Saturday, 20 January 2018
Items filtered by date: June 2017

South African’s National team have arrived Nigeria safely.

The Bafana Bafana landed in Lagos at the Muritala mohammed International airport at about 7;50 pm on Wednesday night.

The South Africans are in the country ahead of Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Super Eagles in Uyo.

The foreign team were received by the duo of Paul Bassey and Gideon Akinsola who are top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF)

They will then proceed to Uyo for the AFCON qualifier against the Super Eagles.

Twenty four Super Eagles players are already in Uyo sweating it out in training ahead of the weekend clash.

Published in Business and Economy

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday called its fifth witness before a Federal High Court, Lagos, in the ongoing trial of a former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

The EFCC had on Oct. 31, 2016, preferred a 34-count charge bordering on N3.2 billion fraud against Kalu and his former commissioner for Finance, Ude Udeogo.

Also charged is a company, Slok Nig. Ltd.

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When trial resumed on Wednesday, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), called his fifth witness, Mrs Toyosi Ekorhi, into the witness box.

In her examination-in-chief, the witness, who is a compliance officer at the First City Monument Bank (FCMB), told the court that the bank had forwarded the account status of Slok Nig.Ltd to the EFCC.

She said it was in response to an inquiry by the commission, over same, about two months ago.

The witness told the court that she joined FCMB on Oct. 13, 2008, adding that the documents were retrieved from the archives of the defunct Inland Bank Plc.

She, however, told the court that she had no knowledge of its contents because she never worked at Inland Bank.

According to the witness, the company’s statements of account sent to the EFCC covered transactions carried out between Aug. 27, 2008 and Nov. 12, 2012.

She, however, claimed ignorance of the transactions which she said were done in Finbank Plc.

During cross-examination, the defence counsel, Chief Gordy Uche (SAN), enquired from the witness if the first accused was listed as a director of the company.

In response, the witness said that the name of the first accused (Kalu), was not listed as one of the Directors of Slok Nig. Ltd.

She added that the second accused (Udeogu) was also not a signatory to the company’s account.

Justice Mohammed Idris, has adjourned until June 8 (tomorrow), for cross examination of the witness by the second defence counsel.

In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offences between August 2001 and October 2005.

Kalu was alleged to have utilised his company to retain in the account of First Inland bank, (now FCMB), the sum of N200 million.

The sum is alleged to have formed part of funds illegally derived from the coffers of the Abia State Government.

In one of the counts, his company (Slok Nig Ltd) and one Emeka Abone, who is said to be at large, were also alleged to have retained in the company’s account the sum of N200 million, on behalf of the first accused.

In counts one to 10, the accused were alleged to have retained about N2.5 billion in different accounts, which funds were said to belong to the Abia state government.

Cumulatively, in all the counts, the accused were alleged to have diverted over N3.2 billion from the Abia State government’s treasury during Kalu’s tenure as governor.

The offence is said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 15(6), 16, and 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2005.

It is also said to have contravened the provisions of the Money Laundering Act of 1995, as amended by the amendment Act No. 9 of 2002 and Section 477 of the Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation, 1990.

Published in Headliners

• Players not interested in injury stories from Bafana camp

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr is of no illusion that Saturday’s African Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa will be an easy task. The Franco-German, who pointed at the fact that the Bafana Bafana has not lost any of their matches in the last two years, posits that Saturday’s encounter may be a little difficult.

Speaking at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo after his team’s first training session yesterday, Rohr, however, assured that his team would live up to the bidding.

“The game will be difficult. It will be a big challenge to beat the South Africans. It will be difficult with the young players that we have. Our captain, Mikel Obi and our first choice goalkeeper are out of the match,” he said.

Also speaking on the game, Team Captain, Ogenyi Onazi said the Eagles were working hard to win the match, stressing that the memory of 2015 AFCON miss was still fresh in their mind.

“We expect to win the game. We know what happened here in Uyo during AFCON qualifiers 2015 with the South African team. It is not going to be a do or die affair but we are here to make up for the past,” he said.

