LATEST ARTICLES

THE MUHAMMADU BUHARI MOTHER AND CHILD HOSPITAL IN MAKURDI, BENUE STATE

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In continuation of the fulfilment of his campaign promise of affordable healthcare for Nigerians, do you know that a 120-bed Mother and Child Hospital has been built by the Buhari administration in Makurdi the Benue State capital?

The well-furnished and equipped facility, which has been named as Muhammadu Buhari Mother and Child Hospital, will soon be commissioned by the President himself after which it will commence operations.

Very importantly, it is gratifying to know that this new hospital will not only restrict itself to Mothers and Children but will treat other adults with health issues that can be treated there. And it is also remarkable that the administration is building similar hospitals across all the states.

About yesterday…Friday August 2019

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By Malam Ibrahim sheme

Malam Nasiru El-Rufai has shown tremendous leadership values in his intervention in the traffic gridlock yesterday. I said exactly that to my friend who was travelling to Kaduna with me after the governor walked past my car window acknowledging cheers from victims of the gridlock, scores of whom followed him enthusiastically. Even if he did not help clear the jam (but he did!), his presence alone – as the leader of the state – was enough balm on the bruised psyche of the commuters. He boosted our morale, raised our hopes, and assured us about the future. At that material time, that’s all what matters. I immediately saw in him a presidential material, i.e. if they don’t hand it over to Tinubu on a platter of gold!

What amazed me most was the distance the big man (I insist he is not a diminutive person as some insinuate) covered on foot. The beginning of the gridlock and its end were very long, maybe 30km, and Malam covered them all on foot! And his walk was brisk, energetic, jaunty even though he wore a babbar riga, as if he was enjoying it. I wondered how healthy he was physically and emotionally as to do that. Even younger elements like us would have to think thrice before daring to trek that long. He must have been inspired by the passion to bring comfort and solace to us, the stranded citizens. And he did so, selflessly. Some other Excellency would have turned back from the beginning of the gridlock or ordered for a helicopter to come and pick him. Some would even pretend that their tooth was suddenly aching again. But Malam was there from evening to morning, offering sympathy, smilingly reassuring everyone. He must have melted the hearts of many, including those that disagree with him on the political scene.

But then it is his style to be there just when it matters. Malam has always virtually walked into trouble – I mean trouble spots. Any time there is a crisis somewhere in his state, more so the recurring communal type, he will quickly dash there and be physically involved with the effort to solve it. He wouldn’t stay back in his cozy, air-conditioned offices receiving updates from minders. Somehow this works; it helps douse the tension. And it actually did so last night as admirers kept hooting, “Sai Malam! Sai Malam!” I heard several people, in spite of the debilitating situation in which they were caught, saying loudly that after Buhari it should be El-Rufai’s turn to become president. I laughed at the Nigerian’s propensity to mix politics with hardship and still enjoy the admixture.

It is a style other leaders, especially President Buhari, would do well to emulate. I remember that as Zamfara burnt with all those terrorist killings by bandits, the issue of the President needing to be there on ground (or even to go for commiseration) was tops in many people’s analysis of the incident.

Call it populism or whatever. Malam Nasiru is THAT type of leader the people want. He wouldn’t be sipping green tea as his Rome burns!

Kudos to Malam. I doff my hat to him multiple times!
Sheme is a successful journalist and author. Publisher of Fim magazine, Director communication, National open university. Abuja

Press Briefing By South West Peoples Alliance: Don’t Just Probe Obasanjo On Power Sector Malfeasance, Prosecute Him Too

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Date: Friday, 9th August, 2019.

I warmly welcome everyone who has found it necessary to be here with us today. I most especially welcome the esteemed members of the press to this briefing.

Gentlemen of the press, I should start by stating that this conference has become necessary due to the conversation on probing the power sector started by the Young Nigerian Professionals who delivered a Press Conference on Sunday last week in the nation’s capital, Abuja, about the decision of the House of Representatives to probe the power sector spending in the country.

