Monday, November 19, 2018
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Bisiriyu Olaoye

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Senator Annie Okonkwo, who represented Anambra Central in the sixth Senate of the Federal Republic, has dispelled rumours making the rounds that he is contesting in the  November 2017 Anambra governorship election.

In a press statement issued by Mr. Collins Steve Ugwu, his Special Adviser on Public Communications, he said, this clarification has become imperative given the tasteless and unsolicited sudden emergence of his posters on the streets of Anambra State purporting him to be a candidate for that election.

“For the avoidance of doubt and for the purposes of public records, we wish to state pointedly that Sen. Annie Okonkwo as politically vibrant as he is, and as eminently qualified as has been established, to aspire and contest any elective office in this country, does not intend to, and will certainly not be in the ballot for Anambra 2017 governorship election.

“We, therefore, deplore these thoughtless orchestrations as completely out of character, and a miserable script of mischief from persons or quarters whose intents are base and whose expectations stand ruined ab initio.

“In all fairness, Sen. Okonkwo is a bold politician whose courage of conviction does not come in piece meal, and makes no apologies for choices within his remit. But he is strategic and candid enough to discern that the pulse of the Anambra people whose interests he champions relentlessly and will continue to do, does not presently support the scenario being painted by these lazy labourers.

“Of course, as a committed vendor of service, sensitive to the wishes of his supporters and followers, he has been engaging them proactively and purposefully, to build consensus and strengthen alliances, for the inevitable direction they will go as the elections beckons. That will be done properly, colourfully and publicly when the consultations are exhausted and the time due.

“For now, we urge all our teeming supporters and the general public to remain calm and ignore this distraction, because as a politician with fidelity, Sen Okonkwo will not engage them by proxy or dark silhouettes on such vital issue.

“Meanwhile, we urge every Anambra citizen to take advantage of the ongoing INEC continuous registration exercise to obtain and update their voters cards in earnest, as it remain their potent constitutional weapon to shape the destiny of our state, and make it the nest of comfort and development we all deserve, the statement concluded

As Workers Day is being celebrated in many countries on Monday, the State Governors in Nigeria have assured that they will continue to address the plight of workers in their states.

This assurance was contained in their various messages to mark the  Day.

For instance, Oyo State Governor  Abiola Ajimobi  has promised to spare no effort in ensuring that the state clears the four-month salary arrears, assuring the workers that he feels their pains in the face of the biting economic dictates.

The governor made the promise in a congratulatory message to the workers by his Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, Mr. Yomi Layinka, on Sunday, on the occasion of this year’s Workers’ Day.

Ajimobi urged the workers to continue to put in their very best and key into the state government’s reform agenda aimed at enhancing productivity and ultimately the internally generated revenue.

The governor said, “I congratulate the entire workforce in Oyo State including those in the private and informal sectors. This year’s Day has provided another opportunity for you all to take stock and assess your performance.

“I can say without any equivocation that workers in Oyo State are among the very best you can find anywhere in the country. But, for the few yet to embrace the new order of hard work, accountability, dedication and commitment I urge you join the train.

“On our part as government we are exploring many opportunities to enhance the internally generated revenue of the state. We will spare no effort to ensure that we clear the four-month salary arrears. I urge you to play your part dutifully to achieve this.

“No doubt, times are hard because of the pervading poor state of the economy. I feel your pains and I’m optimistic that we shall soon sing a new song of prosperity and abundance. May none of you be missing by that time.”

Ajimobi prayed for a hazard-free 2017 for the workers in the state as the year enters the second quarter, while he also prayed for good health for the workforce to celebrate more workers’ days to come

Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed felicitated with workers   with assurance improved welfare.

The Governor said the administration appreciated the cooperation, dedication and loyalty of workers and pledged to continue to reciprocate by enhancing their welfare and creating a more conducive atmosphere for higher performance.

Stressing that the welfare of workers is paramount to the administration, Governor Ahmed said he will continue to accord it top priority in view of workers’ invaluable contributions to the development of the state.

The Governor observed that the global economic recession has taken its toll on the national economy with a consequent unfortunate impact on salaries and pensions at the local government level. Maintaining that he is saddened by the situation, Dr Ahmed however emphasized that government will not shirk its responsibility to workers in the state.

