Italian priest negotiates against 2yrs jail term over parish’s $620,000 embezzlement

By NewsDesk, with Agency report, 

 

An Italian Priest, Father Flavio Gobbo, 48, has negotiated a plea bargain for a suspended two-year jail term for gambled away more than 620,000 dollars of his parish money.

The country media reported on on Thursday that part of the deal, was that the priest would gradually return the money and signed up for therapy against gambling addiction, with the support of his church superiors.

“In this long and streneous journey, Father Flavio has mainly found support in prayers, but also in the will to return soon’’ to active ministry, the Diocese of Treviso said in a statement.

Father Gobbo left his post as parish priest in Spinea, near Venice, in October 2016 and at the time, the local church said he was suffering from exhaustion.

Police returns snatched mace to senate

By NewsDesk,

Barely 24 hours after a yet to be identified group of hoodlums attacked National Assembly and snatched mace from senate chamber, the Nigerian police has returned the upper house’s symbol of authority that was removed from the floor a day ago.

It was gathered that a patriotic Nigerian had contacted the police after the mace spotted where it was dumped by the hoodlum who snatched it from the senate.

Sources had reported that mace, which was recovered by the police later on Wednesday after it was abandoned by the hoodlums, was return to the upper house chamber by the Duty Inspector General, operations, Police, DIG, Joshak Habila.

As gathered, the police boss handed the staff over to the chief security officer of the National Assembly, who then passed it to the Sergeant-at-Arms.

The mace has been taken into the chambers, said Yusuph Olaniyonu, media adviser to the senate president, Bukola Saraki.

Gunmen open fire against UN’s team in Syria

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

A set of unknown gunmen were reported to have attacked a United Nation team that came under fire in Syria while doing reconnaissance for inspectors to visit sites of a suspected chemical weapons attack, and officials said it was no longer clear when the inspectors would be able to go in.

As gathered, the inspectors from Organisation of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was said to had arrived Syria to investigate recent incident in which Western countries and rescue workers alleged scores of civilians were gassed to death by government forces.

The Director-General, OPCW , Ahmet Üzümcü, said that the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) had decided to carry out reconnaissance at two sites in the town of Douma before the inspectors would visit them.

“On arrival at site one, a large crowd gathered and the advice provided by the UNDSS was that the reconnaissance team should withdraw,” he told a meeting at the watchdog’s headquarters in remarks it later released.

“At site two, the team came under small arms fire and an explosive was detonated. The reconnaissance team returned to Damascus.”

The United States, Britain and France fired missiles at Syrian targets on Saturday in retaliation for the suspected chemical use. They say the arrival of the inspectors is being held up by Syrian authorities who now control the area, and that evidence of the chemical attack may be being destroyed.

Damascus and its ally Moscow deny that any gas attack took place, that they are holding up the inspections or that they have tampered with evidence at the site. Britain’s ambassador to the OPCW Peter Wilson said it was now unclear when the inspectors would be able to reach it.

The rebel group based in Douma announced its surrender hours after the suspected chemical attack, and the last rebels left a week later, hours after the Western retaliation strikes.

The U.S.-led intervention has threatened to escalate confrontation between the West and Assad’s backer Russia, although it has had no impact on the fighting on the ground, in which pro-government forces have pressed on with a campaign to crush the rebellion.

Assad is now in his strongest position since the early months of a seven-year-old civil war that has killed more than 500,000 people and driven more than half of Syrians from their homes.

The OPCW team will seek evidence from soil samples, interviews with witnesses, blood, urine or tissue samples from victims and weapon parts. But, more than a week after the suspected attack, hard evidence might be hard to trace.

An official close to the Syrian government said the U.N. security team had been met by protesters demonstrating against the U.S.-led strikes.

“It was a message from the people,” said the official. The mission “will continue its work”, the official said.

Douma was the last town to hold out in the besieged eastern Ghouta enclave, the last big rebel bastion near the capital Damascus. Eastern Ghouta was captured by a government advance over the past two months.

Syria’s U.N. ambassador said on Tuesday the fact-finding mission would begin its work in Douma on Wednesday if the U.N. security team deemed the situation there safe.

The Syrian “White Helmets” rescue organisation, which operates in rebel-held areas, has pinpointed for the OPCW team the places where victims of the suspected attack are buried, its head Raed Saleh said on Wednesday.

Douma hospital workers who stayed in the town after the army recaptured it have said that none of the people injured on the night of the attack were exposed to chemical weapons.

Medical charities operating in opposition-held parts of Syria have dismissed those statements as propaganda, given under duress now that government forces control the town.

