2017 AFCON: CAF Gives Countries Preparation Grants

 

2017 AFCON: CAF Gives Countries Preparation GrantsThe Confederation Of African Football (CAF), has given the 16 countries that would feature in January’s AFCON in Gabon, $237,500 each to prepare for the tournament.

The money forms part of CAF’s responsibility to ensure that participating teams at the nations cup get the needed funds to partake in the competition.

The amount released is 50 per cent of the total amount all participating teams will get from CAF.

Each participating federation is expected to receive a total amount of $475,000.

Police Advocate National Unity And Patriotism

Police Advocate National Unity And Patriotism The Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris, has appealed to religious and political leaders in Nigeria to be patriotic and exhibit acts capable of unifying the country and her people.

Addressing senior officers of the police force in Abuja, Mr Idris decried the actions of some leaders in southern Kaduna, which led to the escalation of the recent crisis that engulfed the area‎.

The Police boss, who however commended officers and men of the force for their role in restoring law and order in southern Kaduna said:

“Some of us are yet to imbibe the principles of leaderships. Whether you are a religious leader, whether you are a community leader, you should have some principles. And as leaders, what is lacking is love of Nigeria.

“I think we have to love Nigeria more in 2017.It is very important,” he stressed.

He further stated that: People just forget that this country belongs to all of us. Both the poor and the rich. You are where you are because God made you to be there.

“It is not because you have any special qualities. And I think it is very important.

“People should take leadership as a responsibility. All of us should be held responsible for this country,” the commissioner stressed.

Calabar Carnival: Ita-Giwa Commends Efforts Of Cross River Govt.

ita-giwa1The only female Carnival Band Leader in West Africa, Ita Giwa, popularly referred to as, Mama Bakassi, has commended the Cross River State Government for efforts put into the just concluded Calabar Carnival.

She also stated that the emergence of her band, ‘Seagull’, as winner of the event, came as a result of the group’s hardwork.

“Such a relief, I feel good, I feel happy, I thank God, a lot of efforts, a lot of emotions, a lot of determination, some bit of desperation to it, but we won.”

She then congratulated all other participating bands for their time, talents and display of creativity.

Senator Florence Ita-Giwa gave the commendation at a street party organized by the state government for all the revellers who participated at the just concluded carnival, to unwind and have fun following tedious months of preparation before the Carnival.

“I am paying back to the society that made Ita-Giwa. By being here, I inspire these people a lot.

“I am working and i’m happy that my mind is engaged at this age which I see as a privilege from God and an opportunity given to me to engage my mind positively.”

Describing the process of the event, she said: “I think the interpretation was different, we took more time to look at details and then, we also tried to make it very real. We had what looks like almost a forest with baboons and monkeys in a normal forest environment without human being interference”.

The Band leader was further quoted to have said: “We tried to make it as real as possible and then, the revellers were better behaved, very organized and they understood their parts.

“We got revellers to understand the story from the very stage of putting the scripts together, so when you’re dancing, you know what you’re dancing to”.

Ita-Giwa then called on all Cross-Riverians to join hands and support Governor, Ben Ayade, in achieving all his lofty ideas for the state.

Nigerian Leaders Optimistic About Greater 2017

Nigerian Leaders Optimistic About Greater 2017Nigeria’s former leaders and current Vice President, Yemi Osibajo, have collaborated to release a hymn in which they advocated a greater, united and more peaceful Nigeria in the year 2017.

Singing Isaac Watts’ hymn, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” were: the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Former Chairman of Nigeria Interim Government, Ernest Shonekan, Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and Former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Admiral, Ebitu Ukiwe.

The VIP choristers released a video recording of the rendition on Monday.

Thereafter, in a goodwill messages to Nigerians, Yakubu Gowown said: “We pray to God, to continue to grant us that peace and unity that this country dearly deserves”.

They believe that: “In spite of the mess we tried to make of the country, God manages to always rescue us when we get to the edge of the precipice and we thank him for that”.

Furthermore, they expressed gratitude to God for “accepting and accommodating us, despite the mess we’ve made of ourselves”.

Meanwhile, speaking on the state of the country, Obasanjo believes that “God created Nigeria as we are, and he doesn’t make a mistake. So, we should thank him for that”.

Mr Shonekan, also encouraged citizens to continue to work hard in order to achieve desired results.

The former leaders equally expressed appreciation to the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and Mr Osinbajo, for coming up with the idea of bringing them together to render the song.

Niger Govt. Calls For Speedy Construction Of Suleja – Minna Road

Niger Govt. Calls For Speedy Construction Of Suleja – Minna RoadNiger state government has appealed for speedy work on the dualization of the Suleja – Minna road, so that it would provide the gate way for the Minna International Airport to be used as alternative, when the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport Abuja is shut down in February, for rehabilitation of its run ways.