The group had called for unrelenting efforts by the House in that probe, while noting the necessity of accountability as a nation if we were to make any progress.

At their very auspicious conference, the YNP called on Nigerians to monitor the planned probe of all power contracts from 1999 to date, which the House of Representatives is about to kick-start, and ensure that the process is thorough and that all those culpable in the mismanagement of the funds earmarked for power in Nigeria are brought to justice.

Let me start by saying that we agree wholeheartedly with the body of young professionals on this issue. But we will like to take the discussion further by demanding for specific interrogation of key individuals in the whole power mismanagement saga.

It’s our belief that there are known actors that were responsible for overseeing the sleaze that took place in the power sector spending since 1999.

The most prominent, as every Nigerian possibly knows, is former President Olusegun Obasanjo – who is reported to have spent a whopping sum of about 16 Billion Dollars on power, with nothing worthy or credible to show for it.

We would like to commend the House of Representatives for its decision to again re-investigate the power sector spending. It is our belief that what the House is set to do represents justice for the people of Nigeria who have had to bear the burden and pain associated with the poor power situation in the country.

Until this investigation and other related efforts that ensure transparency and openness are undertaken, Nigeria cannot really move forward or record any significant progress.

The unearthing of the sleaze that took place in the power sector is key if we want to start a new footing that ensures proper accountability going forward.

While we are confident that the investigation by the House of Representatives would unmask the fraud that was committed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his cronies in the power sector; we demand that the House should, upon the completion of its investigation, endeavor to submit the name of the former President and his conspirators to the country’s anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), for full prosecution.

The ultimate goal is not to undertake a futile ‘name and shame exercise’, rather we want to see a situation where all those involved would face punishment for their crimes against the country.

While he and his co-travelers must be made to return all stolen monies, we demand that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo live up to his avowed commitment to transparency by coming forward to explain his role in the alleged mismanagement of power funds; without directing all those who seek to hold him to account to a self-serving and delusional book whose account has not exonerated him of active involvement in the sleaze.

No doubt, only a comprehensive prosecution that is in tandem with justice will send a strong message to all those who have either managed or still managing our resources that Nigerians will no longer tolerate any corrupt act by anyone, no matter how highly placed. This is the only way we can sanitize the power sector and begin to reset the country.

Thank you.

Signed:
Oseni Owolabi Ajimomuya (Chairman)
Ismael Lanre Oguntoyinbo (Secretary)

Jonathan never won any election, even in Bayelsa — Nabena

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By chibueke obigidi 9/8/2019

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, has said former President Goodluck Jonathan never contested and won any election even in his home state of Bayelsa.

Yekini said no amount of “falsehood and rigging” of the November 16, governorship election in Bayelsa State could stop PDP’s defeat at the poll, adding that the PDP had become very unpopular and stood rejected in the state.

Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Nabena cautioned Jonathan to be mindful of making misguided comments so as not to ridicule his personality.

Jonathan was quoted a few days ago as saying during the PDP Elders’ Advisory Council meeting at Government House, Yenagoa, that the APC was not on ground in Bayelsa and could not win the forth coming governorship election.

Jonathan added that the large number of aspirants on PDP’s platform indicated the dominance of the party as the preferred platform for election.

But the deputy image maker of the APC said, “Former President Jonathan has never contested any election and won. Even that of 2015, he contested as a sitting President, he lost woefully. The recent 2019 senatorial election in Bayelsa State, APC defeated Jonathan’s candidate in his senatorial district.

“Jonathan is attempting to rewrite history on presidential elections conducted under his watch in Bayelsa State while he was president. He never won, as votes never counted. Aided by security agents, election results were simply announced by the election body in favour of the PDP.”

