All African News

50 withdrawn from Makerere graduation list

The Monitor - 1 hour 9 min ago
As a total of 14,895 Makerere University students prepare to receive their awards in different academic disciplines today, 53 of them have been removed from the graduation list following allegations that their marks were altered
Categories: Business, News, Uganda

Kenya School of Law ordered to admit Ugandans

The Monitor - 1 hour 38 min ago
Justice John M. Mativo said KSL’s decision violates Article 27 of Kenya’s Constitution, 2010
Categories: Business, News, Uganda

Stanbic launches 2017 national schools championship

The Monitor - 2 hours 36 min ago
The challenge will see over 3,000 students from 40 secondary schools participate in a series of educational activities and dynamic group projects
Categories: Business, News, Uganda

At least 11 US Jewish centres get bomb threats

The Monitor - 2 hours 53 min ago
The latest phoned-in threats, at 11 separate sites, bring to 69 the total number of such incidents -- at 54 Jewish community centres in 27 US states and one Canadian province -- according to the JCC Association of North America
Categories: Business, News, Uganda

Sh214 million livestock insurance payout for drought-hit pastoralists

Business Daily Africa - 3 hours 13 min ago
The Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme (KLIP) will pay pastoralists in six counties affected by drought Sh214 million to cover their herd losses.
Categories: Business, Kenya, News

500 people displaced in Elegu market fire

The Monitor - 3 hours 18 min ago
According to the report, the fire that began close to 3:45am (Monday) destroyed over 300 temporary structures comprising of residential houses and lockup shops, in about an hour
Categories: Business, News, Uganda

Uneb set to release A-level results today

The Monitor - 3 hours 57 min ago
Uneb publicist Hamis Kaheru said the First Lady and minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, is expected to preside over the release of the exams in Kampala
Categories: Business, News, Uganda

Melbourne plane crash: Five killed as aircraft hits shopping centre

The Star - 4 hours 19 min ago
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Five people have died after a light plane crashed into a shopping centre in Melbourne, Australia.The charter flight appeared to have had a "catastrophic engine failure" shortly after taking off from the small Essendon Airport, said Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane.Everyone on board is believed dead...

Categories: Business, Kenya, News

Robert Mugabe: Give Donald Trump a chance

The Star - 4 hours 32 min ago
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President Donald Trump should be given a chance to prove himself, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe says. He went on to express his support for Trump's America-first policy, saying "America for Americans" and "Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans". It is unusual for the veteran head of state to publicly back any US president. The US...

Categories: Business, Kenya, News

47 cleared to compete for 9 EALA slots

The Monitor - 4 hours 42 min ago
Before mid-night on Monday, 47 had their prayers answered, to face the voters at the floor of Parliament come February 28, 2017 in the bid to represent Uganda at the regional assembly
Categories: Business, News, Uganda

See Rihanna’s style evolution through the years

The Net Nigeria - 7 hours 5 min ago
Her style has evolved with the years

Ever since she came on the scene in 2005, Rihanna has continued to win us over with every changing haircut, every red carpet appearance and every street style.

The Bajan beauty hasn’t only proven that she is a trendsetter, she has also cemented her status as a fashion icon and one of the most stylish women to ever walk the earth.

There might have been a few of her looks that weren’t necessarily our cup of tea but one thing is sure, if there’s anyone who can pull off a look – any look at all, it is Rihanna Robyn Fenty.

Now that she’s turned 29, we take a look at her style evolution from 2005 till date.

 

2005 In baggies

Baggie jeans, cropped tops, hoop earrings, trainers. She was just like every other teenager.

Pretty in crop top and white jeans A smile to melt hearts Life and her style was simple back then

 

2006 Things began to change in ’06, though

The year saw her experimenting with her looks but going mostly for a sweetheart image.

But not too much As she still had that innocent look Well, she was daring at times too

 

 

2007 Her style game was rising some more at this time

It was the ‘Umbrella’ era and she was growing into her own woman.

She was growing into the woman she is The daring Rih was coming out of the sweetheart Rih At the Grammys that year

 

2008 Rih in ’08

Having just left her teenage years, she became a little more assertive with her style and began wearing her hair shorter.

Simply stylish A princess Also your pretty girl next door

 

2009 Riri rocked the short hair into ’09

Her 2008 style carried on well into the year.

And we loved her look then as well Always slaying Forget just slaying, how about queening

 

2010 Breezy tried to kill her vibe in this period

She made a comeback after the Chris Brown incident and her style was a little bolder than before.

But Rih brushed that aside to keep up her style game And boy did she slay Even when it seemed like she wasn’t trying And when she did try, it came out gorg!

 

2011 Glowing in white

Grown woman with absolutely no fucks to give. Her red hair became something of a signature.

Pretty Too much sauce Bold hair and great dress Casual slayage

 

2012 Rihanna went from red to blonde

Still doing her thing and rocking blonde hair more and more because well, blondes have more fun.

Out for the night Only Rih would pull this off

 

 

2013 Stylish

Dear Rih remained beautiful in 2013.

Your hip babe Breathtaking

 

2014 Hey beautiful

She continued to make it clear that she was playing the fashion game by her own rules.

At the Diamond Ball Edgy Riri And boom!

And deservedly got honoured with the Fashion Icon award at the CFDAs. (We can’t forget her daring Swarovski dress that literally broke the internet)

 

2015 Style getting more sophisticated

She made quite a lot of fashion statements in 2015.

She unveiled her fragrance And showed us how much she loves pink We mean, she really really loves pink But whatever the colour, she owned the style

 

2016 Whatever the ensemble, she be killing it

She couldn’t be bothered with rules again. Rihanna wears whatever Rihanna wants to.

Sneaks to go with the dress like normal Didn’t we tell you she loves pink? Perfect Peep the converse

 

2017 Bad gal Rih at the Grammys

With just a couple of days into the new year, the singer has served us two major looks.

Different year, still loving her some pink

Safe to say we’ll be seeing more of these as the year goes by.

Which of her fashion eras is your favourite? Tell us in the comments.

This post first appeared on STAR.

The post See Rihanna’s style evolution through the years appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today - Nigeria's Top Website for News, Gossip, Comedy, Videos, Blogs, Events, Weddings, Nollywood, Celebs, Scoop and Games.

Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

Should FG privatise railways?

Punch - 7 hours 29 min ago

I will recommend partial privatisation; that is Public-Private Partnership. Railway falls under major public infrastructural projects providing social services for its users. The PPP arrangement for the railway can be based on non-equity; that is on a principal-agent relationship where the principal will be the public agency and the agent will be the operator. This arrangement will allow for risk transfer, better management, reduction of pressure on public treasury and value for money.

There is the need to ensure efficiency in our railway system in Nigeria. But it should be explained that efficiency in the railway system is a broad term. It ranges from energy efficiency, efficiency in terms of timeliness, efficiency from the financial perspective and so on. An efficient railway should have many lines that cut across the whole country. This will make travel around the country easy with many railway lines painted in different colours.

The system should have special provisions for the physically challenged and senior citizens. It should have adequate maps and apps for direction and guidance. It should also be punctual with appropriate maintenance culture.

Generally, an efficient railway system maximises revenues and minimises cost, while providing the desired level of service. It will fast-track transportation of people and goods, especially bulky industrial and agricultural products. This will ultimately reduce cost of transporting those bulky industrial and agricultural commodities which invariably should reduce the prices of the goods. In other words, it will help to alleviate the hardship on many Nigerians and improve living standard and welfare of Nigerians.

Efficient railway system will reduce post harvest losses as commodities will not relatively be transported to places where they are needed. When harvested produce are sold, farmers will be encouraged to farm more which will increase national food security. It is also very important to point out that safety of all stakeholders should also form part of the railway system. • Prof. Olubola Babalola (First female professor of Quantity Surveying in Africa)

I will not advocate outright privatisation of the railways. I will rather advocate a Private-Public-Partnership. The aim should be to have an efficient and effective rail system that works. If there is a PPP arrangement, there will be access to required funding, resources and expertise. And the system will not be bogged down by the civil service bureaucracy and redtapism.

When the telecommunications revolution started in 2001, people were skeptical about its effectiveness. But today, people can pick and choose from the whole lot. There is competition, a healthy one at that, to satisfy the customers.

Each network knows if it drops the ball, the customers will move to the other networks that have better quality of service delivery.

Under the PPP arrangement for the railways, the management must be ready to invite Nigeria’s best hands in diaspora who are experts in the sector.

I say this because many Nigerians are the brains behind many innovations across the globe. Some of them must come home and develop the rail system. • Mr. Kehinde Sogunle (A former Commissioner for Finance, Ogun State)

I am over 70 years and I met the Nigerian Railway Corporation in existence. I know that it was not well managed although the government heavily invested in its development. There were times when it was as if it was moribund. About 50 years ago when we were much younger, we used to take train rides to Kano, Kaduna and many other places from Lagos and Abeokuta. Many items were transported on trains back then.

Today, are our rail services as good as they were in those days? Many of our national organisations which were run by government were poorly managed. For instance, Nigeria Airways did not perform well, while other national airlines like British Airways are doing well.

You will remember how NITEL was poorly managed, whereas in other countries in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, their governments have been running their telecommunications networks well and have been improving on them.

If not for the emergence of companies like MTN, Glo and others, our telecoms system would have been nothing to write home about. So, I will not suggest full privatisation of the rail system, but I prefer that it be managed by some private and experienced hands, who will be given specific targets by the government. I don’t believe that the Nigerian government can profitably run it because in Nigeria, it is commonly said that government’s business is nobody’s business. So, if the private enterprise is allowed to manage it, it will become profitable and there will be improvements in the provision of services.  •Mr. Femi Deru (A former President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

I do not think that privatisation of the railways by the Federal Government will be a good idea. Look at the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. There have been challenges here and there and the Federal Government does not seem to be doing anything to monitor it. So, I do not think it will be fair to privatise the railways. The government should instead, manage it or go into a Public-Private Partnership.

Decay over the years, lack of efficiency and unseriousness on the part of the government to improve the lives of the citizens, has been responsible for the poor state of the sub-sector. The railways were ignored because they did not favour the interest of politicians.

All over the world, the railway system is one of the most efficient means of transportation. It enables people to convey their goods faster from one place to another. It also reduces the pressure on the roads; the roads in such climes last longer. The railway has a way of passing through communities, so consumables can easily be transported.

The benefits of a functional railway system cannot be quantified. In addition, it creates a lot of direct and indirect jobs. The rural communities will also be open to more commercial activities which in turn will improve their economy. • Fred Omonuwa (Chairman, College of Education, Ekiadolor, Edo State)

Privatisation of the railways will be of immense benefit to the nation, if it is done holistically. Several things in the country have been privatised, but the essence of privatising them has not been achieved. The problem I have with privatisation in Nigeria is that it is not done holistically. Apart from the telecoms, I haven’t seen any other one that was successful. Privatisation of the power sector was a failure because what they did was partial privatisation.

The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company has not been in competition since inception so their tariff is not reducing and their service delivery is still below expectation. The telecoms industry is working because it is largely wireless.

Electricity cannot work because the Power Holding Company of Nigeria still owns the poles and wires. If you privatise the railways, the same problem will surface because the rails or lines are owned by the government.  If there must be privatisation, it must be done properly. The government should not own the rails.

The government should hands off completely.  Don’t forget, the rails we are using now are outdated. We are still using coaches used in the 19th century. If government will privatise the railways, it should be holistic. Private companies should own the rail lines and no railway worker should be absorbed. There is nothing that Nigeria managed that has worked.  NITEL that operated on 0804 and the Nigerian Airways have since folded up. • Higher King (Port Harcourt-based human rights activist)

The decline of the railway sector has hampered the socio-economic development in Africa’s most populous country – Nigeria. This is characterised by inadequate funding, crumbling infrastructure and flawed management system.

Privatisation will revitalise the service and create a much needed culture shift towards public transportation, thereby creating an efficient and effective rail system.

It is believed that once the rail sector is opened up to private sector participation, it will help the country create jobs and successfully solve the challenge of inter/intra city mass transit.

The telecommunications sector is a good example.  After privatisation, it has not only created millions of jobs, but has garnered investments worth $68bn as of July, 2016. •Bayo Oloyede (Chartered Accountant /Consulting Partner, CPA Partners , Nigeria)

Compiled by: Success Nwogu, Samuel Awoyinfa, Ifianyi Onuba, Alexander Okere, Okechukwu Nnodim and Friday Amobi

Copyright PUNCH.               
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Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

PDP crisis: Sheriff meets Jonathan, Makarfi appeals judgment

Punch - 7 hours 42 min ago

Olusola Fabiyi and Leke Baiyewu

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, met with former President Goodluck Jonathan at the ex-President’s residence in Abuja on Monday.

The meeting, which held behind closed doors, was also attended by Sheriff’s Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bernard Mikko; and the National Youth Leader, Mr. Demis Alonge-Niyi.

Also at the meeting were the party’s National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, and the Financial Secretary, Mr. Adewole Adeyanju.

As the meeting was ongoing, the sacked National Caretaker Committee of the party said it had appealed the Court of Appeal judgment which removed it from office.

The committee, which was headed by a former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, stated this after the faction’s stakeholders’ meeting.

The meeting was held at the private residence of the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, who is the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum.

Jonathan, who met Sheriff and his entourage, referred to the former governor of Borno State as his chairman.

As soon as Jonathan was ushered into the sitting room, where his guests were seated, and sighted Sheriff, he stretched his hands to him and said, “My chair.”

Even after their closed-door meeting, which was held with a few members of Sheriff’s entourage, the former President still referred to Sheriff as “my chairman.”

Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Jonathan said the troubled party remained one, adding that there was no faction in it.

Acknowledging that there were problems in the party, the ex-President, however, stated that efforts were being made to resolve them.

Jonathan added, “We are solving our problems. There are bound to be differences in politics.  It is the way we resolve these differences that makes us human beings and that is what makes us leaders.

“We are not factionalised; we are one. I have met with Sheriff and I have met with others. I will meet with others (again) so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party.”

In his remarks, Sheriff said he would not respond to the unprintable names he was being called by his traducers, stating that there would be no difference between him and those against him if he decided to respond to them.

“I will not respond to the name-calling because if I do, there would be no difference between them and me. Very soon, you will hear from me when I finish my consultation as I will roll out my programmes that will lead to the holding of a national convention,” he added.

At the PDP Stakeholders’ meeting, however, the Makarfi group passed a vote of confidence in the caretaker committee, insisting that the committee would remain in place until the determination of its appeal at the Supreme Court.

A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, read the communique of the meeting, which was attended by the governors of Akwa Ibom State (Udom Emmanuel); Delta State (Ifeanyi  Okowa); Rivers State (Nyesom Wike); and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

Members of the National Assembly, former ministers, former governors and members of the Board of Trustees of the party were also in attendance.

Reading the communique, Gana said, “That we fully endorse the prompt and proactive decision of the National Caretaker Committee to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court of Nigeria against the decision of the Court of Appeal as well as filing an application for injunction pending an appeal, all of which were done in the morning of Monday, February 20, 2017.

“Having duly filed both an appeal at the Supreme Court and an application for injunction pending appeal in the morning of Monday, February 20, 2017, we pass a resounding and unqualified vote of confidence in the leadership of the Senator Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the PDP and pledge our unalloyed support to it as it pilots the affairs of the party in this critical transitional period of the party’s life.

“To this end, we are not at all deceived by the supposed olive branch being offered by Senator Ali Modu Sherrif, knowing that the only thing that can come from traitors of his ilk is nothing but a poisoned chalice and a Greek gift.”

Earlier in the day, the Nigeria Police Force had barricaded the International Conference Centre, Abuja, venue of the scheduled stakeholders’ meeting.

The action, it was gathered, was sequel to the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, which, on Friday, recognised Sheriff as the national chairman of the party.

 

A’court judgment, solution to crisis, says Uzodinma

Meanwhile, a member of the Sheriff-led faction of the PDP, Senator Hope Uzodinma, on Monday, described the judgment of the Court of Appeal, nullifying the National Caretaker Committee of the party, as a political solution.

“The last judgment by the Appeal Court has created a window for a political solution,” he said.

Uzodinma, in an interview with journalists in Abuja, faulted the embattled Makarfi for calling a party stakeholders’ meeting on Monday after he had been sacked by the appellate court.

He said, “We are not talking about factions anymore. I am a lawmaker and not a law-breaker. If the Appeal Court has said Sheriff is the chairman, it goes without saying that people, who understand the doctrine of the rule of law, should obey the pronouncement of the court of competent jurisdiction, unless, otherwise, any court of superior record, in this instance, the Supreme Court, says tomorrow that Sheriff is no longer the chairman.

“For Makarfi to now want to summon a meeting on behalf of the PDP, we want to ask why? Committed members of the party like us will not even look up to any court for solution to this impasse.”

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Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

Money laundering: Go after CBN, NNPC, Senate panel tells EFCC

Punch - 7 hours 45 min ago

Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The Senate, on Monday, asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over alleged racketeering in foreign exchange transactions.

The lawmakers also urged the EFCC to identify owners of mansions in highbrow areas of Abuja, alleging that several senior officials in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government had become billionaires through corrupt enrichment.

Members of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes made the call when the Acting Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, led the commission’s leadership before the lawmakers for 2017 budget defence.

The lawmakers, while criticising the EFCC for usually going after former public officials, said the anti-graft agency should focus on financial crimes prevention.

A member of the committee, Senator Isa Misau, said since the EFCC was now encouraging whistle-blowers, he wished to blow the whistle on the CBN and the NNPC.

He cited the recent recovery $9,772,000 and £74,000 from Mr. Yakubu Andrew, who was the Group Managing Director of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014.

Operatives of the commission had, on February 3, 2017, raided a building in Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, belonging to the former NNPC boss, and recovered the staggering cash stashed away in a huge fireproof safe.

Misau stated, “I can’t imagine the over $9m recovered from a former GMD (of NNPC). If somebody who left (public) office has such money stashed somewhere, then, you can just make a guess about the other people who have been on the seat.

“Therefore, today, I am giving it as a challenge to the EFCC to go and see what the NNPC or CBN or the finance ministry is doing.

“Look at (the case of) somebody, who left office about five years ago. This is an era of whistle-blowing. I am blowing my whistle: go and check CBN. That is the reason why, today, we have (this) recession. Today, dollar, at the parallel market, is N520. And there are allegations against the CBN; the way they give these dollars.

“This committee is challenging the EFCC to go and look at these records: what is our revenue in dollars? Who are the people collecting these dollars?”

The lawmaker added that Nigerians were no longer using forex for international transactions, stressing that rather than use the dollar for importation, people now took advantage of the forex crisis in the country.

He said, “People now buy these dollars and keep them in their houses. The amount of dollars in Nigeria in cash is more than the amount of dollars in the whole of the USA. If you (EFCC) tell us, we can cooperate with you and tell you (about) the people hiding these monies.

“Go and see unoccupied buildings in Asokoro, Maitama and Wuse 2 (all in Abuja). For over five years, nobody will be there (in the buildings). And EFCC is not looking at these houses. A lot of transactions are taking place with ill-gotten money to the tune of N2bn or N3bn, and somebody will bring the money in cash to buy a house.

“Without digging into these landed properties and knowing their owners, you may end up being only after somebody who just left office, and arresting and detaining them for one week, and they will get bailed. And the business continues.”

Misau lamented that the anti-graft war was being threatened by the aspect of the law which enabled suspected looters to enjoy their freedom while under EFCC probe.

He said if he could steal N10bn from public funds and all he had to suffer was being in EFCC custody for a few days, “I will do it.”

According to him, a lot of looters are encouraged by such provision in the law.

Misau added, “We want a situation whereby you will get the cooperation of judges. I see no reason why somebody will take (steal) billions and after two days with the EFCC, they will be granted bail.

“If we need another law that once it has to do with government money, we can keep such person with EFCC for one year; if there are certain laws you want, where you can detain somebody for one year, we are ready.

“Go and check the houses in Maitama, Wuse 2 and Asokoro. How did they (the owners) get the money? Check the directors, who are still serving; they are all billionaires. I can mention more than 30 directors; they are still serving and they are billionaires.

“These are the kinds of things that make up institutional corruption that we have to check. Go and see the procurement officers and permanent secretaries; they give contracts to themselves and inflate contracts.

“If we have to wait for somebody to blow whistle, it will be business as usual and nobody is afraid of it now. I am blowing this whistle about CBN so that any recovery from the CBN, I am the one who blew the whistle; and any recovery from the NNPC, I blew the whistle.”

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, stated that going by the mandate of the EFCC, 60 per cent of its task should be on preventive measures, while 40 per cent should be for all other issues combined.

He, however, noted that the commission did not focus on preventive measures in its budget defence.

Utazi said, “Looking at your core mandate, the essence is to curb corruption to a large extent but in the budget you have provided, I have not seen the issue raised in the prayers here. There is no prayer that is talking about enlightenment, which is the money thing you are expected to do.

“All we hear from the press is negative publicity; chasing people who have been caught; that is what we hear all the time. We want to change the narration to ‘what are we doing to ensure that instead of chasing after people, who are giving us a headache, why can’t we stop other people from joining the gang?’ There is nothing like that here in this budget.”

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Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

Reps squabble over rising ad hoc committees

Punch - 7 hours 47 min ago

John Ameh, Abuja

Tension appears to be rising among members of the House of Representatives over the rising number of ad hoc committees set up by the leadership under the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, The PUNCH learnt on Monday.

Investigations showed that members were worried that the more the ad hoc committees, the more the chairmen of substantive committees were becoming redundant.

Findings indicated that the development had led to serious bickering among members, particularly among the chairmen of standing committees, who felt that the leadership was outsourcing their jobs to ad hoc committees.

It was gathered that the Speaker set up at least one ad hoc committee each passing week to perform functions ordinarily reserved for standing committees.

One official, who followed the squabble among members, said, “There has been tension over this issue of ad hoc committees for some time.

“We have over 96 standing committees in this House. The committees were established under the provisions of the standing rules of the House.

“But, when there are assignments, for example, investigations or public hearings, the leadership will bypass the standing committees and set up ad hoc committees to handle them.

“In the end, there is duplication of committees, but more importantly, most chairmen of regular committees are unhappy that they are made redundant as a result of this resort to ad hoc committees.”

The PUNCH gathered that between June 2015 and January this year, the leadership had established no fewer than 48 ad hoc committees in the House.

“This is happening while the standing committees are not adequately funded by the leadership of the House.

“Members have asked why this resort to ad hoc committees when there are standing committees with appointed chairmen,” another senior National Assembly official told The PUNCH in Abuja on Monday.

Investigations indicated that a number of senior chairmen and members had confronted Dogara over the matter, demanding that he should address the issue owing to the increasing disquiet among affected chairmen.

“If you have an investigation or any hearing relating to the oil and gas sector, it is only fair that committees on petroleum resources and gas should handle it. If the assignment is related to the power sector or the road sector, it is expected that the committee on power and the committee on works respectively, will undertake it.

“But, what we see is a pattern, whereby ad hoc committees frequently usurp the roles of conventional committees,” the source added.

However, sources close to the leadership claimed that the Speaker sometimes set up ad hoc committees to “carry every member along and balance the power equation in the House.”

Another official informed The PUNCH that ad hoc committees, by their names, were meant to speed up legislative assignments and deliver the reports timely.

When his reaction was sought, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, defended the leadership, saying that a member could be assigned any duty by the Speaker.

Namdas, a member of the All Progressives Congress from Adamawa State, stated, “Ad hoc committees are part of our legislative functions. The Speaker reserves the right to set up these ad hoc committees. People should not forget that we are all equal in this House.

“If you are made the chairman of a substantive committee in this House, you should know that there are many others who are not chairmen. Not all of them are even deputy chairmen.

“There are members, who are neither chairmen nor deputy chairmen of committees.

“But, what is important is that everybody can handle a task. Whatever task you are given to handle; whether as a standing committee chairman or ad hoc committee chairman, it must be handled in accordance with the rules of the House.”

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Categories: Business, News, Nigeria

Protest as Osun demolishes buildings in Ede

Punch - 7 hours 48 min ago

Femi Makinde, Osogbo

Indigenes of Abere community in Ede North Local Government Area of Osun State staged a protest against the demolition of some buildings in the area by the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation.

The protesters, who barricaded the road and made bonfires on the road connecting Osogbo to Gbongan, stopped the ministry officials from carrying on with the exercise.

One of the buildings had  already been destroyed before the indigenes trooped  out and stopped the government officials from continuing with the demolition.

Some women and children were among the protesters, who accused the state government of seeking to annex the portion of the land to Osogbo, the state capital.

The protesters defied the presence of armed police officers and other security agents deployed in the area and continued with their protest.

Our correspondent observed that although an armour personnel carrier and other police vans were at the scene, the police were civil in their approach and refused to be provoked despite provocation and threat of attack from some of the protesting youths.

A member of the Osun State House of Assembly, representing Ede North  Constituency, Mr. Debo Kamardeen, said he was woken up by calls from some members of the community, who informed him that government officials had started pulling down structures in the community which is located directly opposite the Osun State Government Secretariat.

Kamardeen said, “A week ago, officials of the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation came here with the intention of demolishing some buildings here (Abere). We discussed with them and  they said it was a directive from the government.

“The ministry told us that the government wanted to use the place for a filing station. Then we started wondering why it is this place that is littered with fish ponds that should be used for that purpose when there are other better places.

“I sent a mail to the governor,  (Rauf Aregbesola) which he replied to. The governor said he had asked the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation to stop the planned demolition but to my surprise, around 6.30 am (Monday) I was woken up by a call that there was a bulldozer destroying some buildings and the people of the community were resisting it by taking to the streets.”

The chairman of Abere Community, Mr. Eniola  Kasali, threatened that the community would not hesitate to go  to war if those he said were behind the move did not stop the plan to cede part of their land to Osogbo.

However, the  General Manager of Osun Capital Territory Development Authority, Hassan Moruf, said the land under dispute  was acquired by the government of the defunct Western Region long time ago and the owners were paid compensation.

The Assistant Inspector of Police Zone 11, Mr. Paul Okafor, who visited the scene,  appealed to the protesters to allow their leaders to negotiate with the state government on the issue in order to arrive at an amicable resolution of the crisis.

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Osinbajo has credibility, trust him, Jibrin advises Buhari

Punch - 7 hours 49 min ago

John Ameh, Abuja

A former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to trust Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo because of the latter’s credibility.

Osinbajo is now the Acting President in the absence of Buhari, who is away to the United Kingdom on medical trip.

Jibrin also advised Buhari to ignore certain persons he said were fond of running to London to seek the Presidents’ approval for decisions already taken by Osinbajo.

In a series of tweets on his Twitter handle, @AbdulAbmJ, on Monday, Jibrin noted that people would begin to seek other ways of tarnishing Osinbajo’s image since they were aware that he had no corruption allegations against him.

He noted that the new method might be to run to Buhari to give him the impression that the acting President could not be trusted.

However, Jibrin rationalised that such “subterranean” moves were not necessary because any political office holder could take ill.

He also observed that the 1999 Constitution had settled the matter of succession by laying out the procedure to be followed whenever it became necessary.

For instance, Jibrin pointed out that in the event the President passed on, Osinbajo would take over immediately without delay.

He added that if Osinbajo himself passed on while serving, there were provisions on how he would be replaced.

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Osinbajo meets govs, ministers over rice, wheat production

Punch - 7 hours 50 min ago

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday presided over a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat as part of the Federal Government’s efforts aimed at enhancing food security.

Those who attended the meeting included four state governors — Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, also attended.

Bagudu later told State House correspondents that the meeting reviewed the government’s wheat programme and what could be done to increase production.

He said, “This is the meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat and we reviewed the wheat programme and what we can do more to support states in order to increase production of wheat.

“We also want to ensure that our farmers who have responded to the call are supported in terms of getting good price for their output in order to sustain their interests.

“We reviewed where we are with rice production. The Acting President noted with satisfaction all the efforts by different stakeholders to attain sufficiency in the shortest possible time.

“The Acting President assured us that the Federal Government would continue to support the drive towards self-sufficiency in food security. He said the government, of necessity, would support the farmers, the millers and other stakeholders involved in the value change.”

When asked to confirm the claim that Nigeria is the second largest producer of rice in the world, the governor said he did not have the data.

He, however, said farmers had responded and about 32 states had shown readiness to increase production.

“I think we have done very well. We have remarkable increase in the number of states that have produced wheat from the last season.

“Last season, we had about five states but today we are hearing reports from about 11 states and the increase in output per state is quite significant as well.

“So, we believe that with sustained trajectory that we are seeing, we will be able to achieve our self-sufficiency,” he added.

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Reps query N450bn Amnesty contracts under Jonathan

Punch - 7 hours 51 min ago

John Ameh, Abuja

The House of Representatives, on Monday, queried contracts worth over N450bn awarded under the Presidential Amnesty Programme between 2010 and 2015.

The House Committee on Public Procurement and the Committee on Niger Delta are investigating the contracts, which were meant to execute projects for the rehabilitation of ex-Niger Delta militants.

The Lead Chairman of the hearing, Mr. Oluwole Oke, said documents obtained by the House showed numerous breaches of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, by the officials of the Presidential Amnesty Office.

They allegedly “colluded” with many companies that had doubtful background to execute the contracts.

Oke also said the over 300 firms that handled the controversial contracts did not register with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service also wrote the House to say that many of the firms had no tax clearance certificates.

Oke added, “Over N450bn was committed to the programme under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“We are out to find out how the money was utilised; this is not a witch-hunt, but this hearing is to find out the truth.

“FIRS, CAC, the Industrial Training Fund, they wrote us on the status of these companies with them.

“We have to ask these questions because the Amnesty programme was a good intention by the Federal Government under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua to address the challenges in the Niger Delta region.

“At a time we are facing economic recession, we are aware that the Niger Delta is key to our (economic) recovery.

“So, if so much money was committed to resolving those challenges and we are still where we are with the same problems, we have to ask questions.”

As the roll call of former Special Advisers to the President on Amnesty Programme was taken, only Mr. Timi Alaibe was present at the hearing.

Mr. Kingsley Kuku, who headed the office up till the time the Jonathan’s administration wound down in 2015, did not honour the committee’s invitation.

However, Alaibe informed the committee that he was ready to cooperate with the investigation.

He told the lawmakers how the “protocol” of the Amnesty programme was jettisoned after he left office.

Alaibe stated, “There was a protocol of the Amnesty programme. Was it followed?

“There were five pillars of the programme. What the committee is looking at here is only the procurement.

“But, I have a detailed record of what we did before we left office.”

A former Director of Procurement at the Amnesty Office, Mr. Tikolo Phillip, came under a barrage of questions from lawmakers when he claimed that the office complied with all procurement requirements in awarding the contracts.

