EFCC Gives Reasons For Jafaru Isa’s Release

efccThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has denied reports that it is focusing its anti-corruption fight on opposition, with the release of Jafaru Isa, an All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain and the continued detention of the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh.

The opposition party had alleged that the release of Jafaru Isa showed that the anti-corruption crusade was a much-hyped crusade to prosecute the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“The release of Jafaru Isa, a known associate of the President and Chieftain of the APC, eight hours after his arrest, while our Spokesman remains in detention even when the two are being investigated over same allegation, clearly shows that the President Buhari-led APC government is not fighting corruption but using the much-hyped crusade as a cover to prosecute PDP leaders and decimate the opposition, a project the EFCC has clearly yielded itself as a willing tool,” the PDP claimed.

In a statement by the commission through its Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC explained the reason behind the release of Mr Isa, who was arrested for his involvement in the arms procurement scam of a total of 170,000,000 Naira.

“Upon his arrest, the retired General admitted receiving the said sum from Dasuki and immediately refunded a total sum of 100 million Naira, with an undertaking to refund the balance of 70 million Naira in two weeks,” the EFCC said.

The commission also mentioned the state of the APC Chieftain’s health as another factor that prompted his release.

The EFCC pointed out that the grant of bail does not amount to exoneration of the suspect.

In the case of the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, the EFCC revealed that “Metuh, who is exposed to the tune of 1.2 billion Naira in the arms scandal, has shown no readiness to refund any amount of money to the EFCC, nor has he signed any undertaking to do so at a future date”.

It also claimed that contrary to claims by his party, the PDP Spokesman was not being detained illegally, as the commission obtained a valid court order to hold him.

The commission gave the assurance that Mr Metuh would be released once he satisfied the condition for the discretion to be exercised in his favour.

The EFCC further said it would not be intimidated or stampeded by any campaign of calumny intended to detract it.

Abuja Bomb Blast: President Buhari Visits National Hospital

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has visited the National Hospital, Abuja, to see victims of the bomb blast.

The President who spent a few minutes with hospital management, also promised to investigate the attack.

Latest report from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the Kuje bombing says calm has returned to the area after Friday’s bomb blasts.

13 of the 24 people admitted in the hospital are said to have been discharged on Sunday afternoon while death toll remains 20.

The multiple bomb attack went off in two satellite towns in Abuja on Friday, October 2.

President Buhari has condemned the attack, calling it a cowardly action by those who carried out the crime and promised to end extremism in the country. He has also given a deadline of December to the military to end Boko Haram.

Also, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, condemned the blast, saying that the renewed attacks are signs that the days of Boko Haram are numbered.

He also commended the security agencies for their quick response to the incidents in Nyanya and Kuje, especially the prompt evacuation of both the dead and injured to medical facilities where they are receiving needed medical attention.

Our Decision To Leave PDP Should Be Respected – Saraki

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Bukola Saraki, has said that the decision by some senators, who have chosen to decamp from the Peoples Democratic Party to the opposition, APC should be respected, as the trend of defection “is not new.”

Speaking on the letter of defection which led to disagreements between senators on both sides of the PDP/APC divide, as a result of the Senate President’s refusal to read the letter on the floor of the Senate, Saraki said that “the practice has always been in the past that when Senators or members of the House of Representatives change their party for whatever reason, they come to the floor and indicate their interest by writing to the leadership, quoting section 68 of the constitution. The leadership reads it and it goes into the records of the Senate that you have defected to another party.”

He added that the laid down procedures “had been working very well in the past but unfortunately now, it seems not to be working as it used to.”

He said arguments that the senators who decamp will lose their seats are false as the trend is not new in the country. “I think between the House and the Senate, there are over 20 cases since 1999, where people had defected quoting the same section.

“There’s not been any hullabaloo about it. There’s been no noise. It’s gone smoothly. People have left the opposition party to the ruling party, now it’s the other way round, people are quoting and trying to hold on to what doesn’t exist.

He added that “as of today, there’s no law that stops any of the senators or members of the House of Representatives to say that they have left their party.”

“The issue at the end of the day is that most of these decisions are based on your constituencies. At the end of the day, that’s what we represent.

“We have moved. We have taken those decisions. I think that it needs to be respected.

The former governor of Kwara State advocated for consistency in government process, adding that “every time we do things to suit the situation, it goes back to bite us and haunt us later.”

He argued that the case concerning defection is the same in both legislative houses and should not be treated differently. “One would wonder if the legal experts who are advising the Senate President are totally different from those advising the Speaker. I mean, it’s the same case.”

Defection To APC

Asked why he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, Mr Saraki cited impunity as one of the reasons he left the ruling party for the opposition.

