Ambode declares N28.5M cash rewards for 57 LCDAs

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

As part of recognizing unrelenting supports of communities and beliefs in government’s agenda and programs,  the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has declared N28.5 million cash reward which would be share among 57 Local Government Council Areas (LCDAs) whose efforts to development of the state were commended by the state governor.

As learnt, Ambode gesture came as an appreciation after expressing satisfaction over support his administration received from the LCDAs who were said to had performed beyond the governor’s expectation and that N500, 000 was expected to be each community development committees share from the fund.

Besides, the governor disclosed that the state government would ensure every home in Lagos have access to adequate power supply, the development of which the state expected to take place  through an embedded power project.

The governor assured that his administration would not rest until it ensured that there was light in every home, school at every ward, as well as a clinic across neighborhood.

Addressing gathering at the 2017 Community Day celebration with the theme “Community Affinity, Aligning Lagos Communities with Private Sector, which took place Lagos, the governor his promise to not leave any stone untouched would soon be proven as the state government has continue unfolding project plans for actualization.

According to him, the promised development may look like tall dreams, but history has shown that they are achievable and together with residents,  the state shall realise these goals.

Ambode stated that the government’s plan was to achieve phenomenal increase in the state’s internally generated revenue in 2018 and that such could only through persuading more people into the tax net.

To him, 2018 was going to be a better year for Lagos and its people as the state government continue to project on development that could make life easier for residents.

“With your support through the performance of your obligations, we can safely commit ourselves in the conviction that by the end of 2018, more youths will be in schools and more families will be gainfully employed.

“With a home to return to and a community to live in, our dream of a more secure and prosperous state will be another Nigerian wonder,” he said.

Appealing to residents to continue to cooperate with his administration to make the state bigger and better, Ambode commended the Community Development Associations for coming together to celebrate values of community development.

On his party, the Chairman, Community Development Advisory Committee, Tajudeen Quadri, urged community Development Associations and Committees to imbibe spirit of transparency and accountability in running affairs.

Quadri, appealed to community leaders to key into Corporate Social Responsibility as a vehicle to boost development at the grassroots.

Also, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Muslim Folami, urged residents to support the state government in delivering more on its promises of improved services, programmes and projects.

Protesters storms Christian communities after Trump’s pronouncement on Jerusalem

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

Angry Palestinians were reported to have turned off Christmas lights at Jesus’ traditional birthplace in Bethlehem on Wednesday night in protest against U.S. President, Donald Trump, pronouncement and recognition of  Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It was reported that the protesters took down a Christmas tree adorned with lights outside Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus was born, and another in Ramallah, next to the burial site of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The Bethlehem’s municipal media officer, Fady Ghattas, said that the Christmas tree was switched off on the order of the mayor today in protest at Trump’s decision, adding that, it was unclear whether the illuminations would be turned on again before the main Christmas festivities.

In a speech in Washington, Trump said he had decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy to the city.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Trump’s move marked the beginning of a new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and said it was an “historic landmark”.

Arabs and Muslims across the Middle East condemned the U.S. decision, calling it an incendiary move in a volatile region.

The European Union and UN also voiced alarm at the possible repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace-making.

US doctors detect brain abnormalities form diplomat after Cuban 2016 attack

blank By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

Information emerging from doctors treating 24 U.S. diplomats and their spouses who mysteriously fell ill in Cuba in 2016 after an attack on U.S. Embassy in the country, detected brain abnormalities in the patients’s system long after thorough study of their cases..

According to a new report, white matter which allows different areas of the brain to communicate found in the embassy workers had developed changes”.

At least 24 U.S. Embassy officials in Cuba had reported hearing loud, grating noises before experiencing ear issues, hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping.

It was said that some of among the victims knew immediately that the attack was affecting their bodies, while some developed physical symptoms within 24 hours.

Other Americans who were not working but were traveling in Cuba had also reported experiencing weird symptoms similar to those that the U.S. officials reported, the State Department said.

While investigators had initially suspected what personnel were expecting as “sonic attacks,” officials are now avoiding that term.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that he believes the Embassy workers were victims of “targeted attacks,” but noted the U.S. doesn’t know who perpetrated them.

However, Tillerson did say that the blame for the attacks falls on Cuba, as its government is responsible for the safety of diplomats in their country.

Cuba has denied all accusations of involvement and claimed the Trump administration was “deliberately lying” about the attacks.

The Cuban government has also asked that the U.S. to release its findings of the attacks for Cuba to investigate.