The Commissioner of information Culture and Tourism, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, in a statement, said that Minna airport is the closest to Abuja and therefore feels it would be good for it to be used in place of the Abuja airport that serves several administrative and commercial purposes.

According to the Commissioner, the Niger state government would be ready to assist in making sure that Minna airport is used as alternative for the months Abuja airport will be closed, if the will is shown in that direction.

He stated that the decision by the Niger state government to draw attention to the airport in Minna was borne out of the fact that the government does not want the rehabilitation of Abuja airport to have adverse effect by way of loss of man power.

Vatsa explained that the state government is confident that the Minna airport has the requisite facilities and manpower to serve as a very good alternative to the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, Abuja while Niger state is very peaceful and secure.

“We have always been saying it that because of times like this, Minna airport should be used as alternative to Abuja and in the most Economic way a cargo airport, but with the planned closure of Abuja airport for rehabilitation I think it is wise economically to use Minna to serve Abuja.

“You can see from here to Abuja is just about one hour plus, if the Dualization work on Minna- Suleja road is fast tracked and completed as planned by the federal government.

“It could be faster; we therefore call on the authorities to look into this viable alternative” he appealed.

ISIS Claims Responsibility For Istanbul Nightclub Attack

ISIS Claims Responsibility For Istanbul Nightclub AttackThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has on Monday, released a statement claiming responsibility for the raid.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the deadly New Year’s attack at an upscale Istanbul nightclub which left 39 dead.

As authorities in Turkey continue their search for the attacker, the terror group offered no further clues about the identity of the assailant.

“In continuation of the blessed operations which ISIS carries out against Turkey, a soldier of the brave caliphate attacked one of the most popular nightclubs while Christians were celebrating their holiday,” the group said in a tweet.

Earlier on Monday, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, distanced itself from the attack, which took place at the Reina nightclub during the early hours of January 1.

“No Kurdish forces have anything to do with this attack,” it said in a statement. “The Kurdish freedom fight is also the fight for democratization of Turkey. That’s why we won’t target innocent and civilian people.”

Dozens of people were hospitalized following the attack. As of Monday, 46 were still being treated, including one American, according to the Istanbul governor’s office. A handful of the injured were in critical condition.

According to the BBC, officials say some 15 foreigners were killed, including citizens from Israel, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Belgium, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Rivers Security: Nigerian Army Dislodges Criminal Gangs

army-bootThe Nigerian Army has continued to dislodge criminal gangs in Omoku, River state, following the terror that was unleashed in parts of the state during the December 10 rerun elections.

It was confirmed that 15 people were horrifically murdered including a soldier, two policemen, four personnel of the Civil Defence Corps and eight civilians, while ammunition, weapons and vehicles were taken away by the bandits.

The General Officer Commanding 6 division, Major General Kasimu Abdulkareem, disclosed this while parading arms, ammunition and other items recovered from some of the criminal dens.

Abdulkareem, explained that the operation is in continuation of a clean-up exercise to recover and mop up illegally acquired weapons from cultists and militants who continue to terrorise communities and some parts of the country in general.

Senate President Flags Off Made-In-Nigeria Competition

Private sector, Government, Economic development, sarakiNigeria’s Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Monday, flagged off a Made-in-Nigeria challenge, aimed at encouraging local manufacturers in the country.

He made the announcement in a statement posted on his twitter handle, where he also said that in the next few weeks, products that have the potential to grow sustainable business, expand the market and create jobs would be selected.

According to him, selected persons would then meet with business owners, investor and government agencies in order to promote their growth.

Saraki said, by March 2017, some of the finalists in the challenge would be invited for a Made in Nigeria Round-table at the Senate.

In order to participate in the challenge, interested persons have been asked to shoot a short video between 45 seconds and 3-minutes long, showcasing their products or services that serve as alternatives to imported ones.

 Furthermore, “We will also use the opportunity to get feedback on the public procurement act passed by the Senate in 2016, which mandates government agencies to give preference to local manufacturers in the procurement of local products and service,” Saraki stated.

Economic Recession

With the crash in oil prices, in a country that has solely relied on oil as a major source of revenue, the Federal Government of Nigeria has since begun to look for alternative sources of revenue generation.

Areas such as agriculture and manufacturing, have proven to be the most viable means of resuscitating the nation’s economy, from what has been described as the worst recession in Nigeria’s history.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had stated that the Federal Government was committed to developing local capacity, by using made in Nigeria items in national building plans.

The recent move by the Senate President, seems to be a sure sign that the government is indeed set to improve the manufacturing sector among others, as well as create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship.