The Hard Facts! Ahmadu Bello Sardaunan Sokoto

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Complied by an unknown writer
1. Ahmadu Bello was born on June 12, 1909 in Rabbah, present day, Sokoto State.
2. He was the son of a concubine.
3. His father died when he was 6 years old.
4. He was the only surviving son of his father and mother, Mariyamu.
5. He was a great grand-son of Shehu Uthman dan Fodio, the great Fulani jihadist.
6. He got his Islamic and Arabic education as a teenager from Mallam Garba who was the Imam of Rabbah village.
7. He finished at the age of 16 top of his class.
8. He attended the Teacher’s Training College, Katsina (later Barewa College) where he was a School Prefect and Class Captain.
9. Thereafter, he graduated as a Teacher in 1931 with a credit equivalent Grade III result.
10. He was appointed by the Sultan of Sokoto to work as a teacher at the Sokoto Middle School, where he was once a student and taught from 1931-1934.
11. He was appointed a rural administrator (District Head) at the age 25 in 1934.
12. He gave birth to a daughter after his death (posthumously).
13. He became a candidate for the succession to the throne of the Sultan of Sokoto at the age of 29.
14. He made attempts to become the Sultan of Sokoto but was not successful, losing to Sir Siddiq Abubakar III who reigned for 50 years until his death in 1988.
15. The new Sultan immediately made Sir Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna (Warlord) of Sokoto, a honourary title and promoted him to the Sokoto Native Authority Council, these titles automatically made him the Chief Political Adviser to the Sultan.
16. Later, he was put in charge of the Sokoto Province to oversee 47 districts.
17. In 1943, a drama played out when he was thrown before the Sultan’s court for misappropriating jangali (cattle) tax for the Gusau region where he was the Councillor.
18. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison, but spent 3 months in jail.
19. By 1944, he was back at the Sultan’s Palace to work as the Chief Secretary of the State Native Administration.
20. In 1949, at the age of 40, he was nominated for a seat in the Regional House of Assembly.
21. He spoke impeccable English, and respected many European values.
22. Sir Ahmadu Bello keenly encouraged female education.
23. In 1954, Sir Ahmadu Bello became the first Premier of Northern Nigeria.
24. He never had material accumulation instincts, did not accumulate wealth and gave out whatever came into his possession. He was scrupulous and prudent with public finance but generous with his own money.
25. In 1955, he made his first pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
26. The ‘Work and Worship’ motto on the Northern Nigerian crest was adopted by him.
27. He chose to remain the Premier of Northern Nigeria and gave the position of Prime Minister to his hand-picked candidate, the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who was then the Deputy President of the NPC.
28. Sir Ahmadu Bello never sought the leadership of Nigeria.
29. He once stated that he would rather be the Sultan of Sokoto than to be the leader of Nigeria.
30. At various times, he made inflammatory statements about the Ibos as He once referred to them as the ‘Jews of Nigeria’ whose sole purpose is to dominate wherever they find themselves.
31. In 1959, Queen Elizabeth II (b.1926) made him a Knight of the British Empire (KBE), and that explains the ‘’Sir’’ in his title.
32. In 1962, he became Pioneer Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria.
33. He founded the Bank of the North (now Unity Bank).
34. He founded the Northern Nigerian Development Company.
35. He established the 16,000-seater Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
36. He established the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna (the only military university in Nigeria).
37. He established the University of Northern Nigeria, which stretched from Samaru in Kaduna State to Funtua in Katsina State, on the 4th of October, 1962 now known as Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
38. By the beginning of 1966, it was quite clear that the Sardauna was one of the most powerful figures in the country, and many believed that he was actually the most powerful, even much more powerful than the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
39. His party, Northern People Congress (NPC), held sway over 29 million out of 55 million Nigerians.
40. On his way to Umrah (the Muslim lesser pilgrimage), he received a letter with threats to kill him.
41. The letter was said to have stated: “We have arranged to kill you and the Prime Minister (Alhaji Tafawa Balewa).”
42. As a devout Muslim, the Sardauna believed that giving his life in the service of Northern Nigeria was worth the sacrifice and that death was a certain end.
43. He later said of the threat: “Don’t worry, continue to get useful information. I know what to do.”
44. On the evening of 14th January, 1966, armed soldiers, led by Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, arrived at his residence at Lugard House, Kaduna, with the message of death.
45. He told his family to stay away in safety but they would have none of that. They all trooped behind him as he came out of the family quarters and in a matter of seconds, he was surrounded by the soldiers led by Nzeogwu who fired at his babban riga . And immediately, blood sputtered from the point of impact through the beard on his face.
46. At that point, his first and eldest wife, Hafsatu, threw herself at him in a final embrace. They were both shot.
47. He was believed to have been killed instantly when a bullet penetrated his spinal cord.
48. Brave till the very end, he had faced the soldiers and introduced himself as the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the Northern Region.
49. He once referred to Nigeria as the ‘mistake of 1914′ but he later worked for and gave his best for the new nation of Nigeria.
50. He died leaving £10 in his bank account. Equivalent of 5,000 naira in tod. May he soul continue to rest in perfect peace. Allahumma Amin Reply Forward

Wamakko Versus Maccido : Tribunal adjourns for Judgment as Counsels adopt final addresses

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The National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Sokoto on Thursday adjourned to an undisclosed date for Judgemnt in the Petitions filed by the defeated Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party  ( PDP), Senator Ahmed Mohammed Maccido,  against the winner of the February 23, 2019, Sokoto North Senatorial District Polls , Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko .

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Peter Akhimie Akhihiero,  said while adjourning the matter , ” the matter has been adjourned for Judgment.  The date will be communictated in due course .”

The Counsels for the Petitioners and the Respondents had earlier adopted all their final written addresses .

The Lead Counsel of the 1st Respondent,  Dr Hassan Liman, SAN, said ,” in accordance with the Rules of the Court and the Electoral Act, the 1st Respondent has filed his written addresses dated 17/7/2019 and filed on the same date .

” We have also filed a reply to the Petitioners’  written address on 1/8/2019 . We hereby adopt the said two addresses as our final argument in this Petition .

” We are urging the Court to dismiss and strike out the Petition for being Statute -Barred as it was filed out of time, as well as lacking in merit. “

Lead Counsel for the 2nd Respondent,  Chief Jacob Ochidi , also stated that , the 2nd Respondent has filed his final written address on 2/7/2019.

Ochidi explained, ” I herebey adopt the written address as the argument of the 2nd Respondent in this Petition.

” I am also urging the Tribunal to strike out the petition for being Statute – Barred , resolving all the issues of the 2nd Respondent.

” To dismiss same petition for lacking in merit and award substantial cost in favour of the 2nd Respondent, against the Petitioners. “

Similarly, Lead Counsel for the 3rd Respondent,  Barrister Henry Eni-Otu, told the Court that,his Client has filed his final written address on 18/7/2019.

He averred ,” I want to adopt it as the argument of the 3rd and urge the Court to strike out the petition for being Statute-Barred .

” I am also praying the Court to dismiss the Petition in its entirety  for being unmeritorious and speculative ..”

The Lead Counsel of the Petitioners,  Dr Ibrahim Abdullahi said the Petitioners have filed their written address on 25/7/2019.

” We respectively adopt the same written address, making particular reliance on legal arguments.

” I am also urging the Court to resolve all the issues against the Respondents, to hold that , the Petition is not Statute-Barred and to grant the reliefs of the Petitioners. “

Responding, Dr Hassan Liman , SAN, commended the Chairman and menbers of the Tribunal for being diligent and working assiduously to ensure smooth proceedings.

ONGOING FLOOD CONTROL PROJECT IN MAKURDI, BENUE STATE

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To assist residents of Makurdi who are often distressed by flood, especially when River Benue overflows, do you know that the Buhari administration is currently constructing flood control measures in the city?

The project, which is being executed through HYPPADEC will ensure that cases of land erosion and property losses which often occur whenever flooding occurs will be drastically reduced when completed. This will also result in reduction in economic losses.

Abuja-Kaduna train service resumes December 5 — FG

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The Federal Government have announced that services along the Abuja–Kaduna rail corridor would resume on Dec.5.

Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Thursday that all was set for resumption of the services.

