Sunday, 21 January 2018
Items filtered by date: October 2017
Saturday, 07 October 2017 23:54

Nigeria qualifies for 2018 World Cup

Super Eagles of Nigeria on Saturday qualified for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The three-time African champions defeated hard fighting Chipolopolo of Zambia 1-0 inside the magnificent Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.

Arsenal youngster, Alex Iwobi, was the hero for Nigeria, scoring the decisive goal in the 73rd minute of the encounter.

Russia 2018 will be Nigeria’s sixth appearance in FIFA’s premier soccer tournament.

Published in Headliners
Friday, 06 October 2017 22:56

Osinbajo meets NNPC GMD in Aso Rock

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday met briefly with the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Baru did not speak with journalists after the meeting.

From the Vice President’s office, he went to the State House mosque for his Juma’at prayers.

President Muhammadu Buhari also observed the prayer at the mosque.

Published in Headliners
Friday, 06 October 2017 18:49

Kachikwu keeps mum after meeting Buhari

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Friday kept mum after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister who arrived the Presidential Villa around 11.40am for the meeting, left at about 12.50pm.

Kachikwu simply said “no comment” when State House correspondents approached him.

Published in Headliners
Thursday, 05 October 2017 12:39

Gunmen kill UNIBEN professor

Amidst increasing concerns over the level insecurity in the Edo State, a senior staff of the University of Benin, Edo State, Prof. Paul Otasowie, has been killed by gunmen.

It was learnt Otasowie was shot dead by the armed men in front of his residence on Ekehuan road in Oredo Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday evening.

There was, however, speculation that the professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering was either assassinated or gunned down by suspected armed robbers.

According to another version of the incident, the deceased, who was a former director of the university’s Industrial Training and Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme, was allegedly shot during an attempted kidnap.

It was gathered that the news of his death left the university community in a state of mourning.

The Public Relations Officer of the institution, Mr. Michael Osasuyi, confirmed the incident to The PUNCH on Thursday.

Osasuyi stated, “We lost him (Otasowie) yesterday. We are trying to gather the right information now (because) we are getting different versions.

“The first version said that it was an assassination (while) the second version said that it was armed robbery, that he was inside a car and they shot him.”

He described the death of the professor as a huge loss to the university community, adding the deceased was a hardworking and dedicated staff.

Osasuyi said, “For now, the university cannot ascertain what has transpired. But we are sending delegates now to the house to meet with the family.

“We commiserate with the family and it is a big blow to the university. He was one of the persons who have ensured that work is done and done well.”

He, however, noted that the institution was concerned about the level of insecurity in the state.

“The vice-chancellor, Prof. Orunmwense is saddened with this development. We just wish that this insecurity in Edo State is looked into. Just recently, (Joseph) Osayomore was kidnapped.

“The level of insecurity now is becoming something else. The vice-chancellor commiserates with the family and the school is mourning,” the spokesman added.

Published in Headliners

The war of words between Senator Isa Hamma Misau (Bauchi Central) and Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris deepened yesterday, with the Senate opening a probe into the senator’s allegations against the police chief.

The lawmakers constituted a special panel to investigate the police boss for alleged misappropriation of funds, illegal promotion and posting of senior officers and bribery.

Misau also brought up an allegation of infidelity against the IG.

The panel is also empowered to investigate claims that the IG put an officer in the family way and secretly wedded her in Kaduna.

Senate President Bukola Saraki named Senate Deputy Chief Whip Francis Alimikhena (Edo North) as the chairman of the special panel.

Other members are: Senators Nelson Effiong, Binta Garba, Obinna Ogba, Faseyi Duro, Abdulaziz Nyako and Suleiman Hukunyi.

The special panel is to probe the corruption allegation against the police boss. The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions is to investigate claims of professional misconduct made by Misau against the IGP.

The committee is to submit its findings and report in two weeks.

Saraki said: “We have listened to our colleague and we cannot ignore the allegations. We have a duty to fight corruption. These matters are weighty and we have to investigate the allegations. We will set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate these allegations and report back to the Senate

“The ad-hoc committee we will set up will deal with all the allegations about misappropriation of funds made against the IGP. We will refer the other issues about personal misconduct against the IGP to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to for investigations. “

The row between Misau, a former police officer and the IGP blew open in August, when the Bauchi lawmaker, in an interview, claimed that police officers paid bribes to get favourable postings and promotions.