It is equally set to improve the quality of made in Nigeria goods in order to make them attractive for export into the international market.

Christians In Delta Celebrate New Year

churchChristians in Asaba, the Delta state capital, gathered at the St. John-Mary Vianney Catholic Church for a thanksgiving service to celebrate the New-Year.

In his sermon, ministering Priest, Mr Chukwuekwu Nwutu, adviced Christians to positively adjust to the challenges facing the country in oneness and unity even as they hope and expect better opportunities in the year ahead.

“God speaks to us about the reason for believing that we can be better human beings. For me, a new year provides better opportunities, new reasons to resolve again to work even better together as a people, without looking at where people come from or language they speak or the God they worship”

“Because when we begin to see ourselves as Nigerians, then we can build a Nigeria of our dreams but when we base our relationships on tribe and language, then we are going to continue in a vicious circle” he added.

He also implored country leaders at all levels to put national interest above every other things, in order to get Nigeria out of the current hardship.

Some other Deltans present, expressed their joys, encouraging every well-meaning Nigerian to be steadfast and hopeful for greater things ahead.

“We thank God Almighty for making us to see the year 2017, we pray God intervenes in the killings in our country.

“We continue to pray for them. Things are so difficult in the country, so they should try and resolve the lingering issues that affect our economy.”

For most Nigerians, the new year brings new beginning, new hope, new resolutions as everyone seems to be in high spirit ready to explore what 2017 brings.

Omoworare Applauds Workers, Calls For More APC Support

Ondo APC Promises Better Days in 2017Senator representing Osun East Senatorial District, Mr Babajide Omoworare, has called on workers and people of the state to intensify their support for the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the government of Rauf Aregbesola in order to move the state as well as the Nation forward.

In his goodwill message to mark the 2017 New Year celebration which was signed by his Media Assistant, Comrade Tunde Dairo, the senator expressed appreciation to God for his mercies which according to him, saw Nigeria through the economic and political turbulence of 2016.

“I felicitate with the people of the State of Osun most especially my good people of the Ife/Ijesa Senatorial District as we enter the New Year 2017.

“We must be grateful to God Almighty for seeing us through the travails of the year 2016 and we look up to him for a viable, stable and productive 2017.”

Omoworare went further to appreciate Nigerians, most especially, the workers for their sacrifice, perseverance and support for the APC Government both at state and federal level.

“It will be a great disservice if we fail to commend Nigerians for supporting the APC and standing by President Muhamadu Buhari as he pilots the affairs of the Nation. This goodwill investment and trust is unprecedented and highly commendable,” he said.

Omoworare however admonished Mr President and his team to put in more effort to rescue the country from recession, provide more jobs, diversify our production base, provide favourable economic environment and convert the present challenges to opportunities to promote patriotism and believe in the quality of Nigerian products as alternative brands for local consumption and export.

“As a progressive legislator and Chairman of Senate Committee on Legislative Compliance, we assure Nigerians of qualitative legislative activities that will be people focused, reflate our economy and promote substantive adherence to laws of the land and resolution of the parliament”. the senator stated.

On the activities of his committee for the New Year, Senator Omoworare said, “the time is now to run the bureaucracy and government according to the laid down rules, laws and principles to ensure efficiency, transparency and productivity.”

He went further to state that Nigeria is not lacking in legislative framework to move the country forward rather, it has challenges with plying according to the rules and that is what the Legislative Compliance Committee seek to overcome.

Omoworare also commended Governor Aregbesola, for providing focused leadership with strong adherence to his electoral promises, which he described as the basic tenet of a virtuous leader.

According to him, “Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola deserves more support from the people to drive Osun to its desired developmental destination.

“The Governor made electoral promises and has toiled on daily basis not to betray his electoral covenant with the people regardless of the economic downturn.”

“It is my strong believe that the challenges of previous years are gone for good, we are in a new year with new hopes and expectations which I belief will be met sooner than we envisage if we consciously and collectively work towards it,” the Senator said.

NIMASA Fraud: Court Admits More Exhibits Against Akpobolokemi, Others

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has admitted more exhibits against a former Director- General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and five others.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, presented one of the three witnesses he earlier brought before the court.

The witness, Olamide Ogunsanya, an Assistant Director in NIMASA disclosed to the court, how the sum of 795,200,000 Naira was paid into the International Shipping and Port Safety (ISPS), account and how the same amount was disbursed.

The witness told the court that approval for the disbursement of the money came from the office of Mr Akpobolokemi.

The document conveying the presidential approval through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), was identified by the witness and same was admitted as exhibit P22.

On the document, Mrs Ogunsanya identified the endorsement of the first accused person, Akpobolokemi.

Also tendered through the witness, are letters from NIMASA to the Accountant General of Federation and approval from the Accountant General’s office.