“I think largely, it is due to the kind of dissatisfaction that we’ve seen in the affairs of the party over a while with regards to key issues like the level of impunity, the regard for the rule of law, the level of inclusiveness, the consideration of the wishes of the people and party members at the different chapters, not ready for us to engage more in participatory democracy.”

He added that those who defected in Kwara State did so because the leadership of the party had interfered in the State chapter’s primaries.

“Leading to our local government election, we had carried out primaries at the party. The party had come from Abuja to supervise our primaries.

“We were going to election, after electing our flag-bearers and then 24 hours before election, somebody who sat in Abuja, decided to just write another 193 names (of councilors) and sent it to the state INEC commissioner to say that these are the authorised candidates of the party,” he said.

Presidential Ambition

Saraki also addressed rumours that he may contest in the forthcoming presidential elections.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Saraki said those criticising his activities are quick to attribute them to a personal ambition to become President.

Return To PDP

The Senator has said that it is too late to return to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Asked if the change in the party’s leadership will make him turn back, he said it was too late despite the new Chairman of the PDP being  ‘a nice chap.’

 

 

 

 

 

YOU WIN Creates 26,000 Jobs In Three Years – Jonathan

Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday announced that the Youth Enterprise With Innovation programme has created over 26,000 direct jobs.

Addressing a gathering of young entrepreneurs and government officials at the ceremony marking the initiative’s third anniversary, which held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the President reiterated that YOU WIN was founded to tackle the growing unemployment rate.

Nigeria had a high percentage of unemployed youth of about 35 per cent at the beginning of his administration.

“The YOU WIN programme is unique in the sense that it depends on the Nigerian youth to create jobs for the Nigerian youths,” he explained.

He reminded the gathering of his promise to make available a minimum of 80,000 jobs through the programme and announced that over 26,000 direct jobs have been created across 6 geo-political zones.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala, said the government initiative allowed Nigerian youths to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. The YOU WIN programme was created to “empower our youth to start or expand existing businesses and to create jobs, not only for themselves but for their peers.”

The programme is implemented as an annual business plan competition in which winners win grants up to the sum of 10 million Naira (about 64,000 dollars).

The first cycle of the initiative received less than 24,000 applications while about 65,000 applications were received in the second run.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the success recorded was indicative of the trust youths now have in the country via the YOU WIN programme. ‘They believe in YOU WIN,” she added.

President Jonathan inspected an exhibition of businesses which winners of the Youth Enterprise With Innovation Nigeria, YOU WIN, programme have established.

At an exhibition, beneficiaries of the first batch of YOU WIN showed the President what they had achieved with the grants they got from the government.

 

G7 Has No Right To Stop Jonathan’s 2015 Ambition – Akpabio

Akwa Ibom state governor, Godswill Akpabio has said that governors of the New PDP have no right to demand that President Goodluck Jonathan put an end to his second term ambition, describing it “as uncalled for”.

He said this while commenting on the reconciliation talks between the aggrieved members and the party’s leadership, including President Jonathan, which has been shifted to the 7th of October.

Alhtough, Mr Akpabio said that the issue has been settled and all the parties have come to the conclusion that the ambition is a personal decision of the president and that nobody has any right to stop him.

The aggrieved governors were said to have insisted that apart from the president dropping his second term ambition, there should be an unconditional lifting of the suspension on Rivers state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, as well as the sacking of the PDP chairman, Bamanga Tukur.

 

 

Madonna Wins Highest-Earning Celebrity

MadonnaPop star Madonna was the world’s top-earning celebrity over the past year, trumping the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

The 55-year-old Material Girl made an estimated $125m (£80m) thanks to her MDNA tour, clothing and fragrance lines, according to Forbes.

Popular director Steven Spielberg was at number two with $100m (£64m). Most of his earnings came from his back catalogue of film hits such as ET and Jurassic Park – which has just been released in 3D to mark its 20th anniversary – as well as last year’s Oscar winning Lincoln. The director also takes a cut of all ticket sales at Universal Studios theme parks.

Third place was a three-way tie between 50 Shades of Grey author EL James, Simon Cowell and shock jock Howard Stern, with earnings of $95m (£61m).

Thriller writer James Patterson follows with $91m (£58.5m), while TV and radio host Glenn Beck earned $90m (£57.8m).

Others in the top 10 included Transformers director Michael Bay ($82m, £52.7m) producer Jerry Bruckheimer ($80m, £51.4m) and pop star Lady Gaga ($80m) who featured 10th on the list.

Forbes compiles its annual list of celebrity earnings using input from agents, managers, producers and others to calculate its estimates for each celebrity’s entertainment-related earnings.

