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April 11, 2021

welcome reception of ADC national deputy chairman Diaspora Hon Kenneth Gbandi at his country home

 The African Democratic Congress (ADC) Delta State chapter. Do welcome reception of ADC Diaspora national deputy chairman Hon Kenneth Gbandi at his country home Akwu kwu Igbo oshimili north LGA Delta state. We all so received some decamping members from other political parties like APGA members in the LGA despart that that the state chairman of APGA Delta state came from the community but the people found ADC wordy to work with the party in oshimili north. ADC is a political party that believe on transparent ,equity, justice for all oneness & love to all Nigeria citizens &  Nigeria in Diaspora. ADC all so believed on one man one vote change for better Nigeria not chain which we are now in Nigeria by APC lead Government ADC is the political party that have the Nigeria youth interest at hart is the party for the youth women & for every citizen home & Diaspora. As long as you want a better super power Nigeria come 2023 vote ADC because we don't have godfatherlism no lagistluters in ADC. We don't have Robert stamps in legislative aims of Government in Nigeria make inquiries for all ADC law
makers in Nigeria.

March 25, 2021

Ebonyi Commissioner warns Gov’s aides against penalising teachers outside civil service rules


BY AGNES NWORIE, ABAKALIKI                    

THE Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education, Onyebuchi Chima, has called for the implementation of civil service rules in handling the affairs of teachers in the state.

The commissioner, who condemned incessant penalties to teachers in the state, insisted that if a teacher must be punished, the action must be in accordance with civil service rules.

He frowned at the situation where he said Special Assistants of the Governor on Schools Monitoring went about embarrassing and sacking teachers in the schools.

The Commissioner made his position known during a meeting of Education stakeholders on the issue of 

Social Media Publications, at his office, in Abakaliki.

Chima said the social media was awash with stories that a particular state official had sacked five teachers, adding that the affected teachers were responding on social media platforms, causing embarrassment to the state and its education sector.

He maintained that teachers were professionals like their counterparts in the medical sector, among other professions, noting that their negative actions should be referred to their supervising ministry for sactions, if found wanting.

The Commissioner emphasised that due process ought to be followed in the treatment of teachers according to Civil Service rules.

Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Private Schools, Mrs. Chinyelu Udoku and Princess Francisca Okeke, supported Chima’s decision to stop any form of ill treatment of teachers in their places of duty.

Special Assistant to the Governor on Primary Schools, Uche Achi-Okpaga, also advised those monitoring Education workers to always approach the Ministry of Education when anomalies were discovered, noting that the incident of sacking teachers happened in error.

Recall that two principals were recently demoted and one sacked for alleged negligence and extortion by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Okechukwu Nwapku.


Forex: Nigeria still using managed-float regime, says CBN


BY AGENCY REPORTER                    

NIGERIA has not changed its foreign exchange policies from a managed float to a flexible regime, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said Tuesday.

A report concluding that the country has adopted a flexible foreign-exchange rate based on comments by Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed is wrong, according to the Governor.

Africa’s largest crude producer now uses the more flexible Nafex rate for all official transactions, abandoning the 379 naira to the dollar fixed rate the central bank still has on its website, Ahmed said Tuesday.

Nigeria’s 2021 budget was prepared based on the central bank’s fixed rate.

“The country is deemed not to be practising a multiple currency regime as long as rates varies or ranges around a band that is not more than 2% below the nominal market rate,” Emefiele said.

“In our case, the nominal market rate is Nafex. If the minister says that the rate for monetization is anchored or benchmarked on Nafex, the minister has not talked about a flexible exchange rate,” he added.

The apex bank said it ceased interventions in the investors and exporters window since January, though it continues to monitor the market to determine whether or not to intervene.

It is also working with the government and the finance ministry to achieve a stable foreign-exchange regime, Emefiele said.

Payments to states in the country will be based on the Nafex rate, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said at a Chatham House forum in London on Tuesday.

“We have been at a managed exchange rate regime. We are moving closer and closer to unifying the exchange rate,” Osinbajo said.




Virginia becomes first state in US south to abolish death penalty


BY AGENCY REPORTER                    

VIRGINIA has become the first state in the United States South to stop executions after the state’s Governor, Ralph Northam, signed a piece of legislation to abolish the death penalty.

