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NIMC registers 1.7 m in Kaduna state

By News Desk,

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has so far registered 1.7 million people in Kaduna State, the commission’s coordinator in the state, Abubakar Hassan, has said.

Hassan who made this known in an interview on Friday in Kaduna said the figure was however far below the eight million residents eligible for registration.

According to him, the commission has 62 enrollment centres across the state for the registration of all residents for the issuance of the National Identity Number (NIN).

The coordinator attributed the low figure to poor turnout of eligible residents for the registration.

He however disclosed that the commission had partnered the National orientation Agency (NOA) to sensitize the public on the importance of obtaining the National Identification Number, as part of measures to address the problem of low turnout.

” With the recent collaboration we have with NOA in sensitizing people on the importance of enrolling into the National Identity Management System, we hope to see an increased turnout of people in our enrollment centres.

“More centres are coming to ensure that all citizens and legal residents are registered,” he stated.

Hassan who explained that the NIN was mandatory for all citizens and legal residents of the country, and implored those who have not registered to do so as soon as possible.

He added that the slip given to those who were enrolled contains an Identification number which would enable the user to make any legal transaction.

Samuel Ogundipe regains freedom

By News Desk,

Premium Times journalist, Samuel Ogundipe, who was detained on Tuesday has been released on bail by the Kubwa Grade 1 Magistrates’ Court, Abuja.

He was granted the bail in the sum of N500,000 and a surety who must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction.

Ogundipe, who was represented in court by Mr. Jide Ogunye, met the bail conditions, had been released.

The Nigeria Police Force had said Ogundipe was being investigated and prosecuted for theft and unlawful possession of restricted and classified documents.

Ogundipe was arrested on Aug. 14 for alleged publication of the Inspector-General of police interim report on the investigation on the former Director-General of DSS, Lawal Daura.

Daura had authourised operatives of the DSS to lay siege to the National Assembly.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said on Thursday in Abuja that the documents were inimical to state and national security.

He added that the documents could jeopardise peace, breakdown of law and order capable of causing crisis in the country.

Moshood said that Ogundipe was also being investigated and prosecuted under other offences which violate Official Secret Act, Cyber Crime Act, and the Penal Code Law for which he has volunteered statements and standing trial.

He said that he was arrested on completion of preliminary investigation and promised that he would be arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction in the FCT in less than 24 hours.

The spokesman said that he was remanded in police custody and the case was adjourned to Aug. 20.

“The Nigeria Police force as a law abiding organisation will continue to ensure that the Rule of Law and its supremacy which are essentials of democracy prevails at all times,” he said.

He said that individual or group of persons who violate the law must be brought to justice.

Moshood added that the force would also ensure that all Nigerians irrespective of profession, practice or carrier are subject to the same Law.

Indonesian police kill dozens ahead of Asian Games

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

Indonesian police have shot dead more than 70 people this year in a crackdown on petty criminals ahead of the Asian Games, which are due to start this weekend, a human rights group said on Friday.

At least 77 people have been killed across the country between January and August, a 64-per cent increase on the same period last year, Amnesty International said.

Many of the killings took place during security operations which were “explicitly devised” to prepare the host cities for the sporting event, Amnesty said.

More than 11,000 athletes and officials from 45 countries are participating in the Asian Games, which are scheduled to begin on Saturday in Jakarta and Palembang.

“These shocking figures reveal a clear pattern of unnecessary and excessive use of force by the police, and a constant veil of impunity that taints public security institutions,” Usman Hamid, Amnesty International executive director in Indonesia, said in a statement.

“The hosting of an international sporting event must not come at the price of abandoning human rights,” he said, urging the government to investigate the killings “promptly and effectively.”

Police have defended the use of lethal force, saying officers took “firm and measured action” because the suspects were armed and were endangering the lives of officers.

Human rights groups have also criticized Indonesian police for their increasing use of lethal force in dealing with suspected drug traffickers.

