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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wole Soyinka backs the appointment of Patience Jonathan

NOBEL Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has supported calls for regional co-operation and autonomy, devolution of powers from the centre, community policing and the non-posting of Youth Corps’ members to violence-ridden areas.

He, however, disagreed with the condemnation that has trailed the appointment of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, as a Permanent Secretary by the Bayelsa State Government, arguing that “after all, the lady in question is not constitutionally disqualified from the office.”

Prof. Soyinka condemned the Boko Haram insurgency, describing it as “a manifestation of a virulent religious backwardness.”

He called for the streamlining of education in Nigeria especially at the tertiary level.

Soyinka spoke at a lecture he delivered at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State.

In his lecture titled “Celebration of Good Governance,” Prof. Soyinka lauded the Akpabio Administration for what he called “the quantum leap in development” of the state he last visited 12 years ago.

He commended the Governor for not differentiating between Federal and State roads in road construction and advised other states to emulate “the same pattern of development.”

The Deputy Governor, Nsima Ekere, attributed the uncommon transformation of the state to the remarkable leadership provided by Governor Godswill Akpabio.

Speaking after the lecture, Ekere stressed that good leadership was the real ingredient to good governance as demonstrated by Chief Akpabio.

The Deputy Governor also stated that the Governor was able to achieve so much because of the team he had painstakingly chosen.

“What we are witnessing in Akwa Ibom State is because the team is led by a very focused and committed captain of ship,” he said. “In Akwa Ibom State, the leadership painstakingly chooses the other team members.”

Mr. Ekere thanked Prof. Soyinka for acknowledging the development strides of the Akpabio Administration after taking up the Governor’s challenge to visit the state and see things for himself.

He assured that the State Government will make good use of the advice given by the Nobel Laureate in the course of his visit.

The Deputy Governor supported Prof. Soyinka’s call for healthy competition between State and Local Governments “so that we can develop together and move this country forward.”

He called on all Nigerians to support the fight against corruption which, he said, was devastating and eating deep into the fabric of the nation.

Mr. Ekere explained that the State Government organized the interactive session between the students and Prof. Soyinka to enable the students to learn from the Nobel Laureate and advised them to read and study Prof. Soyinka’s books, shun all forms of cultism and strive to become responsible citizens of the country.

SEC Staff protes against Arunmab Oteh's return

Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Wednesday morning, held a protest against the pending reinstatement of the suspended Director General of commission, Arunma Oteh.

Work was disrupted for more than one hour as words filtered to the workers that the Federal Government was planning to return Ms. Oteh to her position, and that she was billed to resume on Wednesday morning

Wielding placards with various inscriptions like 'Say No to Oteh's return,' the staff, by the leadership of the workers' union, marched through the premises to the commission, and the adjoining street, before they were prevailed upon by the acting Director General to suspend the action.

The union leaders are at the moment locked in a closed door meeting with the management.

A team of security operatives from the State Security Service, who arrived the SEC premises at about 10a.m. Wednesday morning in two operation vehicles, are still stationed at the entrances of the commission’s headquarters.

Court fines NBC 60M: For cockroach contaminated softdrink.

A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has slammed  N6 million against the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) as special and general damages to Messrs Keregbe Kpa and Nuka Livingstone. The company was to pay the amount to Kpa and Livingstone, as special and general damages caused them by the company after consuming contaminated drinks. 

The claimants had through their counsel, Chigozirim Nwaodu, instituted a suit against the defendant on March 27, 2009, claiming the sum of N100 million as special and general damages. Justice Emmanuel Ogbuji, while delivering the judgment, found the defendant in Suit No.PHC/551/2009, guilty of negligence and breached its duty of care to the claimants. 

The judge upheld that the NBC was negligent when it manufactured and sold to the first claimant, Keregbe Kpa, soft drinks contaminated with decomposing cockroach and other harmful substances on or about May 17, 2008. Ogbuji stated further that it was an absurd that the NBC’s Quality Assurance Manager, Mrs. Comfort Okere, who claimed the company had the state-of-the-art equipment could not tell the court how many bottles were washed daily and why their product was contaminated. 

“I must state and agree with the claimants’ counsel that whatever may be the case, by the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, the defendant has the obligation to explain how their products, which vessels underwent a state-of-the-art cleaning processes, acquired foreign objects or particles, that rendered them unsafe for human consumption. 

“In fact, it is absurd that the defendant produces many bottles a day, but its witness stated that she did not know how many bottles are washed daily. In her testimony, she said their Port Harcourt plant produces 30,000 crates (720,000 bottles) of soft drinks a day, but did not know how many bottles the defendant wash a day.” While declining to grant relief of N23 million to the claimants, the judge upheld that they proved their case on preponderance of evidence. 

