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November 19, 2020

Frontline stockbroker, Albert Okumagba, dies at 56



ONE of Nigeria’s foremost financial players, Albert Okumagba, is dead.

Okumagba, an economist and stockbroker,
died at the age of 56.

He was said to have passed on in Abuja, after reportedly suffering a heart attack.

Okumagba was the Managing Director of BGL Securities Limited and BGL Private Equity Limited.

The deceased would be particularly remembered for his role in the takeover of UBA by Standard Trust Bank.

The family had yet to release a formal statement on his death as of the time of filing this report.




Chile police chief resigns after cops shoot two teenagers


CHILE’S police chief resigned on Thursday after officers shot two minors in an incident that sparked outrage across a country already alarmed at heavy-handed security force tactics during months of social protests.

President Sebastian Pinera said in a statement he had accepted the resignation of Mario Rozas, saying he shared “the reasons and arguments” he had given for resigning.

Chile’s leftist opposition had for months called on Rozas, who was head of the Carabineros military police, to resign following criticism from the United Nations human rights office and other organizations over police repression of the social protests.

Police officers on Wednesday shot and wounded two minors, aged 17 and 14, at a residence for troubled children and adolescents in the southern city of Talcahuano.

Police said the officers had opened fire after they were attacked with sticks and stones at the center, run by the National Service for Minors.

Footage showed the adolescents writhing on the ground after they were shot in the legs.

Children’s Ombudsman Patricia Munoz denounced the police for using firearms “in an absolutely unjustified and excessive manner”

“This situation is yet another manifestation of the horror of state violence exercised by those who, having the duty to protect children and adolescents, ultimately attack them in an unjustified and undue manner,” Munoz said.

The shooting was condemned by the Chilean branch of UNICEF.

“No situation justifies the use of firearms by the Carabineros to contain incidents involving minors, especially if they are under the protection of the state,” the UN Children’s organisation said.

Police second-in-command General Ricardo Yanez was appointed to replace Rozas.

Anti-government protests in Chile that began in October 2019 and raged for months left more than 30 people dead and thousands injured, including hundreds who suffered serious eye injuries after being hit by pellets fired by police.




Court orders arrest of Atiku’s son over refusal to obey judgment



THE Upper Area Court, in Kubwa, Abuja has ordered the immediate arrest of Atiku Abubakar, son of Nigeria’s former Vice President.

The Judge, Bashir Danmaisule, gave the order, following the failure of the former Vice President’s son to comply with an earlier judgment mandating him to hand over their three sons to his divorced wife, Maryam Sherif.

Atiku’s estranged wife had instituted a case against her ex-husband at the Upper Area Court, Gudu.

The case was later transferred to the Upper Area Court, Kubwa, with suit number CV/16/2020.

She was seeking for the custody of her three sons.

The court had on October 27, 2020, asked Atiku to hand over the children to his wife with immediate effect.

Delivering his judgment, the Judge, Hon Bashir Danmaisule, said the defendant (Abubakar) could not establish any default against the claimant to deprive her of her children under the Islamic law, noting that there was room for an appeal within the next 30 days.

But Sherif’s counsel, Nasir Saidu, applied for the issuance of a judgment-debtor summons for the defendant, when he refused to comply.

The application was for him to appear in court to explain why he refused to obey the court order and why he should not be jailed.

The defendant and his lawyer, Abdullahi Hassan, were however absent in court.

The lawyer consequently applied that the defendant be arrested and imprisoned until he complied with the court judgment, noting that he had consistently disobeyed the court order, even on bringing the children to court whenever there was a sitting on the matter.

The Judge, Danmaisule, while delivering his ruling, therefore ordered for his immediate arrest, having considered the submission of the counsel on behalf of the judgment-creditor (Sherif) and having seen the record of the court and the hearing notice served on the judgment debtor (Abubakar), who refused to appear in the court despite the notice against the proceedings.

He relied on Section 26 of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Area Courts (Repeal and Enactment) Act 2010 in delivering this ruling.




Gunmen invade former Gov Dickson’s residence, kill policeman




GUNMEN, on Wednesday night, attacked the residence of former Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, killing a policeman.

The gunmen were said to have stormed the former governor’s residence, at Toru-Orua, in the Sagbama Local Government Area of the state, at about midnight.

They reportedly gained access into the house through the Forcados River.

The deceased, who was said to have died on the spot, was one of the police operatives guarding the former Governor’s residence.

The Police had yet to release an official statement on the incident as of the time of filing this report.

Details later…


US Immigration arrests 154 illegal immigrants who failed to self-deport


UNITED States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this month, rounded up 154 illegal immigrants who had promised the government they would self-deport within a few months but turned around and defied that promise.

One had been defying his promise for more than 20 years, said Tony Pham, acting Director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Of those nabbed, 133 not only broke their promise to leave, but also had criminal records such as domestic violence charges, Mr. Pham said.

“ICE deployed officers across the country in search of undocumented aliens who broke their promise to the United States and the immigration courts,” Mr. Pham said.

He said the goal was to send a message to “thousands” of others who are still defying their promise that ICE hasn’t forgotten about them, and may go looking for them.

Operation Broken Promise, as ICE dubbed the effort, targeted people who had been granted “voluntary departure.”

That’s an alternative to deportation, and it can help someone avoid the serious consequences that come with a formal removal, such as an abrupt ouster and a long-time bar on attempting to reenter legally.

Under voluntary departure, migrants agree that in order not to be formally removed, they will leave the country by a certain time, usually 60 or 120 days. The additional time gives them a chance to get their affairs in order.

But many end up defying their pledges, hoping to disappear back into the shadows.

Failing to depart the country can earn a fine and an automatic 10-year bar on being able to petition to come back legally.

The 154 migrants were spread across the country.

The number was lower than the “more than 170” ICE had teased ahead of Mr. Pham’s press conference.

One immigrant-rights group complained Wednesday, in advance of the announcement, that ICE’s operation was a “last-ditch effort to drive up deportations” before the end of the Trump administration.

“Despite claims of focusing on “public safety” concerns during the pandemic, ICE’s new operation targets minor offenders, not dangerous criminals,” said Immigrants’ List.

Immigration activists argue that simply being in the country illegally shouldn’t be a reason to be deported.

Mr. Pham, though, said the vast majority of targets in this operation also had criminal records.

And he said there’s a value to making illegal immigrants abide by their promises.

He compared it to a judge in a criminal or traffic court whose orders were being defied. He said that judge would issue a contempt citation to force compliance.

In the immigration context, he said, that means making migrants follow through on their deportation promises.

It’s not clear whether this sort of operation will happen in the future.

Presumptive President-elect, Joseph R. Biden, has vowed to block deportations during his initial days in office, and has promised to revise ICE’s priorities for who gets ousted.

– Washington Times



Ebonyi Senators, Reps will join APC once they get what they’re looking for – Umahi



GOVERNOR David Umahi of Ebonyi State has been formally received in his new party, the All Progressives Congress.

Though members of the Ebonyi State National Assembly Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party had distanced themselves from his defection, saying he is on his own, Umahi said, on Thursday, that they were looking for something and would surely come to the party once they get it.

The Governor had decamped from the PDP, alleging unfair treatment of the South East by the party since 1998.

The declaration ceremony, which took place at the Christian Ecumenical Center, Abakaliki, the state capital, had the Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in attendance.

Other PDP stakeholders who attended the event included the Governors of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Jigawa State, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar; Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni; and Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello.

Also present was the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouk.

The lawmaker representing Ezza South/ Ikwo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Chinedu Ogah, was also among the dignitaries that graced the occasion.

Speaking at the occasion, Umahi alleged that the PDP was characterised by dictators who forced their decisions on others, adding that this was a key reason he moved to APC.

