No Chadian military airstrike in Nigeria – DHQ


The Defence Headquarters has refuted a report that the Chadian military conducted air strikes against six terrorist camps in Nigeria, insisting that this is not correct.

It explained that the Nigerian Air Force surveillance mission identified targets tagged as Camp 6 around Bosso town which is not within Nigeria’s territory and alerted the partners accordingly.

“The places reported to have been struck by the Chadians are therefore most likely to be in Niger Republic and not Nigeria as widely reported in the international media,” a statement on Thursday in Abuja by the Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade said.


Although the terms of the multilateral and bilateral understanding with partners in the war against terror allow some degree of hot pursuit against the terrorists, the DHQ contended that the territory of Nigeria has not been violated as insinuated in the reports circulated in some foreign media.

It said, “The Nigerian military will continue to cooperate with partners in the mission to exterminate or contain terrorists strictly in conformity with existing terms of the Concept of Operation at strategic, operational or tactical levels.

“It is however important that issues are accurately reported while avoiding misleading or unnecessary sensationalism from any quarter.”

Mrs Buhari pledges to support war against sickle cell


The Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday pledged to support the war against Sickle Cell disorder in the country.

She Buhari made the promise at the World Sickle Cell Awareness Day Campaign launch jointly organised by Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation (OOF) and the Wife of the President in Abuja.



Mrs Buhari is also the Patron of the World Sickle Cell Awareness Day Campaign which is being organised as part of the 2015 World Sickle Cell day.

She expressed her commitment towards creating awareness on the treatment and management of the disease.

Mrs Buhari, who recalled her personal experience with the disease which lasted for many years, described it as “traumatic”.

“As I stand before you now, the memory of the agony which my late step daughter, Zulaihat Buhari, went through is something that will live with me and our entire family for the rest of our lives.

“I watched my daughter go through severe pains in almost every part of her body; often times, I became helpless and wished that I could also share the pain with her at those moments,’’ she said.

However, Mrs Buhari expressed delight that efforts of medical professionals who are initiating innovative strategies towards improving the standards of health of persons living with sickle cell disease are yielding commendable results.

She cited the establishment of the renowned sickle cell centre in Idiaraba, Lagos state, as one of the commendable examples.

She also lauded other efforts including numerous donations by well meaning individuals and corporate organisations.

Mrs Buhari solicited for more action and assistance to be extended to other parts of the country.
She called for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence to meet up with those in advanced countries to be located in Borno and Yobe states.


According to her, studies show that the two states have the largest number of sickle cell trait with prevalence of 27.9 percent and 32.6 per cent, respectively.

“The choice of any of these states would be strategic to cater for those in the Northern part of the country,’’ Mrs Buhari said.

The wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osibanjo, read Mrs Buhari’s speech at the occasion.
Earlier, Prof. Olu Akinyanju, Founder, Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria, said the event provides the opportunity to remind leaders to help influence the impact of the disease on the carriers and help sustain the fight.

He explained that the foundation has so far addressed issues such as Genetic Counselling, Pre-natal diagnosis of the disease and stroke risk detection and prevention, among others.
Akinyanju said also that Nigeria was currently carrying out Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Transplant for the disease.

Highlight of the event was personal testimonies shared by some Nigerians who are living with the disease.

Those who spoke included Mr Ade Adebisi, a Rugby professional player based in the UK; Miss Samira Sanusi, an Author; and a graduate, Ms Omolola Ogunrinade.

FRSC to enforce compulsory 30 minutes rest for tanker drivers



The Federal Road Safety Corps has said it will enforce a compulsory resting period of 30 minutes for tanker drivers after four hours of unbroken driving.

An agreement reached at a National summit attended in Abuja on Monday by the FRSC and the petrol tanker industry workers, said the enforcement of compulsory resting time is due to Nigeria’s road network density and length, especially in relation to dispatch of petroleum products across Nigeria.



The petrol tank drivers agreed on the need to establish standards for haulage operators through enforcement of safe-to-load program, the need to decentralize the concentration of tank farms within the same location, accessibility to Lagos, as well as closing down the illegal farms.

They also agreed that there is the need to checkmate indiscriminate parking of vehicles along the highways, set up task force to check drivers’ activities in order to decongest all port roads and ensure that all erring drivers face the wrath of law.

