Binnabook Magazine: Local News

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Showing posts with label Local News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Local News. Show all posts

President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the killing of students of Ojodu Grammar School in Lagos State.

 President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the killing of students of Ojodu Grammar School in Lagos State.


Buhari commiserated with the parents, relatives, and friends of the students killed by a trailer in an accident at Isheri Road in Ojodu, Lagos State, on Tuesday.


In a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the president described the incident as sad and painful.


The statement reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari commiserates with parents, relations and friends of Ojodu Grammar School students who lost their lives in an accident on Tuesday, along Isheri Road, Ojodu, in Lagos State.



“President Buhari condoles with Government and people of Lagos State and the authorities of Ojodu Grammar School over the sad and painful loss of the promising lives that were cut short in the tragic incident.


“President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will comfort the grieving parents and relations at this very difficult time, and grant the injured quick recovery.”


FRSC denies involvement in death of Ojodu Grammar School students


 





Trailer rammed into school pupils during afternoon hours and crushed 20 of them to death in Lagos State Nigeria

 It was a black Tuesday in the Ojodu-Berger area of Lagos State as a trailer rammed into school pupils during afternoon hours and crushed 20 of them to death.


The pupils were reported to be of Omole Primary School and Babs Fafunwa’s Secondary School. Among those feared killed were three pupils of the same parents.

 

In reaction, students of nearby secondary schools blocked the road and pursued the trailer up to Ogba, where the driver was caught up and the trailer, allegedly set ablaze.

     

Sources said the accident occurred about 2:00 p.m. at the Grammar School Bus Stop when the pupils, who just finished their examination for the day, we’re going home. 



Residents, especially motorists and traders, who witnessed the accident could not control their emotions, as mangled bodies of the pupils with their bloodstained uniforms littered the bus stop.

 

According to sources,  the truck driver was alleged to have been chased by an official of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) before killing the students.

 

Another account said, it was Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), that were pursuing the truck driver before he rammed into the pupils.



Angered by the accidents, youths took over the road and blocked the road, resulting in pandemonium.  

 

But an eyewitness, Temitope Ibidun, who arrived at the scene immediately after the accident, said the white truck coming from Berger was allegedly being pursued by policemen and in the process of escaping lost control and ram into the students waiting to board vehicles home.

   

She said: “From their uniforms, they are students of Ojodu Grammar School and Babs Fafunwa’s Secondary School.



At least, I counted about 20 students that have been crushed, with several others injured. 

 

“Seeing their mangled bodies will force tears down the eyes of whoever witnessed the scene, it was a gory sight to behold.

 

“At the initial stage, before I got to the scene, I saw two students carrying one of their mates drenched in blood, I was still asking myself what would have happened to him when they had teachers in their school before I saw the scene ahead. It was a gory sight to behold.”



Ibidun said the incident caused serious traffic gridlock in and outside Ojodu as the bodies littered the Berger- Ogba road, as traffic flow was grounded to a standstill. “I trekked from the scene to Ogba as there was no vehicular movement. It was when I got to Ogba that we learnt that the fleeing truck was apprehended in front of Excellence hotel.

 

Meanwhile, sanity has returned to Ogunnusi road, Ojodu as security agencies have fully taken charge of the situation.

   

The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, who confirmed the accident said security agencies are on top of the situation. 



“Adequate policemen are on the ground to maintain law and order. The situation is being professionally handled,” he added.


MEANWHILE, the Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has denied involvement in the crash that claimed the lives of school children along Ogunnusi Road, Ojodu.

  

In a statement signed by the Route Commander and Public Education Officer, Olabisi Sonusi, FRSC said: “An articulated truck was said to have lost control at Grammar School Bus stop along Ogunnusi road, which caused the death of an unverified number of students and leaving many injured.


“The men of FRSC were called upon by passersby to help intervene after the crash had happened.


“About seven of the victims were rescued and immediately taken to Lagos State Emergency Centre, Ojota, by FRSC personnel, while another road user helped in carrying about seven also to the same emergency centre.


“The general public should disregard the information being circulated by some unscrupulous elements that FRSC men caused the crash.


“We want to place on record that our men were not in any way involved in the cause of the crash as patrol activities were not ongoing along that axis as at the time of the crash.


“The Sector Commander Corps Commander Olusegun Ogungbemide, however, wishes to commiserate with the families of the deceased, that God will grant them the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss. He also prayed that the injured would recuperate fast.


“He, therefore, wishes to state that normalcy has been restored to the axis as security agents are on ground to ensure free flow of movement for motorists.”





MainOne, a West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider Acquired By US Giant Equinix For $320m

 MainOne, a West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire is set to be acquired for $320 million by American multinational Equinix Inc., the US company said in a statement Tuesday.


The all-cash transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions including the requisite regulatory approvals.


Founded by Funke Opeke in 2010, MainOne is a key provider of enterprise connectivity solutions, with an estimated 800+ business-to-business customers. These include major international technology enterprises, social media companies, global telecom operators, financial service companies, and cloud service providers.


The company owns and operates an extensive submarine network extending 7,000 kilometers from Portugal to Lagos, Accra, and along the West African coast, with landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire. These provide connectivity to and from Europe, West African countries, and the major business communities in Nigeria.