Mr Okhiria, however, advised passengers wishing to utilise the service to commence updating of their mobile app as from December 3, to enable them to successfully book for the ride.

According to the NRC boss, the services will commence with two train rides from Abuja- Kaduna and vice versa.

“AK 1 will depart Idu station at 9:45hrs and arrive Rigasa Station at 11:53hrs.

“KA 2 will departs Rigasa at 8:00hrs and arrive Idu station at 10:17hrs.

“AK 3 will depart Idu Station at 15:30hrs and arrive Rigasa Station at 17:38hrs.

”And KA 4 will depart Rigasa at 14:00hrs and arrive Idu Station at 16:07hrs.

The NRC boss assured its esteemed passengers of the Federal Government commitment to ensure safety of lives and properties on board its train at all times.

NAN reports that the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo , during the test-run of the train Sunday directed that Nigerians without a NIN would not be allowed to board the train.

The minister said the security measures to be put in place before the commencement of services was 90 per cent completed.

“I think we are 90 per cent ready as far as what we are set to do is concerned.

“ The remaining 10 per cent I am sure would be achieved in the next couple of days for full resumption of train services.

“Your purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile, because that is the beginning of the security checks.

“So, at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another we know who and who are on board.

“If you don’t have a NIN you are not going to board our train. It is as simple as that.

“If you are a minor, an adult will pay for you and will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors, ” Mr Sambo said.

NAN

Former President Goodluck accepts Africa’s agricultural technology ambassador

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The President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has been accepted as Africa’s Agricultural Technology Ambassador by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

Making the announcement after meeting with the former President in Yenagoa, Bayelsa South-south during the week, the AATF Executive Director, Dr Canisius Kanangire, said the appointment was informed by the former President’s track record of championing agricultural transformation on the continent.

AATF, in a statement by its Communications Officer, Alex Abutu, described Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and had since been at the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.

In his acceptance speech, Dr Jonathan said that as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent is driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.

Kanangire said: “Dr Jonathan’s commitment to uplift agriculture on the continent was exemplified by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda he pursued and diligently implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as President.

“The agenda targeted increasing efficiency and profitability in about 12 selected key agricultural commodities, which include: cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum.

“Under the agenda, about 3.5 million new jobs were created based on the selected key products, while many more jobs were created from other value chain activities, with over N300 billion of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs. In addition, over N60 billion (US$380 million) was injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.

“Another critical element of Dr Goodluck’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to cut down on the importation of food that can be produced locally, thereby, saving the nation well over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff.

“Dr Jonathan was able to demonstrate in Nigeria that agriculture should be treated as a business and supported by relevant policies for the improvement of the livelihoods of our growing farming population.”

AATF’s boss further said that Dr Jonathan is a Pan-Africanist who had stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.

“As AATF’s Ambassador, Dr Jonathan will advocate for the advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through the application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture. AATF is honoured to have the former president as our Ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural terrain.”

Biden signs emergency law forcing US rail unions to accept wages deal

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US President Joe Biden signed into law Friday a rare intervention by Congress forcing freight rail unions to accept a salary deal, avoiding a possibly devastating strike — but putting the pro-union Democrat in an awkward political position.

Biden signed the law in a brief White House ceremony only a week before unions who had rejected the deal were expected to have gone on strike, threatening crucial supply chains across the world’s biggest economy.

The deal delivers a hefty wage increase but four of the 12 unions involved refused to accept it because there was no agreement on giving workers paid sick leave. Congress acted under a little-used power to resolve disputes involving railroads.

As he signed the bill, Biden said Congress had “avoided what, without a doubt, would have been an economic catastrophe.”

“Without freight rail, many of the US industries would literally have shut down,” Biden said, adding that his advisors feared the loss of three quarters of a million jobs within two weeks if the strike had gone ahead.

The episode was awkward politically for Biden.

Trade unions constitute a major element in his electoral coalition and he frequently describes himself as a lifelong union supporter and the “most pro-union president” in history.