The documents were eventually admitted as exhibits P24 and P25 respectively.

The witness also identified the third accused person, Ekene Nwakuche as the first beneficiary in the disbursement of the 795,200,000 Naira.

She told the court that between September 16, 2014 and November 6, 2014, Nwakuche received 3,000,000 Naira each, on eight occasions, from the ISPS account totalling 28,000,000 Naira.

Other beneficiaries are Avant Guard Securities, 94,000,000 Naira; Extreme Vertex Limited, 318,000,000 Naira ; Suco Global, 15,000,000 Naira; O2 Services Limited, 21,200,000 Naira and 16,000,000 Naira; and Aroward Consulting, 70,000,000 Naira.

The witness said that there was a balance of 198, 635 Naira (left in the account).

While explaining the procedure for receiving and disbursing money in NIMASA, Mrs Ogunsanya said that a request would be made to the presidency through the NSA’s office and when approved, the DG would ask the Executive Director to implement.

”From the executive director’s office, an internal memo was raised and directed to the Director, Financial Services Department where payment instructions would be issued.”

The witness further disclosed that on March 20, 2014, the sum of 447, 000,000 Naira was paid into the ISPS account and same was disbursed following the same procedure, with a slight change in the beneficiaries.

In this instance, new beneficiaries were included. They are: Green Lemon Limited and Seabulk.

Mr Oyedepo asked the witness about the procedure for the award of contracts in NIMASA and she said the agency had different threshold in terms of contracts award, as stipulated by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

She said that the DG had an approval limit of 5,000,000 Naira. For contracts that exceeded 5,000,000 Naira to anything below 50,000,000 Naira, which she also said fell  into the threshold of parastatal’s tenders board.

Contracts that are between 50,000,000 Naira to below 100,000,000 Naira, falls under the threshold of ministerial tenders board and any contract above 100,000,000 Naira falls within the presidential or Federal Executive Council’s threshold.

The 318,000,000 Naira payment to Extreme Vertex Limited was sighted as example of violation of BPP’s stipulated threshold by the former leadership of NIMASA.

Mrs Ogunsanya said that though, the normal procedure for awarding contract was always followed, she never met or saw any representative from any of the companies that were alleged to have been awarded the purported contracts.

During cross examination, the witness admitted that she was one of the signatories to the ISPS account.

But when she was asked whether she was aware of the 2013/14 National Assembly’s budgetary appropriation for the sum of 447,000,000 Naira, Mrs Ogunsanya said that she had to look at the budget to be able to answer the question.

Counsel to Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, prayed the court for an adjournment in order to effectively cross examine the witness.

Justice Buba adjourned the matter to Wednesday, March 2, 2016 for continuation of trial.

Mr Akpobolokemi is standing trial, alongside five others, on a 13- count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds, to the tune of 687, 294, 680 Naira.

His co-accused persons are: Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Governor Amechee Juan; Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

Judge Warns Lawyers Against Delaying Ex-NIMASA D.G, Others’ Trial

nimasaThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has warned lawyers representing the former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Akpolobokemi, and five others not to delay the trial of the accused persons.

Justice Ibrahim Buba handed down the warning after their lawyers gave the court different reasons for seeking for an adjournment of the accused persons’ trial.

Counsel to the fhad been unable to perfect his bail conditions since Friday, and this had made it impossible for them to confer and discuss how to conduct his defence. He therefore asked the court for a very short adjournment.

Counsel representing the second accused person in the case, Mr. Madu Paschal, in seeking for the adjournment of his client’s trial, said he was preparing for a burial which had not made him prepare for the trial.

The counsel to the third, fifth & sixth accused persons, Mr Lanre Olayinka was absent in court. Through a letter he informed the court that he had travelled abroad for a medical appointment.

The Counsel representing the fourth accused person, Mr. Asemugara, on his part sought for an adjournment due to a preliminary application he had filed before the court to challenge its jurisdiction.

In responding to the submissions of the accused persons’ lawyers, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to discountenance the request for an adjournment and proceed with trial. He told the court that his witnesses were ready to testify.

In a ruling on the adjournment sought by the accused persons, Justice Buba drew the attention of the lawyers to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which mandates a day-to-day trial of criminal proceedings. He warned that he would not entertain any request aimed at frustrating the trial.

He said that he was forced to adjourn only to enable the third accused person find another lawyer to represent him.

The judge consequently adjourned the matter till December 14, for definite hearing.

The immediate past Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpolobokemi and five accused persons were arraigned last week Friday, by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for offences bordering on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion of funds, abuse of office and money laundering.

They allegedly exploited the establishment of International Ship and Ports Security (ISPS) code to defraud the Nigerian government to the tune of over N2.5billion.