Nigerians fire FG for interfering into Big Brother Naija

Nigerians has taken to their twitter to blast Lai Mohammed for interfering into Big Brother Naija Reality TV Show.

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Today, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, issued a statement ordering the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to investigate why the ongoing Big Brother Naija Reality Show is being shot in South Africa (Read Here).

Well, Nigerians are not buying the move by the minister and they feel he’s not busy enough to have time for such an investigation.


University Prof. Wants FG To Shift Focus From Ogoniland Cleanup

An environmentalist, Prof. Yinusa Asiwaju-Bello, has faulted the Federal Government approach to revamp the ecological disasters facing the Niger Delta region due to oil pollution, insisting that ground water contamination prevention should be given priority over clean up after pollution and contamination.

According to him, in spite of the ongoing attempt to clean-up Ogoniland by the Federal Government, the devastation to the quality of the environment and groundwater will take two generations to be overturned.

Asiwaju-Bello, who lectures at the Department of Applied Geology, Federal University of Technology, Akure, (FUTA), spoke at the institution’s 79th inaugural lecture titled: “Water-Rock Association: A bond of mutual Wholesomeness under Stress by Man.”

He said: “It is not just enough to attempt to clean-up groundwater when it is already polluted, rather man should work hard to ensure prevention of contamination of this vulnerable resource.

“No matter the technology applied, our generation and the one immediately behind us would not see a clean ground water in Ogoniland,” he said.

The university don noted the need to treasure groundwater, as a natural potable fresh water bestowed on man for consumption.

He also stressed that government should closely monitor and control human activities in influencing the environment through mine sites, spillage, septic systems, small disposal pits, storage ponds, underground storage tanks and fertilizers.

This, he said, would go a long way to prevent contamination of groundwater of the type ravaging Ogoniland and to some lesser extent in other parts of the nation.

He also described land application of sludge, waste water, pesticides, herbicides, wells, animal lots, junk yards, solid refuse disposal sites, cemeteries, animal burials and atmospheric pollutants as human activities that put a lot of pressure on groundwater and contaminates it most of the time.

To reduce such environmental hazard, he recommended that all communities should organize water collection with adequately maintained drains on all roads and other household channels for open air evaporation.

“In big coastal cities, management regime should be put in place to regulate the extraction of groundwater from underlying aquifers. Conditions for pumping restrictions may have to be created by law when monitored water quality falls below a threshold level.

“There is need for increased infiltration in coastal areas to maintain high water that would minimise seawater encroachment.

“As such, owners of paved areas in coastline frontiers like Lekki, Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Apapa should be taxed,” he said.

Deziani’s Kinsmen Warn FG To Leave Their Daughter Alone

Attisa Kingdom in Yenagoa local government area, where Diezani Alison- Madueke hails from have warned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Government to leave their daughter alone.

Speaking through the clan head, His Royal Majesty, King Godwin Igodo, the Ebeni- Ibe of Attisa Kingdon, noted that other people have occupied the position of Petroluem Minister in Nigeria and are not being treated like Mrs Alison- Madueke.

The Monarch who is a close friend of Mrs Alison- Madueke’s father, King Fredrick Abiye Agama in an interview with newsmen in his palace said people have been spreading stories about Diezani’s properties scattered across the country, allegations he claimed they have not been able to prove.

King Igodo while noting that he was not aware if money was seized from Mrs Alison- Madueke said a visit to Yenaka community would reveal that there is nothing in the community to indicate the level of wealth ascribed to her.

“I am not aware of her properties in Bayelsa or Port Harcourt that government wants to seize, people have just sat down to formulate stories about her and her wealth. Go toYenaka and visit the father’s house, if she has all that money, that house would not be like that. I am the clan head and I know what I am saying. People are just fond of bringing up stories about her to tarnish her image. It is not fair”

King Igodo noted that the persecution of Mrs Alison- Madueke must stop, adding that the continued harassment of her mother, Mrs Beatrice Agama is unfair and unjust.

“The Federal Government should leave my daughter alone. Federal Government should hands off our daughter. Federal Government should leave Diezani alone. Others have occupied that office and nobody is harassing them. They should leave Diezani alone.

“I even understand that they are molesting the mother. That woman, is an innocent woman, they should leave her alone. In Port Harcourt, Diezani’s mother still stays in the house the husband built, if she has that stupendous wealth as they claimed, she would have built another house for the woman to stay. Instead, it is the house the father built that the mother is still staying with all the other people there. They should leave her alone,” the king declared.

