Local News

Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018
IMG_20181016_134722_970.jpg

2min00

The Federal Government is shocked and saddened at the killing of another aid worker by Boko Haram on Monday, despite the actions taken by the government and the widespread appeal to save the young woman.

A statement issued in London on Monday by Segun Adeyemi, Special Adviser to the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the killing as dastardly, inhuman and ungodly, saying nothing can justify the shedding of the blood of innocent people.

He commiserated with the family of Hauwa Leman, noting that the Federal Government did all within its powers to save her life.

His words: “It is very unfortunate that it has come to this. Before and after the deadline issued by her abductors, the Federal Government did everything any responsible government should do to save the aid worker.

“As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through. In all the negotiations, we acted in the best interest of the women and the country as a whole.

”We are deeply pained by this killing, just like we were by the recent killing of the first aid worker. However, we will keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors.”

He thanked all the friendly governments that have continued to work with Nigeria for the safe release of the abducted women, and the clerics across religious lines who have been pleading for their
release.


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018
IMG_20181016_133124_304.jpg

2min00

Our attention has been drawn to a makeshift relief art work of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governor of Enugu State, which has an image, purportedly of ‘Jesus’ on it and erected on strategic locations in Enugu city by one of the governor’s teeming supporters, ostensibly to add his weight in the massive approval for his re-election.

We sincerely appreciate the genuine intentions of the initiator of the said art work, who in all calculations were his measure to demonstrate his love for the governor. While it is important to state that the maker of the said work did it without our consent, we have however been able to draw his attention to the uproar already generated by his innocent intentions. He seemingly appreciates the concern this has caused to the public vis-à-vis the apparent varied interpretations and has even gone as far as removing same!

Consequently, we, hereby appeal to all those who may intend to erect such works on behalf of His Excellency or engage in similar acts to kindly obtain proper guidance in that regard from the Campaign office.

Enugu State is in the hands of God!

Barr. Nana Ogbodo

Director of Communication

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Campaign Organization


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018

3min00

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday alleged that the “Presidency has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to incarcerate, indefinitely,” the outgoing governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP claimed that the “information at the party’s disposal and all over the social media indicate that the Presidency has put the commission on alert to arrest the governor at midnight today and detain him indefinitely.”

PDP alleged that the directive by the “Presidency is not unconnected with the plot to use the EFCC and other security agencies to incarcerate the governor owing to his persistent criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government.”

The statement added, “This uncompromising stands of the outgoing governor against the present
administration was the reason Ekiti State was invaded and taken by force during the last governorship election.

“By 12 midnight, the governor’s residence is expected to be surrounded by armed men of the EFCC under the pretense that they had information of his plot to escape. This is to achieve their plan to humiliate the governor and portray him in bad light to the public by dramatising his arrest.

“Nigerians can recall that it was the governor who offered to submit himself to the EFCC despite the commission’s clear display of bias and partisanship as demonstrated in its various actions, especially its tweets and putting the governor on security watch-list.

“EFCC even unprofessionally showed its bias in deriding the governor, making light of a very serious matter by mocking him and asking him to come before his tenure elapsed, which the governor declined in line with the constitutional immunity.

“It is now beyond dispute that Governor Fayose is not a scoundrel running away from justice. Whatever the EFCC, APC, and the Presidency’s spin-doctors may say, it is also clear to everyone that Fayose is not a coward; neither is he afraid of the EFCC.

“Fayose is prepared and ready to defend himself in the court of law. Neither the Presidency nor EFCC is a court of law. Since the EFCC said it had dusted up Fayose’s files, it should be ready to take him to court once he presents him at the agency’s office on Tuesday.

“Governor Fayose has offered to walk to the EFCC office by himself and nothing must happen to him tonight. The PDP condemns this resort to fascism by the APC government, saying the whole world should be at alert to see another demonstration of crude disrespect for the rule of law and rights of Nigerians.”


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018
IMG_20181016_125757_961.jpg

3min00

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has fixed October 18 for the arraignment of a Director in the Nigeria Football Federation, Christopher Andekin, and two other officials who were accused of perpetrating fraud to the tune of $9.5m (N3.4bn).

The EFCC said in a statement by its spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, that Andekin, who is the Director of Finance, as well as the cashier, Rajan Zaka, and the Head, Finance and Accounts, Jafaru Mamza, were supposed to have been arraigned on Monday on five counts of fraud.

However, the arraignment could not hold because their counsel said he had just been served with the charge sheet and therefore asked for more time to study the charges.