The figures do not reflect tax deductions, agent fees or “the other expenses of being a celebrity”.

 

Puberty Determines Maturity For Marriage, Yerima On #ChildNotBride

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, Senator Ahmed Yerima of Zamfara state defended his position on the controversial topic #ChildNotBride, an issue he said “is all about the definition of full age”.

The removal of Section 29 (4b) of theNigerian constitution as intended by the National Assembly will leave citizens with Section 29 (4a) alone. This is against Islamic law which states that “any married woman is of full age,” he said, adding that “some don’t know that the provision is available in both the 1999 and 1979 constitutions”.

The Senator who argued his case on the floor of the Senate using Islamic laws as defense, said his position on “any woman who is married shall be deemed full of age” “is provided for in the Quran.”

He cited Chapter four of the Quran to back his argument.

He stated that the “the issue of full age was given based on the maturity, that is, age of puberty of a girl,” adding that he recently discovered that the age of puberty as defined by European laws is given as between 12 and 14.

While arguing his case, he stated that puberty is define by the start of a girl’s menstrual cycle, which may commence at age 9 and “when the breasts are fully mature”.

Asked to set a clear distinction between maturity and puberty, the Senator insisted that “a married woman is a married woman”.

The Child Right’s Act which stipulates the age of maturity as 18 “is not constitutional,” he said, insisting that “once a girl reaches the age of puberty” she is assumed to be matured and determined by her parents and ready for marriage.

On the number of his wives who are under the age of 21, he said that “so long as I don’t do any action that is against Islamic law, I am covered by the Nigerian constitution”.

BBA: Namibian, Dilish Wins 300,000 USD

Namibian, Dillish on Sunday night won the coveted $300,000 star prize on Big Brother Africa.

It was a beautiful event as all the previously evicted housemates came back to celebrate with the winner.

After 90 days of staying in the Big Brother house, the top five; Elikem, Melvin, Cleo, Beverly and Dillish donned in their beautiful attires anxiously awaited the final results.

First to be evicted of the five was Beverly, who proudly walked out of the house into the cheering crowd and  was greeted with a hug and kiss from Angelo. Next came Melvin who obviously wasn’t happy to have not gotten the money but bravely put on a smile to meet the crowd.

The eviction of the two Nigerians from the house on the Grande finale caused a stir among Nigerians who concluded that keeping Melvin and Beverly in the house was a tactic to keep the Nigerian audience.

Elikem was evicted after this, but he won a $10,000 expense paid trip by Big Brother to Kenya with a partner of his choice, he picked Pokello who he already started an affair with during their stay in the house.

Finally, Dillish and Cleo were left in the house, the two hotties beat their male and female counterparts, Elikem and Melvin to the Top 2, as well as their close friend Beverly.

When the last person, Cleo, was evicted, the Namibian broke down in a heap of tears at the realization that she had won a cool $300, 000.

Ikorodu: Okada Rider Shot By Policeman Identified As Olalekan

The young motorcycle rider, identified as Olalekan, who was shot dead yesterday by a policeman in Ikorodu, Lagos, was shot three times by the law enforcement agent when he tried to resist the seizure of his motorcycle.

Channels Television correspondent, Lauretta Chiogor, who visited the area reported that Olalekan died instantly.

A visit to the Ikorodu General Hospital also revealed that three Rapid Respond Squad (RRS) vehicles have been stationed around the premises and the hospital gates have been locked as friends wait outside the gate, waiting to see the corpse of the victim.

The Okada riders association in the area has called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the police officer, identified as Haruna.

Allegations involving bribery and corruption have been leveled against the officer whose whereabouts are unknown at present.

Sources told Channels Television that Haruna demands sums from N5000 up to N15000 from Okada riders, who he insists are plying illegal routes.

Indian Rupee Falls To A Record Low Against The Dollar

Currency dealer, MumbaiThe Indian rupee has hit a record low against the dollar despite recent efforts to prop-up the currency. On Wednesday India’s central bank put further restrictions on the amount of money that companies and individuals can send out of the country.

That had little impact and the rupee fell to 62.03 to the dollar, below its previous low of 61.80 hit on 6 August. Overseas investors have been pulling money out of Indian shares and debt on concerns over the economy.

According to official data, international investors have withdrawn $11.58bn in shares and debt from India’s markets since the beginning of June.

India’s economy had been growing at a fast clip, reaching annual growth of 9%. In recent months, it has seen a sharp decline largely because of a slowdown in its manufacturing and services sectors.

“There is a complete lack of faith in the markets. There are fears that the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) measures may not help improve the rupee,” said Param Sarma, chief executive with NSP Forex.

