


3:06 PM: Counting of votes is underway at Polling Unit 017 in Epie III in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.


1:20 PM: Suspected thugs destroy electoral materials at Ward 8 in INEC’s Registration Area Centre (RAC) in Ekeremor LGA of Bayelsa.


VIDEOS



12:40 PM: Gunmen attack and disrupt voting at Iluafor Ward polling unit 002 in Kogi State.


12:10 PM: The APC candidate in Bayelsa, David Lyon, has just voted at Olugbobiri in Southern Ijaw LGA.


12:03 PM: Suspected thugs have disrupted the exercise at Ayetoro II Polling Unit 003 in Kogi West.

The polling unit is located very close to the NSCDC office in the area.


Here are some tweets below


 


11:11 AM: SDP Gubernatorial Candidate, Natasha Akpoti, casts her vote at Polling Unit 19 Ward 1 in Obeiba Ihima Okehi LGA of Kogi State.


Meanwhile, suspected thugs have attempted to snatch ballot papers in the Odu-Ogboyaga Ward 1 of Dekina Local Government Area in Kogi State, where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr Musa Wada cast his vote.

The thugs were, however, confronted by youths and security officials who threw stones at them to secure the electoral materials. READ…

Suspected Thugs Storm Kogi PDP Governorship Candidate’s Polling Unit

 


10: 50AM: Electoral officials and materials are yet to arrive at the polling units in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s hometown, Otuoke in Bayelsa State.

10:41 AM: Senator Smart Adeyemi has just arrived at Ijumu Iyara 002 polling unit where he is expected to cast his vote.

Senator Smart Adeyemi arrives at his polling unit to cast his vote.

He has joined the queue, waiting to get accredited and cast his vote.

10:30 AM: Some wards and units were merged together in Sagbama LGA of Bayelsa State because some communities were flooded.


10:15 AM: Voting going on smoothly at Amule polling unit in Lokoja, Kogi State.


10:10 AM: PDP Deputy Governorship Candidate, Senator Lawrence Ewrhujakpor, casts his vote at Ofoni Community in Bayelsa State.

PDP Deputy Governorship Candidate in Bayelsa, Senator Lawrence Ewrhujakpor, casts his vote.


9:47 AM: In Brass Constituency I in Bayelsa, distribution of materials to the various polling units started at about 7am.

Accreditation has begun but voting is yet to commence in Polling Units 7 and 3 in Ward One.


9:40AM: Accreditation process is about to commence at Unit 013 in Epie III, Amarata in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.


9:14 AM: Senator Dino Melaye casts his ballot after he was accredited.

According to him, he got information that some areas in his ward were being attacked by thugs and has informed the police.

 


8:49 AM: Governor Yahaya Bello and his wife, Aminat, get accredited at a polling unit in Agasa in Okene LGA of Kogi State.

He hails INEC for the conduct of the poll.

Governor Yahaya Bello and his wife cast their votes at a polling unit in Okene.


8:46 AM: Accreditation has started and there is no issue reported with the smart card reader at Ward 4 in Odoware Town Hall in Bayelsa State.

Security operatives are also present while pregnant women and the elderly are being given preference at the ward.

8:42 AM: At ward 6 in Epie in Bayelsa, there is a delay as electoral officials are yet to arrive with the materials for the exercise. Voting and accreditation have yet to commence.

8:35 AM: Card reader malfunction was reported at Polling Unit 8 in Ward 4 in Nembe LGA of Bayelsa State. However, an electoral official is addressing the issue.

8:30 AM: There are four electoral officials and three security operatives present as accreditation and voting commenced at a polling unit in Okpoama in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State.

The exercise is said to be going on smoothly.

8:28 AM: Accreditation and voting have commenced at a polling unit in Gboloko Ward in Bassa LGA of Kogi State.

There are eight security operatives present, comprising men of the police, NSCDC, and Nigeria Customs Service.


Meanwhile, some voters in Kogi West senatorial district are gradually coming out to cast their ballot for the governorship and senatorial elections.