He insisted that Ebonyians were 99.9 per cent loyal to his new party, maintaining that the federal lawmakers from the state were looking for something and would surely come back to the party when they get it.

Umahi was welcomed into APC alongside 110 executive council members, 1,200 Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Technical Advisers, Executive Assistants, including 3,740 liaison officers,400 appointees, 516 managment committee members, 130 supervisiors, all 13 local government chairmen, and 64 DC coordinators among others.

On his part, a chieftain of the APC and former lawmaker from Enugu State, Senator Ken Nnamani, said Umahi was taking the Igbo nation back to where it belonged, noting that they could no longer be in opposition.

He declared that a date would be fixed to celebrate Umahi’s infrastructural strides.

The state APC Chairman, Eze Nwachukwu, said the defection was prayer answered to APC Ebonyi State, which had been struggling to produce a Governor, and pledged to support Umahi “to ensure the state and zone takes center space in the nation.”

Malami welcomed Umahi and stressed that the defection was timely, as the party was currently rebuilding its structure and was at the stage of registration of members.

The APC Ebonyi State Caretaker Committee was inaugurated at the occasion.

Members are Stanley Okoro (Chairman); John Nwankata – Vice Chairman (North); Peter Nworie Ndubuisi – Vice Chairman (Central); Ozoemena Njoku – Vice Chairman (South); and Charles Ofok – Secretary.

Others are: Ogbonnaya Igboke – Organising Secretary; Chidi Ogbuatu – Publicity Secretary; Ikaa Ukeni – Legal Adviser; Chief Paulinus Ali (Zomo) – Treasurer; Chief Joseph Ozibo – Financial Secretary; Ogochukwu David Elem – Youth Leader; Odo Oluchi Juliet – Women Leader; Ogbonna David Nshii – Auditor; Adum Uchenna Basil –Physically Challenged;
and Francis Obike Nweze – Welfare Secretary.




Unpaid gratuities: Retirees protest, shut down Osun State Secretariat



RETIRED Civil Servants in Osun State, on Wednesday, staged a protest over the alleged failure of Governor Gboyega Oyetola to pay their pensions and gratuities.

Many retirees, under the aegis of Osun State Contributory Pension Retirees, claimed that the state government had yet to pay their entitlements.

The old protesters had thronged the streets in the state before they finally converged on the entrance of the Secretariat to continue their protest.

The angry retirees, in a bid to make their  protest more effective, shut down the state secretariat and denied both Government officials and workers access into their offices.

The protest took another twist when the Head of Service, Festus Olowogboyega, approached the protesters to address them.

The aggrieved retirees, upon sighting him, booed the Head of Service.

The senior citizens reportedly subjected the Head of Service of the state to ridicule while he was trying to address them during the demonstration.

The HoS tried his best to pacify the protesters but the pensioners turned deaf ears to his pleas as they were shouting, “go, go, we don’t want to hear anything from you; you are all thieves.”

The Point’s correspondent, however, observed that Olowogboyega displayed a high level of maturity as he was just smiling and still trying to calm them down.

When the security men who were on the ground to monitor the situation observed that the pensioners were adamant, they whisked the Head of Service into a Government vehicle before he drove off.

The pensioners gathered at Olaiya area of Osogbo in protest while bearing placards with various inscriptions like, “we are dying of hunger”, “Masses, help us, we are dying”, “Dead people cannot enjoy infrastructure”, etc.

They were also singing different solidarity songs, urging stakeholders to come to their aid and alleging that the state government was punishing them unduly.

They said the state government had refused to pay their 30 months half-salary arrears (2016 till date); gratuities (2015 till date); and monthly pensions since 2015.

Awodele Abiodun, who led the protest, urged stakeholders to assist the helpless and some homeless senior citizens to get their entitlements.

He disclosed that despite their sickness and old age, the state government had neglected them, adding that many of them had died of hunger.

“Some of us find it difficult to even buy drugs and other essentials because our monies have not been paid by the state government,” he lamented.

Another protester, Sunday Idowu, said the failure of the government to pay pensioners was an act of irresponsibility.

He said, “Oyetola came on board and he’s boasting of not owing workers salaries. What then happens to some of us dying because of the negligence caused by his boss, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who is now the current Minister of Interior.

“We are dying of hunger and that’s why we took our protest to major streets of Osogbo for the stakeholders to help intervene.”




DJ Switch fronting for ‘divisive, destructive forces’ – FG



THE Federal Government said, on Thursday, that with time, DJ Switch, one of the top campaigners of #EndSARS, would be exposed as a fraud.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who said this at a press briefing in Abuja, alleged that the popular DJ, whose real name is Obianuju Catherine Udeh, was fronting for those he described as divisive and destructive forces.

“In the fullness of time, this lady will be exposed for who she is – a fraud, a front for divisive and destructive forces,” he stated.

DJ Switch had been unrelenting in her claims of alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos, on October 20, 2020, having been one of the protesters.

The minister who had berated the CNN for relying on social media videos, without verification, to produce a report on the incident, said unscrupulous persons had been spreading fake news on the social media, and particularly blamed celebrities.

In this regard, he singled out the sensational disc jockey, saying contrary to her claims, which she had also taken before a sub-committee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the Canadian parliament, no family had come out to claim that their family member was killed.

The minister said, “One of the purveyors of fake news was one DJ Switch whose real name is Obianuju Catherine Udeh, even though she claimed authentic evidence of mass killings. Surprisingly, instead of presenting whatever evidence she might have, she chose to escape from the country, saying her life was in danger. In danger how?”

He said the Military had said it was not in search of her and that to the best of his knowledge, the police never declared her (DJ Switch) wanted.

Mohammed claimed, “Her conduct thus becomes suspect. Who is she fronting for? What is her real motive? Who are her sponsors? If she has any evidence, why is she not presenting such evidence to the panel? Since she was very desperate for asylum in any country, did she have to resort to blatant falsehood to tarnish the image of the country?

“At this juncture, we want to appeal to countries that have made faulty judgements on the basis of fake news and disinformation emanating from #EndSARS crisis to endeavour to seek and find out the truth.”



Lagos to increase MSME funding by N2bn in 2021



THE Lagos State Government has said it will increase its funding support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the state by over N2billion in 2021.

The state government said this was in realisation of the fact that MSMEs played a key role in the socio-economic development of any country.

The Commissioner of Finance in the state, Rabiu Olowo, disclosed this in a keynote address he delivered at the Lagos State University 2nd Research Fair, themed, ‘Innovative Products and Designs for Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises’.

He said the decision to support the businesses with the said funds was one of the greatest interventions of the administration in terms of MSMEs.

“As a state, we are to ensure that all Lagos residents have an opportunity to create value with their skills and knowledge and I can tell you that this is one of the greatest submission of the Governor. In our 2021 budget, there is an addition of over N2 billion naira into the MSME funds to support small scale businesses,” he said.

According to the Commissioner, together, 41 million MSMEs employ 60 million people and contribute around 48 per cent to Gross Domestic Product.

Ten per cent of these MSMEs, he said, were based in Lagos.

“It is well known that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the key drivers of social-economic transformation in both developed and developing countries. They serve as engine room to boost the economy of developing countries like Nigeria. That is why we are supporting this key sector to boost our GDP,” the Commissioner noted.

Advising MSME operators to embrace technology in their line of business, Olowo said there was also the need for them to be more innovative in their ventures in order to make them customer centres.

He listed government initiatives to include Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, which had supported over 11,500 MSMEs with over N7 billion; trained over 5,800 people; and had placed over 50 per cent of them in employment.

He said operators could also access loans from the Lagos State Science Research And Innovation Council as well as the Bank of Industry.

The Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, and Chairman of the opening ceremony, said there were many global brands in Nigeria, adding however that they were not engine rooms of national productivity.

According to her, this shows there is hope for young people to be more creative, innovative, “do research and go out there with their small businesses and compete with the best.”

