Meningitis: UNICEF Places Ekiti On Surveillance

Libya Identified As Epicenter For Migrant Child AbuseThe United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has placed Ekiti state on Surveillance to prevent an outbreak of meningitis which has killed over 400 persons in some northern states.

The international organisation said although there is no reported case of the outbreak in Ekiti, the organisation is working with experts in the Ministry of Health on the need to be alert.

The UNICEF Representative in Ekiti, Mr Abiodun Olagunju, said this on Thursday, in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, during a stakeholders’ meeting held to discuss the second phase of polio vaccination in the state.

Olagunju said: “Though Ekiti is not within the meningitis belt, we are keeping watch because someone can bring it from the meningitis endemic state to Ekiti.

“UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO), are not fond of folding their arms and allowing communicable diseases ravage the land before taking actions. This is not medically wise.

“The target for the polio vaccination which will be administered for children below age five is 100 per cent in Ekiti. We recorded 87 during the first phase .

“Let me also enlighten our people that the vaccines for polio, measles, meningitis, Hepatitis B, are available in all the health centres in Ekiti, so we are on ground to fight communicable diseases to safeguard the health of our people”, he added.

Giving the overview of the first phase of the anti-polio campaign held in the state, the State Immunization Officer, Mrs Christianah Ajimati, said a total of 579,704 children were immunized with the polio vaccine during the exercise held in March, 2017 out of the projected 667,145.

She said Emure Local Government had the highest turnout of children for the exercise, with 95 per cent, while the least amount, with about 66 per cent, was recorded in Ekiti West.

The expert also noted that the second phase of the fight against polio would kick off between May 6 and 9, 2017, in order for Nigeria to maintain her polio-free status conferred by the United Nations.

Ajimati expressed delight that the country, particularly Ekiti state, has overcome the barrier of indigenous beliefs that had been considered a great impediment, preventing many of the parents from presenting their children for the oral vaccine.

“We want to commend our donor agencies and Ekiti State government for the release of funds. Timely release of funds and kits really helped this exercise.

“Nigeria has been listed a polio-free nation and we should not recede backward on the ladder by allowing our children to be killed by polio and other preventable diseases,” he urged.

Northeast Crisis: Oxfam Calls On Global Communities For Support

As part of efforts in tackling the security challenges in Nigeria’s northeast region, international humanitarian organisation, Oxfam, is calling on the global community for urgent support.

The organisation has also asked the Federal Government to do more to give every region a sense of belonging.

The Executive Director of Oxfam International, Mrs Winnie Byanyima, said this in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s correspondent, at the sidelines of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington D.C.

“The military is making progress in claiming back some towns but the situation is that people are only safe in the towns the military is controlling. They are restricted, they can’t even move several kilometres outside to farm, so the hunger is severe.

“They are depending on food aid and I was calling on the international community to deliver more food aid because the people in the areas that are still inaccessible, are probably starving because we don’t even know their situation.”

She stressed that there is need for more humanitarian assistance as among other issues, some women and children are still found sleeping out in the open.

“Ultimately, the Nigerian government which is a rich government needs to put in long term solutions to end the conflict and to develop the area,” Byanyima added.

Supreme Court Rejects Call To Disqualify Pakistan PM

Courtesy: dawn.com

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday, ruled that there was insufficient evidence to order the removal of Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, from office over corruption allegations leveled by the opposition.

A verdict to dismiss Sharif would have left his party in power but would have brought turmoil at a time when Pakistan is experiencing modest growth and improved security, and the civilian government and powerful military have appeared to come to uneasy terms.

According to Reuters, two of five judges on the court bench recommended Sharif should step down, saying he was dishonest “to the nation as well as to the parliament”, but they were out voted.

Presenting its 549-page judgment amid tight security in the capital Islamabad, the court however, ordered a joint investigation team be formed to look into allegations around three of Sharif’s four children using offshore companies to buy properties in London.

The team has two months to complete its inquiry, after which a special bench will decide what action to take. The court said this in a ruling that opened with the epigraph from Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”: “Behind every great fortune there is a crime”.

The Prime Minister and his children had denied any wrongdoing and have expressed openness towards the court’s latest ruling.

“We are ready for all kinds of investigation,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters outside the court.

Justice Nguta Pleads Not Guilty To Eight Charges At CCT

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta has pleaded not guilty to eight charges bordering on false declaration of assets preferred against him by the Federal Government before the tribunal.

According to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Justice Ngwuta contravened section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, laws of the federation of Nigeria, which is punishable under section 23 (2) of the Act.

The Chairman of the CCT, Justice Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter for hearing to July 12, 2017 after the judge pleaded not guilty.

Justice Ngwuta is one of the judges whose residence was raided in October 2016 by the Department of Security Service, which uncovered huge sums of money in in the process.