The Democratic governor signed the death penalty repeal into law during a ceremony outside the Greensville Correctional Centre in Jarratt, Virginia, after touring the prison’s execution chamber, where 102 people have been executed since its opening in 1991.

In February, both chambers of Congress voted in favour of scrapping capital punishment.

Virginia joins 22 of the country’s other 50 states that have abolished the death penalty.

“Over our 400-year history, Virginia has executed more people than any other state.

“The death penalty system is fundamentally flawed it is inequitable, ineffective, and it has no place in this Commonwealth or this country.

“Virginia has come within days of executing innocent people, and Black defendants have been disproportionately sentenced to death.

“Abolishing this inhumane practice is the moral thing to do,’’ the governor said.

Virginia has executed over 1,300 people in its history, with the most recent execution carried out in 2017.

The death penalty is on the decline in the U.S., in part due to changing public opinion, as well as the increasing difficulties in obtaining the necessary substances for lethal injections.

The imposition of the death penalty also usually leads to protracted and costly litigation.

In 2020, a total of 17 people were executed in the U.S. by five states and the Federal Government, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre.

– dpa/NAN


My Vaccination Story



IT wasn’t planned. I was seeing off my neighbour and friend on Thursday evening when one of the officers of our estate residents’ association called out to me.

He was in knickers and shirtsleeves, with his right hand clutching his left shoulder. “I’ve just been vaccinated,” he said. “Would you like me to put your name forward for it tomorrow?”

After what I have seen in the last one year – COVID-19 related deaths first becoming statistics, and then statistics becoming people, and people having faces, and faces becoming friends and relatives – news of the discovery of vaccines was a huge relief.

But vaccines, like many good things, are made abroad, while rumours and myths about them are manufactured locally.

Nigeria was expecting a consignment of about five million doses – one for every 40 citizens. With one of Africa’s highest infection and death rates at the height of the pandemic, no one was exactly sure how five million doses could work.

One evening when I brought up the subject at home, with the enthusiasm of someone who had just discovered a magic formula, I noticed a pregnant look on my wife’s face. She suggested I asked the children what they think about vaccines before I decide on whether or not to take the shot when they became available.

That made sense. Since the youngest of them is 21, I fully expected a robust conversation. But what I got on that conference call with two of them, obviously speaking for other family members, was more than robust: it was premeditated, full-blown vaccine rebellion.

The chemical engineer, often the spokesperson, asked me what I knew about the vaccines already in circulation. This was in January. While a privileged few had either gone to Dubai to have it or, like the Governor’s wife, Ebele Obiano, chased it all the way down to Houston, Texas, for designer sessions, the bulk of us were just following the news.

What do I know about the vaccines? I know they don’t offer 100 percent protection from Coronavirus infection and that they have been developed and are being deployed at a historically record speed. Initial data also suggested that with good hygiene and social protocols, vaccination could reduce the spread of the virus.

My interlocutor laughed. Though conceding that science had done a great job of getting the vaccine out in record time, she said safety and efficacy may have been compromised on the altar of expediency and desperation.

She said she was not sure that enough samples had been taken or time given to analyse the outcomes from the different population demographics before the vaccine rollout. She dived into the global vaccine politics between US and European pharma giants, and that between the west and China. Caution, Dad.

And then she asked the mother of all questions: is there any evidence so far that a single particular vaccination could prevent the different strains popping up at the time or even if it does, where is the data that vaccination could prevent the risk of re-infection? Was I following what was happening in South Africa, for example?

She summed it up by saying that for her, the risk of younger-not-obviously-at-risk persons taking the vaccination and being exposed to the potential negative side effects outweighed any benefits from taking any vaccination whose full after-effects were only just emerging.

I disagreed. Of course, while I conceded that there was still more to learn about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, my point was that on balance, it was better to risk staying alive by getting vaccinated than to risk infection, long-term impairment and possibly death, by abstaining based on groundless fears. And I don’t believe herd immunity is superior to personal responsibility.

After 56 years, health vulnerabilities and underlying conditions tend to increase. But confronting your mortality after that age also brings with it liberation from the fear of death. So, what’s all the fuss about the jab, anyway?

Strangely, throughout the conversation, my wife, otherwise an engaging, strongly-opinionated woman, was silent. We’re both above 50. After months of swallowing more than enough vitamins to float a chemist, immersing ourselves in steaming hot local herbs, and consuming all conceivable spices, I thought that this vaccination was our best chance to put the damn thing behind us once and for all; that we would be champions of vaccination.