She said a significant portion of operators in the system were women who were actively working to provide for their families.

“As part of measures to ensure productivity, the Lagos State Government lunched its MSME funds designed to equip them with survival strategies against unexpected challenges thrown up by COVID-19,” she noted.



Umahi’s defection: APC dissolves Ebonyi State Exco, constitutes caretaker committee



FOLLOWING the defection of Governor David Umahi from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, the Caretaker/ Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the party has dissolved the Ebonyi State Executive Committee.

The Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee also immediately constituted a 15-member Caretaker Executive Committee in the state.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, Yekini Nabena, titled, ‘APC Caretaker Committee Dissolves Ebonyi State Executive Committee…Appoints 15-Member Caretaker Executive’.

The party said it dissolved the state Exco, owing to the refusal of factions to withdraw court cases as directed at the 8th resumed meeting of the APC National Executive Council.

The statement said, “The All Progressives Congress Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee has dissolved the Party’s Ebonyi State Working Committee following refusal of factions to withdraw court cases as directed by the 8th resumed meeting of the APC National Executive Committee and submit to internal party resolution mechanisms initiated by the CECPC.

“A 15-member caretaker committee has subsequently been appointed by the APC CECPC to manage the Party’s affairs and carry out the planned membership registration, update, and revalidation exercise in Ebonyi State.”

According to the statement, Stanley Okoro will chair the caretaker committee, while other members include: John Nwankata – Vice Chairman (North); Peter Nworie Ndubuisi – Vice Chairman (Central); Ozoemena Njoku – Vice Chairman (South); and Charles Ofok – Secretary.

Others are: Ogbonnaya Igboke – Organising Secretary; Chidi Ogbuatu – Publicity Secretary; Ikaa Ukeni – Legal Adviser; Chief Paulinus Ali (Zomo) – Treasurer; Chief Joseph Ozibo – Financial Secretary; Ogochukwu David Elem – Youth Leader; Odo Oluchi Juliet – Women Leader; Ogbonna David Nshii – Auditor; Adum Uchenna Basil –Physically Challenged;
and Francis Obike Nweze – Welfare Secretary.

The party however appealed to members in the state to support the new team for it to succeed in its given assignment.




COVID-19: Workers accuse Facebook of forcing them back to office


MORE than 200 Facebook workers from around the world have accused the firm of forcing its content moderators back to the office despite the risks of contracting coronavirus.

The claims came in an open letter that said the firm was “needlessly risking” lives to maintain profits.

They called on Facebook to make changes to allow more remote work and offer other benefits, such as hazard pay.

Facebook said “a majority” of content reviewers are working from home.

“While we believe in having an open internal dialogue, these discussions need to be honest,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“The majority of these 15,000 global content reviewers have been working from home and will continue to do so for the duration of the pandemic.”

In August, Facebook said staff could work from home until the summer of 2021.

But the social media giant relies on thousands of contractors, who officially work for other companies such as Accenture and CPL, to spot materials on the site that violate its policies, such as spam, child abuse and disinformation.

In the open letter, the workers said the call to return to the office had come after Facebook’s efforts to rely more on artificial intelligence to spot problematic posts had came up short.

“After months of allowing content moderators to work from home, faced with intense pressure to keep Facebook free of hate and disinformation, you have forced us back to the office,” they said.

“Facebook needs us. It is time that you acknowledged this and valued our work. To sacrifice our health and safety for profit is immoral.”

Facebook said the reviewers have access to health care and that it had “exceeded health guidance on keeping facilities safe for any in-office work”.

But the workers said only those with doctors’ notes are currently excused from working at home and called on Facebook to offer hazard pay and make its contractors full-time staff.

“Before the pandemic, content moderation was easily Facebook’s most brutal job. We waded through violence and child abuse for hours on end. Moderators working on child abuse content had targets increased during the pandemic, with no additional support,” they said.

“Now, on top of work that is psychologically toxic, holding onto the job means walking into a hot zone.”

The letter is addressed to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, as well as the chiefs of Accenture and CPL. It was organised by UK law firm Foxglove, which works on tech policy issues. More than 170 of the signatories were anonymous.

Facebook is not the only company to face staff worries about in-person work amid the pandemic.

Amazon has also come under fire for conditions in its warehouses, while outbreaks at firms from manufacturers to finance companies have stirred fears.

It comes just a day after Washington lawmakers grilled Mr Zuckerberg on the firm’s content review policies.




Defection: APC leaders, Governors storm Ebonyi to officially welcome Umahi



AHEAD of the planned official defection of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State to the All Progressives Congress, major stakeholders of the ruling party, and APC Governors across the country, have arrived the state.

The Governors and other top players of the party are expected to fly into Enugu before traveling to Abakaliki to welcome Umahi officially into their fold.

The Point gathered that elaborate activities, including strategy meetings, had been lined up as part of efforts to ensure that Umahi’s defection actualised the plan for APC to expand its political stronghold in the South East region.

The Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Eric Kelechi Igwe; and the Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, on Wednesday, received three out of five APC Governors at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, for Thursday’s event.

They are Governors Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State (National Caretaker Chairman of APC); Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State; and Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, is also in the team of well wishers.

Umahi had, on Tuesday, announced why he defected from the PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress, saying the PDP had been unfair to the South East since 1998.



#EndSARS: CNN faces sanction for irresponsible reporting – Lai Mohammed



THE Federal Government, on Thursday, berated the CNN for allegedly relying on social media videos for its report on the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate, in Lagos, Nigeria, without verifying them.

The Government said such report “should earn the CNN a serious sanction for irresponsible reporting.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, insisted that contrary to the foreign news platform’s report, not a single family had come out to claim that their family member was killed in what he described as a “massacre without bodies.”

Mohammed, who made the Federal Government’s position on the matter public at a press conference in Abuja, said the CNN report reflected irresponsible journalism.

According to him, FG stands by the testimony of the Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo, that blank bullets were fired at the tollgate.

Taiwo had testified before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the alleged shooting last Saturday.

Mohammed however urged those who might have evidence to the contrary to prove their case during the panel sittings, while accusing those he called unscrupulous persons of circulating fake news on the social media.

Details later…




Bobby Brown’s son, 28, found dead at home, in Los Angeles

BOBBY Brown Jr, son of popular American singer, Bobby Brown, has been found dead in Los Angeles, police have said.

The 28-year-old was discovered at his home on Wednesday after officers were called to a “medical emergency”, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

The cause of death is not yet clear.

Brown Jr was the son of Brown and his former partner, Kim Ward.

His brother, Landon, shared a black-and-white photo of his late sibling on Instagram, writing in the caption: “I love you forever King.”

Brown Jr’s death follows that of his 22-year-old half-sister, Bobbi Kristina Brown, in 2015.

Bobbi Kristina was the daughter of Brown and chart-topping singer, Whitney Houston.

The mother and daughter died in eerily similar circumstances three years apart.

Houston, one of the best-selling artists of all time, died aged 48 in 2012.

She accidentally drowned in a bathtub at a hotel in Beverly Hills.

A coroner listed her drug use as a contributing factor to her death.

Kristina spent nearly six months in a coma after being found unconscious in a bathtub at her home in Georgia.

Brown and Houston had a tempestuous relationship and were married from 1992 to 2007.

As well as Bobby Jr and Bobbi Kristina, Brown has five other children.

His hits include My Prerogative, Every Little Step and Rock Wit’cha.

– Sky News



Buhari congratulates Jonathan at 63, notes his ‘remarkable climb on Nigeria’s political ladder’



PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated former President Goodluck Jonathan as he clocks 63 years.

The President’s message was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Thursday.

In the statement, titled, ‘President Buhari greets former President Goodluck Jonathan on 63rd birthday’, Adesina said the President particularly congratulated Jonathan for a life of service that had brought honour and goodwill to Nigeria.

