Saturday, June 24, 2017 // 24 hours ago

DSS arrests terrorists planning attack on Sallah Day.
The Department of State Services (DSS) has uncovered a plot by terrorist elements planning to stage series of coordinated attacks, using explosives on different cities across the country on Sallah day. It also warned members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to desist from staging any form of procession or demonstration, as the terrorists would seize the opportunity to unleash mayhem. A statement signed by its spokesman, Tony Opuiyo, yesterday in Abuja, said the latest plan by the terrorists was to unleash mayhem on Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Maiduguri, adding that the service had earlier arrested the facilitator of the Kano attack, who is an explosive expert by name Bashir Mohammed at Unguwar Barnawa, Shekar Madaki, Kumbatso Council of Kano State on June 20. On the arrest of Mohammed in Kumbatso, Kano, the spokesman said a search was conducted at his residence wherein these dangerous weapons were recovered: Eight AK-47 rifles, 20 fully loaded AK-A7 magazines, 27 hand grenades, 793 rounds of live ammunition, one gas cylinder, three laptops, one GSM phone, one Lifan motorcycle, one Honda Civic Car (Ash) and one printer. He noted that the service also arrested Yusuf Adamu and Abdumuminu Haladu in the early hours of yesterday in Sokoto, noting that Adamu and his accomplice were to command the operation in Kano.


UNICEF warns of food shortage, disease in Northeast, others.
The UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday that malnutrition, thirst and disease threatened lives of millions of children in Northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Mr Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director for Emergency Programmes, said in a statement issued in New York that continued humanitarian action was crucial in saving children‘s lives. Fontaine said the welcome announcement of an end to famine conditions in South Sudan this week should not distract attention from the fact that severe food insecurity continued to put the lives of millions of children at risk in the affected areas.


Nigeria‘s Victor Anichebe joins Chinese club.
Former Sunderland and Nigerian striker Victor Anichebe has joined Chinese second division side Beijing Enterprises, the club which Ivorian midfielder Cheick Tiote played for until his death last month. Anichebe, who was released by Sunderland after their relegation from the English Premier League, joins another Nigerian Leke James at the club, which sits at 11th position in a 16-team league. "We are delighted with the signing of Victor, who played in the Premier League. It‘s a positive development for our whole club," said head coach Gao Hongbo. "Victor hasn‘t trained on the pitch since the Premier League season ended, so it may take a while for him to integrate into our team. We have to be patient with him."


UI recalls students, fixes examinations for July 4.
Authorities of the University of Ibadan on Friday announced July 2 for the re-opening of the institution for normal academic activities. According to the Director of Public Communications, Mr. Olatunji Oladejo, the‎ first semester examinations for the 2016/2017 academic session will start on July 4. The Senate of the University of Ibadan, has decided to recall its undergraduate students, who were asked to vacate the institution ‎on May 29 to resume academic activities, he said in a statement.‎ He said the Senate‘s decision taken on Friday followed the consideration of the interim report of an Ad-hoc Committee on the students‘ crisis.‎ The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the students had May 29 staged a protest following a ban on the use of hotplates and other electrical appliances in the halls of residence in the institution.



NDLEA: $85bn Global Cocaine Trade Fueling Terrorism, Money Laundering in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Col. Mohammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd) has stated that funds from the $85 billion global illicit drug trade is exacerbating insurgency, money-laundering, political instability, international terrorism and wider destabilisation in Nigeria in particular and the entire West Africa sub-region in general. He made the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday, while presenting the programme of activities to commemorate the 2017 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Abdallah revealed that a recent report showed that every $1 billion of pure cocaine trafficked to West Africa earns more than 10 times as much when sold on the streets in Europe.He said that drug trafficking, once viewed largely as a social and criminal problem, had transformed in recent years into a major threat to health and security of Nigerians. Abdallah also alerted Nigerians to the increasing drug addiction among the citizens.


INEC Formally Writes Dino Melaye, to Begin Recall Process July 3.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Thursday wrote to the senator representing Kogi West senatorial district, Senator Dino Melaye, to inform him that it would commence the process of recalling him by July 3. The commission said it had formally acknowledged the receipt of the petition from the petitioners‘ representatives and had conveyed a letter notifying Melaye of the receipt of such petition. In a statement signed by the National Commissioner and member, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mallam Mohammed Haruna, INEC said having received the petition and the signatures of the electorate, the next step is to verify that the petitioners are registered voters in the Kogi West senatorial district.


NCP: Osinbajo Inaugurates Adeosun, Emefiele, Others.
Two years after its dissolution, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday inaugurated new members of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), the body responsible for making decisions on the sale and liberalisation of government‘s interests in national assets and companies. According to a statement in Abuja by the Head of Public Communications in the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the secretariat of the NCP, Mr. Chukwuma Nwokoh, those who made it into the new and fifth NCP were Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, as Vice Chairman; the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah; and Minister of National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma. According to the BPE, Osinbajo said the NCP had since its inception in 1999 successfully concluded the privatisation and reform of over 142 public enterprises. He also pointed out that the inauguration of the NCP was a critical step in the process of putting in place part of the institutional framework necessary for the actualisation of the socio-economic agenda of the government.


Osinbajo Raises the Alarm, Says Internet Constitutes Great Threat to Nigeria‘s Survival.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday described cyberspace as one of the greatest threats to Nigeria‘s existence and challenged the military to concentrate a serious attention on this ‘theatre of war.‘ Osinbajo who made this submission while delivering a speech at graduation ceremony of the senior course 39 of the Armed Forces, Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna, described the cyberspace as battle ground against Nigeria‘s unity, reasoning that the internet had become the harbour for hate, provocative and inciting speeches capable of destabilising the nation. The acting president who further described the cyberspace as currently designed as a theatre of war in the 21st century, added that it had become the platform for articulation of terrorist activities as well as offensive expressions and tasked the military to see the cyberspace as a conventional battle field to which it must deploy forces. Arguing that the cyberspace had equally become the training school for the production and use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Osinbajo further described it as the avenue for promotion of secession and quit ultimatum by some South-easterners and Northerners in recent times.



Melaye sues INEC, asks court to stop recall process.
Senator Dino Melaye on Friday sued the Independent National Electoral Commission, seeking an order restraining the electoral body from conducting any referendum aimed at recalling him. The INEC had in a statement on Thursday said it had formally informed Melaye of petitions filed by its constituents to recall him and fixed July 3 to begin the recall process. But, Melaye in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/587/2017 filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja described the recall petitions as fictitious. Through his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who filed the suit, Melaye urged the court to declare the petitions submitted to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, as "illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever." He also wants the court to void the recall process on the grounds that it was commenced in breach of his fundamental right to fair hearing.


Insecurity: Lawmakers dump official vehicle number plates.
Senators, members of the House of Representatives and the state Houses of Assembly have devised various means to keep safe and protect themselves in the wake of rising cases of kidnapping of eminent citizens, including politicians. Just three weeks ago, a lawmaker from Kano State, Mr. Garba Umar-Durbunde, was kidnapped by gunmen along the Abuja-Kaduna Road, after which he reportedly paid N10m ransom to secure his freedom. Senator Jonah Jang‘s aide was killed by kidnappers last weekend and it was said that the former Plateau State governor was the target. Investigations by Saturday Punch showed that one of the strategies adopted by many federal lawmakers was to lie low to avoid being identified in public and drawing attention to themselves. For instance, a member of the House of Representatives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that in the past, it was prestigious and fashionable for legislators to use their official number plates but not anymore because of the level of insecurity in the country.


CCT appeal: Senators vow to back Saraki, accuse FG of witch-hunt.
Some members of the Senate are spoiling for a fresh battle with the Presidency over the decision by the Federal Government to appeal against the judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which acquitted President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, of a false and anticipatory declaration of assets when he was governor of Kwara State. The senators, who spoke to Saturday Punch in different interviews, said the matter of the appeal would be raised when the National Assembly resumes from break. The lawmakers are to resume on July 4, 2017. While describing Saraki‘s trial as a political witch-hunt, the lawmakers said the appeal against the CCT judgment had clearly shown that the executive was out against the legislature. This is just as Saraki on Friday said he remained unperturbed by the appeal.


Eid: IG orders tight security at prayer grounds nationwide.
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has ordered a tight security across the country ahead of the 2017 Eid-el-Fitri celebration. To this end, he has directed zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in charge of zones and State Commands nationwide to beef up security and ensure massive deployment of personnel to all Eid prayer grounds and other venues of celebrations. This, Idris said, was to prevent crime and ensure a hitch-free celebration, adding that the operation would cover recreation centres, public places, critical infrastructure and public utilities. A statement on Friday in Abuja by the Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, explained that Federal Highway patrol teams, Safer Highway patrol, and Anti-Crime patrols had been deployed along major roads and highways to ensure safety of travellers, commuters and other road users.



IGP seeks death sentence for Evans, others.
The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, on Friday, advocated for the imposition of death sentence on convicted kidnappers. The IGP who spoke at a dialogue session he held with Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, under the umbrella of Situation Room, in Abuja, said the case of recently apprehended billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike a.k.a Evans, should be used to set an example to youths on risk inherent in such criminal venture. He lamented that Evans "has changed the face of kidnapping in this country", saying the fact that he collected $1million ransom on six different occasions, was enough to lure some youths into the illegal business.


Delta Govt approves completion of Asaba stadium, others.
The Delta State Government has approved the completion of outstanding works and spectators stand/tartan track of Asaba Township Stadium, Asaba. This was one of the decisions taken during the state Executive Council meeting held in Government House, Asaba, early this week. The approval is in fulfilment of the pledge made by the State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, that the stadium will host an international athletics competition next year. Speaking after the meeting, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, said that approval was also given for the renovation/reconstruction of infrastructural facilities at Urhobo College, Effurun, Uwvie Local Government Area, as well as the revalidation of contract approval and payment for additional works for the construction, furnishing and equipping of Model Primary School, Burutu, in Burutu Local Government Area.