Tillerson has said that while the U.S. had released some information, the country won’t release additional details that could allow the perpetrator to determine how effective the attacks were.

Most of the victims have fully recovered, but some still have persistent symptoms.

The last of the mysterious attacks in Cuba was reported in August, but the State Department is requiring its employees going to Cuba to undergo various tests, as it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of future mystery attacks.

Ugandan president pushes for 7yrs term

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

The Ugandan leader, Yoweri Museveni, has indicated his preference for extension of president’s term to seven years from five but one critic said any such move would help enable one of Africa’s longest serving leaders to rule for life.

However, Museveni did not directly propose that term limits be stretched in Uganda but instead said extending the time between elections would give African leaders more opportunity to promote development because they would not be distracted by politics.


The president fought his way to power in 1986 and has won a series of elections, the most recent of which was in 2016.

The president, on Thursday in the country, explained that five years term would not be enough to tackle problems in Ugandan, claiming that, his support for extension of term to seven year was for who ever occupies office of president to have enough time to work out plans that could solve issues challenging the nation.

According to him, five years is not enough to solve issues in the country unless Ugandan extend the term for office of the president that would enable whoever mount the seat plan better.

“For these countries with all these problems five years is just a joke. Leaders in Africa have much more to do and need adequate time (between elections) to develop the continent.”

Contratry to the present’s position, his opponents alleged that the government has been using repression to stay in power and rigs elections.

The rapid fall of Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe in November after 37 years in power has highlighted the potential vulnerability of the small group of African leaders who have ruled for decades.

The government has proposed a change to the constitution that would enable the 73-year-old leader to stand in 2021 by scrapping a limit on the age of a presidential candidate.

There is no current bill to extend the presidential term but Museveni’s comments make such a proposal more likely.

Security forces have detained opponents of the constitutional change and also used live bullets and teargas to quash demonstrations.

Andrew Karamagi, a rights activist and critic of Museveni said the president’s comments are: “an insult to our intelligence.”

“To invent a fresh bogeyman, particularly by the same person who said that Africa’s problem is leaders who stay too long in power, is unfortunate.

“If five years are so few … can he show us what he has done in 31 years,” he told Reuters.

Museveni has won praise for sending troops to join an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia and for maintaining stability at home in a region that has been beset by conflicts.

His critics say prolonging his tenure is his central objective.

Tillerson debunks Trump’s sack report By NewsDesk, with Agency report, 

The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has debunked a report which alleged that the United States, Donald Trump, was planing to fire him, just as he disclosed  plans to visit Africa by 2018.

Tillerson said there was no truth to reports that Trump intended to fire him and replace him with Central Inteligent Agent (CIA), Mike Pompeo.

Directly addressing the issue at a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tillerson dismissed the reports that overshadowed his week-long trip to Europe which highlighted the yearning of allies for stability in U.S. foreign policy.

“Secretary Tillerson is planning a trip to Africa in the first quarter of 2018,” senior adviser R.C. Hammond told reporters at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base.

Hammond spoke during a stopover en route to Vienna where Tillerson is due to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Thursday to discuss issues such as North Korea.

Tillerson has said there can be no normal U.S. relations with Russia until Moscow ends its support for separatists in Ukraine and returned the Crimea region it annexed in 2014, comments likely to reassure Western allies.

Police announces senior officer’s passing way in Nasarawa

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

The Nigeria Police has announced passing away of his senior personnel, Nasarawa State Deputy Commissioner of Police, Nwanedo Ndubuisi, who was reported to had died at aged 55.

It was gathered that the late senior police officer died at National Hospital in Abuja recently, after an undislocsed brief illness.

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, announced Ndubuisi’s death in a statement in Abuja today and described the death “as a passage to glory”.

The late Deputy Commissioner of Police, who was in charge of operations in Nasarawa state, joined the police on the 15th March, 1988 as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police. and rose to the rank of a Deputy Commissioner of Police.

He served as Deputy Commissioner of Police, Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja before he was posted as Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations, Nasarawa State Police Command.

Ndubuisi hailed from Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State.

Condolence registers have been opened at the reception of the Force Headquarters Abuja and Nasarawa State Police Command Headquarters, Lafia.

Burial arrangements will be announced after consultation with the family.

DPR signifies need for more fuel distribution, prioritises Lagos

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

Following spring of queues at filling stations across Lagos after fear that there may be fuel scarcity,  the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has said that there was need for private depots with petroleum products to give priority to Lagos State in term of distribution to arrest unforeseen hardship.