The President noted, with appreciation, what he called the peculiar climb of the former President on Nigeria’s political ladder.

The statement read, “On behalf of the Federal Government and Nigerians in general, President Muhammadu Buhari warmly felicitates with former President Goodluck Jonathan on his 63rd birthday, November 20, 2020, congratulating him for a life of service that has brought honour and goodwill to the country.

“The President notes, with appreciation, the peculiar and remarkable climb of the former president on Nigeria’s political ladder, and dedication that has kept him working most recently as ECOWAS envoy to bring peace to the Republic of Mali.

“As the former Nigerian President turns 63, President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will grant Dr Jonathan longer life, good health and more wisdom to keep serving the nation and humanity.”



Understanding Nigeria’s Obsession With Rawlings



The saying that a prophet is not appreciated at home may well be referring to former Ghanaian president, Jerry Rawlings, who died last Thursday from COVID-19 related complications, three weeks after his mother was buried.

Ghana is in seven days of mourning, but Nigeria is crying more than the bereaved. Among Nigeria’s political elite, there has been a “condolence contest.” And among the wider public, the outpouring of grief and tribute on social media makes Ghana look like Rawlings’ distant second home.

Rawlings’ life was a big deal in Nigeria. A very big deal. He was a regular presence in lecture circuits. He was particularly loved by left-leaning Nigerian students and radical politicians. He was also popular among blue-collar workers, who would have been pleased to join his army for life at short notice.

After decades of widespread corruption – just as rampant in military as it is in civilian rule, popular public imagination still extols the “Rawlings treatment” as the only practical solution: that is, public execution of anyone found or perceived to be corrupt.

Of course, Nigerians saw horrific spectacles of executions back in the day when armed robbers or coup plotters were tied to the stake and publicly executed at a famous Lagos seashore called the Bar Beach.

But that blood sport, that grim “Bar Beach show,” was mainly for armed robbers or coup plotters, sparking criticisms that while factions of Nigeria’s ruling elite were shooting small fry and settling personal scores against rival officers, Rawlings went for the jugular by executing the big fry, the real promoters and profiteers from corruption among the political class.

On his passing last week, one Nigerian tweet mourned Rawlings as “a true son of Africa; a fallen Iroko tree.”

Others hailed his tireless effort to clean up Ghana’s public life, his spartan lifestyle and patriotism and his exemplary, down-to-earth politics.

Yet, it would appear that the single biggest reason why Nigerians loved Rawlings was his effrontery, the revolutionary zeal with which he fought the war against corruption in Ghana – a crusade in which his government executed three former heads of state and three judges, exiled many perceived enemies and left the press with a bloody nose.

Nigeria’s history has its own bloody pages, too. Part of what led to the civil war was the first military coup in 1966 purportedly targeted at a “corrupt” political elite. Revenge killings followed and the result was a civil war that cost nearly two million lives.

A slew of military coups and counter-coups – all purporting to rid Nigeria of corruption, waste and mismanagement – piled on each other, without real evidence of progress in the fight against corruption, a malaise estimated by the World Bank to cost countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Venezuela $1trillion per year or 12 percent of GDP.

Curiously, the same heavy-handed – even bloody – tactics for which Nigerians love Rawlings is strongly resented in at least two of its own leaders who, like Rawlings, also morphed from “khaki to kente.”

When President Olusegun Obasanjo first ran for office as civilian president his appalling conversion of Ita Oko (an Island on the outskirts of Lagos into a black site), a mini forerunner of Guantanamo and his iron-fist in quelling student’s protests (not to mention his onslaughts on musical icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti) were cited as transgressions for which human rights groups in the country demanded apology and even restitution.

For President Muhammadu Buhari, it was even worse. The military decrees on his watch that imperiled press freedom and under which two journalists were jailed; the long and harsh prison sentences meted out to politicians by hastily constituted tribunals; and the popularisation of corporal punishment, were among the long list of grievances held against Buhari each of the four times he contested for the presidency.

His explanation that he had become a “reformed democrat” fell on deaf ears. In 2015, his campaign team had to dress him up in an assortment of costumes including fancy bow-ties and corporate suits, to make him look truly the reformed part.

To date, Buhari is still taunted over the occasional appearance of his military reflexes. Some families whose patriarchs he handed long jail sentences, blame him for the premature deaths of their loved ones. The deployment of soldiers who shot at unarmed protesters during the recent #ENDSARS protests has also been canvassed as lingering proof that the spots of the Buhari leopard remain intact.

It’s doubtful, however, if any Nigerian leader would do anything close to what Rawlings did, especially in his first coming, and get away with it. The only man who tried – General Sani Abacha – did not live to tell the story. Military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, who executed a variety of authoritarian rule in velvet clothing, only managed to escape by the skin of his teeth.

Yet, Nigerians extol Rawlings who executed former heads of state and judges among other draconian remedies, and also swear that nothing short of the “Rawlings treatment” will save the country.

Apart from Samuel Doe’s violent overthrow of William R. Tolbert’s government in Liberia in 1980 and the public execution of Tolbert’s cabinet members applauded by cheering crowds who lived to regret it, and the Red Terror in Ethiopia following the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie, Rawlings’ Ghana stands up there in the pecking order of horrific public executions of high-profile officers on the continent after a military takeover.

So, what is it about Rawlings that Nigerians swoon over? His charisma? Charismatic leaders make our hearts beat a little faster. They send our blood racing, especially if their candles were blown out prematurely – like General Murtala Mohammed or Captain Thomas Sankara. But Robespierre and Hitler were also charismatic leaders.

What was it in Rawlings then that Nigerians adored? Why was it that even if he had killed 10 people when he was alive, Nigerians seem prepared to say, “Thank God, it was not 11”?

Leading columnist and chairman of the Editorial Board of the Abuja-based Daily Trust, Mahmud Jega, told me, “Africans appreciate strong, vibrant, forceful leadership. They love leaders who are passionate, anti-colonial and yet, with the common touch.”

That description fetched the image of Rawlings stopping his convoy to pick up stranded passengers along the way. There is also the viral video of him getting out of his car in a traffic jam in Accra to take charge with rapturous commuters chanting, “Papa J! Papa J!!” Or his confession that he didn’t have a foreign account for all the years he was in government, until a few years ago when former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan, asked him to open one.

Jega admitted that even though Rawlings’ first coming was “one of the most traumatic on the continent”, his subsequent record as two-term civilian leader made up for his earlier flaws. “He is, in a fundamental way, the father of modern Ghana,” he said.

Perhaps it was that redeeming act that Nigerians really admired about Rawlings: his courage, his patriotism, his charm, his willingness to slay any dragon whatever its size, and more importantly, the strength of his conviction.

Yet, there are Ghanaians who still ask, at what price – a question their Nigerian neighbours might conveniently overlook.

As the news of Rawlings’ death was breaking, social media was drowning in emotional tributes and rejoinders by hurting family and friends of those Rawlings had either executed, jailed or exiled. The common theme was Rawlings refusal, to the very end, to tender public apology or give any indication of remorse for the killings.

Others went farther. They acknowledged that even though significant progress was made in the Rawlings years to rebuild hope and confidence, after 20 years in government, his legacy was also infected by the same demon of corruption for which he condemned and excoriated his predecessors.

Economic imperatives forced Rawlings to get in bed with the World Bank and IMF, the neocolonial titans he derided in his early days. He also privatised state-owned enterprises. One of the ugly fallouts of the privatisation was the credible allegation that his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang, used a company in which she was chairman to buy a privatised food cannery with instalmental cheques.

The party that Rawlings founded, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), currently in opposition, has also not covered itself in glory, with the €5million Airbus bribe scandal under President John Mahama being one of the more famous shameful episodes.

“Others were shot for less,” Kofi Coomson, publisher of The Ghanaian Chronicle, told me, as he reeled off the former president’s complicated legacy.

That’s not what Rawlingsters in Nigeria want to hear.

Ishiekwene is the MD/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview




Task Force vs Okada riders: 131 motorcycles seized, 15 riders arrested, 150 vehicles impounded – Lagos



THE Lagos State Government said, on Wednesday, that in spite of the criminal activities of motorcyclists, who had taken laws into their hands and attacked its Task Force team, 131 motorcycles had been seized; 15 riders arrested and prosecuted; and 150 vehicles impounded in various areas of the state.

The Government said this was done in line with its resolve to enhance the enforcement of the Lagos Traffic Law 2018 with which it had been checking the excesses of “commercial motorcyclists and others who drive against oncoming traffic and ply restricted routes.”

These were contained in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the state, Gbenga Omotoso.

Omotoso, however, vowed that the perpetrators of the violence against the Lagos Task Force team would be identified and made to face the law.

He said this just as he revealed that a total of 97 vehicle owners had been prosecuted for various traffic offences, while 28 tricycle owners were arraigned in court, amid the enforcement, which began on Tuesday.

The Point had reported that there was commotion on Tuesday along the Mile 2/Oshodi axis of Lagos State, when a riot broke out, following what the motorcyclists called harassment by Task Force officials.

Again, on Wednesday, there was chaos at Dopemu/Ikeja Along, when Task Force officials also stormed the area early in morning for enforcement, impounding motorcycles and arresting riders.

Reacting, the Commissioner for Information said, “The  State Environment and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Taskforce) will keep enhancing the enforcement of the Lagos Traffic Law 2018 with which it has been checking the excesses of commercial motorcyclists and others who drive against oncoming traffic and ply restricted routes. The action is to halt the resurgence of impunity and violation of traffic regulations.

“Amid the enforcement, which began on Tuesday, commercial motorcyclists have taken laws into their hands and attacked the Task Force team, injuring officers carrying out their lawful duties. The perpetrators of this violence will be identified and made to face the law.”

Omotoso added, “However, the officers were undeterred by the criminal activities of the motorcyclists; 131 motorcycles were seized; 15 riders arrested and prosecuted; and 150 vehicles impounded in various areas of the state.

“The Task Force subsequently arraigned and prosecuted 35 drivers of impounded vehicles, who had to forfeit their cars to the state for driving against oncoming traffic; 62 drivers who plied the BRT Corridor were fined N70,000 each; and 28 tricycle owners were also arraigned in court.”



Defection: Umahi’s move driven by principle – Buhari



PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, commended Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State for his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the ruling All Progressives Congress, saying the move was “driven by principle rather than opportunistic motives.”

The President said he was proud of the Governor for taking the bold step in line with his conscience.

He said people might call Umahi names but noted that men of principle would usually pay such price for acting in line with their conscience and conviction.

The President’s message on the defection of Umahi was contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

Shehu said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, to the All Progressives Congress (APC), describing it ‘as a bold move driven purely by principle rather than opportunistic motives.’

He quoted the President as saying, “I am proud of Governor David Umahi for taking this bold decision in accordance with his conscience and principles rather than any external influence or coercion.

“Good governance is very important to us in the APC, and I’m glad that the governor has cited this as a major factor in his decision to join us. I urge our citizens to pay less emphasis on identity politics if we want our democracy to make a positive impact on our country.

“With men like Umahi, I foresee a brighter future for our democracy because the voters will be more motivated by performance records of parties and their candidates.

“Let me once again commend the boldness of Governor Umahi for taking this courageous decision in a country where principles are in short supply among many.

“I know people might call him names, but that is the price men of principle have to pay for acting according to their conscience and convictions.”



World champ Kipruto accused of child abuse



World champion and specialist in the 3,000 m steeple Conceslus Kipruto has been charged with sexual abuse with a minor in his country, Kenya. Though he has been released on bail, he will be sentenced to 20-year prison if the facts are proven. Kenyan justice sentences to 20 years in prison, a man of full age who sleeps with a girl under 16.

Kipruto appeared on Monday, November 16, 2020 wearing a hoodie and an anti-Covid mask at the palace of Kapsabet, a city in Kenya, to answer charges against him.

The 2019 world champion in Doha in the 3000 m steeple, is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old Kenyan girl. The events that took place on 20 and 21 October 2020, are the subject of great controversy in the country. He was arrested at his home on November 11, he was released on bail for $1,800 after pleading not guilty. According to the Kenyan media, the girl in question ran away for 3 days from 19th to 21st October 2020.

Kipruto missed the Diamond League in Monaco last August, which earned him a season without competition. With this case of the seduction of minors, the coming days could be complicated for the 25-year-old athlete.

He will have to wait for the verdict of the investigation that is still ongoing, before hoping to participate in a competition.



Alleged N32.9bn fraud: Court to rule on Mompha’s ‘no case’ submission Dec. 9



A Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned ruling, in a “no case” application filed by Ismail Mustapha, popularly called Mompha, till December 9.

Justice Mohammed Liman had on October 14 fixed Wednesday for ruling on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s application protesting Mompha’s request.

The defendant, a social media celebrity, is facing a fraud charge to the tune of N32.9 billion.

He and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, had been re-arraigned on March 4, 2020 before Justice Liman on 22 counts of alleged money laundering and cyber fraud.

When the case came up in court, prosecution lawyer, Abbas Mohammed and defence lawyer, Ademola Adefolaju; holding brief for Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), were told that the ruling had been postponed.

Justice Hassan was said to have been on an official assignment outside the court’s jurisdiction.

Mompha and his firm were first arraigned on a 14-count charge, bordering on money laundering and cyber fraud, on November 25, 2019.

He however pleaded not guilty and was granted bail.

He was arrested on October 19, 2019, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.



No court order restraining us from conducting membership registration – APC



THE All Progressives Congress said, on Wednesday, that no court order had restrained it from conducting its membership registration exercise.

The party said it had investigated the purported court order and found out that no such order was ever granted, adding that no application was made to the court to warrant the granting of such order.

This position was given in a statement signed by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena.

The statement said, “In respect of the suit: KALU KALU AGU V. APC & ORS, FHC/ABJ/CS/736/2020, a Legal Officer was sent to Court on the 17th of November, 2020 to investigate the purported Court Order restraining the All Progressives Congress (APC) from conducting membership registration.

“Upon our findings, we discovered that such Court Order was never granted by the Court, as no application was made to the Court to warrant the granting of such Order.

“The evidence from the records of proceedings of Monday 16th November, 2020 shows that no order restraining the party from conducting the membership registration was granted in respect of the above suit or any suit relating to the APC.

“The APC make bold to assert that the purported court order was erroneously reported and urge the general public to disregard. We equally call on our teeming party supporters, members and leaders to ignore the fake news and go about with their good work of repositioning the Party.”



FAAC allocates N604bn to FG, States, LGs



THE Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, on Wednesday, shared to the three tiers of government, a total of N604bn as allocation for the month of October.

The allocation was done at its meeting, chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Aliyu Ahme.

Out of this amount, inclusive of the cost of collection to NCS, DPR and FIRS, the Federal Government received N220.751bn, the States received N161.825bn, the Local Government councils got N120.588bn while the oil producing states received N31.902bn as 13 per cent derivation.

A communique issued by the Federation Account Allocation Committee at the end of the meeting, indicated that the Gross Revenue available from the Value Added Tax for October was N126.463bn as against N141.858n distributed in the preceding month of September. This resulted in a decrease of N15.395bn.

The Communique stated further that the distributed Statutory Revenue of N378.148n received for the month was higher than the N341.501bn received for the previous month by N36.647bn.

From this amount, the Federal Government received N166.195bn, States got N84.296bn, LGCs got N64.989bn, Derivation got N21.581bn and Cost of Collection/Transfer and Refund was put at N40.086bn.

The communique also revealed that Oil and Gas Royalty, as well as Companies Income Tax increased substantially.

However, Import Duty, Excise Duty, Value Added Tax and Petroleum Profit Tax, according to the communiqué, recorded decreases.

The communiqué further disclosed that the total revenue distributable for the current month was augmented with the sums of N72bn, and N7.392bn from Forex Equalisation and FGN Intervention respectively.

The balance in the Excess Crude Account as at 18th November 2020 stands at $72.409m.



AMCON takes over 12 prime assets of Jimoh Ibrahim over N69.4bn debt


… freezes all accounts


FOLLOWING the order of Honourable Justice R.M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has taken possession of 12 prime assets belonging to Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, the Chief Promoter of Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited.

AMCON took over the 12 prime assets, in Lagos and Abuja, over a staggering indebtedness of nearly N70bn.

In compliance with the enforcement order of the court, AMCON on Wednesday November 18, 2020, took effective possession of all 12 properties through its Debt Recovery Agent – Pinheiro Legal Partners.

The properties include: the building of NICON Investment Limited at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited building at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja; and the building of NICON Lekki Limited, also at No.5, Customs Street, Lagos.

The others are: the building of Abuja International Hotels Limited, located at No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; another Property at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Abuja; the former Allied Bank Building on Mile 2, Oshodi Express Way, Apapa Road, Lagos; Energy House located on No. 94, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; NICON Building at No. 40, Madeira Street, Maitama, Abuja; a residential apartment at Road 2, House A14, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; NICON Hotels Building at Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; as well as the NICON Luxury Hotel’s Building, Garki I, FCT, Abuja.

In addition to the takeover of the listed properties, The Point learnt that the Court also ordered the freezing of all accounts belonging to Jimoh Ibrahim and his companies, including Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited, all of who are defendants in the Suit No. FHL/L/CL/776/2016 presided over by Justice Aikawa on Wednesday November 4, 2020.

The court also granted AMCON possession over all shares belonging to the embattled Ibrahim and his two companies that are domiciled in Nigerian Re-Insurance Company Plc, NICON Insurance Company Plc, Nigeria Stockbrokers Limited and NICON Trustees Limited.

As of the time of filing this report, Jude Nwauzor, AMCON’s spokesperson confirmed that all the assets that were listed by the court and scattered around Abuja and Lagos had been successfully taken over on Wednesday by AMCON.

This, he said, was done with the help of court bailiffs and officers and men of the Nigerian police as mandated by the court.

He added that no incidents were recorded during the enforcement activities at all the locations.

The matter between Jimoh Ibrahim and the Corporation had been interminable since the loan was purchased by the government debt recovery agency during the first phase of Eligible Bank Assets purchases from Union Bank in the early days of AMCON.

Since the purchase of the EBA from Union Bank, AMCON said it had offered the obligor incredible exit opportunities to no avail.

And as is tradition, AMCON has, for years, explored all avenues to resolve the debt amicably, but Ibrahim and his companies – Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited, were said to have remained recalcitrant and unenthusiastic to repay the huge debt, which has left AMCON with no other choice than to activate the full force of its amended Act, signed into law last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The amended AMCON Act provides the Corporation with additional powers to deal decisively with its pile of ‘monstrous obligors’ that have remained untouchable for years and hiding under some legal technicalities to avoid repayment of their loans.



Why FG’s representatives didn’t attend S’South Stakeholders Summit – Presidency



THE Presidency has cleared the air on the absence of representatives of the Federal Government at a scheduled meeting with South South stakeholders on Tuesday.

It said the team, led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, had to change its plans at the last minute, owing to an emergency National Security Council meeting, convened by President Muhammadu Buhari.

A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, however, said the team communicated to the South South stakeholders its inability to attend and reasons behind it when it was clear that the representatives could not make the meeting.

The Presidency stressed that the development was not out of disrespect.

“The Presidency wishes to explain that the absence of the Federal Government delegation at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-South region was necessitated by an emergency security meeting summoned by the President, certainly not out of disrespect,” the statement said.

It added, “The delegation to the meeting, under the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, ministers and heads of security and intelligence agencies were in full readiness to proceed to Port Harcourt until they were directed to stay back for the emergency security meeting.

“This information and regret for the inconvenience caused were conveyed to the hosts of the meeting through what we believed were the right channels.”

According to Shehu, as may have been gleaned from the statement read by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, the extraordinary National Security Council meeting, under the President, was called in view of the gravity of the security situation affecting all parts of the country, “including the South-South in the aftermath of the ENDSARS protests, and the need to rise to protect our national security and territorial integrity.”

“The President is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders and our youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation, and to this effect, a new date for the meeting with the South-South will be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned,” he noted.




PDP calls out Fashola over reported N4.6billion fraud in Ministry



THE Peoples Democratic Party has called on the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to immediately come clean on reports in the public space that N4.6 billion public funds were funneled into private accounts during his tenure as Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

The party also charged the President Muhammadu Buhari Presidency to speak out on the report, which it said had further exposed the rot and humongous corruption going on in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, under its watch.

It said this was despite the much orchestrated anti-corruption stance and “holier than thou” attitude of
its (FG) officials.

A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Nigerians were shocked by the revelations that between September and December 2019 alone, the sum of N4.6 billion was allegedly stolen through fraudulent payments in 654 tranches, “without any explanatory details to 21 private accounts belonging to some faceless individuals and certain directors in the then Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, under Fashola.”

The statement added, “It is indeed appalling and of course revealing that such huge fraud, which is in direct contravention of Sections 7, 701 and 713 of our nation’s financial regulations, reportedly occurred under Fashola’s watch.

“Section 713 clearly provides that no “public money shall be paid into a private bank account” and that “an official who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with fraudulent intentions,”

The PDP urged Nigerians to note that the pattern and route of this fraud pointed to what it called a high level conspiracy to funnel out funds from the ministry to service some higher interests, which must be unraveled and the funds immediately recovered.

The party said, “Nigerians can now see why the nation’s power, housing and road infrastructure had remained in shambles despite the huge resources allocated for development under the Buhari administration.

“The public can now see how officials in the Buhari-led All Progressives
Congress administration are recklessly plundering and looting resources meant for national development and blaming it on past administrations.

“Nigerians now know why our nation has been reduced to a beggar nation and why resources never get to projects they were voted for under the APC.

“If a whopping N4.6 billion is exposed to have been stolen in a space of two months in one ministry, one can only imagine how much has been stolen in the last five years in various ministries and departments by officials of the Buhari administration.”

Moreover, it said the silence by Fashola and the Buhari Presidency over this very weighty revelation was heightening apprehensions of complicity in the public space.

“The PDP therefore calls on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to take steps to invite Fashola and all those mentioned in this alleged fraud and ensure that the law takes its course on any one found wanting,” the statement said.




Not having kids contributed to my success – Dolly Parton


POPULAR American singer, Dolly Parton, has spoken about her decision not to have children – and how she believes this contributed to her success.

The 74-year-old singer has been married to Carl Dean since 1966 but the couple never became parents.

Talking to Oprah Winfrey in her upcoming interview for Apple, Dolly is asked whether she has made sacrifices in her career.

“I’ve made sacrifices but I believe that I know what I’m supposed to do. But you’ve got to make the sacrifice,’ the Jolene chanteuse explains.’Since I had no kids, and my husband was pretty independent, I had freedom.

“So I think a big part of my whole success is the fact that I was free to work.”

Dolly also feels she wasn’t ‘meant’ to have children, adding:

“I didn’t have children because I believe that God didn’t mean for me to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine, so I could do things like the [book gifting program] Imagination Library.

