President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Babachir Lawal.
President Buhari has also ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the SGF in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
Also, pending the outcome of the investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in a residential apartment at Osborne towers, Ikoyi, Lagos state, the President has suspended the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
According to the statement, the investigation is also to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.
A three-man Committee comprising the Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the National Security Adviser, headed by the Vice President, is to conduct both investigations.
The committee is expected to submit its report to the President within 14 days.
In the interim, the most senior Permanent Secretary in the SGF’s office, and the most senior officer in the NIA, are to act, respectively, during the period of investigation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Osinbajo has held a closed door meeting with the SGF, Mr. Lawal. The NIA DG, Mr. Oke, who had been turned back earlier, in an emotion-laden moment and denied attempts to speak with the VP, was later granted an audience.
Justice Walter Onnoghen has been sworn-in as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
After taking his oath of office, Onnoghen was also decorated by the Acting President with the national honour of the Grand Commander of Order of the Niger (GCON), as customary with the inauguration of CJNs.
Osinbajo also revealed that he spoke with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, and that the President had sent his good wishes to the CJN.
The Acting President believes that Justice Onnoghen is assuming the position at a crucial time in the nation’s history when many have lost confidence in the judiciary.
He therefore urged him to use his position to revive the judiciary.
Present at the occasion were Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former CJNs members of the Federal Executive Council, Justices of the Supreme Court, his family members, among others.
During the screening process, Federal Lawmakers questioned him on issues of the independence of the judiciary, judicial reforms, corruption in the Judiciary, as well as disobedience of court orders.
The new CJN maintained that the independence of the judiciary would continue under his watch.
He had been in acting capacity since November 10, 2016 when President Muhammadu Buhari okayed him for the position, following the retirement of Mahmud Mohammed.
Mr Osinbajo, had sent his name to the Senate for confirmation as Chief Justice Of Nigeria on February 8, just two days before the expiration of his three –month acting tenure.
Also, the National Judicial Council (NJC), had extended Mr Onnoghen’s tenure by another three months, on the grounds that it may have been impossible for the Senate, which was on recess at the time, to reconvene and screen Onnoghen before the expiration date of his tenure.
The initial delay by President Buhari to send his name to the Senate, had been trailed by criticism and condemnation, with some alleging ethnic bias as the reason for the President’s “seeming reluctance”.
Onnoghen has been a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 2005 and his eventual confirmation, makes him the first CJN from the southern part of the country in about 30 years.
The Federal Government has taken over Arik Airline, which has been experiencing difficulties in recent times.
According to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the decision to intervene “clearly underscores the government’s commitment to instilling sanity in the country’s aviation sector and prevent a major catastrophe.
The airline will now be managed by Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, an aviation expert, under Mr Oluseye Opasanya, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika expressed the belief that the development will bring about stability in the airline.
“We believe that this appointment is timely and will stabilize the operations of the airline. This will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalize the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”
The Minister further pledged that the Federal Ministry of Aviation would support the new management of the strategic carrier adding that all necessary steps have been taken to ensure that there would be no undue disruption on Arik’s regular business operations or activities of other stakeholders, on account of the recent changes its leadership and management.
In the same vein, Capt. Ilegbodu, under the receivership of Opasanya, has also assured both staff of the troubled airline and all other stakeholders that his appointment at Arik would among other objectives enhance the value of Arik, improve customer experience, and sustain the safety, reliable and secure operational history of the airline before all those were eroded.
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has lauded the Nigerian Navy for being professional while performing their duties.
The governor commended the Naval High Command for tracking down Rivers State Fishing Commercial Fishing Trawler, which he said would boost the revenue base of the state.
He made this known when he received the Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole and the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Commodore I.N Kayoda.
He said unlike other security agencies, the Nigerian Navy has concentrated on the promotion of security, rather than promotion of political interests.
“The Nigerian Navy has lived above board. They have refused to be dragged into politics. We have had rerun elections in the state, but I have had no reason to complain about the conduct of naval personnel”.
He assured the Naval High Command of the support of his administration in terms of the provision of logistics to fight crime.
