House wades into NUC’s suspension of seven universities licences

 An attempt by the House of Representatives Committee on Petitions to wade into the controversial suspension of licences of seven private universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC) today hit a brick wall.

The NUC had applied the big stick on seven private universities with the suspension of their licences for violating its guidelines on provision of facilities and academic programmes.

Despite several unanswered questions, the house committee told the petitioner, Lead City Univesity, that the public hearing would be postponed till tomorrow.

Several days after the national universities commission suspended the licences of seven private universities; the house committee on petitions has waded into the dispute between the universities commission and lead city university in Ibadan, Oyo state.

Chairman of House Committee on Petitions, Representative Uzo Azubuike, reminded the parties that the suspension of the universities, whose students are in various levels of their academic pursuits, may end up truncating their entire life ambitions.

Representative of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Akanbode Agbaoye, however declined to make any presentation insisting that they had not been served with any petition.

According to the NUC, the licenses were suspended because of the institutions’ non-compliance with NUC- regulations guiding the operations of universities, but the petitioner, claimed they were being victimized by the NUC.

With the refusal of the commission to defend the allegation the committee chairman adjourned the proceedings.



Wole Soyinka is 78 today

Play writer, Nobel Laureate and Poet , Prof. Wole Soyinka turns 78 today.

Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria.

After preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, he continued at the University of Leeds, where later in 1973 he took his doctorate.

During the six years spent in England, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London 1958-1959. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama.

During the civil war in Nigeria, Soyinka appealed in an article for cease-fire, for this he was arrested in 1967, accused of conspiring with the Biafra rebels, and was held as a political prisoner for 22 months until 1969. Soyinka has published about 20 works: drama, novels and poetry. He writes in English and his literary language is marked by great scope and richness of words.

Soyinka has been influenced by, among others, the Irish writer, J.M. Synge, but links up with the traditional popular African Theatre with its combination of dance, music, and action.

He bases his writing on the mythology of his own tribe-the Yoruba-with Ogun, the god of iron and war, at the center. He wrote his first plays during his time in London.

Soyinka’s poems, which show a close connection to his plays, are collected in Idanre, and Other Poems (1967), Poems from Prison (1969), A Shuttle in the Crypt (1972) the long poem Ogun Abibiman (1976) and Mandela’s Earth and Other Poems (1988).

PHCN cable electrocutes pregnant woman and 6 others in Oyo

Tragedy struck in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital on Monday, when six people including a pregnant woman, were electrocuted to death after an electric cable, belonging to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), fell from an electric pole.

The unfortunate incident occurred in the Apata market of the ancient city when the live high tension power supply cable suddenly fell on traders at the busy Agbekoja section of the market.

However, a one-year-old boy survived the incident and he is said to be receiving treatment at a hospital.

Eye witness accounts identified the deceased pregnant woman simply as Tawa, adding that her mother who was also standing beside her was also a victim of the electrocution.

Complaints have however been made to PHCN about the congestion of the poles, and that the incident was not the first.

Many other traders at the spot sustained injuries and were immediately rushed to nearby hospitals for medical attention.

Speaking with journalists over the electrocution, the Chairman, Ibadan South West Local Government Community Development Council, Alhaji Lasisi Bamidele Popoola lamented that this is the third time this year that the PHCN wire at Apata has been cutting off and falling, explaining that one person was killed in a similar circumstance in the area sometime last year.

Meanwhile, the Apata Market has been temporarily closed down to enable the PHCN management effect thorough repairs to the disconnected high tension wire.

Authorities of the Ibadan South West Local Government Council have also declared a three-day mourning for the electrocuted victims.

Communal clash in Bodija Market claims one

One person was shot dead while an Inspector with the Nigerian Police Force was reportedly stabbed, severally on the head in a clash at the famous Bodija market in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

The vibrant Bodija Market before the violence.

The clash which has left the market deserted, had the market police station, a number of stores and at least 10 cars destroyed set ablaze.

The Commissioner of Police in Oyo state police, Mr Tambari Mohammed, who confirmed the incident, said five people including the man who led the arson have been arrested.

According to the Commissioner, the incident started on Thursday night when two members of the Hausa community engaged in a scuffle over a woman, adding that  one of them was stabbed in the scuffle. “The suspect was said to have ran away while on Thursday morning he was arrested.”

The commissioner said some members of the community, who were armed with dangerous weapons and charms, came to the station on Friday morning and insisted that the suspect should be released to them.

He said that their request was turned down by the policemen on duty, who suggested that the suspect be left for interrogation.

“It was at point that one of the Hausa men brought out his sword to stab one of the policemen in the hand.

“The second policeman on duty, in self defence, shot and killed one of them.