MainOne also owns digital infrastructure assets that include three operational data centers, with an additional facility under construction expected to open in Q1 2022. These are in addition to key internet exchanges enabling low latency to key global networks, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook.


Under the terms of the agreement, the management team, including CEO Funke Opeke, will continue to serve in their respective roles.


“The MainOne team is excited about the partnership created through the acquisition,” Opeke said in the statement. “With similar values and culture to what we have built in 12 years, Equinix is the preferred partner for our growth journey and will accelerate our long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across Africa.”


For Equinix, a global specialist in data centres and internet connectivity, the deal marks the first step in a long-term strategy to become a leading provider of digital infrastructure in Africa.


Equinix believes MainOne to be one of the most exciting technology businesses to emerge from Africa, making the acquisition a pivotal entry point for the US company into the continent.


“Expansion in Africa has long been a strategic priority for us. With MainOne, we have found a company that not only has a highly complementary data center and connectivity assets but can further accelerate the expansion of our business model and growth objectives,” said Eugene Bergen, EMEA President at Equinix.


Globally, Platform Equinix is comprised of 237 data centres across 65 metros and 27 countries, providing data center and interconnection services for over 10,000 businesses, including more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies. When completed, the acquisition will extend Platform Equinix into West Africa.


“MainOne’s leading interconnection position and experienced management team represent critical assets in our aspirations to be the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure in Africa,” added Charles Meyers, President, and CEO of Equinix.




CHINA vs USA: White House Announces Diplomatic Boycott Of Beijing Olympics Over 'Human Rights Abuses'

 The United States will stage a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over concerns about China's record on human rights, the White House said Monday.


"The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing, referring to the People's Republic of China.


A diplomatic boycott means that no U.S. Government officials will attend the Games but that U.S. athletes will still be allowed to compete.


China has come under fire for cracking down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, for its policies toward Tibet and Taiwan, and for detaining and abusing Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang.


Some Republican lawmakers, who have grown increasingly hawkish toward China, have been pressuring the administration to boycott the 2022 Games or push for China's host status to be revoked and for the Games to be moved. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., urged the administration last month to boycott the Games, including keeping athletes from competing.


Calls for either a diplomatic or full boycott of the Winter Games have grown since the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappeared from public view for three weeks after making sexual assault allegations against a former senior official of the Chinese Communist Party.


Peng has since reappeared but questions remain about whether she is acting on her own free will.


A diplomatic boycott is seen by some as the best way to hold China to account without punishing athletes who have been training for years.


Psaki said the Biden administration had informed U.S. allies of its decision and would leave it to individual countries to make their own decisions. She added that the administration did not want to “penalise” U.S. athletes by barring them from participating and felt that a diplomatic boycott would send a clear message.


In a March opinion piece, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said that prohibiting American athletes from competing would be "unfair" and "counterproductive."


"The right answer is an economic and diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics," he said.


Romney applauded the White House's decision following Psaki's announcement, in a tweet, saying "America will not turn a blind eye to China's predation, persecution, and genocide."


China on Monday warned that it would take “resolute countermeasures” to any boycott.


“The Winter Olympics is not a stage for political show and political manipulation,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said. A boycott would be “a naked political provocation, and a serious offense to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”




The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has revealed that Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria are now over 70,000.

 The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has revealed that Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria are now over 70,000.


The UN Refugee agency also appealed to international community for urgent additional support for refugees in Nigeria.


UNHCR, while stating that of the over 70,000 refugees, added that nearly 80 per cent of them are women and children.


The UNHCR’s Country Representative, Chansa Kapaya, in a statement on Monday, said: “This is not just a number, these are people behind these numbers, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, people just like you and I, that have been forced to flee their homes to seek safety and save their lives. 70,000 refugees are 70,000 daughters and sons.”


She lamented that their dreams and plans were disrupted by violence in the North-west and South-west regions of Cameroon where a conflict between secessionist non-state armed groups and the army are displacing people from their homes since 2017.


She noted that recent arrivals and UNHCR’s protection monitoring confirmed killings, abductions, forced evictions and other forms of violence, with armed groups attacking schools and hospitals.


She said over 8,000 Cameroonian women, men and children have arrived in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Cross River and Taraba States in the past 12 months, many in hard-to-reach rural areas.


She disclosed that UNHCR, together with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs, registered them, with 59 per cent refugees found in local communities and the rest live in four settlements which UNHCR helped built on land generously provided by the government.


The statement said Nigeria has a progressive open-door approach to refugees, allowing refugee girls and boys to go to school just like nationals and their parents to work where they can, and with support from UNHCR, Nigeria provides primary health care to refugees and nationals alike.


Kapaya said: “UNHCR commends Nigeria because it is on its way to become a champion in implementing the Global Compact on Refugees, but Nigeria needs support.”


She said the most pressing needs of Cameroonian refugees are food, shelter, improved health care and education as well as livelihood opportunities.


She said with rising food prices, the economic impact of COVID-19 and the refugee influx, needs are on the rise with serious risks of gender-based violence and negative copying mechanisms such as begging and survival sex.