Reflecting on the introduction of new players in the Eagles, Onazi said both the old and new have adjusted to the team’s pattern, as they are all professionals. Meanwhile, the players have said they are not distracted by the reported injury problems in the South African camp.

Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye disclosed that the players, who could not make it to France, have gradually understood the game plan of the coach. He enjoined Nigerians to support and encourage the players, assuring that all hands were on deck to ensure the Eagles claimed the three points in Uyo.

“We are not concerned by any strategy South Africa will deploy for the game. Rohr has assured that he will assemble a formidable team for the game. We are not concerned by anything that happens in our opponents’ camp.

“The Eagles coach would be having a conference on Thursday to let Nigerians know of his plans for the game.” He revealed that by yesterday morning’s training only three players has not arrived, adding that the team had a full squad in the evening.

The match in Uyo is the first Group E match of AFCON 2019 qualifiers with the Eagles also expected to take on Libya and Seychelles.

Published in Business and Economy

• Ask relatives in S’ East to return home
• Seek global observers to witness dissolution of Nigeria
• MASSOB accepts quit notice, Afenifere warns

Sixteen northern youth groups rose from a joint meeting in Kaduna yesterday to give Igbo residing in their states up to October 1, 2017 to vacate the region. This came days after the shutting down of major towns in the South East on May 30, 2017 as part of the campaign by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for the actualisation of Biafra Republic.

The action of the northern youths shows that the agitations for self-determination are spiraling out of control. The nation’s leaders need to immediately intervene to stop these agitations from resulting in violence that may consume the entire nation.

The youth organisations in attendance at the Kaduna meeting included Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum and Northern Emancipation Network on the Igbo Persistence for Secession.

Mallam Abdulazeez Suleiman who read the statement issued on behalf of others at the Arewa House in Kaduna, said the North was tired of the political marriage existing in the country, hence the need for restructuring as being canvassed by many notable Nigerian leaders, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

“The persistence for the actualisation of Biafra by the unruly Igbo of South-Eastern Nigeria has lately assumed another alarming twist which involved the forceful (sic) lockdown of activities and denial of other people right to free movement in the South-East by the rebel IPOB and its overt and covert sponsors.

“This latest action and similar confrontational conducts which amount to a brutal encroachment on the rights of those termed as non-indigenous people residing and doing lawful businesses in those areas illegally demarcated and defined as Biafra by the Igbo, are downright unacceptable and shall no longer be tolerated,” the northern youths said.

Alleging persistent Igbo threat to national integration, the northern youth said they had met with several other people in their region and reviewed the current position of the North and jointly came up with the declaration.

The statement further reads: “The Igbo people of the South-East, without remorse for the carnage they wrought on the nation in the 1960s, are today boldly reliving those sinister intentions connoted by the Biafran agitation that led to the very first bloody insurrection in Nigeria’s history.

“Emboldened by the apparent indifference of the Nigerian authorities, the Igbo secessionist tendency is widening in scope and action at every stage, with adverse effects on the law-abiding people of other regions residing in or passing through the East, while the Igbo leaders and elders by their utterances and direct action or inaction appear to support and encourage it.

“This is happening irrespective of the undisputable fact that Igbo have done and are doing more damage to our collective nationhood than any other ethnic group; being responsible for the first violent interference with democracy in Nigeria resulting in a prolonged counter-productive chain of military dictatorship.

“It is on record that since the inception of the current democratic dispensation, the Igbo have shown and maintained open contempt and resentment for the collective decision expressed by majority of Nigerians at various stages via generally acceptable democratic processes.

“While these provocative acts of aggression persist and grow in dimension with each new move, leaders of the North whose people are at the receiving end of the threats, appear helplessly unperturbed.

“Without pursuing a resolute action-plan, these northern leaders have adopted and have been dragging their people into a pitifully pacifist position in order to sustain an elusive national cohesion that has long been ridiculed by the Igbo.

“From today, June 6, 2017, when this proclamation is signed, the North, a critical player in the Nigerian project, hereby declares that it will no longer be disposed to coexisting with the Igbo and shall take definite steps to end the partnership by pulling out of the current federal arrangement.