The governor said that the gunboats being purchased for the Nigerian Navy by the Rivers State Government will be released to the security agency.
He charged the Nigerian Navy to ensure that the gunboats when delivered, should be used strictly for the protection of Rivers waters.
“We are always willing to support security agencies. Nobody will tolerate crime as it hinders development “.
Earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole announced that the Navy has tracked down the fishing Trawler of the Rivers State, and would soon be handed over to the state government.
He also commended the governor for his commitment to Naval Operations, adding that the 120 Housing Units completed by the administration for the NNS Pathfinder would help solve the accommodation challenges of the personnel at the facility.
Rear Admiral James Oluwole noted that the Nigerian Navy would judiciously use the gunboats when delivered by the Rivers State Government.
U.S. President Donald Trump fired top federal government lawyer Sally Yates on Monday after she took the extraordinarily rare step of defying the White House and refused to defend new travel restrictions targeting seven Muslim-majority nations.
It was another dramatic twist in the unusually raucous roll-out of Trump’s directive that put a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The Friday night ban prompted protests and chaos at airports on the weekend as customs officials struggled to put the order into practise, and the fallout spread to U.S. markets on Monday, where stocks suffered their biggest drop of 2017 and companies affected by the change spoke out against it.
Yates said late on Monday that the Justice Department would not defend the order against court challenges, saying that she did not believe it would be “consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
Hours later, she was fired. The White House said Yates “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States” and portrayed her actions as political.
Trump has argued tougher vetting of immigrants is needed to protect America from terror attacks but critics complain that his order unfairly singles out Muslims and defiles America’s historic reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants.
Yates, an appointee of former Democratic President Barack Obama, was days away from being replaced by Trump’s pick for the top spot at the Justice Department, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, who is awaiting Senate confirmation.
“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the White House said in a statement.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has called for improved legal service delivery to decongest the courts.
The Governor made the call in Asaba during the swearing-in ceremony of Justice Vincent Ofesi as a Judge of the Delta State High Court.
According to the governor, there was the need for improved legal service delivery “In accordance with our democratic principles and the rule of law,”.
Governor Okowa who congratulated Justice Ofesi on his appointment, observed that “The National Judicial Council (NJC) has found Hon. Justice Vincent Ofesi suitable for appointment as a Judge.
He represented one of our finest materials on the Bench and is coming to this position with wide and varying experience for the benefit of our State and citizens.”
“I expect you (Justice Ofesi) to do what is required by dedicating your services to uplifting the image of the judiciary in our state and the nation, through your discipline and high level of integrity,”.
Governor Okowa further stated, “This assignment requires deep knowledge, wisdom, commitment and fairness and I sincerely hope you will strive to make the State, nation and your family, proud by your actions on the Bench.”
Responding, Justice Ofesi, while thanking those who contributed to the success of the event, assured the government and people of Delta State of his commitment to discharging his functions without fear or favour and to the best of his abilities.
The ceremony was attended by members of the State Executive Council, the Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshal Umukoro, President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Stella Oghene, judges and family members of Justice Ofesi.
The Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola says Nigeria will move beyond the challenges of economic recession in 2017 to fast track a better standard of living for Nigerians.
Governor, Aregbesola made this known in Osogbo, the Osun State capital during his new year message at the Freedom Park while celebrating the new year with some residents.
The Governor Rauf Aregbesola and some other notable sons and daughters of the state chieftains in the state, joined others to usher in with great musical performances, comedy and fireworks display the year 2017.
The governor said the government at all levels, particularly the Federal Government must engineer a financial plan to return the country back to economic winning ways.
The Osun state governor also embraced Nigerians not to lose sight of the change they voted for few months back by rallying round the government of the day and perform their civic responsibilities. “We are on the path of re overt. We are moving away from recession into the phase of recovery. This recovery will lead to growth and growth will lead to consolidation. And all this will happen this year.
But what remains for all of us? Those who are employed must be efficient to increase their productivity.” He further stated that those without work must go back to the land, cultivate it for food production most especially, and cash crops.