Others arrived very early at the Ajayi Crowther Memorial School in Lokoja, waiting to vote for the candidates of their choice as electoral officials prepare for the exercise.

See some photos below:

 


8:24 AM: Suspected thugs said to have disrupted exercise in Omala LGA in Kogi State.


8:15 AM: Channels TV correspondent, Kayla Megwa, gives updates from Lokoja, Kogi State capital. She says there was a delay as a result of the late arrival of security personnel.

Channels TV correspondent, Kayla Megwa.

She adds that INEC ad-hoc staff arrived at their duty posts very early and were ready to deploy materials across the state but no security operative was attached to them.

Ajayi Crowther Primary School in Lokoja, according to here, is one of the biggest polling units in Lokoja and security operatives arrived at about a few minutes to 8am and voting has yet to commence.


7:42 AM: Electoral officials and materials set to be deployed to various polling units following the arrival of security personnel in Ajayi Crowther Primary School in Lokoja A (Kogi State).


7:33 AM: Yenagoa: In the Bayelsa State capital, INEC officials are setting up polling units for voting.

Here are some photos below:


7:29 AM: The Ajayi Crowther Primary School in Lokoja A (Kogi State) has 27 polling units 100 voting points 49,374 registered voters.

There are only two security officers deployed there from Friday and the electoral officials are unable to deploy to the polling units due to the absence of security personnel to accompany them and the materials.

Buhari Speaks About Sacking Of Osinbajo’s Aides, Insists It Is Not Political

President Muhammadu Buhari has spoken for the first time on the sack of some aides in the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The President told reporters that the action which sparked heated reactions with some claiming the powers of the VP had been whittled down, was purely a reorganization with no political or ethnic undertones.

President Buhari spoke about the controversial move on Friday night when he returned to Nigeria after a private visit to the United Kingdom.

“We are going to work harder, be accountable and try to make Nigerians understand why we do certain things whether they appreciate it or not,” the President before using the firing of the VP’s aide as an example of a misunderstood move.

“Like, they said 35 people were sacked in the Vice President’s office. We just created a ministry and we reorganised and people are giving ethnic and political dimensions. It is unfortunate.”

Since the start of President Buhari’s second term, there have been claims that the office of the Vice President was being weakened. It is a claim the Presidency has repeatedly denied.

The establishment of an Economic Advisory Council to report directly to the President, to replace the Economic Management Team, which was chaired by Professor Osinbajo, fueled the claims.

As news of the firing of the VPs aide made the rounds, the claims resurfaced with the Presidency issuing statements insisting that there is no rift between both men and that the move was part of a reorganisation in the government.

President Buhari maintained the “reorganisation” position in his brief comments on the matter.

Pakistan Becomes First Country To Launch New Typhoid Vaccine

Pakistan on the map. Credit: Google Map

 

Pakistan has become the first country in the world to introduce a new typhoid vaccine, officials said Friday, as the country grapples with an ongoing outbreak of a drug-resistant strain of the potentially fatal disease.

The vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), will be used during a two-week immunisation campaign in southern Sindh province.

Sindh is where most of Pakistan’s 10,000 cases of typhoid have been documented since 2017.

“The two-week campaign beginning from today would target over 10 million children of nine months to 15 years of age,” Azra Pechuho, the health minister in Sindh province, said in Karachi on Friday.

The new vaccines have been provided by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to the Pakistani government free of cost.

After the two-week campaign, it will be introduced into routine immunisations in Sindh, and in other areas of Pakistan in the coming years.

Pakistan spends a meagre amount of its national resources on public health and a majority of its population remains vulnerable to contagious diseases such as typhoid.

In 2017, 63 percent of the typhoid cases documented and 70 percent of the fatalities were children, according to a joint press release from the Pakistani government, WHO and Gavi.

AFP

Trump Attacks US Diplomat As She Testifies In Impeachment Probe

(Files) US President Donald Trump talks to the media on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House by Marine One, in Washington, DC, November 3, 2019, after returning from a trip to New York. Olivier Douliery / AFP

 

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted an attack against the former US ambassador to Ukraine while she was in the middle of testifying in his impeachment probe, prompting her to complain she was being intimidated.

