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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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Fraud: Ezekwesili submits evidence against Omojuwa to IGP, demands prosecution

Former presidential candidate Oby Ezekwesili has written a petition to the Inspector-General of Police Usman Alkali, demanding the prosecution of the founder and chief strategist of Alpha Reach Company Limited Japheth Omojuwa for alleged fraud.

The petition was dated April 14, 2021, but was received at the Force Headquarters on April 15.

In the petition signed by Marshal Abubakar of Falana and Falana chambers, Ezekwesili said Omojuwa fraudulently listed her name as a director in the firm without her permission.

Ezekwesili said when she was informed of the development, she quickly called Omojuwa to confirm if she was ever listed as a director at Alpha Reach but he denied it.

The former minister subsequently attached as evidence, communications between herself and Omojuwa wherein the blogger allegedly stated that he never listed her as a director in the company.

But Omojuwa had in an open letter addressed to Ezekwesili on Tuesday said he obtained her permission before listing her as a director.

Her petition read in part, “It is our brief that our client promptly contacted Japheth Omojuwa to confirm whether he forged her signature and other incorporation documents and processes but he informed her that the Alpha Reach Company Limited is his company and that she is not involved in it at all.

“Please find attached the referenced communication between our client and Mr. Japheth Omojuwa.”

Ezekwesili further stated that she requested for the incorporation documents from Omojuwa and he promised to make them available to her within the week but he never did.

“We submit that the foregoing infractions amount to forgery, fraudulent misrepresentation and egregious breach of extant provisions of the Penal Code Law, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the Companies and Allied Matters Act deserving of investigation and prosecution,” her petition further read.

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Quiet but deadly comment: Governor Makinde tackles Fayose

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde has knocked the former governor of Ekiti State Ayo Fayose for describing him as “quiet but deadly”.

Mr Makinde, in a statement by his media aide Taiwo Adisa on Thursday, warned Mr Fayose against spreading a false narrative about the south-west Peoples Democratic Party congress held in Osun State on Monday.

Both Makinde and Fayose presented candidates for the chairmanship of the party in the south-west.

While Makinde backed a former deputy governor of Oyo State and eventual winner Taofeek Arapaja, Fayose supported Eddy Olafeso.

But Fayose, who had acknowledged Makinde as his leader at the congress, insisted that the election was rigged and made a personal attack at the Oyo governor while speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday.

Responding to Fayose’s remarks, Makinde said in the statement that the ex-governor’s comments were “unstatesmanlike, unguarded, malicious and wicked”.

“Governor Makinde had equally described the congress as a family affair, promising to work with anyone who emerged winner, with the climax of the Monday, April 12, 2021, event being the eventual acceptance of Governor Makinde as the leader of the South-West PDP by former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose,” the statement read.

“One is, therefore, surprised that less than 48 hours after that acceptance and the commitment to work with Governor Makinde to build the party, the former governor is masterminding an assault against Governor Makinde over the peaceful congress in which the latter made it clear that there would be ‘no victor, no vanquished’.

“One can see the ungodly pattern Makinde’s critics are following by trying to build a false narrative around the congress with a view to rubbishing it.

“It should, therefore, come as a surprise to the public that the same camp that claimed that it had conceded defeat and was ready to work with Arapaja, is now engaging in media warfare against the governor.”

“While we would not like to join issues with Mr. Fayose and those who contested against Ambassador Arapaja, over the outcome of the congress, we would like to caution that no one should attempt to impugn the personality of Governor Makinde, a peace-loving individual, who has never got anything by violence,” the statement further read.

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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 over money laundering allegations.

Okorocha’s spokesperson Sam Onwuemeodo, in a statement on Thursday evening, disclosed that Okorocha “is in his house now.”

The statement said that Okorocha’s two-day stay in EFCC detention offered him the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

“He left the Commission’s office on the afternoon of Thursday, April 15, 2021. Recall that we had promised that the former lmo State governor would fully cooperate with the agents of the Commission since it was operating within the ambit of the law establishing it,” Mr Onwuemeodo said.

However, Imo State governor’s media aide Modestus Nwamkpa claimed in a statement that Okorocha was freed from the facility of the EFCC because of ill health.

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Dangote, BUA reconcile over sugar plant dispute after meeting with Ganduje

Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has waded into the dispute between Dangote and BUA companies owned by two business moguls from the state.

The governor called a meeting to resolve the lingering conflict between the two prominent indigenes Aliko Dangote and Abdul Samad Rabi’u, chairman of BUA Group, over the establishment of a sugar plant by BUA.

A statement by the chief press secretary to the governor on Thursday Abba Anwar said the reconciliation meeting took place on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that Aminu Dantata, Kano Emirate and the Kano State council of imams joined the governor in the reconciliation meeting.

Dangote recently filed complaints about the establishment of a sugar plant by BUA in the Port Harcourt free trade zone, saying it was out of tune with export laws.

Mr Anwar said that after the meeting, both businessmen agreed to work together to supply enough sugar that would satisfy the demands of the country.

According to him, the meeting put a stop to rumour that the duo was in dispute over sugar business control in the country.

“They all dismissed allegations that Dangote was planning to see the increase of sugar price, thereby pressurising BUA to succumb to the increment. They described the allegation as baseless and lacking any iota of truth.

“The meeting was seen as the zenith of other similar efforts to reconcile the two giants by the governor. Alhaji Aminu Alhassan Dantata played the role of a father during the meeting,” Anwar said.

Minister for commerce, trade and investment Niyi Adebayo and representative of the Kano Emirate Aminu Dan-Agundi were also at the meeting.