“We must earn more money generally. All of us must earn more money and we must reduce our consumption of imported goods. When we do this individually, it will result to the conservation of our resources, effective use of those resources and creation of wealth for all. ” the governor explained.
Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, has implored the National Assembly to prepare for the passage of an approvable National Disability Bill.
This according to her, is aimed at catering for the needs of people living with disabilities in Nigeria.
She was speaking at an event marking the 2016 International Day for Persons With Disabilities in Abuja.
The minister further stated that the implementation of such legislation would enable Nigeria to fully domesticate the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities
Nigeria is currently a nation in which social stigma, cultural beliefs and infrastructural decline seem to militate against the inclusion and contribution of disabled persons in the country, which is why the Alhassan came up with the initiative.
Addressing a gathering of people with disabilities, she said that while the passage of the National Disability Bill was critical to address their plight, the Federal Government refused to be handicapped by bureaucratic processes.
Though enduring blindness throughout his life, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, Dr Samuel Ankeli, expressed a clear vision for persons living with disabilities in the nation.
He said that President Buhari’s creation of the Presidential Disability-focused Office, was an indication to all aspiring disabled Nigerians that they could become anything in life.
Convener of the joint association of persons with disabilities, Ekaette Umoh, also called on the public, saying that true progress depends on citizen participation.
While several experts advocated the inclusion of disabled people at the political party level to cement their socio-political incorporation, others emphasised that 5% of budgetary allocations to all sectors should be administered to establish disabled-friendly infrastructure.
The Kano State police has intercepted a truck carrying weapons and supplies allegedly belonging to the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria popularly known as Shiites.
Addressing a news conference, the command’s Public Relations Officer DSP Magaji Majia says the truck is coming from Potiskum in Yobe State and is said to be going to Zaria where the Shiites are marking the Arba’een ritual of the killing of Imam Hussain.
“You can see the weapons made off of cutlasses, generators and other supplies and the truck full of clothes and flags of the movement.”
According to Majia, the weapons are illegal and capable of killing its target on the spots.
“You can remember few days ago, members of this movement attacked and killed one police officer and injuring three others during their illegal procession, since then we embarked on investigation including stop and search to see if it is true they are carrying dangerous weapons, the results of such investigation led us to this discovery.”
Meanwhile, store keeper of the group who maintained that he was not aware that weapons were among the supplies he was escorting to Zaria also disclosed that the weapons are used to construct tents in an event of stop over during the course of their seven day trek to Zaria.
“We don’t carry weapons, am not aware the weapons are here but we used them to make tent and to protect women and children against intruders especially at night since we are all trekking”.
In a related development, over 40 people are said to have been arrested by operatives of the Department of State Security Service DSS at the popular Wapa Bureau De-Change market in the state.
Although no official statement from the DSS in Kano, but association of the bureau de-change in the state through the union auditor general one Kabir Abdul confirmed the arrest.
“They came arresting people on allegations that we are selling dollars above government approved price and up till this time we don’t know where they are keeping our members.”
An attempt to speak with the DSS was not successful as the Department Public Relations Officer told Channels Television that he has no knowledge that Wapa Bureau De-Change market was raided by his operatives.
The fresh attacks came just a day after the launching of public apology billboard by the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai signaling the return of peace and an end to the frequent conflicts between Fulani Herdsmen and natives of Southern part of the state.
Eyewitness account reports that the gunmen invaded the four communities, Ungwan Rimi, Kitakum, Ungwan Magaji and Kigam all in Kauru LGA, on Sunday night, shooting people and burning down houses And farmlands. An indigene of the area told our correspondent on telephone that the entire communities have been deserted as people flee from their homes for fear of being caught up in the
Staffan De Mistura, the United Nations secretary general’s Syria envoy said on Sunday he had proposed that jihadist fighters should leave Aleppo but that the government should let the local administration in rebel-held areas of the city stay in place.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moalem earlier on Sunday ruled that out, saying it was a “violation of our sovereignty”, but De Mistura told reporters in Damascus that he believed such measures could be temporary and that Aleppo should be treated as a special case.