All African News

Zenith Bank shareholders approve N63.4bn dividend payout

Punch - 53 min 2 sec ago

Stanley Opara

The shareholders of Zenith Bank Plc, on Wednesday, approved a final dividend payout of N55.573bn, bringing the total dividend for the year ended December 31, 2016 to N63.422bn.

The approval was given at the Annual General Meeting of the bank held in Lagos.

The shareholders commended the board, management and staff of the bank for growing its profit after tax by 23 per cent from N105.531bn in 2015 to N129.65bn in 2016. The bank ended the year with gross total assets of N4.739tn, up from N4tn recorded in 2015.

Addressing the shareholders, Chairman, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, said despite the challenging operating environment, the bank was able to fully exploit the available opportunities to post the impressive results.

Ovia said in line with its commitment to delivering superior returns to its much-valued shareholders, the bank ensured that a good chunk of the profit is set aside for them.

“In this regard, we have declared and paid you an interim dividend of 25 kobo per share in the course of 2016 financial year. We hereby propose a final dividend of 177 kobo per share. This brings the total dividend for the year ended December 31, 2016 to 202 kobo per share as against 180 kobo per share paid the previous year,” he said.

He stated that even in the face of a very challenging operating environment, Zenith Bank had maintained its culture of outstanding performance and industry leadership.

“As a bank, we are monitoring developments both in the local and global economy and applying pragmatism and dynamism as appropriate. Our strategy and approach to the pursuit of financial inclusion and sustainability gives us a lot of competitive advantage to explore even new frontiers in the market,” he said.

Also commenting, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Peter Amangbo, said as an institution of well-primed people, the bank relied on a its pool of exceptional staff members to make sound and timely decision and addressed issues in a manner that anticipated developments and demonstrated excellent understanding of the dynamics of the market and economy in 2016.

Amangbo stressed, “We shall continue to demonstrate extraordinary commitment to our customer s while maintaining focus on all the areas fundamental to adding value to our partnership.”

Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

Eiffel Tower to go dark for London victims

Punch - 53 min 44 sec ago

Lights on the Eiffel Tower will be switched off at midnight (2300 GMT) on Wednesday in solidarity with those killed and injured in a terror attack outside Britain’s parliament.

The decision was taken by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo following the deadly attack in which a man ploughed his car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge then leapt out and stabbed a policeman, killing three people and wounding more than 20.

Hidalgo had earlier expressed her “solidarity” in a message to her London counterpart Sadiq Khan, adding: “Paris and London have very close links which have become stronger in the last few decades.”

She said the two capitals “share a common love of freedom and an attachment to democracy” and were “tolerant and cosmopolitan cities, open to the world.”

AFP

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Tired Nigerian lady ‘reports’ her parents to Instagram

Punch - 1 hour 9 min ago

Parents always tend to over do it when they look out for there grown up kids at times.

That was the point an Instagram user, @Opyolowo tried to make recently when she said she was tired of her Nigerian parents for complaining bitterly about her short gown.

Trouble started when the lady who is based in Canada put up a Display Photo on one of her social media profile and it was noticed by her mother.

The mother asked her if the off-shoulder dress would not fall in front and told her that her dad was always complaining about her dressing.

See the conversation below.

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Remains of doctor who jumped into Lagos lagoon handed over to family

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 23:49

The remains of a medical doctor, Allwell Orji,  who jumped into the Lagos Lagoon have been handed over to his family after the body was recovered on Wednesday.

The Lagos Sate Emergency Management Agency recovered the corpse on Wednesday after three days of intensive search.

The General Manager of LASEMA, Mr Adesina Tiamiyu, said that the body was recovered at about 4.00 p.m. by the Marine Police.

He said, “The body has been handed over to the family while investigation continues.”

The general manager expressed his condolences on behalf of the State Government and declared the search closed.

The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr Fatai Owoseni, said Orji’s remains were “identified by some of his family members, including the driver”.

Orji, a medical doctor, was said to have been driven to the Third Mainland Bridge by his driver on Sunday, alighted and took a fatal plunge into the lagoon.

He was said to have ordered his driver to stop the Nissan Sports Utility Vehicle he was in after receiving a phone call.

The deceased, working at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Surulere area of Lagos State, drowned before help could come.

The police had on Tuesday recovered a corpse they thought was Orji’s but rejected by the family.

(NAN)

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Buhari condemns terror attack in London

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 23:24

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday  condemned the terrorist attack near the United Kingdom Parliament Building at Westminster, London.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President sympathised with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.

He assured her that the government and people of Nigeria “stand with Britons at this sad and trying moment in their country.”

According to Buhari, “terror attack anywhere in the world is condemnable,” adding that the whole world must join hands to defeat the perpetrators of terrorism

He prayed that God Almighty will comfort the grieving families and heal the injured.

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US spy agencies monitored Trump team communications -Lawmaker

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 23:16

US spy agencies scooped up the communications of members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team late last year, possibly including those of the president-elect himself, a senior Republican lawmaker said Wednesday.

The allegation made by Devin Nunes, Republican chair of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, could bolster Trump’s heretofore unsupported claims that he was wiretapped by US intelligence.

Nunes said he had been provided information showing the collected communications had nothing to do with investigations into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and had minimal intelligence value.

He said the communications were apparently monitored legally, and that the collection of information on the Trump team was “incidental” — meaning they were not the focus of the surveillance.

Yet the information collected, spanning the November-January period in between Trump’s election victory and his inauguration, was “widely disseminated” in US intelligence circles, he said.

“I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition,” Nunes told a press conference.

“None of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”

Nunes suggested those involved in the surveillance had violated rules requiring that any information on the US persons involved be masked in intelligence reports.

He questioned why it was not masked when the surveillance reports had “little or no intelligence value.”

US intelligence community rules dictate that information on US citizens picked up incidentally in surveillance must be scrubbed or masked in intelligence reports.

Nunes would not say whether Trump’s own communications were collected.

The lawmaker’s statement came amid recriminations over spy agencies’ listening to phone calls between former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn and Moscow’s ambassador in Washington, which has become part of a sprawling probe into Russia’s role in the US election.

Nunes’ Intelligence Committee is probing Russian interference in the election and Flynn’s activities.

It also came days after the heads of the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation repudiated Trump’s claims that his Trump Tower in New York had been wiretapped under order by then-president Barack Obama.

Nunes did not say who did the monitoring or name anyone in the Obama administration as responsible for spreading the unmasked information.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the White House did not know the details about the communications, and that Nunes would brief Trump on the issue later in the day.

AFP

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PHOTOS: Fayose stops by roadside buka to eat rice

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 23:06

If there is an award for governors with penchant for eating at roadside Bukas, then Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, would get the first prize.

The latest of such show was on Wednesday, when he bought rice cooked and served inside leaves from a roadside food seller at Moferere area of Ado Ekiti.

See the photos below.

 

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South Africa suspends meat imports from Brazil

The Nation - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 23:04

South Africa has suspended some meat imports from Brazil citing a scandal in the South American country’s meat processing industry, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said on Wednesday.

Reuters reported that police in Brazil has launched raids to investigate alleged bribes paid to conceal unsanitary conditions in Brazil’s meatpacking facilities.

China and Canada also suspended some meat imports from Brazil on Wednesday.

The post South Africa suspends meat imports from Brazil appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

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British parliament attack: What we know

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 23:00

 

Three people were killed in a “terrorist” attack in the heart of London Wednesday when a man mowed down pedestrians on a bridge, then stabbed a police officer outside parliament before being shot dead.

– What happened? –

At around 2:40 pm (1440 GMT), media reported gunfire outside parliament and that several people had been injured in an incident on nearby Westminster Bridge, a busy traffic route that is also a popular tourist spot with its views of parliament and its Big Ben clock tower.

Britain’s top anti-terror police officer Mark Rowley said a car had rammed into several people on the bridge, including three police officers.

The car then crashed into railings outside parliament and a knife-wielding attacker tried to enter the building, stabbing a police officer.

Rowley said four people had died, two on the bridge as well as the police officer and the assailant.

“We have declared this as a terrorist incident and the counter-terrorism command are carrying out a full-scale investigation into the attacks,” he said.

– How did authorities respond? –

Parliament was swiftly put on lockdown, with lawmakers and staff ordered to remain inside. Hundreds of people were later evacuated from the building.

Police cordoned off a large area in Westminster and tourists on the London Eye, a popular tourist attraction, were stuck 135 metres (443 feet) in the air during the incident.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who was in parliament at the time, was ushered away by car and was preparing to chair a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergencies committee.

A police spokesman said extra officers would be patrolling the city and urged the public to be vigilant.

Rowley said a “massive operation” was now under way but declined to go into further details.

Television pictures showed a red air ambulance landing on the grass square opposite the parliament building and other emergency vehicles swarming nearby roads.

Westminster Bridge and the nearby Westminster Underground station were closed off.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in a video statement: “The government’s top priority is the security of its people and I urge everyone to remain calm.”

– What is known about the attacker? –

For the moment, very little. Witness reports described a middle-aged man of South Asian appearance who was carrying a large knife.

A picture published in British media showed a bearded man wearing a dark top, said to be the assailant, on a stretcher being treated by medics.

“We currently believe there was only one attacker,” Rowley said.

– Has anything like this happened in London before? –

London’s transport system was hit by four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks in July 2005 that left 52 people dead, carried out by British attackers inspired by Al-Qaeda terror network. There was an attempted second wave of attacks two weeks later.

In 2013, two Islamic extremists killed soldier Lee Rigby on a London street by hitting him with a car before attempting to behead him.

Last August, a paranoid schizophrenic knifeman who tried to behead a commuter in a London Underground station in an Islamic State-inspired attack was sentenced to life behind bars.

In terms of attacks on parliament, Airey Neave — the shadow Northern Ireland Secretary and a close friend of Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher — was killed by an Irish National Liberation Army car bomb in the House of Commons car park.​​

The latest incident comes with Europe on high alert after a series of deadly jihadist attacks, including the Brussels bombings exactly a year ago on March 22, 2016.

AFP

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Reps to investigate dredging of River Niger

The Nation - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:57

The House of Representatives on Wednesday said it will investigate the dredging of the lower River Niger.

The House will also investigate the establishment of land port in Idah and Jamata in Kogi by Messrs Van Oord Nigeria Limited.

The motion for the investigation moved by Benjamin Okolo (APC-Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency) was unanimously adopted at the plenary.

Okolo said the project to dredge the lower River Niger was an important and strategic action initiated by the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

He said the project which stretches through 572km, would affect 152 communities on the bank of the River Niger from Edo, Anambra, Imo, Bayelsa, Delta, Kogi, Niger and Rivers.

The law maker said the contract for dredging of 118km from Onitsha to Idah was awarded to Messrs Van Oord Nigeria Limited at the cost of N10.4 billion.

Okolo alleged that the work on the said project never took-off till date.

He said the dredging of 108km from Idah to Jamata which was awarded to the same company at the cost of N13.8 billion, was skeletal.

Okolo said the project had reached 62 per cent completion as at 2014 but was later abandoned.

The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, mandated the Committee on Ports and Waterways to investigate the matter and report to the house within four weeks for further actions.

NAN

 

 

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Teenager arraigned for bag snatching

The Nation - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:52

A 15-year- old boy, Farouk Hassan, who allegedly attacked a man at a Lagos bus stop and stole a mobile phone valued at N6, 000 and N500 cash was arraigned at the Ikeja Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

He was however granted bail in the sum of N10, 000.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Davis Abegunde, asked the accused to provide one surety in like sum as part of the bail condition.

The magistrate said the surety should show evidence of tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

Abegunde said the case file should be duplicated and a copy sent to the office of the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice.

The accused, who resides at No. 14, Oniyaomabi Street, Mosalashi, a Lagos suburb, had pleaded not guilty to charge of stealing.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Sgt. Raphael Donny, told the court that the accused committed the offence with others still at large on March 15 at about 10.50 p.m. at Kola Bus Stop, Alagbado, Lagos.