“This conclusion is necessitated by the realisation that it since (sic) ceased to be comfortable or safe to continue sharing the same country with the ungrateful, uncultured Igbo who have exhibited reckless disrespect for the other federating units and stained the integrity of the entire nation with their insatiable criminal obsessions.

“Rather than certain sections holding the whole country to ransom at every stage, each should be allowed to go its own way as we categorically proclaim today that the North is fed up with being in the same country with this pack of acrimonious Igbo partners.

“The North hereby openly calls on the authorities and other national and international stakeholders to acknowledge this declaration by taking steps to facilitate the final dissolution of this hopeless union that has never been convenient to any of the parties.

“As a first step, since the Igbo have clearly abused the unreciprocated hospitality that gave them unrestricted access to, and ownership of landed properties all over the North, our first major move shall be to reclaim, assume and assert sole ownership and control of these landed resources currently owned, rented or in any way enjoyed by the ingrate Igbo in any part of Northern Nigeria.

“Consequently, officials of the signatory groups to this declaration are already mandated to commence immediate inventory of all properties, spaces or activity in the north currently occupied by the Igbo for forfeiture at the expiration of the ultimatum contained in this declaration.

“With the effective date of this declaration, which is today, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, all Igbo currently residing in any part of Northern Nigeria are hereby served notice to relocate within three months and all northerners residing in the East are advised likewise.”

The groups mandated all northern civil society and pressure groups to mobilise for sustained and coordinated campaigns at their respective State Government Houses, Houses of Assembly, Local Government Council Secretariats and traditional palaces for steps to be taken to ensure the enforcement of the directives .

“We are hereby placing the Nigerian authorities and the entire nation on notice that as from the 1st October 2017, we shall commence the implementation of visible actions to prove to the whole world that we are no longer part of any federal union that should do with the Igbo.

“From that date, effective, peaceful and safe mop-up of all the remnants of the stubborn Igbo that neglect to heed this quit notice shall commence to finally eject them from every part of the North.

“And finally, all authorities, individuals or groups are hereby advised against attempting to undermine this declaration by insisting on this union with the Igbo who have thus far proved to be an unnecessary baggage carried too far and for too long.”

In its reaction, the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) said it received with gladness the “quit notice” and urged the Igbo to return home immediately.

MASSOB, in a statement by its leader Uchenna Madu said: “The latest quit notice by the coalition of northern youths under the umbrella of Arewa youths is not a surprise gift to Biafrans residing in Arewa land. MASSOB is aware that such rascality will happen. As a matter of fact, this is the only rascality exhibited by sponsored Arewa youths to forcefully (sic) exit the people of Biafra residing in Arewa land that MASSOB will hundred percent support. Their Boko Haram tactics didn’t work as planned.

“MASSOB gladly received the good news of quit notice order to the people of Biafra living in Arewa land. We pledge our total support towards this divinely approved quit notice. MASSOB congratulates the Arewa political, religious, and traditional and opinion leaders who sponsored their youths wing by using Arewa House in Kaduna for this greatest meeting of a coalition of Islamic fundamentalists.

“MASSOB is hereby advising the people of Biafra mostly the Igbo living in Northern Nigeria (Arewa land) to take this quit notice serious (sic) as the plan to violently kill your children, wives and demolish your investments are already perfected. MASSOB will never fight or defend your lives and properties in Hausa Fulani land. The consciousness and realities of Biafra is highly overwhelming now.”

Igbo youths under the aegis of Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), said the statement was capable of causing chaos in the country but urged the Igbo to remain “wherever they are and defend themselves if pushed to the wall.”

One of the leaders of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said the development was a bad signal for the country. Adebanjo called on the northerner leaders to urgently condemn the statement by the northerner youths by saying that they did not speak for the north. He also urged the Federal Government to make a statement on the issue “otherwise it has far-reaching implications to the unity of the nation. Otherwise nobody is afraid of separation. If the North wants to break, there is nothing wrong but the idea of giving ultimatum to a particularly set of people to vacate their region is unacceptable.”

Earlier yesterday, Prof. Ben Nwabueze described the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as a great Igbo man, stressing that marginalisation has robbed the Igbo of greatness.

