March 23, 2018

*‘El-Rufai is hale and hearty’ *Ex-NNPC GMD, Yakubu Remanded in Kuje Prison

*‘El-Rufai is hale and hearty’ *Ex-NNPC GMD, Yakubu Remanded in Kuje Prison




‘El-Rufai is hale and hearty’

The Kaduna State government has debunked speculations that Governor Nasir El-Rufai is ill and receiving treatment abroad.

Since three weeks that the governor has been out of the state, there had been rumour that he was flown out for medical attention abroad.

But Government House sources debunked the claim yesterday, saying “Governor El-Rufai is hale and hearty, and is overseas receiving lectures on his doctoral degree programme. Read more

Ex-NNPC GMD, Yakubu Remanded in Kuje Prison

A Federal High Court in Abuja thursday remanded former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who was accused of stashing over N3billion in his house in Kaduna, in Kuje Prison.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmad Mohammed remanded him in prison pending the time the court will rule on his bail application. Read more

Obiano conscripts Soludo against Obi for second term ambition

Having come to terms with the reality that the number of conspirators against his second term ambition in office is swelling by the day, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has set a machinery in motion to break the ranks of his detractors.

This no doubt, indicates that the November 18 governorship election would be more intriguing given the mounting threats against the incumbent governor. Although, Obiano appears unperturbed, he has also decided to call the bluff of his benefactor and predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi. Read more

House: March 30 Deadline for Passage of Appropriation Bill Not Sacrosanct

The House of Representatives thursday said the March 30 timeline for it to pass the 2017 Appropriation Bill was not sacrosanct, though efforts are ongoing to deliver on the date.

The spokesman of the House, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, told journalists a couple of issues including the deployment of a new budget software by the budget office had slowed the process. Read more

Rotary extols The Guardian’s virtues, vows to eradicate polio

The Rotary International has vowed to remove Nigeria from the three countries in the world still plagued with polio.

The club has also described The Guardian as the true flagship in the media for its commitment not only reaching out to the teaming Nigerians but also not compromising its stand and passion as the voice of the voiceless and always ready to impact on the less-privileged. Read more

Senate walks out Ali for not wearing customs uniform

Without a voice of dissent, the Senate yesterday walked out the embattled Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, for not wearing the agency’s uniform. The upper chamber accused him of appearing in “improper dressing.”

The lawmakers also directed Ali to re-appear before it in plenary next Wednesday in the proper NCS uniform. But before he was walked out of the chamber, Ali was subjected to a serious rebuke for about 40 minutes. Read more

20 die in Benin-Onitsha road accident

A road accident has claimed the lives of more than 20 passengers along Benin-Onitsha Road near Abudu in Edo State.

The incident, which occurred on Wednesday, was said to have happened between Ugoneki and Evbuobanosa near Abudu, headquarters of Orhiomwon Local Council of the state. Read more

Protest against herdsmen’s killings rocks National Assembly

Hundreds of protesters yesterday stormed the National Assembly (NASS) complex in Abuja to draw the attention of the federal lawmakers to the renewed killings of persons by suspected herdsmen in some farming communities of Benue State. They were, however, denied entry by some 200 armed policemen.

Apparently miffed by the incident, the protesters challenged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to rather deploy his men to halt the maiming at Tombo Mbalagh in Buruku Local Council of the state. Read more

Police, DSS get 12 days to justify clampdown on peace corps

The Federal High Court, Abuja Division, has given the Inspector General of Police (IGP), National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Director General, Department of State Security Services (DSS), a 12-day ultimatum to justify the clampdown on the Peace Corps of Nigeria.

They were also ordered by the court to defend the arrest and detention of the National Commandant, Ambassador Dickson Akoh, and 49 other members of the corps. Read more

Hausa community, police sue for peace, tolerance in Lagos

After the bloody crisis, which broke out between the Yoruba and Hausa communities in the Sabo area of Ile-Ife in Osun State, that resulted to the loss of lives and property, the Hausa community in Lagos has canvassed for peace and tolerance among all ethnic nationalities in the country.