The amount of support UNHCR can deliver is increasingly falling short. Cash for food, for instance, had to be reduced since 2019 due to insufficient funding.


The statement said $97.7 million is needed to respond to the needs of a total of some 78,000 refugees and asylum-seekers of different nationalities and to IDP needs – protection, camp management/coordination, shelter and non-food items such as blankets and jerry cans.


The statement lamented that so far, not even half of this amount (45 per cent, as of 23 November) has been received.




Anti-lockdown riot erupts in Belgium as protests sweep Europe amid Covid Xmas fears

 Anti-lockdown riot erupts in Belgium as protests sweep Europe amid Covid Xmas fears – with 2.5million cases in one week


Six people were hospitalised including two police officers while 20 were arrested after protests broke out in Brussels.


Cops in Brussels used water cannons and tear gas as 8,000 people descended on the capital in protest at new restrictions introduced on Friday.


Crowds were heard chanting "Freedom! Freedom!" and held placards which read "everyday fascism" emblazoned with yellow stars as they marched towards to EU's headquarters.


The demonstration turned violent when 100 rioters threw rubbish and other objects, including a bicycle, beer cans, and fire crackers, at police.


The intense public backlash comes after the government tightened restrictions for a third week in a row - forcing kids as young as six to wear face masks and ordering schools to shut a week early.


Belgium - with a population of 11 million - registered a weekly average of 17,862 new daily cases this week: a six per cent rise from last week, with hospital admissions also up four per cent.


Some 800 people are in hospital with severe forms of Covid while 44 people have died in the past seven days.


Protests have also kicked off across European capitals this weekend as the virus returns with a vengeance ahead of Christmas.


More than 2.5million cases have been recorded in the past week alone across Europe - with major surges in France, The Netherlands, Italy, Austria and Germany.


New restrictions are being rolled out across the continent with measures such as heavy fines, mandatory vaccinations and full lockdowns for the unvaccinated.


And it comes as the new Omicron variant looms over the continent, despite WHO saying as of yet no one has died from the "super mutant" strain.


Governments are scrambling to try and control the Covid winter surge which appears to be have dealt a hammer blow to hopes of a normal Christmas.


Pictures from the last few days show large anti-lockdown marches in Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy.


Austrian authorities have imposed lockdown on the unvaccinated and warned anyone who refuses to comply with jab status checks could be fined over £1,000.


Thousands marched through Vienna against the new measures designed to save lives and protect hospitals from being overwhelmed.


Austria was the first domino to fall in imposing new measures in Europe as it saw record case loads at the end of November of over 15,000 each day.


Figures have now dropped to around 7,000 amid the new restrictions.


And meanwhile in Dutch town of Utrecht there was another several thousand strong march to rage against new restrictions.


It is the first major march in the Netherlands against the measures which include new closures of restaurants and bars.


Protests also erupted in Barcelona, Spain, as marchers spoke out against new Covid certificates required to enter bars, restaurants, gyms and care homes.


Germany also saw protests of people waving "we the people" banners in Frankfurt over their new restrictions - a crackdown on the unvaccinated.


And then in Italy, protesters hit the streets in Turin to speak out against the country's new coronavirus health pass.








Stunning photos show total solar eclipse over Antarctica as moon completely covers the sun

 Stunning photos show total solar eclipse over Antarctica as moon completely covers the sun


THESE stunning photos show the moment the sun is completely covered by the moon in an amazing solar eclipse.


The phenomenon saw the sun completely disappear - however was only properly visible over Antarctica.


However, those in the Southern Hemisphere may have caught a partial eclipse.


Parts of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Chile might have been able to catch a glimpse of the striking change in the sky this morning.


And the pressure was on to see the stunning event, with the next solar eclipse is expected April 8 2024 for those in the US.


Meanwhile, there are no eclipses expected in Europe for the rest of the 21st Century.


Thankfully, even if you couldn't make it to Antarctica, you could still watch today's eclipse online.


Nasa livestreamed the spectacle, showing the moon slowly but surely cover the sun.


Nasa said: "The eclipse will occur before, during and after sunrise or sunset.


"This means viewers will need to get a clear view of the horizon during sunrise or sunset."


Watching the solar eclipse online means no safety required – just enjoy the magic via your screen.


If you're lucky enough to see the eclipse in person, you should follow Nasa's advice.


"When viewing a partial solar eclipse, you must wear solar viewing or eclipse glasses throughout the entire eclipse if you want to face the Sun," Nasa says.


"Solar viewing or eclipses glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing the Sun.


"If you are in the path of a total solar eclipse, you can take off your solar viewing or eclipse glasses only when the Moon is completely blocking the Sun."








How We Were Falsely Accused Of Fraud, Dismissed For Rejecting N8m Bribe- Ex-Kwara Police Officers

 Two Nigerian police officers who investigating a case of car snatching, bursted a syndicate who specializes in snatching vehicles. They were tracked down to Nasarawa state and were arrested.


The two officers who arrested them, were bribed to the tune of #8,000,000 naira, by top officers in the organization, so that the case and the evidence will be destroyed, apparently due to their refusal to comply with the instructions of the top officers, they were framed up, handcuffed, tortured for 15Days in the presence of the car snatchers, and finally were dismissed from Nigerian police force.