“Wherefore, it is ordered and declared that the defendant was negligent and breached its duty of care to the claimants when it manufactured and caused to be sold to the first claimant soft drinks contaminated with decomposing cockroach and other harmful substances on or about May 17, 2008. 

“The discovery of the said contamination by the guests of the first claimant in a child dedication ceremony he organized for his little daughter on May 18, 2008 and for which the first claimant was derogatorily called ‘an evil or blood money man, money ritualist’ and a similar plasters of infamy by the guests and other persons amounted to the defamation of the claimant or an aggravated embarrassment 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ex-bank manager jailed for fraud

Justice Dije Aboki of Kano High Court, has sentenced Mr. Samuel Owoyele, a former manager with the United Bank of Africa Plc, who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to a total of 19 years in prison for fraud.
Owoyele who was found guilty on all three count charge preferred against him is also to pay N20 million as restitution.
Trouble started for Owoyele on 9 December 2009, when as a UBA manager, he collected the sum of twenty-seven million naira (N27m) from one Ashiru Munzali Gambo under false pretence that he had $185,000 (one hundred and eighty five thousand United States Dollars) to sell to him.
After repeated visits and appeals, the convict could neither give the promised dollars nor the naira equivalent he collected from the complainant. This necessitated a petition to the EFCC.

Justice Aboki, in her judgment, observed that the evidence against the convict was convincing; explaining that the prosecution had established that the convict acted knowingly with the intent to defraud the complainant.
The judge said that the convict induced the complainant to part with his money; tore the teller that showed the transaction in an attempt to suppress evidence which she said was an act of desperation by the convict.
The judge noted that the prosecution had discharged its onus on this count and therefore found the accused guilty as charged.
She accordingly, sentenced the accused to 10 years.
On count two, Justice Aboki said that the evidence was the same but the circumstance differed.
She said that false pretence and deception were present and that the accused used the money given to him to pay off another creditor of his.
She said that the evidence against him was overwhelming, credible, clear and cogent.
She found him guilty as charged and accordingly sentenced him to seven years without option of fine.
The judge also found Owoyele guilty on count three which borders on wilful intent to defraud, destruction of a UBA deposit slip No 23504; an offence punishable under section 371 of the Penal Code.
She found the accused guilty as charged and sentenced him to two years plus a fine of three hundred thousand naira (N300, 000.00).
Justice Aboki said that she imposed the various prison terms on Owoyele in order to serve as deterrent to those who might like to abuse their offices, betray public trust and confidence as the accused.


The Senate Committee on Education on Monday advised the University of Lagos (UNILAG), recently renamed Moshood Abiola University, to include in its budget the estimated cost of the name change.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, made the call when he led a seven-member team on a visit to the institution, as part of its oversight functions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the committee, which included Senators Oluremi Tinubu, Joshua Dariye and Olusola Adeyeye, is on a three-day working visit to major federal educational institutions in Lagos State.

At an interactive session with UNILAG management, Chukwumerije said that the committee was interested in knowing the cost implication should the bill before the National Assembly sailed through.
He added that the committee was interested in knowing the extent of consultation between the Federal Government and the university authorities before the name change.
He noted that recently the institution was shut down following students’ demonstration against the name change.
Chukwumerije noted that peace in the university was a pre-requisite to the sustenance of a conducive environment required for development and efficient utilisation of resources.
He also sought to know the status of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the university between 2005 and 2011.
According to him, UNILAG’s unique location in the country’s industrial and commercial hub, Lagos, is of special interest to the committee.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

82 years old man hooks 70 year old woman in Kano mass wedding

An 82 year old Malam Uba Abdul-Rahman hooked up with his 70-year-old bride yesterday.

Abdul-Rahman, who was among the new couples, spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the state government for the support given to them and said that he was happy for finding a 70-year old partner to spend the rest of his life with after the demise of his wife. 

In a grand event held at the Kano Central Mosque, representatives of the couples agreed to unite the spouses together after a dowry of N10,000  was paid to each of the bride.

Yesterday's event was the second of its kind organised by the state's Hisbah Board and each of the couples comprising 100 widows and divorcees and 150 unmarried young girls was assisted with  bed and beddings, kitchen utensils, three crates of egg, and a  pair of two handsets and SIM cards provided by Airtel service provider.

In her speech, Vice President's wife, Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo charged the new couples to respect the institution of marriage and live peacefully with their partners. She later donated 130 sewing machines for onward distribution to the new couples.