The Hausa community leaders in the state began the peace campaign with a courtesy call on the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 2, Kayode Aderanti, where they urged the police to be partners in their crusade for peace and tolerance among all ethnic groups in Lagos and Ogun states. Read more

Police arrest FESTAC’s dreaded kidnap kingpin

Policemen attached to FESTAC Divisional headquarters, Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State have arrested a suspected leader of a kidnap gang that has been terrorising residents of FESTAC Town and its environs.

Arrested alongside the suspect popularly known as ‘King Solomon’, were two members of his gang. The Guardian gathered that among his victims was a female customs officer, who was abducted in front of an eatery in FESTAC Town last year, in the presence of her daughter. Read more

ALGON, NUT trade words over teachers’ strike in Delta

Members of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Delta State have engaged in a war of words over the ongoing teachers’ strike.

While the teachers are pressing for the payment of their outstanding salaries, ALGON has blamed alleged poor leadership of the NUT for the action. Read more

South West Hausa leaders, AYF warn against reprisal attacks over Ife crisis

The leaders of Hausa communities in the southwest have warned their kinsmen in the north not to attack the Yoruba community over the recent bloody clash in Ife, Osun State.

The warning was given by the SarkinShasha and head of Arewa community in the 17 southern states, HarunaMaiyasin, at his palace in Shaha, Ibadan, Oyo State. Read more

Policeman killed as troops foil Boko Haram attack in Borno

Troops of 8 Task Force Division of Operation Lafiya Dole have foiled a Boko Haram attack on Magumeri town in Borno State.

The armed insurgents, according to residents, attempted to set the town ablaze.
Magumeri is a council headquarters, and 40 kilometres north of Maiduguri, the state capital. Read more

CBN, DMO exceed debt offerings by N70 billion

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday raised additional N40 billion through the Treasury Bills offering for government to execute its 2017 budget deficit plan.

The Debt Management Office also issued more bonds yesterday than it actually planned at an auction, after slowing inflation rate helped it offer debt at lower yields. Read more

Again EIA report on Cross River superhighway fails global standard

For the third time, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by the Cross River State government on its 260 km superhighway project has failed international standard.

This was disclosed at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Ministry of Environment yesterday in Calabar. Read more

Marine engineer gets 15-year jail term for beating wife to death

Justice Raliat Adebiyi of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a 38-year-old marine engineer, Iheanacho Nkem to 15 years imprisonment for battering his wife, Regina to death.

Delivering the judgment yesterday, Justice Adebiyi found Nkem guilty of one count charge of involuntary manslaughter brought against him by the Lagos State government. The judge said the sentence should serve as a deterrent to men, who engage in various acts of domestic violence against their spouses. Read more

Fela Reawakens as Smooth FM Hosts Broadway Musical in Concert

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Great music never dies. It lives on after the last notes have fallen silent. Over the years, artistes have risen and fallen but very few have left our hearts still humming to their symphonies. One voice, which is indeed a music legend, is Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. In a chaotic world burdened with non-stop reformation, Fela’s music was borne out of humanity and an overriding quest to influence the tide of the tempests tormenting civilisation. His melodies have over the years experienced persistent rebirth in several forms. Read more

Ayade: Celebrating an Uncommon Achiever

The Convention Centre of the Eko Hotels and Suits, Victoria Island, Lagos, venue of the Vanguard Personality of the Year Awards 2016 which held over the weekend was filled to the brim with captains of industries, distinguished personalities and some top notch in the media industry. The hall which had its sitting capacity overstretched, saw a throng of supporters, admirers and observers that seem to suggest that Vanguard Board was not alone in the acknowledgement of the exceptional achievements of its 2016 Frontliners, but that it enjoys the people’s backing. Read more