Others were chairman of the council of Kano imams Sheikh Muhammad Nasir-Adam, chief imam of Sheikh Ahmadu Tijjani Friday Mosque, Kofar Mata, Kano and the chairman of NEPZA, Adamu Panda.

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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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TB Joshua’s TV suspended on YouTube

The YouTube channel of Pastor T.B. Joshua Emmanuel TV has been suspended for allegedly propagating hate speech.

Joshua is the founder of The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN).

The church said in a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday concerning the suspension: “Our mission is to share the love of God with everyone – irrespective of race or religion – and we strongly oppose all forms of hate speech! We have had a long and fruitful relationship with YouTube and believe this decision was made in haste.”

The YouTube channel, which had over 1.8 million subscribers and 600 million views before suspension, was among the largest in Nigeria and reportedly the most watched Christian ministry ever on the video-sharing platform.

The church also published on Facebook the video that led to the channel’s suspension.

The video titled “‘THE SPIRIT OF MAN IS TORMENTING YOU!!!’ | TB Joshua Personal Prophecy” was about Chetanna Nwabuwa a Nigerian living in Ghana who was allegedly possessed by a strange spirit.

The incident has led to public outcry from Joshua’s followers on social media.

Suzanne Mare, one of the followers of Emmanuel TV, expressed anger and frustration over the development.

“I have followed SCOAN and Emmanuel TV for 18 years and not once have I encountered any form of hate speech. I find your censorship extremely disturbing,” she wrote on Facebook.

“I had depression and attempted suicide twice but after watching Emmanuel TV and realising how much God loves me, my life was saved,” Rita Machipanda emotionally wrote on Facebook, pleading with YouTube to restore the channel.

YouTube had earlier awarded Emmanuel TV a gold creator award for surpassing 1 million subscribers, an achievement which attracted commendation from the company’s CEO Susan Wojcicki.

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Gunmen posing as funeral party kill three policemen at checkpoint

Ebonyi State Police Command has confirmed the killing of three operatives by gunmen in Abakaliki, the state capital.

The Command’s spokesperson Loveth Odah told reporters on Thursday that the deceased were shot dead at a checkpoint on Onuebonyi/Nwezenyi Road, Abakaliki on Wednesday night.

Odah said that the assailants, who pretended to be holding a burial rite, drove round the area in a tricycle before opening fire on the policemen.

“Right now, investigation is ongoing and we are committed to bringing the perpetrators to book,” she said.

The spokesperson appealed to the public to support the fight against crime by providing useful information to the police and other security agencies in the state.

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Rapper CDQ arrested for allegedly being in possession of cannabis

The Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has confirmed the arrest of rapper CDQ on suspicion of cannabis possession.

The man born Sodiq Yusuf was arrested by men of the anti-narcotics agency at his Lekki residence on Wednesday night.

Spokesman for the agency Femi Babafemi confirmed the arrest to PUNCH on Thursday, adding that the 35-year-old had been granted bail but remained under investigation.

Babafemi added that CDQ mentioned names of other artistes who use the substance known on the street as “loud”.

“Yes, CDQ was arrested in his house at Lekki for being in possession of cannabis. He was arrested based on intelligence. As of last night, he was granted administrative bail, but he is expected back into custody today because it is an ongoing investigation.

“Some substances were found and he mentioned some names of some other big artistes. So, it is an ongoing investigation,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman volunteered that the outcome of the investigation would determine if the rapper would be charged to court or counselled by the agency.

“The outcome of the investigation would determine what would happen. There are cases whereby the investigation shows some sufficient infractions, and then the case will go to court. There are other cases whereby if the quantity is insignificant, we will bring him in for counselling and possible rehabilitation. Those are likely scenarios that will happen,” Babafemi said.

CDQ, however, claims that someone was trying to set him up.

“No sleep for the wicked. Iyalaya yin o ni sun for dis Lagos. They tryna set me up today but Olohun wa,” he wrote in a message posted on Twitter and Instagram on the day of his arrest.

“I have a lot to talk about but lemme get over the shock first,” he wrote in another message on Thursday.

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Acting IGP disbands Monitoring Units in Lagos, Port Harcourt

The acting Inspector-General of Police Alkali Baba has ordered the immediate disbandment of the IGP monitoring satellite offices in Lagos and Port Harcourt.

His order at the maiden meeting with Command police commissioners and zonal AIGs in Abuja on Thursday followed complaints of harassment and operating beyond their briefs.

The acting police boss said the monitoring units would be re-organised.

The development comes 24 hours after the Police Service Commission asked the IGP to check the proliferation of police investigating units.

The commission stated that the units were bringing huge embarrassments to the Force.

The commission chairman Musiliu Smith said there must be proper and close monitoring of police investigative units to stem the atrocities its officials committed in the line of duty.

The retired IGP had also stressed the need to quickly treat cases of misconduct by the officers “so that those found wanting are brought to book”.

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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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Makinde Looks Quiet but He’s Deadly, Fayose Talks Tough, Insists He Won southwest PDP congress election

Former Ekiti State governor Ayo Fayose has described Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde as having a quiet look, but deadly.

Fayose said this on a Channels Television programme: Politics Today, on Wednesday following the conclusion of the south-west congress of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Both Makinde and Fayose belong to the PDP and presented candidates for the chairmanship of the party in the south-west.

While Makinde backed a former deputy governor of Oyo State and eventual winner Taofeek Arapaja, Fayose supported Eddy Olafeso.

Speaking against the backdrop of a viral video that showed some thugs threatening to kill him if he attends the PDP congress in Osun State and its eventual outcome, Fayose said those who made the threat were Makinde’s men.

“I have seen this video. What this gentleman was saying at the time, they came to the venue saying we are waiting for you here, we are going to kill you,” he said.