He is also standing trial before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on an amended 16 counts bordering on money laundering.

 

Legal Practitioner Faults FG’s Committee On SGF, NIA DG’s Investigation

A legal practitioner, John Oloyede, has faulted the Federal Government’s idea of setting up a committee to investigate issues surrounding the suspension of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.

He said in Nigeria, committees are set up to cover up lies. “There is a lie and you need a bigger lie to cover it up”.

“Why should the Vice President be heading a committee to investigate an allegation of crime against two individuals.

 Dead On Arrival

“Secondly, the Attorney General and even the Presidency authored a response to the allegations by the Senate, giving the Secretary to the Government of the Federation a clean bill of health previously.

“The clean bill of health was on the basis of a report that was submitted by the Attorney General of the Federation. You now set up a committee; that committee is dead on arrival.

“If you suspect that there is some proof that something untoward has been done and is an infraction of the law, the proper procedure is not to set up a committee that is dead on arrival.”

The lawyer therefore stated that the President should have taken a different step, rather than setting up a committee headed by the Vice President.

Let EFCC Investigate

“In Nigeria, you set up institutions and decapitate the institutions,” he said, while also noting that “what Professor Sani said, is playing out. You do not move two different sets of rules to fight corruption.

“If there is an allegation of crime against somebody, first and foremost, where did the first report come from? Now that it has become apparent to you (Mr President), that there is a problem with this particular person or persons, aren’t there institutions that are presently fighting the war on corruption? The EFCC, DSS, Police? He questioned.

“That administrative step should not be in public domain, it is not our business,” Oloyede added.

According to him, “the important thing now is that once a person is suspended, the EFCC should do their work.

“Let them investigate this person, just like they are investigating and charging other people to court. Why have two sets of rules for the same kind of crimes.”

He holds the belief that since the AGF had absolved the SGF before, he could easily do same this time around as he would not want to double speak. However, if he does otherwise, then his previous report would be questioned.

“If he says this man is guilty as charged, then we’ll say where did you get your false report before, why didn’t you do a thorough investigation? The chief law officer, involved in double speak, that is untoward,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, other reactions have continued to trail the suspension. The Chairman of the Senate’s Ad-hoc Committee on Humanitarian crises in the North East, Shehu Sani, however, stated that the suspension of Mr Babachir Lawal will not interrupt its ongoing investigation of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

Court Orders Temporary Forfeiture Of LEGICO Mall’s N449.7m

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sum of 449,750,000 Naira to the Federal Government, found in possession of one Mohammed Tauheed, of the LEGICO Shopping Plaza in Victoria Island.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa, who was sitting as the vacation judge, for the Easter holidays, ordered the forfeiture of the money after listening to an Ex-parte application filed and argued before his court by a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

The EFCC in an affidavit sworn to by one of its operatives, Moses Awolusi, submitted that the commission received an intelligence report on April 7, 2017, that money in several Ghana must go bags were warehoused in one of the shops located at the LEGICO shopping Plaza.

The intelligence report according to the EFCC, was analysed and found worthy of investigation.

Upon inquires into the ownership of the shop (number LS64) where the exhibit was recovered, the EFCC said their investigations indicated that the shop had not been opened for close to two years.

Also, according to the commission, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the plaza, Mr Sulaiman Mukthar Daba and Alhaji Ishaq Ayandiran, could also not trace the identity of the owner of the shop, but came to EFCC’s office with one Mohammed Tauheed, who claimed ownership of the money.

He then informed the EFCC that he received the money in cash from a serving Government official whose name he would not disclose for security reasons.

The EFCC further stated that thereafter, Mohammed Tauheed in the presence of his lawyer agreed to return the money back to Federal Government of Nigeria who is the rightful owner of the money.

The anti-graft agency then concluded that Mohammed Tauheed who has been arrested in connection with the money, criminally conspired with the owner of the shop (now at large) to launder the said funds.

After laying all its facts before the court, the EFCC told Justice Aikawa that it would be in the interest of Justice if the court could, in the interim, make an order of forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The EFCC also requested that the court allows Tauheed or any other person to be put on notice and appear before the court within 14 days to state reasons why the money found in their possession should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Justice Aikawa granted the request and also ordered the EFCC to advertise the order of the court within 14 days for any interested party to come forward and convince the court as to why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The matter was subsequently adjourned till May 19.

Ondo Police Command Deploys Officers To Highways

Police Denies Reported Closure Of Ondo AssemblyOfficers and men of the Ondo State Police Command have been deployed to the Akure-Ilesa and the Owo- Ikare-Akoko Highways as well as some other roads across the state in order to combat criminal activities such as armed robbery and kidnapping.

