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Tinubu denies ‘Jagaba’ rice in some northern states

National leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu has denied being responsible for the distribution of rice in some states in the northern part of the country.

Tinubu in a statement on Thursday, April 15 by his media aide Tunde Rahman said he personally had nothing to do with the photos and videos making the rounds where persons believed to be northerners are seen with bags of rice with the inscription ‘JAGABA – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.’

“We have seen the images being circulated of bags of rice depicting Asiwaju’s face being distributed across parts of the North,” the statement read.

The former governor of Lagos said he was not responsible for the initiative.

He, however, commended the efforts of the various volunteer groups for their benevolence.

“I am not responsible for this initiative but l commend the efforts of the various volunteer groups responsible for this benign act of charity and love for one another, particularly in this Holy month of Ramadan,” Tinubu said.

The development comes amid claims that Tinubu is nursing a presidential ambition ahead of 2023 although he has not publicly confirmed it.

The APC national leader had last month celebrated his 69th birthday in Kano State with the 12th edition of the Bola Tinubu Colloquium. High-profile personalities attended the event both physically and virtually.

His decision to celebrate his birthday in the north spurred diverse reactions but Tinubu claimed the move was to prove that Nigeria is one.

He had also recently donated the sum of N50 million to victims of a recent fire outbreak at Katsina Central Market in Katsina State.

Tinubu also paid visits to traders and other victims of the fire outbreak in the company of the state governor Aminu Masari.

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EFCC releases Okorocha

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday released a former governor of Imo State Senator Rochas Okorocha who was arrested on Tuesday for questioning
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President Muhammadu Buhari return to Nigeria after UK medical trip

President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Nigeria from London where he travelled to for medical check-up.

Chief of staff to the president Prof Ibrahim Gambari led other top government officials to receive Buhari on Thursday at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

After the brief airport ceremony, Buhari and his entourage then proceeded to the Presidential Villa.

Buhari had left Nigeria for the United Kingdom on March 30.

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Obaseki fires back at Finance minister, over denial of printed N60bn

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has responded to the minister of finance, budget and national planning Zainab Ahmed who discredited his claim that the Central Bank of Nigeria printed between N50 billion and N60 billion for states to share in March.

While speaking at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement last weekend, Mr Obaseki had claimed the Federal Government printed money to bridge the federation account allocation committee’s allocation.

“When we got FAAC for March, the Federal Government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he had said.

But on Wednesday, the finance minister said Obaseki’s claim was very sad because it was “untrue”.

Countering her reaction on Thursday, Obaseki tweeted: “We believe it is our duty to offer useful advice for the benefit of our country

“The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, @ZShamsuna should rally Nigerians to stem the obvious fiscal slide facing our country.

“Rather than play the Ostrich, we urge the government to take urgent steps to end the current monetary rascality so as to prevent the prevailing economic challenge from degenerating further.

“We believe it is imperative to approach the Nigerian project with all sense of responsibility and commitment and not play to the gallery because ultimately time shall be the judge of us all.”

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CCT Spokesperson Removed After His Badly Written Statement On Assault By Chairman

Spokesman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal Ibraheem Alhassan who issued a controversial statement on alleged assault involving his boss Danladi Umar has been removed.

Mr Alhassan issued the statement after the CCT chairman Umar was caught on video physically assaulting a security guard at Banex Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja.

Alhassan’s statement was ladened with grammatical blunders and ethnic slurs.

Some of the grammatical errors are “video cliff” instead of “video clip”; “packing lot” instead of “parking lot”; “rode” instead of “rude”; “fixe” instead of “fix”.

In the statement, he had also described the alleged mob that attacked his boss as Biafran boys.

Faced with backlash, Alhassan said he was instructed by Umar to include that Biafran boys attacked him, an order the CCT chairman confirmed to have given.

However, CCT chief registrar Abdumalik Shaibu confirmed to TheCable that Alhassan had been recalled by the Ministry of Information.

Shaibu confirmed that a replacement for Alhassan has already been sent to the tribunal.

“It is true. He was posted to us from there in the first place. I got the news that he has been recalled but there is no official letter yet from the ministry,” he was quoted as saying.

“I was told there is an official letter but we are still waiting for it. A replacement came in last week Friday, and Ibrahim came to introduce him to us.

“We are hoping an official letter will coming this week so that the new person can resume fully.”

