Sahara Reporters Latest News Saturday 8th December 2018

Sahara Reporters Latest News Saturday 8th December 2018

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 08/12/18

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target=_blank>Appeal Court: Nigerian Prisoners Have A Right To Vote During Elections

A Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City, Edo State, has ruled in favour of prisoners voting during the election.
The ruling was announced on Friday after five prisoners filed a suit asking the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to include all prisoners in the voter register.
Delivering the lead judgment, Justice S. Oseji, behalf of Justice Helen Ogunwumiju ruled in favour of the prisoners, who instituted the case on behalf of other inmates in Nigerian prisons.
According to NAN, those that filed the appeal are Victor Emenuwe, Onome Inaye, Kabiru Abu, Osagie Iyekekpolor and Modugu Odion.
However, Oseji did not grant a declaration that INEC liaise with the Nigeria Prison Service to create a registration centre at various prisons across the country.
Speaking to newsmen after the judgment, Counsel to the appellant, President Aigbokhan of the Initiative for Rural Development, Information and Legal Advocacy (IRDILA), urged INEC to commence immediate registration of inmates across the country to enable them participate in the 2019 general election.
Noting that they would appeal certain aspects of the judgment, he said: “Prison inmates have their community. Polling units should be located there. We believe they have a right to vote in an election so as to decide those who ultimately decide their future.
“When franchise is given to them, attention will be focused there. Their situation and health conditions will be improved.
“In 2014, the Federal High Court granted our prayers that prisoners can vote but narrowed it to the four applicants in the suit even though it was stated there that those applicants were representing other inmates.
“We went to the Court of Appeal and the court agreed that the judgement represented all inmates in the country. That INEC should with immediate effect collate the names of inmates and allow them to vote in 2019.
“The judgment disagreed that INEC should create polling units inside the prison. In 2015, the inmates were over 550,000. All INEC needs to do is to update their voter register and liaise with NGO as volunteers to help them. It is victory for Nigeria’s democracy.”
 

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target=_blank>Nigerians In Diaspora Won’t Vote In 2019 Elections, Says Presidency

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

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Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, has said Nigerians in the Diaspora won’t vote in the 201o general election.
She stated this at a meeting with Stanislaus Kamazi, while Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, in Abuja.
Noting that Nigerians in the Diaspora had contributed significantly to the economy, she said there were ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to ensure that they participate in elections, but this would take place after 2019, NAN reported.
“Nigerians abroad have the touch of the government, Nigerians in the Diaspora have remitted about 22 billion dollars annually. But, beyond the remittance, they also want to vote and efforts are being made to achieve that; though, not in 2019. It is one of what we hope that will happen in subsequent elections,” she said.
In his remarks, the high commissioner said there were a lot of lessons to learn from Rwanda’s Diaspora policy, noting that Rwanda’s new administration had created a platform for the Diaspora to be part of the country and enjoy the same right as the citizens in the country. 

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target=_blank>Wanted Militant Kingpin, 265 Others Arrested In Bayelsa

Brigadier-General John Agim, acting Director of Defence Information, has said since the launch of ‘Operation 777’, an initiative of the Joint Military Task Force, in the Niger Delta, 266 persons have been arrested for various offences.
He stated this while speaking with journalists on Thursday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
According to Agim, suspects arrested included militant kingpin, Gift Apollo a.k.a. ‘Thousand’ whose gang is said to be responsible for the attack on soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma creeks in Bayelsa State.
He disclosed that the operation had helped in destroying about 436 illegal refineries, 609 boats, 1,507 surface tanks and 1,538 drums used for illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
His words: “Operation 777 has recorded several significant achievements by men and officers of Operation Delta Safe, anti-illegal bunkering, illegal refiniing operation carried out in Okaka community in Bayelsa State which had become notorious for crude oil theft and illegal bunkering/refining activities, and one of the most wanted militants and a member of ‘kill and bury’ gang by name Gift Apollo a.k.a. ‘Thousand’ was arrested. The group was responsible for the attack and death of soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma.
“Furthermore, in a bid to eliminate militancy and reduce the spate of incessant attacks on shipping within Joint Operation Areas (JOA) and identified active militant camps at Okparakiri, Sanikiri and Okporama communities on a tip-off, suspected sea robbers/cultists terrorising Abonnema-Buguma waterways were arrested.
“Seven Nigerian Agip Oil Company maintenance workers kidnapped while carrying out an assessment of a blasted well head in Azuama in Southern Ijaw local Government in Bayelsa were recovered and released unharmed. Operation Delta Safe have arrested 266 persons for various crimes and handed over to appropriate government agencies for prosecution. Several dangerous items such as 230 different types of arms, 240 assorted ammunitions, 11 barges, 101 outboard engines, 135 pumping machines were recovered from the criminals.”
In his remarks, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, Commander of Operation Delta Safe, said with the operation of the JTF in Niger Delta region, the level of vandalism in oil infrastructures had dropped significantly.
“Our efforts have increased the crude production from 900 barrels per day to 2.2 million barrel of crude oil and we shall continue on our mandates of operation to weed off criminal elements in the area of operation,” he said.