Speaking to journalists during one of her visits to supervise operations on the highway, the State Commissioner of Police, Hilda Ibifuro- Harrison disclosed that the essence of the deployment is to ensure that the lives and property of people travelling on the road are safe and well secured.

The CP expressed sadness on the incident of armed robbery that took place on the highway in March, in which a former Managing Director of Daily Times, Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo, lost his life.

She however thanked all stakeholders in the state including the government, traditional rulers, hunters, vigilanté groups and all security agencies for their support for the police in ensuring security.

Harrison also noted that the deployment of police on the Owo-Ikare roads in stop and search duties has actually helped in putting pressure on the abductors of a traditional ruler in the state, Oba Joel Sunday Daodu, the Oniyani of Iyani- Akoko, leading to his release by his captors.

Agriculture Development: Ogun Govt. Provides Fertilizers At Subsidised Rate

The Ogun state government has confirmed the availability of 20,000 tonnes of fertilizer at 5,500 Naira per bag, to farmers across the state to ensure a hitch free 2017 planting season.

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo, mentioned this at a meeting with officials of the World Bank and members of the private sector in Abeokuta the state capital.

Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Bimbo Ashiru, also assured business owners in the state of right policies and programmes to support their investments.

“There is need to close the gap between the government and the private sector, which is very key and that is wha we are working on. You would see that you are our greatest asset.

“The Ogun state government wants to engage you, we want to know what your problems are. We will look at the issue of policy, where we have the wrong policies, you can come back to us and say this your policy is not moving business forward.”

While advising entrepreneurs not to leave everything to the government alone, he also noted that both the entrepreneurs and the government are partners in progress.

Cash Haul: Nigeria Is Being Exposed To Unprecedented Ridicule – Falana

As reactions have continued to trail the ownership of funds recovered in an apartment in Ikoyi by the EFCC, Legal Practitioner, Femi Falana (SAN), believes that Nigeria is being exposed to unprecedented ridicule before the committee of nations.

“For me, Nigeria is being exposed to unprecedented ridicule before the committee of nations, if criminal elements, former public officers and departments of government are competing to hide American Dollars, millions of dollars, in private apartments or dump sites, we are in trouble.”

Meanwhile, reacting to the fact that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had laid claims to the cash, Mr Falana urged the government to act transparently and consciously on such matters because according to him, any other agency can equally come up and lay claims to discovered funds, saying that they were from covert operations.

“I think the National Intelligence Agency, should not be allowed by the Buhari administration to play on the intelligence of Nigerians – We’ve gone beyond all this petty level of an agency of the government trying to frustrate a serious policy of the government.

“If care is not taken and if this explanation is accepted by the government, you could just forget about the whistle-blowing policy.”

“What stops another agency tomorrow if you call on the EFCC or the ICPC, or even the office of the Attorney General, saying we have stumbled on money somewhere, can you go there? – What stops them from coming on to say, sorry, that is our money from covert operations?”.

Counter Affidavit

He, however, predicted that the Attorney General would likely advise the agency, saying: “If you are sure that you can substantiate your claim to the ownership of the money, go to the Federal High Court and file a counter affidavit”.

Meanwhile, in response to whether or not he feels the EFCC knows the owner of the money, he said: “It goes beyond going to explain to the President, which in fact is an embarrassment – If after two years, the President as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the country, was not made aware of this covert operation, I think we are in trouble”.

Furthermore, in response to speculations as to whether or not the discovery of funds was a cover up, Mr Falana stated: “There is a procedure to know whether it is a cover up or not and that position must be followed by the government.

“I read yesterday that the President has referred the matter to the office of the honorable Attorney General for investigation, I think the matter has left that stage.

“Under the Money Laundering Act, once a suspected proceed of crime has been taken to court as in this case, the Federal High Court on the basis of the application of the EFCC, has made an order of interim forfeiture of that money, it is no longer a matter for the presidency”.

He, however, noted that what is important is the fact that the Presidency is just being briefed now, a situation which he feels is more than meets the eye – “It’s embarrassing,” the lawyer asserted.

Fuel Theft: Senate Asks NNPC To Go Beyond Sacking Officials

Senate Approves Electronic Voting For ElectionsThe Senate has commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for responding to the motion moved during a plenary session by the Chairman, Committee on Petroleum Downstream Sector, Senator Kabiru Marafa, on the theft of petroleum products kept in the farm tanks of two oil companies and urged the corporation to take more radical measures to avoid a recurrence.

In a statement by its spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the legislative chamber advised that the NNPC should go beyond the sacking and redeployment of a few officials and rather, initiate a comprehensive restructuring of its operations which presently allow officials and other firms to appropriate national resources for their personal use, thereby contributing to the suffering of the people.

“The Senate is appalled that NNPC is not contemplating on doing something about the involvement of officials of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) which actually played key roles in the missing products case.