The police dismissed the claim as the ranting of a disgruntled deserter.

The IG, through Force spokesman Jimoh Moshood, said Misau’s claims were unfounded.

Moshood added that Misau was only out to discredit the institution of the police.

The police image maker added that Misau deserted the Force and that he would  soon be declared wanted so that he would be made to respond to a disciplinary committee set up to investigate him.

The police claimed: “Misau dubiously absconded and deserted the police on September 24, 2010, when he was redeployed to Niger State Command, consequent upon which he was queried, in line with the Public Service Rules.

“The police also alleged that Misau had previously faced disciplinary investigation when he refused to proceed on Junior Command Course (JCC) 49/2008 at Staff College, Jos, between January 15, 2009, and June 19, 2009.”

Rising on Order 45 on the floor of the Senate yesterday, Misau told his colleagues that the police boss was yet to respond to all the allegations he made against him.

Misau said that rather than address the issues he raised, the police authority was busy dealing with trivialities, including insulting him and his father.

He added another dimension to his claims when he told his colleagues that the police boss hurriedly married an officer after he put in the family way.

The officer, Misau said, was already four months pregnant when the IGP hurriedly arranged a marriage ceremony in Kaduna State.

He said that the officer used to serve in the office of the IGP.

Misau claimed that the expectant officer was promoted despite her lack of qualifications.

The Bauchi lawmaker noted that the marriage between the police boss and the officer contravened the code of ethics of the police.

Misau said: “During the recess, a lot of things happened between me and the office of the IGP. I am a retired police officer and served for 10 years and my father was in the police too and served for 34 years. In fact, my father joined the police even before I was born.

“So when I speak about the police, I know what I am saying. When I speak about the police, I speak on authority. I was concerned about what was happening in the police in terms of bribery which led the IG to be scared.

“I called three serving officers and they confirmed to me that people pay much more than N500,000 to get promotion. Even the revenue the police is generating we know. Police is not supposed to generate money. Meanwhile companies pay money to police to provide security for them. This is an open secret. It is obvious that even people with questionable character have police backing with siren all over the place.

“One police officer is supposed to be for 400 people, but in Nigeria, it is one police officer to 800 people and an oil marketer, for instance, will have over 30 policemen, thereby depleting the few police we have while the ordinary citizens are left without adequate protection.

“Another thing I found out is that there is illegal diversion of funds by the IGP. Under the 2016 budget, there is a place where IG ought to buy Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), but he bought luxury cars without virement.”

On his claims that the IGP put an officer in the family way, Misau said: “I am aware that the IGP has impregnated a female officer in his office. Because he wanted to save his face, he hurriedly went ahead and married the woman. The wedding ceremony was held in Kaduna State.

“The female officer was already four months pregnant. This is against the rules of the Police Service Commission. You cannot marry another police officer while you are still serving. But the IGP has flouted that law.”

Published in Headliners

Twenty-four hours after a letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari was made public, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Wednesday joined his colleagues for the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Our correspondents, however, learnt that the issue did not come up at the meeting presided over by the President.

“The minister was at the FEC meeting and the President presided. The issue did not come up at the meeting at all,” a source at the meeting said.

When asked the action Buhari had taken on the issue since the letter was dated August 30, 2017, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, insisted that he had no comment on the issue.

Another source however told our correspondent that nobody was sure yet if the President indeed got Kachikwu’s letter before its content became public knowledge.

“Nobody is sure yet if the President indeed got the letter. Who knows whether those who blocked the minister from seeing the President even blocked the letter from getting to him,” the source added.

Senate probes allegations against Baru

Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday began an investigation into allegations of corruption against the NNPC Trading Limited, a subsidiary of the national oil firm, which was accused of awarding a questionable petroleum importation contract.

The lawmakers are also probing the allegations of insubordination and unapproved award of $25bn contracts against the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, by Kachikwu.

The move by the Senate followed the adoption of a motion moved at the plenary by Senator Samuel Anyanwu and titled, ‘Allegation of corruption against NNPC Trading: Time to conduct a holistic investigation’.

The lawmakers also adopted another prayer of the motion, which called for a probe of the allegations against Baru in a petition to the President by the minister.

Kachikwu had written to Buhari alleging acts of insubordination and humiliation by Baru.