He commended workers for showing understanding and patience with government at this trying period as it strives to implement more people-oriented programs and projects for the benefit of the whole populace.

Also, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa described Nigerian workers as “the driving force” of the country’s development due to their priceless contributions.

In a statement on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, in Asaba , Okowa praised the resilience and commitment of workers in the state to his administration’s SMART Agenda.

He described the contributions of workers to the economy as priceless and invaluable, assuring that the State Government will continue to ensure the welfare of workers by regular and prompt payment of their salaries and allowances.

Okowa acknowledged the challenges facing pensioners, NULGE and teachers in the state, adding that the State Government will continue to collaborate with Local Government councils in the state to tackle the payment of salaries of NULGE and Primary school teachers.

“As we mark this year’s Workers’ Day, I commend Nigerian workers for their significant contributions to the growth and development of the nation’s economy.

“As a government, we believe that workers deserved to be motivated and appreciated for the roles they are playing in ensuring increased productivity, stable government and virile economy.” he said

Governor Okowa further assured that his administration would continue to guarantee the safety and well-being of workers in the state.

While restating his administration’s commitment to addressing the challenges confronting staff of the state Civil Service, Governor Okowa solicited for the understanding and cooperation of all workers in the state towards the realisation of his administration’s vision of a prosperous Delta state.

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has formally unveiled the State Digital Library, reiterating his administration’s commitment to provide access to education for all.

Governor Ambode, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello at the launch of the Lagos State Digital Library held at the Landmark Event Center, Victoria Island, said the unveiling of the first of its kind digital Library was part of the vision of providing access to education.

According to the Governor, the access envisioned would be through collection and curation of digital content by online portal.

He said that the development, apart from complementing the quest for achieving Lagos dream of becoming Africa’s model megacity, would also help in transforming the State to a global economic and financial Hub.

“The digital library will provide a repository of contents which include 2,000 study aids on core subjects from primary to senior secondary school curriculum, over 1,600 tutorials, instructional videos and selected e-books for primary to SS3 approved texts, brief history of Lagos State, online forum, podcasts and exam-mate (A Test Resource).

“The contents also include quality research papers from Lagos State Tertiary Institutions covering a wide variety of topics digitized for the platform in various forms such as vocational videos, entrepreneurship contents, creatively presented history lessons and online courses on coding.

“This portal will be accessible via internet connection on a range of devices, from desktop computers to feature phones regardless of location, age or social economic status,” he said.

He said as part of the government’s efforts to make the State the next technology hub in Africa,  the “Code Lagos” and “Digital Library” projects were initiated, adding that the Digital Library programme was the first of its kind in the State and one of the largest learning platforms in Africa.

The Governor noted that based on statistics available, Africa is expected to reach 500 million internet users by 2020, majority of whom will access internet through a mobile device.

He, therefore, urged students, researchers and everyone interested in knowledge acquisition to make use of the platform which can be accessed from any part of the State and country.

Earlier in his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr Obafela Bank-Olemoh said part of the innovation of the present administration was the introduction of “library initiative” whereby private organisations can adopt a library and improve it.

According to him, the initiative was already yielding fruits with the library at Herbert Macaulay, Yaba and the one at Isolo already taken up by corporate organisations.

The representative of the Governor later logged on to the “www.educatelagos.com” portal to formally unveil the programme at the event which also attracted members of the Organised Private Sector and the Diplomatic Corps.

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Teachers in the service of oil rich Bayelsa state have not been paid salaries for 10 months and have resolved to embark on an industrial action.

The state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), on Sunday threatened to commence a three-day warning strike from May 2, over unpaid nine-and-a-half months salary backlog.

The NUT, in a communique signed by its Chairman, Mr Kala-Ama Tonpre and Secretary, Mr Johnson Hector, said the union took the decision after its Executive Council meeting held on Saturday in Yenagoa.

NUT in Bayelsa had embarked on a strike which shut public schools in Bayelsa for six weeks at the beginning of the 2016/2017 academic session in September 2016 over unpaid salaries.

The union said it also resolved that the state government should urgently pay the salaries it owed primary school teachers to bring them at par with other civil servants in the state.

The NUT also called on the government to take over the funding and management of primary education without attaching conditions to it.

The union further asked the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the Post Primary Schools Board to implement the 2013 and 2015 promotions and to conduct the 2016 exercise without delay.

