Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, a Nigerian billionaire oil tycoon, Fashion designer and philanthropist is now the richest black woman in the word, according to report published by Ventures Africa, an African business magazine and news services.

Alakija, 61, is worth at least $3.3 billion- contrary to a recent Forbes Magazine ranking which pegs her net worth at only $600 million. She is $500 million richer than media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, whose wealth estimated at $2.7 billion in September.

*Alakija

Folorunsho Alakija is the founder and owner of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil company which owns a 60 percent working interest in OML 127 that produces about 200,000 barrels a day.

Alakija, was born into a wealthy, polygamous Nigerian family. She started out her professional career in the mid 70s as a secretary at the now defunct International Merchant Bank of Nigeria, one of the country’s earliest investment banks.

In the early 80s, Alakija quit her job and went on to study Fashion design in England, returning to Nigeria shortly afterwards to start Supreme Stitches, a premium Nigerian fashion label which catered exclusively to upscale clientele. The business thrived, and Alakija quickly made a tidy fortune selling high-end Nigerian clothing to fashionable wives of military bigwigs and society women.

Oil Prospecting License
In May 1993,  Alakija applied for an allocation of an Oil Prospecting License (OPL). The license to explore for oil on a 617,000 acre block – (now referred to as OPL 216) was granted to Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited.

The Federal Government is to build a new N2.2bn banquet hall in the the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

An approval for the hall, according to the  Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Muhammed, was granted by the Federal Executive Council  during its meeting on Wednesday.

Wikipedia dictionary defines a banquet hall  as a room or building for the purpose of hosting a party, reception, or other social events.

There is an existing hall in the Villa where national events are held.

The proposed  150- capacity hall will have walk ways, security post, hall conveniences, technical room and press briefing room.

Defending the approval,  Muhammed, told State House correspondents that the council  did so  because smaller countries had befitting banquet halls in their seats of power.

Muhammed said the contract for the construction was awarded to Julius Berger, a company  that  is already in charge of services in the Presidential Villa.

He said, “The second project approved by council is the building of a 150-seater Banquet Hall in the Presidential Villa.

“We noticed that it(existing hall) is inconveniencing;  it is not in tandem with what is outside the country. Even smaller countries have better Banquet Halls near their Presidential residences. Of course, part of the things we are going to provide there is a 150-seater (hall) with all the facilities that will cover the walk ways, security, hall conveniences, technical room and press briefing room that  are  more and more enhanced so that national broadcast can be done from there.

“The contract was awarded in the sum of N2.2billion  to Julius Berger because they are more familiar with the terrain in the Presidential Villa and for security reasons.”

But the approval of the contract  for the hall was flayed by the Executive President, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr. Debo Adediran, as “irresponsible and wicked.”

Adediran, who  said the government did not care about the  welfare of the people, added,  “This goes a long way to demonstrate the weakness of our leaders. They only care for things that favour them, their relatives and their caucus.

“ This is unimaginable, it can never be done under a dedicated government. Of what use is the hall? Is it for them to deepen corruption or to legislate? Personal satisfaction must be suppressed for the country to grow.”

Monday, 12 November 2012 20:08

Oshiomhole Sworn In For Second Term

Governor Adams Oshiomhole was Monday morning, sworn in for his second term in office at Ogbe Stadium, Benin City, southsouth Nigeria.

Oshiomhole won the governorship election held on 14 July 2012. Oshiomhole came into the stadium at 10. 38 am in company of Governors Rotiimi Amaechi, Emmanuel Uduaghan, Kayode Fayemi of Rivers, Delta and Ekiti states in that order.

Former governors Segun Osoba and Niyi Adebayo of Ogun and Ekiti states were also in the train.

Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State breezed into the venue 30 minutes later. Former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Aleogho Dokpesi boss DAAR Communications, owners of Africa Independent Television, AIT, were also there.

Oshiomhole proceeded at 10. 45 am to inspect four police guards of honour commanded by Augustine Ikoli, Abdullahi Jaffaru, Amaka Umaka and Umaru Chinka.

The Nigeria Police Band, established since 1930 and that of Edo, which has been in existence since 1968, provided martial beats.

At 11. 30 am, Rt Rev B. U. G. Imasuen of the Anglican Church and Chief Imam of Benin, Alhaji A. Inabulele said the opening prayers.

Justice Cromwell Idahosa, Chief Judge of Edo State, swore in the Deputy Governor Egberanwem Pius Odubu and Governor Adams Oshiomhole at 11. 45 am.