In the letter titled, ‘Re: Matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process by the GMD NNPC – Dr. Baru,’ Kachikwu alleged that the NNPC boss had repeatedly sidelined and disrespected the board of the national oil firm, which is chaired by the minister, among other alleged misdemeanours.

Moving the motion, Anyanwu said the Senate was aware that NNPC Trading Limited was a joint venture creation of the NNPC and Duke Oil, Hyson/Carlson (JV), NAP Oil (JV) and West Africa-Gas Limited (JV).

According to the lawmaker, Duke Oil was incorporated in 1989 in Panama and does not pay tax in Nigeria.

The lawmaker said, “The Senate is further aware that Duke Oil, compared to other major players in the sector, is still grappling with the basics of what it was registered to do in spite of massive support from the NNPC owing to large-scale corruption.

“We are aware of the decision by the current GMD to allocate almost all products to Duke Oil; this is in addition to its automatic inclusion in the lifting of crude oil, gas, etc., which made Duke Oil a money-spinning outfit that is accountable only to the NNPC.”

Seconding the motion, Senator Abubakar Yusuf called for an extension of the probe to the NNPC and all its subsidiaries.

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, named Senator Aliyu Wammako as Chairman of the panel, while and Senators Tayo Alasoadura, Kabiru Marafa, Albert Bassey, Sam Anyanwu, Ahmed Ogembe, Chukwuka Utazi, Rose Okoh and Baba Kaka Garbai were listed as members.

Published in Business and Economy
SENATOR representing Delta North Peter Nwaoboshi yesterday dared the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to produce document indicating that he took a loan of N1.2 billion from the Nexim Bank.

Nwaoboshi told reporters in Abuja that at no time did he take N1.2 billion loan from the bank.

The Delta North lawmaker insisted that the attempt by the anti-graft agency to paint him black was effort in futility since he did not offend the law.

The EFCC claimed that Nwaoboshi secured a N1.2 billion loan in 2014 under the Local Industrial Growth Scheme, when he was sitting on the Board of Directors of Nexim Bank

It alleged that part of N1.2 billion facility was diverted for other use other than what it was granted for.

It said Nwaoboshi had been invited through the Clerk to the Senate to clear allegations against him but he has not responded.

The senator said any interested party should cross-check the minutes of the board meeting, where the loan facility was approved to see that the board duly excused him from the meeting.

He said the duration of the loan is five years, which meant that completion of repayment would elapse in 2019.

The senator, who said it was on record that Delta State had been repaying the loan, wondered what his offence was.

Nwaoboshi said: “I didn’t take a loan of N1.2 billion. I challenge EFCC to show document that I Peter Nwaoboshi took a loan of N1.2 billion. The company in question has Nigerian and Chinese directors. It is a manufacturing company. They approached Nexim bank to take a loan of N1.2 billion. Because I know some of the directors, I excused myself from participating in the process in accordance with the law. It was the Deputy Governor of CBN who was the chairman of the board.

“The minutes of the board meeting are there. I told the board to excuse me and they did. The company offered a security valued at N3.5 billion as collateral. The records are there.

“The company in question provided documents verified by the bank that they were given a contract of N1.9 billion. The loan was for running cost, purchase of equipment and raw materials. This was verified by the bank. The bank went to Delta State and verified that the contract was given.

“The tenure of the loan was for a period of five years. It means it will expire in 2019. The company domiciled the payment of that contract to Nexim Bank and the Delta State Government has been paying the money into this account in Nexim Bank, including the one they paid just last week.”

Published in News & Stories

INSPECTOR-General Ibrahim Kpotun Idris has reassured the citizenry that the police will secure conviction against alleged notorious kidnap kingpins, Henry Chibueze (aka Vampire) and Chukwudumebi Onwuamaegbu, also known as Evans.

The IG, who gave the assurance yesterday in his keynote address at a public security lecture in Uyo hailed the National Assembly for passing the anti-kidnapping bill into law and recommending a death sentence for perpetrators.

At the lecture with the theme: “Insecurity, socio-economic impacts and conflicts resolution perspectives”, the IGP said the police would also ensure that kidnap suspects are prosecuted in court as a way of checking incessant cases.

“With humility, I must state with some amount of confidence that these strategies have worked based on successes achieved so far. Most heinous crimes, especially kidnapping and armed robbery, which occurred, have so far been detected.