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Google Honors Oliver de Coque with a Doodle on his 74th Posthumous Birthday

Nigerian guitarist and highlife music legend Oliver De Coque has been honoured by Google Doodle on his 74th posthumous birthday.

The illustration for the doodle was made by Lagos-based Ohab TBJ.

Born Sunday Akanite on April 14, 1947 in Ezinifite, Anambra State, the late musician is regarded as one of the most flamboyant artistes that ever came out of Africa.

He released his debut album Messiah in 1977 and recorded no fewer than 93 albums before his death.

His Ogene style of highlife blended Congolese-inspired guitar playing with traditional Igbo music.

The fusion produced hits like ‘People’s Club of Nigeria’, ‘Biri Ka Mbiri’, ‘Ana Enwe’, ‘Nnukwu Mmanwu’ and ‘Identity’.

Known for his signature beard, Olive De Coque broke ethnic barriers by serving as apprentice to Yoruba juju musicians Sunny Agaga and Jacob Oluwale. He was also signed on to Olumo Records.

Oliver De Coque died on June 20, 2008 at a hospital in Gbagada, Lagos.

He was aged 61.

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Family announces date for Yinka Odumakin’s burial

The late activist and Afenifere spokesman Yinka Odumakin will be buried on April 24, his family has announced.

His widow Joe Okei-Odumakin in a statement on Monday said the rites would span three days – starting from Thursday, April 22 through Friday 23 and Saturday 24, 2021.

She said, “Thursday, April 22: Day of Tributes and Service of Songs at the Police College, Ikeja Lagos between 11 am and 4 pm while his body lies in state.

“Friday, April 23: Body departs Lagos for Moro, his country home, in Ife North LGA of Osun State.

“There will be a Christian wake keep by 5 pm at the Origbo Anglican Grammar School, Moro, to be followed by a candlelight procession on Friday.

“Saturday, April 24: Lying in State at Origbo Anglican Grammar School, Moro by 8 am, followed by a Funeral Service by 10 am, after which his remains will be committed to Mother Earth at a private interment.”

Odumakin died in Lagos on Good Friday, April 2 of complications arising from COVID-19.

Okei-Odumakin, also a rights activist, had said in a tribute last Tuesday that her husband died on Friday but doctors could not decide how to communicate that to her until Saturday.

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Agency gives building occupants seven-day evacuation notice

The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) has cordoned off a distressed three-storey building in Oshodi with a seven-day evacuation ultimatum on traders and residents to save lives.

The ultimatum is contained in a statement issued by the director, public affairs of the agency Gbadeyan Abdulraheem on Sunday in Lagos.

In the statement, the general manager Gbolahan Oki was quoted as saying that the owner and occupants of the dilapidated building at No. 2 Brown Street, off Bolade Bus-Stop, had ignored several quit and removal notices served in the past.

Mr Oki said the seven days ultimatum became necessary after the scientific and structural integrity/stability test (SIT) revealed that the high-rise building “is extremely dilapidated and a disaster waiting to happen.”

Oki said that there was a need for removal of the structure to prevent loss of lives and in line with the government’s drive to achieve zero tolerance for building collapse for the safety of Lagos residents.

He explained that the relevant tests were carried out by a team of LASBCA experts and its sister agency, the Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory.

The general manager urged the traders and residents to vacate the building for their own good before April 15.

He added that this would allow the agency to remove the building before a disaster occurs.

“The government will not fold its arms and watch a distressed structure of that magnitude collapse on her people without taking necessary action,” he said.

While reaffirming the state government’s commitment to safeguarding lives and property, Oki called for the collaboration of residents in reporting distressed and non-confirming buildings in their localities to LASBCA district offices.

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JUST IN: Convicted Genesis Prophet Released From Prison, Returns To Church

Head of Genesis Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ, Alagbado, Lagos Prophet Israel Ogundipe has returned to church following his release from prison.

The cleric on Sunday joined in the worship and was received by an overjoyed crowd.

Ogundipe is seen in a video posted to Instagram by the church leading praise and worship.

A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal in Lagos granted Ogundipe post-conviction bail on April 1 on the ground of health conditions.

Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos State High Court had on November 18 sentenced the popular prophet to one-year imprisonment for converting a woman’s property to his personal use and stealing.