This is not good for the image of the Nigerian police force.


This is a dent on the image of the police force.









Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s leader, is billed to appear in court on Thursday for the continuation of his trial.

 Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s leader, is billed to appear in court on Thursday for the continuation of his trial.


Although IPOB had suspended its sit-at-home directive in the south-east, the proscribed separatist group said the sit-at-home order will only be enforced on the days Kanu will appear in court.


But in a statement issued on Wednesday, Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesperson, said there “will be no lockdown tomorrow in any part of Biafra land” as a result of Kanu’s court appearance.


We wish to inform Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom that our Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, will be in court tomorrow, December 2, 2021 in Abuja. We, therefore, urge Biafrans living in Abuja and its environs to come out en masse to solidarise with our leader,” the statement reads.


“Meanwhile, there will be no lockdown tomorrow in any part of Biafra land as a result of the court appearance. Biafrans resident in Biafra land, as well as visitors to Biafra land, are free to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation or intimidation.


“We have not asked or authorised anybody to monitor or enforce any lockdown. Again, there will be no lockdown in Biafra land for tomorrow’s court appearance of our Leader. Only Biafrans and friends of Biafra in Abuja and its environs that are encouraged to be at the court premises.”


IPOB also asked supporters of its movement to remain peaceful and law-abiding before and after the trial on Thursday.




Petrol May Sell Above ₦340/Litre- NNPC

 The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, may go higher than the projected N340/litre in February 2022 when the Federal Government removes its subsidy on the commodity, oil marketers said on Tuesday.


Also, it was gathered that both independent and major oil marketers were perfecting plans to resume PMS imports once the government halts the subsidy regime.


They, however, expressed worry over the fluctuation in foreign exchange rates and how this would impact on petrol price next year.


For about four years, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has been the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria. Marketers stopped importing the commodity due to their inability to effectively access the United States dollar for imports.


Last week, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, announced at a World Bank event in Abuja that petrol would sell for between N320 and N340 per litre from February 2022 by which time the Federal Government have removed the subsidy.


He explained that Nigeria would be out of the subsidy regime in the first quarter of next year, stressing that subsidy would have been eliminated this year but was stalled due to certain conditions.


The current pump price of petrol at filing stations is between N162 and N165/litre, although the product is mostly sold at the upper N165/litre rate due to recent challenges in the downstream oil sector.




But marketers told our correspondent on Tuesday that the cost of petrol would be higher than the projected N320 – N340/litres if there was no improvement in the foreign exchange rate.


Dealers under the aegis of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and Petroleum Products Retail Outlets owners Association of Nigeria stated that though they were set to import petrol, the cost of the commodity would be high in February.


IPMAN and PETROAN members own bulk of the filling stations across the country and currently make purchases from depots before selling to final consumers at their various retail outlets.


“Yes, if there is no subsidy, some marketers can import, but the only thing is that it will be costly. The price will be higher than the projected cost because of the exchange rate,” the National Vice President, IPMAN, Abubakar Maigandi, stated.


He added, “The challenge of accessing forex will definitely affect imports because over 90 per cent of petrol that will be consumed across the country will depend on importation. Also this is because the refineries are not functioning.”


The National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, also stated that the foreign exchange rate would determine the cost of petrol from next year after subsidy removal.


He said, “If the Federal Government says there is no going back on subsidy removal this time round, which is a challenge that has dragged on for about 30 years, then it means that they are going to liberalise the market.



“By liberalising the market it will now help independent and major marketers to be able to freely import petroleum products from any source so that products will be available in Nigeria.”



He added, “However, it is pertinent to note the forces of demand and supply will determine the price of the commodity in Nigeria. So literally, whatever the dollar rate is in the international and local markets will pose the actual challenge to marketers


“The issue of black market and official exchange rates is a serious challenge that we foresee. But we believe that the Federal Government is doing something by meeting with the bureau d’change operators on this, so that whatever is obtainable at the banks is what you get in the open market.”


On whether the forex issue could lead to a higher price than the projected N340/litre, Chinedu replied, “Aside from the adverse effects of the removal of subsidy on the wellbeing of Nigerians, we will, of course, see a price that is higher than what they project.


“The price will be higher. It will be higher because the dollar to a large extent determines the price of petroleum products. If the dollar goes up, the price of petrol will increase, and vice versa.”


The President PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry, confirmed the position of IPMAN, as he, however, explained that members of his association were ready to import the commodity.


He said, “At PETROAN we already have a vehicle that is in place to start importation petroleum products, gas and other products. We encourage the government to completely remove subsidy.




On the possibility of higher pump price than the projected N340/litre, Gillis-Harry said, “That is why we said that every single thing about petroleum products should be premised on the forces of the market.


“The forces of demand and supply should determine the price.”


The spokesperson of NNPC, Garba-Deen Muhammad, told our correspondent that the issue of petrol pricing was not the function of the oil firm.


“Price issues are policy matters. NNPC does not fix price, it has no mandate. It operates in the sector as a business concern governed by CAMA Laws,” he stated.


