Deregistered Parties Seek Fresh Registration As DPC

INEC websiteAhead of the 2015 general elections, the Democratic People’s Congress has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged failure of the electoral body to register the association as a political party.

Lawyer to the plaintiffs, Mr Ezekiel Ofou, in an originating summon, asked the court to determine, whether it was right for INEC in the conduct of its statutory and constitutional duty to neglect, refuse and fail to register the plaintiff’s association, having satisfied all requirements for registration as a political party as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Act.

Reverend Olusegun Peters and 4 others, who are the plaintiffs, are praying the court for a declaration that the refusal of the defendants to register their association as a political party was wrong, unjust, unreasonable, discriminatory, unfair and unconstitutional.

They also want the court to declare that the plaintiff’s association is statutorily deemed to have been registered as a political party pursuant to Section 48 Sub-Section 4 of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

Presiding Judge, Gabriel Kolawole, subsequently adjourned the suit to April 2 for hearing.

Associated Airline Crash:Anybody Could Have Been At Fault- NCAA

The Director, Airworthiness Standards in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Benedict Adeyilaka on Thursday revealed steps the agency takes in ensuring the airworthiness of aircrafts used by Nigerian airlines.

On the reasons for the Associated Airline crash, which some have attributed to improper arrangement of the cargo, Adeyilaka insisted that “anybody (Engineers, Pilot, ground staff) could have been at fault” adding that only the Accident Investigation Bureau can certify what actually caused the crash.

Adeyilaka, who noted that the initial process is usually lengthy and leads to certification, added that the  airworthiness checks is continuous.

He further likened the exercise to that of the Vehicle Inspection Officers, who ensure cars used are road worthy.

“We approach aircrafts, look through their documentation, make sure the pilot’s license is current. We make sure that the aircraft is not carrying snags and faults” he said.

He said the checks do not have a specific time but are done “at random” noting that “as we speak right now, we have inspectors at the airport doing checks all over the country”.

He said the agency has a department with skilled staff who regularly  “look at the loading on the aircraft, look at the fuel, look at passenger load, they look at cargo and everything” before “filling the load sheet” which will be  signed by the captain of the aircraft” before takeoff.


Constitution Amendment: Senators Are Not Sincere

A legal practitioner Victor Odunnaiya has accused lawmakers in the upper chambers of insincerity in the issue of constitution amendment..

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, he explained that the senate’s move to decentralize labour will cause confusion between the state government and the federal government.

Mr. Odunnaiya gave a background on the minimum wage saga, stating that when the minimum wage was five thousand naira, state government’s complained then that they could not pay, and now that  it’s about eleven thousand naira they are still complaining.

He also commented on NLC strikes, stating that strike is about letting the other party know what you want and how it can be achieved.

Jonathan Plays Table Tennis Four Times A week

President Goodluck Jonathan has been revealed to be a very passionate sport lover who not only follow games but also actively participate by making time out of his busy schedule to play tennis and squash at least four times in a week.

This was made known by the executive chairman, Delta state Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick, who was a guest on Channels TV Sunrise Daily while assessing the midterm report of the administration in the sports sector.

Mr Pinnick noted that he is privy to lots of information as he revealed how Governors such as the Governor of Lagos and Delta states are active sportsmen who are also very passionate about sport just as the President.

According to Mr Pinnick, “to make any impact -meaningful- in sport, one must first be passionate about sport” and this passion he claims the President exhibits by his detailed attention to every sporting activity in the country which has led to the drastic reforms in the sector.

“At least four times in a week he (President Jonathan) plays table tennis, he plays squash” he stated.

The sports administrator referred to President Jonathan as a ‘village boy’ due to the President’s origin from the aquatic Niger delta region, when he stated the President swims very well.

“And again, a village boy, he is a very good swimmer” he stated.

Mr Pinnick had earlier made similar reference to the Delta state governor.

