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Northern coalition of APC support groups make case for Okorocha’s presidential ambition

From Desmond Mgboh, Kano

A coalition of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Support Groups across Northern Nigeria has launched a major campaign for the realisation of the Presidential ambition of the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.

The occasion, which was held in Kano, attracted party supporters and faithful as well as representatives of non-government groups from across the North.

Speaking at Menna Event Centre, venue of the lavish political occasion, National Coordinator of the Coalition, Sadiq Abubakar asserted that no living Nigerian, in recent times, had equalled the contributions of Okorocha towards the development of the North.

He said that Okorocha, through his Foundation, had touched the lives of Northerners by establishing free schools in Kano, Zaria, Sokoto, Bauchi, Jos and Adamawa States for orphans and children of the less privileged members of the Northern society.

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He added that it was noteworthy that in these schools, uniforms were issued free of charge to students while feeding and shelter were extended to them without a fee.

While reminding his audience that Okorocha fluently speaks the Hausa language, he noted that ‘the North trusts Okorocha, particularly because the unity of Nigeria is guaranteed in his hands.

‘He is a unifying figure between the North and the South due to his understanding of the cultures of the people of the North and the people of the East,’ he added.

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Also speaking at the public lecture, the National Woman Leader of the Coalition for Youth Awareness, Jamila Abdullahi while appealing to Northerners, particularly women to go for the Presidency of Okorocha, stressed that Okorocha, with his vast experience in public service, was coming to salvage Nigeria from its present political, economic and security challenges.

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Aggrieved Yobe PDP members threatens to drag Judge before NJC over alleged delay in judgment delivery

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Yobe State have threatened to petition the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the delay in delivering judgment in the suit challenging the congresses of the party in the state.

The aggrieved members alleged on Thursday that a Yobe State High Court in Damaturu has rescheduled judgment in their case severally beyond the 90 days allowed by law after adoption of written addresses in their suit.

Section 294(1) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 provides that every court “shall deliver its decision in writing not later than ninety days after the conclusion of evidence and final addresses and furnish all parties to the cause or matter determined with duly authenticated copies of the decision within seven days of the delivery thereof.”

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One of the aggrieved chieftains, Alh canaji Mustapha Dan Baba told judiciary correspondents that the group believes there have been a breach of the law and integrity of the court.

The court had on April 8 granted an interim injunction by the aggrieved members following the conclusion of the ward congress, which the party had ignored and proceeded with the local government and state congresses.

The court had made specific orders thus “order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondent, that is the PDP, either by itself, agents, assigns, authorized representatives or howsoever described from conducting or further carrying out screening, congresses and elections into the various executive offices of the Yobe State Chapter of the respondent pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

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Musa Abdullahi and 16 others, who had filed the action against the PDP over the conduct of the congress of the party in the state, said it is curious that after the hearing and conclusion of the matter and adoption of addresses the judgments are not delivered.

Counsel to the PDP, Mr J.J. Usman, SAN said he is not aware of the reason for the delay in the judgment, stating “I am aware that after adopting my processes, I have been waiting for the judgment of the court.”

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We’re not ending petrol bridging payments — FG

From Uche Usim, Abuja

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) on Thursday assured worried transporters that payment for petrol bridging costs will not cease, despite the nonexistent Petroleum Equalization Fund that hitherto handled it.

It said it will continue to honour and process claims for bridging of PMS to ensure product availability nationwide.

The Chief Executive, NMDPRA, Engr. Farouk Ahmed gave the assurance in Abuja when delegates from the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) paid a courtesy call on the management of the Authority.

According to Ahmed, the Authority was aware of the fact that the signing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA, 2021), leading to the creation of the NMDPRA may have raised some uncertainty on the continuation of the bridging scheme; whether or not bridging funds will continue to be paid to beneficiaries.

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He stressed further that NARTO as well as other stakeholders should not panic because all verified bridging obligations will be honoured and paid by the Authority.

The National President, NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman, earlier informed the NMDPRA of the outstanding payments being owed its members by the Federal Government.

He expressed concern over the fact that some members were losing interest in the business of transporting PMS, which according to him, was no longer profitable. To this end, he made an appeal for the upward review of the bridging funds on the pricing template.