Prior to the wedding fatiha, a counselling session was organised for the couples at the Government House and were later provided with gifts donated by individuals and corporate bodies.

The State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, in his speech said that government would continue to provide support to un-married men and women in order to minimise social problem in the state.

A total of 250 widows, divorcees and girls were, yesterday,joined in wedlock at a mass wedding organised by the Kano state government.

I would have won with a wider margin-----Oshiomhole

BARELY 24 hours after he was declared winner of the Saturday governorship poll, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, said he would have won with a wider margin. The governor said this on Monday after a dramatic appearance at the Presidential Villa.
Oshiomhole arrived at the Council Chambers while the swearing-in of the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukhtar, was rounding off and stood at the entrance where attendees at the inauguration of Mukhtar congratulated the re-elected Edo governor for his victory at the poll.

Dignitaries, including minister and chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party whose candidate was defeated in the election, took turns to shake hands with Oshiomhole.

The Edo governor followed then President Goodluck Jonathan back to his office. He entered the President's office at 11.30 am and came out 30 minutes after.

The details of the governor's meeting with the President were not made known to journalists.

While briefing journalists after his closed door session with the President on Monday, Oshiomhole boasted that but for the initial hiccups recorded in the early stage of the Saturday election, he would have won with a wider margin.

"The number could have been higher than that if materials had arrived at 8am…but for the fact that people had strong passion, strong commitment to vote for me, when they waited for four hours they would have gone home

The former labour leader commended President Jonathan on his stance on free and fair elections.

He said the Edo case was a proof that the nation was capable of organising credible elections.

He said, "For me, what the Edo election has confirmed is that when the President and Commander-in-Chief puts the country first and foremost conducts himself as a statesman and not just a party leader, credible elections are possible.

"People were apprehensive that the Nigerian Army could be misused. But of course I told them I didn't think they were right because the President gave a clear directive that the votes must count. He warned that there would be no rigging, no manipulation, no ballot snatching and orders were given to the army to ensure none of those things happened and the Army carried out the order."

The governor faulted the arguments by some people that he was hasty in criticising the conduct of the election before he was later declared winner, saying, "the fact that you got home safely does not mean you should not investigate an accident scene."

He said he had to cry out on time because he heard before the election that some leaders of an unnamed opposition party agreed that they would work on some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission to delay the supply of electoral materials to areas known as his stronghold.

The plan, according to him, was to frustrate those who might want to vote for him and force them to return home after waiting in the queue for hours.

He said, "When you see things like this happening, one should not keep quiet until after one's death; then a professor of anatomy will go and establish the possible causes of death?

"If you have been a victim of election rigging, you will know that it doesn't make sense to see people rigging you out and you keep quiet because you do not want to raise the alarm.

"In every battle, you take pre-emptive steps because it can make all the difference. Medicine after death doesn't make sense except to foolish people and I am not a foolish man."

Oshiomhole had on Sunday, moments after he was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, heaped praises on Jonathan whom he described as a "statesman and man of honour" for keeping to his words to allow peaceful election in Edo.

He polled a total of 477,478 votes as against the PDP's Maj.-Gen.Charles Airhiavbere's 144, 325 votes.

Airhiavbere meanwhile on Monday said he would not congratulate Oshiomhole because the governor had faulted the election process before he was declared winner.

He said, "I won't fully comment on the election because the acclaimed winner had earlier in the day condemned the electoral system, he condemned the chairman of INEC for the process that has not ended.

"That process at the end of the day declared him the winner. I will observe in the next few days before I make my comment. It could have been easy to congratulate him but he also had pre-empted the system that brought him."

Bomb factory discovered!

The Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Command, Mr. Muhammed Katsina, on Monday said the command had uncovered another bomb factory in Okaito, a remote village in Okehi Local Government Area of the state.
From December 2011 till date, four different bomb factories had been uncovered in Kogi State. One was at Kabba, while the remaining three were at Lokoja, Okene, Okehi and Adavi areas.

Speaking with journalists in Lokoja, he said police officers uncovered the bomb factory with the help of the suspect arrested in connection with last Sunday's bomb explosion near Living Faith Church and Deeper Life Christian Church, along Okene-Obehira Road in Okene.

Katsina said the police recovered from the bomb factory, 46 Improvised Explosive Device, three bottles of potassium Chloride, 15 fuses, 15 capacitors, five litres of acid and one electrical detonator.

Others items, according to him, were Bibles, Qurans, 250m detonating cord, three remote controlled siren GSM sets, rolls of firing cables, nails of various sizes, ammunitions, motorcycle, and other household items.