“This is the chairman of the road transport workers in Oyo State. This people came with Governor Makinde’s convoy. Everybody knows.

“This is enough to show the whole world if Governor Makinde, a first-time two-year old governor, yet to be two-year-old governor, is parading characters like this, it simply shows the kind of people behind him.”

When confronted with the fact that the video also shows the character and quality of the people in the PDP, Fayose said it was shameful, stressing that thuggery is disgraceful for the party.

He said: “These same people came to Ondo and I told Governor Makinde. So I am glad the whole world is seeing this.

“Governor Makinde, you look quiet, but deadly.”

On the Congress, Fayose alleged that dead people were accredited to vote, adding that a former majority leader of the House of Representatives, Mulikat Adeola-Akande, identified those that were dead and sick on the accreditation list.

“I have accepted this result not because they won, but because I am one of the people that can’t defect to another party,” he said.

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Minister non-committal on Buhari’s return date

Minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed says there is “no big issue” yet regarding President Muhammadu Buhari’s expected return from London.

Buhari left Nigeria on March 30 for London for a medical check-up. The Presidency at the time said he would return during the second week of April 2021.

Responding to questions from reporters at the State House on Wednesday, the minister hinted the president would make good his word to return this week.

“Today is Wednesday, this week finishes on Saturday. So, what’s the big issue in that one?” Mohammed said.

Meanwhile, Buhari was criticised for leaving the country for medical check-up overseas despite threats by resident doctors to embark on strike.

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Buhari appoints wife’s biographer as ambassador to UNESCO

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Hajo Sani who wrote the biography of the first lady Aisha Buhari titled Aisha Buhari: Being different as ambassador and permanent delegate of Nigeria to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Sani is the senior special assistant to the president on administration and women affairs (office of the first lady).

Spokesman of the Federal Ministry of Education Ben Bem Goong announced the appointment in a statement on Wednesday.

Goong said the president also made other key appointments in the education sector including, “Prof. John Okpako Enaohwo, Chairman, Governing Board of National Commission for Colleges of Education, (NCCE), Abuja.

“Prof. Abdullahi A. Abba, Pro- Chancellor/ Chairman, Governing Council, Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue State.

“Prof. Idris Muhammad Bugaje, Executive Secretary, National Board For Technical Education, (NBTE) Kaduna,

“Dr. Benjamin Ogbole Abakpa as Executive Secretary of National Senior Secondary Education Commission, (NSSEC), Abuja.

“Prof. Paulinus Chijikoke Okwelle, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Abuja.

“Prof. Ibrahim Muhammad as Director/CEO, Nigerian Arabic Language Village, Ngala, Borno State.”

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FG Counters Obaseki, Denies Printing N60bn to Augment FAAC

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

Mr Obaseki’s statement had raised concerns of inflation among the populace.

However, speaking with reporters on Wednesday, the minister said what is shared monthly at the meeting of the federation account allocation committee is revenue generated.

“The issue that was raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not a fact,” she said.

“What we distribute at FAAC is a revenue that is generated and in fact, distribution revenue is a public information.

“We publish revenue generated by FIRS, the Customs and the NNPC and we distribute at FAAC.

“So, it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC. It is not true.”

On Nigeria’s debt profile, the minister added, “Nigeria’s debt is still within sustainable limit.

“What we need to do as I have said several times is to improve our revenue to enhance our capacity to service, not only our debt, but to service the needs of running government on day-to-day basis.

“So, our debt currently at about 23% to GDP is at a very sustainable level, if you look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions.”

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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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Gas Explosion In Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos

Several persons have been reported injured in a gas explosion on Tuesday in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos.

It was gathered that the incident occurred around 7pm at Iyasoko Street Agboju, Amuwo-Odofin.

Spokesman of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Nosa Okunbor confirmed the explosion.

However, he said a team deployed to the area was delayed by traffic.

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After getting over N14m, Lagos govt takes over amputee “Pure Water” seller’s Case, provides accommodation

Lagos State Government says it has taken over the welfare of Mary Daniel, the 26-year-old homeless amputee and single mother, whose tragic story trended on social media platforms over the weekend.

Speaking on the intervention of the state government, the special adviser to the governor on civic engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, stated that the move became necessary in order to protect the physically challenged woman from abuse and risk.

According to the special adviser, Ms Daniel, an indigene of Ayingba, Kogi State, who just moved to Lagos two weeks ago, hawked table water in traffic in Oshodi to earn a living, is now in temporary protective custody pending when further plans would be concluded by the government to get her an apartment and also empower her.

Adebowale said on Monday, “The case of Mary (Daniel) was brought to my attention by the Managing Director, Lagos State Lotteries Board and two politicians from Oshodi who expressed concern about her safety as some kind-hearted individuals have started sending money to her account to assist her.”

She explained that after her interaction with Daniel, it was agreed that the present administration should take over the case to ensure her personal safety, hence the involvement of the state government.

Adebowale promised to personally look after her as a guardian and make sure that she is properly settled in Lagos, saying “We will make sure she becomes a responsible citizen in the state.”

Daniel survived an accident in 2006, since then she has been doing odd jobs to care for herself and her baby including selling ‘pure water’ (sachet water) on the streets of Lagos.

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Ex-SARS operative denied asylum in Canada for ‘contributing’ to police brutality

Canada has rejected the asylum request of a former operative of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Olushola Popoola.

Mr Popoola’s application was rejected by the immigration division of the Immigration and Refugee Board in Canada because he was a member of the defunct unit of the Nigeria Police Force between 2002 and 2015.