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target=_blank>British Council Trains Nigerian Journalists On Conflict Sensitive Reporting

Stephen Forbes, Director of Operations, British Council Nigeria

Stephen Forbes, Director of Operations, British Council Nigeria

In the wake of the 2019 elections, the British Council has hosted a workshop to enhance the capacity of journalists.
The British Council, UK’s organization that works in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society, addressed topical issues like Conflict Sensitive Reporting, Equality Diversity and Inclusion in the Nigerian Media and Child Protection, as well as the power of storytelling in journalism.
The workshop had participants from different media organisations across the country.
Stating the reason for the training, Head of Communications, British Council Nigeria, Edemekong Uyoh, said the council recognised that journalists have to continually develop themselves and meet up to the standard and task required of them in the society.
Uyoh added that the British Council had trained more than 300 journalists in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt states in Nigeria.
“In the last two years, we have trained over 300 journalists in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. The British Council has found it necessary to develop the capacity of journalists to deliver optimally and professionally in their career,” Uyoh said.
Enlightening Nigerian journalists on the need for collaboration among the media, Adejuwon Soyinka, Editor, BBC Pidgin Service, maintained that collaboration would help the media in uncovering various things that will benefit the country.
He further prompted journalists to leverage on collaboration through the exchange of expertise, infrastructure, manpower and finance across their different organisations and internationally.
On her part, Lauratu Umar Abdulsalam, Communication Specialist and Media Engagement Advisor, Palladium, emphasised the importance of ‘Conflict Sensitivity in Journalism’ and spoke on being ethical, conflict sensitive and avoiding hate speech in reporting the upcoming elections in the country.
She advised journalists to always research the background of stories and avoid stories that could trigger conflict.
“As journalists, you need to do more than write and report what you hear. Go further by investigating what has happened and know the background of every story, especially when it is conflict-related,” she said.
Speaking on the role of the British Council in creating opportunities and developing the media, Stephen Forbes, Director of Operations, British Council Nigeria emphasised the role of the media in Nigeria.
“The British Council is the UK’s International Organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities; we are constantly seeking for ways of creating opportunities by providing platforms where knowledge is shared amongst keys stakeholders. This workshop is timely to develop the capacity of journalists around conflict-sensitive reporting and sifting facts from fake news as the election period approaches,” he said.

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target=_blank>NBA President Usoro Has Case To Answer On N1.4bn Fraud, EFCC Insists

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has insisted that Paul Usoro, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has a case to answer.
The EFCC had filed a 10-count charge against Paul Usoro, bothering on allegations of fraudulent dealings involving the Akwa Ibom State Government, among others.