Marketers, however, urged the government to consider carrying out programmes that would help ameliorate the plights to be faced by consumers when it eventually puts an end to petrol subsidy.




Suit Seeking for the disqualification of Professor Charles Soludo as Governor Elect Anambra State

 It is less than 48 hours to November 30, 2021, the date that the Federal High Court, Abuja, had scheduled to hear the suit, seeking the disqualification of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, from the just-concluded 2021 Anambra state governorship election. It should be recalled that Soludo contested and won the election as the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). However, his victory is now being threatened by suit seeking his disqualification.


Recall that a couple of days ago, the Guardian Newspaper reported that one Adindu Valentine, and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, had approached the court, praying that Soludo should be disqualified for submitting an Affidavit that contained false information. According to the report, the APGA candidate had erroneously indicated that he was contesting for Aguata Constituency 2 seat, instead of Anambra governorship position. The said error in Professor Charles Soludo’s Affidavit, has continued to generate mixed reactions from the public.


Charles Soludo


With the matter already before the Federal High Court, we may begin to ask ourselves what exactly does November 30, 2021 hold for the APGA candidate. It should be noted that a matter before the Court, could either go in favour or against any of the parties involved. However, in the case of Professor Charles Soludo, and the suit seeking his disqualification, I believe that November 30, 2021, hold for him, a renewed hope in his desire to be sworn in as the next Governor of Anambra State.


The reason for this is that the said error in the Affidavit he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, is not in any way, an attempt to mislead the public, or the electoral umpire. However, this can be argued to be a clerical error, since there was no state constituency election that ran simultaneously with the 2021 Anambra state governorship election. With this in mind, one may not be wrong to say that the APGA candidate, stands a better chance of securing a favourable judgement on November 30, 2021.


Source: National Daily

Italy Police Cracks Gang Forcing Nigerian Women Into Prostitution

 Italian customs police on Monday dismantled a Nigerian organized crime syndicate that forced dozens of young women into prostitution and begging on the streets of Italy and then smuggled out millions of euros in ill-gained revenues to Nigeria, with cash hidden in suitcase handles or pasta packages.


The police said raids in cities in northern and southern Italy as well as on the island of Sardinia yielded 40 arrests. The suspects are being held for investigation of alleged money-laundering, facilitating illegal immigration, human trafficking, putting persons into slavery and exploiting prostitution.


Dozens of others are also under investigation.


Helping spark the investigation was the complaint of a Nigerian woman, brought illegally into Italy, that her fellow countrywomen were taking on debts as high as 50,000 euros ($56,000) to arrive, only to be forced into prostitution for the syndicate. While prostitution is legal in Italy, the exploitation of prostitutes is illegal.


The police in a statement said while the Nigerian crime syndicate was based in Italy, its operations extended to Germany, Libya and Nigeria.


“Forty-one young women (were) assigned to prostitution, while nine were forced to beg,″ the statement said.


To discourage the women from turning to authorities for help, they “were mistreated, put under control and put into a state of psychological vulnerability” by the use of macabre voodoo rites to guarantee they would pay off their travel debts, police said.


In recent decades, other Nigerian women forced into prostitution into Italy told authorities and social workers that the voodoo rituals made them feared that defying their criminal handlers would cause bad fortunes for their families.


The crime syndicate used a combination of methods to pump their ill-gained revenues back into Nigeria, mostly in real estate there, Italian authorities said.


The criminals used 11 teams of cash couriers, who sometimes hid wads of money inside the retractable handles of luggage or inside pasta packages to elude searches at Italy’s airports, the police said.


Police said measures by Italian judicial authorities helped the young victims break “the ties of physical-psychological coercion which kept them bound” to their exploiters.






Soldiers Burn Houses, Shops, Cars in Awo Omamma Imo State Nigeria

 Gunmen on Monday afternoon killed a military officer when they attacked some soldiers in Awo Mmamma in the Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State.


In reprisal, military men regrouped, stormed the town and allegedly burnt a hotel, cars, houses and shops.


The incident which happened at Ishieke junction in the area has caused panic in the community.


Many indigenes of the community have fled as soldiers took over the community.


A source told The PUNCH that “some hoodlums attacked some soldiers at Ishieke junction in Awo Mmamma and killed one of them. They zoomed off towards Ihiala in Anambra State. Later soldiers invaded the area and caused havoc in the area by setting a hotel, cars, houses and stalls on fire.”


The police spokesperson for the state command, Micheal Abattam, didn’t respond to a text message sent to him by our correspondent as of the time of filing this report.


Also, the spokesperson for the 34 Artillery Brigade Command, Owerri, Sunday Akuga, didn’t take several calls put to his mobile number.














The richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote, has expressed how pathetic it was for him to watch his brother die, while on life support machine.

 The richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote, has expressed how pathetic it was for him to watch his brother die, while on life support machine.


“It is a very tough time for us; its been very trying, especially for myself.


“Having a brother like him; once you lose him it is really very painful. He died in front of myself, our mother and all his children.


“The most painful thing is when you are told that your brother will be passing on in about an hour.


“And you stand by watching as the machine is going down until it stopped working.


“It was very tormenting,” Dangote stated.