Ramadan: Why we‘re hosting Muslims in 20 centres - Ambode.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday explained the rationale behind the decision of his administration to host Muslims in twenty centres across the State for the Eid-el-fitri celebration, saying that it was part of the strategy to bring about bonding among the people and enhance community participation in governance. Speaking at Lagos House when he received members of the Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs on a courtesy visit, Governor Ambode said it had been observed overtime that people travel from far and near to celebrate with the first family in the State during festivities, and that the decision to host Muslims in various centres across the State was basically to address such trend on one hand, and also to give greater number of people the sense of participation in governance on the other hand.


EFCC operatives storm Abuja estate over N2 billion probe.
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday stormed the Winning Clause /City of David Estate located at Plot 67, Kafe District, Gwarinpa Extension, Abuja. The operatives, who arrived the estate at exactly 11:00 a.m with a White Toyota Hilux with Number Plate Niger AJ 596 BDA, left at about11:47a.m, after combing through the estate. Panic stricken residents of the Estate were initially shocked at the entry of the operatives accompanied by a Police officer but the Chairman of the Winning Clause Estate Residents‘ Association, Mr. Mike Arowosegbe told reporters that the operatives informed him that they were in search-visit to the estate and that their mission was not to seal off the Estate office. Members of the Winning Clause Estate Residents Association had petitioned the EFCC alleging that the promoter of the Winning Clause/ City of David Estate, Mrs. Obiageli Okwubanego, had allegedly collected about N2 billion from the subscribers without developing the estate. It was gathered that the EFCC had earlier interrogated Mrs. Okwubanego, alongside other affected stakeholders in the estate. The Estate Association Chairman also confirmed that members of the Association have also been interrogated by the EFCC in furtherance of the investigation.



Saudis foil attack on Grand Mosque in Mecca.
Saudi security forces on Friday prevented an imminent attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the country‘s Interior Ministry said on state-run TV. A suspect planning an attack on the mosque blew himself up in a nearby neighbourhood when security forces surrounded a home where the man was hiding, according to the ministry. The suspect refused to comply with demands to surrender, opened fire on security forces and then killed himself, officials said. The explosion caused the partial collapse of the building in which the suspect was hiding. Six expatriates were injured and taken to a hospital, and five security personnel received minor injuries, a Saudi Press official in London told CNN. Five people, including one woman, suspected of involvement in the plot were arrested. Three groups, two based in Mecca and one in Jeddah, planned the attack, the Interior Ministry said. The Grand Mosque, or the Masjid al-Haram, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Islam‘s holiest site, the Kaaba -- a cube-shaped shrine that worshippers circle during the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage that brings millions of people to Mecca.


Qatar told to close Al Jazeera, reduce Iran ties in list of demands.
Four Arab states that have boycotted Qatar have handed the country a list of 13 demands, including some likely to infuriate Doha and exacerbate the region‘s worst crisis in decades. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt sent Qatar the list -- which includes a demand to shut down the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera news network -- and gave the country 10 days to comply with the demands. CNN‘s Erin Burnett obtained the list, which Qatari officials said is authentic. Some of the key demands include: to shut down the Al Jazeera media network and its affiliates, to halt the development of a Turkish military base in the country, to reduce diplomatic ties with Iran, to cut ties to extremist organizations, to stop interfering in the four countries‘ affairs and to stop the practice of giving Qatari nationality to citizens of the four countries. Qatar confirmed Friday it had received the list and was studying the demands. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would give its official response to Kuwait, which has been acting as the mediator between Qatar and its neighbours.


China landslide buries more than 40 houses, state media says.
A landslide in southwest China‘s Sichuan province buried more than 40 houses, the Chinese state-run broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported Saturday. More than 100 people were unaccounted for after the landslide, which happened at 6 a.m. local time in Xinmo village in Mao County, Aba Prefecture, CCTV said. Emergency response measures have been activated and more than 500 rescuers are on the scene, the broadcaster said, citing provincial fire officials. A fire official in Sichuan told CCTV that signs of life had been detected, though the station said no one had so far been pulled from the rubble alive. The landslide happened at a high part of a mountain and fell onto the village, blocking a 2-kilometer (1.25-mile) section of a river course, China‘s state-run news agency Xinhua reported. CCTV originally reported that more than 100 people had been buried.


Hundreds of households to be evacuated in wake of London tower fire.
Some 800 households will be evacuated from five apartment towers Friday night in London, according to Councillor Georgia Gould, leader of Camden Council.Residents will have to live elsewhere for four to six weeks while external cladding on the buildings is removed. The council says the combustible cladding "significantly differs" from that on Grenfell Tower, the high-rise across town where at least 79 people died in a blaze June 14. But it was not fitted to the standard it had commissioned.The government said Thursday it is testing 600 high-rises across England, in the wake of the fire at Grenfell.The decision to move residents out of all five towers at Chalcots Estate in Camden was made Friday evening, Gould said.She said residents‘ safety could not be guaranteed. They will be moved to temporary housing, which includes hotels and homes of friends and family.Also Friday, police said they are considering manslaughter charges among the criminal offenses that may have been committed at Grenfell.

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