French Election: Citizens Go To Polls Amid Tight Security

Large numbers of French citizens have been turning out in cities around the world to vote amid high security following a deadly attack on Paris Police three days ago.

About 50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers are reported to have being deployed across the country to secure the polls.

Eleven candidates are vying to be the next president, with candidates spanning the political spectrum.

If no-one wins 50%, the two with the most votes will go to a run-off round in a fortnight’s time.

Four candidates are currently seen as being within reach of the presidency: the conservative François Fillon, the far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, Liberal Centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-left’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Putin Gives U.S. Delegation Cold Shoulders

Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria.

This is coming as the new U.S. leader fired missiles at Syria to punish Moscow’s ally for its suspected use of poison gas.

The Kremlin had previously declined to confirm Putin would meet Tillerson, reflecting tensions over the U.S. strike on Syria.

Rex Tillerson – Courtesy: www.slate.com

Tillerson, however, started a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian Counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, for about three hours.

In his opening remarks, Lavrov giving off the cold shoulder, stated: “I won’t hide the fact that we have a lot of questions, taking into account the extremely ambiguous and sometimes contradictory ideas which have been expressed in Washington across the whole spectrum of bilateral and multilateral affairs.

“And of course, that’s not to mention that apart from the statements, we observed very recently the extremely worrying actions, when an illegal attack against Syria was undertaken.”

A senior Russian official assailed the “primitiveness and loutishness” of U.S. rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximize the awkwardness during the first visit by a member of Trump’s cabinet.

“One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated,” Putin said in an interview broadcast on Russian television.

He also doubled down on Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, repeating denials that Assad’s government was to blame for the gas attack last week and adding a new theory that the attack may have been faked by Assad’s enemies.

Tillerson, on the other hand, kept to more calibrated remarks, saying his aim was “to further clarify areas of sharp difference so that we can better understand why these differences exist and what the prospects for narrowing those differences may be.”

“I look forward to a very open, candid, frank exchange so that we can better define the U.S.-Russian relationship from this point forward,” he told Lavrov.

Kim Jong-Nam Killing: Malaysia Seeks North Korea Embassy Official

north-koreanMalaysia has asked North Korea to assist in searching for a senior embassy official wanted in connection with the killing of Kim Jong-Nam.

Mr Kim, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, died last week at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Confirming details of the killing, the police said two women approached him and wiped a toxin on his face.

There is widespread suspicion that North Korea was behind the attack, which its envoy in Malaysia has angrily denied.

Authorities are still waiting for the results of the post-mortem examination of Mr Kim’s body, and are seeking his family members to provide a DNA sample.

However, North Korea has demanded that Mr Kim’s body be returned to them, and has angrily objected to Malaysia conducting an autopsy of the body.

Sunshine Stars Protest Over Unpaid Wages

Sunshine Stars Protest Over Unpaid WagesPlayers of the Sunshine Stars and staff of the Ondo State Football Agency, have protested over non-payment of salary arrears as well as sign-on fees.

According to the protesters, the government is owing them up to 13 months and 6 months salary arrears for the staff and players as well as sign on fees for the players.

Sunshine Stars are currently 15th on the Nigeria Professional League (NPL) table with just two victories from nine league games.

Abia Governorship Tussle: Court To Deliver Judgment On May 12

49 Escapee Inmates Re-Arrested In Imo stateThe Supreme Court has fixed May 12, 2017, for judgment in an appeal filed by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), governorship aspirant, Mr Samson Ogah, in the Abia state governorship election in 2015.

The apex court fixed the date after hearing submissions from parties in the suit.

Ogah, who contested the primary election with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on the PDP platform, has asking the apex court to set aside the judgment of the appellate court which upheld the nomination and subsequent election of Governor Ikpeazu.

Amnesty International Declares Interest In Death Of Desmond Nunugwo

Amnesty International Declares Interest In Death Of Desmond NunugwoAmnesty International Nigeria, has declared interest in the alleged murder of one Desmond Nunugwo while in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in June 9, 2016.