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Citing remarks credited to Usoro on the charges, which he made at the NBA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja on December 6, 2018, the anti-graft commission insisted that he had a case to answer.
A statement by Tony Orilade, EFCC’s acting Head of Media and Publicity, issued on Friday, read: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to the speech made by Paul Usoro, SAN, president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA at the Association’s National Executive Committee, which held on December 6, 2018 in Abuja.
“Indeed, the EFCC had invited Usoro in June this year, to explain his role regarding the inflow of N300 million (Three Hundred Million Naira) from the Akwa Ibom State Government’s account into the account of Paul Usoro Chambers, PUC. Usoro was also questioned on the aggregate inflow of N1,110,000,000 (One Billion One Hundred and Ten Million Naira) from the state government’s account into the bank account of PUC.
“Under interrogation, Usoro had claimed that the various sums of money received from the Akwa Ibom State Government, under the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, were payments for ‘legal fees’ to him and other ’eminent members of the Inner Bar and a host of other members of the Outer Bar that I had engaged to work with me in respect of the Election Petition matter’ involving the governor.”
The EFCC also noted that Usoro stated that the payments were independent transactions and that the Akwa Ibom State Government’s payments-on-account were in respect of his Firm’s professional services to the state, while the payments to the senior counsel were made by him for and on behalf of Governor Udom Emmanuel, “at his request”.
The statement continued: “Whipping up sentiment, the learned silk then raised the issue of ‘client-lawyer privilege’, arguing that ‘judicially and historically’, the ‘issues of fees, as between a lawyer and his client, is a matter of privilege’.
“While we do not intend to engage the learned silk on the pages of newspapers, on media landscape, the EFCC wishes to state that it does have regard for the Rule of Law and in this regard, the said ‘client-lawyer privilege’, but it should be stated that what is at stake, is the legitimacy of the source of the money used for the various payments.
“The learned silk, further accused the EFCC of playing the role of ‘Auditor and/or Regulator of Legal Fees’. This is definitely not the case. It is worth reiterating that while the EFCC has ‘Special Powers’ to investigate suspicious financial transactions, Section 18 (d) of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, empowers the Commission, to investigate and prosecute any person, who ‘engages in the concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights, with respect to or ownership of property knowing such property is derived from any offence referred under this Act commits an offence’. From all intent and purposes, payment of over N1.4 billion to Usoro from the accounts of Akwa Ibom State Government for unofficial transaction, is nothing short of criminal diversion of public funds.
“From the foregoing and in line with the mandate of the Commission, the SAN, definitely has questions to answer before a competent court of jurisdiction on allegation of money laundering and no amount of intimidation and or razzmatazz can stop the Commission from carrying out legitimate assignment of investigation and prosecution of financial impropriety.
“The act of making such humongous payment of over a billion naira to an individual from state vault raises reasonable suspicion of money laundering. This may amount to a disservice to the people of Akwa Ibom State, and we shall not rest on our oars and allow such financial crime to continue unabated. Paul Usoro, SAN, surely has a case to answer.
“The allegation of Usoro that the effort of the Commission at collaborating with the National Judicial Institute, NJI on capacity building was an anomaly is likened to a drowning man who holds unto a straw for survival. Let it be known to Usoro that agencies like the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC); Nigerian Institute of Bankers (NIB); the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); and the National Communication Commission (NCC) are among the many government and organised bodies that have been having such collaboration with the NJI on capacity building.
“While we do not intend to engage the learned silk on the pages of newspapers, or the media landscape as the case might be, it should be stressed, that what is wrong is wrong.”

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target=_blank>Shiites Hold Procession To Mark 40 Days After ‘Barbaric Massacre’ In Abuja

Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shiites, have held a march to mark 40 days since the ‘Arbaeen Symbolic Trek’ held in October 2018.
The group also accused the president of ordering security operatives to “kill 52 of its members” during the trek which held in Abuja.
Followers of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky had embarked on the ‘Arbaeen Symbolic Trek’. The three-day protest took place from October 28 till October 30, 2018.
The march, however, took a different turn as the Nigerian Army attempted to dispel the protest, which led to a clash and the soldiers opened fire on the Shiites.

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The group, however, held a protest march on Friday, which began from the Central Mosque immediately after the Juma’at Prayer, and ended at Zone 4.