The trio in 2015 allegedly diverted money to the tune of $9,535,923.87 belonging to the federation to personal use. The money was a grant given by the Federation of International Football Association, for the development of football in Nigeria.

It is also alleged that Andekin fraudulently diverted N1, 353,407.22 from the domiciliary account of the NFF domiciled in one of the new generation banks, without due process.

Particulars of one of the counts read, “That you, Christopher Andekin, being the Director of Admin and Finance of the Nigeria Football Federation on or about 8th day of January to 26th day of January 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja while being entrusted with dominion over money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from the Federation of International Football Association to NFF fraudulently, diverted the sum of N1,353,407.22 from the NFF domiciliary account No. 5070407456 with the Zenith Bank into your personal use and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Cap 532 LFN 1990 and punishable under Section 312 of the same Code.”

Another count read, “That you, Rajan Zaka, being a cashier with the Nigeria Football Federation in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja while being entrusted with dominion over money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from the Federation of International Football Association to NFF fraudulently, diverted the sum of $6,490,900.48 from the NFF domiciliary account No. 5070407456 with the Zenith Bank into your personal use and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Cap 532 LFN 1990 and punishable under Section 312 of the same Code.”

Justice Affem asked the parties to come on October 18 for the arraignment.


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018
IMG_20181016_124701_678.jpg

6min00

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered the accounts of the Independent National Electoral Commission with the Central Bank of Nigeria to be blocked over the commission’s alleged refusal to pay a judgment debt of N17.258bn to a creditor.

The court also ordered the Federal Ministry of Finance to, in the interim, withhold funds meant for INEC, but yet to be disbursed.

Justice John Tsoho made the order in a ruling following an ex parte application by Bedding Holdings Limited in the garnishee proceedings it instituted to enforce the judgment delivered in its favour on January 28, 2014.

The Monday’s orders are to subsist till November 8, when both the CBN and the Federal Ministry of Finance (the two respondents to the garnishee proceedings) are to appear in court to show cause why the orders blocking INEC’s access to its funds should not be made absolute.

If the court grants an order of garnishee absolute, it implies ordering both the CBN and the Federal Ministry of Finance to immediately pay the applicant directly the total judgment sum of about N17bn from INEC’s accounts.

Justice Tsoho had on May 24, 2018, made a similar order of temporary blockage of INEC’s accounts upon hearing the former ex parte application moved on behalf of the applicant by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

But, while moving the ex parte motion for ‘garnishee nisi’ on Monday, another of Bedding Holding Limited’s lawyer, Mr James Odibah, urged the court to strike out the May 24, 2018 order, which he said was made against parties wrongly joined as respondents in the garnishee proceedings.

Odiba said, “We shall be asking this honourable court for the withdrawal of our earlier ex parte order of this court dated May 24, 2018.

“The reason for this is that in our earlier motion we brought parties.

“In line with the new policy of TSA (Treasury Single Account), those parties were not the proper parties.

“This motion is supported by a 39-para affidavit sworn to by Dr Sylvester Osadolor Odigee, the Group Executive Chairman of the applicant.

“Attached to the motion, are nine exhibits. We humbly rely on the exhibits.

“We urge your lordship to strike out our earlier ex parte motion and the order granted on May 24, 2018, which is still subsisting.

“My lord, this is to ensure that all the relevant parties are brought to court.

“We have removed all the impediments to the granting of this motion by withdrawing our earlier motion.”

Ruling, Justice Tsoho said, on the basis of the information “furnished the court” by the applicant via the ex parte motion dated and filed on September 26, 2018, “the prayers sought therein are granted.”

One of the six prayers sought by the applicant included “a garnishee order nisi attaching all money, including, but not limited to foreign accounts attached to current accounts of the 1st judgment debtor in the possession of the garnishees/respondents (CBN and Federal Ministry of Finance) bearing the name of the 1st judgment debtor (INEC).”

The Federal High Court had on January 28, 2014, gave a judgment against INEC, its Chairman, the Attorney General of the Federation and three others in a suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/816/2010, filed by BHL.

Other defendants in the suit were Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation Limited, Zinox Technologies Limited and Avante International Limited, who were contractors to INEC, engaged to supply equipment that it deployed for voters’ registration prior to the 2011 elections.

BHL had filed the suit, accusing INEC, the Chairman of INEC, and other defendants of infringing on its exclusive “Patent Rights “No: RP16642 and Copyrights Design No: RD13841 in and over Electronic Collapsible Transparent Ballot Boxes (ECTBB) and Patent Rights No: NG/P/2010/202 – Proof of Address System/Scheme (PASS) – Embedded with the Concept of the Coded Metal Plate.”

