Updated: Buhari Suspends SGF, NIA DG

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Babachir Lawal.

President Buhari has also ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the SGF in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

Also, pending the outcome of the investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in a residential apartment at Osborne towers, Ikoyi, Lagos state, the President has suspended the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.

This was made known in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

According to the statement, the investigation is also to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.

Emotional Moment

A three-man Committee comprising the Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the National Security Adviser, headed by the Vice President, is to conduct both investigations.

The committee is expected to submit its report to the President within 14 days.

In the interim, the most senior Permanent Secretary in the SGF’s office, and the most senior officer in the NIA, are to act, respectively, during the period of investigation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Osinbajo has held a closed door meeting with the SGF, Mr. Lawal. The NIA DG, Mr. Oke, who had been turned back earlier, in an emotion-laden moment and denied attempts to speak with the VP, was later granted an audience.

Ex-NFL Star, Aaron Hernandez Commits Suicide In Jail

Ex-NFL Star Aaron Hernandez Commits Suicide In Jial
Courtesy: Reuters

Former New England Patriots tight end, Aaron Hernandez, has reportedly hung himself in the jail cell where he was serving a life sentence for murder.

The incident is coming days after he was found not guilty of killing two other people, according to state prison officials.

Hernandez, 27, was a rising star in the National Football League when he was arrested in June 2013 and accused of murdering an acquaintance near his Massachusetts home.

He was convicted of that killing and sentenced to life in prison in 2015, however on Friday, he was acquitted of a separate 2012 double murder.

Staff at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, found Hernandez hanging in his prison cell at about 3:05 a.m. on Wednesday.

He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead an hour later.

Massachusetts State Police are investigating the death, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston is conducting an autopsy, officials said.

However, Hernandez’ lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

FEC Meeting Fails To Hold

FG Approves New National Health PolicyThe weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which holds every Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, has failed to hold this time.

A statement from the Presidency said: “The staff of the council secretariat, resumed on Tuesday after the Easter.

“There was no time to prepare and circulate memos to ministers. By practice, the ministers receive council memos two or three days ahead of meetings because they must read them and sometimes undertake research. It is not a rubber stamp council so everyone must prepare themselves well for debates.”

For now, it is not clear whether there would be an abridge version of the meeting before the week runs out or the council members would have to wait till next week.

Meanwhile, the President who usually chairs the meeting was absent at last week and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, had to take charge. It was the first time President Buhari would miss the weekly meeting since returning from a 50-day vacation in London.

General Election: UK Parliament Approves Theresa May’s Snap Vote

General Election: UK Parliament Approves Theresa May's Snap VoteMembers of the British Parliament have approved Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to hold an early general election on June 8.

The early poll was expected to secure the two-third commons majority in order to go ahead, with labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, welcoming the Prime Minister’s surprise announcement on Tuesday.

After debating the motion put forward by May in Parliament, 522 of the 650 sitting MPs voted in favor of the motion, while 13 voted against it.

Mrs May had said earlier, that she wants to secure the backing of the British people for her Brexit negotiations.

The next general election had been expected in 2020, but the fixed term parliament’s act allows for one to be held earlier.

ITTF Confirms Nigeria, Others For 2018 Youth Olympics

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), has confirmed the qualification of Nigeria, Egypt and Tunisia for the Youth Olympic Games holding in Argentina.

The Youth Olympic Games will hold in Buenos Aires Argentina from October 6 to 12, 2018.

According to the ITTF, Egypt’s duo of Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Marwa Alhodaby, Nigeria’s Tosin Oribamise and Tunisia’s Nathael Hamdoun, will represent Africa in the table tennis event at the games.

The ITTF also called on national associations to make sure they give their players adequate preparation in order for Africa to put up a good performance.

Djokovic Beats Simon In Monte Carlo

Djokovic, Kerber Top Seeds At Australian OpenWorld number two, Novak Djokovic, has survived a tough three-setter to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters after defeating Gilles Simon 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

The deciding set saw swaying fortunes, with Djokovic losing his serve in the fifth game before breaking in the next, and then again in the ninth to trail 5-4 on Simon’s serve.

Djokovic then showed his nerve, breaking serve twice to take the next three games to win the match after two hours, 33 minutes of play.

Alleged $15.5m Money Laundering: Four Companies Appeal Conviction

Court Sentences Falae's Kidnappers To Life ImprisonmentThe four companies convicted by the Federal High Court in Lagos for laundering $15.5 million allegedly belonging to the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, have asked the Court Of Appeal also in Lagos to overturn the verdict.

They were arraigned alongside a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to President Jonathan, Waripamo Dudafa, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, who all pleaded not guilty.

The four men who represented the companies had pleaded guilty to laundering the money when they were arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi.

