Sunday, 21 January 2018
Items filtered by date: August 2017

The police in Anambra on Sunday confirmed that a gunman killed eight worshippers and injured 18 others in an early morning attack on St. Philip Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Umar, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka that the remains f the dead had been deposited at Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi.

Umar also said that the injured were taken to the hospital.

He said that preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the attack was carried out by a native of the area.

“From our findings, it is very clear that the person who carried the attack must be an indigene of the area.

“We gathered that worshippers for 6 o’clock Sunday mass at St. Philip Ozobulu were in the service when a gunman dressed in black attire covering his face with a cap entered the church and moved straight to a particular direction and opened fire.

“The man after shooting at his targeted victims still went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding other worshippers,’’ he said.

The commissioner said information available to police showed that the attacker was speaking undiluted Igbo Language at the time he was firing at worshippers.

Umar said though no arrest had been made but that the police already learnt that the attack followed a quarrel between two natives of Ozubulu residing overseas.

Describing the act as sacrilegious, the commissioner of police said it was wrong for the perpetrators of the act to extend their quarrel into the church.

He added: “such conduct shows the people behind the act do not fear God.’’

He said the police had launched a manhunt on those behind the act and gave an assurance that everybody behind the act would be brought to justice.

Umar described any insinuation that the attack was carried out by Boko Haram elements as false and urged the people to go about their normal businesses.

He said the police were on top of the situation.’’

Published in Headliners

A Nigerian, Daniel Adekunle Ojo, who had spent less than  14 months in the United States,  has been arrested  in Durham, North Carolina and charged with fraud and identity theft offences

The offences stemmed from Ojo’s phishing scheme, using an AOL and GMail email accounts  that targeted school districts in Connecticut and Minnesota in an effort to get employees’ personal information and file bogus tax returns.

His arrest was announced Friday by  Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation in New England

Following his arrest at his Durham residence, Ojo appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in Greensboro, N.C., and was ordered detained pending his transfer to the District of Connecticut.

Prosecutors said a school district employee in Glastonbury, Connecticut, received an email in February that appeared to be sent by another employee, who asked for tax information for 1,600 school district workers. The worker who received the email then forwarded the information, which was used in the scheme to file 122 bogus tax returns seeking nearly $600,000 in refunds, authorities said.

Officials said the Internal Revenue Service processed about six of the fake returns and electronically deposited nearly $37,000 in refunds to various bank accounts.

Investigators linked the email sent to the employee to Ojo, prosecutors said.

Officials also believe Ojo was involved in similar email schemes targeting school districts in Groton, Connecticut, and Bloomington, Minnesota.

In March, a Groton school employee emailed tax information of 1,300 employees in response to an email that appeared to be from the superintendent of schools. Authorities said the information was used to file about 66 fraudulent tax returns seeking about $364,000 in refunds. Officials said the fake returns weren’t processed because they had been flagged as being part of an identity theft scheme after school employees discovered the problem.

Prosecutors also said they linked the email account used by Ojo to a similar scam that obtained tax information for about 2,800 school employees in Bloomington earlier this year.

Eric Placke, a federal public defender in North Carolina who represented Ojo only for his initial court appearance, declined to comment Friday. It’s not clear who Ojo’s attorney will be in Connecticut.

Authorities said Ojo entered the U.S. in May 2016 on a visitor’s visa and failed to leave on his scheduled departure date in June 2016.

Daly urged the public to double-check links and email addresses before clicking on and responding to them, to avoid becoming an identity theft victim.

Original Press Release issued by US  Department of Justice


Published in Headliners

The recent meeting of the governors from the South-West in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, marks another watershed in the annals of the region. It is another strategic thinking by a region that is known for leadership with vision, a virtue that distinguished the South-West from its peers.  Coming at a period when the country is facing very harsh and tough times and challenges, the meeting underscores the general belief among the people that the region needs to be rescued, especially against the backdrop of terrifying security challenges and a parlous economy that was hitherto the envy of other sections of the federation.