CPJ Rises in Defense of the Women

As part of its activities marking the 2017 International Women’s Day (IWD), the members of Catalyst for Global Peace and Social Justice Initiative (CPJ), recently stormed the streets of Lagos on an enlightenment campaign, sensitising Nigerians on the need to stop every form of violence and discrimination against the women folks either in the home, work place, business and governance. Read more

Major threat to the economic recovery and growth plan

At long last, the much-awaited Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the federal government, which contains the roadmap for Nigeria’s economic development, has been unveiled by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. The four-year plan (2017-2020), envisages that by 2020, ‘’Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy’’. Read more

Money laundering: Judge withdraws from Fani-Kayode’s trial

Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos, yesterday, disqualified himself from the trial of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who is being prosecuted over alleged N4.6 billion money laundering. Fani-kayode is standing trial alongside former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, a former National Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, Yusuf Danjuma and a company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd. Read more

Amnesty Office restates commitment to Niger Delta rebuilding

The Federal Government yesterday restated its commitment to rebuild the Niger Delta.

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s visit to the region has rekindled the confidence that government is serious about the reintegration plans.” Read more

Borno PDP backs Makarfi as Ondo opposes peace with Sheriff

A delegation of the Borno State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday paid a solidarity visit to the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee in Abuja.

Led by Usman Danjuma Ibrahim, the delegation visited on the platform of the Borno State PDP Concerned Grassroots Stakeholders. He said the “party members have been under various threats, inducement and intimidation by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff. Read more

Naira Gains as CBN Auctions $150m FX Forwards

The naira appreciated slightly on the parallel market on Thursday following last Wednesday’s sale of a total of $150 million through foreign exchange (FX) forwards by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Specifically, the naira strengthened to N444 to the dollar on Thursday, stronger than the N454 to the dollar it was at some parallel market points in Lagos the previous day. Read more

Another Bloody Killing Shocks Benue Community

Residents of Mbayongo, Nganbeya district of Katsina/Ala Local Government Area of Benue State on Thursday woke up to hear the heinous killing of five young men in the town.

An eyewitness, who claimed to have lost a former schoolmate in the attack (name withheld), said the unknown armed men stormed the individual homes of their victims and hacked them to death in the presence of their families. Read more

Aero lays off 60% of workforce

Aero Contractors Nigeria Limited has issued letters of redundancy to about 60 per cent of its total workforce.

The airline said it had been grappling with huge and unrealistic personnel costs as well as other operational challenges worsened by lack of enough aircraft to keep all the workers meaningfully engaged. Read more

Fayose knocks Obasanjo for anti-graft comment

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has told former President Olusegun Obasanjo to stop deceiving the world with his anti-corruption posture.

The governor said the former President lacked moral rights to accuse anyone of corruption, challenging him to explain to Nigerians the source of his wealth. Read more

Banks at crossroads over CBN deadline on data centre

Money deposit banks are at crossroads over whether to fully outsource their data centre operations or get theirs certified to the required standard in view of security and control concerns as they race to meet with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive to adopt tier 111 data centre standard this year.

Data centre is an information technology infrastructure that houses servers and other storage facilities which are used by banks, among others for their core business processes. Read more

London-Paris Club Refund: PMB Orders Release Of Second Tranche To States

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to act appropriately and with dispatch in releasing the second tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds to the states in order to ease their financial burdens.

The federal government had paid the first tranche of N388 billion to states in January. Read more

Nigeria Records Increase In Mental Health Patients In 2016

As the country recovers from recession, stakeholders have urged Nigerians to remain positive in order to avoid psychological meltdown as reports from various Nigerian hospitals have shown an increase in the number of mental health patients.

LEADERSHIP Friday, learnt that at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital at Yaba, Lagos State, there has been a 59 per cent increase in new cases in 2016 compared with 2015 and at the community clinic, (though not psychiatric cases), a 95 per cent increase in clinic attendance was recorded. Read more

Nigeria to exit recession soon –W’Bank

The World Bank Group, yesterday, hinted Nigeria will soon recover from its current economic recession.