Popoola left Nigeria in 2016 for the United States before he travelled to Canada, where he claimed refugee status. His claim was, however, suspended while his case was referred to the immigration division for a determination of his inadmissibility.

Popoola was found “inadmissible pursuant to section 35(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 [the Act]” because “the Nigeria Police Force, and the SARS in particular, have committed crimes against humanity from 2002 to 2015” including “corruption and impunity” as well as “extrajudicial killings”, the Canadian immigration department said.

Popoola later approached the Federal Court of Canada to seek judicial review of his determination of inadmissibility, arguing that he had resigned in 2011 but the Force did not accept his resignation, hence he continued till 2015.

However, the presiding judge Sébastien Grammond on April 8, 2021, dismissed the application for judicial review while upholding the decision of the immigration division.

Grammond also said Popoola resigned for personal reasons, not because he learned of human rights abuses.

“I am dismissing his application, because the decision-maker reasonably assessed the relevant factors for deciding whether Mr. Popoola made a knowing and significant contribution to the crimes committed by the Nigerian Police Force,” the judge ruled.

Incidents of rights abuses by SARS operatives forced young persons last October to protest across Nigeria in what was tagged #EndSARS.

The unit was eventually scrapped and replaced with the Special Weapons and Tactics Team.

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Popular TV presenter Rachel Bakam dies at 38

Award-winning TV personality and actress Rachel Bakam has died, her younger brother Bakam Adams Junior confirmed on Wednesday.

Bakam, who hailed from Fadia Tudun Wada in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, died on Tuesday afternoon aged 39.

The actress died at a private hospital in Abuja after a brief illness.

“Yes, the news is true. She was admitted last Friday. She died today (Tuesday) after a brief illness at about noon at a private hospital in Abuja,” her brother told PUNCH.

“Rach, as we fondly called her, was a very likeable person, selfless, hardworking and God-fearing. She was very sacrificial. Her death has devastated us. I am yet to come to terms with it. I cannot tell you much.”

She is survived by a son, mother, three brothers and many relations.

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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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Akeredolu petitions police commissioner over former deputy’s refusal to return govt vehicles

Ondo State Government has petitioned the police in respect of the immediate past deputy governor Agboola Ajayi who is yet to return official vehicles.

The vehicles are Land Cruiser SUV, new Toyota Hilux, new Toyota Hilux and Toyota Hilux.

Senior special assistant to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on special duties and strategy, Doyin Odebowale, who signed the petition, said he has been mandated to recover all government property still in the possession of former political office holders in the state, especially those who served in the immediate past administration.

Odebowale said all entreaties to Mr Ajayi to return the four vehicles for use of the incumbent deputy governor have been rebuffed.

“We lodge this complaint believing that you will use your good offices to look into this brazen act of conversion, and this is being charitable.

“Any person who keeps/detains the property of another with the intent to deprive the owner, permanently, of the usufruct right conferred therefrom, has committed an offence known in law as STEALING.

“This office undertakes to assist the Command with regard to the necessary logistics to recover the converted properties,” the petition reads.

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Birthday: Lagos Monarch sends appreciation message to guests

Elegushi of Ikate land His Royal Majesty Oba Saheed Elegushi, Kusenla III on Monday sent his appreciation note to all who attended his birthday party.

The monarch hosted guests to glitzy dinner at the Monarch Events Centre on Saturday.

He posted his appreciation note to Instagram which reads: “With a grateful heart; I want to thank everyone one, my wives, my family, friends and associates…. all of you gave me a memorable day, a day I won’t forget in a hurry. I thank you all. It was a day to remember!!!”

The birthday party began with several events such as the chieftaincy conferment on Olalekan Bakare as Aro Oba Elegushi of Ikateland.

The cultural ceremony saw the new Aro changing to different outfits seven times. Then he was joined by some white caps chiefs, and together, they led a procession to the Elegushi Palace.

The king received them with his trademark smile and warmth and then decorated the new chief to the delight of all.

The party had top-rated comedians Gbenga Adeyinka and Ali Baba as comperes.

Veentage Band, DJ Spinal, Davido, Naira Marley, Patoranking, Fireboy, CDQ and Lil Kesh entertained guests.

Dignitaries at the event included Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly Mudashiru Obasa, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sani, Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi and husband, Taiwo Afolabi (SIFAX), Amina Jambo, Shina Pellar, Oba Folarin Ogunsanwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, Oba Gbolahan Lawal, Oba Lateef Adams, Abisoye Fagade, Seyi Tinubu among others.

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Gunshots as Fayose leaves Southwest PDP congress

Former Ekiti State governor Ayo Fayose has made up with Oyo State governor Seyi Makinde, declaring the governor his leader after months of power tussle.

Speaking at the Wocdiff Centre, Osogbo, venue of the zonal congress of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Fayose acknowledged, “The governor of Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde, my brother, my friend and by the grace of God, our leader.”

Fayose also apologised to members of the party not in his faction for all they have all gone through over the years.

“I and Seyi Makinde are one from the beginning,” he said, praying that the tenure of Makinde as the party leader in the south-west would usher the PDP into a season of great accomplishments.

“Nothing last forever, if I offend anybody, I apologise,” he added.

Fayose and Makinde have been enmeshed in a leadership crisis. While Makinde laid claim to the leadership position of the PDP in south-west by being the only PDP governor in the region, Fayose said he was leader by virtue of being a former governor.

Meanwhile, the police reportedly raised tension at the congress with gunshots to disperse suspected hoodlums who were threatening to attack Fayose.

Osun police commissioner Wale Olokode, who led the security team that dispersed the hoodlums, also shot canisters sending people scampering for safety.