What’s more, in the midst of the second wave, my son had an infection scare that put him out of circulation for days and got me ringing up everyone I knew for advice! So, why won’t the family seize the opportunity for vaccination with both hands?

The vaccine finally arrived in Nigeria in March, but the news didn’t lessen my isolation. A friend had shared with me a WhatsApp message about a tabular comparison of the safety, efficacy and unit prices of the four vaccines currently available – AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Of the four, Pfizer was rated the most effective with 95 percent trial effectiveness and least side effects. At $20 per vial, it’s also the second most expensive. Moderna was 94 percent, pricier and with virtually the same side effects as Pfizer; while Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, came in at 66.9 percent and 62 percent effectiveness respectively with longer lists of side effects.

Others may think of AstraZeneca as the redeeming vial of the world’s majority, and Nigeria may be congratulating itself that it’s not too far behind in importing a limited quantity but the fact that AstraZeneca is in the bottom of the pile – the cheapest of the lot and the worst for side effects – seemed to highlight, if not confirm, my daughter’s worst suspicions.

My family already rebelling against vaccination, was hardly in the mood for AstraZeneca. Their suspicions were compounded by anxiety about all that could go wrong in the supply chain from shipment abroad, through many potentially crooked paths, to the point where the jab is taken. How do you even know what you’re getting and if – or when – the next dose will come?

These images flooded my mind on Thursday when my neighbour offered to enroll me for AstraZeneca in the estate. If I had been offered a chance at self-assisted suicide, I would not have felt more conflicted.

“Why are you looking at me like that”, my neighbour asked. “Are you not interested? The medical team will be in the estate again by 8am on Friday. Let me have your name and your wife’s name, too.”

I snapped out of my confusion. “Leave my wife out,” I said. “Put my name down. I will be there at eight in the morning to take the shot.”

That night, my wife convened another family conference. She called the children, one by one, to inform them that I had decided to take the vaccine. The chemical engineer was at her hilarious, even mischievous, best. She asked if I had written my Will and who was my next of kin. She also asked if I had left my bank details and details of any other valuables within reach.

As for herself, she said, even though there was a little more data about the vaccines today than was available in January, the risk of the unknown was still troubling.

We laughed and talked through it again and I went to bed asking myself, what if she’s right? Too bad, too late. My mind was made up. I’ll take the vaccine.

I turned up at the initial vaccination venue in the estate as Number 200 on the list. I learnt that over 80 persons had been vaccinated the previous day and there were no adverse reports. Today, persons of various ages – a good number of them 60 and above – were on the queue. With 199 persons ahead of me, whatever happened, I was in good company.

The venue was later changed but I stuck with the train and after re-numbering came up at 37. After three hours’ wait, I took my jab and went home.

From the moment I walked in, my wife’s eyes were on me. She asked if I felt anything, I said I didn’t, which was true. She fussed that I should immediately use analgesics, but I brushed her suggestion aside. My children called and took turns to pepper and tease me with questions about how I was feeling. I told them I felt nothing, which again, was true.

I have heard of stories of nausea, of dizziness, pains or aches after vaccination, but experienced nothing of the sorts.

I went to bed and slept like a log. I woke up hale and hearty. It’s been one week since, and I’m not growing horns. Three days after I took my shot, when my wife was sure I was alive, she lined up for her shot, too!

Then after she took it, I reminded her that the book says the second shot should come 15 to 22 days after the first shot, but our next appointment is in June, nearly three months after our first shot! I’m not living worried, especially since I’m now even in better company than when I lined up for my dose.

The family’s guinea pig is in excellent company, at last. And yet, it was not planned.




Multi-million naira Juju scam: Fraudster sent to prison in Benin


BY AYO ESAN                    

JUSTICE A .A. Demi-Ajayi of the Federal High Court, sitting in Benin City, Edo State, on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, sentenced a man, Ogungbemi Taiwo, to eight months imprisonment for fraud.

Taiwo, who was prosecuted by the Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had in August 2020, defrauded one Alkairu Sani of the sum of N9,225,000, by representing himself as possessing the power of increasing and doubling the said sum through sacrifices and invocation.