“If I hadn’t had the freedom to work I wouldn’t have done all the things I’ve done and I wouldn’t be in the position to do all the things I’m doing.”

Dolly also spoke of her husband and how she gets asked if he’s actually real.

She shared: “A lot of people have thought that through the years, because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all.

“It’s just not who he is. He’s like, a quiet, reserved person and he figured if he ever got out there in that, he’d never get a minute’s peace and he’s right about that.”

Dolly has made a concerted effort to keep her husband out of the limelight during her career.

She told Entertainment Tonight, “I’ve always respected and appreciated that in him and I’ve always tried to keep him out of the limelight as much as I can.

“He said, ‘I didn’t choose this world, I chose you, and you chose that world. But we can keep our lives separate and together.’ And we do and we have. We’ve been together 56 years, married 54.”

Dolly actually thinks that not being ‘in each other’s faces’ has helped their relationship.

She said, “Our joke about the fact, when people ask me why it’s lasted this long, I say, ‘Because I stay gone.’ And there’s a lot of truth in that – the fact that we’re not in each other’s faces all the time.

“But we do have a great respect and admiration for each other. We both have a great sense of humour. So, we have a lot of fun.”

Asked how they spend their time when they’re together, Dolly explained, “We have very similar tastes … we love to travel around our little RV, and we don’t like parties and all that stuff.”

– daily



Factbox: US to detail key changes to Boeing’s 737 MAX after fatal crashes


THE United States Federal Aviation Administration is expected to detail the changes Boeing Co must make on its 737 MAX jet in order for it to fly again commercially, following a 20-month grounding sparked by two fatal crashes.

In accidents in Ethiopia in 2019 and Indonesia in 2018, a stall-prevention system known as MCAS, triggered by faulty data from a single airflow sensor, repeatedly and forcefully shoved down the jet’s nose as the pilots struggled to regain control.

After a series of investigations and regulatory reviews, here are the major changes the FAA is expected to mandate before the 737 MAX returns to the sky.


Boeing’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, will now rely on readings from two Angle of Attack (AoA) sensors that measure the angle at which the wing slices through the air, instead of just one.

MCAS will activate only if both sensors are in agreement, and it will activate only one time, Boeing has said.

Separately, Boeing is making standard an alarm alerting pilots to a mismatch of flight data from the sensors.

Boeing did not tell U.S. regulators for more than a year that it inadvertently made the so-called AoA Disagree alert optional on the 737 MAX, instead of standard as on earlier 737s. Boeing has said the missing display represented no safety risk, an FAA official said in May 2019.


Boeing said it will separate 737 MAX wiring bundles, flagged by regulators as potentially dangerous, before the jet returns to service.

The jet’s wiring raised the potential of a short circuit that, in certain remote circumstances, could lead to a crash if pilots did not react in time.

One industry source said the wiring separation was “still continuing” this week.


In February, Boeing said it found “foreign object debris” – an industrial term for rags, tools, metal shavings and other materials left behind by workers during production – in the fuel tanks of dozens of undelivered 737 MAX jets.

Boeing said it has inspected all of the stored aircraft and “shared inspection recommendations and detailed instructions with customers storing their own airplanes.”




39-year-old man sentenced to death by hanging for killing lover



AN Ogun State High Court, sitting in Abeokuta, has sentenced one Musiliu Owolabi, to death by hanging for killing his lover, Afusat Idowu.

Owolabi, 39 years, was convicted on a one-count charge of murder for an offence he was said to have committed on February 1, 2018, at the Camp area of Abeokuta.

The Chief Judge of Ogun State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, noted that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubts and concluded that Owolabi was guilty of the offence as charged.

He was thereafter convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, having been found to have contravened the provisions of Section 319 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ogun State 2006.

State prosecution counsel, James Mafe, explained that the convict, a motor mechanic, had taken his lover to a hotel for pleasure.

After awhile, he said she complained of stomach ache and later started foaming from her mouth.

“The convict took her to his vehicle, on his way, he noticed she was dead, and secretly took the deceased to an uncompleted building, dug a shallow grave and buried her without disclosing to anybody,” Mafe said.

He stated, “The convict was arrested when the younger brother of the deceased went to the police station to complain that his sister who told him she was going for a naming ceremony at Bode Olude area never returned.

“Upon police investigation, with the help of tracking the deceased phone, it was discovered that the convict was the last person that spoke with the deceased. On his arrest, he made a confessional statement to the police and took them to where he buried his lover.”



COVID-19: Vaccine is 94% effective in over-65s – Pfizer


THE coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to protect 94 per cent of adults over 65 years old.

More data released from their ongoing phase three trial suggests it works equally well in people of all ages, races and ethnicities.

The companies say they will now apply for authorisation for emergency use of the jab in the United States.

The findings are based on two doses given to more than 41,000 people around the world.

Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech published preliminary data showing the vaccine offered 90 per cent protection against Covid-19 and there were no safety concerns.

This was followed by impressive data on another vaccine, made by US company Moderna , suggesting nearly 95 per cent protection.

Wednesday’s data from Pfizer and BioNTech suggests the vaccine is 95 per cent effective, based on 170 cases of Covid-19 developing in volunteers – just eight were in the group given the vaccine, suggesting it offers good protection.

The rest of the cases were in the placebo group given a dummy jab.

Although the full trial data has yet to be published, the companies say there have been no serious safety concerns. But they did notice headaches and fatigue in about two per cent of volunteers given the vaccine.

In the trial, 42 per cent of all participants are from diverse ethnic backgrounds and 41 per cent are aged between 56 and 85 years old.

The trial, which is testing people at 150 sites in the US, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, will collect data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for another two years.

The companies behind it expect to produce up to 50 million doses of the vaccine this year and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses of this vaccine and should get 10 million by the end of the year.

It has also ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is planning to release data from its phase three trial soon.

Vaccine development

There are hundreds of vaccines in development around the world, and about a dozen in the final stages of testing, known as phase three.

The first two to show any results – made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – both use an experimental approach, called mRNA, which involves injecting part of the virus’s genetic code into the body to train the immune system.

Antibodies and T-cells are then made by the body to fight the coronavirus.

The Sputnik vaccine, developed in Russia, has also released early data from phase three based on a smaller number of volunteers and Covid cases.

There are some logistical challenges with mRNA vaccines, namely the need to store them at cold temperatures.

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at around minus 80C, although it can be kept in a fridge for five days.

Moderna’s vaccine needs to be stored at minus 20C for up to six months and kept in a standard fridge for up to a month.




Defection: Umahi is on his own – Ebonyi PDP Senators, Reps



MEMBERS of the Ebonyi State National Assembly Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party have distanced themselves from the defection of Governor David Umahi, saying he is on his own.

Umahi, on Tuesday, announced why he defected from the PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress, saying the PDP had been unfair to the South East since 1998.

A former Governor of Ebonyi State, Senator Sam Egwu, who addressed the media on behalf of the other lawmakers, said no lawmaker in the National Assembly would defect with Umahi to the APC.

He said this in a statement he co-signed with Senator Obinna Ogba, Senator Mike Ama Nnachi, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, Hon. Igariwey Iduma Enwo, Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku, Hon. Edwin Anayo and Hon. Livinus Makwe.

The lawmakers said if any Ebonyi person should remain eternally grateful to the PDP, that individual ought to be Governor David Umahi, “a man who was appointed the Ebonyi State Chairman of the PDP, made deputy governor of a PDP administration, and was elected for two terms under the banner of the PDP.”

The statement said, “We, the undersigned members of the Ebonyi State PDP caucus of the National Assembly, wish to address our fellow PDP members and other well-meaning Nigerians, on the defection of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi from the PDP to the APC.

“For the sake of clarity, we wish to state that not a single member of the Ebonyi State PDP caucus of the National Assembly is defecting to the APC. The three Distinguished Senators and five House of Representatives members remain proud card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform under which we contested and won elections in 2019.