Also, Taofeek Arapaja, the candidate backed by Makinde’s camp, got 343 votes to emerge the new south-west PDP zonal vice-chairman.

Eddy Olafeso backed by Fayose got a total of 330 votes.

Earlier, Makinde and Fayose had promised to accept whoever emerged winner.

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Government to conduct headcount of commercial sex workers in Bauchi

Bauchi State Government says it will conduct headcount of commercial sex workers in the state with a view to having an accurate data on them.

Permanent commissioner in charge of Hisbah and Sharia implementation Aminu Balarabe-Isah made this known in Bauchi on Monday during a sensitisation workshop organised for commercial sex workers.

He said the information generated from the exercise would help the commission in taking measures aimed at discouraging them from continuing with their dangerous trade.

Isah disclosed plans by the state government to organise empowerment programmes for them, as well as provide them with capital to start small scale businesses.

He explained that investigations conducted by his agency indicated that most of the sex workers took to prostitution as a result of illitracy, poverty or maltreatment meted on them by their step-mothers.

He said that minor family squabbles also contributed to their decision to take to prostitution, assuring that government would make efforts to re-unite them with their parents.

The commissioner expressed readiness of the state government to organise mass marriages for those of them who get suitors.

Hafsatu Azare, who spoke on behalf of the sex workers, assured that they were willing to quit the trade if government would empower them economically, describing their condition as pathetic.

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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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Army confirms Borno’s Damasak attack

The Nigerian Army has confirmed the death of two soldiers following an attack on Boko Haram fighters in Damasak, headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State.

The incursion into Damasak by terrorists was repelled by troops supported by the air component of Operation Lafiya Dole on April 10, 2021.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima in a statement said the “gallant troops engaged the terrorists with superior firepower both from the air and on the ground which compelled them to withdraw in disarray with several men and equipment casualty.”

Yerima further said, “Sadly, two gallant soldiers have paid the supreme price while one officer and two soldiers were injured. The injured are currently recuperating at a military hospital in Maiduguri.

“Similarly, troops of Sector 1, OPLD on picketing duty along road Ngwom-Mafa to Maiduguri on Sunday, 11 April 2021 decisively neutralised seven members of the Boko Haram Terrorists group supposedly lying in wait to attack the troops and other innocent citizens plying the busy road.

“The troops who have continued to dominate their areas with massive clearance patrols and ambushes sprang the surprise attack on the terrorists that have been menacing the peace and livelihood of the people in the area.

“In the encounter, seven terrorists were neutralised while five AK-47 rifles were recovered along with several other items. The terrorists laid the ambush with the intent to harm NA troops and other innocent commuters. They, however, ran out of luck as they were instead trapped and neutralised in their own web. After the duel and successful neutralization of the terrorists, the troops continued their clearance patrol up to Maiduguri.”

The spokesman added that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole would continue to maintain aggressive posture to ensure the entire area is cleared of terrorist activities.

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Isa Pantami Reacts To Newswire’s Retraction Of News Linking Him To Terrorism

Minister of communications and digital economy Isa Pantami has threatened to sue major news outlets who reported he was allegedly placed on terror watchlist by the United States over alleged ties with the late Boko Haram leader Muhammed Yusuf.

Yusuf, founder of Boko Haram, was killed in 2009. His death birthed a macabre era of unprecedented uprising; carnage, bombings, kidnappings among other crimes against humanity.

An online news platform NewsWire, among others, earlier reported Mr Pantami was placed on US terror watchlist, but retracted it with an apology.

Reacting to the reports, Pantami tweeted: “@NewsWireNGR your RETRACTION through your independent investigation,has been noted. However, investigative journalism requires the investigation before publishing, not after.

“Further, major publishers will meet my lawyers in the court on this defamation of character.

“My lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria. If you can’t understand Hausa, get an objective Hausa speaker to translate for you objectively.

“On the issue of NIN-SIM Verification to fight insecurity, there is no going back. Our priority as GOVERNMENT based on the provision of our constitution 1999 (as amended) Section 14(2)b is SECURITY, not just economy. For sure, no going back at all. Let’s the sponsors continue.”

Pantami added that no amount of intimidation would stop him from implementing the “good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on security.”

Pantami’s supporters have, however, called on him to take action against news outlets who published the false report.

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Abducted Imo Catholic priest regains freedom

Rev. Fr. Marcel Onyeocha of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese who was abducted on Saturday has regained freedom.

The professor of philosophy at Imo State University, Owerri was freed by his abductors in the early hours of Monday.

He was dropped off at Ihube axis on Enugu-Okigwe Expressway by his abductors, the same axis he was kidnapped on Saturday evening.

Provincial secretary of Claratian missionaries Rev Fr Matthew Iwuagwu confirmed the release of the priest.

Imo police spokesman Orlando Ikeokwu also confirmed the release of the priest, saying a manhunt for the kidnappers had been launched.

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Tears as Nigerian Army buries 11 soldiers killed by militia group

The Nigerian Army on Monday buried 11 personnel killed in the bloody communal clash between Konshishi and Oju local government areas of Benue.

The victims — one officer and 10 soldiers — were on stabilisation operation in Benue State.

They were buried at Wurukum military cemetery in Makurdi, Benue state capital.

Governor Samuel Ortom and other top military officers attended the burial ceremony.

Ortom lamented the killing of the soldiers and vowed to collaborate with security agencies to restore peace in Konshisha.

He said: “We condemn the killing of the soldiers who were out to maintain peace. Attack on security men is attack on all. The attack was uncalled for and unwarranted.

“They were out to keep peace and got killed in the process otherwise we all know what soldiers would ordinarily do in such a situation.