Raphael said the accused with others attacked the complainant, Mr. Segun Wolu, and snatched his phone and robbed him of N500 at Kola bus stop.

The accused was apprehended by some security men while others escaped, he said.

The offence contravened Section 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The case was adjourned until March 27 for mention.

NAN

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PHOTOS: Terror attack at UK Parliament

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:46

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N8bn CBN fraud: Court jails two ex-bankers six years

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:43

Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

A Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan on Wednesday sentenced a senior clerk with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Toogun Kayode Philip; and Mrs Esther Afolabi of Wema Bank to three-year imprisonment for their roles in the N8bn currency mutilation fraud.

Afolabi and Philip were sentenced after Justice Joyce Abdul-Malik found them guilty of the six-count charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The trial was abridged following the plea bargain agreement entered into by the convicts and the prosecution counsel.

Before her ruling, Justice Abdul-Malik adopted the plea bargain agreement involving the prosecution and defence counsel.

The judge said although the defendants showed remorse, the court had to act appropriately by convicting and sentencing them to three-year imprisonment of 12 calendar months a year, adding that they were also to forfeit all the property illegally acquired from the proceeds of the fraud to the Federal Government.

The judge said, “The defendant, Toogun Philip, originally charged with the offences of obtaining by false pretence, conspiracy, inducement, false entries and forging of documents having shown remorse for his actions hereby changes his plea to guilty through this agreement and shall forfeit the following properties to the Federal Government: three-bedroom apartment situated at Oganla Area of Omi-Adio, Ibadan.

“The convict will also forfeit the entire sum of funds in Access Bank Account No. 0041991002 in the name of Toogun Kayode Philip.”

The judge said that Afolabi would forfeit to the Federal Government certain assets traced to her such as a five-bedroom duplex situated at No. 8, Fatoke Street, Molete area, Ibadan, a filing station, Oba Oil and Gas Limited located at Liberty Academy Area, Ibadan, and a borehole machine/rig located at Ibadan.

Justice Abdul-Malik explained that under the plea bargain agreement, Afolabi would forfeit amounts in bank accounts traced to her.

They are a First Bank of Nigeria Plc account No. 3052548786 in the name of Afolabi Esther Olunike, with all the accruable interest; another First Bank of Nigeria Plc account No. 2022878379 in the name of Afolabi Esther Olunike, with all the accruable interest; a Zenith Bank account No. 2005307166 in the name of Afolabi Ayobami with all the accruable interest.

Others are: a Zenith Bank account No. 2009360514 in the name of Afolabi Esther Olunike with all the accruable interest; a Zenith Bank account No. 1012682804 in the name of Afolabi Esther Olunike, with all the accruable interest; a GTB account No. 0123240780 in the name of Afolabi Esther Olunike, and a GTB account No. 0117895356 in the name of Afolabi Ayobami with all the accruable interest.

Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

Having children can make you live longer –Study

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:20

Contrary to what we thought about pregnancy and childbirth, a new research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has assured that having kids can make you live far longer than someone who doesn’t.

In the March 2017 study, Swedish researchers analysed national registry data on more than 704,000 men and 725,000 women ages 60 and older.

Considering other factors such as education level, the study authors calculated each person’s risk of death every year, comparing it with data on their marital statuses and whether they had any children.

As you would expect, the participants’ risks of death rose overall as they aged. But interestingly enough, the researchers found that men and women with children had lower risks of earlier death than their childless counterparts: By age 60, moms were expected to live 1.5 years longer than women who didn’t have children, while dads were expected to live two years longer than the other men.

Why is this the case? The researchers believe it might have something to do with children helping and providing care for their parents as they age: “Our finding that the association grew stronger when parents became older is further in agreement with research suggesting that childless people face support deficits only towards the end of life,” the researchers wrote.

The study authors note that their findings support earlier studies that have found children might help lower their moms’ and dads’ mortality risk — and challenge previous research that suggests daughters might be more likely to lengthen their parents’ lives than sons.

And those are some welcome words for moms and dads everywhere.

Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

PDP crisis: Supreme Court to hears conflicting motions by Sheriff, Makarfi

The Nation - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:19

The Supreme Court will on Thursday hear two conflicting motions from warring factions in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Ahmed Makarfi-led faction has filed a motion seeking accelerated hearing of the appeal it filed on February 27 against the February 17 judgement of the Appeal Court, Port-Harcourt division, upholding the Ali Modu Sheriff-led committee as the authentic leadership organ of the party.

On its part, the Sheriff faction has filed three processes including a motion and a “Form 19” for the discontinuance of the appeal, and a motion urging the court to strike out the appeal.

The Makarfi faction, in its motion, wants the court to depart from its rules, abridge the time for the hearing of the appeal and allow accelerated hearing from the appeal.

The group said it has compiled record of proceedings at the lower court and had it transmitted to the Supreme Court within a week.

The Makarfi faction said it has also ensured that the appeal is entered in Supreme Court’s list and a number issued. The appeal is numbered: SC.133/2017.

On its part, the Sheriff faction, in an affidavit supporting its motion for striking out the appeal, stated since it has applied to withdraw the appeal, being the authentic leaders of the party, the proper order to be made by the court was to strike it out.

PDP’s Acting National Legal Adviser, Bashir Maidugu (belonging to the Sheriff faction), said the PDP did not authorise the appeal.

 

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VIDEO: Tekno – ‘Yawa’

The Net Nigeria - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:10

Watch Nigerian pop star, Tekno in the newly released music video of his single, ‘Yawa’.

Produced by Masterkraft and featuring a cameo by Flavour, the ‘Yawa’ video was directed by Patrick Elis.

The post VIDEO: Tekno – ‘Yawa’ appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today - Nigeria's Top Website for News, Gossip, Comedy, Videos, Blogs, Events, Weddings, Nollywood, Celebs, Scoop and Games.

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The pill could protect women from cancer for 30 years –Study

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:06

The contraceptive pill can protect women from certain cancers for up to three decades, according to new research that has been collated over 40 years.

The study from the University of Aberdeen claims women are less likely to develop bowel cancer, endometrial cancer, or ovarian cancer.

It also found that despite previous fears of links to breast cancer, the Pill does not cause cancer later in life.

“What we found from looking at up to 44 years’ worth of data, was that having ever used the Pill, women are less likely to get colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancer,” said research head Dr. Lisa Iversen.

“So, the protective benefits from using the Pill during their reproductive years are lasting for at least 30 years after women have stopped using the Pill.

We were also interested in what the overall balance of all types of cancer is among women who have used the Pill as they enter the later stages of their life.”

Iversen added: “We did not find any evidence of new cancer risks appearing later in life as women get older.

“These results from the longest-running study in the world into oral contraceptive use are reassuring.

“Specifically, Pill users don’t have an overall increased risk of cancer over their lifetime and that the protective effects of some specific cancers last for at least 30 years.”

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SGF declines Senate’s invitation, goes to court

The Nation - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:01

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David- Lawal, on Wednesday informed the Senate that he will not appear before the committee probing his alleged involvement in the diversion of funds for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East.

The SGF was invited by the Senate ad-hoc Committee investigating the Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East to appear before it on Thursday.

At its sitting on October 4, 2016, the Senate debated a motion “Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East,” and a committee was constituted to investigate the matter.

The committee was asked to conduct a public hearing on the matter in order to ascertain how much has been released to the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

It was also to ascertain how the funds have been utilized from inception as well as to investigate the alleged diversion of grains and other food items from the strategic grain reserves, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other sources of support for the IDPs.

The committee held a three- day public hearing between December 6 and 8 last year.

Some invited stakeholders reportedly refused to attend the hearing.

The SGF, who was specifically indicted by the committee in its interim report, claimed that he was not given a fair hearing on the matter.

Lawal was alleged to have misapplied billions of naira meant for the care of displaced persons in the North East.

The report also said Lawal compromised his position by allegedly awarding contracts to a company he had interest in.