The charge reads, “That you Ogungbemi Taiwo on or about the month of August 2018 in Benin, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria did with intent to defraud induced one Alkairu Sani to pay the aggregate sum of Nine Million, Two Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand Naira ( N9,225,000) only into Account Number 0041475970 domiciled in United Bank for Africa, belonging to Moradeke Elizabeth Farotimi, by representing yourself as possessing the power of increasing and doubling the said sum through sacrifices and invocation of juju, a pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 2(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 2(C) of the same Act.”

Taiwo pleaded guilty when the charge was read to him.

In view of the plea of the defendant, the prosecution counsel, I.M.Elody, asked the court to convict and sentence him accordingly. However, counsel to the defendant, O.J.Akhere, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as his client had become remorseful for his actions.

Justice Demi-Ajayi convicted and sentenced Taiwo to Eight months imprisonment commencing from the date of his arrest.


INEC to hold Aba North/South Federal Constituency by-election Saturday


BY AYO ESAN                    

THE Independent National Electoral Commission will conduct the Aba North/South Federal Constituency by-election on March 27.

According to INEC, 498,390 voters are expected to participate in the exercise that is holding a few days after violence marred a House of Assembly by-election in Ekiti State, leading to the suspension of the exercise.

Declaring its readiness for the Aba election, the Commission said it had firmed up its preparations for the election.

INEC said a total of 498,390 registered voters were expected to cast their ballots at 609 polling units, spread across 24 Registration Areas in the two Local Government Areas of the constituency.

The Commission will deploy over 2,970 officials for the election, according to a statement by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.

INEC said, “All the non-sensitive materials required for the conduct of the election at the two Local Government Areas of the Constituency have been delivered and batched according to the Registration Areas.

“All the ad-hoc staff required for the conduct of the election have been trained awaiting deployment.

“All the sensitive materials have been delivered to the Central Bank in Umuahia, Abia State and will be inspected on Thursday, March 25, 2021, and dispatched to the two Local Government Area offices of the commission.”

The Commission urged all registered voters in the Constituency to come out en masse to exercise their franchise, saying representation was at the heart of democracy “and huge voter turnout enforces and reinforces the mandate given to elected representatives.”

It enjoined voters and stakeholders to remain calm, shun violence and other acts capable of creating fear, anxiety and apprehension in the electoral environment.

INEC reminded the electorate that violent and unwholesome acts undermined the sovereign rights of the people to clean elections and could deprive the constituency of quality representation.

“The Commission is committed to the safety and welfare of its election duty staff and the voters and will strengthen its collaboration with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security in this regard,” it added.


Plan to turn Ibadan Airport to regional transportation hub intact – Makinde


BY AYO ESAN                    

GOVERNOR Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, on Thursday, said plans by his administration to make Ibadan Airport a regional transportation hub were on course.

The governor added that his administration would improve social services and expand infrastructure at the airport to enhance the economic growth of the state.

The governor made this known while receiving the Air Officer Commanding, AOC, Logistics Command, Ikeja, Air Vice Marshal Olaonipekun Makinde, at the Courtesy Room of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Ibadan.

The governor congratulated Air Vice Marshal Makinde on his appointment as the AOC, Logistics Command, Lagos.

He said, “We want to use this opportunity to send our greetings to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Dayo Amao. We congratulate him on his elevation and wish him well.

“Let me also commiserate with the entire Air Force on the loss of your officers and men in the air accident in Abuja. One of them actually happened to be from Oyo State and we are trying to reach out to the family to give the support required.”

Governor Makinde, who appreciated the Nigerian Air Force, especially the NAF Detachment, Ibadan, for its contribution to the security architecture in the state, said, “They have been very active, even in this trying time of security challenges. They have always been there not only in Oyo State but for the entire country. So, we are grateful for that support.”

Speaking further on the plan of the Oyo State Government for the Ibadan Airport, Makinde said his administration was trying to expand the runway so that bigger aircraft could land at the airport, which, according to him, should be a true alternative to Lagos.

He stated, “We believe that the Airport in Ibadan should serve as a true alternative airport to Lagos if it has the capacity to take the 747 aircraft. So, we have a project that we are incubating right now. We are trying to expand the runway so that bigger aircraft can land in Ibadan.

“We are also looking at Ibadan as actually becoming the hub for regional air transportation. We are trying, even within the shortest possible time, to see if we can have a connection between Ibadan and Port Harcourt.

“We are talking to Air Peace and they should be starting an operational flight from Ibadan to Abuja in the next two weeks. And Ibadan to Port Harcourt should commence once we have finalised the discussion that we are having with them.”