Also speaking, a relative of the Agamas, Hon Omeleh Gershom Esueze said the people of  Bayelsa  and Ijaw leaders are not happy with the way President Muhammadu Buhari is persecuting all those who worked for former President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to him, it is obvious that with the way Buhari has gone after Mrs Alison- Madueke, the Federal Government wants to humiliate Jonathan. He further declared that the Ijaw people would protect Diezani and would not allow her to be disgraced by Buhari, saying that “it is for the government to prove that she stole money.

“The truth of the matter is that we are angry. It has become clear now that Buhari wants to humiliate Jonathan and that is why they are doing all what they are doing to Diezani. Former governors that embezzled their states funds are in Buhari government. He has not ordered the arrest of these people. The anti-graft war of the Federal Government is selective. Buhari wants to disgrace and humiliate Jonathan but Buhari is not God. We the people and God would defend Diezani, Pateince Jonathan and others that are being persecuted by the Buhari government because they served in Jonathan’s government.

“Diezani was not the only person that worked in Jonathan’s government, yet everyday what you read is only about Diezani. Other women like Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala served in this government but because she is being protected by the Igbo people, nobody is harassing her. We are going to protect Diezani too, nothing must happen to her”

For the spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), Eric Omare,  Buhari government has shown it thrives on misrepresentation of facts to hoodwink the people.

“On the issue of the seized N35 billion, what we understand was that the money should have been remitted by the Nigeria National Petroluem Corporation (NNPC) which it did not do and the money has been seized. It has nothing to do with Diezani, unless they want to say Diezani and NNPC are the same. The media should be careful and not allow the government and its anti- corruption agencies to mislead it”

On the plan to seize some assets in Port Harcourt and Yenagoa traced to her, Omare said the Buhari government should learn how to do things in line with the rule of law.

“Nobody is opposing the war against corruption. We all want corruption to end in this country. However, due process must be followed. Government cannot just wake up and seize property”


Educate girls, stop building mosques, Emir of Kano tells rich northerners

The Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II called on wealthy Northerners to use the wealth Allah blessed them with, only in building mosques but to also educate young girls and discourage their early marriage.

Sanusi made the call on Thursday in his keynote address at the 3rd international conference on Islamic Banking and Finance, organised by the International Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance, Bayero University, Kano.

He said,

“I’m just tired of people coming to me to say I want to build a new mosque. You know, we keep building mosques and our daughters are illiterates.

“So, my appeal is that if you really want to help Kano, don’t come to me with a request to build a N300m mosque because I have enough mosques everywhere. And if I don’t have a mosque, I’ll build it myself. If you really want to help, go and educate a girl child in the village.”

According to him, over 50 per cent of girls between the age bracket of 18 and 20 were given out in marriage in this part of the country.

He added that the worrisome dimension of it was that 75 per cent of them could neither read nor write.

Calling for a review of laws to prevent early marriage and encourage girl-child education, he said,

“It is not a mere coincidence that this is where you have the highest levels of illiteracy, early marriage, divorce and the highest levels of domestic violence…

“People need to understand that the law has to change. If you look at the medical data on maternal health, girls who get pregnant below the age of 15 are five times as likely to die as girls who get pregnant at the age of 20. Those who get pregnant under 18 are twice as likely to die as those who get pregnant at the age of 20. So, it is important that we look at this issue of early marriage.”

Long Queues May Return To Filling Stations If FG Does Not Pay DAPPMA

There are indications that fuel queues may return to retail outlets across the country anytime soon, following the Federal Government’s inability to settle marketers N660 billion debt.

Investigation revealed that the said N600 billion debt is being owed the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) by the Federal Government for imported fuel and interest differentials on bank loans sourced for petrol imports.

DAPPMA’s Executive Secretary, Mr . Olufemi Adewole ,said the development has forced members of his association to suspend further import of petrol, a situation which he said has led to long queues of tankers at the Apapa and Ibafon depots.

The NNPC, in its latest monthly report, said it remained the major importer of petroleum products, especially the PMS, in spite of liberalisation of petroleum products and government’s intervention meant to ease marketers’ access to foreign exchange.

In the past, marketers were importing 70 per cent of the products while the NNPC imported 30 per cent, as the supplier of last resort.

Most of the marketers have yet to resume importation of petrol and continued to rely on supply from the NNPC, which sells to them at N131 per litre.