High Court frees tourism firm against CPC’s wrongdoing suite

By NewsDesk,

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has saved a tourism firm, VIP Express Tourism Ltd, accused of wrongdoing, after a protracted battle with the Consumer Protection Council, (CPC) on alleged misconduct and wrongful dealings by the company.

Delivering its Judgement in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/55/2017, VIP Express Tourism Limited v. Consumer Protection Council & Anor, the court held that the tourism firm has not been involved in any wrongdoing or unscrupulous activity in its relationship with customers as alleged by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).

The Federal High Court ruled that the CPC had no power to determine the rights, legality, propriety or otherwise of any contract between VIP Express Tourism Ltd and its clients.

The Court also held that CPC does not hold the power to alter or invalidate the terms of a validly executed and subsisting contract entered into between two parties.

It further ruled that the demands, decisions, and recommendations made by the CPC were illegal and ultra vires.

In his response, The General Manager of VIP Express Tourism Ltd, Mr. Samuel Owoseni, said the ruling was a case of “no victor no vanquished”, as the company holds the CPC in high regard for protecting consumer rights, and had, therefore diligently honoured all invitations and requests made by the commission.

Owoseni said that the essence of contesting the decision of CPC was just to strengthen the rule of law and to put its business records right.

He said: “For us at VIP Express, the reason for contesting the decision of CPC in Court was to strengthen the rule of law and also put the records straight about our business and activities.

” It is not a case of victor or vanquished. With all respect to the CPC’s attempt to rightfully protect the consumers of Nigeria, VIP Express Tourism ltd is not guilty of the allegations made by the regulatory agency. VIP Express Tourism ltd is a Nigerian company and has excellently served in the travel and tourism industry for a decade.

”Our mission has always been to bring families closer and that is why we promote quality family time so enthusiastically. We always have our clients’ best interests at heart. As we reach our 10th year of service excellence in June 2018, we recommit ourselves to the families of Nigeria. We will focus our celebration on thanking past and present members for their support and patronage by hosting a series of competitions and giving away prizes.”

Recall that in September 2015, CPC, began investigation into the operations of VIP Express Tourism following complaints, alleging gross abuse of consumer’s rights.

By December 2016, whilst there was a pending suit in court, CPC released an Order for VIP Express Tourism to refund N25 million to some aggrieved clients who could no longer meet their contractual obligations towards the tourism firm.

Kirikiri two inmates enroll for PHDs

By NewsDesk,

Against all odds, two inmates, Tunwashe Kabiru and Oladipupo Moshood, from Lagos Kirikiri Prison, have enrolled for doctorate degrees at National Open University (NOUN), after their master degrees from the university.

It was gathered that that the two doctoral candidates were among three inmates who were awarded masters degrees by the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Adamu.

As learnt,  Kabiru and Moshood enrolled for Doctorate Degrees in Business Administration and Peace and Conflict Resolution, respectively, the footstep of which was set to influence other inmates, expected to emulate the two.

Speaking at the ceremony, Comptroller General, Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Ja’afaru Ahmed, urged other inmates to make use of the opportunity provided by NOUN to further their education.

Ahmed said that the NPS had empowered many inmates with education from secondary to masters degree level as part of efforts to reform the prisoners.

“We have collaborated with Ministry of Labour to give inmates Trade Test Grades one, two and three and for those who want to further their education; we create an enabling environment for them.

“For those furthering their education, some have done WAEC while some have proceeded to university for degrees.

“No fewer than 420 inmates are currently studying in NOUN and 10 are in 400 level,” Ahmed said.

Presenting the degrees, NOUN Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adamu, urged the inmates to take advantage of the institution’s free education to prisoners from first degree to doctorate levels.

Adamu said that most of the inmates chose entrepreneurial courses to enable them become independent after serving their jail terms.

He appealed to the NPS to provide an enabling environment for NOUN to provide necessary equipment for inmates at its study centres in prisons.

“We focus our attention on making prisoner scholars; all the courses taken by inmates are free, from first degree to PhD level.

“Hope should never be lost even when you are a prisoner, it is when you are educated that you will get your absolute freedom,” Adamu said.

Nestle introduces new product from cereal package

By NewsDesk,

The Nestlé Nigeria has introduced a new product from its cereal, known as Golden More Puffs, the development of which was said to be part of its continued quest to provide families with more healthier and delicious food choices.

Introducing the product on Wednesday at a Media Executive Meeting in Lagos, Nestle’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Victoria Uwadoka, said it was made purely from grains and cereals.

She said that the new product was produced in Nigeria and for Nigerians and that it fortified with vitamins and iron to contribute to the efforts to address micronutrient deficiency in the country.