“You are very much aware of the fate of the notorious kidnapper, Henry Chibueze (alias Vampire) and the billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudi (alias Evans) and many others too numerous to mention here, who were arrested and many of them being prosecuted.

“Considering the detailed investigation being conducted on these cases, Insha Allah, we must gain conviction”, he said.

IGP Idris said the preventive strategies and arrests made by the police in recent times have helped in checking the activities of kidnappers, armed robberies and other heinous crimes in Kaduna-Abuja Express ways, South=South Zones and many parts of the country.

He added that the problems of cattle rustling and insurgency in the Northeast and Northcentral as well as militancy in the Niger Delta are also being tackled by the police.

“The ability of the Nigerian Police to control the secessionist tendency of IPOB in the Southeast is another success story, thanks to the Military Operation Python Dance in the Southeast,” the IG stated.

Akwa Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel said the issue of insecurity was not only the responsibility of security agencies but that of everyone.

He, however, said for the Federal Government to succeed in its fight against insecurity, it must address the factors that cause insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Published in News & Stories

Manchester United have received an injury boost after a scan on Romelu Lukaku's ankle revealed no fracture or ligament damage.

Lukaku was checked over at hospital in Brussels on Monday while on international duty with Belgium after picking up the problem in training with United on Friday.

After being given pain-killing injections, the striker passed a fitness test on Saturday morning before being allowed to play against Crystal Palace. He was able to complete 90 minutes and scored in the 4-0 win -- his 11th goal in 10 games since moving to Old Trafford.

However, after joining up with his international teammates at the Belgian Football Centre on Monday afternoon, he missed training with the rest of the Roberto Martinez's squad.

A scan on his ankle revealed no significant damage and the 24-year-old is set to stay with the Belgium squad ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on Saturday and Cyprus in Brussels on Tuesday. 

Belgium officials are confident Lukaku will be fit to face Bosnia and Herzegovina but he will follow an individual training programme this week.

Belgium are top of Group H and have already qualified for next summer's World Cup in Russia.

United manager Jose Mourinho will hope Lukaku comes through the international break unscathed with a crucial run of fixtures to come in October and November.

Three of United's next four Premier League games are against Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. The run starts with a trip to Anfield on Oct. 14.

Provided he is fit, it will be a first opportunity for Lukaku to prove he is capable of scoring United's goals in big games.

Romelu Lukaku picked up the ankle problem in training with Manchester United on Friday..

But after a blistering start with his new club following his £75 million move from Everton, Juan Mata insists Lukaku has already surpassed expectations.

"It's a lot of goals, especially when you come to a new environment," said Mata, after scoring his first goal of the season against Palace. "I knew he would score a lot but I didn't know he would do it so quick, that's true.

"He gives a lot more to the team too but for a striker it's important to score. He has started really well and he has been a key part to our good start to the season.

"I don't know how many goals he has been scoring during his career but when he was at Anderlecht he was already scoring 20 per season. He just needed confidence and I think he got it in Everton and became a more experienced and better player.

"It's not easy to come to United and reach expectations but he is doing more than people expected and that is great for us."


Published in Sports

Argentina's team doctor says he believes Sergio Aguero will be out of action for six weeks after breaking a rib in a car crash.

The Manchester City striker was a passenger in a taxi last week when the driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a column on the side of the road.

After he was examined by City doctors on Friday, a source told ESPN FC the club believes he could be back within two to four weeks, but Argentina's Donato Villani was not nearly as optimistic.

"Kun [Aguero] can't leave his house, he can't get in or out of his car," Villani told TYC Sports after visiting the player in England. "To be honest, to me he didn't look good because he really wanted to be [with the national team]."

"He is not in very good spirits because he was determined to come here and play. This incident, which is totally not his fault, leaves him out for the two [Argentina] qualifying matches because he will be a month and a half without playing."

Such a timeline would rule Aguero -- goal away from equalling Manchester City's all-time scoring record -- out for Man City's Champions League match at Napoli on Nov. 1 and the Premier League clash against Arsenal four days later.

It could also prevent him from joining up with Argentina for at least the first leg of the final World Cup playoff against New Zealand, should the Albiceleste fail to improve on their current fifth-placed standing in the CONMEBOL table this week.

Published in Sports
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