Police shot dead at least 80 drug suspects in 2017, compared to 18 the previous year, according to Amnesty.

Last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered police to shoot drug dealers if they resisted arrest, in remarks that drew comparison to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs.

Buhari will not share money – Lai Mohammed

By News Desk,

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has warned that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is not to share money but to provide basic needs.

He explained that the government was aware of complaints of no money by many Nigerian, but that the administration preferred to invest in infrastructure that would have ripple effects on the economy than sharing money to people and political stooges like the previous administration did.

“Yes, people are complaining of no money and high cost of living, but I want to tell you that it would have been worse today but for the massive infrastructural development this government is investing on.’’

The administration, he said was committed to developing infrastructure that will uplift living standard of people.

The minister stated this in Tatabu village near Mokwa in Niger state while inspecting the reconstructed and rehabilitated Ilorin-Jebba- Mokwa road project.

The 93.6 km road project, now completed, included the total reconstruction of Ilorin to Jebba axis and rehabilitation of failed portions from Jebba to Mokwa.

The Ilorin-Jebba road is part of the Lagos- Algiers road called trans Sahara roads which cuts across the West and North Africa.

In Nigeria, the road connects the South-West geo-geographical zone to the Northern part of the country.

“When people make this complaints, they easily forget that for 16 years, one political party was in power, sharing money, when this road became completely failed.

“APC in three years, has fixed this road to this level. I think it speaks for itself.

“Before now, it takes about five days for trucks to move from Ilorin to Jebba. Today, it takes only two hours.

“Today, on this road, you can see free movement of goods and services which is the beginning of revival of the economy,” he said.

The minister added: “We are not a government that will share money like what others did which put the country in a mess.

“This government believed in investing in infrastructure because if you get this rightly, it will translate to wealth creation.

“Let us take for instance, if this road contract costs N10 billion and we share it to political stooges in this area at N1 million each, we will only give 1,000 people and there will be no road.

“At the long run, those that we share the money to will join in abusing the government of non-performance.

“On our part, we will rather slowly and painstakingly revive our economy through infrastructural development and we have a lot of stories to tell on this”.

Mohammed stressed that Nigerians should thank God that they have an administration that is focused and investing in infrastructure.

He said the government would not be distracted but remained focused in the development of infrastructure to better the lives of the people.

The minister recalled that the road project was awarded by the previous administration in 2013 and work was supposed to have commenced in 2014.

He said when the Buhari administration came in to power, the project was only 15 per cent completed.

Asked, whether government would toll the road to raise money for its completion to Birnin-Gwari in Kaduna and for its dualisation, Mohammed said, not all road could be tolled.

“This matter came up at the last Federal Executive Council meeting and we agreed that, not all roads could be tolled.

“The idea of tolling roads is to recoup the expenses on the construction and make them sustainable.

“A study is being compiled and at the end of it, it will be decided on what roads to toll and which not,” he said.

Earlier, Atitebi Wasiu, who conducted the minister and his entourage on the inspection said the substantial part of the heavy traffic on the road were heavily loaded trucks due to the import and export of goods through Lagos port.

Wasiu, the Federal Controller of Works, Kwara, said the average daily traffic for trucks only on the road was about 7500 while light vehicles accounted for about 7000.

He said most of the vehicles abandoned the road before the rehabilitation took place.

“The road which was constructed since over 30 years ago was abandoned by motorists for not less than 10 years due to its complete collapse.

“Those trucks which had no alternative were spending 3-5 days to transit this 93,6km road from Ilorin to Jebba before the eventual intervention of the federal government,” he said.

The Engineer said the quality of the project carried out by Messrs. CGC Nig. Ltd is of international standard and the life span is 20 years.

He also disclosed that the contract for the dualisation of the road had been awarded and work would commence in the next three weeks.

“The dualisation is awarded to the same contractor from Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa at the total contract sum of N130 billion.