“This action was said to have drawn the ire of members of the Hausa community in the area as they attacked the policemen and burnt the police station and set some of the shops ablaze,” Muhammed said.

Meanwhile, the Oyo state government has closed down the Bodija market till further notice.

Former Nigerian footballer, Joe Appiah, dies after long illness

Joe Appiah, former player for the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, died on Saturday morning after a long illness, reports said.

The Ghanain star player, who was based in Nigeria, died at a private hospital located on Ososami street in Ibadan and is survived by a wife and four children.

Appiah, who was a member of the historic African Winners Cup team in 1976, was one of nearly a dozen Ghanain players who migrated to Nigeria. He was sick for months, suffering from Liver Ciroses, reports said, and his situation was said to have worsened due to inadequate finances for medical treatment.

Last month, the Punch reported that club managers had paid a visit to the ailing footballer with some much needed financial relief. The report noted: “His friends have been appealing for help from the club and the Oyo State Government so the visit on Wednesday and the cash donation were relief to Appiah.”

Shooting Stars spokesman Jubril Arowolo disclosed Saturday the 62-year-old Ghanaian died at 3.30 am local time Saturday.

Super Eagles goalkeeper’s trainer Ike Shorunmu expressed shock over the death of the former IICC player.

“I’m saddened by Appiah’s death, may his soul rest in peace,” said Shorunmu.

“We did not tell him about Rashidi’s death so as not to worsen his own case.”

His death has come at a time when the nation is still mourning the loss of African legend, ex-Super Eagles’ striker Rashidi Yekini, who passed away in ill health in Ibadan.

Yekini’s death: Blame his family members – Angry Ibadan Youths

Aggrieved youths at Busayo Taiwo Street, Oni and Sons area residence of the former Super Eagles striker, Rashidi Yekini, in Ibadan took to the streets on Monday, protesting against and warning the family members of the late footballer to stay away from his property on the street.

Yekini, allegedly died on Friday after being forcefully whisked away by family members with some Islamic clerics on April 8 (Easter Monday) with claims that he was taken away to be cured of his insanity.

However, one of the aggrieved youths, Yomi Ojo, who claimed to be a friend to the deceased, said that there was no indication that Yekini was mentally imbalance at the time in question. According to him, “the family was not happy with him for sending all his tenants away and living alone in his expansive home without entertaining any of the family members and friends…I have known him for about seven years. Yekini…was a quiet and disciplined man. He loved keeping to himself. But at times he confided in me.”

Mr. Ojo further said “when they came for him, they chained his arms and legs and while struggling to break lose, he (Yekini) sustained bruises all over his body and was blood soaked.”

He explained that “All pleas to be set free fell on deaf ears. His mother, sister, Sekinat; and brother, Wasiu; with two Islamic clerics bundled him into a bus and drove off. He called for help while he was being driven away but those in the neighbourhood were helpless because it was a family issue. We never knew it could lead to his death.”

Another youth, Lasun Olonande, said, “Sometimes ago the family members came with a team of policemen to force him to go with them but he explained to the police that he was not mentally sick as alleged by the family. As a result of this he was left to go. He was an easy-going person and did not like flamboyant life. He was always giving to those in need. The beggars usually lined up in his house to take food.”

One of the aides of Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Nofiu Isiaka, popularly called ‘Aluta,’ who lives in the area, said, “He had girlfriends which he brought home once a while…If he was mad would the girls have agreed to go out with him? We are angry. We know that his house is not our property but we want our temper to die down before the family come around to fight over his inheritance.”

Meanwhile, the Oyo State government has set up an endowment fund for children of the late Nigerian ex-international, Rashidi Yekini. This was made known on Monday after the state executive council meeting by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon Dapo Lam-Adesina.  According to him, the endowment fund, which will be strictly for the children of the late football star, would be managed in conjunction with the family of the deceased.

Man beheads lover; claims she died of ‘Magun’

The Oyo State Police Command, Eleyele have paraded two suspects who allegedly killed a 42-year old woman, Mrs. Sekinat Emiola but the accussed claimed she died of Magun. .

One of the suspects, Asimiyu Ayantayo the lover of the deceased allegedly beheaded her and cut off her two hands after making love with her.

But the suspect claimed the deceased died as a result of the killer charm (magun) that was placed on her by another man.

According to him, after making love with the deceased, she “under the spell of magun, somersaulted and died” he stated.

When asked why he beheaded her after her death, he said he never wanted to use her for rituals but to make it impossible for residents in the area to identify her.

“She was my mistress. I contacted magun on her during love-making. She wanted to sommersault but I helped her. Then she started vomiting after the act and she fell down from the chair and died. It was then I beheaded her and cut off her two hands. I don’t need the body parts for anything and I did nothing with it” he explained.