Addressing the crowd, spokesperson of the movement, Ibrahim Musa, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being behind the killings and arrest of members of IMN.
His words: “Till today, the Nigerian government intentionally refused to brief the public on the actual reason behind such a barbaric massacre on its citizens. The military were confused enough to say that they were pelted with stones, which was justified with the use of live bullets.
“When somebody dies in Islam, after 40 days there will be a prayer and remembrance for the person. So, today is 40 days after the President of Nigeria ordered the army’s ‘Guards Brigade’ to kill followers of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky during their Arbaeen Symbolic Trek here in Abuja. It is the Guards Brigade that came out and opened fire on unarmed citizens with live ammunition, including tankers and all sorts of arms and weapons they used against us. They killed 52 people and went with so many.”

He said the movement lost another member who had been receiving treatment in the hospital, as a result of the torture she experienced, adding that 70 per cent of the young people who lost their lives during the protest were graduates and students of various higher institutions of learning.
“They were mercilessly killed by the Guards Brigade ordered by the president. Remember, the Guards Brigade is answerable only to the President of Nigeria. They are yet to come out and tell us why they killed 52 followers of El-Zakzaky,” Abdullahi added.
The group said it would continue to carry out its daily protest to demand justice and unconditional release of their leader.

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target=_blank>Investigation: Presence Of Birds On Runway Caused Sao Tome Plane Crash

The Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has disclosed in its accident report of the July 29, 2017 aircraft crash at the Sao Tome International Airport that the presence of birds on the runway was the causal factor of the crash.
The bureau also identified failure of the crew to deploy interceptors (speed brakes/spoilers), inadequate flight crew training on details of rejected take-off procedure scenarios, omission of the take-off briefing in CAVOK’s Normal Operations checklist and poor Crew Resource Management (CRM), especially in a multi-crew flight operation as some of the contributory factors to the accident.
A statement by Olayinka Olakangudu, AIB Public Affairs Officer, noted that the aircraft, an Antonov Model AN-74 TK-100, registered UR-CKC, owned by SWIFT SOLUTION FZC, operated by CAVOK Airlines LLC had overrun runway 29 during a rejected take-off at the airport.
The report stated that the captain, the first officer, the flight engineer and two maintenance engineers on board were rescued unhurt except the flight navigator who sustained an injury to his left foot and some minor bruises.
The report explained that the intended non-scheduled return flight to Accra was initiated in accordance with appropriate regulations, adding that visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed by the pilot before the crash.
The report read: “Due to the presence of birds on the runway, the take-off was rejected at a speed above decision speed V1, which was inconsistent with CAVOK’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).”
AIB also made safety recommendations to the Instituto Nacional de Aviacao Civil (National Civil Aviation Authority of STP), calling on it to improve the habitat management programme, including reduction or elimination of trees, shrubs and other plants which provide food, shelter or roosting sites for birds.
The body was also advised to enhance its aerodrome grass management appropriate to the prevalent species and the degree of risk that they pose, adding that it should also liaise with local inhabitants to limit the attraction of birds to fields in the vicinity of the airport.
AIB also said the authorities “should install specialized ground-based radar equipment used for tactical detection of large flocking birds. Should adopt and extend Runway End Safety Area to conform to ICAO standards. Should include the information about the ravine at the end of RWY 29 into the AIP and Send it as Notice To Airmen (NOTAM).”
To the Ukraine Civil Aviation Authority, AIB recommended that it should enhance its oversight functions by reviewing all safety related items pertinent to operators’ checklists and manuals, while CAVOK Airlines was recommended to review its Rejected Take Off (RTO) training syllabus to incorporate robust RTO training plan for both initial and recurrent aircraft type simulator training and assessment to include unexpected scenarios and stop-and-go decision making.
The Ukrainian body was also advised to review its Normal Operations (NO) checklist in order to include take-off briefing as an item for each flight.
It is the first time AIB would be would be invited by other country to investigate accident in its domain.
The Commissioner, AIB, Engineer Akin Olateru, said the investigation was able to be carried out as a result of effective collaboration and corporation the bureau had garnered in the last 24 months with aviation stakeholders.
The Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA) had invited AIB Nigeria to conduct an investigation into the crash, which by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 was the responsibility of the state of occurrence.