“It is instructive that NNPC did not do anything on the case until the matter was raised on the floor of the Senate and the press picked the matter up from the motion. The unauthorised sale of 132 million litres of fuel kept in the storage tanks of MRS and Capital Oil designated as strategic reserves is a grave occurrence. This probably is not the first time it is happening and NNPC must review its operations. It should in fact carry out a shake up in the PPMC”, Abdullahi stated.

Following the Senate’s debate of the motion on the theft of the fuel, the NNPC sacked two senior officials and redeployed a few others. Its spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu said the sack and deployment were in line with the on-going reforms the corporation initiated to cleanse it of corruption.

The NNPC lost 130 million litres through a breach in its throughput transactions with MRS and Capital Oil. However, MRS had returned the product it sold from the stock but Capital Oil is yet to refund the 82 million litres it sold. The Missing fuel sold by Capital Oil is valued at 11 billion Naira.

While Capital Oil insisted that NNPC owed it on past business transactions, the corporation vowed to recover the products, investigate the breach and set up new modalities to guide its engagements of throughput partners.

Ozekhome Calls For Strategic Fight Against Corruption

Legal Practitioner, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has said that the fight against corruption is something that must be done strategically and in such a way that the image of the country is not being hurt.

He said this while speaking on the recent cash haul in Nigeria by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), adding that “it makes too much of headlines and makes Nigeria look like a country of corruption.

“All the headlines in the last two years, are just about corruption and no country in its right senses would want to come and invest in your country if all they hear every day is corruption, corruption, corruption; because there ought to be sanity.”

Reduced To A Trafalgar Square

According to him, such hauls are eventually turning Nigeria into a subject of ridicule and a laughable show for the rest of the world.

“In fighting corruption, you must do it strategically, in such a way that you do not hurt the image of your country. When you begin to make hauls of money, a lot of these monies, orphaned from septic tanks, from canals, from ware houses, from shops from houses, abandoned, even as in the Osborne case, from flat 7A, in a seven-storey building, where you also have 7B and suddenly, 7A had about 43 million dollars, 23 million Naira and 27 thousand pounds, yet no one owns it; with the key to one of the safes showing clearly; it begins to make us a laughing stock – It becomes ludicrous.

“We are beginning to reduce the entire anti-corruption fight to one of a Trafalgar Square in London or one of a national theatre cinema or one of Hollywood, Nollywood and Bollywood, joined together – That is not how to fight corruption,” the lawyer asserted.

He made references to the United States, noting that in their fight against corruption, investigations are done secretly and thoroughly until facts are unraveled.

“The equivalent arms in the United States of America from where we borrowed our democracy, the Financial Action Tax Force, the CIA, the FBIA, the FBI; when they are fighting corruption, you hardly hear anything about it – They first investigate very thoroughly, they get the people, they carry out quiet sting operations.

“Many a time, until they have secured prosecution, until they have secured conviction or they are prosecuting, you can never hear the name of any citizen mentioned as regards corruption.”

He also made reference to a phone conversation he had with some foreign friends whom according to him, had asked: “Is your country all about corruption and nothing else, are you people so corrupt that there is nothing else in governance?”.

Mr Ozekhome who has faulted some of the methods through which corruption is being fought, however noted that he is against corruption and does not believe in it because according to him, it “downgrades a country’s existentialism.”

Twelve People Feared Dead In Fresh Southern Kaduna Attack

Residents Cry Out Over Insecurity In CalabarIt was a bleak Easter for residents of Asso Community in Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna state, as about 12 people have been reported dead and others injured, following an attack by unidentified gunmen who stormed the village on a shooting spree.

The latest attack is coming few months after relative peace had gradually been returning to all troubled communities in the southern part of the state.

An indigene of the area told Channels Television that the incident occurred at about 6:00 pm on Saturday, after a peace and reconciliation meeting between locals and fulani people aimed at finding lasting peace in the area was held.

He said the 12 persons died of bullet wounds when the attackers stormed the village and opened fire on innocent residents who were preparing for the Easter celebration.

Also according to him, the three injured persons had been rushed to the Kafanchan General Hospital for treatment.

The spokesman for the Kaduna State Police Command, Aliyu Usman, who confirmed the incident, however stated that he was yet to get details of the number of casualties.

He also noted that more security operatives have been deployed to the community for a manhunt of the attackers also to forestall any further break down of law and order

Meanwhile, the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has condemned the attack, describing it as inhuman and callous.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, the governor condoled with the victims and their families, while affirming that security operations are being ramped to rid the forest areas of the bandits.

Governor El-rufai also announced that a new security measure code named ‘Operation Harbin Kunama (II)’, would soon launched to help the Army deal with persons responsible for the attacks.

He, however, urged security agencies to double their efforts in fishing out those behind the killings, and to act promptly on carefully vetted intelligence.