His accomplice, Mr. Isiaka Akanbi, also denied involvement in the act, saying his friend only sent him to buy a sack for him but did not know the purpose for which he needed it.

The parade of the suspects attracted many onlookers in Eleyele, who thronged the State Police headquarters to catch a glimpse of the suspect and the gory picture of the lady’s head and the hands that were severed by the suspects.

Speaking with journalists on the incident, the Oyo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Tambari Mohammed, said the neighbours of the deceased alerted the police about a headless body dumped in the area.


Tragedy: Train crushes three to death in Ibadan

Tragedy struck again in Ibadan when a moving train crushed a toddler and two people on a commercial motorcycle to death on Sunday morning.

The three years old boy who was crushed to death while running along the rail at Alajiki area of Adifase, Apata, Ibadan was identified as Quadri, son of a commercial bus driver, while the two passengers were crushed at  Akoo Oju’irin, Lagelu Local government area of the state.

Sympathizers say the late toddler and his 11-year-old sister, Kabirat, were coming from their mother’s shop when the tragedy occurred through a train coming from Apapa.

Also, the okada rider and the passenger were crushed while attempting to hurriedly cross the rail. The Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Police Command, Mallam Tambari Mohammed, has confirmed the death of the two men on an okada.

Update on Ibadan accident: 7 confirmed dead in autocrash

7 of the pupils that were badly injured in a school bus fire accident that occurred on Wednesday in Oyo state, have passed away.

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the University College Hospital, UCH, where the pupils are been treated, Dr. Biodun Otegbayo, says the other children are in a critical condition, while the school (Divine Wisdom Group of Schools), has been closed down temporarily by the proprietress, Mrs Oke Ejemuta, to mourn the deceased and allow parents gain psychological balance.

The Oyo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Godwin Ogagaoghene, who confirmed the death toll, criticised the kind of buses being used by private schools.

According to him, school buses should have two exit doors which makes entry and exit easy for school children. He added that vehicle owners should always have fire extinguishers in their vehicles, because if the school bus had one, the situation would have been prevented.

The Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who also confirmed the death toll after a visit to the hospital, ordered the immediate release of N6m to buy of all the equipment needed to treat the children

Our previous report

15 pupils between the ages of 5 and 11, of Divine Wisdom Group of Schools,  Lagelu Local Government Area, Oyo State were  badly injured on Wednesday when a school bus conveying  them to school suddenly caught fire.

The bus driver, Mr. Serif Oyedele, who had his hand and leg burnt, stated that the mishap occurred when the engine of the bus (Ford) suddenly stopped working after picking up the pupils from the bus stop.  “As a mechanic, I checked the engine to rectify the problem… After I checked and discovered that the bus had battery problem, I told some of the older ones among the children to assist me in pushing it but while pushing they told me that fuel was dripping from underneath the vehicle. As I tried to open the engine, fire just started. That was how the whole bus got burnt.”

Those pushing it escaped unhurt, while the others were trapped in the bus. “It was when I was trying to rescue the children that I also got burnt in the hand and leg but I was able to rescue  six of them, including my five-year-old child who sat beside me in front of the bus.” he said.

All the pupils were later carried in a commercial cab and motorcycles to the Accident and Emergency Unit of the University College Hospital, (UCH), Ibadan for proper medical attention.

The Proprietress of the school, Mrs. Oke Ejemuta, who was said to have ordered the closure of the school, said “…We thank God…that they are all responding to treatment. It is the arrow of the devil. You can confirm from the parents, we bought the school bus (a J5 bus) last year, so it is a new vehicle. We hired the service of a driver-mechanic so that he can deploy his experience anytime there is need for it. We want to implore the parents to be calm.”


FEC awards N1.2 billion contract to address flooding in Kwara

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has awarded contract for the channelization of the Asa River and its tributaries in Ilorin Kwara state to the tune of N1.2 billion with a completion period of twelve months.

Briefing state house correspondents after the meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of environment, Alhaji Hadiza Meilafia said that the contract is to check the perennial problem of flooding of Ilorin town caused by the river and the attendant destruction of lives and property.

The council which was presided over by the Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, also expressed concern over the on-going abuse along the Ogunpa River in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

The cabinet warned that people should not build along the channels and also instructed the Ministry of the Environment to stop what is happening along the Ogunpa channels.

The FEC also approved the recommendations of the white paper on transiting from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Nigeria.

According to the recommendation, the government is to licence a minimum of two and maximum of three broadcasting signals distributors at the first instance.

The Minister of Communication technology, Omobolaji Johnson noted that the nation is “well on its way to joining the rest of the world in digital technology using Nigeria’s radio frequency much more that what has been obtainable in the past.”

The meeting further approved the recommendations from the 17th Nigerian economic summit and noted that the president will continue to identify with the summit which has served as a major source through which foreign direct investors can be attracted into the country.