Nobody is telling us the truth about Boko Haram-Security expert

A public affairs analyst and security expert, Mahmud Othman, today said the police are being economical with the truth on the bombings and attacks on military formations and innocent citizens that has been taking place in the country.

“They are daredevils but the irony of it all is that we don’t know what exactly is going on….Nobody is telling the truth”

He also shrugged off the element of surprise as to the attack on the Nigerian Army’s training base in Jaji.

“Well am not surprised, you know in one of these programmes i told you, I have developed very thick skin, nothing surprises me in our country at all”.

“Why should storming Jaji be different from storming police headquarters of the whole country? First Infantry Mechanised Division in Kaduna, Air Force base in Kaduna, they stormed all those places”.

Mr Othman, who was speaking as a guest on one of Channels Television’s flagship programme, Sunrise Daily, also expressed disappointment at the lack of readiness of the security operatives to tackle the security challenges facing the country.

Othman said “It is part of the regression we have been experiencing over the years and the agencies really have no idea of what is happening. It doesn’t matter what they say, if they cannot find a solution we haven’t seen it, there is more escalation, there is more tension, those dare devils are more daring. ”.

Diamond Bank set to buy European bank

Nigeria’s Diamond Bank is in talks to buy a niche European bank to tap into direct investment and trade flows from Europe into Nigeria, its chief executive, Alex Otti said on Tuesday according to Reuters.

Alex Otti also told an investor conference call that the bank expects to make an 18 percent return on equity in 2012 and a pretax profit of up to 30 billion naira ($190 mln), compared with a loss of 16.26 billion naira last year.

He said Diamond had received an approval in principle from Nigeria’s central bank for the acquisition and that it would not need to raise additional capital to complete the deal.

“We are not looking at buying a high street bank. It’s going to be a specialized bank that will complement our services,” he said. He did not disclose the name of the bank.

“We have a lot of business flows in that direction (Europe) and we use third parties to do those … we strongly believe that if we are successful it will add value to the bank,” Otti said.

Otti said Diamond had raised $170 million in debt this year, and was on track to boosting its total debt issued in 2012 to $500 million, including issuing a planned debut Eurobond at the end of the year, to boost capital adequacy to 17 percent.

Around $70 million of the capital already raised had come from the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, he said.

The mid-tier lender last week posted a pretax profit in the first nine months of the year to 23.2 billion naira ($148 mln), pushing its shares up 20 percent in two days, compared with a 6.9 billion naira loss in the same period last year.

Its share price has gained 125 percent so far this year.

“We have had to move (our operating profit) target to 55-60 billion naira by year-end. We believe we should be ending the year anywhere between 25 to 30 billion naira pretax profit,” Otti said.

Diamond Bank is aggressively seeking to grow its operations to be able to tap into infrastructure and consumer growth in Africa’s most populous nation. It planned to build extra 130 branches in two years time, to add to its existing 220, he said.


Bill to ban public officer’s children from studying abroad passes second reading

A bill which seeks to prevent children of public office holders from schooling abroad has passed second reading in the Senate.

The bill, if passed, will restrict children of public office holders from schooling abroad except for specialized courses not offered in any of the country’s educational institutions.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Mohammed Basheer (PDP Kano) said the country’s education sector is confronted with serious challenges and it has become important for the Senate to adopt drastic measures to rescue the ailing educational system.

The bill was among three bills which passed second reading in the Senate on Thursday without being debated.

Another bill which seeks to compel the executive arm of government to implement resolutions passed by the National Assembly, also passed second reading.

Adhering to rule of law will give Nigeria peace-Former Minister

The surest way to achieve sustainable peace, unity and security in the country amidst the growing insecurity is for all relevant institutions to ensure the rule of law and allow free and fair elections at all times.

This was the postulation of the chairman of the National Council for Peace and Unity, Engr. Mohammed Abba-Gana at the second National Peace and Unity Conference in Abuja,

Addressing participants at the conference, Engr. Abba-Gana, who is a  former Minister of FCT, stated that relative peace can be achieved if Nigerians are allowed to freely choose leaders they can trust instead of leaders imposed on them.