Present also at the occasion were a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon; Chief Tom Ikimi, an Action Congress of Nigeria leader; Tony Momoh, a former Information Minister and Congress for Progressive Change National Chairman; Senator Domingo Obembe; Thomas Okosun, ACN Chaairman in Edo State; Augustine Akubueze, Catholic Archbishop; Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa, representing his father, Omonoboa Erediauwa, the Oba of Benin; Senator Daisy Danjuma; Patrick Obahiagbon, the Igodomigodo of Benin Kingdom and a former House of Representatives member who dazzled the lower legislative chamber.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State came in at 11. 50 am.

In April 2007, Oshiomhole won the governorship election, but his mandate was stolen. This was reaffirmed on 11 November, 2008 by the Court of Appeal in Benin City and he was sworn in on 12 November, 2008. And on 14 July, 2012, he won another election for a second term.

Burn bank, vehicles, attempt attack on emir’s palace

• Security operatives kill 13 suspects

DARING gunmen on Monday killed a divisional police officer (DPO) as they attacked a police station and a branch of Unity Bank in Potiskum, Yobe State.

The suspected members of Boko Haram who also struck in Borno State killed Peter Hamidu of the state Agricultural Development Programme at his Maiduguri mechanical workshop.

The gunmen, according to an eyewitness and resident of Potiskum, Hamisu Yusuf, came in unmarked tricycles and vehicles and torched the police station and the bank, before attempting to attack the emir’s palace at about 3.00 a.m.

He said the gunmen operated for over six hours, before men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the police rushed to the separate scenes of attacks on Idriss and NPN roads.

Another eyewitness told The Guardian that the gunmen used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petro-bombs in torching the divisional police station, the bank and several vehicles, adding that the two buildings continued to burn, until yesterday morning, when fire fighters put out the fire by 7.00 a.m.

Confirming the incident Monday in Damaturu in a statement, the Yobe State JTF spokesman, Lt. Lazarus Eli, said a gang of Boko Haram gunmen attacked the police station and a commercial bank on NPN Road, Potiskum around 2.00 a.m.

He said the gunmen were, however, repelled from torching the divisional police station, stating that 10 bodies of the killed suspects were carried away by their colleagues, leaving only three in the custody of the JTF and police for autopsy and identification at the mortuary.

The statement reads in part: “The hoodlums attacked the Potiskum Area Police Command Office, as JTF reinforced, the police promptly repelled the terrorists. Three of them were killed, but the DPO later died in the hospital, because of the gunshot wounds he sustained in the exchange of gunfire yesterday.

“Ten other bodies of the hoodlums were also carried away by the terrorists during the attack which started at about 2.00 a.m. Monday.”

The statement also assured residents of adequate security of lives and property, as well as appealed for calm as measures were being taken to restore normalcy in the state.

The killing of the Borno State official at his mechanical workshop in Ruwan Zafi ward, according to the spokesman of the Borno State Police Command, Gideon Jibrin, occurred yesterday afternoon.

He said that some gunmen on a tricycle trailed the slain official to his workshop on Dikwa Road, and shot him dead, before men of the JTF rushed to the scene to prevent further killings.

Besides, because of the increased level of insecurity in Kaduna State, the people of Dogon Dawa Community in Birnin Gwari Local Council Area have again urged Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa to intervene in their situation.

Already, Yakowa has assured the community members that his government has taken the issue to the Presidency with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.

Yakowa said that the state government was liaising with the Federal Government and the four states bordering Kaduna in tackling the issue. He named the states to include Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and Kebbi.

Yakowa also assured the inhabitants of the area that the problem facing the communities would be exhaustively discussed at the next 19 governors’ meeting in Abuja.

“We are not resting on our oars; all measures are being taken to curtail the phenomenon. I can’t say more than that now,” he said.

The complaints of daily attacks and killings by armed hoodlums in Dogon Dawa came when Yakowa kicked off the rehabilitation of the 31-kilometre Dogon Dawa-Sabon Layi-Old Birnin Gwari road.

The District Head of Dogon Dawa, Musa Ibrahim Yerima, told the governor about their ordeal, saying that marauders sneak into the area at night, maiming the inhabitants, killing and stealing animals before retreating into the forest.

Yerima said the situation had become too alarming, while people hardly sleep with their two eyes closed.

He explained that the Federal and the state governments would live up to their responsibilities of providing security for the people who were now at the mercy of gunmen.