That the meeting, organised by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), was attended by the governors and not representatives amply showed the urgency and desirability of a collective will and effort, since it takes a whole to make a serious impact, given the nature and manner of suffocating challenges. From massive youth unemployment to incessant threat from bandits and herdsmen as well as collapsed infrastructure, the South-West is writhing under a heavy burden.

Their decision to create a joint task force and joint actions on security threats to guarantee the safety of lives, property and prosperity of the people of the region, foster competitive advantage and establish a Western Nigeria Export Development Initiative (WENEDI) to drive the export potentials of the region is ennobling.

What is required now is for the governors to fully demonstrate the commitment, will and capacity to walk the talk. This is the only way to convince the people that there is a new dawn that is meant to build institutions that would restore the lost glory of the region, as encouraged by the political leadership of the zone through integration at post-independence Nigeria.

Part of the beauty of federalism is the principle that empowers the federating units to explore the factor of comparative advantage, which is at the heart of the prolonged clamour for restructuring of the country. Therefore, the current initiative by the governors is avowal on the imperative of a synergy to pool resources together towards exploring the bond of commonality at all fronts. Sadly, the Ministries of Integration which some of the governors individually created at the dawn of the DAWN have been scrapped. We strongly believe that is not good enough.

It is also imperative that the governors should be more pragmatic in tackling the issue of security. There is nothing wrong in all the governors in the zone adopting the template set by the Ekiti State government on grazing bill, as herdsmen constitute the greatest threat to security of life and property now.

One way to immortalise the Director General of DAWN, Dr Dipo Famakinwa, who suddenly passed on recently, as well as buoy the policy of integration is by the South-West states collaborating in the area of agriculture. The success and impact of the Lagos and Kebbi states in the production of rice reveal the huge potentialities of such collaboration among states in the South-West, which is blessed with clement climate for all year-round farming and cultivation. Thus, we recommend that  western states should work together on agriculture based on the comparative advantage in the growing of specific crops.

Published in Parliament

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Friday, paid a personal visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at Abuja House, London.

Special adviser on media and publicity to the President, Femi Adesina revealed this on his Facebook page.

According to Adesina, Archbishop Welby and President Buhari are friends, who share deep respect for each other.

He said Archbishop Welby was delighted to see the rapid recovery President Buhari has made from his health challenges, noting that it was a testimony to the healing powers of God, and answer to prayers of millions of people round the world, adding that, “The cleric pledged to continue praying for both President Buhari and Nigeria.”

Adesina said Buhari responded by thanking Archbishop Welby, whom he noted had always stood by him at critical times, and wished him God’s continued grace in his spiritual duty of leading the Anglican Communion worldwide.

It will be recalled that when former British Prime Minister, David Cameron described Nigeria as a “fantastically corrupt” country ahead of an anti-corruption summit in London in 2016, Archbishop Welby had retorted: “But this particular President (Buhari) is actually not corrupt.”

The Archbishop later personally received the Nigerian President at Lambeth Palace, London, and had also paid a goodwill visit to President Buhari in March this year, during his medical vacation.

Published in News & Stories

Like day and night, it is impossible not to have an opinion about Lai Mohammed. Love him or hate him, the Information minister has struck a chord in recent times with his statements about protecting the Nigerian cultural industries from losing money to foreign lands in the name of production and sponsorships.

“We will amend the NBC code to ensure that our Premier League improves. We will make sure that in the Code, if you spend one million dollars to support a foreign football club like Manchester United in Nigeria, you will not be allowed to air that programme unless you spend 30 per cent of that money to promote Nigeria’s league,” said Mohammed at an industry meeting in July.

However, sport industry voices have remained silent even when the minister spoke about something that has troubled them for a long time. It is clear that Nigerian corporations love to associate themselves with football. And the brand of football they like to piggy-back on is not that which is played locally.

It is European football, that shiny product, like a well-polished 2017 Lamborghini Aventador gleaming in the sun. The English Premier League, that behemoth of cultural imperialism, has so captured our imagination that our country spends billions annually to get its fix. Like Marx’s opium, the EPL has become our poppy, seeping into our national vein without let.

