Abike Dabiri, Diamond Bank To Settle Out Of Court

Diamond BankA former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and Diamond Bank have opted for an out of court settlement in the suit she instituted against the bank.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, had on August 6, 2015, filed a 500 million Naira suit ‎against the bank for publishing her name among the list of chronic debtors who have refused to liquidate their debts.

In the alleged malicious publication by Punch, the former lawmaker is said to be owing the bank about N122m.

Diamond Bank had published her picture as a Director of Thriller Endeavors, which she claims she has never heard of.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa insists that the publication is false and it has subjected her to public ridicule and embarrassment.

In a suit filed before a Lagos High Court, sitting in Igbosere, Lagos Island, she also listed the Punch Newspapers Limited as the second defendant.

When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday before Justice Abdulfattah‎ Lawal, the counsel to Diamond Bank, Chuka Agbu SAN, told the court of the moves to settle the matter out of court.

He then urged the court to adjourn the matter to enable the parties conclude discussions on the process.

Outside the court, Counsel representing Punch Newspapers, Mr Clement Onwuenwunor, said that the paper is not part of the settlement talks as it has indemnity from the bank for its publication.

Counsel representing Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, Ademola Fadipe is however optimistic that the settlement talks will be agreeable to all parties.

Justice Lawal has adjourned the matter till March 10, for a report of the settlement.


Senate Committee Quizzes DSS Over Rivers Election  

dssThe Senate Committee on Ethics on Thursday said the Department of State Services (DSS) does not have the authority to interfere in electoral disputes.

The Committee on Thursday invited DSS officials over a petition from the Rivers State House of Assembly, accusing the agency of unduly interfering in the Rivers State Election Petition pending before the Election Petition Tribunals.

The DSS described the allegation of undue interference as a blatant lie by the lawmakers.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate Caucus had earlier appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to look into allegations of witch-hunting of party members by the DSS.

In a swift reaction, the Chairman of the Senate Adhoc Committee on Media dismissed the allegations of the PDP Senators.

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Lai Mohammed, has assured that the APC will never interfere with anti-graft probe, be it on APC members, its past governors, officials or others, asking the members of PDP who might have erred, to face consequences of their actions.

The Committee is expected to present its report after investigating the matter to the Senate.

Abike Dabiri Sues Diamond Bank, Punch Newspapers For Libel

Abike-dabiriA former member of the House of Representatives, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Thursday filed a libel suit against Diamond bank and The Punch Newspapers.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa told the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere that the bank and the newspaper wrongfully accused her of owing N122 million.

Diamond Bank on August 4, had published her picture as a Director of Thriller Endeavors, which she claims she has never heard off.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa is praying the court to compel the bank to publicly apologize and also pay damages running to N500 million.

“It cost me irreparable damage, it has totally embarassed me, i found it very very shocking and i just feel that the best thing to do is to seek legal redress in court.

“My lawyers are demanding for N500 million compensation from Diamond Bank and from The Punch Newspaper for doing that,” She said.

Nigerian Refugees Return From Cameroon  

refugeesThe National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed the return of about 1, 000 refugees to Nigeria on Thursday from Cameroon.

“We already cleared those who have arrived the borders, but Nigerian Immigration is yet to clear so many others”, an official of NEMA told Channels Television.

NEMA also confirmed that within the next 24 hours, about 12,000 Nigerians are expected to return to the country from Cameroon.

The returnees are those who had sought refuge in Cameroon following Boko Haram attacks.

A similar incident occurred in May where over 20,000 people were returned from Lake Chad Island, to allow military operations.

Senate Tasks Agricultural Agencies On Standardization Of Products

SenateThe Nigerian Senate has tasked food and agricultural agencies in the country to embark on the standardization of food crops that have failed to meet export standards.

The Senate Deputy Whip, Francis Alimikhena, at Thursday’s legislative proceedings drew the attention of the Senate to the ban on some of Nigeria’s agricultural products by the European Union (EU).

The products banned by the EU till June 2016 are beans, sesame seeds, dried fish, dried meat, peanut chips and palm oil.

According to the Deputy Chief Whip, the ban was because the products contains high level of pesticides which is harmful when consumed.

He said: “In 2013, 24 agro-products of Nigerian origin exported‎ to the UK were rejected, while the figure increased to 42 in 2014.”

Mr Alimmikhena added that the beans were found to contain between 0.03mg kilograms to 4.6mg /kg of dichlorvos (pesticides) contrary to acceptable limits.

The ban on the agricultural exports by the EU suggests that Nigeria’s unfavourable balance of trade position with European countries will worsen, as Nigeria would be exporting fewer agricultural products.

Lawmakers also blamed food and agricultural agencies in Nigeria for failing to properly standardize food crops.

The Senate has however directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administeration and Control (NAFDAC), the Ministry of Health and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to be alive in its regulatory duties over food and agricultural products.

Super Eagles Move Up Four Places In Latest World Ranking

super eaglesThe Super Eagles of Nigeria has moved four places up in the latest monthly world ranking released by the world football governing body, FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland.

The team sits 10th in the continent and 53rd in the world, while Algeria remains the best football playing nation on the continent as the national team remain unchanged on the 19th spot in the world.

African Champions, the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire is second in Africa and 21st in the world.

The Black Stars of Ghana, Tunisia and Senegal completes the continent’s top five.

However, the indomitable lions of Cameroon, Congo, Cape Verde Islands and Egypt also recorded improvements in their rankings to make up the top 10 teams in Africa.

Last month, the Super Eagles dropped 14 places to the 57th position.