The president’s furious tweet came as Marie Yovanovitch testified in the House of Representatives about her abrupt firing from her post in Ukraine following an alleged smear campaign by Trump’s allies.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump said, finishing his tweet with a reminder that presidents have the “absolute right” to hire and fire ambassadors.

Adding to the extraordinary nature of the president commenting on testimony against him in real time, Yovanovitch was asked to respond on live television.

She called the tweet “very intimidating.”

“I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do but the effect is to be intimidated,” she said.

Trump suggested that her earlier work as a US diplomat in Somalia was linked to the country’s decades of catastrophic instability.

“She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” he tweeted.

“I don’t think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu and Somalia and not in other places,” the visibly shaken Yovanovitch told the impeachment committee hearing her testimony.

“I actually think that where I’ve served over the years I and others have demonstrably made things better, you know, for the US as well as for the countries that I’ve served in.”

The impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives centers on accusations that Trump froze US military aid in an effort to get Ukraine to launch political investigations against his potential 2020 election rival Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.

The investigation threatens to make Trump the third US president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, although the Senate — where Republicans enjoy a majority — would need to convict him to remove him from office.

AFP

South African Airways Cancels All Flights After Strike Call

(Files) A South African Airways plane is parked in a bay on the tarmac at the Johannesburg O.R Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. Gianluigi GUERCIA / AFP

 

South African Airways (SAA) says it will cancel 200-odd flights on Friday and Saturday after unions called a strike over the cash-strapped national carrier’s retrenchment plan.

The state-owned airline on Monday announced a restructuring process that could affect 944 employees and “lead to job losses”.

“South African Airways has asked passengers who had been booked to travel on all its domestic, regional and international flights on Friday and Saturday not to turn up at airports,” the carrier said in a statement late on Thursday.

SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali told AFP about 200 flights would be cancelled over two days.

The airline, which employs more than 5,000 workers, is one of the biggest in Africa, with a fleet of more than 50 aircraft providing dozens of domestic, regional and European flights each day.

But the company is deep in debt, despite several government bailouts, and has not recorded a profit since 2011.

More than 3,000 workers, including cabin crew, check-in, ticket sales, technical and ground staff, are expected to take part in the open-ended strike from Friday, the unions said.

The unions are pressing for a three-year guarantee of job security and an eight percent across-the-board wage hike.

Pilots – who are not taking part in the strike – have accepted a 5.9-percent increase, they said.

The unions said “inflated contracts” outsourcing work were”crippling SAA’s finances (and) literally bleeding SAA dry every day.”

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced in February that the government would reimburse the company’s 9.2-billion-rand ($620-million) debt over the next three years.

South Africa is struggling to get its state-owned companies back on track after nine years of corruption and mismanagement under former president Jacob Zuma.

AFP

Kidnapped Appeal Court Judge Regains Freedom

 

Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme of the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal has regained her freedom, two weeks after she was abducted from the Edo State Capital.

The Commissioner of Police, Edo Command, Danmallam Mohammed confirmed that the judge was rescued from kidnappers and has been reunited with her family.

Her abduction had led to public outcry from various quarters with the Nigerian Bar Association, Benin Branch, embarking on a three-day boycott of all courts last week.

Justice Nwosu-Iheme had been abducted on October 30 while she was on her way to the court.

She is known to be Nigeria’s first female judge to study law up to the Ph.D. level, specialising in the law of intellectual property.

Her abduction had taken place just days after a federal high court judge in Akure, Ondo State, Justice Abdul Dogo, was freed by kidnappers who abducted him at the border between Edo and Ondo states.

News of her abduction sparked outrage among her colleagues and many Nigerians with the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers among those that demanded her unconditional release. She is from the state.

The council had also called on President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors, and security operatives among other relevant stakeholders to do everything possible to find a permanent solution to the security challenges in the country.