That brand has taken a hit from the emergency bill signing, with some on the left accusing Biden of having sold out. After the Senate came down decisively in favor of the rail management, one union leader called the situation “horrific.”

The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen alleged that Senators had “demonstrated they are for the corporate class.”

The issue could come up Friday when Biden does voter outreach during a visit to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union in Boston.

– No choice –

Judging by the overwhelmingly bipartisan support in Congress for forcing through the deal, the political hit for Biden will be contained. The House easily passed the bill and on Thursday the Senate, where usually Biden’s bills are lucky to scrape through with the one-vote Democratic majority, passed 80-15.

Biden said he had no choice but to act quickly in the face of what the White House warns would have been a crippling strike right when the US economy is showing signs of stabilizing in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

In his comments at the signing ceremony, Biden said the wages deal — which his administration was heavily involved in crafting — was “a good product.”

He acknowledged the lack of sick leave but said “I’m coming back at it” with “more work to do.”

Above all, Biden said, the forceful intervention by Congress and the White House would benefit the country as a whole.

“They did one heck of a job in averting what could have been a real disaster,” he said.

Biden said “765,000 Americans, many of them union members themselves, would have been put out of work within the first two weeks of this strike alone.”

In addition, the breaking of supply chains for basic materials like chemicals and farm supplies would put clean drinking water and food at risk.

“We’ve spared the country that catastrophe,” Biden said.

Top African prospects for NBA Academy Women’s amp

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The National Basketball Association, NBA Africa yesterday announced that the fourth NBA Academy Women’s Camp Africa would take place from Monday, December 5 to end on Thursday, December 8 at NBA Academy Africa, an elite basketball training center in Saly, Senegal, for the top high-school age prospects from across the continent.

This year’s women’s camp will bring together 25 of the top female prospects from 11 African countries to learn directly from current and former WNBA players and coaches, including Seattle Storm head coach and 2021 WNBA Commissioner’s Cup winner Noelle Quinn (U.S.), 2005 WNBA champion Hamchetou Maïga-Ba (Mali), two-time WNBA champion Taj McWilliams-Franklin (U.S.), 2003 WNBA champion Astou Ndiaye (Senegal), 2021 WNBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings; U.S.), and 2017 WNBA All-Star Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut Sun; U.S.).  The campers and coaches will also participate in life skills programming and leadership development sessions.

“In just a few years, the NBA Academy Women’s program has helped identify and develop some of the best female prospects in the world, many of whom have gone on to attend NCAA Division 1 schools,” said two-time WNBA champion and NBA Elite Basketball Women’s Operations Lead Monica Rogers. “We look forward to building on that success with our fourth NBA Academy Women’s Program camp in Senegal as part of our continued efforts to make basketball more accessible in Africa and provide a predicable pathway for African youth to learn the game and maximize their potential.”

Launched in 2018, the NBA Academy Women’s Program is a series of basketball development camps for top female athletes from outside the U.S. at the league’s academies in Australia, India, Mexico and Senegal. The three previous NBA Academy Women’s Camps Africa were held at NBA Academy Africa in May 2018, November 2018 and November 2019.  Eight former NBA Academy Women’s Camp Africa participants have committed to or gone on to attend NCAA Division I schools in the U.S. 

Nigeria’s representatives, Ayah James, Bright Eze, Franca Iyamah and Patience John would join their counterparts from all over Africa for this year’s camp experience.

Aisha Buhari ‘Bows To Pressure’, Withdraws Case Against Student Critic

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First Lady Aisha Buhari has withdrawn the defamation case against Aminu Mohammed, the student of Federal University, Dutse, who was arrested for allegedly defaming her.

Prosecution counsel, Fidelis Ogbobe, told the Federal Capital Territory High Court on Friday that the president’s wife withdrew the case due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians.

The first lady has been under pressure since news of Mohammed’s arrest broke last week.

Celebrities, social media influencers, students, politicians, media analysts have been commenting on the plight of Mohammed, who landed in trouble over a comment that the wife of Nigeria’s number one citizen found offensive.

