NUC announcement: suspended private varsities react

Authorities of the  private universities whose operational licences were  suspended by the  National Universities  Commission, NUC,  on Wednesday have reacted to the NUC announcement by expressing, disappointment and  embarrassment.

The institutions stated that the NUC did not inform them of any form of  wrongdoing before making its decision public on Wednesday, adding that they learnt of the suspension  for the first time  in the media.

According to Punch newspaper, the Registrar of Madonna University, Mr. Theophilus Ugwoke,  said, “The point is that it is a big surprise to us.  The university is not being mismanaged by anybody. Our transcripts and certificates are issued promptly. Everybody knows that issuance of transcript is based on request and that is what we have been doing. We also release our results promptly…we want to find out  where we went wrong, until we clear from them, we won’t take any decision’’.

Though the Achievers University declined giving a position on the issue, claiming that the Governing Council was yet to meet, sources close to the institution said the university was not informed of any form of wrongdoing by the NUC.

The source said the university learnt of the suspension for the first time in the media.

Also, the Director of Communication, Lead City University, Dr. Ayo Owolabi, said the NUC did not inform the institution of any wrongdoing.

He said the action of the regulatory body was also in contempt of the court as an earlier judgment obtained by the institution against the NUC had ordered it not to interrupt the activities of the university.

He  alleged that the action of the NUC was calculated to embarrass the university and “de-market” the institution.  He accused the NUC leadership of bias against the institution.

Noting that the university would make its views known to the public, he said the university had not erred in any way and would continue to carry on with its activities despite the suspension order.

On the other hand, the Registrar, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State, Mr. Wale Aderibigbe, assured that the suspension order by the NUC would soon be reversed. “We are in Abuja already. We are on top of the situation. We hope that by tomorrow, our license shall be restored.” he said.

Meanwhile, management and staff of Caritas University in Enugu State on Thursday stopped its students from protesting against the suspension of the institution’s licence by the NUC.

Lawyer offers to prosecute Otedola for free

A Lagos-based lawyer, Robert Igbinedion, has voluntarily offered to prosecute multi-billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola.

In an interview with Daily Times NG on Wednesday, Igbinedion disclosed that he had sent letters explaining his willingness and intentions to the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Acting Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation.

He said, “Nigerians have lost trillions, but they still go ahead to spend millions on prosecutors and yet, nothing to show for it. So I’m offering my service so there will be no more cost on the masses.

The lawyer accused Otedola of attempting to scuttle investigations into the oil subsidy and operations in the oil sector.

“He (Otedola) is the first to come out in the open to scuttle the investigation, because all he is doing is an attempt to blackmail the House (of Representatives) and scuttle investigations,” he said.

He, however, said that his focus was beyond Otedola.

“My intention is to attack those that claim to be high and mighty who have stolen our oil wealth,” the lawyer explained.

According to him, not much success has been made in the country’s purported fight against corruption, in spite of the huge budget going into funding anti-graft agencies.



NYSC reschedules camp activities in volatile states

The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, has announced the rescheduling of the posting of all corps members deployed to Yobe and Borno States for the 2012 Batch ‘B’ Orientation Course.

A statement by the Director General of NYSC, Brig-Gen Nnamdi Okore-Affia, directed that corps members posted to some volatile states in the North such as Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Kano and Kaduna, but have not yet reported to the camp, should immediately report to the NYSC Directorate Headquarters, Abuja for redeployment.

The redeployment and re-scheduling comes after the federal government’s assurance on Wednesday that all corps members across the country during the mandatory NYSC are safe.

The normal orientation activities that were to hold in the troubled states have been scheduled to other states as directed by the statement.

“Yobe State prospective corps members will now hold their orientation course at the Nasarawa State NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Keffi, Keffi LGA, and not as stated on their call-up letters.” the statement read.

“Borno State prospective corps members will undertake their orientation programme at the Benue State NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp at Wanume, Tarka LGA, and not as stated on their call-up letters. Date: Thursday 26th July-Thursday 16th August, 2012, as earlier published.”

“In addition, all 2012 Batch ‘B’ prospective corps members deployed to Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Kano and Kaduna states who have collected their call-up letters but are yet to report in camp should immediately report at the NYSC Directorate Headquarters, Abuja for redeployment” the statement concluded.

The House of Representatives had on Tuesday ordered the NYSC headquarters to stop posting graduates who have been mobilised for the compulsory national service to volatile states in Northern Nigeria.

Mermaids do not exist – US Researchers

The question as to whether mermaids are real or not was recently put to rest as a U.S. scientific agency confirmed that the sea creatures do not exist.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have confirmed that there is no evidence that the half-human, half-fish beings are a genuine living species.

The agency made a statement last week clarifying that the sea species is not real after they received a few calls following a fictional Animal Planet show called Mermaids: The Body Found that confused some viewers as fact.

The agency said on its website: ‘Mermaids – those half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea – are legendary sea creatures chronicled in maritime cultures since time immemorial.’

The short piece continued: ‘But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.’

Images and tales of mermaids – half-human, half-fish – appear in mythology and art from across the world and through history, from Homer’s Odyssey to the oral lore of the Australian aboriginals, the service wrote.