Mrs. Eme Essien-Lore, Country Manager in Nigeria, International Finance Corporation, a member of the Group, who made the observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday, noted that there were several indications to show that the country’s economy was beginning to rebound after several months of decline. Read more

CBN clears $150m forex forwards

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday, sold a total of $150 million to authorised forex dealers in the interbank at the highest bid rate of N335/$1 and a marginal rate of N320/$1.

Confirming the details of the sale to the dealers, the Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications of the apex bank, Isaac Okorafor, said the highest rate of N335 was the same as the last auction rate of March 8, 2017. He, however, added that there was a change in the marginal rate from N315/$1 during the last auction to Wednesday’s marginal rate of N320. Read more

IFC Official Faults Nigeria’s Economic Recovery Plan

An official of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Ms. Essien Lore yesterday faulted the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which the federal government formally unveiled penultimate week, describing it as ambitious and its timeframe as relatively short.

However, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has challenged all states of the federation to devise strategies to meet people’s expectation at the period of national economic crisis. Read more

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Govt to raise $1b from asset

The National Economic Council (NEC) yersterday approved the proposed Nigeria Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which will take off on May 1.

It is expected to yield about $1billion to the Federal Government’s purse. Read more

World Bank: Nigeria must create 40m jobs by 2030

Nigeria must create about 40 million jobs by 2030 to enable her recover from the present economic recession, the World Bank Group, has said.

Its Country Manager, Mrs. Eme Essien Lore, who spoke yesterday in Lagos at the inaugural meeting of Secretaries to State Governments (SSGs) of APC States, in Alausa, Ikeja, however said the bulk of the jobs will come from the public sector. Read more

NLNG Positioned to Grow into Global Shipping Leader, Says Okesanjo

The Nigeria LNG Limited’s (NLNG) shipping operation is relying on the strategic deployment of skills and technology to power its transformation into a global maritime industry leader, the company’s General Manager in charge of Shipping, Captain Temilola Okesanjo has said.

In his presentation titled- “NLNG- Global player in the Chartering Market,” at the Multimodal (Logistics) West Africa Conference, the largest Transport & Logistics Exhibition in West Africa held yesterday in Lagos, Okesanjo revealed that the Nigeria LNG Limited has “since commencement of its operations in 1999, chartered-in 45 Vessels, including LNG, LPG and Condensate carriers for shipment of its products to buyers across the globe and chartered- out five of its own vessels to other operators  in the market.” Read more

Nigeria’s active oil rigs increase in February

The latest data from Baker Hughes Incorporated and OPEC showed that the number of active oil rigs in Nigeria, which had continued to decline in recent months, rose to 26 in February, The Punch reports.

The nation’s rig count stood at a low of 23 in December last year, down from 38 in January 2015. The reduction in the rig count was mostly triggered by the slump in global crude oil prices since mid-June 2014 as oil companies were forced to slash their capital budgets and suspend some projects.  Read more

Pinnick elected into CAF executive committee, thanks Nigerians

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick was yesterday elected into the Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Pinnick won the West African Zone B seat into the Caf executive committee by defeating Benin Republic’s Anjorin Moucharafou. Pinnick got 32 votes, 15 more than the Beninoise to be elected into office. Read more

The underappreciated role of women in sports in Nigeria

It is arguable that a greater proportion of Nigeria’s sporting success is attributable to women. Both in terms of impact and sheer numbers, Nigerian women stack up immensely well against their male counterparts. In spite of this, there has been an almost systematic neglect of women in sports in Nigeria.