He said these when the leader of All Progress Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, paid him a condolence visit on Friday.


Tinubu was in Kano to condole with him on the death of his brother, the Vice Chairman of the Dangote Group of Company, Alhaji Sani Dangote.


“We have always known that when there is life there is death. We, as Muslims, don’t know who is next and it can be today, tomorrow or even now.


“That is why it is good to be good, so that when you get there you can bid for whatever you were asked to do on earth.


“Your excellency, you are our host because you are the governor of all of us and we really thank you for taking almost the whole week struggling with the crowds, its not easy.


“I thank you all for all your prayers and your support.


“This will actually help us to reduce the pain that we are going through,” Dangote added.


Tinubu

In his condolence message the APC leader, Tinubu stated that money cannot buy life and there is nothing anyone can do about it.


He called on the family to take heart and continue to pray for the repose of late Sani’s soul.


“We are here not to just commiserate or console you, we are here together to mourn our dear brother.


“Sani is not yours alone. He was a Lagosian and a great Nigerian and a friend and a brother to all of us here.


“I am not a preacher, but I know what it means to suddenly lose a close relation, especially a brother.


“What we have come to do is to join in prayers for you and the people of Kano state, for Nigeria and the entire family as a whole.


“May God give you the strength to bear the loss. It is a loss to all of us.


“May God grant you longer life, keep you in good health, keep the family in good health, give you peace of mind and the ability to accept the decree of God Almighty.


“He is the giver and the taker and He can do anything at any given time he chooses.


“With your faith and your strong capacity, we believe you will come out of it and continue to do good in his name, in your name, in the family’s name and the entire people of the country,” Tinubu stated.





PRESIDENT BUHARI TO IGBO LEADERS: YOUR DEMAND FOR NNAMDI KANU’S RELEASE IS HEAVY. I WILL CONSIDER IT



An unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), currently standing trial, runs contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.


Receiving a group under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, at State House, Abuja, the President told the 93-year-old statesman:


“You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary. God has spared you, and given you a clear head at this age, with very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it.”


Stressing his policy of non-interference with the Judiciary, President Buhari said when Kanu jumped bail, got arrested and brought back to the country, “I said the best thing was to subject him to the system. Let him make his case in court, instead of giving very negative impressions of the country from outside. I feel it’s even a favour to give him that opportunity.”


The President condoled with Chief Amaechi, who recently buried his wife, praying that her soul would rest in peace.


The nonagenarian  had described the situation in the Southeast as “painful and pathetic,” lamenting that businesses have collapsed, education is crumbling, and there is fear everywhere.


He pleaded for a political, rather than military solution, requesting that if Kanu was released to him as the only First Republic Minister still alive, “he would no longer say the things he had been saying,” stressing that he could control him, “not because I have anything to do with them (IPOB), but I am highly respected in Igbo land today.”


Chief Amaechi said twice he had interfaced with Nnamdi Kanu in the past, and the latter rescinded orders earlier given on civil disobedience.


He concluded: “I don’t want to leave this planet without peace returning to my country. I believe in one big, united Nigeria, a force in Africa. Mr President, I want you to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and you quenched the fire.”


Other people in the visiting delegation were; His Excellency Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State, Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, Chief Barrister Goddy Uwazurike, former President of Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, and Mr Tagbo Mbazulike Amaechi.


Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media and Publicity)

November 19, 2021







Court To Rule On Suit Seeking Soludo’s Disqualification

The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, fixed November 30 for judgment in a suit challenging the qualification of the Governor-elect and Deputy Governor-elect Charles Soludo and Onyeka Ibezim, for the November 6 Anambra State gubernatorial election.


Justice Taiwo Taiwo picked the date after lawyers to the case made their final submissions. The plaintiffs, Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuk, are claiming that Soludo provided false information in the affidavit (Form EC9) that he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and thus should be deemed unqualified to stand for election.


In the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, the applicants contended that Soludo indicated, in the affidavit, that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat when, in fact, he was contesting the Anambra governorship seat.


Defendants in the suit are INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Soludo and Ibezim.


In their final submission, the plaintiffs’ lawyers, A. O. Ijeri and Kelvin Okoko, argued that having indicated the wrong seat he was contesting, Soludo supplied INEC with false information, violated extant legal provisions and ought to be disqualified.


As against the contention by lawyers to the second to fourth defendants, Ijeri agued that his clients have established that there was a cause of action and that the court has jurisdiction to determine the case.


Counsel to APGA and Soludo, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), argued that the suit was without merit, adding that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.


He argued that an error in an affidavit cannot be a basis to disqualify a candidate from election, noting that the false information contemplated in Section 31 of the Electoral Act was criminal in nature.


He maintained that the false information claimed by the plaintiff was not among the grounds stated in the Constitution for the disqualification of a candidate.


Lawyer to INEC, Bashir Abubakar, said his client did not file any process in the case and has elected to leave the decision at the discretion of the court.




President Buhari to wait for State Government final decision on ENDSARS Judicial Panel

 President Muhammadu Buhari says the federal government will await the steps taken by states, before taking action on the report of the Lagos judicial panel of enquiry.


The president said this on Thursday at a meeting with Antony Blinken, United States secretary of state, in Abuja.


“So many state governments are involved, and have given different terms of reference to the probe panels,” he said, according to a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman.


“We at the Federal have to wait for the steps taken by the states, and we have to allow the system to work. We can’t impose ideas on them. Federal Government has to wait for the reaction of the states.”





Buba Marwa: Legalization Of Cannabis Will Take Nigeria To Dark Days

 The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday said legalization of consumption of cannabis will take Nigeria back to it’s dark days.


Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), the Chairman and Chief Executive of the agency, said this at an interactive session with heads of security agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and heads of government agencies in Jos, Plateau as he rejected the calls for Cannabis legalization.


Some Nigerians have been advocating for the legalisation of the drug for health and economy purposes.


But Marwa said that legalising cannabis would truncate its ongoing fight against drug abuse, stressing that such a move would also take Nigeria back to its dark days.


He revealed that 10.6 Nigerians were currently consuming cannabis, adding that legalising it would further destroy the nation.


“NDLEA rejects absolutely the call for the legalisation of cannabis; it is a choice between earning money and the importance of life


“There is no research about the healing qualities of cannabis, but we all know on the other hand that it causes brain disorder, psychosis, it destroys the lungs and other key organs of the body.


” It definitely affects one’s behaviour as well.


“NDLEA will not accept that; we in NDLEA reject the move in totality,” he noted.


The NDLEA boss admonished security agencies and other stakeholders to support the agency in its bid to curb the tide of drug abuse in the nation.




Innocent Chukwuma, chairman, Innoson Group, says he is waiting to take over the assets of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) due to “non-payment of his N32 billion”

 Innocent Chukwuma, chairman, Innoson Group, says he is waiting to take over the assets of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) due to “non-payment of his N32 billion”.


Chukwuma, in an interview with journalists on Tuesday, said the money owed him by the bank would soon surpass their capacity.


Innoson and GTB have had a business dispute leading to a prolonged legal battle.


Innoson had secured judgment debt against the bank in suit FHC/L/Cs/603/2006 and FHC/Cs/139/2012 respectively, which rose to over N32 billion due to accumulated interest.


In July, Innoson had asked a federal high court in Lagos to set aside an order permitting GTB to restructure to a holding company.


But the bank completed the restructuring — GTB is now known as Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO Plc).


The billionaire businessman, at the media briefing, recounted that his relationship with the bank had been extremely cordial during the tenure of Olutayo Aderinokun, late MD of GTB.


“I was GTBANK’s best customer in the south-east when Tayo, the former MD, was alive. Because of this, they opened a branch in Nnewi. After Tayo, the new MD took over. I don’t even know him. I saw him for the first time last year,” Chukuma said.


“They started fighting about tribe. I am not certain about this but I think the reason he (GTB) is fighting is because of tribe. I don’t know exactly what his problem is.


“But finally, I have proved him wrong in everything. I have defeated him in all the courts we went to. The only thing left is for him to pay me what he owes me.


“He was going to my account and taking money anyhow. I discovered it, took him to court and won. Up till now, he hasn’t paid and we have gone up to supreme court. Maybe he hasn’t paid because he wants Nigeria to change their law because of him.”


The CEO explained that he would no longer “disturb” the bank to pay the debt.


According to him, he would take over the bank when it gets to the point that the bank cannot pay the principal amount plus 22 percent accrued interest.


“The beauty of the whole thing is that the money is attracting the interest of 22 percent. So, I am waiting for the interest to be above their capacity so I can take over the bank,” Chukuma said.


“That’s what I am waiting for. I am not disturbing them anymore. I am assuring all the customers of GTB that if I take over, I would still run it well. They shouldn’t fear. I haven’t done any business that fails.


“I will run it better than them. If they cannot pay me, I have no choice but to take over the management.”




Nigeria Government Risk USA Arms Embargo Sanctions Over Lekki Protesters Killing by Soldiers

Amid rising insecurity in Nigeria, the country now risks an arms embargo following the indictment of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters, which states that at least nine persons were confirmed dead at the Lekki toll plaza when soldiers stormed the tollgate to disperse #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020.


The 309-page report stated, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a massacre in context.”


While indicting the soldiers and the police, the panel stated that it unravelled the fact that after the personnel of the Nigerian Army exited the scene, the Nigeria Police Force followed up with the killing of the protesters, shooting directly at those fleeing, who ran into shanties and the lagoon.


It recommended that all army officers, excluding Major General Omata, and men of the Nigerian Army deployed in the Lekki tollgate should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action, stripped of their ranks and dismissed as they were not fit and proper to serve in any public or security service of the nation.


Already, the United States, the United Nations, the United Kingdom and Amnesty International have called on the Nigerian government to ensure that the panel’s report is handled transparently even as the military and the Federal Government await the release of the White Paper.


The Nigerian military and its current use of arms are subject to the Leahy vetting, an American rights law that prohibits the United States government from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.


An arms embargo had earlier been placed on Nigeria, which prevented the country from effectively pursuing the war against terror during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.


However, during the administration of former American President, Donald Trump, the embargo was lifted and the US began selling arms to Nigeria, including 12 Super Tucano aircraft.