Mandela’s daughter named ambassador to Argentina

South Africa has appointed Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, a daughter of former President Nelson Mandela, as its ambassador to Argentina.

The businesswoman is the first daughter of Mandela’s marriage to his former wife Winnie.

“Her appointment represents a clear recognition of the importance the South African government attaches to the relationship with Argentina,” the Foreign Ministry of Argentina said in a statement.

“During the presidency of Nelson Mandela, recognised as a global figure for his fight against apartheid and for human rights, Zenani Dlamini accompanied her father to act as First Lady of her country,” it said.

Zenani Mandela-Dlamini was a child when Nelson Mandela was in prison. She married into the Swaziland royal family but later divorced her prince husband.

South African foreign ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

The 9 questions Farouk Lawan has for Otedola over audio tape

The embattled House of Representatives Lawmaker, Hon. Farouk Lawan has raised nine questions for Oil magnate, Femi Otedola on the released audio tape second part on the alleged $620,000 bribery allegation leveled against him.

The lawmaker said his friends and associates could not identify his voice in the audio when listening to the alleged conversation.

In a statement released and signed by his lawyer,Chief Mike Ozekhome, he charged Otedola to give answers to the nine questions over the second part of the audio tape.

The statement added: “The questions that agitate an unbiased mind from this unfolding piece of poorly scripted home comedy are:

•Why is this audio recording being played in bits and pieces, rather than enbloc and wholly?

•How come that an audio recording which ought to be played on Radio for a listening public is being aired on television for a viewing public, when no visual is involved how so ever?

•Where is the visual recording of the alleged bribe?

•How come a supposed part of the same conversation portray Lawan as a talkative, belligerent and unyielding character who barely allowed Mr Otedola to utter one word, while the first part supposedly shows him as a sluggish, tentative, stammering, and measured speaker, speaking only when prompted on by the same Otedola?

•If Lawan says it was left for the Committee to know what to do to help out, why will Otedola pay bribe to influence an issue Lawan had already concluded that his committee would know what to do about?

•If  Lawan did actually warn  Otedola not to tell other Oil Marketers so that the impression is not given that his Committee has been compromised as the audio tend to show, does this not in fact show, assuming the story were correct, that Lawan was actually saying to Otedola, “you know we have not been compromised”?

•Why has it taken Mr Otedola this long to make public his so, called “sting operation” well over two months after Lawan had notified the Police when he interacted with them in May, 2012?

•How come that neither Mr Lawan nor Mr Emenalo was arrested or swooped upon in a so called “sting operation” where money allegedly changed hands on four different occasions?

•What is the source of this audio tape that is being played installmentally and which ought ordinarily to emanate from Security Agencies, if indeed it was a “sting operation” by the SSS?

•Who is fooling whom?

I will not interfere or mediate in the ongoing bribery scandal – President

President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that he will not interfere or mediate in the ongoing bribery scandal in the House of Representatives involving Mr. Farouk Lawan and a businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, disclosed this on Monday in an interview with journalists.

According to him “Why will the President intervene in such a situation and for what purpose? Did you read the statement issued by the Presidency on Sunday reiterating the President’s commitment to his anti-corruption war? Can somebody who said that there will be no sacred cow in the fight against corruption now go behind the scene and intervene in that matter? The President won’t interfere.”

Meanwhile,  the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, has denied having any link with the $620,000 bribery scandal involving Lawan.

Tukur said there was no truth in the rumour making the rounds that he advised against tendering the bribe money on the floor of the House before the lawmakers went on recess.

Tukur, who spoke through his spokesperson, Mr. Sherif Ujudud, called on Nigerians not to believe in anyone linking him with the matter.

“We don’t interfere with any issue that involves the Legislature at all. So, if there is anyone with any proof that we were involved, let the person say.” he said

Unknown gunmen kill 9 in Maiduguri

Nine construction workers were murdered by unknown gunmen on Monday in troubled Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

Confirming the early morning attacks, Military spokesman Sagir Musa said, the nine bodies were found in a construction workers’ compound in the city’s Bolori area at around 7 a.m.

A nurse at a local hospital also told Reuters that ten bodies were deposited at the hospital on Monday morning.

The attackers are yet to be identified nor is the motive of the attack.

Fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram launched its revolt in Maiduguri in 2009 and has claimed hundreds of lives in its attacks, bombing raids and other attacks in the surrounding region and across the country.

However, there has also been an increase in killings by armed criminal gangs, taking advantage of the unrest to settle scores.

Bombings in Baghdad leave 11 dead

At least 11 people have been killed in two separate bomb attacks in and around Iraq’s capital Baghdad, officials said on Wednesday.

The first bomb was detonated outside a house in Wahda, a south-eastern suburb. There are conflicting reports about whether the owners were Shia or Sunni.

Nobody was hurt, but minutes later, as locals gathered at the scene, a second bomb exploded, killing eight people.

Three people died in the second attack, which targeted another house, this time in the northern Ghazaliya district.

The attacks were the latest in a particularly bloody month, as the Iraqi government struggles to maintain security.

At least 183 people have reportedly been killed since 13 June – already 51 more than the death toll for May, according to official figures.

Most of the recent attacks have targeted the majority Shia community and have been blamed on Sunni militants linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq.