Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Wednesday 29th July 2020

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Wednesday 29th July 2020

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 29/07/20

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COVID-19: Nigerian Doctors Guild React As Facebook, Others Delete Video Of African Doctor Who Made COVID-19 Cure Claims

The Guild of Medical Directors of Nigeria has reacted to the viral video of Dr Stella Immanuel on using hydroxylchloroquine to cure COVID-19.
Immanuel in the video that has gone viral on the Internet, claimed that she had treated over 350 COVID-19 patients using hydroxylchloroquine.
She also claimed that the drug could be used to prevent the virus.
The video has since generated global reaction.

Taking its stand on the claim by Dr Immanuel, medical directors in Nigeria posited that her claims were unsubstantiated and should only be taken as her personal opinion.
Prof Olufemi Emmanuel Babalola, President of GMD in Nigeria, advised against the politicisation of the outbreak of the virus, urging the world to stay safe.
He said, “As we speak, a study is underway in LUTH on its efficacy and safety. Subsequently, a meta-analysis of all these studies should be undertaken to pool all the results and come up with a summative analysis which will guide clinicians.
“So, a lot of the burden in explaining the problem as related to the video naturally falls on us. Therefore, we feel it is pertinent to explain or clarify the issues for Nigerians.
“We must reiterate that Coronavirus is real and COVID-19 is an indiscriminate killer.
“We know from personal experience since it has killed many doctors and nurses all over the country, including our very own Prof. Lovett Lawson.The disease is definitely not a joke.
“This disease is definitely not a joke and we strongly condemn the politicization of the disease and the treatments currently being used to fight the pandemic.
“As at today, the whole world is still actively looking for an effective treatment and of course, a vaccine. Until then, everyone has a responsibility to remain safe and protect one another through the ways proven to help.”

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Meanwhile, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are removing the videos of the press conference of Dr Immanuel from its platform.
Facebook has also taken down the profile of Dr Immanuel with, which she began sharing the video.
The video had generated over 13 million views on Facebook alone.
Facebook stated that it removed the video because of false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.
“Hello Facebook put back my profile page and videos up or your computers with start crashing till you do. You are not bigger that God. I promise you. If my page is not back up Facebook will be down in Jesus name,” she posted on her Twitter account.
YouTube also removed the video of the press conference, replacing the footage with a message saying that the content was removed for “violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.”

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Former Pension Reform Chairman, Maina, Released From Prison Custody

Abdulrasheed Maina

Ex-Chairman of the now scrapped Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, standing trail for misappropriating N2bn of pension funds, has been released from the Kuje prison in Abuja.
This was confirmed by one of his lawyers, Ademola Adedipe, according to a report by PUNCH.
Maina had been in detention since November 2019 following his arraignment before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Abdulrasheed Maina

His release came about a month after Senator Ali Ndume stood as surety for his bail.
“He (Maina)was released about 6pm on Monday. We are happy that he had been released. He can now attend to his health and have unfettered access to his defence team in preparation for his defence in court,” Adedipe said.
Maina is facing 12 counts of money laundering along with a firm, Common Input Properties & Investment Limited brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
 

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Drop False Charges Against El-Zakzaky, Shiites Tell Buhari, El-Rufai

Ibraheem-El-Zakzaky

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria popularly known as Shiites have called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, to drop all false charges against their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and release him immediately.
The group described the continued detention of the cleric and his wife, Zeenat, as flagrant violation of their fundamental rights, abuse of court process and travesty of justice.
In a statement by the Secretary of the Academic Forum of the Movement, Abdullahi Muhammad Musa, the group said the refusal of the Kaduna State Government to release the couple on health grounds despite a valid court order was a perversion of justice.

Ibraheem El-Zakzaky

The group maintained that the government had no right to keep their leader since those accused of committing the offence he was charged for had been discharged and acquitted. 
The statement reads, “This is glaringly obvious considering the fact that the charges against the Sheikh centres on aiding and abetting his followers for culpable homicide of one Corporal Dan Kaduna, and the same Kaduna State judiciary had already discharged and acquitted those falsely accused of committing it. 
“That this is the third Kaduna high court to pass judgment on the same and similar case is more than enough proof of its being an abuse of court process.” 
The statement further added that the Sheikh had.already suffered two strokes, progressive glaucoma, and cervical spondylosis while in detention. 
It added, “In the last sitting, on February 24, 2020, the Kaduna High Court affirmed that the couple were unfit to stand trial, so an order was given by Justice Gideon Kurada, directing the officials of the Kaduna Prison to grant the Sheikh and his wife access to their doctors, but all to no avail.” The group vowed not to give up on its demand for the release of its leader.