However, the companies through their lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, now claim that the identities of those who purportedly pleaded guilty on their behalf were “unverified”.

According to the firms, the representatives did not present any evidence that they were duly appointed.

Agara Scores Al-Makura High On Governance

Al-makura Shifts Focus Towards Rural DevelopmentThe Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Silas Agara, has rated Governor Tanko Al-Makura high on governance since the inception of his administration in the year 2011.

Mr Agara stated this in Akwanga Local Government Area, while receiving a delegation from Akun Development Area of the state.

“Everybody in the state has seen what the government of Governor Al-Makura has done since its inception; in fighting poverty, hunger, unemployment, youths and women restiveness, as well as boosting the socio-economic development of the state.

“Apart from transforming the education, agriculture, economic, health, judicial, commercial sector, he has also constructed some reasonable kilometres of roads in each Local Government Area in the state, to boost our transportation system.”

The Deputy Governor further stated that: “the developmental strides of the government under the Tanko Al-Makura administration has improved the standard of living of the people of the state, generated employment as well as boosted the socio-economic development even for the country at large”.

He, therefore, called on stakeholders to continue to pray and support President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Tanko Al-makura to enable them to succeed.

Southern Kaduna Resident Attributes Crisis To Politics

A resident of Southern Kaduna, Umar Gana, has attributed the crisis rocking the region to politics.

While many have assumed that the crisis has so far been as a result of indigene and non-settler indigene crisis, religious crisis, farmers and herdsmen clashes, Mr Abeh insisted that “it cannot be pinned down to just one aspect but if you group it together, there is a strong element of politics”.

Explaining further, he noted that statistically, the southern Kaduna area is predominantly PDP and certain elements within the various communities are yet to come to terms with the new government and they have taken it upon themselves to unleash all sorts of criminality, which according to him, were highly unheard of before now.

He also noted that the crisis is largely as a result of lack of enforcement of law and order.

He noted before 1987, the region was very peaceful and residents lived in harmony even as he was born there and has lived there for close to 60 years.

According to him, since 1987, it has always been from one problem to the other and since 2011 till date, almost 4000 lives have been lost.

The Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Agyole Abeh, who spoke to Channels Television via telephone, said the incident is quite unfortunate especially as the region had started experiencing relative peace.

He, however, noted that the Force is doing everything possible to unravel the reasons behind it and ensure that peace returns to the area.

N13bn Cash: EFCC Raids Ikoyi Flats Of Mu’azu, Others

As part of investigations into the 13 billion Naira found at a flat in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos state, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has searched apartments of the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; and a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Adamu Mu’azu.

Other prominent persons, living in the building, include a former Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mrs Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, and C.E.O of Ebony Life Television, Mo’ Abudu.

The media aide to Mr Obi, Mr Valentine Obienyem, confirmed this in a statement on Tuesday, noting that all the apartments in the building were searched by the commission.

Sources within the EFCC also confirmed that all the flats were searched including the unoccupied ones.

The anti-graft agency, had on Wednesday last week, busted the apartment, where it recovered huge sums of money in Dollars, Pounds and in Naira. (43 million Dollars, 23 million Naira and another 27,000 Pounds)

The huge discovery is coming days after the EFCC operatives also announced the recovery of some cash at a Bureau de Change operator in Balogun Market, Lagos, following the Federal Government’s new Whistle-Blowing policy.

Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail the ownership of the recovered funds.

A legal practitioner, Mr Isaac Anumudu, speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise daily, called on the EFCC to reveal the identities of the owners of all the moneys being discovered by the Commission.

Another Legal Practitioner, Femi Falana (SAN), also reacting to the matter, noted that with the increasing cases of cash hauls, Nigeria is being exposed to unprecedented ridicule before the committee of nations.

Aero Contractors Explains Smoke In PH-Lagos Flight

The management of Aero Contractors, has been explaining the incident that led to the smoke in the flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos on Tuesday evening.

The airline’s Managing Director, Captain Ado Sanusi, told Channels Television on Wednesday, that the smoke originated in the cargo section of the aircraft and got into the cabin through the air-conditioning system.

He said the pilot, however conducted the flight and landed safely, adding that the plane is due for a test flight today.

Meanwhile, several reactions have continued to trail the news of the incident. The terrified passengers were seen praying frantically in some videos which were recorded by some passengers and have gone viral on social media.

One of the passengers, who expressed gratitude to God for her safety, took to twitter saying:

“Every one on this Aero Contractor flight could have died today but for God. I’m grateful. Nigerian airports need new directors/ flights.

“God knows I said it that this plane was too old to be functioning in Nigeria before I boarded. At the clinic now getting checked on”

The female passenger also stated that no apology or explanation was given to the passengers.

She however noted that officials of the Fire Service Emergency Unit, were already waiting on the runway as the plane eventually landed safely in Lagos.

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.