“The Kwara state section of the dualisation is awarded at N80 billion, while the Niger state section is about N50 billion,” he said

NAN reports that the road inspection exercise was carried out under the rain.

Court exonerates 10 Top PDP members for murder

By News Desk,

Nine out of the 10 bigwigs of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) charged with murder of one of their party men have been released by the Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court.

They were discharged on Friday after arraigned for alleged murder of the Apapa local government PDP chairman, Adeniyi Aborisade.

But one of the party men, Kehinde Fasasi, 61, was not as lucky as the magistrate’s refused to discharge him but granted bail in the sum of N400,000.

Chief Magistrate Alex Komolafe, dismissed the murder charges against Rotimi Kujore, 44; Fatai Adele, 62; Ismaila Abiola, 50; Amos Fawole, 65; Victoria Falowo, 42.

Others include Mukaila Odukoya, 54; Isaac Oropo, 55; Muhammed Babangida, 37; and Ugochukwu Nwoke, 50.

The accused were arraigned alongside Moshood Salvador, chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who has
since been discharged of the crime levelled against him.

Chief Magistrate Komolafe, in the ruling, held that in view of the advice from the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, the court exonerated the accused persons.

Komolafe also ordered that the nine accused be released from Ikoyi Prison.

The offences contravened Sections 223 and 233 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Google employees protest China’s Dragonfly

By Business Desk,

Hundreds of Google employees have signed a protest letter over the company’s reported work on a censor-friendly search engine to get back into China.

The employees, according to a New York Times report, are demanding more transparency so they can understand the moral implications of their work, said the Times, which obtained a copy of the letter.

It has been signed by 1,400 employees and is circulating on the company’s internal communications system, the newspaper said, quoting three persons who are familiar with the document.

The letter argues that the search engine project and Google’s apparent willingness to accept China’s censorship requirements “raise urgent moral and ethical issues.”

“Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment,” they say in the letter, according to the Times.

Employee anger flared with a report earlier this month in The Intercept that Google is secretly building a search engine that will filter content banned in China and thus meet Beijing’s tough censorship rules.

Google withdrew its search engine from China eight years ago due to censorship and hacking.

The new project is said to be codenamed “Dragonfly.”

The tech giant had already come under fire this year from thousands of employees who signed a petition against a $10-million contract with the US military, which was not renewed.

With the secret project, Google employees are reportedly worried that they might unknowingly be working on technology that could help China hide information from its people.

“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” the protest letter says, according to the Times.

At a townhall gathering of employees on Thursday, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai said the firm was committed to transparency, and that while it was “exploring many options”, it was “not close to launching a search product in China,” the Financial Times reported, citing a person present at the meeting.

Police nab Prophetess over sale of day-old baby

By News Desk,

The Police Command in Abia has arrested one Amarachi Chinedu, over her alleged involvement in the sale of a one-day-old baby boy in Aba.

The Commissioner of Police, Anthony Ogbizi, said in Umuahia on Thursday that the woman was arrested with two others for their alleged involvement in the deal.

The suspect, who claimed to be a prophetess, was arrested with the 17-year-old mother of the baby, Chinanu Monday, and the man who allegedly impregnated her, Promise Lazarus.

Monday told newsmen in an interview that she was delivered of her baby in the home of the prophetess and after the delivery “they took the baby away and sold him.”

She said that she was not involved in the deal as she was not given any money and did not know the buyer and whereabouts of her baby.

“When I was pregnant, Lazarus took me to the woman and she took delivery of the baby in her home.

“After the baby was delivered, they took him away and sold him,” she said.

She said that she took in for Lazarus in December when they both met.

Lazarus and the prophetess, however, denied the allegation and described the girl’s story as baseless.

Lazarus said that he met the girl in March, contrary to her claim that they met in December.

“She told me in April that she was pregnant and I told her that I would come to her parents for introduction with drinks and kola nuts.