It indicated that off number of trucks conveying petroleum from depots were those traveling to farther destination and nearby states.

The Assistant Director, Retail Outlets Monitoring, Downstream Division of DPR, Ijeoma Otti-Onyeri, said most of the trucks that loaded petrol in all the depots visited were going outside Lagos State and that said that the situation  had led to scarcity of the product and prolong queues of motorists in many filling stations.

Passing directive during inspection depots in Lagos,  Otti-Onyeri stated that owners of depots in the state may need to give priority to motorists and others in Lagos

According to him, there is panic buying because there is speculation that there will be increased in the pump price of petrol, that is why we are monitoring depots to find out those that have fuel.

“From Obats, Dee Jones, Sahara, NIPCO and Aiteo Depots, we observed that they all have stock that can last for five to seven days. The issue now is for them to concentrate on local distribution instead of giving priority to the trucks that are going to other states.

“We are all aware that if scarcity of the product reduces in Lagos, the noise about scarcity of fuel will go down. The concentration should be in Lagos Metropolis,” she said.

Otti-Onyeri called on marketers who complained of buying the product at N141 per litre to report to the department with evidence.

Meanwhile, the Operation Officer, , Sahara Depot, Saheed Omotosho, disclosed that the depot had 1.3 million litres of petrol in stock and that the facility had loaded 13 trucks as at the time of the visit, promising that they would extend loading time.

At NIPCO Depot,  the Head, Corporate Communications,  Taofeek Lawal, also indicated that the company has 16.6 million litres of petrol in stock and that 98 trucks were loaded with about 3.9 million litres on Tuesday.

According to him, of the 98 trucks loaded, 28 trucks were meant for Lagos, while 70 were for outside Lagos.

He assured DPR monitoring team that NIPCO would concentrate more on local distribution to reduce the scarcity in Lagos.

At Aiteo, the representative of the company, Emmanuel Oguntula, said that 26 million litres of petrol were available, adding that 43 trucks had loaded most of which were going outside the state.

Oguntula blamed the scarcity on lack of access road to the depots, adding that tankers spent many days before getting to depot.

France Appeal Court orders arrest Russian senator to post $47M over alleged money laundering

By NewsDesk, with Agency report

France southern Appeal Court has ordered Russian businessman, Suleyman Kerimov,  to post bail of 40 million euros ($47 million) pending a tax fraud investigation.

The court’s order was a result of Kerimov, 51, who is senator in Russia, arrest during November in the city of Nice over suspected tax evasion related to the purchase of luxury properties on the French Riviera, provoking an angry reaction from Moscow.

Leading to his arested was report of him posting bail of five million euros and handed over his passport after he was charged with tax fraud on November 23, but prosecutors lodged an appeal for a heftier bond.

It was learnt that the oligarch, who has denied any wrongdoing, left the appeal court flanked by bodyguards without speaking to reporters.

However, his case signalled French prosecutors’ willingness to pursue alleged money laundering and tax evasion in the top-end property market in the south of France which has long been a favourite destination for the rich and famous.

Nice prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre said Monday that between 500 million and 750 million euros in “secret money” was involved.

Investigators suspect that a shell company used huge amounts of undeclared cash, drawn from accounts in Switzerland and Monaco, in the purchases of five luxury villas on the exclusive Cap d’Antibes peninsula on Kerimov’s behalf.

Some of the transactions were thought to exceed 100 million euros. One property has since been sold, while authorities have seized the other four.

The court also released estate agent Irina Sadikova, the only suspect detained in the affair who was held for two weeks. She was ordered to pay bail of 300,000 euros

She has admitted to earning a two-million-euro commission for the sale of a villa and stashing the money in Switzerland.

Kerimov’s French manager Cedric Faugeroux has meanwhile been placed under legal supervision after posting a bond of 800,000 euros.

Listed by Forbes magazine as Russia’s 21st richest person with an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion, Kerimov made his transition from rags to riches during the privatisations that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Known as one of Russia’s most eligible bachelors, the flamboyant but media-shy Kerimov has hired the likes of Beyonce to entertain friends in Cap d’Antibes, even in the midst of the 2008 global financial crisis — in which he lost billions.

Originally from Russia’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan where he began his working life at a Soviet transistor factory, Kerimov has owned stakes at various times in Russian energy, banking and mining giants such as Gazprom, Sberbank and potash producer Uralkali.