At the summit, the attendees agreed that Nigeria’s roads must be improved on, to get rid of potholes.
They also agreed on the construction of better road networks and elimination of illegal buildings to ease traffic flow and continuous public enlightenment by the corps.

Participants also agreed on full compliance with the Road Transport Safety Standardization Scheme provisions, implementation of the Maximum Road Speed Limiter for Vehicles to commence with subtle enforcement – with no booking – from June 1 with full compliance effective from September 1.
All haulage drivers were also advised to respect road traffic regulations and traffic officers to reduce constant conflicts on the highways.

The participants also set standard for haulage operations in Nigeria which include: more attention on vehicles’ technical wellness by haulage operators and need for the introduction of modern vehicle testing across Nigeria.

Others are establishment of age limit for trucks used for haulage purposes, comprehensive welfare package for haulage drivers by their employers – a form of motivation for adherence to road traffic rules and standardization of speed limiters installation in all newly manufactured vehicles in Nigeria.

It was also agreed that there should continuous training and retraining of drivers, renewal of petroleum tankers and other haulage vehicles the through Fleet Acquisition Renewal Scheme with collaboration with financial institutions and the urgent need for life insurance for all Nigerians so that there would be easy compensation for citizens in case of loss of lives in road crashes among others.
The drivers also recommended that state governments relocate markets away from highways as a matter of urgency and provide standard garages and rest areas.

Nigeria apologises for failing to migrate to digital television



The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has apologised to Nigerians for its inability to switch from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) on the June 17 international deadline.

This was contained in a statement signed by the commission’s Director, Public Affairs, Awwalu Salihu, in Abuja.



The statement however assured Nigerians that disappointing as it might be, it was not without a fairly good shot at success.

According to the commission, it had been working actively since 2006 to put all the building blocks of the transition in place.

“The journey would have been completed if funding had been available.

“It is important however to state that the journey toward Digital Terrestrial Television has already started.

“At the moment, Nigeria has reached about 20 per cent penetration of the 26 million TV Households (TVHH) in the country,’’ it said.

The statement said that the commission had worked with DigiTeam Nigeria, to harmonise the minimum standards for Set-top-boxes and the transmission standards for all member states of the ECOWAS.

“It is noteworthy that the main penalty that Nigeria will face consequently is that analogue signals will receive no protection in the event of interference from digital signals from our neighbours.
“We have also completed the frequency re-planning, successfully done the coordination with our neighbours and have selected a second signal distributor,” the statement said.

It further said that it had licensed a free view signals aggregator and had also selected 11 successful companies to manufacture set-top boxes in Nigeria.

”The commission had also put in place an EPG/STB control system to protect the investment of the local Set-top-box manufacturers.

“Our goal is to enable the evolution of a digital television ecosystem that not only transforms television and broadcasting in general.

“But also able to help bridge the digital divide, create jobs and grow our national economy,” it said.
The statement further assured Nigerians that it would only switch off analogue signals when majority of Nigerians could receive digital signals.

The commission promised to conclude the final stages of the switchover within 18 months as soon as funds were available.
These final stages include: the acquisition and local production of the Set-top-boxes, relocation of MMDS operators, buy-back of obsolete analogue transmitters and massive publicity.

The commission thanked stakeholders for their cooperation in the ”arduous” journey, and appealed to Nigerians for their understanding.

It also promised to do everything within its power to successfully take Nigerian broadcasting onto the digital ecosystem.
(NAN)

Nigeria apologises for failing to migrate to digital television



The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has apologised to Nigerians for its inability to switch from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) on the June 17 international deadline.

This was contained in a statement signed by the commission’s Director, Public Affairs, Awwalu Salihu, in Abuja.



The statement however assured Nigerians that disappointing as it might be, it was not without a fairly good shot at success.

According to the commission, it had been working actively since 2006 to put all the building blocks of the transition in place.

“The journey would have been completed if funding had been available.

“It is important however to state that the journey toward Digital Terrestrial Television has already started.

“At the moment, Nigeria has reached about 20 per cent penetration of the 26 million TV Households (TVHH) in the country,’’ it said.

The statement said that the commission had worked with DigiTeam Nigeria, to harmonise the minimum standards for Set-top-boxes and the transmission standards for all member states of the ECOWAS.

“It is noteworthy that the main penalty that Nigeria will face consequently is that analogue signals will receive no protection in the event of interference from digital signals from our neighbours.
“We have also completed the frequency re-planning, successfully done the coordination with our neighbours and have selected a second signal distributor,” the statement said.

