Insecurity: Buhari Receives Delegation Of Govt, People Of Nasarawa

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday received a delegation of the government and people of Nasarawa State.

The delegation led by Governor of the state, Abdullahi Sule met the President behind closed doors.

READ ALSO: ‘We’ll Reward Performance’, Nasarawa Governor Sule Tells Civil Servants

There are indications that the meeting is majorly centered around security issues within the state and surrounding environs.

Also present at the meeting were the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu and  Chief of State to the President, Abba Kyari.

At the time of filing this report, full details of the meeting were still not disclosed.

Nigerian Journalist Facing Terror Charges Granted Bail

Jones Abiri was arrested in 2016 Photo: Jones Abiri/Facebook

 

A Nigerian journalist facing terrorism, economic sabotage and fraud charges has been granted conditional bail, court officials said Tuesday — but has to stay in jail until he meets the conditions.

Judge Ijeoma Ojukwu granted a defence request for bail to Jones Abiri, editor and publisher of the Weekly Source newspaper, in a hearing Monday.

She set the date for the start of the trial on Friday.

Abiri denies charges of sending text messages to oil companies threatening to blow up their facilities. He says he has been targeted for his coverage of the neglect of his native Niger Delta by oil companies and the government.

READ ALSO: Court Strikes Out Case Against Jones Abiri For Lack Of Jurisdiction

Judge Ojukwu ordered Abiri to pay 100 million naira (282,000 dollars) and also to provide a guarantor who would have to be a landowner, a common proviso in Nigerian courts. Until then, he has to remain in custody, the judge added.

Abiri was previously detained by intelligence officers for two years without trial over alleged links to armed rebel groups in the Niger Delta region.

He was freed last August following a campaign by rights organisations.

AFP

HDP Returns To Tribunal Against Buhari

 

The presidential election petitions tribunal has continued its sitting today with hope democratic party presenting its case against the victory of president Muhammadu Buhari at the February the 23rd presidential election.

The party is also challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC at the tribunal over its decision to postpone the presidential election from February the 16th to February the 23rd without any legal backing.

Counsel to the Hope Democratic Party argued their applications before the tribunal this morning, particularly the request for the dismissal of the election of the president.

The presidential election tribunal allowed in part the application filed by the Hope Democratic Party to amend their petition challenging the election of president Muhammadu Buhari.

In a unanimous ruling delivered by the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Muhammed Garba the tribunal allowed prayer one of the two-part motion on the grounds that correction of errors such as typographical errors in a petition do not go to alter the facts of the petition.

READ ALSO: Alleged Certificate Fraud: Appeal Court Gives Buhari, APC Five Days To Respond

He added that in the present motion prayer one which seeks to correct the arrangement of the names of the respondents and other typographical errors do not alter the relevant sections of the petition as such it is granted.

The tribunal, however, refused to grant prayer two which sort to bring an additional list of witnesses and their witness statement on the grounds that such a correction will alter relevant facts of the petition and will have an effect on the outcome of the petition.

The Apex Court held that the law envisages that at the filing of the petition the law makes it mandatory that the petition is accompanied by a list of witnesses, witness statement and all materials to be used to manage the petition.

The tribunal also said that the filing as envisaged by law must be done not later than twenty-one days after the case of action which is the announcement of the results of the election been disputed and clearly this application has been filed out of time and cannot be granted as such prayer to is refused.

The tribunal concluded that the petition succeeds in part and the amended petition of the hope democratic party making the relevant typographical corrections is allowed while the amended list of witnesses is to be discarded.

China Calls For ‘Calm’ As US-Iran Tensions Rise

 

China on Tuesday urged “calm and restraint” as tensions between the US and Iran escalate following US President Donald Trump’s new sanctions on Iran.

“We believe that blindly applying maximum pressure will not help solve the problem,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a press briefing in Beijing.

“Facts have proved that these measures have had the opposite effect and aggravated regional unrest,” he added.

READ ALSO: Iran Rejects Dialogue With US After Fresh Sanctions

Relations between Washington and Tehran have rapidly deteriorated over the past few weeks, after the US accused Iran of being behind a series of attacks on ships in sensitive Gulf waters — claims hotly denied by Tehran.