When confronted with the evidence that FIRS, CAC and ITF’s reports discredited the firms which handled the contracts, Phillip replied that they “met minimum requirements of law.”

According to him, some companies merely produced evidence of sworn affidavit attesting to their competence and qualifications.

However, he admitted how under Kuku, some contracts were awarded in line with the urgency to mobilise ex-militants to camps for training.

Some ex-militant leaders, who came to the hearing, created a mild drama when they accused “political leaders” in the Niger Delta of being responsible for the non-implementation of the programme.

One of them, ‘General’ Morocco Wilifred, alleged that N500m was set aside to take care of the welfare of ex-militant leaders shortly before President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015.

He alleged that the money “disappeared” within a few days without traces.

Wilifred added, “The N500m was meant to be shared to 53 ex-militant leaders. The money disappeared.

“Our Niger Delta political leaders are the people destroying the region. They will tell you that they trained some of the boys, but they don’t even know anything.

“Some trainees were sent abroad, but they were sent back to Nigeria because they stopped paying their bills.”

Another ‘General’ David Ogwekpe, claimed that Kuku “tortured” some ex-militants for daring to confront him over the non-implementation of some rehabilitation projects.

Ogwekpe alleged that at a point, the amnesty funds were being rationed out to family members by officials.

“They were busy sharing the money to themselves and family members. The main people (ex-militants) were sidelined and they turned the amnesty programme to a political programme,” he said.

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FG summons S’African envoy over attacks on Nigerians

Punch - 7 hours 59 min ago

John Ameh, Olalekan Adetayo and Adelani Adepegba

The Federal Government has called on Pretoria to stop the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and bring the perpetrators to justice.

This was as the government summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Lulu Mnguni, for explanation over the latest attacks on Nigerians in Pretoria and other communities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement last night observed that incidents of xenophobic attacks had continued unabated in South Africa since 2015.

It noted that Nigerians were among the groups that had been mainly targeted for attack and their property looted by South Africans.

The statement read, “The Nigerian Government strongly urges the South African Government to take the strongest measures to protect the lives and property of foreigners living in South Africa and also to quickly bring to justice the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.

​ “The ministry utterly deplores these acts of mindless violence and unwarranted attacks against other nationals in South Africa simply on the basis of their nationality or status.

“International law and the age-old written law of hospitality amongst nations and societies recognise the sanctity of the lives and property of foreigners everywhere.

“The High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria is being summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during which the Federal Government’s concerns on this matter would be brought to his attention.”

​The ministry urged Nigerians in South Africa to remain calm and law-abiding but vigilant.

It said it had intensified contacts with the South African authorities to address the unacceptable situation.

​ “The Federal Government of Nigeria unequivocally insists on, and will strenuously work towards the protection of Nigerians anywhere, including in South Africa,” the ministry assured.

The Federal Government had earlier on Monday asked the African Union to intervene in the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, made the call in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.

Dabiri-Erewa said there was credible information at her disposal that more attacks against foreigners would take place on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

She also called on the South African Government to take decisive and definitive measures to protect Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.

The presidential aide described the attacks as unnecessary setback and advised Nigerians to be extra-cautious.

Although she urged restraint on the part of Nigerians, Dabiri-Erewa warned that further attacks without any reprimand might have dire consequences.

She said, “The attention of the AU is being called to intervene because information has it that there will be other xenophobic attacks against foreigners on February 22 (Wednesday) and February 23 (Thursday). These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs on Monday condemned the killings of Nigerians in South Africa.

The Chairman of the committee, Mrs. Rita Orji, deplored what she called “conspiracy of silence” by the Federal Government.

She complained that while the Nigerian government did everything within its powers to protect South Africa business entities in Nigeria, the South African authorities did not return the favour to Nigerians.

Orji said, “The South African Government should bear in mind that Nigerians know that they have interests, they have  businesses here, they have South Africans here, they should not put their people in jeopardy.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian community in South Africa said, on Monday, that some of its members were receiving calls threatening more attacks against their homes and business premises.

The President, Nigeria Union, South Africa, Mr. Ikechukwu Anyene, told the News Agency of Nigeria on the telephone from Pretoria, South Africa, that some Nigerians received calls asking for payment to protect their homes and business premises.

Anyene stated, “Some Nigerians and other foreign nationals in Pretoria West now live in fear. Some have started packing their belongings for fear of more attacks.

“They confirmed to the union that some South Africans were calling and threatening to unleash mayhem on them. The callers asked for money to be spared the attacks.

“The union is worried about the development because the South African police have yet to arrest those who perpetrated last Saturday’s attacks.”

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