An industry research states that Nigeria’s top 15 sponsors will spend 110billion Naira ($343m) between 2016 and 2019 on servicing their relationships with European football properties. The Nigerian Breweries has agreements with five clubs – Arsenal, Real Madrid, Juventus, PSG and Manchester City, while Globacom has had a long-running agreement with Manchester United. Big Nigerian corporations sponsor the broadcast of the EPL, Uefa Champions League and Europa League while Etisalat (now 9Mobile) is a keen sponsor of tennis broadcasts.

While Mr Mohammed has called for higher taxation against companies that spend money on sponsoring sports programmes and overseas clubs, not one statement in support has come from the sports minister, Mr Solomon Dalung. Dalung, who has overseen one of the most turbulent periods in Nigerian sport with several athletes failing to find funds to compete internationally, has abandoned his constituency, in this debate, after the political interference in sport federation elections last month.

What Mr Mohammed has called for is not new. Countries have regularly fought to protect their local cultures from cultural imperialism. Canada in the 1950s and ‘60s insisted on placing a quota on foreign programmes that could be shown on television. This was to avoid the Americanisation of their values by the giant neighbour, the USA. China kept the world out during its Cultural Revolution until it was strong enough to re-engage with the West. And it came out better.

European football, an increasingly global business, is taking too much of our resources. While the British left us with flag independence, we have become stuck onto their football, a form of sport cultural imperialism. What must we do to get out of their grip in order to create our own industry just like the entertainment industry left the shadow of American music?

Sport, unlike entertainment, is regulated by the government. This is one of the major impediments to the growth of the sector as administrators run it like bureaucracies. However, many of the problems we have in our sport have also been self-inflicted. The loss of influence by national TV, the NTA, mixed with its archaic ideas about sports broadcast rights, means even the Nigerian domestic league cannot be seen by the majority of our citizens. It has been the purview of the South African company, MultiChoice, to create value for our league by paying for rights and screening it to a few million subscribers. With SuperSport dropping the NPFL over the last few months and putting more money into buying EPL rights, we are left without our league on TV.

Who is to blame? A poor self-esteem which abandons the local but chases after the foreign. Many of our children cannot speak their mother tongue. We abandon our local customs, we fail in passing traditional values down the line, these are all failings on our part dictated by the mega cultural forces that are stacked up against us. 

Is protectionism the way to go like Minister Mohammed has proposed? The United States, the biggest economy in the world, has a president that has called for greater protection for its citizens by pushing for higher tariffs on imports from Europe.

Perhaps it is best to also find what works for us. One change is mandatory though: we need to change the way our sports are run; where administrators sit on government allocations without a care in the world to turn profits. As long as we lose our best players to Europe every month, we will continue to look abroad for football entertainment. And so the businesses will put their money where the highest numbers of eyes are.

If they eventually get higher taxes, perhaps companies will end their spending on sport altogether. After all, it is not compulsory to spend their hard-earned money on domestic football that has not created enough value and captured the imagination. Nigerian sport can learn a lot from the entertainment industry whose sheer power of innovation has revolutionised our cultural offerings to the world.

Published in Parliament

The Lagos State government yesterday arraigned 28 adults and 12 minors before a Lagos Magistrate Court for allegedly engaging in homosexuality contrary to the laws of the land.

The minors were arraigned before an Ebute-Metta Magistrate Court, while the adults were arraigned before a Yaba Magistrate Court. The defendants, who are all males, were arraigned separately on a one-count charge.

They were all arrested last Saturday by men of the Lagos State Police Command in Owode-Onirin area of the state. They were said to have been caught in the act of homosexuality at a popular hotel in the area, simply known as Vintage Hotel.

According to the criminal charge, the defendants were said to have: “On or about July 29, 2017, at Vintage Hotel, No. 999 Ikorodu Road/Toyin Close, Weigh Bridge, Owode Onirin, Lagos, did engage in gay activities by permitting male persons to have canal knowledge of themselves against the order of nature and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”

The adults are Adedayo Kamadupe (27), Abiodun Pedro (22), Ikechukwu Onyebuchi (32), Dike Stanley (19), Oji Charles Isioma (28), Garuba Ibrahim (21), Monday Favour (20), Ayo Marcus Ayobamidele (26), Stanley Adeasbo (25), Victor Isaac (18), Godwin Williams (19), Kashimawo Oluwatosin (25), Abass Tajudeen (24), Olamigoke Adeola (19) and Yussuf Fawaz (19).