Investigations by newsmen across depots in Apapa, indicated that majority of the marketers may have abandoned  the Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency(PPPRA) petrol pricing template, which had pegged the ex-depot price of a litre of petrol at N131-N133.28 price band

It was also revealed that only two marketers complied with the PPPRA ex-depot price band as at yesterday. Rahamaniyya charged N131.50 while Nipco Plc charged N133.28.

Others including Aiteo, Wosbab, Folawiyo and Heyden, sold at N137.50, while Zenon, Swift, Obat and Integrated sold at N137.

The highest ex-depot price of N138 was by Gulf Treasure, while Capital Oil, D Jones, Fatgbems,and MRS sold for N136.50 with T-Time selling for N135.

Given a further breakdown of the debt profile, Adewole said actual debt stood at N500 billion while interest rate differentials on loans is about N160 billion, bringing the total debt profile to N660 billion.

“The inability to pay or service the loans has not only stalled further importation of fuel but is threatening the operation of the affected banks and the nation’s financial industry at large.

“For now landing cost  on petrol  is over N145 per litre, due to weak exchange rate of the naira against the dollar, posing a major threat to marketers on the actual selling price price,’’he lamented.

According to him,  most marketers now depend on NNPC imported petrol cargoes, adding that the ex-depot price depends on the price sold to them.

A marketer who spoke to newsmen under the condition of anonymity explained that subsidy returned to the market since last year, when the price of crude oil hit about $50.

He stated that at the moment government seems to be at a crossroad between increasing the price of fuel or continue to subsidise petrol secretly.

He said for now PPMC has been rationing petrol, which has further compounded the long queues being witnessed since last week, which may gradually snowball into scarcity.

‘’So, with marketers ex-depot price hitting N138,how would you expect them to sell at N145 when it eventually gets to the retail outlets, taking into cognizance other components of the distributors margin as approved by PPPRA, the price should be above N145 per litre,’’ he said

Lassa Fever: Fresh Alarm As FG Confirms 19 Deaths In Seven States

The Federal Government has raised the alarm over the increasing number of Lassa fever cases since December 2016 and advised that increased attention should be focussed on prevention and preparedness.

The government specifically confirmed the death of six persons on Monday out of 19 confirmed cases of Lassa fever in seven states.

Already, a Lassa fever working group has been setup at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, a parastatal in the Federal Ministry of Health, to ensure no state was left behind.

“When diagnosis and treatment is late, it reduces the likelihood of recovery. Lassa fever is curable when there is rapid laboratory testing to confirm the disease, leading to early commencement of treatment. Critically, Lassa fever transmission in healthcare settings can be prevented by strict adherence to universal precautions. Doctors and nurses are advised to hold each other accountable to insist on these precautions”, NCDC said.

A statement issued by the Technical Assistant (Communication) in NCDC, Dr. Lawal Bakare, warned healthcare workers to be vigilant and careful as they were at a higher risk of contracting Lassa fever.

The NCDC urged Nigerians to cooperate with their respective state governments in the response as Lassa had become endemic in Nigeria.

Plateau State is worse hit with six confirmed cases and three deaths.

The two cases confirmed in Ogun have died, while out of the six cases in Taraba State, one person has been confirmed dead.

One case was confirmed in Nasarawa State with no death, while one case of Lassa fever was reported in Edo, Ondo and Rivers states respectively with no death.

Bakare said, “In the last quarter of 2016, the NCDC commenced the implementation of its Lassa fever preparedness plan ahead of the current dry season to strengthen nationwide capacity to prevent, detect and respond to the anticipated Lassa fever cases. Reports from states show prepositioned materials have been critical for states.

“Since the beginning of this current dry season in December 2016, seven states have reported at least one case of Lassa fever. 19 confirmed cases and six deaths have been reported by these seven states.

“The NCDC is working closely with affected states to ensure an appropriate response to these cases. Social mobilisation activities and sensitisation of health workers are being scaled up. The outbreak response commodities that were prepositioned in the states by NCDC are being used for the response.”

FG Threatens Striking University Workers

The Federal Government has threatened to invoke Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act, CAP. T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004, if striking members of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) do not immediately resume at their duty posts.

The unions embarked on a five-day nationwide warning strike, starting from yesterday.

But, the federal government, through the Minister  of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said the striking workers will receive no pay for the duration of the warning strike.

Besides, Ngige said there is nothing called ‘warning strike’ and that a strike is a strike, according to the National Industrial Relations System (NIRS).