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I Am Not A Beneficiary Of NDDC Contracts, Justice Dimgba Says

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court has said that he did not get any contract from the Niger Delta Development Commission contrary to the media reports.
Justice Dimgba in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court noted that the road project linked to him was executed in his hometown (community), Uturu, in Abia State.
He noted that the project was a product of the benevolence of a former class mate of his but he did not know how it was executed.
He however, said the road was done through his goodwill having regards to the fact that his community falls under the purview of NDDC.

In a related development, a company named Eve-Rite Logistics Ltd on Tuesday said that Justice Dimgba did not get any contract from the commission.
The company’s Secretary, Aghogho Akpojotor, gave the clarification in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.

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Akpojotor said as a reputable registered contractor with NDDC, the company had a track record of both concluded and ongoing jobs with the NDDC.
She said, “Our attention has been drawn to various publications in the social media alleging that Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court (FHC) got a contract worth N249,555,206.25 awarded to him by the NDDC.
“We initially did not think much about the publication until we realised that the amount of the contract N249,555,206.25 and the description of the location was the same amount as the contract awarded to and executed by our company in his hometown (community), Uturu, in Abia State.
“The allegation that the contract was awarded to the judge was therefore nothing but a mischievous attempt not only to malign the judge but to imply that our company was involved in some fraudulent and corrupt contract scheme.
“The contract in Uturu, Abia State, was awarded to our company, Eve-Rite Logistics Ltd, by  the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),  for the rehabilitation of the road.
“Uturu, where the job was executed is in Abia State, one of the states that constitute the NDDC.”

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Local Government Elections To Hold In Ondo August 22

The Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission has fixed August 22, 2020 for local government elections in the state.
Yomi Dinakin, ODIEC Chairman, made the announcement in Akure, the state capital, on Tuesday.
The commission had previously fixed December 18, 2018 and April 18, 2020 for the exercise but postponed it due to some factors including the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Thirteen political parties have shown interest in participating in the council elections out of a total of 18.
Dinakin said the election would be conducted in strict compliance with the guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. 
He said, “Contestants are enjoined to use social media, electronic, print, and others to canvas for votes within the stipulated period of campaigns.
“On the day of the election, the commission shall demand and enforce compliance with health protocols such as physical distancing, hand washing, use of sanitisers, face mask and other procedures.”
The ODIEC Chairman added that the accreditation of voters shall commence  at 8:00am and close by 3:00pm while vehicular movement would be restricted except for those on essential duties on election day. 
The Ondo State House of Assembly has approved N1.2bn for the electoral commission for the conduct of the exercise.

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How To Kill Businesses In Nigeria: The Police Example By Amuda Mosigbodi

One of the things that Nigeria has come to be notorious for is the endemic corruption that pervades every sector in the country. These maladies are the reasons for the continued migration of a good number of the population to other climes. It is bad enough that the situation of things in the country is degenerating but worse that many businesses are made to go through harrowing experiences in the hands of those who are supposed to make the system better. A good example of this is what is going on in the Apapa port and the harrowing experiences that businesses tied to this port have been undergoing and still undergo. From time immemorial till 2019, truck drivers, and clearing agencies have become the milking cow in the hands of the police and some conniving Ports Authority staff. It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eyes than for a truck to go into the port to load their consignments.
Early in the year, the Nigerian Ports Authority decided to decongest the traffic on the road as well limit the extortion of trucks and clearing agencies by police and so ordered that all trucks should come in through the Lilypond. From there, they are expected to process their call-up letter before leaving the garage. To process the call-up letter, you will send the truck number to load the delivery, the name of the driver of the truck, and the documents of the delivery to be taken. With the call-up letter which takes not less than two weeks to process, a truck driver is allowed to go into the port and take his delivery and this was going on well for less than two months. The NPA had to stop this because the police was frustrating their efforts. Some trucks and big clearing agencies whose trucks do not follow the laid down procedure pay the police between N120,000 and 150,000 to have their trucks go into the wharf just like that while those who have their trucks parked at the Lilypond are still forced by police officers on the road to part with as much as between N50,000 and 70,000. Should a truck refuse to play ball, he is turned back. Let me quickly say it that while a truck is waiting for the call-up letter, demurrage is piling up (N20,400 per day) and additional terminal charges of N12,250 per day, all these excluding the 7.5% VAT. This is aside many paying a tip off of at least N10,000 to facilitate the call-up. The implication of this is that many prefer to just pay the police whatever they will and save themselves the stress and accumulated payment of demurrage and terminal charges.