The firm claimed that the inventions, which its exclusive patent and copyright covered, were deployed by INEC and the other defendants “for the production of voters’ register for the 2011 general elections, among other elections, without its prior licence, consent and authorisation.”

In a judgment on January 28, 2014, the then Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, agreed with BHL’s claims and granted all its declaratory and monetary prayers against the defendants.

Justice Auta ordered among others, that BHL “is entitled to 50 per cent of the total contract sum of N34, 517,640,000.00, (which is N17,258,820,000.00) being the minimum reasonable royalty accruable to the plaintiff for the production, procurement, supply, acquisition, importation, purchase, receipt, sale of the Direct Data Capturing Machine, laptops and/or any other equipment ancillary to, or associated with the process and application of the said products for the registration of voters and or the collation/compilation and production of the voters’ register for the 2011 general elections.”


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018
IMG_20181016_124356_805.jpg

9min00
Safe and legal access to Europe without having to embark on a dangerous sea crossing – this sounds like a dream. And for most potential refugees and asylum seekers it is.

Humanitarian visas and humanitarian corridors are not EU wide policy at the moment. But after years of debate, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), a committee of the European Parliament, is trying to change that. On October 10, 2018 they issued a statement calling for the possibility of establishing an EU-wide humanitarian visa program by changing the current visa rules.

Similar proposals have already met with opposition at the European Council and Parliament level in the past. But if LIBE’s proposal is voted through in November, LIBE will ask the European Commission to submit a legislative proposal for the visa by the end of March 2019.

According to the European Parliament, currently around 90 percent of people granted international protection reached the EU through irregular routes. The proposal aims to reduce the number of people having to embark on dangerous and illegal routes.

Different rules for different states

Currently, individual countries can issue humanitarian visas and create corridors, but there is no bloc-wide regulation. In 2015, the Italian government signed a pact to create a humanitarian corridor with two partner countries, Lebanon and Morocco. Ethiopia was added more recently. The corridor came about as an ecumenical church initiative and is based on a Memorandum of Understanding. The Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches and the Waldensian Church have all been working to bring groups of vulnerable people to Italy to apply for refugee status. However, the numbers are limited. Sant’Egidio has so far brought over a couple a few hundred refugees and foresees the arrival of two thousand people over two years.

In this photo taken on Sunday, April 17, 2016 migrants ask for help from a dinghy boat as they are approached by the SOS Mediterranee’s ship Aquarius, background, off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. The European Union’s border agency says the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Italy more than doubled last month. Frontex said in a statement on Monday that almost 9,600 migrants attempted the crossing, one of the most perilous sea voyages for people seeking sanctuary or jobs in Europe. (Patrick Bar/SOS Mediterranee via AP)
There are special resettlement programs in a few other EU countries. The Special Rapporteur at LIBE, Juan Fernando López Aguilar thinks that this facility should be made part of EU law. “Humanitarian visas allow asylum seekers to legally and safely access a third country,” he writes. The number of people accessing various schemes like humanitarian corridors, community or private sponsorship schemes and resettlement programs “remains low compared to the need.”

Saving money

The authors of the report think that a bloc-wide system would offer safety to individuals. Migrants would no longer experience the “financial repercussions of paying smugglers, and heightened risks of trafficking, exploitation, violence and death.”

A bloc-wide system would also save the EU money in the long term, the authors argue. With the current status quo, the fight against illegal migration and smuggling networks is costing the EU billions.

Besides policing costs, the EU also experiences high direct costs as a result of sending “high levels of emergency funding” to the member states who receive the would-be asylum seekers and migrants who have arrived in Europe irregularly. More money is spent “controlling the inflow of migrants and asylum seekers through border security and surveillance costs, search and rescue activities and cracking down on organized criminals who have been exploiting the refugee crisis for their personal gain.”

According to studies commissioned by LIBE, maintaining the status quo through surveillance, border management, third country agreements, development cooperation and organized crime associated with migration, like human trafficking is costing the EU somewhere between 47 and 48 billion euros annually.

Possible effects

A formalized humanitarian visa could help to ensure refugee compliance with EU values and would include fundamental rights for those who receive it. Providing a legal means of accessing EU countries could also help people who lack the means to pay smugglers and would reduce the reliance on illegal networks like smuggling in order for people to reach safety.