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He urged the Government to put in place policies that will not only address the current dwindling returns on investment but will in addition, stimulate investment in the transportation and logistics of petroleum products in the country.

Mr Ogbugo Ukoha, the Executive Director, Distributions System, Storage and Retail Infrastructure, NMDPRA, urged NARTO to continue being patriotic and ensure that it plays its part in ensuring PMS availability throughout the yuletide period, regardless of its current challenges.

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Mac Roc: Unveiling new Nigerian talents in musical platform

From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

The first edition of Music Uncovered, a talent showcase organised by Advanced Team Works in collaboration with Mac Roc sessions held recently at ATW Centre, Abuja.

According to Talent Manager and Music Producer, Mac Roc, the initiative stemmed from the need to give artists especially those in Abuja, a voice.

“Most people in Nigeria feel that to succeed in music you must be in Lagos. But we believe there are also great talents here and great minds here that can change that narrative.

“This is the first of its kind where you have a producer collaborate with a media company to promote talents at no cost. Thanks to Advanced Team Works for making this happen.”

The core purpose of the initiative is to showcase talents and good music in all genres by Nigerian artists across Africa and the world at large. Artists are allowed to perform covers of their favourite artists and also their original songs.

The nine participating artists performed live to an online audience. The artists include Monlee Mane, Tim Ayo, Moses Akoh, Emmanuel Cliff, Deewyne, Victor Thompson, Leez Butter, Vique Sing and Yinka Okeleye.

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On the reason he chose to partner with ATW Mac Roc said, “the idea of Music uncovered is for artists to have a cover piece and original piece to be produced live, in real time. And that’s what ATW is all about, giving you real time quality production.”

Also speaking, Ohimai Areguamen, Creative Director, Audio and Remote, Advanced Teamworks, noted that in the music business good sound has become a problem in the industry, be it live sound, studio sound, broadcast sound and it is part of the objective of ATW to ensure great sound at any event.

“At ATW we are passionate about music production, live video production, web streaming, virtual conference hosting and powering events. Our slogan is bringing life to live.

“We have best audio gears and a highly experienced audio team of engineers. All the artists who performed at Music Uncovered were amazed at the sound they heard and we got a lot of positive reviews.”

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A performing act at the event, Tim Ayo, expressed his joy at the outcome of the event.

“The fact that we had very little rehearsal but still put up an exceptional show just made me understand that a goal could be well achieved with the right team channeling reasonable efforts individually towards it. Thanks to ATW for for a great show,” he enthused.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Executive at Advanced Teamworks, Daniels Akpomon hinted that “all the platforms and product at ATW like atwXstream,,, ATWLIVE etc were engineered to bridge the very many divides in the media industry in this part of the world with digital and scalable innovations that can also stay affordable and rapidly deployable in this social and web era. Music Uncovered on her ATWLIVE platform, is one of such.”

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APC Stakeholders vow to resist attempt to extend convention date beyond February

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The last may not have been heard of the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) as concerned party stakeholders, under the umbrella of APC Rebirth Group, has threatened to resist any attempt to extend party’s National Convention beyond February next year.

The group equally chided the party over the attempt to sanction Prince Mustapha Mona Audu, the coordinator of APC Progressive Youth Movement.

APC Rebirth Group, in a statement he issued in Abuja on Thursday also frowned at the invitation the Department of State Services (DSS) extended to Mustapha Audu, warning that party to exhaust the rule of law in trying him.

The statement signed by Aliyu Audu, read: “The Concerned APC Stakeholders use this opportunity to reiterate our earlier position that the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee must conduct the national convention of the party as due or do the needful by resigning their positions to enable willing and capable hands take charge and carry out the overdue task of giving us a convention that will fully kickstart the rebirth of APC.

“It has been nearly two weeks since Governor Mala Buni, in company of some other APC governors, told Nigerians that it took a date of February, 2022 for the conduct of the national convention to President Muhammadu Buhari and that the President graciously approved it; but no definite date or plan has been released by the CECPC since that announcement.

“This clearly shows that the CECPC, despite going to the Villa with a February proposal has no prepared plan to meet the deadline. Let it be known, however, that any attempt to extend the convention beyond the February date as graciously approved by the President will be resisted by all concerned,” APC Rebirth Group warned in the statement.