“Micronutrient deficiency is the lack of essential vitamins and minerals required in small amounts by the body for proper growth and development.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 2 billion people in the world are affected by iron deficiency, which is the most common micronutrient disorder in sub-Saharan Africa,’’ Uwadoka said.

“The major health consequences of deficiency in essential micronutrients include impaired physical and cognitive development, which translates to reduced performance of school-aged children among others.

“It is important to note that annually, Nigeria loses over 1.5 billion dollars in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) directly and indirectly to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.’’

Besides, the Category Manager, Dairy, Nestle,  Aboubacar Coulibaly, said that the Puffs product was made from maize, millet, oats and soya, and that it was also put together with grain smart,  a unique combination of vitamins and iron.

“Food fortification is a strategy that Nestlé has adopted to help address the burden of micro-nutrient deficiency.

“With 50 per cent of our portfolio already fortified with micronutrients, the introduction of Golden Morn Puffs breakfast cereal today is another step towards the fulfilment of our commitment to provide healthier, delicious food choices for all age groups, a journey we have been on for the past 57 years in Nigeria,” he said.

Coulibaly disclosed that 94 per cent of the grains and cereals used in the production of Golden Morn Puffs is sourced locally.

“We are very happy to announce to you today that the work we have been doing with local farmers for the past 7 years on capacity building and grain quality improvement is yielding results.

“Ninety-four percent of the agricultural raw materials for the product we are launching today, Golden Morn Puffs was supplied by Nigerian farmers,’’ he added.

He said that Nestlé Nigeria would continue to invest in the development of nutrient rich delicious food to fulfil its purpose, which is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.

 

FG wades into senate hoodlum attack, drama, Atiku condemns action

By NewsDesk,

The Federal Government has waded into a broad day light hoodlum attack drama that put upper house of National Assembly into unpalatable condition by directing appropriated quarter of the goevrment to launch enquiry into cause of the invasion, particularly snatching of senate mace by
thugs.

The government which also expressed shock over the incident in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, through Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the security agencies have been directed to immediately unravel the circumstances surrounding the breach of security that led to the invasion.

It stated the security around the National Assembly complex would also be reinforced to prevent a recurrence.

According to him the statement, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, on suspension by his colleagues, had led hoodlums into the Senate, while holding plenary and One of the hoodlums grabbed the mace from the Sergeant-at-Arms and ran away with it.

Separately, the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar condemned the invasion of the senate chamber by hoodlums, as well as the carting away of the Mace, the symbol of authority of the upper chamber Senate President.

Reacting to the incident in Abuja on Wednesday, Atiku Abubakaar described the attack as a dangerous precedent and an assault on Nigeria’s democracy by anti-democratic elements.

“I am utterly embarrassed, shocked and outraged by this ugly development because it is not only a threat to a major democratic institution, but also represents a grave danger to the survival of our democracy.”

Atiku Abubakar said that given the tension in the country, the timing of the attack could not have come at a worse time for Nigeria, and that using illegal and unconstitutional methods to threaten the authority of a key democratic institution is unacceptable, evil, and condemnable.

The former Vice President noted that the incident was inconceivable that hoodlums could force their way into the senate chamber and have Mace in their possession.

“If criminals could commit such security breach with impunity, it means that our entire democracy is in danger”, Atiku said and warned “those behind this illegality to avoid creating a monster that could consume them.”

Abubakar reminded Nigerians that so many people have died in order to bring this democracy about and therefore called for immediate investigation into the incident and the prompt prosecution of those involved.

“It is unacceptable and reprehensible to subject the National Assembly to this intimidation and humiliation. This attack by thugs should not go unpunished no matter who is involved”, he added.

Atiku Abubakar while likening democratic institutions to the human body said “if one organ is harmed, it affects others.”

He urged those pushing the county’s political temperature to dangerous levels to desist from it as they are playing a Russian roulette with Nigeria’s hard-earned democracy.

Atiku Abubakar however called for unity calm and an end to the culture of political disunity that is tearing our dear country apart.

NFF ties $24M cash prize to Russia 2018 world Cup final

By SportDesk,

The Super Eagles has been promised $24 million as cash prize, by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, if the team could perform better and get to final of the 2018 World Cup.

On that the World Cup which would be commenced by June 14 and come to end by July 15 in Russia, Pinnick, who spoke newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday at a parley, stated that that the money was part of the agreement reached with the players to share 50-50.

 

He also said that adequate preparation including grade A friendly matches have been secured with England and Czech Republic to ensure the team do well at the World Cup.

The NFF boss further disclosed that the glass house had already secured $2.8 million to pay the players allowances and bonuses during the mundial.