An EU wide visa system would also take the added financial and organizational pressure off first reception countries like Italy and Greece who both spend millions dealing with migration on top of money received from the EU.

Individual country programs

Currently, Austria has a humanitarian admission program for Syria. Between 2013-2016, 1,668 people were received through that program. Germany has a similar program targeting Syria, Afghanistan, Palestinian territories, Egypt and Libya. In the same period, it let in 19,047 people. Ireland has a Syrian humanitarian admission program and a family reunification program that between 2013-16 issued 649 visas in total. France also targets Syria with a special program which had welcomed 3,415 people to date; and the UK, via its vulnerable persons relocation scheme had got just over half way to its target of 20,000 people resettled by 2020 in 2018.

According to a report by Violeta Moreno-Lax, a senior lecturer in Law at Queen Mary University of London, written for the European Parliament, 16 EU member states have or have had visas at their disposal for humanitarian reasons. The problem is that each country has different rules for qualification and the programs tend to target different groups of people which can make things unclear for those wanting to apply. Since March 2017, France, following Italy, has also begun experimenting with humanitarian corridors from Lebanon for 500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Not for everyone

In the conclusion of the reports presented to LIBE, all authors are clear that a humanitarian visa program would bring down both human and financial costs. What the report doesn’t target however is how many people wouldn’t qualify either for a humanitarian visa or for asylum once they do arrive. For those people, presumably illegal migration would remain the only route.

Moreno-Lax points out that bringing clarity to the visa application process will not diminish control but enhance it. It would allow for better screening of candidates and a better predictability of arrivals. This would avoid the current emergency spending that the EU sends to the border countries, Italy, Greece and to a lesser extent, Spain.


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018

2min00

Ayodele Fayose, outgoing governor of Ekiti State, has raised alarm over strange movements around his residence.

The alarm by Mr Fayose NGPOLITICS recalls may not be unconnected to moves to prevent him from escaping from the country prior to his handover date Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

This medium also recalls how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) agency wrote several security outfits in the country to be at alert and arrest the outgoing governor should he take which ever route manned by them to escape from the country.

Although the governor had offered to willingly present himself the EFCC, the anti-graft agency is not leaving any stone unturned to prevent Fayose from escaping from alleged abuse of office, money laundering, among others while he still enjoys immunity from prosecution.

The governor, who accused the anti-graft agency of partiality, asked the commission to tender an apology and withdraw the notice placed on him. The EFCC has not adhered to the governor’s advise hence his decision to seek legal redress.

He is widely known for criticising President Muhammadu Buhari.

Raising the alarm early Tuesday, Fayose alleged that he has noticed strange movements around his vicinity which might soon be invaded.

“It is known to the public that I offered to make myself available at the EFCC office today,” Mr Fayose said in a tweet.

“However, as I write, there are strange movements around my residence & I’m aware of planned invasion any moment from now.

“Despite this,I will be at the commission’s tomorrow as promised,” he added.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to which Fayose belongs to, lost the July 2018 governorship election in Ekiti state.

Kayode Fayemi, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), defeated the candidate of the PDP, Olusola Kolapo, to win the election.


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018
IMG_20181016_122029_216.jpg

2min00

As part of efforts to end cases of building collapse in the country, Dangote Cement has come out with Dangote BlocMaster Cement.

According to the group managing director, Joe Makoju, the 42.5R cement grade innovation will also translate into more income for block-makers and in the long run for the country.

Speaking at the official launch of the product in Lagos, Makoju asserted that BlocMaster, which is an improvement on the company’s three cement brands, “is the best” for block-making and concrete application.

Describing it as affordable and good for Nigerians because of its rapid setting, especially during the rainy season, he said that the new brand was a product of years of deep research, testing and experimentation, adding that it had been tested and approved by builders nationwide.

“With a block-making motif to resonate key targets, the product guarantees better value for money as it can produce over 32 blocks per bag, achieve up to 50 megapascal after 28 days and get 50 per cent stronger a day after use,” he said.

While commending Lagos distributors as major determinants of its sales nationwide, the GMD disclosed that the product, a combination of good price and quality, was designed to salvage the building and construction challenges in the country.

Group chief marketing officer of the company, Oare Ojeikere, described the new cement as multi-purpose and strong, urging Nigerians to adopt it for all construction purposes, considering the attestations of hundreds of builders who had used it before the launch.

National president of Block Moulders Association of Nigeria (BMAN), Rasheed Adebowale, appreciating the peculiarity of the product, said he could produce as much as 35 blocks with a bag of the cement, while still maintaining standard requirements.