When the NPA, on hearing of the heavy extortion by the police, decided that it will henceforth not allow any truck without call-up letter into the port, the police also decided not to allow trucks with call-up letters and earlier parked at the Lilypond to come into the port. A truck is expected to part with money at different places. Just on top of the bridge, the crop of police officers will demand N30,000 and that is not negotiable. When you descend from the bridge down to airways just Area B Command, there are also police officers who demand between N10,000 and N30,000 depending on their bargaining power. The police officers whose checkpoint is around Eleganza and those close to Etisalat demand N10,000 each. When clearing agencies and truck drivers could no longer cope with these extortions, they decided to go inside the port through the barges but what did the almighty police do? They sealed up the jetties on the orders of the Commissioner of Police who also doubles as the Head of the enforcement unit of the Presidential Taskforce on Apapa gridlock in Lagos, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, who is also said to be acting on orders from Abuja. The trucks in the jetties were not released until each paid the sum of N55,000 and we are talking of way over a hundred trucks locked in the jetties. Suffice that this is not the first time that a thing as this will happen as truck drivers who truck were locked up in the jetties around late 2019 also had to pay N55,000 to secure the release of their trucks. While one cannot confirm the involvement of the senior police officer in this shameful act, the police officers give an impression that they are acting on orders from the top.
One begins to wonder how a business is expected to thrive in this kind of condition where you are milked dry and the government still expects that you live up to your civic obligations of paying taxes after its agents have ripped you off on all sides. A lot of clearing agencies who cannot stand the heat have had to close shop due to this while others are heaving hard under the burden of the extortions. Interestingly, it seems the powers-that-be have their presence in the media as many attempts to put this out there have been stifled several times. As a country governed by laws, we should not let it get to the terrible situation where truck drivers resort to a strike and make a public shame of the country before drastic action is taken against this action. This is definitely not a good way to ensure the ease of doing business. There are a million ways to kill a business and this comes in the top three.   
Platothelaw2000@gmail.com

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Niger Delta Students Storm NDDC Headquarters, Demand Payment Of Two Years Allowances Of Foreign Students

Nigerian students under the aegis of the Niger Delta Students Union Government have asked the Niger Delta Development Commission to begin payment of allowances to students studying abroad under the scholarship programme of the commission.
The students made the demand when they staged a protest to the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday.
The students berated the commission for awarding scholarships to the students and ignoring them abroad.

SaharaReporters had reported that many scholars abroad were at risk of having their institutions terminate their academic programmes as the NDDC had refused to pay their tuition for about two years.
The students abroad said the commission refused to pay their mobilisation fee and tuition fees.
NIDSUG expressed dissatisfaction at NDDC, condemning the insincerity of the commission over the years to adequately fund and focus on educational development in the region.
“We express our displeasure against the policy if the NDDC that brought about the scholarship cannot pay for it.
“After two years they have been unable to pay them, enough is enough.
“The scholars are currently stranded in different countries abroad. They are stranded and suffering,” said Comrade N-epba Goodness, National President of NIDSUG, while speaking at the protest scene.
The Niger Delta students issued a five-day ultimatum to the commission to pay the students abroad or risk picketing from them.
They also said they were in support of the forensic audit of the NDDC from inception but requested that the audit be done by independent firms, and not be piloted by politicians, who are alleged to be implicated by the audit.

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Ondo Students Deny Endorsing Governor Akeredolu For Second Term In Office, Urge Police To Arrest Impostors

Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu

Ahead of the governorship election in Ondo State, students in public tertiary institutions across the state on Tuesday denied endorsing Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for re-election into office.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had fixed the state’s governorship election for October 10, 2020.
Speaking through Students Union Government Presidents in the four tertiary institutions in the state on in Akure, the state capital, the undergraduates from the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA), Federal College of Agriculture Akure (FECA), Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) Ondo, and Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSTECTH) Okitipupa, said they were more concerned about their education than the politics of the state.

Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu

Speaking on behalf of the students with SaharaReporters, Obagunwa Oluwasegun Daniel, SUG President of AAUA, explained that “some group of unscrupulous former students under the aegis of the Aketi Students Support Group” had been moving around to malign the image of all students in the state for their personal gains.
He said, “We (students) are, as a matter of urgency, refuting the claim that all student leaders in Ondo state have thrown our weight behind the re-election of Akeredolu. We have not and that is the truth.
“We have a series of requests on the table of the governor which have not been attended to and as student leaders we have the interest and welfare of our students by heart.”
He noted that the SUG leaders across higher institutions in the state were offered bribes to endorse Governor Akeredolu for a second term in office but turned down the offer.
According to him, the governor had refused to reverse the increment in tuition of all state government-owned tertiary institutions and might find it difficult to get the support of the students.
He added, “As students, we have been seeking the full reversal on the tuition increments across all campuses in the state and demanding that the visitor (Governor Akeredolu) to these schools implement all the agreements earlier reached with the students to uplift infrastructure on campuses.
“So, we are more concerned about getting a positive reply to all our requests on Mr. Governor’s table instead of being tangled between the politics of the day.
“We sought for peace among all students and we appeal to all politicians to take politics off our campus.  We have not in any way or form, supported the re-election bid of governor Akeredolu or any aspirant from any political party in the state. If need be to endorse, we will consider our students interest first before doing it.”
He added that the student union leaders had also written a petition to the state’s Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami, to arrest those impersonating them.

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Ondo Election Will Be A Replay Of 2016, Says Akeredolu

Ahead of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is also the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, has said the exercise would be a replay of what happened in the 2016 election, which he won.
Akeredolu said that even though he would be facing Mr Eyitayo Jegede, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, in an election for the second time, he would defeat him again.
He spoke at the National secretariat of the APC shortly after appearing before the Ondo State Governorship Appeal Committee of the party, noting that not even the defection of his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, to the PDP would stop his re-election.
While advising Ajayi to remain in the PDP with Jegede rather than jumping ship again, Akeredolu said he made a great mistake by picking him as his deputy.
He said, “We thought we could accommodate him (Ajayi) at the APC but since he returned to where he truly belonged, it is all well and good.

“From what I have been told, he has lost the ticket and I pray he won’t jump to another place but if he does, all well and good.
“However, for his own sake and as a big brother, I will advise him to stay with Jegede, support him very well.
“He has made a case that he helped me to win, let him help him to win and we will confirm that he is popular. What I know is that he is of no importance, he has no hold on any local government, I can assure you that will come during the election.
“I will defeat him in his local government and he will never recover from it. He is of no influence anywhere and we picked him because we felt we have someone from PDP coming to join us. We picked him to join us but he feels and tells people that he is grass-rooted.
“Let me advise him again to stay with Jegede and let us see what happens. Jegede is my friend. We are colleagues and both members of the inner bar,
“I don’t have anything against him and I just pray that our campaign should be issue-based without violence and I know that he knows that it will not be easy for him.
“Yes, it may not be easy for me to win, but by His Grace, I am going to win. I can assure that as it was in the beginning, so it shall be now and forevermore. We will win this election by the grace of God.”

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CBN Advised To Stop Forcing Banks To Give Out Loans

The Central Bank of Nigeria has been advised to stop coercing deposit money banks to keep giving out loans.
Agusto & Co said in its 2020 banking report that forcing DMB’s to grow their borrowing will encourage ‘weaker risk management practices.
The indigenous rating firm said a further slowdown in economic activities or a total lockdown would be crippling for the banking industry.
Predicting a rise in problematic loans, the firm said, “Our expectations are driven by the regulatory-induced growth in the loan book driven by the minimum loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) policy, which sanctions banks for non-compliance through additional CRR debits. Agusto & Co. believes that banks should not be forced to lend as this may encourage weaker risk management practices.”

While stating that it expects the Nigerian economy to shrink by six per cent in a worst case scenario, the entity said, “A further slowdown in economic activities and a total lockdown may worsen an already bad situation.”
The finance research firm is more troubled by the high rate of loans by commercial lenders that have worsened since they were issued.
Citing CBN data, Agusto and CO notes that 23 per cent of the loans held by Nigerian banks had depreciated from the default stage one to stage two.
“Agusto & Co. believes that the volume of stage two loans is a threat to the Industry’s asset quality and future profitability. Stage two loans primarily comprise exposures with an increase in the associated credit risk compared to when the loan was disbursed.
“The COVID-19 pandemic with its impact on businesses has elicited an increase in the volume of stage two loans,” the report reads partly.
The rating company also notes that the loan portfolio of four banks already have more than 23 per cent of its lending classified as stage two loans. The threshold for concern is 23 per cent.
The firm also predicts that the decaying loans could threaten the capital base of the banking industry.
Citing CBN data, it said only seven per cent of stage two loans were planned for by the Nigerian banking industry.
Asides from dealing with the prospect of stage two loans, Nigerian banks are exposed to the troubled oil, gas and power sectors, all of which have dollar components.
Q1 2020 data shows that 26 per cent of the banks’ loans are tied to the foreign-denominated oil and gas industry.
This implies that the loans would swell up as a result of the naira devaluation.
Q1 data also shows that the bad loans held by Nigerian banks increased by 99 per cent.
The CBN had in July 2019 mandated all banks to give out 60 per cent of its deposit as loans.
When the September 30 deadline for compliance reached, N499bn was debited from the cash reserves of the defaulting banks domiciled with the CBN.
The apex bank then increased the percentage of loans to be given out of a commercial bank’s deposit to 65 per cent.
By the end of December, an increased N650bn was taken out of non-complying banks’ cash reserves.
This policy has, according to observers, triggered spikes in the inter-bank lending rate, which in turn affects the interest rate the lenders are forced to add on loans given to the public.

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