It appealed to the government to involve other banks in the payment of secondary school teachers’ salaries instead of giving the mandate to only the Sterling Bank.

The union also urged the government to take care of the cost of bank transaction to reduce excess deductions on its members’ accounts.

NUT implored the government to fill vacancies created by retired and deceased teachers by employing qualified personnel and government should also begin the payment of N18, 000 minimum wage arrears to teachers. (NAN)

A Nollywood fictional thriller that depicts security agencies’ patriotic fight against terrorism and other crimes in the society has hit cinemas in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the film titled “Conscripted”, is a production of Capital Pictures, and was premiered on Saturday night at the NAF Conference Centre.

Mr Aik Odiase, the producer of the movie tells the story of insecurity as a global challenge, and why people should appreciate the unique sacrifices paid by security men in the service to their fatherland.

He said: “Conscripted is a call-up to a sacrificial service to defend one’s country, and that of victory of good over evil.

“The story plot was culled from the Society, what the world and Nigeria in particular, is doing to surmount terrorism and all forms of insecurity.

“There were bombings, kidnappings, rapes, armed robbery and other security challenges threatening the peace of Nigerians.

“Because of the increasing rate on security challenges in the country, three selfless officers were drafted and specially trained by the relevant authorities to combat crime.

“The gallant officers include: ‘Brown’ who is in charge of schematic, Pinky’ who is in charge of interrogation and ‘Edge’ the head of the Special Anti-Crime Unit of the Police Force,” he said.

Odiase noted that like many security officers, the anti-crime squad members, paid some costly prices in their passionate service to their country.

He added that the scenario was to reassert the need to appreciate and support security officers in ensuring a safe society for all.

“In the process, Edge lost his daughter, and Brown lost his mother who was kidnapped. Pinky on her part, lost her relationship when she found out that her man was one of those terrorising the state.

“All these clearly express the fact that our security men are human after all, they and their families also need protection.’’

The anti-crime movie featured iconic Nollywood stars, Aik Odiase as ‘Edge’, Chinyere Onah as ‘Pinky’ and Preach Bassey as ‘Brown’.

Other casts include Sir K,Mikky Odey, Sunny Williams and Lizzy Ofuani, among others.

Mr Sunny-Ken Awoji, the Vice Chairman of Abuja Chapter of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), who also collaborated in the “Conscripted” project, commended the initiative.

He noted that the movie was a big boost and would open new frontiers for the film industry in Abuja, since it was one hundred per cent produced in the territory.

“This movie is a clear reflection of the potential that abound in the Federal Capital Territory, in terms of filmmaking. All the actors, producer, director, and even the equipment and locations used in the movie are from within Abuja.

“This is the first time this is happening, as what we usually see is to see someone come with casts and shoot a movie and then leave. We have used “Conscripted” to create a niche for the movie industry in Abuja.’’ he added.

Awoji noted that the movie had received several nominations for both international and local awards.

Actors, producers and other stakeholders in Nollywood across the country were among those present at the premiere.

Nigeria staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Mexico 5-4 in extra time of their Group B clash on Saturday at the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Nassau, Bahamas.

It was the Mexicans that initially took control of the contest at the National Beach Soccer Arena after goals from Abdiel Villa, Angel Rodriguez and Ramon Maldonado.

However, the West Africans responded with a pair of goals from Emeka Ogbonna and Azeez Abu.

After this, a late Victor Tale penalty kick resulted in the first regulation-time draw at Bahamas 2017.

Nigeria outlasted Mexico in the extra-time period, with Abu scoring the winner just seconds from the end to claim the two points on offer.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the win meant the Super Sand Eagles have revived hopes of a quarter-final qualification.

After a 6-12 loss to Italy in their opening game, the Nigerian side needed a win to come back into the competition.

They now need to win against Iran in their final Group B game on Monday.

Thousands of people across the U.S. are marching on President Donald Trump’s hundredth day in office to demand action on climate change.

In Washington, D.C., large crowds on Saturday made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue in sweltering heat.

Later, they encircled the White House. Organizers say about 300 other protest marches are expected around the country.

Participants in the People’s Climate March say they’re objecting to Trump’s rollback of restrictions on mining, oil drilling and greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants, among other things.

In Augusta, Maine, protesters outside the statehouse said they wanted to draw attention to the damage climate change can cause marginalized communities.