Due to the perceived lack of fair hearing, the Senate mandated the ad-hoc committee to re-invite those involved in the matter.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shehu Sani, in a statement said “in order to give them (stakeholders) a fair hearing, the committee has resolved to conduct another public hearing on the matter.”

Senator Sani’s letter to the SGF to appear before the committee was dated March 15.

But Lawal in a letter titled: “Letter of invitation” and addressed to Senator Sani told the lawmaker that he would not appear before the committee because he had gone to court to challenge his invitation.

The Lawal’s letter obtained by our reporter read in part, “Dear Distinguished Senator Shehu Sani,

“Your letter of invitation to appear before the above committee refers.

“I wish to kindly request that you draw the attention of other members of the committee that I will not be able to appear before the committee primarily because I have gone to court to challenge the invitation among others.

“Please find attached the court documents.

Please accept my highest regards.

“Engr, Babachir David Lawal.”

 

 

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People who give to charity have more sex —Study

Punch - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 21:43

Two studies published in the British Journal of Psychology point to the idea that people who give more, get more.

The researchers broke it down this way: The first study asked single men and women to describe how much charity work they take part in (if any), and how frequently they have sex.

Researchers found that straight women received more sexual attention from men when they were more charitably active, while men who were more charitable were found to have had more sexual partners in their lifetime. So, a win for everyone.

That’s right. Looks like the more time you spend giving to others, the more you will receive in the bedroom. Pretty great, right? But the study went on.

In the second study, students were given $100. They were able to either donate all the money to charity, donate part of it, or keep all the cash for themselves.

The men who gave more money to charity were found to have had more sexual partners, while the women who were more charitable had sex more frequently.

What this all adds up to is pretty clear. Be better at being human. It will not only help the world be a little less awful, it might help get you laid.

Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

Theft of CBN’s N8bn: 2 bankers bag 18 years

The Nation - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 21:40

A Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan has sentenced a Central Bank of Nigeria staff, Philip Togun, and a woman, Esther Afolabi, ex-staff of WEMA Bank to 18 years imprisonment for participating in stealing of N8 billion at CBN Ibadan branch.

They were arraigned for conspiracy, conversion, forgery, re-circulation of mutilated currencies and stealing CBN’s  N8 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Togun, a former Treasury Assistant at CBN Ibadan branch and Afolabi, have been standing trial since 2015  alongside others.

The other accused persons standing trial with the convicts are Kolawole Babalola, Muniru Olaniran, Festus Adeyemi, Yusuf Fatai, Olukunle Sijuwade, Emanueal Ordia and Patient Okoro.

Two others — Ademola Oni and Tope Akintade —  had earlier opted for plea bargain and were similarly sentenced upon fulfillment of the terms of the plea bargain.

A few other accused persons have also reached advanced stages in their plea bargain with the EFCC.

Sentencing Togun and Afolabi, Justice Joyce Abdulmaleek held that she adopted the plea bargain agreement entered into by them with the EFCC  as basis for her judgment.

“I hereby convict the fourth accused person, Philip Togun, for counts 15, 17 and 19 respectively and convict the fifth accused person, Esther Afolabi, for counts 16, 18 and 19 respectively.

“Togun is sentenced to three years in prison for each of the three counts of 12 calendar months a year to commence from Jan. 1, 2016.

“The convict shall forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria the following assets found in his possession; a building located in Ibadan and the money in the two bank accounts operated by the convict.

“Afolabi is also sentenced to three years imprisonment for each of the three charges, 12 calendar months of the year, commencing from Jan. 1, 2016.

“The convict shall forfeit the following assets which are the proceeds of the crime to the Federal Government of Nigeria — a five-bedroom duplex, a filling station, the entire money scattered across seven different bank accounts in Nigeria,” the judge ruled.

Abdulmaleek, however, said that the sentences would run concurrently.

However, the two defense counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo and Mr Adewole Olajire, expressed dismay with the sentences.

They said the judge did not consider the date when the convicts were arrested and also did not give full consideration to the plea bargain between the two convicts and the EFCC.

Shortly before the judgment was delivered, the lawyers had pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing the former bankers. (NAN)

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