On the plan to sanction Mustapha Audu, they said: “The attention of the Concerned APC Stakeholders, otherwise referred to as the APC Rebirth Group has been drawn to the travails of Prince Mustapha Mona Audu following his recent activities, especially in relation with the internal affairs of the APC and the stand of his group, the Progressive Youth Movement.

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“The Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator James Akpanudoedehe had, in a response described the Mustapha-led group as a paid and misguided group who are unregistered or it’s members unknown to the party.

“Apparently flowing from the instruction of the CECPC, the chairman of the APC in Ogbonicha Ward of Ofu LGA of Kogi State, Hon. Peter Onoja, in a purported press conference he addressed disowned Prince Mustapha Audu and said he has ceased being a member of the party.

“While we are yet to come to terms with this flagrant disregard for constituted rules and procedures and the diplomacy required at this time, it has been brought to our attention that the DSS has extended an invitation to Mustapha Audu to appear before the service.

“Even as we have not minced words, especially in our previous press statement in disagreeing with the method of the movement, particularly in the sacking and reconstitution of a duly constituted committee which has the blessings of our leader and president, Buhari, the APC Rebirth Group completely frowns at the response of the Caretaker Committee and purported dissociation of the ward chairman.

“For the leadership of the APC to take this position against a group it has interfaced with at various times, so much as disowning their leader, Prince Mustapha Audu who was recently a governorship aspirant under the platform of the party, one only imagines how seriously those superintending over the affairs of the party takes their responsibility.

“We feel that even if the party would impose any disciplinary action on Prince Audu, the constitution of the party must be followed to the letter by adhering to laid down rules and procedures prescribed for the discipline of party members, including being given the fair chance to defend himself, and not the arbitrary and unconstitutional action of the CECPC and the ward chairman acting on their behalf.

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The fact that Prince Audu expressed a contrary opinion or embark on activities that are seen to be against the current leadership of the party does not warrant his being denied his rights as a full-fledged member of the party. In any case, what has Prince Audu and his Progressive Youth Movement said about the current leadership of the party that are not true?

“Apart from the wooing of opposition politicians into the APC which has not translated into any meaningful political capital, the CECPC has lost more elections than it has won and has succeeded in creating more crisis across the length and breath of the party than it met and meant to resolve.

“As regards the purported invitation of Mustapha Audu by the DSS, the APC Rebirth Group would like to draw attention of the service to a subsisting court order which barred government or any of its security agencies from intervening in party affairs. Except there is a different matter upon which Prince Audu was invited, we would be very disappointed if the invitation was as a result of the recent activities of his group.

“We recall that the leader of the party, President Buhari has warned several times that no individual, no matter how highly placed, should use the agencies of government to intimidate any Nigerian, let alone members of our own party.

“It’s our hope that whoever is behind the ongoing attempt to checkmate the activities of Prince Audu’s group or any other group for that matter would do so with a clear obedience to the Constitution of the party and the laws of Nigeria. Illegalities and violation of rights must have no space within a progressive party such as the APC and a democratic country under the leadership of President Buhari,” the statement read.

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UNIBEN VC raises alarm over gully erosion threat to institution

From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, yesterday, raised the alarm over gully erosion ravaging the institution, saying that if urgent action is not taken, in the next rainy season, the institution might loss some of its buildings to the erosion.

She disclosed that officials of the Edo State government government and the World Bank have visited the site, adding that plans are on top gear to also bring the issue before the presidency.

‎Speaking to journalists as part of activities to mark her two years in office, the Vice Chancellor said lack of manpower was one the challenges confronting the institution.

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She explained that in order to make up for the shortages of teaching staff in the University, 300 non teaching staff were trained and converted into teaching staff to augument for the shortfall because the federal government has not lifted the embargo on employment.

‎On the alleged rape case of a female student in the institution, Prof. Salami said the case has been reported to the police who are yet to come up with their findings, stressing that the management of the institution was particular about the aspect of forcefully locking up the female student by the lecturer.

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She vowed that when the police are done with their findings and the result is out, actions taken against the lecturer would be made public.