To check insecurity, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has advocated the involvement of traditional rulers in the policing of various communities and towns in the North.

According to him, traditional rulers   are best suited for community crime prevention if supported by the Federal and state governments.

The governor spoke in Kaduna while inspecting the completion of the Shehu of Borno’s palace on Doka Crescent and shopping complex on Kano Road.

To the Bishop of Remo Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev. Michael Olusina Fape, the government should be blamed for the insecurity in the country, adding that politicians were largely responsible for the insurgency of Boko Haram.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian in Ogun State, Fape said Boko Haram was not the only security problem facing the country. He identified cults, factions fighting one another and traditionalists with their festivals, as part of the security threats destroying the foundation of the country. He warned politicians to be very careful with their utterances.

OPERATIVES from the London Metropolitan Police are to give evidence when the trial of the Chairman, Bi-Courtney Highway Services, Dr. Wale Babalakin, finally begins at a Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

A senior lawyer privy to the goings-on in the case told our correspondent on Sunday that the Met police investigated the involvement of Babalakin and others in the alleged laundering of N4.7bn on behalf of the convicted former governor of the state, James Ibori.

“The United Kingdom metropolitan police investigated the case. They just finished their investigation. That is why they are going to give evidence in the case, because it is their case,” the source, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said.

He added that the bulk of the evidence the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission would use against Babalakin would be supplied by the Met. police

The EFCC had charged Babalakin along with Alex Okon with 27 counts of helping Ibori to siphon the sum in 2006.

The arraignment, initially scheduled for November 29, 2012, could not hold due to Babalakin’s absence in court. He was said to be on admission at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

The source told our correspondent that the money looted by Ibori was discovered to be part of Delta State fund used by the former governor to buy a jet in Canada.

He said the EFCC was right to charge Babalakin in a court within the country which is where the money originated from.

“The issue of charging him in Nigeria when it was the UK police that investigated the matter cannot raise any jurisdictional issue because the money originated from here,” he said.

The EFCC, in the charge sheet, claimed that Babalakin used different companies as conduits to carry out the alleged shady deal.

The companies scheduled to be arraigned with Babalakin and Okon are Stabilini Visioni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd., and Renix Nigeria Ltd.

The EFCC alleged that the accused had fraudulently assisted Ibori to transfer various sums to Erin Aviation account in Mauritius for the purchase of a Challenger Jet.

The anti-graft agency said the transactions took place between May and September 2006.

EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had expressed shock at the excuse given by Babalakin’s counsel, Mr. Ebun Sofunde (SAN), for his client’s absence in court on the scheduled date for the arraignment.

Jacobs had alleged that Babalakin wanted to frustrate his arraignment.

He had told the court that he did not believe the medical report tendered by Sofunde because it was issued on November 26, 2012, the same day Babalakin met with the EFCC in Abuja.

He said, “It took the EFCC close to a week to get him. He was served with all the processes and released because he took an undertaking that he would appear in court for his arraignment.

“We believe if there is a medical issue that he should have contacted us a day earlier (November 28) rather than to confront us with this application this (November 29) morning.

“We are disappointed by the tactics of the first defendant (Babalakin) but Your Lordship can bend backwards and allow us to come back next week.”

Justice Onigbanjo had re-scheduled the arraignment for December 13, the same day a Federal High Court, Lagos, fixed for the hearing of a suit in which Babalakin is seeking to stop his arraignment.

Website: http://www.southsouthnigeria.com/

Southsouthnigeria.com, a dating and social networking website for the people of South-South Nigeria in particular, and Nigerians in general has been launched. The website is free to join, but members have to be at least 18 years old. It is a project founded and promoted by the editors of www.xclusivenigeria.com, Nigeria's internet newspaper.

Southsouthnigeria.com was launched with a pledge to promote the region and people of South-south Nigeria, to provide a platform for romantic, social, economic, financial, business and political interaction.

A statement yesterday by its publishers said the website, a first of its kind, is primarily a "regional online dating platform for the people of South-south Nigeria, comprising Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Cross River State. We want to make dating among the people of South-south Nigeria, and between the region and the other parts of Nigeria simple and easy. Now, people looking for a wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, partner, spouce or whatever within the region know where to come to. Best of all, it is free. And membership is open to everybody, including Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike.