The court had found Ogundipe guilty of stealing and unlawful conversion of the property of a London-based architect Oladele Williams-Oni.

Ogundipe, who was arraigned on seven counts bordering on obtaining by stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretences, unlawful conversion of property and forgery, fraudulently collected N14m and £12,000 in various tranches from the complainant between August 30, 2002 and 2005.

Justice Akinlade, who found Ogundipe guilty on two counts count of stealing and unlawful conversion of property not delivered, sentenced him to one-year imprisonment on each count and ordered that he should pay the complainant the sum of N11m, which he obtained from her illegally.

Dissatisfied with the judgement, Ogundipe, through his counsel Babatunde Ogala, approached the Appeal Court for bail pending the hearing of the appeal and an application to quash the conviction.

Ogala argued the televangelist was diabetic, could no longer follow a strict diet and the constant specialised medical attention in custody, which had taken a toll on his health made him “gaunt in appearance.”

Delivering the ruling, Justice Abudullhai Bayero said, “There are criteria for granting a convict bail. These include that the applicant must be a first-time offender or have a serious health condition.

“The applicant seeking bail pending appeal before the court is a first-time offender and he has also shown to the court that he is having hypertension, peptic ulcer, unending malaria, and diabetes, which are serious health conditions.”

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Nigerian Social Media Influencers Were Paid To Support Alez Saab

Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh has been linked to a paid campaign for the release of alleged money launder Alex Saab.

Mr Saab is a Colombian businessman who worked with the Venezuelan government and is fighting an extradition order to the United States.

He was arrested In Cape Verde while traveling from Venezuela to Iran in June 2020 when his plane stopped to refuel in the African Island nation.

He denies the allegations against him, and his lawyers say his detention violates international law because Venezuela named him a “special envoy,” which provided him diplomatic immunity, and because the Interpol red notice calling for his arrest was issued after he was detained in Cape Verde.

Since mid-January, #FreeAlexSaab has been a rallying cry among Nigerians on Twitter with reports claiming Tonto and some social media influencers were paid to sway public opinion and court proceedings in Nigeria and Cape Verde where Saab is currently under house arrest.

On March 23, the 35-year-old actress tweeted to her 1.5 million followers: “I want to give someone who urgently needs money N25,000. Pls tell me what you will like to buy if I gift this to you. Pls add #FreeAlexSaab to your replies and you may be my next winner.”

An hour later, she asked people to sign an online petition in support of Saab and offered to send money to followers if 100 people signed it.

The tweets were deleted soon after they were posted and Tonto’s account suspended on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 for violating Twitter rules.

When contacted, Tonto said that neither she nor her social media manager knew anything about the Saab tweets.

“I don’t know anything about this. Free Alex Saab? Who is that?” she told BuzzFeed, suggesting someone may have hacked her account.

The Saab affair is not the first time Tonto Dikeh has been called out for making phony statements on social media.

The Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) on February 27 issued an official statement to deny her claim that the agency appointed her its peace ambassador.

On April 8, director of the United Nations Information Centre in Nigeria, Ronald Kayanja, disowned a United Nations noble international ambassador honour she claimed to have received from one United Nations Rescue Services.

Mr Kayanja told the BBC that many organisations use the UN name without authorization and that he will discuss the matter with the Nigerian authorities.

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US classifies El-Zakzaky, wife as political prisoners

The United States Government has classified the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah as political prisoners.

The government’s position was stated on Tuesday in the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices issued by the US State Department.

“Political prisoners and detainees. IMN’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and his spouse remained in detention. In 2018 the Kaduna State Government charged Zakzaky in state court with multiple felonies stemming from the death of a soldier at Zaria,” the report read.

El-Zakzaky was arrested in December 2015 after soldiers clamped down on his supporters, killing at least 347 of them, including his children. The army accused them of blocking a public road being used then by the chief of army staff Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.

He was detained without trial for several months without trial causing his lawyer Femi Falana to file a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

In December 2016, Justice Gabriel Kolawole ordered that El-Zakzaky and his wife be released from detention into an accommodation that must be provided for them within 45 days.

The judge also awarded N25 million each to the Shi’ite leader and his wife for the violation of their rights by being held in unlawful custody.

But the Federal Government ignored the judgment and kept them in custody for another 17 months until they were arraigned by the Kaduna State Government in April 2018 on eight counts bordering on culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among others.

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