“If I said anything that was offensive to the families, I ask for their forgiveness. I earlier said only two soldiers were involved based on the information available to me at that time.”

Conducting the funeral service, Chaplain of 73 Battalion, Major Ibrahim Mavisky and the imam Captain A.A Bashir agreed that there was time to be born and time to die.

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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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Jehovah Sharp Sharp Carries Coffin To Protest Against Buhari

Jehovah Sharp-Sharp Archbishop Samson Benjamin
General overseer of Resurrection Praise Ministries for Africa Bishop Samson Benjamin on Sunday protested against the Buhari administration in Lagos.

Benjamin alias Jehovah Sharp Sharp marched through the streets of Festac with a coffin on his head.

He claimed God asked him to do so because God was unhappy with the government and the state of the nation.

According to him, his action was the outcome of “a spiritual journey of more than one year”.

“From the 15th of September 2019 up until this moment, I have not eaten food cooked by fire or any pleasant food, I have been seeking the face of God over this great country,” he said.

“Last week, I had a mortal vacation, which was a solitary confinement where I didn’t talk to any human to be with the cabinet of the trinity, I didn’t see the sun, moon, clouds.

“What you are seeing me do here right now is what the prophets of old would do. God will ask them to carry a symbol when he wants to pass a message to the leaders of the nation.

“He said to me ‘Go and carry a coffin on your head’, it is not furniture or anything for interior decoration, it is good for nothing, it is at the end of the life of a man that he is put into a coffin.”

The cleric quoted the message he allegedly heard: “Tell the leaders that they have intentionally depleted the common resources that belong to this great country and have brought hardship on the citizens, I am not happy with it.”

He described Nigeria as a disappointment to God “who brought people of various ethnicities together and gave them the resources.”

“But those in power have chosen to make the commonwealth of the country their personal property, this is the reason I am carrying this coffin, God is not happy, and he is saying it is not political leaders alone, including the religious and traditional leaders,” he added.

Jehovah Sharp Sharp stressed that the way forward for Nigeria is that those in power need to sit and decide if the country should stay together or not.

The preacher was arrested in April 2020 at the Chinese Embassy in Lagos for violating the presidential lockdown order.

He led a number of people to protest against alleged maltreatment of Nigerians in China.

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Hijab: 10 affected Kwara schools resume Monday

Kwara State Government has announced that the 10 schools involved in a recent hijab controversy in the state would resume their third term academic session on Monday, April 12.

A statement from the permanent secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development Kemi Adeosun on Sunday said the decision was to bring students in the schools to make up for the period when their schools were shut.

The 10 grant-aided missionary schools involved in the controversy were shut down by the state government on February 19 for safety reasons.

”This is to inform parents/guardians and teachers that the 2020/2021 Third Term Academic Session for the 10 schools affected in the recent hijab debate starts on Monday, April 12,” the statement by the ministry read.

”This is part of the government’s efforts to bring the students in these schools up to speed in whatever they may have missed when their schools were shut.

”This is especially necessary for students preparing for external examinations.

”The resumption date for other schools not affected by the brief closure of schools is Monday 26th, 2021, as had earlier been communicated.”

According to the permanent secretary, all the teachers and staff of the affected schools should resume duty and commence classes immediately.

She, however, noted that the monitoring and inspection team of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development would commence duty to ascertain compliance.

The affected schools are C&S College Sabo-Oke, St. Anthony’s Secondary school, Offa Road, ECWA School, Oja Iya, Surulere Baptist Secondary School and Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.

Others are CAC Secondary School Asa Dam road, St. Barnabas Secondary School Sabo-Oke, St. John School Maraba, St. Williams Secondary School Taiwo Isale, and St. James Secondary School Maraba.

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Condolence messages pour in following passing of AKA’s fiancée, muso ‘inconsolable’

Anele Temba, the 22-year-old fiancée of South African rapper Kiernan Forbes, popularly known as AKA, has died after a tragic accident at the Pepperclub Hotel in central Cape Town on Sunday.

Police are investigating the matter, but the deceased is believed to have fallen from the 10th floor of the hotel.

“It is with the deepest regret that we, the Tembe and Forbes families, confirm the untimely passing of our beloved fiancée, daughter, sister and daughter-in-law, Anele Tembe (22). Anele tragically passed on in the early hours of this morning, Sunday 11 April 2021.

“We are still in shock and are dealing with our emotions, as she was an exceptional and gifted young woman, with so much life ahead of her. She had a sweet nature about her and was always nurturing to those around her. Her fiancé, Kiernan Forbes, is currently inconsolable and is surrounded by family and closest friends. At this hour of our grief, we humbly request that our families be given privacy and time to heal,” a statement released by the two families said.

AKA and Temba got engaged in February.

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Imo Police begin manhunt for kidnappers of priest

The Imo State police commissioner Nassiru Mohammed says he has activated tactical units of the command to rescue Rev. Marcel Onyeocha and arrest his kidnappers.

Mr Mohammed, in a statement issued on Sunday by the command’s spokesman Orlando Ikeokwu, called for calm, assuring that the priest would be rescued.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Onyeocha, of Mother Theresa of Golgotha Catholic Church, World Bank, Owerri was kidnapped around Ihube in Okigwe Local Government Area of the state on April 10.

The statement read: “One Bissong Atugu reported that on April 10, at about 7:45 pm., while driving from Enugu to Owerri with a Nissan Exterra SUV, in company with one Rev. Fr. Marcel Onyeocha, the vehicle developed fault around Ihube in Okigwe LGA.

“As they step down to check the vehicle, a group of people, believed to be Fulani herdsmen, emerged from the bush and inflicted injuries on him, while the priest was kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination.