He added, “It means that with all these activities, we are bringing to the state and the Ibadan Airport, we will need more cooperation and collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force.

“I discussed with the Chief of Air Staff when he visited me here. We talked about the Air Force Base here in Ibadan and our House of Representatives member, Hon. Abass Agboworin, who is the Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Air Force, is making efforts to bring some of these projects into fruition.

“One thing that we will surely want to have is more presence of the Nigerian Air Force here in Ibadan. And as a government, we are ready and willing to make that happen.”



Despite rejection by council chairmen, NUJ insists Aregbesola merits award


BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO                    

NOTWITHSTANDING the reservations by some critical stakeholders in the Nigeria Union of Journalists in the South-West over the proposed investiture of the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, as the Grand Patron of the union in the zone, the union has said the award will hold as planned.

The Zonal Secretary of NUJ, Bamigbola Gbolagunte, said in Ilesa on Thursday that the National Secretariat and President of the union, Chris Isiguozo, were in support of the programme, because Aregbesola merits it.

But the six chairmen of the Union in the zone had reportedly rejected the decision to make Aregbesola the Grand Patron. Also, some civil society organisations had expressed reservations over the proposed investiture, calling on the leadership of NUJ in the zone to tread with caution.

An NGO, Advocacy for Media Rights, had described the proposed investiture as perceptional error on the part of the union, insisting that the personality of Aregbesola in the public gauge deserves nothing of such recognition.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the National Coordinator of the organization, Tolu Fatukasi.

Meanwhile, Gbolagunte argued that none of the six-state NUJ councils in the South-West had withdrawn from the programme as reported.

He said, I will like to state that the programme has not been put on hold as being rumoured. None of the six councils, that is, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo and Osun, which make up the South-West zone, has written to my office to officially inform the zone of their withdrawal from the event.

“The zone chose Aregbesola for the investiture and award. Before he was chosen; his name was presented to the Chairmen and Secretaries of the councils that make up the South-West zone. They all approved that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola be made the Grand Patron of the zone and also receive an Award of Excellence.

“The National Secretariat and President are aware of the programme and they have not given us the order to stop the programme.”

Explaining why the former governor of the State of Osun was chosen, Gbolagunte said his accessibility to journalists; establishment of three media houses, among others, were reasons the councils in the zone unanimously agreed to bestow him with the honours.

He added, “The criteria used in choosing Aregbesola then was his performance in office and secondly, he owns three media organisations. Two of them were established long before he became a governor. Journalists are working in all of these places and are being paid by him.

“When he was the governor in Osun, Aregbesola set up the Bureau of Communication and Strategy where he also employed journalists to work there. He also gave one bus to the Osun State Council of NUJ and another bus to the NUJ Correspondent Chapel.

“In addition to that, he was accessible to journalists; he held an interactive programme where journalists and other members of the public asked questions uncensored regularly. Even right now as the minister, he is accessible to journalists.”

Recall that the union at its zonal meeting of 12th March 2021, had agreed to put the proposed Investiture on hold following the leadership crisis in the zone which had been referred to the National Executive Council of the Union.

According to the information, those who were to be honoured alongside Aregbesola included Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, Olowu of Kuta, Oba Adekunle Makama, among others. But the union agreed to postpone the award ceremony pending the resolution of NEC on the issue and other sundry issues within the zone.

But against this decision, a flier suddenly surfaced on social media, purportedly endorsed by Bamigbola Gbolagunte, the Zonal Secretary of the zone, saying the event had been slated for tomorrow, 26th March 2021, at the NUJ Press Centre, Iyaganku, the capital of Oyo State.

While scores of political associates of the former Osun State Governor have been celebrating the proposed investiture on different social media platforms, the six states that constitute the zonal wing of the union in the South West have unanimously distanced themselves from such event.

It is not clear if the event will still hold with the reported opposition of Oyo State Council to the Investiture. It was learnt that the Iyaganku NUJ Press Centre which was earlier scheduled as the venue was not approved and had equally directed its members not to participate in the event.

It was learnt that the six state chairmen had resolved not to attend the award and recognise the Investiture if the Vice President and the Zonal Secretary insisted to proceed with the award.

An associate of the Interior Minister, however, hinted that the venue of the proposed event had been changed from NUJ Press Centre in Ibadan to Premier Hotel located in the metropolis.