The US, however, warned that the arms and the soldiers being trained would be subject to Leahy vetting, meaning that military assistance could be discontinued.


Earlier in the year, Reuters had reported that the United States Congress had initiated plans to impose an arms embargo on Nigeria.


In an email chat with The PUNCH on Wednesday, the Deputy Director for Advocacy and Government Relations for Amnesty International USA, Mr Adotei Akwei, said he had written to the US Congress to implement the Leahy laws against Nigeria.


Akwei welcomed the report of the panel, adding that it confirmed what Amnesty had always been saying about the #EndSARS protests.


He said, “While we welcome this report, we are also painfully aware that other investigations into abuses by the Nigerian security forces have also confirmed abuses, called for reform and accountability and have resulted in no action whatsoever.


“We will wait to see what the response is from the Buhari administration, but until then, we still call for robust implementation of the Leahy laws in regards to the Nigerian military.”


In an interview with The PUNCH, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof Bola Akinterinwa, said Nigeria could face not just an arms embargo, but sanctions.


Akinterinwa stated, “It goes beyond an embargo. There are many ways foreign countries respond to situations like this. If you use the US as an example, I can assure you that all those suspected government officials will be sanctioned in different ways, either by visa bans, withdrawal of privileges, or initiate a trial for them abroad.


“Some months ago, some US congressmen said they should not supply the Tucano ordered by Nigeria and they should stop selling arms to Nigeria. In this kind of situation, the likelihood of further sale of arms to Nigeria is remote. They are currently considering that.”


A retired Nigerian diplomat, Ambassador Joe Keshi, who served in the US, Togo, Ethiopia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Namibia and Sierra Leone, said indeed, Nigeria risked another arms embargo with the damning report on the killing of the #EndSARS protesters.


Keshi stated that the Nigeria police needed urgent reforms, including learning how to handle protesters.


He said the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, goofed by calling on Nigerians not to disparage the military when he could have just promised to investigate the issues raised in the report.


The retired diplomat said the Federal Government should admit that mistakes were made and apologise rather than attempting to pick holes in the panel’s report.


“That is true (arms embargo). And that is why it is so sad the way the authorities are reacting to this report. There should be a simple admission that a mistake was made,” Keshi said.


However, a former Deputy Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, said it would be too early to say if Nigeria would face an arms embargo.


Ejiofor said the international community would be watching to see how Nigeria would react to the report.


“Let us keep our fingers crossed. Let us wait to see how things go,” he said.


PDP Reps ask Blinken to probe violence against #EndSARS protesters, others


Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives has said the planned visit by the United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to Nigeria is to address corruption, insecurity and human rights abuses under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).


It urged the visitor to ask questions about abuse of state power and use of violence to suppress peaceful protesters, particularly activists of the #EndSARS movement and campaigners for self-determination.



The leader of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda, in a statement on Wednesday, also called on the Federal Government to assure Blinken that it would not use facilities provided by the US against Nigerians agitating legitimately.


Chinda in the statement titled, ‘PDP Reps Caucus says Blinken’s visit to Consider Human Rights Abuses, Insecurity and Corruption…Visit to Address Government’s Failure to Curb Terrorists Attacks’, added that the opposition lawmakers welcomed the visit of the US top official to Nigeria.


The caucus noted that the visit was timely, adding, “It is our expectation that he (Blinken) would use his visit to address the growing human rights abuses, increasing threats to democracy, insecurity and corruption in Nigeria.


“Just this week, a Brigadier-General was killed by ISWAP and this is in addition to the countless numbers of soldiers, who have been killed or grievously injured with the weightless and worthless remark of getting to the root of the matter.


“Our country cannot afford the luxury of losing military officers to terrorists when it can seek strategic military and counter-insurgency assistance from the United States that has for many years built strategic and sustained military and intelligence frameworks for fighting terrorism.


“We note that the insistence of the Government of the United States that all strategic military, anti-terrorism and counter insurgency engagements must be in accord with the Leahy laws.”


The caucus further urged the US, through Blinken, to “impress on the Nigerian government, as an act of principle, to stay within the realm of prohibition by not deploying received military assistance against citizens, who embark on legitimate and constitutional agitation, including agitation for self-determination and secession, which are legitimate aspirations under our laws and treaties entered into by Nigeria.”


The statement further read, “Secretary Blinken should as a matter of urgency hold the Nigerian government to account for the wanton assaults on rights, abuse of state power, systematic use of state violence to suppress peaceful protesters, particularly activists of the #EndSARS movement and campaigners for self-determination, extrajudicial killings, intimidation of the judiciary; and declare to this government that abuses of human rights have consequences.”


5,000 sign petition to jail Buhari in one hour


A petition by bestselling author, Reno Omokri, on the change.org platform received 5,000 signatures in just one hour.


The petition, which was filed on Wednesday, was directed at the International Criminal Court and comes after the Lagos #EndSARS panel indicted the Buhari administration in its report.


At 5,000 signatures, the petition is the first of Nigerian origin to hit that number in an hour.


President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the killing of students of Ojodu Grammar School in Lagos State.

 President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the killing of students of Ojodu Grammar School in Lagos State. Buhari commiserated with the pare...

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