“I don’t put players under pressure. Pressure can be put on them unconsciously because we are creating enabling environment for them.

“If for example we don’t have money to prepare them, they can now relax but now, we have given them everything upfront and now, they should deliver.

“If today they get to the final, the World Cup money will be shared 50-50 between the team and the NFF.

“Winning the final is 48 million dollars, it means the team will get 24 million dollars and the football house will take the remaining 24 million dollars,” Pinnick said.

“We are ready to play against England on June 2 in London in an international friendly; we had a conclusive meeting with the English FA.

“After the England match, we will play Czech Republic and from there we move to Russia. As it is, everything is going on very well.

“For the World Cup, I don’t think we have any problem, I am in touch with the technical committee. It is the desire of every Nigerian to see the Super Eagles do well at the World Cup.

“We had a meeting with the team; we signed a contract with them and ready to pay them 20 per cent of eight million which is what accrued to us for qualifying for the World Cup.

“At the end of the day it amounts to 2.8million dollars which will go to the players. The money is almost 100 per cent ready,” Pinnick added.

Pinnick also explained that the football house met with some state governors who were ready to assist the NFF financially to achieve the country’s World Cup dream.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support for the NFF and the Super Eagles, and assured that they would not let him down in Russia.

APC fixes May 15 as party’s congress

By NewsDesk,

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared that National Convention to elect officers for a new term in the party’s leadership would be holding on May 14, in Abuja.

A schedule of activities released on Wednesday by the Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso, signified that the party’s Ward Congresses would be conducted May 2, while appeal that may arise from the conduct would be entertained on May 3.

The schedule showed that local government area congresses would hold on May 5, with appeal arising from the exercise fixed for May 7.

It indicated that May 9 is the date for congress at states’ level to elect executive committees of the party in all states in the country.

It fixed May 10 for hearing of appeal that may arise from the conduct of the state congresses.

Omo-Agege confirms release from police after controversial arrest

By NewsDesk, 

Contrary to several media reports that Delta State Central Senatorial District representative at National Assembly, Ovie Omo-Agege, arrest by police over his link to senate chamber hoodlum attack during which mace from the upper house was remove, the senator has confirmed his released from the law enforcement agent after given his side to the allegation.

Omo-Agege disclosed that following media reports on the mace removal from the chamber, police decided to hear from him and that he had since left the the law enforcement agent custody.

Speaking on the allegation on Wednesday after his arrest and was linked to the hoodlum that attacked the upper house, the lawmaker hinted that he was determined to help the police carry out a proper investigation and that he trusted the law enforcement agent would thoroughly investigate the serious matter.

Meanwhile, the Delta state was reported to had been arrested by police in connection to removal of mace from the upper house by an alleged unidentified hoodlum who stormed the plenary session of the chamber.

It was gathered that the senate plenary disrupted after suspected thugs invaded the chamber and made away with the mace and the incident occurred after suspended  Omo-Agege, was not welcome when he arrived at the chamber.

Through a statement issued by the lawmaker’s aide, Lucky Ajos, the senator disclosed he had arrived at the chamber to resumed work but that action by other members’, who he alleged were against him, led to unpalatable situation.
He hinted that the senate had barely a week ago had suspended him based on legal advice and understanding of the current position of the law.
“I today resumed work and sitting with his colleagues. A few champions of the unconstitutional, invalid and tyrannical suspension tried to stop him but those who opposed it welcomed and protected him throughout the sitting. We are grateful to the many.
“On Thursday, April 12 2018, the Senate purportedly suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. However, based on legal advice & understanding of the current position of the law.
“We are aware of several media reports suggesting that Senator Omo-Agege personally removed or encouraged anyone to remove the Mace of the Senate. This weighty allegation is not true at all.

“We are also aware of a statement allegedly issued by the Senate Spokesperson, Senator Abdullahi Sabi. Without any investigation, Senator Sabi willfully, deliberately and unfairly made very serious allegations against Senator Omo-Agege on the Mace incident.

“We are carefully studying Senator Sabi’s allegations to ascertain their full ramifications. Appropriate responses will follow, as may be necessary, he added.

However, it was reported that no fewre than 10 suspected thugs, alongside with the senator, forced their entrance into the chamber.

Sources narrated that the thugs drove out of the chamber with the mace causing pandemonium in the senate.

One of the security personnel at the entrance of the National Assembly explained that the thugs told him and other officers they were with the senator.

“We tried to stop them but they told us they were with him (Omo-Agege),” he said.

In a statement after the incident on Wednesday, Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, said the incident was an act of treason.