Nigerian Army Repels Boko Haram In Buratai, Borno

BurataiThe Nigerian Army says it has foiled two attempts by suspected Boko Haram insurgents to attack Buratai, a Borno town.

According to a statement from the Acting Director of the Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, the terrorists made a futile attempt to attack Buratai and the military camp located in the area at about 9:30pm on Monday night.

The statement said “They, however, made a concerted effort at about 3.00am this morning which was equally repelled by the gallant soldiers.”

Buratai of Biu local council in Borno State is home town of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.

Only last week insurgents had stormed the village setting houses ablaze and killing one person.

Governor Udom Loses Bid To Stop Election Tribunal Holding In Abuja

udom_emmanuel loses petition at tribunalThe attempt by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, to stop the state’s election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja has proved abortive.

The tribunal in its ruling, dismissed the petition for lack of merit, saying it was misconceived and misplaced.

It ruled that while Akwa Ibom State succeeded in terms of proximity to the venue of the election, it failed in terms of accessibility, especially in a situation where the security of lives and property of the members of the tribunal and litigants could not be guaranteed.

The Governor, through his counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, had challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal for sitting in Abuja, instead of Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, as provided by section 285 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.

The Governor’s counsel, in his objection to the sitting of the tribunal in Abuja, argued that his client had been denied fair hearing, as provided in Section 36 of the Constitution.

He argued that Section 285(2) is specific that the tribunal shall consider proximity and accessibility to where the election was conducted before the venue for sitting to adjudicate on any petition.

However, in his ruling, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Sadiq Umar, agreed with Counsel to the Petitioner, Mr Woke Olanipekun, that the issue of security was recognised in law, to decide the location where an election tribunal shall seat.

Justice Umar also agreed with the petitioner that the issue of fair hearing could not take the front burner, when tribunal members and litigants security were being considered by the Court of Appeal in determining the venue for the sitting.

The tribunal disagreed with the authorities cited by the defendants in the case of Ibori and Ogboru, adding that while Ibori’s case took place in 2005, the constitution had since been amended and had provided time limit to hear and decide a petition, unlike in the Ogboru’s case where there was no time limit. He also cited the level of insecurity in the country as a factor to consider.

It was agreed that the issue of proximity and accessibility could only be considered when the security of the tribunal and litigants was guaranteed in line with the provision of the law.

My Administration Will Uphold Press Freedom – Buhari

buhariNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has assured journalists that his administration would uphold the freedom of the press, in order to deepen the nation’s democracy.

President Buhari made the promise through his Senior Special Adviser on Media, Mr Femi Adesina, at the triennial National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abuja.

The President urged the media to partner with his administration for national development.

The conference was held to elect new leaders that will run the affairs of the union for the next three years but before the commencement of the election proper, dignitaries at the conference took turns to comment on the state of the Nigerian media.

Different speakers made recommendations for developing the media sector.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Senator Shehu Sani from the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna Central, were present at the conference.

UEFA Fines Barcelona Over Pro-Catalan Sentiments

BarcelonaEuropean football’s governing body, UEFA, has fined Barcelona 30,000 Euros after fans displayed pro-Catalan independence flags at June’s Champions League final in Berlin.

UEFA says the European champions, Barca, had breached Article 16 of its regulations which prohibits religious, political or racial sentiments.

The European champions said that they would respect the decision even though they disagreed with it completely.

Barca, who beat Juventus 3-1 to win their fifth European crown, has long been an outlet for fans who support Catalan independence from Spain to express their beliefs.

Meanwhile, the Barcelona side will face Manchester United at the Levi’s stadium in Santa Clara on Saturday, July 25.

Federation Cup: Rangers Qualify For Quarter Finals

Federation CupRangers Football Club of Enugu State have qualified for the quarter finals of the 2015 Federation Cup.

Rangers secured a 3-2 victory over Kwara United also known as the Harmony Boys of Kwara on Thursday.

The first goal of the game played at the Area 3 Play Ground in Abuja came in the 25th minute of the match for Kwara United through a left foot volley by Evans Iyoro, while Rangers equalised nine minutes later through Odoh Onorade.

The game, however, ended 3-2 in favour of Rangers who dominated the better part of the second half of the game.

Although Rangers won the game, Coach Imama Amakapabo expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of his team but added that he would work harder to get to the final of the tournament.

Kwara United Coach, Tunde Sanni, said that they were the better team that deserved the victory but his boys were punished for lack of concentration in the second half.

With this victory, Rangers will now face El-Kanemi Warriors in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Lobi Stars will square up against BJ Foundation, while Ifeanyi Ubah will face Nasarawa United. Akwa United will battle Niger Tornadoes Feeders.

Other Round of 16 matches of the Federation Cup were decided on Wednesday.


Liberians ‘Pressured To Sell Land’ For Palm Oil Plantations

palm-oil-plantationA campaign group, Global Witness, has raised an alarm over the forceful acquisition of land from owners in Liberia.

According to Reuters, the group, which has called for a government investigation, says communities in Liberia are being pressured to sign away their land to make way for palm oil plantations and Liberians have been beaten and arrested for refusing.

Palm oil is a cornerstone of the nation’s development and the country is emerging as a new frontier market for what has become the world’s cheapest oil.

In 2010, the Liberian Government had agreed to lease the company alleged to be behind the forced deals, Golden Viroleum (GVL), 544,000 acres of land for over 60 years.

However, GVL is said to have dramatically expanded its operations in Liberia at the height of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, clearing thousands of acres of land while community support groups were busy dealing with the crisis.

In reaction, GVL said it only signed pre-existing agreements during the outbreak.