The statement sadi that the website was designed as as a respnse to the yearning of the people of the region for an authentic, regional dating site where men and women of South-south Nigerian origin, can mingle, date, socialize, and find their love interests and marriage partners within the region, and from other parts of the country too.
Diokpa Ebube Chike, executive editor said in the statement that, "www.southsouthnigeria.com, a media partner of www.xclusivenigeria.com, Nigeria's internet newspaper, was established to fill the void of an effective, reliable, trustworthy and responsible dating website for the people of the region."
According to him, the site is packaged with forums, blogs, music and video sections, photo section, search tools and a whole lot of other interesting sections for the entertainment of our members. "Southsouthnigeria.com is a dating site of the 21st century, built to the very best standards which the people of the region and Nigerians in general already enjoy from such established sites such as facebook and linkedln. Southsouthnigeria.com is set up to provide the highest standards in online dating experience. Join us now, and invite your friends. It is free to join."
Go to the video section of www.southsouthnigeria.com now, to check out the website:

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), is not usually known to be a truely 'national pressure group' simply because it was setup as a political and cultural association of leaders of Northern Nigeria extraction, whose purpose it was to look into matters of serious concern to the people of the region, arising from the wave of violent religious and ethnic disturbances witnessed on a daily basis. The prevailing situation was tense and desperate, threatening the survival of the unity of the people, hence the founding of the forum more than a decade ago.

Ever since then, the ACF have not looked back, championing the cause of the North and it's people. Two of such, among others, included the forum's recommendation in 2001 that former Heads of State, Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar defend themselves against allegations made against them at the Human Rights Investigations Commission, sitting in Abuja while the other was on the 16th of December 2009, where the forum issued a communiqué calling for further information on the health of the President, arguing in the process, that if a succession issue arose it should be resolved according to the constitution. This latter statement, which led to several others in the course of the late Yar'adua's incapacitation, almost tore the ACF apart with Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, a founding member, quitting the ACF as a result.

With the emergence of a Southerner as president coupled with the myriads of problem facing the country today, it is no surprise that the ACF in her comfort zone at Kaduna came out of her 'Northern shell' to bear it's mind on a national cankerworm as those of corruption.

The ACF ahead of it's zonal constitutional conferences, recommended capital punishment for corruption and
in its proposal submitted to the National Assembly,pointed out that “One crime that has proved capable of gravely harming or killing its victim in Nigeria is corruption". The statement went further to state that “...our laws have not recognised corruption for what it is. ACF recommends that corruption be recognised as a capital offence and made to carry capital punishment.”

Those words would have seemed quite heavy to keen observers and one which sounds too extreme on the alter of practicability, but if one considers the level at which corruption continues to eat deep into the country's socio-political and economic fabric, widening the gap between the ruler and ruled and deepening further the crisis of nationhood, the ACF statement should more than anything else be taken with much appreciation and seriousness.

Corruption is a hydra headed monster, an anomaly of the highest order, a fatal aberration, a colossal drawback and a pugnacious disease which has reduced the country to unparalled under-
development. Corruption is the reason the Lagos/Ibadan express road refuses to get a facelift despite the road contract awarded to a private consortium years back. It is the reason both the Harliburton and Siemens scandals are yet unresolved. Corruption is the reason this country cannot get its years of power outages fixed. It is the reason why hundred of scandals in the National Assembly refuses to go under the surgical knife of a prosecution judge and reason the oil cabal and subsidy feudal lords continues to allow the vast majority of the people wallow in misery

Corruption is the reason the vast masses of the people have become hewers of wood and drawers of water. It is the reason millions of people, reminiscent of the days of feudalism, have become who Frantz Fanon had termed 'the wretched of the earth'. It has led to a widening gap where those who can grab the nation's commonwealth do so at their peril, further plundering anything that comes their way and thereby systematically pushing aside the people who had agreed to form a social contract along with them. It is no wonder the country today is in a mess, with its rickety foundation almost willing to fall on everyone.

Since the war against corruption began few years back, what has been witnessed is a dawdle path to effective prosecution of corrupt officials or what this writer would term as 'humouric display behind the anti-corruption war'. Those who have either been accused by the drooling anti-corruption agencies of corruption or penned down for prosecution as a result of corrupt enrichment grow by the day, yet what is heard over and over again is an administration committed to the fight against the scourge of corruption.

To them, it is a top priority which they are fighting in all facets of the economy and which surprisingly they say is succeeding. The current administration's independence day speech even went a step further to state how the necessary agencies have put an end to several decades of endemic corruption associated with fertilizer and tractor procurement and distribution and also exposed decades of scam in the management of pensions and fuel subsidy, ensuring that the culprits are being brought to book.