On a conciliatory note, the minister assured the striking workers that the federal government is ready and willing to fully dialogue with members of the trade unions, operating under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee (JAC) and added that  government has opened a channel of communication with stakeholders.

“On Monday, January, 16, 2017, I convened a meeting of all stakeholders in the dispute, for us to ventilate all issues and reach amicable settlement.

“Unfortunately, the trade unions requested for a different date, and the meeting has now been re-scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2017.

“The federal government, therefore, expects the trade unions to suspend the strike before the re-scheduled meeting, to make way for discussions.

“It is important for trade unions to embrace social dialogue in the pursuit and attainment of the economic and social interests of their members anchored on equity and natural justice.

“I thought it necessary to remind  the unions that there is nothing like a ‘warning strike’ in our NIRS– a strike is a strike and is subject to all the rules governing strike.

“Accordingly, the provisions of section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act, CAP. T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004, will apply, regarding the law of ‘no work no pay’ by workers/employees notwithstanding any other circumstances in any section of the Act,” said Ngige.

Ngige also appealed to the trade unions to embrace dialogue, saying the federal government was committed to peaceful resolution of what the unions termed ‘Full Implementation of 2009 FGN/Non-Teaching Staff Union’s Agreement.”

Regardless, non-academic staff of the Lagos State University (LASU) have complied with the five-day warning strike.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Chairman of SSANU-LASU chapter, Saheed Oseni, told newsmen that the three unions in the university complied with the strike in line with the directive of their national body.

Oseni said all administrative activities in the institution were grounded as non-academic staff fully complied. He said a monitoring team ensured staff fully complied with the action.

Oseni urged government to “do the needful and attend to the issues raised by the unions’ national leaders before the warning strike elapsed.

“But, we will await further directives from our leaders on the next line of action if the government does otherwise, as failure to do the needful, will be unacceptable to the unions,’’ he said.

NASU-LASU Chairman, Mr. Albert Agosu, also confirmed that the union members commenced strike as directed.

Agosu said NASU-LASU had earlier sent a letter to its management to inform it of the action and also summoned a congress to intimate its members.

“Henceforth, for the five days declared, the strike will be total as directed,’’ he said.

The JAC, in a statement, said the warning strike became effective on January 16, due the inability of the federal government to implement the 2009 agreements with the unions.

It said a joint letter for the warning strike by Mr. Samson Ugwoke, SSANU president, Mr. Sani Suleiman,  NAAT president and Chris Ani, NASU president was sent to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.

The unionists added that Ngige was also copied the  as well as the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC)and President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba.

FG To Give N400 Million To Five States This Week To Commence School Feeding Programme

In line with fulfiling its campaign promises, the Federal Government will this week release over N400m to five states in continuation of the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, a component of its Social Investment Programme.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, confirmed this to newsmen on Sunday.

Akande had earlier issued a statement indicating that the government would extend the school feeding programme which started in Anambra State last year to five other states this week.

In response to a question on how much the government would be releasing to the five states – Ogun, Oyo, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Osun – Akande said, “over N400m will be released for the five states.”

He however did not give the breakdown of how much each state will get.

“When added to Anambra where the school feeding programme kicked off last year, there would now be six states implementing the scheme using the Federal Government’s funds.

“At least, 5.5 million Nigerian primary school pupils would be fed for 200 school days under the free Homegrown School Feeding Programme, according to the 2016 budget, which has an allocation of N93.1bn appropriated for the feeding scheme,” he said in the statement.

On the Conditional Cash Transfer, another component of the SIP, Akande said payment was now taking place in all the nine pilot states.

The states are Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo.

He added that altogether, the Federal Government had already made cash available to keep the payments going.

Akande said while the CCT payments had started in the pilot states, not everyone in those states had been paid due to logistics and banking challenges.

He disclosed that three banks had been helpful in the process, including supporting the implementation of aspects of the CCT pro bono.

Akande also said the Presidency was aware of some reports that individuals were being asked to pay application fees for the intervention programmes.

He said no scheme under the programme required application fees and asked Nigerians not to pay such money.

Akande said, “We have been receiving reports about instances where Nigerians are being asked to pay application fees for SIP forms. We want to make it clear that such action is illegal and could warrant criminal prosecution.”

Amnesty International Urges FG To Obey Courts And Free Zakzaky

Amnesty International has called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency release the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiite, Shiek Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, following a court order mandating the government to set him free.