Others are Johnson Michael (19), Francis Michael (22), Samuel Adeyinka (25), Samuel Collins (25), Kazeem Akorede (25), Adebayo Bukola (23), Ochiagha Ifeanyi (19), Babatunde Taiwo (26), Raphael Dugh (30), Kenneth Ubaji (19), Alisi Ferdinand Okechukwu (30), Malik Ahmed (18) and Olamide Adeola (18).

After the charge was read to the defendants, they all pleaded not guilty, while their lawyers – Ehiko Onoche, S.M Oladele – urged the court to admit them to bail.

The prosecution team, led by Adetutu Oshinusi, from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, did not oppose their bail application, but urged the court to direct the defendants to submit themselves to the Lagos State Aids Control Agency for monitoring and Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team for rehabilitation.

In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Adewale Ojo granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties, according to the court, must be a relative of the defendants, while the other must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction. The sureties must also present evidence of tax payment.

The Magistrate also granted the request of the prosecution demanding monitoring and sexual rehabilitation for the defendants, while the matter was adjourned to September 8, 2017.

The minors were arraigned before Magistrate Segun Elias of Ebute-Metta Magistrate Court in a closed-session.

Published in News & Stories


Published in Parliament

Stuttgart have confirmed the signing of free agent Holger Badstuber, who once played in their youth teams, on a one-year contract.

Badstuber, 28, was at Stuttgart from 2000 until 2002, before joining Bayern Munich and making his senior debut in 2009.

The Germany international won five Bundesliga titles with Bayern and lifted the Champions League trophy in 2013.

Badstuber has been badly affected by injuries since late 2012 and, despite returning to full fitness last season, was loaned to Schalke and Bayern announced that he would leave the Allianz Arena when his contract expired in the summer.

He told his new club's official website: "No one should ever forget their roots, and I haven't.

"VfB Stuttgart was and is something very special to me, and the club had an immediate impact on me emotionally. The region, the fans, the mood of optimism... I can hardly wait to get stuck in."

Stuttgart's director of marketing and sales, Jochen Rottgermann, added: "In Holger Badstuber, we have secured the services of a player with exceptional quality.

"We are delighted that he will be wearing the VfB jersey in the future."

Published in Sports

Barcelona have said they will not pay Neymar the €26 million that had been due to him and his father as part of a bonus for his contract renewal last year.

Barca deposited the money with a notary as they waited to see whether his move to Paris Saint-Germain would go through.

Following the completion of his world record €222m switch, Barca spokesman Josep Vives said the bonus would not be paid as "the agreed conditions have not been met."

Barca made an initial payment -- reported to be around €14m -- when the five-year deal was signed, and had been due to make the second payment on Sept. 1.

But Vives said: "There were three conditions -- one, that the player didn't negotiate with another club before July 31; two, that he publicly expressed his decision to fulfil his contract; and three, the payment was to be made on Sep. 1 to ensure he didn't go to another club.

"With these criteria not met, the club will not pay the renewal bonus. The money is no longer with a notary but back with the club."

Meanwhile FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation for all professional footballers, has called for an investigation into the increasing cost of transfers in European football.

It is concerned that an inflated and distorted market is contributing to the destruction of competitive balance.

General secretary Theo van Seggelen has urged the European Commission to undergo an urgent review of transfer rules which have been in place since 2001.

In a statement, he said: "FIFPro is calling on the commission to investigate the flow of money via transfer fees within the European Union territory to understand their impact on competitive balance in the region.

Neymar has become the world's most expensive footballer.

"The world-record transfer of Neymar is the latest example of how football is ever more the domain of a select group of rich, mostly European-based clubs.

"Given that much of football's financial activity occurs within Europe, where significant transfer fees are exchanged between clubs, FIFPro is asking the European Commission to launch of thorough investigation of the transfer rules it approved in 2001 and which are now in need of urgent review."

Van Seggelen voiced concern that "football's enormous wealth is trapped within a few leagues and clubs when it could be redistributed more efficiently and fairly to help protect competitive balance."

