PDP Grants Ribadu, Others Waiver

nuhu-ribadu1The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has granted waiver to a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu and two others to run as aspirants under the platform of the party in the October 11 governorship bye-election in Adamawa State.

Other persons granted waiver were a former military administrator of Lagos and Borno States, Buba Marwa and Markus Gundiri, the governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in the 2011 election.

PDP spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, made the disclosure to journalists on Friday at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja.

The three aspirants had earlier submitted their application for waiver to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

The NWC had also forwarded the requests to a sub committee under the leadership of the National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha.

The committee submitted its report to the NWC on Friday, recommending that the waiver should be granted.

With the development, the three aspirants will alongside eight others face a screening panel on Saturday.

The PDP is expected to name the panel members later on Friday.


43 UNDOF Peacekeepers Detained, 81 Trapped By Syria Militants

A member of UNDOF rides atop an armoured vehicle on Golan HeightsMilitants fighting the Syrian army have detained 43 U.N. peacekeepers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and trapped another 81 in the region, and the world body is working to secure their release, the United Nations said on Thursday.

The affected peacekeepers are from the Philippines and Fiji, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

“During a period of increased fighting beginning yesterday between armed elements and Syrian Arab Armed Forces within the area of separation in the Golan Heights, 43 peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were detained early this morning by an armed group in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah,” the U.N. press office said in a statement.

It added that another 81 UNDOF peacekeepers were being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah. Dujarric said that the 81 trapped troops were from the Philippines and the 43 seized ones from Fiji.

“The United Nations is making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers, and to restore the full freedom of movement of the force throughout its area of operation,” it said.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, President of the Security Council, this month, told reporters the trapped peacekeepers were surrounded by Islamist militants.

The 15-nation Security Council, which was meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria, was also discussing the issue of the kidnapped peacekeepers, Lyall Grant said.

The Philippine army said in a statement that militants had surrounded the Philippine contingent’s encampments with Fijian hostages in tow and demanded that the Filipino troops surrender their firearms.

“The Philippine peacekeepers held their ground and demonstrated their resolve to defend their positions,” it said. “They did not surrender their firearms as they may in turn be held hostage themselves.”

The Security Council issued a statement strongly condemning the seizure of the peacekeepers and calling for their immediate release. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed the council’s words in his own statement of condemnation.

Reporters asked Dujarric if the United Nations was in contact with the group holding the Fijians. He declined to specify who the world body was in contact with but said there was communication underway.

“There are contacts being held at different levels, on the mission and on the ground,” he said. “They are talking to representatives of various armed groups that they have … operational contact with. They are talking to countries in the region.”

Dujarric was also asked about the rules for peacekeepers in such situations.

“In extreme circumstances, these troops are trained and prepared and equipped to defend themselves, but, obviously, each situation has to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

U.N. officials say that the peacekeepers, whose job is to monitor the cessation of hostilities, carry small arms that are only to be used in extreme circumstances. In previous situations where UNDOF peacekeepers were held hostage, the troops did not use their weapons.

The Quneitra crossing on the Golan is a strategic plateau captured by Israel in a 1967 Middle East war. Syria and Israel technically remain at war. Syrian troops are not allowed in an area of separation under a 1973 ceasefire formalized in 1974.

UNDOF monitors the area of separation, a narrow strip of land running about 45 miles (70 km) from Mount Hermon on the Lebanese border to the Yarmouk River frontier with Jordan. There are 1,223 UNDOF peacekeepers from six countries.



Amosun Recieves Ogun Delegates At National Conference

National ConferenceDelegates from Ogun State at the just concluded National Conference have been sharing their experiences with the State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun.

12 out of the 23 delegates paid a courtesy call on the State Governor ‎where they listed state creation, state constitution, state policing as part of the recommendations and resolutions reached at the conference that would better the lot of Nigeria.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee that midwifed the national discuss and a member, Femi Okunrounmu, led his kinsmen on the experience sharing visit to the State Governor.

Governor Amosun lauded the performance of the indigenes ‎of the state during the national assignment.

Praising their performance, Governor Amosun used the opportunity to preach national unity and expressed hope that the country would someday truly practice fiscal federalism.

All the delegates and the Governor believe that with the right political will from the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the National Conference, the nation, Nigeria and the citizens would have a lot to benefit.


Palestinian Officials Say ‘Agreement Has Been Reached’

Palestinian boy cries as he stands in a debris-strewn street near his family's house in Rafah in the southern Gaza StripPalestinian officials said on Tuesday a Gaza ceasefire deal with Israel has been reached under Egyptian mediation and a formal announcement of an agreement was imminent.