A demonstration stretched for several blocks in downtown Tampa, Florida, where marchers said they were concerned about the threat rising seas pose to the city.

In Boston, a crowd gathered in public park in downtown. Marchers carried signs with slogans such as “Dump Trump.”

Source: www.usatoday.com

PDP chairmanship: Gov. Wike denies sponsoring Secondus

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike  on  Saturday accused  the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, of planning  to kill or silence him politically.

Addressing journalists at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike Wike also accused the IGP of concluding plans to plant guns and other incriminating items at his residence in Asokoro Extension Abuja.

According to the Governor, the IGP on Friday approved the raid of his Abuja residence, adding that the Police will be in court to get a search warrant on Tuesday.

He said he gathered that but for the May Day Public Holiday, the Police would have obtained the search warrant on Monday.

Wike further said: “All attempt is being made so that they will go and plant either AK47 or one million dollars in the governor’s house. They can even plant costly wrist watches as a propaganda tool. I said I have to let Nigerians know that this is not the way to go about in democracy. Rather, this is an attempt to truncate democracy. That someone differs on issues does not mean you have to go after the person’s life”,

Governor Wike, who statedthat this is the latest in the series of planned propaganda by the police to sow devilish information against him, said because of the unconstitutional nature of the raid, the police refused to indicate that the house to be raided belongs to the Rivers State Governor.

“Nigerians should be aware that should they raid my house in Abuja and claim they found anything, it is incorrect. I have not been going to Abuja, but I will be in Abuja to wait for them to see how they plan to plant guns in my house”, Governor Wike said.

While maintaining his position that the Inspector-General of Police is after his life, Governor Wike stated that this recenta plot is aimed at silencing him because the Rivers State Government claimed the Ikoyi Billions, which was reportedly left there by the former Rivers State Governor.

He decried the pattern that has been adopted in the nation’s democracy, saying that it will negatively affect the growth of democracy.

“Our democracy cannot survive if we continue with this line of action. If the Inspector-General of Police wants to play partisan politics, let him remove his uniform and join us in the arena. He should not continue to wear uniform and do the bidding of politicians like a stooge.

“I want to reiterate, the Inspector-General of Police is after my life”. He regretted that security agencies have adopted the unwholesome method of planting guns and cash when the owners of the houses are not at home, simply for political reasons”, he added.

He cited the case of former Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam and Senator Danjuma Goje.

On the Ikoyi billions, Wike said Rivers State lawyers were working on the matter, insisting that the money belongs to the state government.

 

Fourteen people, comprising women and children, from one family died after a boat capsized in a deep pond in Southern India, local police said on Saturday.

The accident occurred in a village in the Guntakal region of Andhra Pradesh state on Friday evening when the group was taking a joyride on a fishing boat.

Local police inspector Gurunath Babu said that the boat possibly capsized due to overcrowding, but the exact cause of the accident was still being investigated.

“The victims include six women, plus eight children all under the age of 15.

“Two men were able to swim to safety while one child was rescued by locals,” Babu said.

The people who had hired the boat belonged to an extended family that had come to attend a religious ceremony at a local temple.

Every year, scores of people drown in boat tragedies across India, which are mostly blamed on overcrowding, poor maintenance of vessels and lax safety rules.

In January, 25 people died when a boat sank in the Ganges river in the eastern state of Bihar.

The Nigeria Police Force has circulated a press statement confirming that suspected assassins indeed made an attempt on the life of Senator Dino Melaye.

The spokesperson for the police, Jimoh Moshood, also said six suspects have been arrested in connection with the case.

Read the police full statement below.

Parade of suspects arrested In Connection With The Attempted Assassination /Murder Of Senator Dino Melaye On 15th April, 2017 and Recovery of Firearms Suspected To Have Been Used In The Attack And Illegal possession of Prohibited Firearms And  Criminal Conspiracy, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja By CSP Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja on 29th  of April, 2017

Consequent on the attack by unknown gun men on Senator Dino Melaye at his residence at Iyala, Ijumu LGA in Kogi State on 15th April, 2017, at about 0030hrs, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris NPM, mni, swiftly deployed Police Special Tactical Squad (STS) team to unravel the circumstances surrounding the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Suspects:

  1. Taofiq Isah ‘M’  54 years principal suspect (Hon. Chairman Ijumu LGA Kogi State)
  2. Ade Obage ‘M’ 29 years

iii. Abdullahi Isah a.k.a Eko ‘M’ 32 years

  1. Ahmed Ajayi ‘M’ 45 years
  2. Michael Bamidele ‘M’ 26 years
  3. Ex- Sgt Ede James ‘M’ 35 years (Orderly to Chairman of ijumu LGA Kogi State at the time of the attack)

Exhibits:

  1. One (1) Ambulance Hyundai Bus
  2. Five (5) AK 47 rifles

iii.  One (1) Berreta pistol

  1. Two (2) locally made single barrel shot gun
  2. Twenty (25) expended shells of 7.62 mm ammunition
  3. Thirteen (13) expended shells of 9mm ammunition

vii.  Twelve (12) expended shells gauge cartridge

The firearms have been sent for Ballistic expert examination, test and analysis at the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department in Lagos.

In compliance with the Inspector General of Police’s directive on the attack and attempted assassination/murder of Senator Dino Melaye carried out on 15/04/2017, at Iyala, Ijumu LGA in Kogi state, the operatives of the IGP Special Tactical Squad swung into action and after ten (10) days of painstaking and sustained surveillance between 16/04/2017 and 25/04/2017, successfully arrested six (6) members of the vicious and notorious Hired Assassins gang responsible for the attack and attempted assassination/murder of Senator Dino Melaye carried out on 15/04/2017, at Iyala, Ijumu LGA in Kogi state namely:

  1. Taofiq Isah (Chairman Ijumu LGA Kogi state) according to the investigation so far, he is the mastermind of the executed attempted assassination/murder of Senator Dino Melaye. He was alleged to have directed one Abdulmumini a.k.a Iron, now at large (who was said to be his Personal Assistance) and who in turn recruited other members of the vicious and notorious hired assassins gang mentioned above.
  2. Ade Obage ‘M’ 29 years: He voluntarily informed the Police that he has the knowledge and information about the attempted assassination/murder attack of Senator Dino Melaye after the attack was carried out. He further informed the investigators that he was contacted to join the gang by Abdullahi Eko a principal suspect now in Police custody.

iii.  Abdullahi a.k.a Eko ‘M’ a native of Adavi town in Adavi LGA of Kogi State was arrested and he confessed to the crime and admitted to the criminal roles he played along with the other suspects in carrying out the attempted assassination/murder of Senator Dino Melaye. He also mentioned other members of the gang who are still at large and that they used the Ambulance Hyundai bus and Five (5) AK 47 rifles for the operation. The Ambulance was recovered behind the Ijumu LGA Secretariat in Kogi State.

  1. Ahmed Ajayi ‘M’ 45 years (local security man at the residence of Taofiq Isah a principal suspect) a prohibited locally made single barrel shot gun was recovered from his possession.
  2. Michael Bamidele ‘M’ 26 years (local security man at the residence of Taofiq Isah a principal suspect) a prohibited locally made single barrel shot gun was recovered from his possession.
  3. Ex- Sgt Ede James ‘M’ (Orderly to Chairman of Ijumu LGA Kogi State). He is the Police orderly to the principal suspect Taofiq Isah, the Chairman of Ijumu LGA in Kogi State whose phone was used for communication for the planning of the failed assassination/murder of Senator Dino Melaye. He was arrested with a serious criminal link to another principal suspect Abdullahi a.k.a Eko who is an active member of the gang.

vii.  Abdulmumini a.k.a Iron (at large) He is the personal Assistant (PA) to Chairman Ijumu LGA. Investigation so far revealed that he recruited members of the gang for the attack namely: Abdullahi a.k.a Eko arrested, Osama (SNU) at large, Lukman a.k.a General/Commander at large and China a.k.a Lie down flat at large and Adamu Aloha also at large. The suspects jointly entered the ambulance and left to Senator Dino Melaye residence at Ijumu LGA Kogi State.

Abdullahi Isah a.k.a Eko the third suspect further confessed to the crime and admitted to have been sent by the Chairman of Ijumu LGA in Kogi State Hon. Taofiq Isah to go and assassinate Senator Dino melaye.

Investigation is being intensified to arrest other suspects at large. All suspects will be arraigned in court on completion of investigation.

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