Nwabueze, who spoke in Enugu when Kanu led the leadership of the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) to his office, said that those undermining the agitation for secession were making a huge mistake.

“We are supposed to be one of the leading ethnic groups in Nigeria but today we are in the minority; we have been so marginalised. Nnamdi Kanu’s case teaches that repression is seldom the right response to complaints and agitations for amelioration in the conditions of things in the society. Repression seldom settles grievances. If anything, it forces them underground.

“Another lesson to learn from Kanu’s case is that this self-determination should be a graduated process. It should begin with regional autonomy. The country should be restructured into six more or less self-governing zones or regions, with the powers of the central government drastically reduced, so as to minimise the fierce contest for its control,” the constitutional lawyer said.

Published in Headliners
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 19:48

Omoni Oboli Unveils Own Clothing Line

Talented Nollywood actress and filmmaker, Omoni Oboli seems to have delved into the fashion industry as she has unveiled her own clothing line which she tagged, “Omoni Oboli by AVE”.

The fashion icon’s new clothing line in all sense embodies her style and personality.

Omoni who had been saddened by the sudden demise and departure of her father, stood strong not to allow that bother or frustrate her plans to unveil her clothing line.

The actress, who has remained fresh, young and energetic each year was proud to unveil her clothing line to the public recently and she owes her success to God who has brought her this far.

Omoni collaborated with one of Nigeria’s finest fashion designers, Ayo Van Elmar, and they have promised to give us spectacular outfits born out of the hard work of both of them.

The line, “Omoni Oboli by AVE” was unveiled on, the 4th of June at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, where the actress was present to mingle with fans and showcase her new project.

See photos from her brand and the event below:

Omoni-2 Omoni-3 Omoni-e14 Obolis-Clothing-Line-Launch-4 omoni-oboli Omoni-Obolis-Clothing-Line-Launch Omoni-Obolis-Clothing-Line-Launch-2 Omoni-Obolis-Clothing-Line-Launch-3 Omoni-Obolis-Clothing-Line-Launch-5 Omoni-Obolis-Clothing-Line-Launch-6-1 omoni2

 
Published in Arts & Culture

The wife of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari returned from London Tuesday after visiting her ailing husband, who is receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness, her office said.

Aisha Buhari left for the British capital last week to "spend some time" with her 74-year-old husband, who left Nigeria on May 7 and has not been heard from or seen since.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has been formally deputizing.

Aisha Buhari thanked Osinbajo for his work and said her husband would return "soon... as he is recuperating fast", without elaborating.

Before his latest trip, Buhari had previously spent almost two months in Britain being treated for what he described as one of the worst illnesses of his life.

The presidency has repeatedly rejected rumours that Buhari is terminally ill or even dead but refused to disclose his illness or what treatment he is having.

Published in News & Stories

South Africa’s economy contracted in the first quarter of this year, pushing the continent’s largest economy into its first recession since 2009, the official statistics agency reported Tuesday.

“The South African economy moved into recession with the reported decrease of 0.7 percent in GDP (gross domestic product) during the first quarter of 2017, following a 0.3 percent contraction in the fourth quarter of 2016,” said Stats SA.

The biggest contributor to the negative GDP growth were the trade, catering and accommodation industry, which shrank by 5.9 percent and accounted for -0.8 of a percentage point to GDP growth.

The manufacturing sector decreased by 3.7 percent as unemployment climbed to a record 27.7 percent, the highest joblessessness rate in 14 years.

Only the mining and agriculture sectors posted growth rates of 12.8 percent and 22.2 percent respectively in the first quarter.

South Africa’s economy has been experiencing weak growth in recent years.

In April it lost its investment grade when the world’s two major rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s downgraded its sovereign debt to junk status after President Jacob Zuma’s dramatic ministerial shake-up that saw respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan axed.

The two ratings firms cited political and economic instability as grounds for the downgrades.

Published in Business and Economy

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the nation’s unemployment rate rose from 13.9 per cent in the 3rd quarter to 14.2 per cent in the 4th quarter of 2016.

The NBS made this known in the “Unemployment/Under-employment Report for 4th Quarter of 2016’’ made available on the bureau’s website on Tuesday in Abuja.