There was no immediate confirmation from Israel, where a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment.

“An agreement has been reached between the two sides and we are awaiting the announcement from Cairo to determine the zero hour for implementation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza.

A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the Gaza militant groups that has been firing rockets into Israel, said the announcement could be made within two hours.

Cairo’s initiative, Palestinians officials said, called for an indefinite halt to seven weeks of hostilities, the immediate opening of Gaza’s blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt and a widening of the enclave’s fishing zone in the Mediterranean.

Under a second stage that would begin a month later, Israel and the Palestinians would discuss the construction of a Gaza sea port and an Israeli release of Hamas prisoners in the occupied West Bank, the officials said.

Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are demanding guarantees that weapons will not enter the economically crippled territory.

Increasing pressure on Palestinian militants to end their rocket strikes, Israel bombed more of Gaza’s tallest structures on Tuesday, bringing down a 13-storey apartment and office tower and destroying most of a 16-floor residential building.

The strikes flattened the Basha Tower and wrecked the Italian Complex, after occupants were warned to get out, and no deaths were reported.

Declining to comment specifically on the attacks, the Israeli military said it had hit 15 “terror sites”, including some in buildings that housed Hamas command and control centers.

NMA Strike: Lawmakers Tell Doctors To Apologise To Nigerians

resident doctors2The Health Committee of the House of Representatives has asked the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to apologise to Nigerians over the “unpatriotic” strike embarked upon by medical doctors.

The NMA had on July 1, 2014, proceeded on an industrial action and deserted public hospitals and other health institutions nation-wide on the account of unmet demands, some of which were on the appointing of a Surgeon-General as Minister of Health by the Federal Government. But after 55 days, on Sunday, August 25, 2014, the association called-off the strike and ordered doctors back to work.

However, during the period of the industrial action, the country witnessed the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, (EVD) brought to Nigeria by a late Liberian-American, Mr Patrick Sawyer, who was in the country for an ECOWAS event.

So far, amid other reported deaths arising from the absence of medical doctors in the public health institutions, the EVD had claimed the lives of four Nigerians.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, on the suspension of the NMA strike, the Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Health, Ndudi Elumelu, said it was not enough for NMA to call off the strike, demanding that the association should apologise to Nigerians over the “avoidable” deaths.

He expressed regrets that the NMA shunned all entreaties and acted to the contrary.

He said: “The leadership of NMA has been described as unpatriotic even by other Nigerian doctors, as well as members of the public in view of health challenges confronting the nation and the scourge of Ebola Virus Disease, which erupted during the strike period.

“Patriotic Nigerians both home and abroad have passionately condemned the action of the current leadership of the NMA.

“The committee has a final word for NMA. The NMA has suspended the strike, but it has failed to do one thing: the NMA failed to apologise to Nigerians. The NMA should apologise to Nigerians for all the inconveniences and lives that were lost during the strike,” he emphasised.


EBOLA: WHO Sends Medical Supplies To DR Congo

Ebola DeathsThe World Health Organisation (WHO) said that it has sent protective equipment for medical staff to Democratic Republic of Congo, where authorities have confirmed two cases of Ebola in a remote area.

WHO Spokesman, Tarik Jasareviche, in response to a query in Geneva, said, “The ministry of health has declared an outbreak and we are treating it as such.”

The current Ebola epidemic, which has killed at least 1,427 people, has focused on Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone with several cases also in Nigeria.

Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province on Sunday after two of eight patients tested for the virus came back positive, Health Minister, Felix Kabange Numbi said.

Congolese authorities who went to the remote area found 24 cases of hemorrhagic fever of “unknown origin”, including 13 people that had died, Jasarevic said.

Of these, two have tested positive for Ebola, but other samples taken from suspect cases are being analysed, he said.

Hemorraghic gastroenteritis, malaria and shigellosis have also been identified in the area, he said. At least 70 people have died in northern Democratic Republic of Congo from an outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, the WHO said last Thursday, dismissing reports that the illness was Ebola.

Ebola virus, which was discovered in the former Zaire in 1976, is endemic in the area. This is the seventh known outbreak of the deadly disease in the country, according to the WHO.

12 Killed, 36,000 Made Homeless In Niger Flooding

Niger At least 12 people have been killed and more than 36,000 made homeless in Niger due to flooding caused by heavy seasonal rainfall, the government said.