As if Nigerians have not been fooled enough, the current administration did not realise it goofed when it claimed Transparency International (TI), in its latest report, 'noted that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption' despite the fact that only few notable Nigerians have been tried and sentenced for corruption, despite the fact that the subsidy thieves still walk freely in the land and despite the fact that the Lawan-Otedola bribery scandal remain swept under the carpet.

This writer make bold to say that the ACF statement on capital punishment for corruption is a pure attempt to correct an entrenched social ill that has bedevilled the country since the First Republic. It is a quick way to answer the corruption question in the country. It is a meal ticket to bringing sanity in the way we operate in government and the finest solution to a culture of impunity seemingly evident in all facets of the nation's polity.

If nations like China and Indonesia have applied and used capital punishment to solve the problem of corruption in their respective domain to make them economic giants, nothing stops Nigeria from doing same. A country can never attain economic and political triumph where impunity and corruption are warmly embraced. If corruption is properly dealt with using severe punishment like those the ACF had pointed out, the much touted cabal in the oil industry wouldn't have sprang up in the first place. Every political leader or individuals enthrusted with leadership position would rightly perform his or her duties. The country's electoral process would not be fraught with bribery scandals, monetary inducements and electoral malfeasance. The nation in general will be a better place for the vast majority of the people.

In as much as capital pubishment may look unfashionable in our contemporary international system, in a country like Nigeria where anything goes and where it is always business as usual, the need to look into the issue of capital punishment as a one stop solution to the monster called corruption is imperative. The days of dillydallying with corrupt officials, missing or absence of prosecuting judges, plea bargaining and all pretentious acts which impedes or obliterates the true fight against corruption must be over.

Nigeria must not remain a country where corruption thrives. It must be fought with strong political will with stringent measures put in place to put an end to it. The ACF has spoken, let those who have ears listen and get it right.

The Nigerian Union of Journalists has extolled the virtues of late Elder Louis
Nkemegbunam Ani who died on August 3, 2012 at the ripe age of 81. Elder Ani, father
of former Press secretary to the Hon. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and one
time head of Press, Police Service Commission, Mr. Ikechukwu Ani, was an exceptional
Nigerian whose work of charity endeared him to many who came in contact with him.
Chairman of the Abuja Council of the Union, Mr. Chuks Ehirim in a condolence message
said the late Ani lived a life worthy of emulation. He described his commitment to
the work of God and selfless service to his community as strong pillars that should
guide those he left behind. Also the Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel of the
Union in Enugu State, Mr. Chris Oji prayed that God should give those Elder Ani left
behind, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.  

 The Former Minister of Commerce, Ambassador Idris Waziri in his condolence message described the deceased as a wonderful family man, loving father and a devout and committed Christian who has left imprints in the sand of time.
Elder Louis Nkemegbunam Ani until his death was a community leader, a
philanthropist and a practical  Christian who sowed the seed for the
 establishment of the Assemblies of God Church in Ibute Ameke Ngwo of
Enugu State with the donation of a piece of land.

  His remains will be buried on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at his residence in Ibute Ameke Ngwo Enugu State. He is survived by wife, Mrs. Beatrice Ani and son, Ikechukwu Ani.
Thursday, 13 September 2012 03:08

Apple iPhone 5 unveiled with taller screen and 4G

Apple has unveiled a taller, 4G-enabled iPhone at an event in San Francisco.

The device's new size allows it to display an extra row of app icons on its home screen.

The firm said it was 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S. However, it does not feature an NFC (near field communication) chip to allow it to make touchless payments.

Apple said the handset would work on Everything Everywhere's (EE) 4G LTE network in the UK.

The news is likely to give EE - which runs the local Orange and T-Mobile services - an advantage against its rivals which will not launch the higher-speed data service until 2013.

"I think it's obviously what the other networks feared would happen," said Matthew Howett, a telecoms analyst at Ovum.

"The question will be how many non-EE customers make the switch."

Apple said the handset would ship on 21 September.

Faster speeds

The new screen offers a 16:9 ratio, matching that of widescreen televisions.

But its 4in (10.2cm) size remains smaller than rival displays used by Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, LG, HTC and Sony's flagship models.

Phil Schiller - Apple's vice president of worldwide marketing, who unveiled the device - said existing apps would be shown with black borders until developers updated their products.

The handset also features a new Apple-designed chip, called the A6. Mr Schiller suggested this made it twice as powerful as the earlier model.

The camera is an eight megapixel model - the same as in the iPhone 4S, and a lower specification than LG and Sony's most recent devices.