She also spoke on the issue of powering the university with light and said the university is working on its power plant to produce electricity for the institution.

She explained that the project was stalled because the contractor provided used transformer as new one to installed but was rejected by the institution.

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Buhari urged to assent to Electoral Bill

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Civil society organizations, Yiaga Africa, International Press Centre and Center for Citizens With Disability have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Bill 2021.

The Presidency, had on November 19, 2021 acknowledged the receipt of the Electoral Bill 2021 from the National Assembly for presidential assent.

The bill contains specific provisions directed at enhancing the quality and credibility of elections and address certain lacunas in the existing electoral legal framework.

Yiaga Africa’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo, at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, on behalf of the CSOa said, “the President should timeously assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 which is in congruence with the will and aspirations of the Nigerian people.

“President Mohammadu Buhari must continue to pursue and honour his commitment to bequeath to Nigerians an electoral system that guarantees the conduct of credible, inclusive and peaceful elections.

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“Further amendments to the Electoral Bill 2021 by the National Assembly should be undertaken in the next electoral cycle based on real and perceived lacuna identified in the implementation of the current Bill.”

Itodo added, “he undersigned Civil Society Organizations welcome the decision of the President to invite the comment of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government on the Bill.

“In their consideration of the Bill, these Office Holders should be guided by the overriding public interest to strengthen our electoral process and the consolidation of our democracy.

“It is our firm belief that the Bill in its current state will not only encourage increased citizens’ participation in the electoral process, but it will also further enhance the capacity of the democratic institutions to improve the transparency and legitimacy of electoral outcomes.

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“Furthermore, the timely assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 will facilitate early preparations and efficient election administration of the 2023 General Election, which is just 443 days away.

“It must be emphasized that the successful conduct of any election is predicated on the certainty and clarity of the election legal framework, amongst other factors.

“This is to preclude any legal uncertainties that may occasion manipulation and subversion of the electoral process.

“It is for this reason that the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Good Governance and the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance requires that any amendment to the electoral legal framework must be concluded at least six months to the date of election.”

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MTN pays N3trillion as tax to FG


MTN telecommunications company on Thursday said it has paid over N3 trillion in form of taxation to the federal government in over 20 years of its establishment in Nigeria.

Speaking at the commencement of MTN forum in Ilorin with partners and members of the public, the sales and distribution officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Adekunle Adebiyi, also said that the telecommunications giant has also invested over N3.2trillion in ecosystem activities in different parts of the country.

Adebiyi said that the telecoms company is committed to better development and youth empowerment in the country.

He, thus, called on members of the public to take advantage of the ongoing sales of company’s shares to be part of shareholders in the firm.

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Adebiyi, who said that MTN has been the leading network provider in Nigeria since 2001, added that the company desired to give more Nigerians opportunity to be shareholders in the company after their lofty achievements in the country.

According to him “the company wants to make more Nigerians benefit from its consistent success by being stakeholders through purchase of the shares”

Giving breakdown of the sales of the shares, General Manager Business Partner of MTN, Mr. Stephen Akinola, said that “the share is selling at N169 per unit with minimum of 20 units per person and will last for two weeks only.

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“The company is making available 575 million shares at the rate of N169 per share and the minimum each person can buy is 20 units”.

Also speaking, the managing director of a telecom Outlet, GOLAD telecommunications, Mrs. Adenike Odewumi, described the shares offer as the best Christmas gift ever to all Nigerians by the telecommunications giant.

Mrs. Odewumi, who urged Nigerians to partake in the offer, said that they have everything to gain by doing so.

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Health: Nigeria may miss SDG goals, Ehanire alarms

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Less than a decade (nine years) to the end term of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has raised the alarm that Nigeria might miss out in the health-related SDG goals.

The Minister said that unless drastic measures are taken by all stakeholders, the health component of the SDG won’t be met, and that could be disastrous and disappointing.

Speaking at the special session of the National Council on Health (NCH), in Abuja, on Thursday, the Minister solicited the support of Council members who are mostly Commissioners of health in the states and other stakeholders to play their respective roles to support and help the federal government achieve the health-related SDG goals.