The interim Director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, Makmid Kamara, yesterday opined: “The Nigerian authorities must immediately comply with a High Court order and release El-Zakzaky and his wife from detention.

“El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Malama Zeenah Ibraheem, have been in detention without charge for more than a year following a clash between his supporters and the Nigerian military in which soldiers slaughtered hundreds of men, women and children.”

The authorities claim he is being held in “protective custody,” Kamara stated.

He maintained that “the 45-day deadline given for their release expires today and that if the government deliberately disregards the orders of its own courts, it would demonstrate a flagrant – and dangerous – contempt for the rule of law.

“El-Zakzaky is being unlawfully detained. This might be part of a wider effort to cover up the gruesome crimes committed by members of the security forces in Zaria in December 2015 that left hundreds dead.”

Kamara observed that “On  December 2, 2016 the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that El-Zakzaky and Malama should be released within 45 days. The court described their detention, which began in December 2015, as illegal and unconstitutional. The deadline for the court order expires on January 16.

“Amnesty International is also calling on the authorities to release other IMN supporters arrested at the same time as El-Zakzaky and his wife, who likewise remain in detention without charge.

According to Amnesty International’s report, more than 350 IMN members were killed by security forces between 12 and 14 December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State.

The IMN is a Shit’ite religious and political organisation whose leader, El-Zakzaky, has been a proponent of Shi’a Islam in Nigeria since the 1980s.”

Also, processions, demonstrations and other activities organised by the IMN, usually without obtaining the necessary permits and at times blocking public roads, have led to stiff confrontation with the Nigerian authorities and bitter relations with other group in the north where the operated.

FG Counters Nnamdi Kanu’s Motion Seeking To Squash Felony Charges Brought Against Him

The Federal Government has replied a motion filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu is seeking an order squashing the charges bordering on treasonable felony preferred against him and his co-defendants.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Magaji Labaran, argued in the reply filed on Wednesday that contrary to Kanu’s contention, the charges preferred against the accused persons were “competent, clear and unambiguous.”

Labaran argued that Kanu filed the application as a ploy to further delay the case, adding that “the proof of evidence attached to the information has clearly linked the first defendant with the charge brought against him.

“My lord, all the grounds upon which this application were brought do not fall within the grounds upon which it will be granted.”

According to Labaran, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which guides criminal proceedings, has prohibited the filing of such objection to charges.

He maintained that the application should not be heard let alone being granted.

He stated, “In furtherance to the above, Section 221 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 prohibits this kind of objection. It stated as thus: ‘Objections shall not be taken or entertained during proceeding or trial on the ground of an imperfect charge or erroneous charge.’

“Also, section 396 of the ACJA 2015 reinforces this position and we rely on this submission in urging this honourable court to dismiss this application.

“My lord, it is so clear to us and we urge the court to consider it as such that, this application is frivolous and it is intended to delay the cause of justice in this case, hence we urge your lordship to discountenance it.

“My lord, a cursory look at the affidavit in support of this application, the court will come to an inevitable conclusion that it contains nothing compelling that will warrant this court to entertain the application let alone granting same.”

Kanu and three others – the National Coordinator of IPOB, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi – are being prosecuted by the Federal Government on 11 counts, including treasonable felony.

The defendants are also accused of managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods.

Onwudiwe was specifically accused in one of the counts of an act preparatory to an act of terrorism.

All the counts are in connection with the accused persons’ alleged broadcasts on Radio Biafra and agitation for the secession from Nigeria of, states in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue states to constitute a Republic of Biafra.

However, Kanu, through his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, on January 3, 2017, filed an application seeking the court’s order quashing six of the counts specifically preferred against him among the 11 counts.

As part of the grounds of the application, Ejiofor argued that “the six counts preferred against the first defendant/applicant as shown in counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the substantive charge, and the proof of evidence attached thereto, have not disclosed any prima facie case against the first defendant/applicant, such as to warrant setting the substantive charge down for trial against the first defendant/applicant.

“That the proof of evidence attached to the charge has no items constituting the basic ingredients of the offences the first defendant/applicant is being charged with.

“That the six counts preferred against the defendant/applicant are grossly incompetent on the ground that the proof o evidence do not disclose any prima facie case against the first defendant/applicant.

“The proof of evidence does not link the first defendant to the offences allegedly committed.”

The Federal Government had filed its response to the application following the directive by the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, on Tuesday.

Justice Nyako had during Tuesday’s proceedings fixed Thursday, (January 12) for hearing.