“Sequel to the above, the CP has activated all the tactical teams of the command, with a view to rescuing the priest and possibly arresting the culprits.”

He assured that the command would do everything possible to ensure the rescue of the priest.

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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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South-East governors set up joint security outfit codenamed Ebube Agu

Governors from the south-east region have announced a joint security outfit codenamed Ebubeagu.

South-west governors had about a year ago set up a similar outfit codenamed Amotekun Corps.

The new security outfit was born out of a security meeting south-east governors held on Sunday in Imo with stakeholders of the region.

Governors of Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Imo and Enugu states were present at the meeting.

Also in attendance were navy and air force commanders, inspector-general of police, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and others.

The meeting came as a fallout of the attack on Owerri Custodial Centre where gunmen freed 1,884 inmates. The Imo State Police Command was also attacked by gunmen who set several vehicles ablaze on the same day.

Imo State Government announced the new security outfit on Twitter, saying: “South-East Governors set up the South-East joint security outfit code named EBUBEAGU.”

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Resident Doctors strike in Nigeria suspended after 10 days

Resident doctors in Nigeria have suspended their nationwide strike after 10 days.

“We suspended the strike about one hour ago. We are responsible to Nigerians, the government has acceded to some demands,” president of the National Association of Resident Doctors Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi told PUNCH on Saturday.

According to him, the strike was suspended after meetings with various stakeholders in the health sector.

The doctors began “a total and indefinite strike” on April 1 2021 following the failure of the Federal Government to accede to its demands.

The strike action was the outcome of its “extraordinary national executive council” meeting held on March 27, 2021 at the trauma center of National Hospital, Abuja to review its earlier ultimatum and deliberate on burning issues affecting residency training, healthcare delivery and the welfare.

The association, among other issues, was demanding immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers including March salaries (regardless of quota system) before the end of business on March 31, 2021.

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OPC Faults Dambazau Over Comparison With Boko Haram

The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) on Saturday criticised former chief of army staff and immediate past minister of interior Lt. Gen. Abdurahman Dambazau (retd.) for comparing the Yoruba rights group with Boko Haram.

Dambazau had said the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and OPC shared similarities with Boko Haram, adding that both OPC and IPOB were making attempts to plunge the nation into ethnic war.

But reacting to his comments, OPC spokesman Yinka Oguntimehin said such statements were capable of heating up the polity and disrupting national peace.

Mr Oguntimehin also described Dambazau as a northern irredentist and extremist, popularly noted for his unguarded statements and utterances.

He said: “…Dambazau’s statement that OPC and IPOB are very much the same as the dreaded Boko Haram was made in bad faith, and such statements have raised some fundamental questions about his intentions, interests and morality as a former COAS and minister of Interior that has allegedly been supporting bandits by offering them both financial and technical support.

“Such high profile ex-military officer cannot be trusted in the fight against insurgency because he had on several occasions pleaded on their behalf.

“In 2014, before the general election, Dambazau and four other top Northern leaders had their hands in the recruitment of bandits into the country. And when he eventually became the minister of Interior under President Muhammadu Buhari, he requested and pleaded that the Federal Government should raise over N800b to settle the bandits; a request that was opposed by Nigerians.

“So, for such a person to have said OPC is the same as Boko Haram is not only derogatory, but is also most unfortunate to say the least. Boko Haram is adjudged globally as the third most dreaded terrorist groups in the world.

“And up till today, it remains as such with various cases of killings across the North…”

He further said the OPC had since its existence in 1994 remained one of the most dependable organisations that have been defending the interest of south-west people.

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Veteran Nollywood actor Bruno Iwuoha has passed away, fans mourn him on social media

Veteran Nollywood actor Bruno Iwuoha has died after a protracted illness.

The thespian who reportedly suffered diabetes and loss of sight died on Saturday at the National Hospital in Abuja.

He was said to have been in coma for a while.

Iwuoha was named best supporting actor at the third Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in 2007 for his role in Sins of the Flesh.

The Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), which said in February that it was launching an appeal fund for him and other ailing actors, is expected to make an official statement about the death.

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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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African Rugby Takes Center Stage on Glo-sponsored African Voices

Globacom-powered African Voices on CNN International will this weekend highlight the impact of two sportsmen as change agents in their respective countries.

The two are former rugby players Tendai Mtawarira from Zimbabwe and Kenya’s Humphrey Kayange.

They will be special guests on the programme, and will share with viewers their on-and-off-the-pitch activities and accomplishments.

Kayange, who was born in 1982, studied organic chemistry at the Jomo Kenyatta University, Juja, Kenya, before starting a career in rugby.

He was in the Kenyan squad at the Rugby World Cup Sevens which reached the semifinals of the tournament.

In 2009, he was nominated for the International Rugby Board Sevens Player of The Year.

Kayange was awarded the Kenyan Presidential Order of Golden Warriors (OGW) in the 2008/2009 IRB world series alongside his brother who is equally an accomplished rugby player.

He runs the Atlas Foundation which is a platform for mentoring and advocating for Kenyan athletes and young sports prospects in the country.

Mtawarira started playing rugby for South Africa in 2008.

He gained 117 caps to become the most capped prop in South African history and the third most-capped Springbok of all time. He had the most Super Rugby caps by a South African with 160 caps and was also a 2019 Rugby World Cup winner.

Because of his commitment to changing the lives of youths, he set up the Beast Foundation in 2020 through which he builds a community of enthusiastic young people who aspire to find their feet in sports and education.

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Ascot lead the sporting tributes to Prince Philip after he passes away at the age of 99

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined the country in mourning the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip who died at the age of 99.