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target=_blank>Seun Kuti Gets Grammy Nomination For Best World Music Album

Seun Kuti, son of late Afrobeats Maestro, Fela Kuti, has been nominated for a Grammy Award.
The list was published on Friday on the Grammy Awards’ website.
Seun Kuti was nominated for his album, ‘Black Times’, which was released on March 2, 2018. 
According to the Grammy Awards website, the nomination for ‘Best World Music Album’ recognises “albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental World Music recordings”.
Seun Kuti was nominated alongside Bombino (Deran), Fatoumata Diawara (Fenfo), Soweto Gospel Choir (Freedom) and Yiddish Glory (The Lost Songs of World War II) for Best World Music Album.

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target=_blank>Call EFCC To Order, Zamfara Group Tells Buhari

The Zamfara Unity Forum has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to order.
They accused EFCC of “arresting and detaining Mallam Daudu Lawal, the consensus governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State for more than one week”, without reason.
A statement by Comrade Usman Bungudu, Convener of the Zamfara Unity Forum on Friday, noted that EFCC “is being used by influential politicians to influence the outcome of the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara State”.
The statement read:”The incumbent Governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, has allegedly been unable to get his Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Mukhtar Idris, to be the party’s candidate.
“It is unfortunate that the EFCC will allow itself to be used to influence the outcome of the Zamfara governorship election with the arrest of Mallam Lawal for reasons nobody has been told up till now. His friends and associates have reported that all efforts to reach him have proved abortive, meaning he is being kept incommunicado. How can EFCC keep someone for a week without giving information to his family?
“Information reaching us now suggests that the EFCC is planning to resurrect charges that had been dispensed with years ago, just in time to pressurise him to drop out of the governorship race in favour of the anointed candidate or somebody else. This is definitely a threat to this democracy. Institutions of state, such as EFCC, should never allow themselves to be used to further the political interests of certain sections.”
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “call the EFCC to order so that the credibility of the 2019 general election is not called to question,” noting that “today former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, is being respected both locally and internationally because he is believed to have allowed credible elections to hold in 2015. If President Buhari does not call EFCC to order, as we are seeing in Zamfara State, then his legacy will be questioned and this will haunt him”.

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NNPC Tanker Develops Brake Failure, Crushes ‘Newly Married’ Motorcyclist In Ondo

Tragedy struck on Friday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, as a tanker fully loaded with petrol crushed a commercial motorcyclist to death.
SaharaReporters gathered that the fully-loaded petrol tanker belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) developed brake failure and rammed into Kayode Esan, who died on the spot.
The incident happened at the popular Iye-Oma Plaza Junction at the Alagbaka axis of Akure and caused traffic gridlock for several hours.
It was learnt that Esan, who hailed from Iju/Ita Ogbolu in Akure North Local Government of the state, got married recently.
Several eyewitnesses who spoke to our correspondent said the distressed tanker driver had noticed the mechanical fault and tried to alert road users.
“The incident occurred around 9am today when there was traffic on the road. The petrol tanker driver had noticed the mechanic fault and having seen the traffic, he started shouting about his brake failure. However, the traffic warden did not immediately see the tanker driver who was on high speed, and he passed others on the other side of the road.
“The ‘okada’ man was so unlucky as he got trapped in the middle of the road. He was crushed and died instantly.”
After the death of the motorcyclist, other commercial motocylists attempted to set the petrol tanker on fire and lynch the driver. It took the timely intervention of security agencies, mostly officers of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in the Ondo State Sector Command, to prevent the angry road users from taking laws into their hands.
Still dissatisfied, the motorcyclists embarked on a protest within the state capital, causing traffic jam and assaulting traffic wardens stationed at Alagbaka and en route the Ilesha park axis. They blamed the traffic warden for the accident and untimely death of their colleague.
Speaking on the incident, Olusegun Ogungbemide, Deputy Corps Commander and Head of Operations of the FRSC in Ondo State, blamed the petrol tanker driver for the accident. He also noted that the corps was able to swing into action after receiving a distress call from members of the public.
“The incident was very sad, but our men were able to rush down to the scene after the motorcylists threatened to take laws into their hands. We have moved the corpse to the morgue of the Specialist Hospital in Akure, Ondo State and the Police have taken over the case,” he said.

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