He said the factory buildings were designed as a church and a mosque ostensibly to deceive people while in actual fact, they were buildings where bombs of various sizes were manufactured and transportation to other places.

He, however, did not name the owners of the buildings, but said investigations were ongoing.

While parading the suspect, Katsina warned that those arrested in connection with any crisis or insecurity in any part of the state would be punished according to the law, no matter how highly placed.

He also advised property owners, especially landlords to scrutinise prospective tenants thoroughly before giving out their properties.

Also, less than 48 hours after an attack by suspected terrorists gang in the Mahuta Village of Kaduna State, the police in the state said on Monday that they raided a bomb factory located at Rafin-Guza, near Kawo, where it impounded different cans of explosives and bomb-making powder.

Police Public Relation Officer of the state command, Aminu Lawan, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said one person was reportedly killed during the attack which was repelled by the youth of the area.

The Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar Jingiri, at a press briefing at the headquarters of the command, said a "confessed terrorist" led the police to the hideout where other items were equally recovered.

These included two bags of chemicals, a jerry can of acid, two masks, an AK47 magazine with 27 rounds of live ammunition and eight car alarm systems.

The commissioner had earlier on July 12, said his men arrested three bandits who robbed a filling station manager at Maraban Yakawaada, Giwa Local Government Area.

Nigeria begins fuel importation from Niger republic

Fuel marketers in Katsina have begun importing refined petroleum products from the newly-built refinery in neighbouring Niger Republic
Niger-refined diesel is already available in many filling stations in Katsina State, and marketers say plans are on to begin importing petrol from the Soraz refinery.

The refinery was opened in November in Zinder, just 80 kilometres north of the border with Nigeria, with enough capacity to satisfy domestic requirements and a huge surplus for export.

Until the recent development, Nigeria imports refined products only from far away countries including India, Brazil and Netherlands.

A company belonging to business mogul Dahiru Mangal started importing diesel from the Soraz refinery in April to outlets in Katsina State.

“We have been importing diesel from Niger for almost four months now. We have so far made three trips of 30 trucks each,” an official at D.B. Mangal Petroleum, Alhaji Lawal Dahiru Mangal, told reporters in katsina

Checks at some of the filling stations selling the Niger-refined diesel show that a litre sells at N160, compared with the N170 price of diesel brought up North from the ports in Lagos.

The Mangal company sells the imported commodity to end users at its own filling stations and to other retailers in the state.

Alhaji Lawal said the company has obtained import license from the Federal Government and “also met all requirements put in place by the government for importation of the commodity.”

Asked if they will consider bringing in petrol, he said, “For now we are not importing petrol from Niger but arrangements are on for its importation. We are studying the situation for now and if we are okay with the gains we will start.”

He added that the price of the commodity varies even at their own D.B. Mangal filling stations depending on the distance of the retail outlet.

“The price of the commodity within Katsina metropolis is different from the price at D.B. Mangal’s outlets outside Katsina,” he said, adding “We have permanent customers from within and outside Katsina State that are buying the commodity from us.”

Some of the drivers of D.B. Mangal Petroleum confirmed the facts.

“We are importing 30 trucks of diesel per trip from Niger. So far we have made three trips in four months. Right now, we have about eight trucks of diesel that are not offloaded,” one of the drivers said.

A fuel attendant at the I.M. Petroleum in Katsina also told Daily Trust that they “have bought diesel from Mangal twice” so far.

He said the commodity is cheaper at Mangal’s company when compared with the price of diesel imported to Nigeria through the seaports. “Availability at Mangal company also matters; you can always get the commodity from Mangal,” he said.

No official of the Department of Petroleum Resources in Abuja was available for comments yesterday. Spokeswoman for DPR, Mrs Belema Osibodu, did not answer her calls and did not respond to a text message sent to her.

But a source at the department said there were some discussions about diesel import permits applied by some companies who want to import from Niger Republic.

The source said since diesel is a deregulated product, marketers may import the commodity when they satisfy regulatory requirements.

The Niger refinery, located some 900 km east of the capital Niamey, is a 20,000 barrel-per-day capacity and will be fed entirely by oil from the newly-launched Agadem oilfield, a further 700 km east.

It will initially draw crude from three Agadem wells with reserves totalling 480 million barrels. Local consumption of refined products accounts for 7,000 barrels a day with plans to export the rest.

The refinery is 60 percent-owned by Chinese state oil company CNPC and 40 percent by Niger. It follows a $5 billion deal signed between the two in 2008 to concurrently build the plant and develop crude oil from Agadem.