The Minister explained that NCH is the highest policy making organ in the health sector, and provides a platform for Council members and stakeholders to consider and chart ways forward on health issues of national importance.

The Minister in his remarks said: “The end term of the SDGs is barely nine years away and targets of the health-related SGDs, in particular SDG 3 are still far off.

“The National Strategic Health Development Plan2 2018-2022, that provided the medium-term health sector roadmap to attain the goals and objectives of the National policy and edge closer to the SDG targets is completing its life cycle.

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“We need to take stock and ensure the succeeding plan addresses emerging needs in a post pandemic era. While chances of meeting targets may now seem slim in the face of the challenges of the past year, the good news is that our nation can leverage lessons learnt from the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, nationally and globally, to make bold decisions to build a resilient health system.

“We must reflect critically on how to refocus, re-energise and reprogram the future of health, ensuring lessons from COVID-19 pandemic response are leveraged to develop statutes, strategies and frameworks that deliver continuously improving quality of health to our people while building back better.

“Above all, it ensures no one is left behind as we develop a resilient health system that ranks among the best, seeing to the needs of individuals and groups and withstand challenge.”

Representative of UNICEF Nigeria Office, Dr. Eduardo Celades, in his remarks, said the theme of the meeting, “The Journey to Attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Applying Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic Towards Building A Resilient National Health System, is timely and relevant.

He added: “It reflects a conscious attempt by Nigeria to situate the challenges and opportunities of the pandemic within the broader discourse of accelerating action towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and SDGs in the decade of action.”

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He urged the Council members and delegates to reflect on how best to address the chronic obstacles between Nigeria’s great potentials and its aspirations in the health sector.

“Notable among the challenges include a persistent decline in health expenditure as a proportion of GDP from 1.20 per cent in 2004 to only 0.58 per cent in 2018, inadequate financing of PHC services at service delivery points, inadequate human resources for health, among several others,” he said.

He was optimistic that the meeting will proffer superior recommendations to drive tangible, equitable and sustainable results for Nigerians, especially women and children, in line with the SDGs vision of “leaving no one behind”.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO), representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, in his remarks said, “having visited up to half of the States in less than two years of my stay in Nigeria, I can attest to the enormous health needs of the people and the effort made so far in meeting these needs.

“Although, COVID-19, like an x-ray exposed the weaknesses in the global economy including health, I rather choose to consider it a unique opportunity for a thorough evaluation of existing resources and mechanisms and build back better towards a more resilient system for the future.”

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We have the highest hazard allowance in the country – DESTMA

From Paul Osuyi, Asaba

The Delta State Transport Management Agency (DESTMA) on Thursday claimed that it’s field officers presently receive the highest hazard allowance in the country.

The development is as a result of alleged incessant assault on the field officers by members of the motoring public, according to the Director General of the agency, Azubuike Idah.

Officials of the agency have come under severe criticism over the crude approach to the enforcement of traffic laws in Asaba and other cities in the oil rich state.

But Idah who spoke with Daily Sun in Asaba, said his officers undergo routine training in order to maintain high professional standard in the discharge of their duties.

He however said his officers caught in the act of extortion and other infractions were being sanctioned through various disciplinary measures including suspension and stoppage of salaries.

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Mr. Idah lamented that his field officers were constantly be harassed, assaulted and molested by members of the public particularly those who commit traffic offense.

“Let me tell you that because of the assault, DESTMA field officers have the highest hazard allowance in Nigeria.

“They receive 35% of their basic salary as hazard allowance because the governor saw that the field officers were constantly being beaten up,” he said.

Idah insisted that DESTMA was not set up to generate revenue for government but to collaborate with relevant agencies in enforcing state and federal laws that regulate road traffic in the state.

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According to him, DESTMA under his watch, has come up with innovations including being the first to introduce breath analysers and body camera in traffic management across Nigeria.

He said plans were on to reduce the frequent altercations between his officers and traffic offenders through the elimination of physical arrest.

On the non-functioning traffic light in some strategic locations in Asaba and other cities, Idah said the “technology for such traffic lights has expired,” adding that it would take sometime to import the equipment from China, and solicited the cooperation of members of the public.