He urged the federal government to provide the platform for a public hearing to enable Nigerians address the issue of national security and proffer solutions saying maintaining peace and unity is everybody’s business.

Special Adviser on Ethics and Religion to the governor of Benue state, David Agada, raised concerns on why some people take pleasure in killing others but the executive secretary of the National Council for Peace and Security, Perry Opara called for a national dialogue to address issues of insecurity in the country.

The conference which is the second to be organised by the council is aimed at bringing Nigerians together to brainstorm on ways of addressing the challenges being faced by the nation especially the twin issues of security and unemployment.

Warri to host world athletics today

Athletes from USA, Jamaica, Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis,St. Vincent, Egypt, Cameroon, Botswana, Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Ethiopia, Liberia andUganda are competing today in Warri.

The competition is the brain-child of Athletics Federation of Nigeria President, Solomon Ogba who is a great admirer of  the American Penn and Texas relays.

Thursday’s fiesta also incorporates the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Grand Prix which upgrades it to an Olympic qualification meet.

The warri competition is an avenue for the top athletes to compete for honours before heading down to Calabar for the final Olympic selection trials.

There will be the women  high jump, where two-time All Africa Games high jump champion, Doreen Amata will begin to look over her shoulder for Uhunoma Osazuwa, a national heptathlon record holder who cleared 1.84m at a meet in Canadato last montgh.

Amata, who last year in Maputo, Mozambique successfully defended the high jump title she won in 2007 at the Algiers All Africa Games has been struggling with injury since the start of the season but the mother of one insists there is no cause for alarm.

“ I am fit and battle ready’’, observed the athlete who is on record as the first Nigerian woman high jumper to make it to the finals of the prestigious IAAF World Championships in Athletics last year in Daegu, South Korea.

“Things have not particularly gone as I wished it to be this season, especially after I came back from childbirth to have what is definitely my best season last year,’’ continued Amata who holds the national record at 1.95m and has been dubbed Nigeria’s greatest high jumper of all time.


Five persons killed by collapsed building in Awka

Five construction workers were killed while several others were severely injured when a two storey building at Miracle Junction area, Ifite Awka,  Awka South Local Government Area Of Anambra state collapsed on Wednesday.

Eye witnesses said the collapsed building which was meant to be a hostel for students of Nnamdi Azikiwe Univerity, Awka fell at about three o’clock in the afternoon.

So far, only one of the dead victims has been recovered while the rest are still buried in the debris.

With the latest unpleasant development, students living around the area say they are scared as they are unsure of the quality of their residential buildings and called on government to be proactive on issues concerning building construction.

The injured workers are presently receiving treatment at Amaku Teaching Hospital, Awka.

Roadside bomb kills 6 Afghans

A roadside bomb in the Marjah district of Afghanistan has killed eight civilians, leaving their bodies unidentifiable.
The governor’s office in Helmand province described the explosion which occurred after the bomb struck the vehicles of the victims, as massive.
The U.N. says last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in the Afghan war, with 3,021 killed as insurgents ratcheted up violence with suicide attacks and roadside bombs.
Meanwhile, the U.S. soldier who allegedly shot 16 Afghan villagers has been caught on a surveillance video that showed him walking up to his base and raising his arms in surrender.
According to an Afghan official who viewed the footage, the U.S. authorities showed Afghan authorities the surveillance video to prove that only one perpetrator was involved in the Sunday shootings, which have sparked outrage across the country.
Afghan lawmakers are demanding that the shooter, identified by U.S. officials as a staff sergeant, face a public trial inside Afghanistan. They have called on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to suspend any negotiations with the U.S. on a long-term military pact until this happens.
A delegation investigating the shootings was to meet in the southern city of Kandahar on Wednesday when a bomb hidden in a motorcycle exploded about 600 yards (meters) away. The blast killed one Afghan intelligence official and wounded three other people, but the delegation members were unharmed.