Back in June, Mohammed had tweeted that the First Lady was feeding ‘fat’ on poor people’s money.The tweet, which was posted in Hausa, read: “Su mama anchi kudin talkawa ankoshi.” It loosely translates as “Mama has fed fat on poor people’s money.”

A picture of Aisha was posted with the tweet to match the joke.

After two weeks in detention, Mohammed was arraigned before Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court at Maitama, on Tuesday.

Although he pleaded not guilty, the judge ordered that he should be remanded at Suleja prison in Niger State.

The police said the alleged offence of the 24-year-old student bordered on defamation and cyberstalking, which contravened Section 391 of the Penal Code.

In the one-count charge marked: CR/89/2022, and dated 23 November, the police said “between May and June 2022 within the jurisdiction of this court, did intentionally open a Twitter handle with the name …Catalyst and screenshot the photograph of her Excellency Hajia Aisha Buhari and wrote on it in Hausa language… roughly translated to English language to mean ‘Mama has embezzled monies meant for the poor to satisfaction’ and posted same on your above Twitter handle.. knowing same to be false and capable of affecting her reputation.”

The prosecuting counsel informed Daily Trust that following the instruction of Mrs Buhari, the legal team made an application for discontinuance of the matter.

“The judge magnanimously granted the application and struck out the matter from the court,” he said.

He added that Mrs Buhari stated that she had forgiven the young man as a mother, thus there is an instruction to bring him (Aminu) out of the correctional centre in Suleja.

CK Agu, Mohammed’s counsel, had earlier requested bail for his client to enable him start his final exams on Monday, but the court did not grant the application.

INEC: PVC Collection Begins Monday

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Monday 12 December 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2022, February 18 for the collection of permanent voters cards (PVCs).

National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC Festus Okoye, announced this in a statement on Friday night.

He said INEC held a retreat in Lagos with all the Administrative Secretaries and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 states of the federation and the FCT from 28th November to 2nd December 2022, where the commission finalised the procedure as well as the timetable for collection of PVCs.

“Consequently, the Commission has fixed Monday 12 December 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2023 as the dates for the collection of PVCs in all the 774 local government offices of the commission throughout the Federation.

“The commission also resolved to devolve PVC collection to the 8,809 registration areas/wards from Friday 6th to Sunday 15th January 2023,” Okoye said.

He said those who are unable to collect their PVCs at the local government offices of the commission can do so at the registration areas/electoral wards.

He urged all eligible and valid registrants to collect their PVCs from 9.00am to 3.00pm daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.

He said, “All the RECs and Electoral Officers (EOs) have been directed to convene a meeting with the critical stakeholders in their states and local government areas, including traditional and religious leaders, civil society groups, community-based organisations and the media to brief them on the modalities for the collection of the PVCs in order to sensitise the public and ensure seamless exercise.

“Similarly, RECs and EOs have also been directed to set up help desks to assist registrants with complaints about their PVCs or with the PVC collection procedure for immediate redress.”

Okoye commended the patience and understanding of Nigerians, especially those who registered as voters or applied for transfer/replacement of their cards from January to July 2022.

He assured that in making the cards available for collection, the commission is also working to ensure that the process is simple and hitch-free for Nigerians.

Buhari Fires NIRSAL MD Over N5.6bn Wheat Project Saga

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Aliyu Abdulhameed, Managing Director of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), has been removed from office Daily Trust can report.

https://85c90ee5f156aad7fa784ddf25072e3b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.htmlDaily Trust gathered that the removal of may not be unconnected with multiple allegations of corruption.

Daily Trust had in January this year carried out an investigation on how a multi-billion naira loan guaranteed by NIRSAL for three investor companies for the cultivation to harvest of 20,000 hectares of dry season wheat in Kano and Jigawa was allegedly diverted by the companies in connivance with NIRSAL officials.

Abdulhameed had denied the allegation saying they were mastermind by faceless individuals to tarnish his image and that of the organisation.

However, following the report, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) invited him and other officials of NIRSAL for questioning over their roles in the wheat project scandal.Apart from the EFCC, the ICPC and the Police had also launched their investigations into the matter.