The most obvious example, and this only because the most populous black nation in the world is obsessed with it, is in football.  Read more

Senegal Name Mane, 25 Others For Super Eagles Friendly
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse on Thursday named a strong 26-man squad for the March 23 friendly against Nigeria’s Super Eagles in London, reports

Topping the list of players named for the friendly is Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

Also in the Teranga Lions side for the friendly  are players such as Everton’s Idrissa Gana Gueye,  Kalidou Koulibaly, Kara Mbodj, Cheikhou Kouyate, Henry Saivet and Diao Baldé Keïta. Read more


Spanish outlet Diario Gol have reported that Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has vetoed the signing of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti in the summer, and would instead like the La Liga champions to keep hold of Arda Turan.

Verratti has established himself as one of the best central midfielders in the world ever since moving to PSG from Pescara in £10 million deal in 2012. In a little under five years at the Parc des Princes, the 24-year-old has become a key figure for the French giants – a player without whom PSG tend to struggle. Read more

Europa League: Paul Pogba Injured As Manchester United Labour To Rostov Win

Juan Mata scored the only goal as Manchester United recorded an underwhelming 1-0 victory over FC Rostov on Thursday to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

Mata struck 20 minutes from the end of a subdued game, completing a 2-1 aggregate win that sent United into the last eight of Europe’s second-tier club competition for the first time since 1985. Read more

Five Liverpool Players Called up by England

Somewhat lost in the hubbub of young Ben Woodburn getting called up to Chris Coleman’s Wales squad ahead of the Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Ireland was that Gareth Southgate — whose unbelievably predictable appointment as England manager had already been completely forgotten by this writer — had picked his first England squad. With Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge injured, and James Milner having retired from international football in August, only Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne remain as realistic Red options for Southgate, and the two have indeed been selected to face Germany and Lithuania next week. Read more

Report: Arsenal move for £20m Brazilian playmaker – Real Madrid also interested

Arsenal are said to be interested in signing Rafinha from Barcelona.

The Brazilian progressed through the youth ranks with the Catalan side before making his senior debut in 2011, but has struggled to make himself a regular in the first-team at the Camp Nou. Read more

Tunisia overturns one-year compulsory jail term for cannabis

Tunisia has repealed a controversial law which gave out a mandatory jail sentence of one year for the use of narcotics.

Law 52, which dates back to the Ben Ali regime, was overturned so that judges can issue pardons to first-time users to avoid jail terms. “It was not logical to tie the hands of the judges by not allowing them to take extenuating circumstances into account,” said Yosra Frawes of the International Federation for Human Rights. Read more

Trump budget replaces Institute for Peace with military spending

The Trump administration will reportedly axe the Institute for Peace (USIP) and dozens of other governmental agencies in order to pay for a massive rise in its military spending.

The USIP was set up to explore the “nonviolent prevention and mitigation of deadly conflict abroad”, but will be axed at a saving of $35.3 million per year. Read more

A €50bn Brexit bill? Britain shouldn’t be quibbling over coughing up to the EU

One of the more unfortunate aspects of the run-up to the UK-EU negotiations on a withdrawal treaty to allow a separation of Britain from Europe is the excessive focus on payment questions.

Boris Johnson, in urging Theresa May to resist paying any substantial Brexit bill, made the fanciful analogy with Margaret Thatcher’s famous settlement at Fontainebleau in 1984 when she obtained the rebate. Read more

Four bakers arrested over illegal brownies in Venezuela’s ‘bread war’

Venezuela this week arrested four bakers making illegal brownies and other pastries as President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government threatens to take over bakeries in Caracas as part of a new “bread war”. Maduro has sent inspectors and soldiers into more than 700 bakeries around the capital this week to enforce a rule that 90% of wheat must be destined to loaves rather than more expensive pastries and cakes. Read more

Children among hundreds of Rohingya detained in Burma crackdown
CHILDREN as young as 10 years old are among hundreds of Rohingya Muslims detained on charges of consorting with insurgents, according to a police document seen by Reuters which sheds new light on Burma’s (Myanmar) security campaign in the country’s northwest.

Thirteen juveniles are among more than 400 people arrested since Oct 9, when insurgents attacked three police border posts in northern Rakhine State near the frontier with Bangladesh, the March 7 dated document shows. Read more


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