On Monday, Trump further raised the stakes in an escalating regional standoff by imposing sanctions against Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top military chiefs.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman denounced the sanctions as “the permanent closure of the path to diplomacy” with the Trump administration.

“We hope that the parties concerned will maintain calm and restraint and avoid further escalation of tension,” Geng said.

Last week, Iran and the US teetered on the edge of military confrontation after Iran shot down a US spy drone and Trump launched a retaliatory strike, cancelling it at the last minute.

AFP

South Korean Olympians In Sexual Harassment Incident

 

 

A South Korean Olympic short-track medallist sexually harassed another male Games podium-finisher, officials said Tuesday — prompting them to suspend the entire team.

The offender — who has not been identified — reportedly forcibly pulled down the victim’s trousers, leaving him standing in his underwear in front of team-mates at the national training centre in Jincheon.

In response coaches collectively punished the entire team — seven men and seven women — and expelled them from the facility for a month, a Korean Sport & Olympic Committee official told AFP.

“There had been a number of other cases of misbehaviour before this (in the short track speed skating team), and that’s one of the reasons why this decision was made,” the official said.

READ ALSO: Sweden Into World Cup Quarters With Narrow Win Over Canada

Earlier this year, a male skater was suspended for a month after secretly getting into the female dorm at the Jincheon centre.

Both male skaters involved in the latest incident won medals at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last year, the official said.

It is the latest in a series of embarrassing off-field incidents in South Korean sports.

The South is a regional sporting power and regularly in the top 10 medal table places at the summer and winter Olympics.

But in an already intensely competitive society, winning is virtually everything in its sports community — and physical and verbal abuse are known to be rife.

The nation’s short track speed skating community, in particular, has faced several serious abuse scandals in recent years.

In January, double Olympic short track gold medallist Shim Suk-hee went public with accusations her former coach sexually molested and physically abused her multiple times.

Another speed skater, Noh Seon-yeong, last year accused the Korea Skating Union (KSU) of forcing her brother Jin-kyu — a top medal contender for Sochi 2014 — to continue training rather than seek medical attention, despite chronic pain.

He was later diagnosed with bone cancer following a training injury, never went to Sochi, and died in 2016.

AFP

Sweden Into World Cup Quarters With Narrow Win Over Canada

 

Stina Blackstenius scored the only goal of a cagey match as Sweden beat Canada 1-0 in Paris on Monday to reach the women’s World Cup quarter-finals.

The victory sets up a rematch of the 2016 Olympic final as the Swedes play Germany on Saturday in Rennes. Three years ago Germany won the gold with a 2-1 victory in Rio de Janeiro, though Blackstenius scored in that match.

Blackstenius scored the only goal in the 55th minute with a brave finish after a crisp Swedish counter-attack.

After that, the last-16 tie was once again a story of VAR. A review gave Canada a penalty, but Hedvig Lindahl, at full stretch, saved Janine Beckie’s driven spot-kick.

Then, referee Kate Jacewicz pointed to the spot after a foul by Ashley Lawrence, but the decision was over-ruled after VAR detected a Swedish offside in the build-up.

Both sides came into the knockout rounds after losing dead rubbers to finish second in their groups. Canada went down 2-1 to the Netherlands. Sweden fell 2-0 to the USA but rested a host of usual starters.

READ ALSO: Women’s Cup: England Beat Cameroon, Advance To Quarter-Final

The Swedes made five changes for a match that kicked off with the temperature tickling 30 degrees Celsius.

Neither side managed a shot on target in the first half.

Christine Sinclair, chasing the all-time women’s international scoring record, had one shot, early in the second half, a 25-metre free-kick that curled gently wide.

Sweden took the lead on the counter.

Kosovare Asllani ran onto a long pass down the left, paused and then curled the ball behind centre-back Shelina Zadorsky and into the path of Blackstenius. The centre-forward hit the ball first-time from just inside the box and before being clattered by Zadorsky and goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe. The shot looped off Labbe and into the net.

Canada responded with a burst of frenzied pressure and were rewarded on 68 minutes when Desiree Scott met a weak clearance from a corner with a volley that struck Asllani on the arm.

Manchester City’s Beckie drilled her penalty low to Lindahl’s right, but the Chelsea goalkeeper hurled herself across the goal to save.