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APC caretaker crisis: I’m still a bonafide member of APC – Mustapha Audu

From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja

The factional leader of the All progressives Congress caretaker committee under the auspices of the Progressive Youth Movement (PYM), Prince Mona Mustapha Audu, has fired back at his purported de membership of the ruling party saying he remains a full-fledged card-carrying member of the APC.

The chairman of All Progressives Congress in Ogbonicha ward of Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State, Hon Peter Onoja, had on Monday disowned Mona Audu saying he has ceased to be a member of the ruling party owing to his failure to revalidate his membership.

The ward chairman who was reacting to the formation of a parallel national caretaker committee where Mona Audu was made as chairman, alleged that the son of the former governor had abandoned the party since he was disqualified from the governorship primaries of 2019.

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However, Prince Audu while speaking with newsmen in Lokoja said there was no time he abandoned the party nor engaged in any anti-party activities saying it was a lie concocted to discredit him and the new movement.

Prince Audu who debunked the allegation that he did not make himself available for the APC revalidation of membership made available to newsmen pictures of where he went to do the revalidation exercise in his Ogbonicha ward.

He also made available to newsmen pictorial and video clip evidence where the members of the new group paid a courtesy visit to the national headquarters of the party where they were welcomed by the Admin officer of the party.

He also showed pictorial evidence where the group met with senator Akpan Udodene who had earlier said the group was unknown to the party.

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In his words: “They are just telling lies to try to discredit us. Anytime someone speaks up for young people they peddle false allegations.”

Showing newsmen, he said: “Here are the pictures from my membership revalidation.

“This is me signing and thumb printing the register

“This is with senator Akpan Udodehe who says our group is unknown

“So, you can clearly see from the above that if you want the right thing to be done then they will lay false allegations against you.

“In addition, I paid N22.5 million for a governorship form in 2019. Why didn’t they reject it and say I wasn’t a member then,” he added

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Kano govt denies sealing off SAN’s office

From Desmond Mgboh, Kano

The Kano State Government has denied the report that it sealed off the office complex of Barrister Nureini Jimoh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who recently won a case against the government.

The state government, in a statement issued by the State Bureau for Land Management, explained that the affected property situated at No C14/C16 Murtala Muhammad way belonged to Isiyaku Rabiu and Sons and not the lawyer.

‘Our concern is with the owner of the property and not with the tenant of the property,’ the government said.

The government, through a statement signed by Murtala Shehu Umar, Information Officer of the Bureau, stated that its committee on Land Use Charges. had issued a demand notice to the owner of the said property on the 14th September 2021.

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It added that it also served the property owner with a warning notice a month after the first letter reminding him to pay the outstanding ground rent spanning from 2016 to date

The government noted that contrary to media reports that appeared to make the lawyer the target of the exercise, they sealed off over 30 properties in different parts of the state on the same Wednesday.

‘Also seven properties were sealed at Murtala Muhammad Way who were served with our demand and warning notices and were yet to respond,’ said the statement.

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‘The committee will continue to seal any property that its owner refuses to comply with the Land Use Act,’ they said

‘As land custodian, our record shows that property in plot C14/C16 belongs to Isiyaka Rabi’u & Sons, not Barrister Nureini Jimoh. Our concern is the owner of the property not who is renting the property.

‘Kano State Bureau for Land Management is appealing to the property owners to come and settle their land charges,’ said the statement.

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Lagos gets 2 additional universities, LASPOTECH, 2 colleges change status

By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos

The number of state-owned universities in Lagos has been increased to three. This was announced by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the annual Governor’s Lecture with the theme “Educational leadership and technology as viable options for economic recovery and nationhood: The experience of Lagos State”.

The annual governor’s lecture was organised by the Lagos State University (LASU) Alumni Association at the main campus of the institution.

Announcing the increase in the number of state-owned universities in the state, Governor Sanwo-Olu said based on the population of the state, the number of university admission seekers and in order to develop and promote science and technology, the state polytechnic has been upgraded to the University of Science and Technology.

Similarly, for the same reason and to promote and improve standards of education with quality and qualified teachers, the governor said state own colleges of education, Adeniran Ogunsanya and Micheal Otedola has been converted to the University of Education.