Indian authorities are concerned that the weak rupee is stoking inflation.The nation relies on imports of crude oil, chemicals and some foodstuffs, which are priced in dollars.

The weak rupee makes those more expensive, a cost that is eventually handed on to the consumer.

In July, India’s main gauge of inflation, the Wholesale Price Index, was 5.79% higher than a year earlier, up from 4.86% in June

Egypt Braced For Renewed Protests

Poster of President Morsi lies on ground in Cairo. 15 Aug 2013The Egyptian capital, Cairo is poised for renewed protests by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Mursi. They are expected to take place two days after authorities broke up Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo with the loss of at least 638 lives.

Mr Morsi’s supporters plan to converge on central Ramses Square from city mosques after Friday prayers. A state of emergency is in force and police have been authorised to use live ammunition in self-defence.

The Muslim Brotherhood called on its supporters to gather in mosques for Friday prayers and then take to the streets of Cairo in a “march of anger”.The group’s leaders say they will hold marches under the slogan “the people want to topple the coup”.

Security in the capital is tight, with many armoured personnel carriers on the streets. Members of groups opposed to Mr Morsi – the National Salvation Front and Tamarod – are reported to have called for counter-demonstrations in response.

Egypt’s Coptic Christian community has been targeted by some Islamists who accuse the Church of backing the army’s overthrow of Mr Morsi last month.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, an NGO, says 25 churches, along with private homes and businesses belonging to Copts and other Christian denominations, were attacked on Wednesday and Thursday.

Alexandria, a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, appears largely quiet. The authorities in Egypt’s second city have cleared piles of sandbags, barricades and a tent camp set up by Mr Morsi’s followers and sympathizers in the past few weeks outside the main pro-Morsi rallying point, Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque.

Many shops and malls remain closed despite the end of the nightly 12-hour curfew imposed here and in 13 more cities. At night, the city’s streets look virtually empty as the authorities have further applied emergency laws and authorised the use of live ammunition if vital security and military posts come under attack.

Unlike other curfews in the past two and a half years, there is no defiance from the general public. However, vigilante groups have been formed in several neighbourhoods to protect private property including houses and cars.

The city has been at the heart of the political turmoil gripping the country since the removal of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

There are fears of renewed bloodshed after authorities said the police were authorised to use live ammunition to protect themselves and key state institutions from attack.

Reports say there were renewed attacks on security forces on Thursday, with at least seven soldiers and a policeman killed in the Sinai peninsula and another police officer killed in the central city of Assuit.

US Republican Senator John McCain said Newsnight that the ousting of President Morsi was a “coup” and President Obama should have cut off aid to Egypt as a result.

Milestone Study Probes Cancer Origin

Scientists are reporting a significant milestone for cancer research after charting 21 major mutations behind the vast majority of tumors. The disruptive changes to the genetic code, reported in Nature, accounted for 97% of the 30 most common cancers.

Finding out what causes the mutations could lead to new treatment. Some, such as smoking are known, but more than half are still a mystery.

A tumor starts when one of the building blocks of bodies goes wrong. Over the course of a lifetime cells pick up an array of mutations which can eventually transform them into deadly tumors which grow uncontrollably.

The international team of researchers was looking for the causes of those mutations as part of the largest-ever analysis of cancer genomes.

Hidden within the cancer genome are these patterns, these signatures, which tell us what is actually causing cancer in the first place – that’s a major insight to have.”

The well-known ones such as UV damage and smoking mutate the DNA, increasing the odds of cancer.

But each also leaves behind a unique hallmark – a piece of “genetic graffiti” – that shows if smoking or UV radiation has mutated the DNA.

Researchers, led by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK, hunted for more examples of “graffiti” in 7,042 samples taken from the 30 most common cancers.

The found that 21 separate “graffiti signatures” could account for 97% of the mutations which led to cancer.

Prof Sir Mike Stratton, the director of the Sanger Institute, said: “I’m very excited. Hidden within the cancer genome are these patterns, these signatures, which tell us what is actually causing cancer in the first place – that’s a major insight to have.

“It is quite a significant achievement for cancer research, this is quite profound. It’s taking us into areas of unknown that we didn’t know existed before.

Other signatures were related to ageing and the body’s immune system. Cells respond to viral infection by activating a class of enzymes which mutate the viruses until they can no longer function.

“We believe that when it does that, there is collateral damage – it mutates its own genome as well and now becomes much more likely to become a cancer cell as it has a huge number of mutations – it’s a double-edged sword,” said Prof Stratton.

It is hoped that if some of them can be pinned down to things in the environment then new ways of preventing cancer could be developed.

It may also spur further research. One of the unknown causes of mutation happens only in neuroblastoma, a cancer of nerve cells which normally affects children, so something unique is happening there.