Then VAR denied the Swedes a penalty.

Canada pressed desperately but the nearest either side came to a goal was when Scott cleared Asllani’s volley off the line after a Swedish corner.

Tunisia First Cup Of Nations Top Seeds Not To Win

 

Tunisia became the first 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top seeds not to win their opening match when Djalma Campos cancelled out a Youssef Msakni goal and earned Angola a 1-1 Group E draw on Monday.

Hosts Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and Senegal won their first matches of the 24-team tournament and the other top seeds, Cameroon, debut Tuesday against Guinea-Bissau.

Tunisia led when Msakni blasted a penalty into the net on 34 minutes only for Campos to punish a blunder by goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha in the 73rd minute.

It was the second time Angola and Tunisia met at the biennial African football showpiece and the second time they drew after a goalless deadlock in Ghana 11 years ago.

The stalemate offered former runners-up Mali or newcomers Mauritania a chance to lead Group E later Monday by winning the second match in a double-header at the Suez Army Stadium.

“Drawing was not satisfactory for us — we wanted to win our first match,” said substitute Ferjani Sassi, who won a lengthy fitness battle to be ready for the tournament.

“We were winning and had chances to add more goals, but did not take them. Tunisia were better than Angola but because of poor defending we conceded an equaliser.”

Tunisia led at half-time after a cagey first half at the 27,000-capacity venue, one of six being used for the competition.

Naim Sliti was floored inside the box by Salomao Paizo and the Ethiopian referee pointed to the spot before yellow-carding goalkeeper Tony Cabaca for dissent.

Msakni took a perfect penalty, striking the ball with power and accuracy over the Angolan shot-stopper.

The goal gave a small but enthusiastic crowd something to cheer after a pedestrian opening half in which the teams had only one goal attempt each on target.

Geraldo, a surprise absentee from the Angolan starting line-up, was introduced by Serbian coach Srdjan Vasiljevic for the second half in place of Stelvio da Cruz.

A second substitution made during half-time saw Gelson Dala, who scored three of the nine goals that took Angola to the finals, replacing Wilson Eduardo.

Tunisia coach and former France star Alain Giresse waited until midway through the second half to make his initial change, sending on Sassi for Ghaylen Chaalali.

Angola levelled thanks to a blunder from Tunisia goalkeeper Ben Mustapha, who spilled a weak Mateus da Costa shot and Campos tapped in the rebound.

Wahbi Khazri came close to putting the north Africans ahead again with seven minutes remaining as his shot eluded Cabaca but trickled just wide of the far post.

Msakni was the next Tunisian to try and snatch a late winning goal, unleashing a low shot from just outside the box that Cabaca held at the second attempt.

AFP

Counter-Terror Police Arrest Man Suspected Of Plotting Attack On US Embassy

The US Embassy in Brussels, Belgium.

 

Belgian counter-terror police have arrested a man suspected of plotting an attack against the US embassy in Brussels, federal prosecutors said Monday.

The police on Saturday arrested the man following “converging signs raising fears of an attack against the US embassy,” the prosecutor’s office said.

“The suspect has been detained for an alleged attempted attack within a terrorist context and preparation of a terrorist offence,” it said in a statement.

The man identified only as M.G. appeared Monday morning before an investigating judge who ordered him held, it added.

The suspect denies any involvement in the alleged plot.

A source close to the investigation told AFP the suspect is a Belgian man around 40 years old and a convert to Islam who had “raised suspicion because of his behaviour”.

READ ALSO: Iran Rejects Dialogue With US After Fresh Sanctions

He had been seen “scouting” the embassy area before he was arrested, the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The source declined to say whether the suspect fit the profile of a jihadist.

A spokesman for the US embassy said, “We have no comment at this time.”

Jihadists have staged a number of attacks in Brussels, which hosts the headquarters of the European Union and NATO.

The worst was on March 22, 2016, when suicide bombers killed 32 people and wounded hundreds of others at Brussels airport and a metro station near EU buildings.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the twin attacks.

Previous attacks in Belgium

Since 2016, several other attacks, some of them also claimed by IS, have targeted Belgian police or soldiers.

The last “terrorist attack” occurred in the eastern city of Liege on May 29 last year when Benjamin Herman shot dead two women police officers and a student.

He shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) before being shot dead by the police.

Since the end of January 2018, the terror alert level in Belgium has been set at two, which means an attack is considered unlikely, the same as it was before January 2015.

A level three alert — indicating an attack is possible and likely — was set later in January 2015 after police smashed a jihadist cell in the eastern city of Verviers.

That Belgian police raid occurred a week after attacks against the Charlie Hebdo magazine and Jewish supermarket in Paris.

The level four alert — which means a serious and imminent threat of attack — has been put in place twice but for limited duration.

It was imposed for the first time for a week in the wake of the November 13, 2015, attacks in Paris which claimed the lives of 130 people and wounded hundreds of others.

It was then raised from three to four in the days after the March 2016 attacks.

Police say they believe the same cell was behind both the French and Belgium attacks.

AFP

Army Arrest Top Bandits’ Informant, Logistics Suppliers In Sokoto

 

 

The Nigerians Army says it intercepted and apprehended some notorious bandit’s informant and logistics suppliers at Burkusuma market all in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

According to a communique by army spokesman, Colonel Sagir Musa the arrests were made when troops were carrying out offensive operations against armed banditry and other criminal activities within Sokoto State and its environs.

Colonel Sagir said troops of Operation HARBIN KUNAMA III on 23 June 2019 while on routine aggressive patrol to Danboa village intercepted the suspects.

He said the troops acting on credible intelligence report raided the location and apprehended the criminals who were transacting in the market.

Notable among them were: “(i) Mallam Ibrahim — Confirmed to be a notorious bandits informant and collaborator renowned for collecting ransom on behalf of the bandits.

“(ii) Mallam Ashiru Goni — Confirmed to be another notorious bandits courier agent who specializes in transporting logistics for bandits within and outside Sokoto State.

“(iii) Mamman Taratse — A confirmed logistician for the criminals, – he specializes in the sale of rustled cattle at various markets within and outside Sokoto State”.

READ ALSO: Army Kills Two Terrorists In Borno

Similarly, Colonel Sagir who is the Acting Director Army Public Relations stated that troops in response to complaints of bandits activities at Magira village, stormed and raided the location and engaged the bandits in a fierce battle.

“Consequently, the troops pursued the bandits to their hideouts killing scores, while several others escaped with gunshot injuries. Unfortunately, one soldier paid the supreme price during the encounter,” Colonel Sagir said.

He said that the General Officer Commanding 8 Division, Major General Hakeem Oladapo Otiki on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai commended the troops for the exploits and thanked the locals for providing timely information that led to the successful encounter.

“He enjoined members of the public to continue to support the ongoing operation by providing timely and accurate information to enable the troops sustain the tempo against armed banditry and other criminal activities in Nigeria,” the army spokesman said.

Iran Rejects Dialogue With US After Fresh Sanctions

 

Iran’s UN ambassador said Monday that conditions were not ripe for a dialogue with the United States after President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions on Tehran.

As the UN Security Council met behind closed doors, Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told reporters that the United States must stop “its economic war against the Iranian people.”

“You cannot start a dialogue with somebody who is threatening you, who is intimidating you,” said Ravanchi.

“The atmosphere of such a dialogue is not ready yet.”

READ ALSO: US Slaps New Sanctions On Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei

The ambassador spoke a few hours after the United States announced a raft of new sanctions that target Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and eight Iranian commanders.

The US Treasury also said it plans to blacklist Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, stepping up pressure on Tehran to address US demands.

“As long as this threat is there, there is no way that Iran and the US can start a dialogue,” said the ambassador.

Ravanchi renewed an appeal for talks with regional countries on improving security and said he had asked the United Nations to play a role in promoting such a forum.

The Security Council was meeting at the request of the United States after Iran last week shot down a US surveillance drone that Tehran insists had ventured into its airspace – a claim rejected by Washington.

Trump said he had called off US military strikes against Iran because he decided there would be too many deaths, but tensions soared anyway.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters ahead of the meeting that stepped-up sanctions by Washington had to be matched with intensified diplomatic efforts.

“We are at a time when maximum pressure only makes sense with maximum diplomacy,” said Delattre.