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He stated that for the smooth take-off of the two new universities, the State House of Assembly had amended the Acts establishing it to reflect its new statuses.

Governor Sanwo-Olu reaffirmed the commitment of the state government to providing teachers with skills, technical colleges with supports, turning secondary schools into comprehensive learning centres, revamping the infrastructure in LASU’s campuses, to make it economically, digitally viable and one of the best in the world.

Earlier, the governor accompanied by his Special Adviser on Education, Tokunbo Wahab was received by LASU’s Vice Chancellor, Mrs Ibironke Olatunji-Bello and the institution’s management to unveil
the Lagos State University Student’s Arcade Building in the main campus of the institution, Ojo.

LASU Vice Chancellor Mrs Olatunji-Bello in her remarks commended the institution’s alumni association for consistently demonstrating its commitment to the development of the school.

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She also said the university’s alumni association had brought about growth and development of networks for mutual support and raised its profile thanking the governor for finding her worthy on her appointment as the ninth substantive Vice Chancellor.

Olatunji-Bello said the management would continue to align with the six points strategic goals of the university to achieve the mandate of the institution, urging the governor to support in meeting the needs of the institution.

Also speaking, the Pro Chancellor of the university, David Sumoni, and other speakers thanked the Management and alumni association for their efforts in making the institution the first destination of choice for people in Africa.

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Emirates to resume Abuja, Lagos flights Dec 5

By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos

Emirates airline has said it will resume daily flights from Abuja and Lagos from December 5 after the Federal Government lifted the ban placed on flights from the United Arab Emirates.

A statement from the Dubai-based airline indicated travellers coming from Nigeria must hold a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure and passengers flying to Nigeria have to meet the requirements of their destination.

‘Emirates will operate to and from its Nigerian gateways with daily flights, providing travellers from Nigeria convenient access to Dubai. It will operate to Abuja with EK 785 and 786. EK 785 will depart Dubai at 1100hrs, arriving in Abuja at 1540hrs. The return flight, EK 786 will take off from Abuja at 1900, arriving in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day.

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‘Emirates flight EK 783 to Lagos will depart Dubai at 1030hrs, arriving in Lagos at 1540hrs. The return flight EK 784 will depart Lagos at 1810hrs, arriving in Dubai at 0415hrs the next day. All flights can be booked on the website and via travel agents.

‘The airline has also been working hard to provide up to date, comprehensive travel information to its customers, as well as speeding up processes on the ground through digital verification for Covid-19 via the IATA Travel Pass, as well as touchless check-in and biometrics processing. Ensuring the safety of travellers, visitors, and the community, COVID-19 PCR tests are mandatory for all inbound passengers arriving to Dubai, including UAE citizens, residents and tourists, irrespective of the country they are coming from.

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‘Travellers coming from Nigeria must hold a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. Additionally, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has specified designated laboratories for passengers departing Nigeria and travellers must obtain their certificate from one of the labs listed here to be accepted on the flight. Travellers coming from Nigeria will also need to take another Covid-19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International Airport. Passengers flying to Nigeria have to meet the requirements of their destination,’ the airline stated.

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Sokoto APC: Group affirms Mainasara-led exco as authentic

From Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto

The Concerned APC Youth Members in Sokoto State has affirmed the leadership of the state All Progressives Congress (APC), led by its chairman, Alhaji Mainasara Abubakar Sani, as the authentically elected executive committee of the party.

A statement in Sokoto signed by the president of the group, Malam Isah Jabbi, noted that the congress that produced Mainasara as Sokoto state party chairman was supervised by the party officials sent by the National Headquarters and had in attendance of Speaker Sokoto State House of Assembly, Members of National Assemblies, officials of INEC and 1,342 delegates across the 23 local government areas of the state.

‘It is therefore very imperative for us to make it clear that the congress that produced Mainasara is the only genuine state congress in Sokoto state, while the other congress that was supervised by a single individual claiming to be APC GOD-father` is nothing but Kangaroo nomination.

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‘We rejected in totality, the congress conducted by the other faction because of its exclusiveness and flagrant violation of all known civilized norms, rules and party guidelines.