The organisation has insisted that the matter would not be swept under the carpet, after the family of the deceased had gone to them and demanded justice.

Mr Nunugwo, who was a Chief of Protocol Officer to the Minister of State for Defence, died in EFCC custody hours after he was picked up for questioning for alleged fraud.

NABTEB Advocates More Vocational Centres

nabtebThe Registrar and Executive Secretary of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board, (NABTEB), Professor Ifeoma Isingo-Abanihe, has advocated the establishment of more technical training centres in Nigeria to improve human capacity building.

Abanihe also recommended that NABTEB certificates be issued to students to help boost their career.

She made the recommendation during a meeting with the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, at the government house in Benin city.

“We want the establishment of more technical and vocational training centres, unlike what was obtainable in the past when technical education was considered to be a dead end. The ordinary and advanced level certificates awarded by NABTEB guarantee career progression”.

Governor Obaseki on the other hand, has solicited a closer working relationship with NABTEB to actualise the state government’s plans to revitalize the Benin Technical College.

“If you do not pay attention to the institutions that help you create men and women who can build your country, then we are not going to start,” he stated.

CJN Urges States To Domesticate Criminal Justice Act

walter-onnoghen-acting-chief-justice-of-nigeriaThe Acting Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has called on state governments to domesticate and implement the Criminal Justice Act.

This according to him, is to effectively resolve the challenge of prison congestion and delay in courts.

Represented by the Supreme Court Judge, Justice Mary Peter-Odili, at a judicial colloquium on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in Abuja, the CJN noted that the application of the Federal Law through the state Houses of Assembly, would fast track judicial decisions which would in turn protect and empower citizens.

Furthermore, she revealed that 70% of the prison population in the country are awaiting trial; a situation she says speaks volumes of the system.

However, after years of mere talk, the judiciary have once again swung open the doors of reforms in the justice system, while also hoping that the government would invest in it more, so as to meet growing demands.

Shop Owners In Osogbo Protest Breach Of Contract

osun_shop_ownersThousands of shop owners at the Ayegbaju International Market in Osogbo, the Osun state capital, have taken to the streets to protest allegations of breach of contract and fraudulent transaction deals involving the state government.

They alleged that the agreement before the takeover of the shops from the development management was an out right ownership status, given by the government, but they were taken aback by the sudden reversal of the agreed status which has been changed to to 28 years, a decision which is not acceptable to them.

As residents woke up to the early protest, the presence of heavy security personnel also greeted the protesters, barring the protesters from moving out of the market premises.

Unperturbed, they stood outside the entrance chanting solidarity songs of “save our soul”, carrying various placards bearing inscriptions like “No to 28 years agreement, 99 years agreement is what ‎we were promised”, “Give us electricity and water”, “Owo njo lo” and “We want to meet Governor Aregbesola”

Speaking to newsmen, some of the shop owners said the present location of the stalls is defacing the market, making it lose the international status for which it was designed.

The shop owners also called for the restoration of electricity to the shops as according to them, the Ayegbaju International Market has been without electricity for about two years now.

They also insisted that the promises made by the development management and the state government were not met, thereby leaving the shop owners to their fate.

One of the shop owners, Mr Afeez Azeez, lamenting over their challenges said: “we want to make our stance clear to the government, we are not anti -government, we are only against injustice, we are against 419 and scam, they promised us they will be giving us a standing market here at Ayegbaju International Market.

“The agreement was that it will be an outright purchase of 99 years but to our surprise, they gave us a document reading 28 years, and they are claiming they want to deal with us individually and not as a group, that gives us a signal that they want to scam us.

“If you look at the market now, it’s almost five years that this market was built, it is not functioning, no water and no light, we want the government to come to our rescue, and we cannot afford to lose our money.

“We paid as much as 2.5 million and those who paid for open market paid about N350, 000, it is not small money, they are not helping us.