AFP

Death Toll From Rivers Pipeline Explosion Higher, Locals Say

MOSOP Accuses Military Of Killing In Gokana

 

Scores are feared dead following an oil pipeline explosion in Rivers State, officials said Monday, with some putting the toll at more than 70.

At least eight people died on Saturday in Kom Kom Town in the oil-producing State, according to an assessment Sunday by the police and a local official.

But locals were “putting the figures at over 70” people killed, the regional coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Walson Brandon told AFP on Monday.

It was difficult to confirm the casualties because “the area is inaccessible after heavy rains this morning,” he added.

Ogechi Nnamdi, a local resident at the scene said: “I saw about 20 dead bodies. Eleven had been carried away and more are in the swamp yet to be recovered.”

READ ALSO: Several Feared Dead In Rivers Pipeline Explosion

Promise Chibuzo Nwankwo, a local politician, said the exact numbers of dead were unclear “but I can confirm to you that scores of persons were recorded dead as a result of the explosion.”

The explosion occurred on Saturday afternoon while maintenance work was taking place on a pipeline operated by the Pipeline Product Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Leaks had been spotted on the pipeline in the week before the explosion, said Kennedy Azodeh, an official in charge of maintenance operations.

“Locals including vandals stormed the area in boats and canoes to scoop the product”, he said.

The company eventually cut off the supply and began maintenance work “accompanied by police officers and members of the Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).”

“People were asked to leave, but they refused”, Azodeh said.

Several oil pipeline accidents have occurred in recent years in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer.

In October 2018, 30 people died in the explosion of an oil pipeline attacked by looters in southeast Nigeria.

Alleged Certificate Fraud: Appeal Court Gives Buhari, APC Five Days To Respond

Buhari's Cabinet Remains Intact Until May 22, Says Lai Mohammed
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

The  Court of Appeal has ordered President Muhammadu Buhari to respond within five days to the appeal filed against his qualification for the 2019 presidential election.

The All Progressives Congress (APC), which nominated Buhari for the presidential poll and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which accepted Buhari’s nomination were also given five days to also respond to all issues raised on the educational qualification of the president in the election.

Justice Datti Yayaya who issued the order, also directed that the president’s  counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, must within the period file necessary processes in relation to the appeal filed against the president’s qualification by three appellants namely Agu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris.

The decision of the appellate court was sequel to a motion on notice filed by counsel to the appellants, Uchenna Ndubuisi, who prayed the Court of Appeal in the motion to abridge time  within which president Buhari, APC and INEC will join issues with the appellants on the certifcate suit.

The President’s counsel and that of the    APC, Mister Temitayo Lasaki had urged the appellate court in their response to the motion to give them five days to enable them file their respondents’ brief of argument along with other processes so as to set the stage for hearing of the substantive appeal.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Rejects Atiku, PDP’s Request To Access INEC’s Server

Kalu, Ismail and El-Kuris had approached the appellate court to nullify and set aside the Judgment of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court which declined to hear their suit  challenging  the educational qualification of President Buhari before the conduct of the 2019 general election.

The appellants in their appeal are asking the appellate court to reverse the judgment of Justice Ahmed Mohammed on the grounds that the processes filed by President Buhari which was  used to strike out their suit were not competent.

While faulting the Judgment of the High Court, which was predicated on the grounds that the suit was statute barred, the appellants claimed that the Federal High Court erred in law and in its decison because they did not challenge the primary election that produced Buhari as candidate of the APC instead they challenged his educational qualification to participate in the polls.

They therefore urged the Court of Appeal to assume jurisdiction over the suit and grant all the reliefs sought at the Federal High Court but which were refused.

Among the reliefs were a declaration that Buhari submitted false information regarding his qualification and certifcate to INEC for the purpose of contesting election into the office of the President of Nigeria and that he should be disqualified.

They also prayed for an order of court directing INEC to remove Buhari’s name as a candidate of APC and another order restraining Buhari from parading himself as a candidate in the 2019 presidential election and also APC from recognizing Buhari as a candidate.

The Federal High Court had on May 2 declined to grant the request of the appellants on the grounds that the suit was not filed within the time allowed by law and therefore sustained the preliminary objection raised by the president at the hearing.

Hearing in the appeal is adjourned to July 8.