A statement from Buckingham Palace on Friday had read: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

The prince was a well-known figure in sporting circles, most notably the equestrian world, where he helped to develop the sport of carriage driving, and was also part of drafting the early rule book after giving up playing polo at the age of 50 in 1971.

He was a world champion in carriage driving in 1980 and was president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports from 1964 to 1986.

Among the number of books he authored were editions of Competition Carriage Driving and Driving and Judging Dressage.

Mr Johnson, in a statement posted to Twitter said: “Prince Philip lived an extraordinary life.”

Sports clubs also joined in mourning the prince.

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Good news as kidnapped Kaduna RCCG members regain freedom

Eight members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God abducted in Kaduna State have regained their freedom.

General overseer of the church Pastor Enoch Adeboye confirmed this in a Twitter post on Thursday.

“Today I got the exciting news that our brethren who were in the captivity of kidnappers have all been released and taken to the hospital for check-up and tests. 

“Glory be to Jesus. We pray for lasting peace in all troubled regions of the country in Jesus’ name,” Adeboye said.

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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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‘It makes no sense to have faith when God provided the COVID-19 vaccine – Pastor Ighodalo

Senior pastor of Trinity House Ituah Ighodalo has advised his fellow preachers speaking against COVID-19 vaccine to “get the knowledge” and stop misinforming the public.

Popular clerics like Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and Apostle Johnson Suleman have both spoken publicly against the vaccine. Suleman particularly said he and his family would not take the vaccine, adding that it is not healthy.

However, speaking on Arise TV, Ighodalo criticised those who rely on faith to protect them from an infection he claims God has already provided a vaccine for.

“It is foolishness to keep having faith that God will protect you from an infection he has made provision for vaccines that can provide a high percentage of protection,” he said.

“I have taken the jab. I prayed about it, and I got a clear direction from God to go and receive it, and I have explained to my people in church that God provides knowledge. I will like to appeal to my brother pastors to do their research, get the knowledge and stop misinforming and improperly educating people on guesswork, instincts and mere suppositions. Coronavirus is real, and you need the vaccination.

“The Bible says my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

He added that there is a need to correct the wrong notion that people have about the vaccine by showing them that it doesn’t tally with science.

“Some people think the COVID-19 vaccine is a deliberate effort to wipe out the human population.

“We need to address the fears and prove it is not so. Other persons think it is the sign of the Anti-Christ (666) and we need to prove this is not also true,” said Ighodalo.

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Ex-IGP Adamu formally hands over to Alkali

Acting Inspector General of Police Usman Baba on Wednesday assumed duty as the 21st indigenous police boss.

Appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, Baba takes over from Mohammed Adamu who retired after 35 years of meritorious service to the nation.

The handing/taking over of leadership between the former and new police chief was held in a brief but colourful ceremony at the Force Headquarters, Abuja. The event climaxed with the symbolic handover of the Nigeria police flag.

The new IGP thanked the president for the opportunity given him to serve the nation and humanity. He pledged to harness all human and material resources of the Force towards improving security, safety, law and order.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stood in for the president, who is in London on a medical trip, to decorate Baba as new acting IGP.

A statement posted on the Force’s Twitter page said the new acting IGP holds a policing vision of enhancing police primacy in the protection of lives and property.

“He believes in the provision of motivational and credible leadership driven by professionalism and strategic planning, all directed at stabilizing internal security and modernizing police operations within the framework of citizens’ consent, trust, and the rule of law,” the statement read.

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BREAKING!!! Gov. Ikpeazu Shut Down School After ‘Explosive Devices ’ Was Found

Following the discovery of suspected explosive devices in Union Primary School, Afaraukwu located in the Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, the state government has ordered the closure of the school.

“Abia State Government is currently working with relevant security agencies in the state to unravel the source and nature of the suspected explosive devices found at Union Primary School, Afaraukwu in Umuahia North LGA,” a statement on Thursday by the commissioner for information John Kalu said.

“While initial examination of the devices show evidence of corrosion leading to suspicion of the materials being relics of the civil war era, we are awaiting definite official report from the EOD squad of the Nigeria Police who are currently investigating the incident.

“Meanwhile, necessary measures have been taken to protect the pupils and staff of the school with security sweeps ongoing while the school is temporarily closed.

“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed security agencies to embark on proactive checks in other vulnerable locations out of abundance of caution.

“While we are grateful to God that there is no harm to life or property, we urge citizens and residents to continue to maintain vigilance and report suspicious situations to security agents.”

The state governor Okezie Ikpeazu had imposed a curfew on Aba, Umuahia and other communities in the state following attacks by gunmen at the police headquarters and the correctional facility both in Owerri, Imo State.

Gunshots were also heard on Thursday around a police station in Aba area of Abia State.

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Soyinka, others visit late Afenifere spokesman’s widow

Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka on Wednesday paid a condolence visit to Joe Okei-Odumakin, widow of the late Afenifere spokesman Yinka Odumakin at their residence in Omole area of Lagos.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole and veteran broadcaster Bisi Olatilo also paid her a visit.

Soyinka described late Odumakin as a persistent and brave fighter.

Odumakin, 56, died last Friday after battling with respiratory problems occasioned by COVID-19 complications.

In the condolence register, Soyinka said: “Farewell to a doughy fighter”.

Bankole said late Odumakin struggled for human rights and lived till end.

“Thank you for everything and rest in peace,” he prayed.

Olatilo said: “Odumakin left the way strong people leave.”

Odumakin’s widow has been receiving well-wishers since her husband’s demise. A national leader of the All Progressives Congress Bola Tinubu, who was heavily criticised by the late Odumakin, paid a condolence visit on Tuesday.

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