It further said that it had licensed a free view signals aggregator and had also selected 11 successful companies to manufacture set-top boxes in Nigeria.

”The commission had also put in place an EPG/STB control system to protect the investment of the local Set-top-box manufacturers.

“Our goal is to enable the evolution of a digital television ecosystem that not only transforms television and broadcasting in general.

“But also able to help bridge the digital divide, create jobs and grow our national economy,” it said.
The statement further assured Nigerians that it would only switch off analogue signals when majority of Nigerians could receive digital signals.

The commission promised to conclude the final stages of the switchover within 18 months as soon as funds were available.
These final stages include: the acquisition and local production of the Set-top-boxes, relocation of MMDS operators, buy-back of obsolete analogue transmitters and massive publicity.

The commission thanked stakeholders for their cooperation in the ”arduous” journey, and appealed to Nigerians for their understanding.

It also promised to do everything within its power to successfully take Nigerian broadcasting onto the digital ecosystem.
(NAN)

Governors Forum: PDP State chairmen congratulate Mimiko



The Chairmen of state chapters of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have congratulated Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State on his emergence as the chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum (PDPGF).

Mimiko, former deputy chairman of the forum was elected on Wednesday at a meeting of the PDP governors in Abuja to replace Godswill Akpabio, the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State who is now a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.



Speaking in an interview, the chairman of the Conference of PDP Chairmen, Dr. Emmanuel Agbo, stated that the election of Mimiko to steer the ship of the PDPGF was a welcome development.
According to Agbo, who is the Benue State PDP chairman, Mimiko’s emergence was a manifestation of the explicit confidence his fellow PDP governors have in him.

He assured the new PDPGF helmsman of the total support of the Conference of PDP chairmen, noting that they will work closely with him and other stakeholders of the PDP to reposition the party and launch it back to power at the centre in 2019.

“I want to congratulate His Excellency Governor Olusegun Mimiko for emerging as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDPGF). This is a clear testimony of the tremendous confidence his colleagues have in his person particularly in this time in the life of our great party. It is a call to national leadership and I want to assure him of the support of the Conference of PDP state chairmen.

“He is equally assured of my total support as we collectively navigate out of the morbid waters of defeat to the smooth sail of victory which is imminent. I pray God to guide him as he adds this onerous responsibility to the already enormous responsibility of governance in his state.”
Dr. Agbo further stated that he has no doubt that Mimiko would live up to expectation in the new assignment as a mature politician and purposeful leader fully committed to the advancement of PDP and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.

China bans Ramadan fasting


China has banned civil servants, students and teachers in its mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from fasting during Ramadan and ordered restaurants to stay open.

Most Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month, which began on Thursday, but China’s ruling Communist party is officially atheist and for years has restricted the practice in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.


“Food service workplaces will operate normal hours during Ramadan,” said a notice posted last week on the website of the state Food and Drug Administration in Xinjiang’s Jinghe county.

Officials in the region’s Bole county were told: “During Ramadan do not engage in fasting, vigils or other religious activities,” according to a local government website report of a meeting this week.

Each year, the authority’s attempt to ban fasting among Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang receives widespread criticism from rights groups.

Uighur rights groups say China’s restrictions on Islam in Xinjiang have added to ethnic tensions in the region, where clashes have killed hundreds in recent years.

China says it faces a “terrorist threat” in Xinjiang, with officials blaming “religious extremism” for the growing violence.

“China’s goal in prohibiting fasting is to forcibly move Uighurs away from their Muslim culture during Ramadan,” said Dilxat Rexit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress.

“Policies that prohibit religious fasting is a provocation and will only lead to instability and conflict.”

As in previous years, school children were included in directives limiting Ramadan fasting and other religious observances.

The education bureau of Tarbaghatay city, known as Tacheng in Chinese, this month ordered schools to communicate to students that “during Ramadan, ethnic minority students do not fast, do not enter mosques … and do not attend religious activities”.

Gbajabiamila was never convicted in US, aide tells court


A member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who contested and lost the speakership seat during the inaugural sitting of the House on June 9, 2015, has denied allegation of previous criminal conviction ‎in Georgia, United States of America.



He denied the allegation in response to a suit filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja‎ seeking an order stopping him from contesting the speakership election of the House of Representatives which eventually held on June 9, 2015.