Floods are an annually recurring problem in the West African country during the rainy season when overflowing streams and rivers sweep away homes and destroy crops, leaving victims without shelter and creating food shortages later on.

“Heavy precipitation recorded in six regions caused flooding and serious damage,” the office of Niger’s prime minister, said in a statement late on Friday. “Evaluations by the civil protection services uncovered 12 deaths.”

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing government figures, said that 36,441 people had lost their homes in the floods as of August 21.

“The rains are continuing and the damage could require the deployment of more means in terms of emergency food and non-food assistance and tents,” OCHA said in a statement.

Largely desert Niger, one of Africa’s newest oil producers, a leading producer of uranium, remains one of the world’s least developed countries.

Hamas Militants Execute 18 Palestinians For Collaborating With Israel

People watch as Hamas militants surround the bodies of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel after they executed them in Gaza CityHamas-led gunmen in Gaza have executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel on Friday, a day after Israel tracked down and killed three top Hamas commanders, the highest-ranking militants to be killed in the six-week war.

Seven people were shot dead in front of worshippers outside a mosque in one of Gaza’s main squares, witnesses said, the first public executions in the Palestinian enclave since the 1990s. A further 11 were killed at an abandoned police station near Gaza City, Hamas security officials said.

In the public execution, militants wearing masks and dressed in black gunned down the suspects, whose faces were covered and hands bound, as worshippers emerged from the Omari mosque on Palestine Square, one of Gaza’s busiest districts.

“The resistance has begun an operation called ‘strangling the necks’, targeting collaborators who aid the (Israeli) occupation, kill our people and destroy houses,” a pro-Hamas website said.

A so-called conviction letter signed by the “Palestinian Resistance” was posted on a wall near to where the bodies of alleged collaborators lay. The notice read:

“They provided the enemy with information about the whereabouts of fighters, tunnels of resistance, bombs, houses of fighters and places of rockets, and the occupation bombarded these areas killing a number of fighters… Therefore, the ruling of revolutionary justice was handed upon him.”

Earlier on Friday, 11 suspected collaborators were shot dead at an abandoned police station, a Hamas security official said. At the site, Reuters saw two bodies being loaded onto an ambulance before being told to leave the area.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza denounced the killings.

“We demand the Palestinian National Authority and the resistance (Palestinian armed factions) to intervene to stop these extra-judicial executions, no matter what reasons and the motives are,” Raji al-Surani, the chairman of the organization, said in a statement.

Israel launched an offensive on July 8 with the stated aim of putting an end to cross-border rocket fire from Gaza.

Health officials in the small, densely populated enclave said that the Palestinian death toll rose to 2,070 on Friday, mostly civilians, after a father and his son were killed in an Israeli air strike near Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have also been killed in the conflict.

Faze Releases New Single ‘Your Daughter’


The Former Plantashun Boyz Member, Faze, has released a brand new song titled ‘Your daughter’.

Faze, originally named Chibuzor Oji, was in the defunct Nigerian all-male pop group, Plantashun Boyz, along with BlackFace Naija and TuFace (also known as 2face Idibia).

The group split up in 2004 and each member of the group has gone on to launch successful solo careers.

This latest work by Faze was produced by Tyce. Enjoy the audio below!



Israeli Air-Strike Kills Three Senior Hamas Commanders

Palestinians gather as rescue workers search for victims under the rubble of a house in RafahAn Israeli air strike killed three senior Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, a clear sign of its intention to hit the group’s armed leadership days after a ceasefire failed.

Hamas, which dominates Gaza, named the men as Mohammed Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum, the three highest-ranking casualties it has announced since Israel started its offensive six weeks ago.

All three, killed in the bombing of a house in the southern town of Rafah, had led operations against Israel over the past 20 years, the Islamist movement said.

 The Israeli military and Shin Bet, the internal security service, confirmed it had targeted two of the men.

Following the collapse on Tuesday of a 10-day ceasefire, the Israeli military appears to have ramped up its efforts to hit the leadership of Hamas’s armed wing.

Late on Tuesday, the Israeli air force bombed a house in northern Gaza, an attempt, Hamas said, to assassinate Mohammed Deif, its top military commander. Deif’s wife, daughter and seven-month-old son were killed but Deif escaped, Hamas said.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declined to say whether Israel had tried to kill Deif, but said that militant leaders were legitimate targets and that “none are immune” from attack.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched at the funeral of the three Hamas commanders on Thursday, firing weapons into the air in anger and calling for revenge.