“Surprisingly, while I was making plans to visit her parents, policemen came to my house and arrested me, accusing me of child trafficking,” Lazarus said.

The prophetess described the allegation as unfounded, saying that the girl was never pregnant and could not have given birth to a baby.

“I want the girl to be examined by a medical doctor to ascertain if she gave birth to a baby,” she said.

Also in police net are 19-year-old Mary Friday and 20-year-old Chinyere Achonna, who were arrested at an alleged baby factory at Umunkpei in Isialangwa North Local Government Area of the state.

The girls said that they were impregnated by their boyfriends and introduced to the baby factory, where they would be taken care of before their possible dates of delivery.

Paragon Kelechi, 52, who was arrested along with the two expectant mothers, said he took them to Umuahia to be scanned when they were arrested.

Kelechi said that he was asked to assist to take the girls to Umuahia by the owner of the baby factory, popularly known as Mma.

The police also arrested and detained one Ogechi Sunday, a civil servant, for allegedly using a hot knife to burn the buttocks of her maid.

Sunday told newsmen that she took the measure to tame the 14-year-old, Mary Sunday (not her relation).

“The girl was fond of eloping each time I sent her on errands, so on this last occasion I decided to take a drastic action to force her to disclose why she usually returned late from errands.

“So I put the kitchen knife on a lighted stove and when she eventually returned, I spanked her on the buttocks with the hot knife,” she said.

She however expressed regrets for her action, saying that she was moved by anger.

Also, the command paraded six gay suspects, arrested at a hotel in Aba, following a tip-off from the hotel manager, Peter Okeke.

Okeke told newsmen that two of the suspects checked into the hotel on Sunday and paid for one room.

Man attacks girlfriend for failing to pay utility bill

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

A Florida man David Mann has attacked his 78-year-old girlfriend claiming she failed to pay their DirecTV bill, resulting in a loss of service.

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office said Mann, 39, was arrested for battery of a person over the age of 65.

Mann allegedly threw the victim onto a bed in their home and choked her during an argument, FOX30 Jacksonville reported.

The suspect was apparently upset the DirecTV service had been turned off.

The victim thereafter, called in the police.

Police said ammunition was discovered in Mann’s Brycesville home which he was not permitted to have.

It was unclear whether the ammunition belonged to Mann, a convicted felon or the victim.

Police however, said they additionally charged Mann with possession of a weapon.

139 aid workers killed in line of duty

By News Desk, with Agency Report,

United Nation has renewed its call for civilians and aid workers everywhere to be better protected following the killing of 139 of them and 72 kidnapped in 2017.

It said 102 of those aid workers have been wounded also in the line of duty.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Humanitarian Affairs chief, Mark Lowcock,  stated this while remembering all the humanitarians killed in the line of duty, just ahead of World Humanitarian Day.

In 2008, the General Assembly designated Aug. 19 as World Humanitarian Day to raise awareness of humanitarian assistance and pay tribute to the people who risk their lives to provide it.

Marking the fifth consecutive year in which more than 100 aid workers lost their lives on the job, the UN said 2017 was the highest recorded annual death toll since 2013, when 156 humanitarians were killed.

In March, three aid workers were killed in Rann town in Borno, following an attack by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, while at least one other aid worker was critically injured and another three were missing.

Also in 2017, of the 42,972 people reportedly killed or injured by explosive weapons, three out of every four victims were civilians – a 38 per cent increase on 2017.

Lowcock said: “It is unconscionable that civilians and the aid workers who are trying to help them are killed and maimed in conflict zones with utter impunity.

“We need this to end. It is imperative that we hold men with guns and power accountable when civilians and aid workers are illegally targeted”.

Each year on Aug. 19, the world pays tribute to the humanitarians who deliver aid to vulnerable communities in some of the most dangerous crises on the planet; some of whom make the ultimate sacrifice.

The 2018 World Humanitarian Day also marks the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, which took the lives of 22 staff and other civilians.