The plaintiff – Social Justice and Civil Rights Awareness – through its counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had anchored the suit on the grounds that Gbajabiamila, a lawyer, was not eligible to contest the speakership election because of his alleged “conviction” for professional misconduct by the Supreme Court of Goergia, United States of America in 2007.



Gbajabiamila eventually lost the speakership election to Yakubu Dogara, but Ozekhome insisted on Thursday that his client would go ahead to challenge the legislator’s eligibility to remain in the House of Representatives.



However, Gbajabiamila’s Senior Legislative Assistant, Osaze Ogunditie, stated in a counter-affidavit dated June 18, 2015, filed in opposition to a motion by the plaintiff seeking a restraining order against the legislator, denied the conviction record.



Ogunditie added in the counter-affidavit that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi (legal right) to institute the suit.

Saraki restates hope of brighter Nigeria


Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday restated the hope of a brighter Nigeria even as he reiterated his commitment to enacting legislation to sustain an investment-friendly atmosphere that would bring the country out of its current economic downturn.

Saraki, according to a statement from his media office and signed by Bankole Omishore, stated this when the United States of America’ s Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle paid him a courtesy visit.

Saraki noted that with the abundant resources present in Nigeria, the government was confident that the current administration would meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians from all walks of life.


The senate president further extolled the cordiality between Nigeria and the United States.

He said that Entwistle visit was timely especially coming at a time the nation was preparing to re-address most of the challenges standing in the way of its developmental goals.

He highlighted the challenges that were impeding the progress of the country to include, epileptic power supply; insecurity; unemployment and revenue leakages.

Saraki said, “This 8th Senate has the mandate to give Nigerians the dividends of democracy. We will put in place comprehensive systems to make sure that our revenues meet our needs.

“Our oversight functions will be strengthened to ensure that there will be no room for loopholes in implementing government plans and projects.

“I can assure you that Nigeria will continue to be attractive to investment opportunities. We have the human, capital and with our younger generation’s steadfastness, training and development, our much needed goals will be achieved.”

Entwistle assured the senate president of adequate cooperation and support in the areas of insecurity, power supply, human empowerment and investment opportunities.

He said, “I am optimistic about the future of this country, Especially when I meet young Nigerians. Their energy, their zeal and prowess indicate that Nigeria will be great.”

We Received N28m Ransom To Release Kidnapped Senior Advocate – Accused


Frank Azuekor, one of four suspects charged with kidnapping Chief Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on Tuesday, said his gang took a N28 million ransom before releasing Ozekhome.



Azuekor told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he received N4.1 million as his share of the ransom.

Azuekor, Kelvin Ezeigbe, Michael Omonigho and Momoh Haruna, were arraigned in 2013 on a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery, kidnapping and acts of terrorism.

The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, had ordered trial-within-trial after Mr Bala Dakum, counsel to the accused persons, objected to the admissibility of their confessional statements to the Department of State Services (DSS).

Dakum had argued that the confessional statements purportedly made to the DSS were not voluntarily made by his clients.

At Tuesday’s resumed hearing, the DSS produced a video footage of the conditions of the statement-taking to prove the voluntariness of the statements.

In one of the clips played while examining a DSS witness, Azuekor revealed that on Aug. 23, 2013, the initial seven-man gang ambushed Ozekhome’s vehicle on Auchi Road in Edo.

He said that the gang shot dead three police officers who pursued them and recovered two Ak-47 rifles from them.

Azuekor said the gang received a N28 ransom from Ozekhome before releasing him, adding that he got N4.1 million as his share.

The accused persons and others, still at large, are accused of committing acts of terrorism, contrary to sections 1, 8 and 10 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011.

They are alleged to have, on Aug. 23, 2013, kidnapped Ozekhome at Iruekpen on his way to Iviukwe in Agenebode, Edo.

Ozekhome was held in captivity for about three weeks before his release allegedly following the payment of a ransom.

The suspects also allegedly shot and killed four Police officers namely Paul Ajaka (ASP); Sunday Ewanshiha (Insp.); Michael Akpada (Insp.) and Bakary Ekong (Insp.) and Innocent Odoh (Sgt).

They also allegedly killed two prison officials namely Lawrence Edora (Insp.) and Oyibo Okoye (SPA) and made away with their service rifles.

Justice Ademola adjourned the case until July 8 and July 9 to enable the defence counsel to cross examine the witness on the video evidence. (NAN)