Speaking earlier this week, La Liga president Javier Tebas accused PSG of "financial doping" and said he would complain to both UEFA and the EU.

Last week, Barcelona sources said the club would put pressure on UEFA to investigate how PSG were financing the Neymar move.

However, UEFA said in a statement that it "has not received complaints from anyone regarding this matter" and added that officials would examine the deal to ensure it complies with financial fair play regulations.

Published in Sports

The Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, has told the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, to act on the order given by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), warning that there will be “consequences for insubordination.”

The AGF had ordered the EFCC boss to forward to him the case files of ex-governors, including Bukola Saraki (Kwara, now Senate President ); Ali Modu Sheriff (Borno); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Achike Udenwa (Imo); Ubong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom); Jolly Nyame (Taraba); Rasheed Ladoja (Oyo); Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo); Joshua Dariye (Plateau ); Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara ); and Gabriel Suswam (Benue), among others.

The EFCC boss had allegedly withheld the files from the AGF since July 2016 when the request was first made.

The follow-up request was made on August 1, 2017.

Obono-Obla told one of our correspondents that the August 1 letter to the EFCC was a follow-up request on the files of indicted former governors and senators, warning Magu that there would be “consequences for insubordination.”

Obono-Obla said the EFCC was not more patriotic than the office of the AGF, adding that the commission must involve the minister in any case that is above N50m.

He said, “A letter dated August 1, 2017, was written to the EFCC, urging the commission to comply with the EFCC Enforcement Regulation that was made in 2010. The regulation requires that in any case above N50m, the EFCC must carry along the office of the AGF from investigation to prosecution.

“The letter was about the case files because if the cases are not well prepared, the office of the AGF will be blamed for it. So, the office wants to carry out its oversight function. The EFCC cannot be more patriotic than the office of the AGF. Why is it that the EFCC is not cooperating when we are working for the same government?

“If the EFCC refuses to act on the letter, there will be consequences on acts of indiscipline and insubordination. There is no personality clash between the two heads. It is wrong to say that there is a clash. The EFCC is an institution and the office of the AGF is another institution. What we need is compliance. We should not personalise our institutions.”

However, Malami on Thursday said there was no rift between him and Magu, over his request.

The AGF, who held a press briefing on the maiden National Summit on Justice scheduled for the second week of August, was asked to comment on whether Magu’s alleged refusal to forward the case files to the AGF office had affected their relationship.

Malami said, “It has not; thank you.”

Earlier, the AGF said, “I am not going to comment over a news item I have not watched.”

But the EFCC said that there was no conflict whatsoever between it and the Office of the AGF.

The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, attributed reports of the clash between commission and the AGF to mischief makers in an e-mail on Thursday.

Uwujaren said the EFCC was adhering to stipulations of the law and had no intention to be in conflict with the office of the AGF over the request to forward “serious” cases to the office.

He said it was not tenable for the commission to have a conflict or plan a showdown with the AGF or other government offices, adding the operational responsibilities and activities of the commission are within the confines of the law.

He said, “The EFCC has been consistent in its position that there is absolutely no conflict with the AGF.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the EFCC is compliant with all the provisions of law and has no intention to stoke a misunderstanding over any request from the Minister of Justice.”

Uwujaren added that the conflict between the commission and the AGF’s office only existed in the imagination of corrupt elements out to create a nonexistent conflict to further their criminal acts.

“Any such conflicts being paraded exist only in the fertile imaginations of corrupt elements angling to knock heads together in furtherance of their own pro-corruption agenda,” Wilson said.

Meanwhile, the justice ministry has explained that the national summit on justice would bring together all stakeholders in the sector.

According to Malami, the stakeholders would consider, adopt and validate the draft National Policy on Justice developed by a technical committee constituted by the Federal Ministry of Justice in 2016.

“Given the challenges militating against an effective administration of justice and the peculiarity of our federal system, there is the need to harmonise and integrate the various reform initiatives into a clearly articulated national justice policy,” he said.

He explained that the policy would define Nigeria’s political philosophy with respect to justice delivery.

Published in Business and Economy
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