The August 2011 bombing of the UN building in Abuja by the Boko Haram terrorists, also killed at least 21 and wounded 60.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted in his Protection of Civilians report published in May, that attacks in just six conflict-affected countries were responsible for more than 26,000 civilian deaths or injuries.

The UN chief emphasized that to reverse such high numbers of civilian casualties required sustained advocacy.

In addition to ensuring safe, unimpeded passage of supplies, Governments and non-State military groups are legally obligated to protect civilians and aid workers in armed conflicts.

“It is imperative that we hold men with guns and power accountable when civilians and aid workers are illegally targeted,” Lowcock argued.

The UN and humanitarian partners have launched a ‘living petition’ as the theme for the 2018 Day, calling on world leaders to better protect civilians and aid workers.

I want Buhari’s job – Saraki

By News Desk,

Senate President Bukola Saraki has confirmed he has been consulting and he is considering running against President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 2019 election.

He made the confirmation in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg in Abuja.

Saraki who had evaded the question on his interest in the country’s number one position at a press conference last week, was more forthcoming in the interview:

“I am consulting and actively considering it,” Saraki, 56, said in the interview held at his residence in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

“I believe I can make the change,”  he added.

Since last week, the Senate President had visited two former Nigerian leaders, General Ibrahim Babangida and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at their hilltop homes in Minna and Abeokuta. But he had been coy about his missions to the homes of the two former leaders, who are also opposed to President Muhammadu Buhari and had issued statements, asking him not to run next year.

After meeting Babangida, Saraki  tweeted that he only “dropped in” to pay his respects to “General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. Always happy to be with a father and leader”. In Abeokuta, he said he came to have a look at the monumental Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, which was formally opened in April 2017, the event which he said, he missed.

Saraki who switched from the ruling All Progressives Congress to his old party, the Peoples Democratic Party along with a dozen renegade senators in July, will need to secure the PDP nomination. And he has at least six aspirants to contend with.

Among them are Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president, who quit the ruling party much earlier to the PDP; Ibrahim Dankwambo, governor of Gombe State, Ahmad Makarfi, a former senator and former governor of Kaduna State. There are also Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa State; Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state, who is yet to make a formal declaration of intent and Attahiru Bafarawa, also former governor of Sokoto state.

The party’s primary election is due between 5 October  and 6 October. Political pundits are predicting  a bruising contest among the aspirants.

Saraki had been at odds with Buhari and the APC leaders, since he emerged  as senate president in June 2015. He got the post by playing out many members of his party who were gathered elsewhere for a meeting with Buhari. He struck an alliance with the PDP to claim the position. In return, he traded the senate vice-presidency to the opposition senator, Ike Ekweremadu.

Saraki claimed in the interview with Bloomberg that investors and citizens have lost confidence in President Buhari. The latter claim has been punctured by the wave of victories recorded by the APC in governorship and senatorial bye elections in recent times.

Pundits also believed that investors could not have lost confidence in  Buhari’s administration, if it was able to raise record amounts of money in oversubscribed Eurobond sales and it is attracting foreign loans to rebuild rail, ports and power infrastructure, which the PDP abandoned in 16 years of running the country.

The Senate president in the interview said the blockade of the National Assembly gates by hooded DSS operatives on August 7,  was contrived by the executive  to impeach him, despite the prompt denial by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, the APC and and the sacking of DSS boss, Lawal Daura.

“If a government can go and lock up an arm of government — and it’s never happened in our history — we should all be very concerned,” Saraki said.

“We should not be surprised that they would use security agencies for elections.”

Saraki, who is now the national leader of the PDP, believes the party has learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015. And conversely, he  thinks the APC has  not learnt from its victory.

“While negotiating with the PDP “we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. We listed a number of items during the discussions with the PDP, and there is a written agreement to that. We trust that we can hold them to that.

“We would ensure that the party is strong on security. The APC too have not done well on the issue of security. We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction.”