However, Mr Schiller said the equipment and associated software meant the iPhone would create better photographs in low light than before.

The handset also uses a new, smaller, socket for its charger. This means owners will need to use an adapter to plug the device into existing speakers and other equipment. The adapter is listed as being £25 on Apple's site.

The handset does not offer wireless charging like Nokia's Lumia 920.

It will be sold with either 16 gigabytes, 32GB or 64GB of storage. The basic model will be sold for £529 in the UK, but the figure will be lower if bought with a network contract.

In addition to launching the new model, Apple will continue to ship versions of the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4, but is phasing out 2009's iPhone 3GS.

Reworked iTunes

Despite the fact that the iPhone 5 lacks several features found on its rivals, one analyst at the presentation thought it would prove popular.

"There are unprecedented levels of pent-up consumer demand that will ensure it eclipses all previous iPhone launches," said Ben Wood from CCS Insight.

"Newly rebranded UK network EE will be delighted by the fact the iPhone 5 supports the right flavour of 4G LTE technology."

However, another industry watcher thought that the firm might have made a mistake by rejecting new tech in order to make the model thinner.

"The decision to omit NFC in the iPhone 5 could cost Apple," said Fred Huet, managing director at Greenwich Consulting.

"It is just a matter of time before the smartphone replaces the plastic card, and by skipping this technology, Apple may have missed a valuable opportunity to take the lead in this market.

"With over 400 million active credit card accounts on file, Apple had a prime opportunity to convert its customers using a sleek mobile payment system tied to the iPhone."

Apple also announced iTunes, its media player and store for Macs and PCs, was being redesigned and would be released in October, and it also unveiled new iPods.

Big earner

The latest iPhone's performance will prove critical to Apple's fortunes.

According to the firm's most recent earnings report the iPhone and related services and accessories accounted for 52% of $120bn (£74bn) total net sales over the nine months running up to July - 98 million handsets were sold in that time.

That has helped boost its share price to new heights. At the end of last week the firm was worth $637.85bn based on its share price. That was the highest such valuation to date if you do not adjust Microsoft's 1998 figure for inflation.

However, competition is intensifying. While Apple's margins may be wider, Samsung's handset sales are growing at a faster pace.

According to data from IDC the South Korean firm accounted for 43.6% of the Western European smartphone market between April and June compared to Apple's 19%.

The figures will have been skewed by the fact that Samsung offers more models and the Galaxy S3 was a newer device than the equivalent iPhone, but one industry watcher said the rivalry could intensify over coming months.

"Samsung has been very efficient pushing and promoting their devices offering the biggest commissions to sales people," Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at IDC, told the BBC.

"The momentum they are gaining with consumers is very high and people see it as a very innovative brand - and customers are clearly looking for innovation rather than just refinements. Samsung will also be likely to make further gains by making price cuts before Christmas."

Apple's stock closed 1.4% higher.

Mr James Ineh, an Assistant Director with the State Security Services (SSS), told the Federal High Court yesterday that Senator Ali Mohammed Ndume gave Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mohammed Adoke’s telephone number to the Boko Haram.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Senator Ndume, from Borno is standing trial for allegedly having links with Boko Haram.

The accused has, however, said that he established the link to facilitate peace as a member of the Presidential Committee on Security in the Northeast Zone.

Ineh, who was the Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) set up to investigate Ndume, said a former spokesman of Boko Haram, Ali Konduga, revealed the information to the panel.

Ineh said Konduga informed the panel that Ndume obliged him with the GSM telephone number of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation.

The witness said the number was used to bargain a governorship petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Borno state.

Ineh said Konduga had testified that the calls to the AGF were threats to spur him to influence the governorship Election Tribunal members to cede the election victory to PDP or risk mayhem in the state.

He explained that the name of the AGF was dragged into the panel report submitted on Nov. 25, 2011 on the grounds that his GSM number was found in Konduga’s telephone set.

Ineh said Konduga’s transaction with the AGF was a threat to the Minister’s life, adding that the accused facilitated it by giving out Adoke’s telephone number to a senior official of Boko Haram.

Ineh, in his testimony, further said that the items found in the accused’s telephone were indicative of his close connection with the dreaded group.

“The fact that Konduga was tried and convicted of terrorism acts is enough to show that the accused is also liable,’’ he said.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned the matter to Nov. 1, Nov. 5 and Dec. 11 for continuation.

Page 1 of 5

Newsletter