Insider sources who confirmed the development said following a directive from the Presidency, the MD was ousted last Thursday afternoon and escorted out of premises shortly after he briefly addressed staff.

Although he was yet to officially handover, a source who wouldn’t want to be named said the Board of NIRSAL was billed to name an acting MD .

Both the MD, Abdulhameed and NIRSAL’s spokesperson, Anne Ihugba, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to them to respond to the development.

INSTALLATION OF FLIGHT SAFETY GADGETS ACROSS NIGERIA’S AIRPORTS

Not relenting in its effort to enhance safety of flight operations in the Nigerian airspace, do you know that the Buhari administration has been installing Lightning Detectors across all our airports?

The installations, which are being done by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) have so far been done at the Kano, Port Harcourt, Illorin, Maiduguri and Yola airports, with the process continuing untill all the airports are safely covered.

Yes, Nigeria is on track!

Jonathan, Kukah, Amaechi, Yusuf Ali, others for unveiling of “The Letterman”

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Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, is expected to literarily come alive on Thursday as former President Goodluck Jonathan and other top dignitaries converge on the city for the public presentation of The Letterman, a book on the ‘secret’ letters of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The book, written by the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Musikilu Mojeed, will be unveiled in front of what promises to be a packed audience at Bolton White Apartments in the Wuse Zone 7 District of Abuja.

Aside Mr Jonathan, who is the special guest of honour, an array of other top political, business and government functionaries are expected at the event which has a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Chairman of the Governing Council of Osun State University, Yusuf Ali, as Chairman.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah (book reviewer) and a former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Ifueko Omoigui Okauru (who is listed as chief presenter) are also expected at the occasion.

Some of the other dignitaries who have confirmed attendance at the event are a former Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Senator Adelere Oriolowo, former Senator Babafemi Ojudu, a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Director General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Asishana Okauru, and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu.

Equally expected are members of the diplomatic corps, top politicians, governors, legislators, captains of industry, traditional rulers, clergy, media executives and practitioners among others.

The Letterman: Inside the ‘Secret’ Letters of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has been described by those who have read it as a trail-blazing literary work.

The book brings to the front burner the place of letter writing in leadership, governance and politics. President Obasanjo seems a perfect pick for this genre of work having demonstrated a consistent penchant for using letters to speak candidly to subordinates, superiors, associates and foreign personalities, not minding the accolades or invectives such letters might generate.

Meanwhile, many respected personalities have poured encomiums on The Letterman as a pacesetting literary work in the country.

Among those who have commended the work are a former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku; Bishop Kukah, Omoigui Okauru, Toyin Falola, renowned professor and the Frances and Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin; Dan Agbese, respected columnist and writer, who was also the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Newswatch, a foremost and trail-blazing investigative magazine; and Kadaria Ahmed, founder/CEO at Radio Now 95.3FM Lagos, television host, and former editor of NEXT newspaper.

The Letterman, a 492-page, 25-chapter narrative non-fiction, curates some of the most significant and historical letters written and received by former President Obasanjo, which compellingly tell the story of his life, as defined by and defining of the story of his country, Nigeria and the larger African continent. A number of these letters, written to dignitaries in Nigeria and around the world, have never been publicly seen.

In the words of Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria:

“In the book, The Letterman, Musikilu Mojeed introduces a new genre in Presidential history and record-keeping. No single Nigerian has captured and traversed the memories of Nigerians like President Obasanjo. Straddling generations, famous for his role in the civil war through accepting the instruments of surrender of the Biafran army, noted for having the longest period of service as Nigeria’s Head of State and President, complex, forceful or brash, he stands out as the only person to have put down almost his every thought in writing.

“The Letterman takes the reader through President Obasanjo’s complex, intricate, even serpentine mind, captured by the contents of his no-hold-barred letters. The author has offered readers a precious piece of recorded history that will stand the test of time and occupy a special place in Nigeria’s rather barren shelves of presidential writing.”