‘Therefore it is null and void as it neither satisfied the requirements of the law nor supports the national secretariat of the party. As staunch and loyal members of APC, we have unanimously agreed to maintain our support to the leadership of Alhaji Mainasara Abubakar Sani as the authentic State Party Chairman,’ the statement read.

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According to the group, ‘the founding fathers have put the issue of consensus in the constitution to give room for people to talk among themselves and agreed. We hereby restate our true allegiance to his leadership and dissociate ourselves from others.’

He lauded members of the party for conducting a peaceful congress. The group also appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chairman, APC Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni, for taking decisive steps to end the destructive tendencies manifestly exhibited in the management of the party affairs in thesState.

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IPOB: Kanu absent in court

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja.

The Abuja division of the Federal High Court on Thursday brought down the trial of the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafran IPOB Nnamdi Kanu from January 19 to 18 next year.

The development followed the abridgment of time granted by the Judge at the backdrop of a passionate plea to that effect.

Meanwhile, the court has ordered the Department of State Service(DSS) to allow Kanu, who was not produced in court, to practice his faith, change his clothes and be given maximum comfort in detention.

Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor had approached the court with an application seeking order of the court to accommodate the trial in November and December this year as against the earlier January 19.

Shuaib Labaran who stood for the federal government however told the court that a counter affidavit opposing the request by the federal government has been filled and served on Kanu.

Justice Nyako however caught in and informed Kanu’s lawyer that the application for time abridgment cannot be considered because there is no judicial time for such an issue.

In the drama that ensure, the case diary of the court was read to the lawyer to establish the the court has crowded cases to attend to.

However following the insistence, Justice Nyako agreed to shift other cases slated for January 18 to accommodate the trial which will last till January 19 and 20.
Kanu’s application filed by his team of lawyers led by Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, is asking the court to acquit and discharge him of all counts in the charge.

He argued that the court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to try him on the basis of a charge he said was grossly incompetent.

The IPOB leader contended that there was no proof of evidence attached to the amended charge against him.

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According to him, “That no allegation was made in any of the counts of the amended charge that the alleged sundry acts of the Defendant/Applicant were physically carried out by him, within the geographical space or territorial boundaries of Nigeria.

“That the only element requisite to constitute and found liability for incitement is the actual words allegedly uttered by the Defendant/Applicant.

That the alleged acts for which the Defendant was charged, do not constitute terrorism offences in London, United Kingdom, where they were allegedly committed,” Kanu added.

Though trial Justice Binta Nyako had on November 10, adjourned further proceedings in the case till January 19, 2022, she however brought the date forward, following an application by Kanu’s legal team.

The Federal Government had on October 21, re-arrainged Kanu on a seven-count amended charge.

FG, in the amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, alleged that Kanu had in furtherance of an act of terrorism, issued a deadly threat that anyone that flouted his sit-at-home order should write his or her will.

It alleged that as a result of Kanu’s directive, banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, fuel stations were not opened for businesses, with vehicular movements grounded in the South East region of the country.

It said the action amounted to an offence contrary to and punishable under 1(2) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

FG alleged that Kanu had “on or about the 28th April, 2015 in London, United Kingdom did in a broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu, Enugu state and other parts of Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, referred to Major General Muhammadu Buhari, GCON, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a paedophile, a terrorist, an idiot and an embodiment of evil, knowing same to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 375 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C. 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.

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He was alleged to have committed treasonable felony, an offence punishable under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria

He was alleged to had between 2018 and 2021, through Radio Biafra, professed to be a member of IPOB, a proscribed organization in Nigeria, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16 of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

In count five of the charge, FG alleged that Kanu had on April 22, 2021, in London, the United Kingdom, on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu and other parts of Nigeria, did an act of terrorism “in that you incite the other members (followers) of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a proscribed organization in Nigeria, to look for security personnel, their family members through a Radio Biafra on 102.1FM monitored through the IPOB Community Radio, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

Attached in support of the amended charge dated October 14, included a seven-paragraphed affidavit of completion of investigation deposed to by one Loveme Odubo, a prosecutor in the Federal Ministry of Justice.

FG equally lined up five witnesses to testify in the matter, among whom are officials of the DSS and one Ronald S. who was identified as the manager of a Hotel in Lagos.

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