“The assassinations of the three Qassam leaders is a grave crime,” Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters. “But it will not break our people and Israel will pay the price for it.”

Former chief of Israel’s military intelligence and head of Tel Aviv University’s INSS think-tank, Amos Yadlin, said that Israel, which was engaged in indirect ceasefire talks with Hamas in Cairo until Tuesday, had now changed its game plan.

“The prime minister has adopted a strategy which says ‘You shoot at us, we’ll hit you seven times harder, you want attrition? We have intelligence and an airforce that will crush you with greater force,” he told Israel Radio.

However, Israel’s ultimate goal could still be a diplomatic deal to end hostilities, Yadlin said.

“Even the crazy extremists in Hamas understand time is not on their side and this is what we need to do – military activity aimed at an eventual diplomatic outcome,” Yadlin said.

Shin Bet said Abu Shammala was head of Hamas’s southern command and described al-Attar as a brigade commander. It said both had been leading fighting against Israel in the south of Gaza, where some of the most intense combat has occurred.

Netanyahu praised the “outstanding intelligence” and said in a statement the Hamas leaders killed had “planned deadly attacks against Israeli civilians”.

U.S. Reassures Nigeria Of Support In 2015 General Election

James-EntwistleThe United States Ambassador To Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, says the United States government remains committed to ensuring that the 2015 general elections will be free and fair.

Mr Entwistle, spoke in a meeting with officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja on Wednesday.

He appealed to Nigerians to shun acts that could incite violence‎.

The US Ambassador said that the United States would support Nigeria because of the long standing relationship between both countries.

“From our own historical experience, we understand the importance of election. The United States will support the Nigerian people in their quest to ensure a credible and transparent election that they want and deserve.

“That is what we stand for and as part of that, I will try to be in touch with all parties to understand them, so that we can be knowledgeable about the electoral process here.

“I think it is incumbent on all of us to work towards this. History shows us that one election can make the difference. It may not happen overnight, but genuine change in every society is only possible in a true democratic process,” he said.

Entwistle encouraged potential party candidates to publicly commit themselves to ensuring that “they would not encourage, foment or engage in violence before, during and after the elections”.

He asked Nigerians to come out en masse to participate in the voting exercise .

On his part,the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party,‎ Mr Adamu Muazu, said that the party remained committed to achieving credible elections in the country as exemplified in the just concluded Osun and Ekiti governorship elections and beyond.

“We will always present credible candidates who can win elections. We will continue to provide internal-driven democracy that will be driven by the people,” he said.

Mu’azu emphasied that President Goodluck Jonathan had continued to insist on a “one man, one vote”process which he said the party was proud of.

“We will, by the grace of God, work for the people of Nigeria. Our leader, the President has through our party, been campaigning that voting should be one man one vote.

“We take time to advertise this in national dailies to make sure that we will continue to have cordial relationship with the people and the international community,” he stressed.


Ebola: Liberian President Imposes Night Time Curfew

Liberian-Presid2The Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has imposed a night- time curfew and quarantined two affected neighbourhoods in a bid to stop the Ebola epidemic rampaging through West Africa.

The new quarantine areas include Monrovia’s West Point slum.

The President said that the commencement of the curfew would start on Wednesday, August 20, from 9:00 pm to 6:00am daily.

“Commencing on Wednesday, August 20, there will be a curfew from 9:00pm to 6:00am.

“All entertainment centres are to be closed. All video centres are to be closed at 6:00 pm,” she ordered.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 1,200 people have died of the virus in four West African countries.

In Nigeria, a top Lagos doctor, who attended to the Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, that brought the Virus to Nigeria died of the virus on Tuesday. That brings the number of people who have died of Ebola in Nigeria to five, the health ministry said.

Colleagues said consultant Stella Ameyo Adadevoh was the first medical practitioner to order that a sick patient from Liberia be tested for Ebola when he was admitted in July.

The Chief Medical Director at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Akin Osibogun, said that late Stella Adadevoh was a hero who contained the late Sawyer from leaving the hospital when he was tested positive to the virus, helping to contain the spread of the disease.

“We owe her a lot. She managed the situation like a thorough professional that she was. She had helped Nigeria to contain the epidemic in her own way.”

Government authorities had said five people have recovered from the virus in Nigeria and have been discharged from hospital in Lagos after they were confirmed fit and without the virus. Two are still being treated.

The outbreak in West africa has claimed at least 1,200 lives and it had started affecting travellers in the region, as several airlines have stopped flights.