“We do not care about party but about the welfare of our people, we bought the shop because government promised us that we should buy it, they say they are fully involved, we don’t know Edward, we know Governor Aregbesola, who asked us to investors in this market”

A retiree and spokesperson of the group, Mr Tunde Lawal also said: “I invested part of my gratuity since 2012, nothing has come out of it, I bought two lock-up shops here and I have nothing to live on now because I thought this market will take off immediately.

“In fact by the time I invested here, it was on ground level, but now look at my fate, there is nothing to eat, as a retiree.

“I am begging government to save my soul, my money is being tied down, if I have investments elsewhere I would have known what I would have realised.

“I invested about 1.3 million in 2012, nothing to show for it, please tell me when I will begin to realise my dream” he questioned.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Osun State Investment Company Limited, Mr Bola Oyebamiji, in an attempt to calm the protesters stated that the government is ready to look into the plight of the shop owners.

“‎Its actually not a complaint, but a town hall meeting, what we are going to do now is we have the mandate of the governor to listen to them and to resolve all the anomalies amicably and we are going to do so very soon.

“The problem is between the development and the shop owners, the government is not involved per say, however this is our environment, it is the duty of the government to maintain peace, that is why the governor insisted that we should be here and resolve it amicably.” he stated.

Trump Commends Buhari On Fight Against Terrorism

trump-buhariThe United States President, Donald Trump, on Monday, commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the fight against terrorism via telephone.

The conversation was cordial and President Buhari congratulated Trump on his election as President of the United States, as well as on his cabinet.

This was revealed in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Femi Adesina.

The two leaders discussed ways to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism through provision of necessary equipment.

Mr Trump then assured the Nigerian President of the U.S readiness to cut a new deal in procurement of military weapons to combat terrorism.

Meanwhile, President Trump encouraged President Buhari to keep up the good work he has done so far, and also commended him for the efforts made in rescuing 24 of the Chibok Girls and the strides being taken by the Nigerian military.

The American President finally invited President Buhari to Washington for a visit at a date convenient to both leaders.

NAUTH Joint Health Workers Protest Emolument Imbalance

Delta FMC Nurses Protest Over Non-Payment Of SalariesOver one hundred staff of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Anambra state, have taken to the streets of Nnewi to protest Federal Government marginalization in the salary structure of the Joint Health Sector Workers, (JOHESU), Anambra state chapter.

According to the Branch Chairman of the Association, Mr Ikenna Anahalu, issues concerning non implementation of consolidated salary structure, absence of promotion, marginalization, skipping of members in promotion matters, decay in the hospital, stagnation and disobedience to Industrial court judgments among others.

They called on the Federal Government to do the right thing to achieve a better health delivery in Nigeria, as the Nigerian health sector is ranked at 187 out of 191 in the world presently.

 

 

Justice Ngwuta’s Trial: Federal Government Appoints New Prosecutor

Alleged Money Laundering: Justice Ngwuta's Trial StalledThe Nigerian government has appointed Mrs Olufemi Fatunde of the Federal Ministry of Justice, as the Lead Prosecutor in the trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, a Supreme Court Justices who is standing trial for alleged corruption.

At the resumed hearing of the case in Abuja, Mrs Fatunde announced appearance as the new Head of the‎ Prosecution team following the withdrawal of the former Head of the Prosecution Team, Charles Adeogun-Philips.

Shortly after announcing her appearance, Mrs Fatunde made an oral application seeking an adjournment of the case to enable her study the file and also interview the witnesses.

Lawyer to Justice Ngwuta, Mr Kanu Agabi, however did not oppose the application and Justice John Tsoho subsequently adjourned the case to March 16 and 17, 2017, for continuation of trial.

Justice Ngwuta is one of the justices arrested and detained by the Department of State Services (DSS), on October 8, 2016 for corruption and breach of professional ethics.

In November, he had entered a not guilty plea to the 15-count charges leveled against him by the Federal Government.