The billionaire previously controlled Dagestan’s Anzhi Makhachkala football club, which at one point topped the Russian league when he poured millions into buying players like Roberto Carlos and Samuel Eto’o.

But after losing a significant part of his fortune, he sold most of his shares in the club.

His family now controls Russia’s largest gold producer, Polyus.

Kerimov was once a member of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, which he left in 2007 to join the ruling United Russia.

Since 2008, he has represented Dagestan as a senator in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

Buhari assures Nigerians of government continuous fight against insurgent, corruption

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

As part of assuring  citizens that Federal Government is not relent curbing threat to life and property, President Muhammadu Buhari  has reiterated his adminitsration’s commitment towards fight against insurgency in the country, particularly in Northern part of the country including Kano State.

Buhari stated that the FG was also committed to the fight against corruption and that Kano, which was known as commercial hub of the northern Nigeria,  has been paralysed by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Speaking during a two-day visit to Kano yesterday, hinted that before the insurgency, dozens of articulated vehicles,from different states in the north trooped into Kano to buy goods and that  activities of the insurgents paralysed socio-economic activities of the state

The president assured that with the steps taken of his administration towards decimating Boko Haram insurgency, the state would soon restore its commercial glory.

He affirmed that his administration’s aim was to fight against corruption, insrugents and restore ecoomic of the nation which was at state of comatose.

“Our administration is committed to pursuing the three-point agenda: the fight against corruption, insurgency and restoring the economy.

According to him, Security is one of my top priorities and the government cannot measure the loss caused by Boko Haram to the northeast region and by extension to Kano State.

“But we are now on top of the situation. As you can witness that peace is being restored in the northeastern region and other areas in the north,” he said.

He described Kano state as his support base since he ventured into politics in 2002, just as he expressed satisfaction on the state’s unflinching support often extended towards him.

In his remarks, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, commended Buhari’s  restless commitment on wellbeing of the nation, just as he assured him of the Emirate’s continuous support to his administration.

He restated the commitment of the emirate council to continue to give useful and meaningful suggestions to the presidency through a proper channel.

FG begins gas flare sites verification, partners World Bank, USAID, Canada

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

The Federal Government has began thorough checking on gas fare sites across Nigeria after discovery of 178 facilities contrary to 140 on list before regulator which was in charge of the sites.

After the detected shady, the government was said to had partners foreign agents from Canada Government, World Bank and United States Agency for International Development, USAID on the verification of the sites.

The Programme Coordinator,  Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Justice Derefaka, stated that the government commenced the verification of gas flare sites across the country and ensure right record of availability.

Speaking  at the Gas Buyers’ Forum, organized by the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria,in Abuja, on Wednesday,  Derefaka hinted that the government discovered that there were at least 178 sites where gas were flared, as opposed to 140 sites listed in the past.

He mentioned that verification exercise was conducted in conjunction with the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development, USAID, and the Canadian government.

According to him, the verification is still ongoing, as only 60 per cent of the expected data has been received, while the rest are being awaiting.

He explained that the essence of embarking on the verification exercise was to address issues of bankability and the need to attract investors and financiers to the gas flare commercialisation initiative.

He said that the overall idea was that the country must have a credible, measurable, attainable data that was bankable, so that it would be an investment-grade data for investors and lenders to put their money.

Derefaka noted that by the time investors see that the World Bank had done a lot of studies with the Federal Government, and the remaining sites are verified, they would come in and make investment.

“We have bankability issues, because data is very key to us. Without accurate data, gas flare data, then this programme is dead on arrival.

“What we are doing beyond the data that we have at the National Depository in DPR, is that we are going beyond what they have, and we have sent a special template we designed with the World Bank and the USAID, asking for unique data sets from the producers, and it would amaze you what we found out.

“What we know in this country is that we have 139, 140 gas flare sites, but by our verification with our partners, we found out that we have 178.

“ That in itself is not complete, because we are around 60 per cent, 40 per cent data is missing, some of the information is inaccurate. So we are doing a detailed information request in the DPR office in Lagos.

So,that we send this information and get these things back, then these things might increase.

“In this country, right now, we have 178 gas flare sites, of the 16,000 that we have globally in 19 countries,’’ he said.

He added that daily, around 755 million SCF per day was flared.

The carbon credit we would have gotten from this, the electricity we would have generated, the LPGs and the likes of those, even if they had have to go to any of the LNG trains.”

He noted that the Federal Government would soon carry out a market study, to determine what the buyers need, their appetite; the volume of gas they need, so that it can help the investors understand the needs and demands in the market.