The report said that the period under review showed that population, unemployed was 27.12 million in 3rd quarter, compared to 28.58 million persons in the 4th quarter.

It said that this showed an increase in the number of unemployed labour force by 351,015 persons.

According to the bureau, the percentage increase in both the 2nd and 1st quarter of 2016 were slightly lower at 13.4 per cent and 12.1 per cent, respectively.

It showed that 26.06 million persons were unemployed in 2nd quarter and while 24.5 million were unemployed in the 1st quarter in the year under review.

The report however showed that the underemployed in the labour force in 2016 in the 3rd quarter was 15.9 million persons or 19.7 per cent, while the 4th quarter was 17.03 million or 21.0 per cent.

The report said that it therefore showed an increase of 1.3 percentage points between the 3rd and the 4th quarters of 2016, a steady rise in the rate since 3rd quarter of the year.

The bureau said that keeping with the recent trend in the labour market, unemployment and underemployment continued to be highest for persons aged between ages of 15 to 34.

According to the bureau, the age bracket represents the youth population in the country.

It said that a breakdown into age groups showed that unemployment rate was highest for those within the ages of 15 to 24, while the underemployment rate for the same age group increased to 36.5 per cent in 4th quarter of 2016.

In addition, the bureau stated that unemployment and underemployment were higher for women than men in the 4th quarter of 2016.

It said that during the 4th quarter, 16.3 per cent of women in the labour force were those between 15 and 65 – willing, able and actively working or searching for work were unemployed.

According to the report, 24.2 per cent of women in the labour force were underemployed in the quarter under review.

The bureau said on the other hand, 12.3 per cent of males were unemployed in 4th quarter of 2016, while 17.9 per cent of males in the labour force were underemployed during the same period, NAN reports.

Published in Headliners
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 03:10

Africa Cup of Nations winner Tiote dies

Ivory Coast international midfielder Cheick Tiote has died aged 30 while training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, his spokesman announced in a statement on Monday.

Tiote, who was part of the Ivory Coast squad that delivered the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after a 23 year drought although he was injured for the final, had only moved to China in February after ending a seven year stay with English outfit Newcastle United.

"It is with deep sadness that I confirm that my client Cheick Tiote sadly passed away earlier today after collapsing in training with his club Beijing Enterprises," Tiote's spokesman Emanuele Palladino said.

"We cannot say any more at the moment and we request that his family's privacy be respected at this difficult time.

"We ask for all your prayers."

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez paid tribute to the talented Tiote, one of 10 children who like many of his international team-mates grew up in abject poverty and didn't possess a pair of boots until he was 15.

"It is with great sadness that I have this afternoon learned of Cheick's death," Benitez told the Newcastle website.

"In the all the time that I have known him, he was a true professional, dedicated and above all, a great man.

"Our hearts go out to his family and friends at such a sad time."​

Tiote moved to Newcastle from Dutch side FC Twente in 2010 and made 161 appearances for the Magpies, scoring once -- the equaliser when Newcastle recovered from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Arsenal in 2011.

The 52-times capped Tiote, who was in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cup squads, began his European club career with Belgian outfit Anderlecht but only played four times in three years with them -- being loaned out to Dutch side Roda JC Kerkrade -- before moving to Twente in 2008.

Published in Sports

The Federal Government on Monday offered for subscription two-year savings bond at 13.18 per cent and three-year savings bond at 14.18 per cent, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.

According to the offer circular obtained from the DMO website, the two-year bond will be due in June 2019, while the three-year bond will be due in June 2020.

It, however, did not state how much was offered, but added that the maximum subscription was N50 million at N1,000 per unit, subject to minimum subscription of N5,000 and in multiples of N1,000.

According to DMO, the bond is fully backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government, with quarterly coupon payments to bondholders. The savings bond issuance is expected to help finance the nation’s budget deficit.

It is to also part of the Federal Government’s programme targeted at the lower income earners to encourage savings and also earn more income (interest), compared to what was accrued on their bank savings.

The circular also said that the offer would close on Friday.

Published in News & Stories
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