“The major reason given by Chief Umahi for defecting from the PDP to the APC is now in the Public domain which is that the PDP has not been fair to the People of the South East on the issue of zoning the Presidency and vice Presidency.

“While we support that it is the turn of the South East to fly the Presidential flag of any of the major political parties come 2023, yet we consider it impolitic, indecent and unwise to give ultimatums and conditionalities in a bid to secure zoning.

“Indeed, if there is any Ebonyi person who should remain eternally grateful to the PDP, that individual ought to be the Governor David Umahi; a man who was appointed the Ebonyi State Chairman of the PDP, made deputy governor of a PDP administration, and was elected for two terms under the banner of the PDP. As Governor, his two younger brothers were elected to principal offices of the PDP; one (Mr Austine Umahi) as the National Vice Chairman (South East) and another (Mr. Maxwell Umahi) as the Deputy State Chairman of the PDP.”

The lawmakers added, “As democrats, we concede Chief Umahi’s right to join any political association of his choice. However, as Federal Lawmakers, we are not unaware of the Supreme Court decision that candidates are products of political parties. What it means is that political office holders are not at liberty to migrate from one political platform to another, particularly when there is no division in their party.

“We wish to use this opportunity to thank the leadership of our great party, the PDP for their prompt action in dissolving the ward, local government, state and Zonal structures of the party in Ebonyi State, and their announcement of a state caretaker team.

”We also wish to thank teeming members and supporters in our various constituencies who have remained undaunted and committed to their membership of the PDP. We also wish to thank the South East caucus, and indeed the entire PDP family of the National Assembly.”



Fake contractor in EFCC net over alleged N1.8bn fraud in Uyo


THE Uyo Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested one Umoh Archibong, a contractor notorious for allegedly using fake contract documents to obtain about N1.8bn (One billion, Eight hundred million naira) from unsuspecting members of the public.

He was arrested on Friday November 6, 2020, at a hotel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.


His modus operandi is brandishing fake contract documents to prospective victims, and enticing them with promises of huge returns if they agree to fund the execution of the contracts.

Archibong met his Waterloo when one Okika Ugochukwu petitioned the Commission on July 30, 2019, alleging that sometime in June 2019, Achibong approached him with the information that he had been awarded two contracts by Hensek Construction Company and VKS Construction Company, both in Uyo, for the supply of laterite and borrow pit sand, and convinced him to invest N39million ( in tranches between June 15 to June 25, 2019) with a promise of paying him N18,000 monthly until he receives payment for the contracts.

The petitioner further alleged that, after he received payment from him and others, Archibong severed communication with them; that all efforts to get back the invested capital and accrued interest, totaling N45, 000, 000.00, proved abortive.

The two companies which Archibong claimed awarded him the contracts, Hensek Construction Company and VKS Construction Company, denied having any dealings with the suspect.

Since his arrest, a total of 38 victims have come forward with claims that they were also defrauded by the suspect under the same guise.

Under interrogation, the suspect claimed he invested the proceeds of crime in ponzi schemes and acquired several exotic cars.

The suspect will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.



Five years after coronation, Ooni of Ife welcomes Crown Prince



FIVE years after being coronated as the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi has welcomed a heir to the throne of his forefathers.

This was revealed in a statement signed by Comrade Moses Olafare, Director, Media and Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace, on Wednesday.

The prominent monarch’s wife, Olori Naomi Ogunwusi, gave birth to the crown prince in the early hours of Wednesday.

Olafare said both mother and baby boy are in safe condition.

He said, “This is to officially inform the general public that The Almighty Olodumare has blessed the House of Oduduwa with a crown Prince as our mother, Yeyeluwa, Olori Silekunola Naomi Ogunwusi, gave birth to a bouncing baby boy (at) the early hours of this morning, Wednesday 18th November 2020.

“Mother and child are in a perfect condition.

“Congratulations to the Royal family, the kingdom of Ife (The Source), Yoruba race and the entire descendants of Oduduwa worldwide on the safe arrival of this Heir to the sacred throne of the Ooni of Ife.”

Meanwhile, there was wild jubilation in the ancient town as indigenes and residents trooped out to the palace to rejoice with their king.

Ooni Ogunwusi was coronated on December 7, 2015.



Supreme Court affirms Diri’s election as Bayelsa Gov


THE Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal against the election of Douye Diri as the Governor of Bayelsa State under the Peoples Democratic Party.

A seven-man panel of the apex court, led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed the appeal by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), noting that the appellant’s claim of wrongful disqualification of its candidate by the Independent National Electoral Commission was wrongly made.

It said this was because the candidate in question did not meet the constitutional age requirement.

The court also dismissed the appeals of Alliance for Democracy, Liberation Movement and Accord Party.

The Point had reported that the Court of Appeal had earlier nullified the tribunal judgement that sacked Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and ordered a fresh election in the state, saying that the Tribunal wrongful evaluated the petition that led to the ruling.

The five-man panel of Justices, led by Justice Adzira Gana Mshella, said the verdict of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which invalidated Diri’s election, was perverse and contemptuous of the law.

The judge who read the lead judgement of the Appeal Court, Justice Obande Ogbuinya, held that the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party’s petition, filed to challenge its alleged unlawful exclusion from the governorship poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission, was wrongfully evaluated by the Tribunal.

In giving its ruling, the Appeal Court said there was enough evidence to prove that ANDP nominated underaged candidates for the election, in breach of sections 177, 182 and 187 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

It held that the petition filed by ANDP was statute-barred, adding that it was also a pre-election matter outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

The appellate court said whereas Section 285(9) of the Constitution made it mandatory that the issue of disqualification of candidates, being a pre-election matter, must be filed within 14 days after the cause of action arose, ANDP filed its petition at the tribunal, five months after its deputy governoship candidate was disqualified by INEC.

It therefore held that the ANDP case had become stale and sour before its February 26 petition.

“The case of the 1st Respondent was marooned in the ocean of statute bar. The cause of action had expired with the fusion of time. The tribunal therefore lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain it. The subject matter if the petition was outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal,” the court held.

While setting aside the majority ruling of the Tribunal that had sacked Diri as governor, the appellate court said it was trapped in the “web of nullity,” adding that
“it will smack of judicial sacrilege to allow the decision of the tribunal to stand.”

The Tribunal had, on August 17, voided the outcome of the Bayelsa state gubernatorial election, in a majority ruling by two of the three-man panel of justices.

Diri had, in his appeal, maintained that the majority judgement was manifestly against what he described as “the weight of evidence.”



Court orders arrest of Maina, as Ndume risks forfeiting N500m bail bond



THE Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the arrest of a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina.

This order followed the repeated failure of the embattled Chairman to appear in court for the continuation of his trial, bordering on money laundering.

Justice Okon Abang revoked the bail the court earlier granted the defendant, and also gave the approval for the trial of Maina in absentia.

Maina is facing a 12-count criminal charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He is being charged along with a firm – Common Input Properties and Investment Limited.

The court also indicated that the lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume, who stood surety for Maina, could forfeit the N500m bail bond he provided.

It fixed November 23 for Ndume to show cause why he should not forfeit the N500million bail bond.

This came on the heels of an application made by the EFCC, pursuant to sections 184 and 335(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.

The court concluded however that the absence of the former chairman from his trial, four consecutive times, was without a cogent or verifiable evidence.




Emulate Drogba, others, Amuneke tells Osimhen



Former Barcelona winger Emmanuel Amuneke has refused to compare Victor Osimhen to any footballer but is backing the Napoli striker to emulate the achievements of three former Chelsea players Didier Drogba, George Weah and Samuel Eto’o.

The Super Eagles star joined Napoli this past summer for a fee of 70 million euros, plus 10 million euros in variables, after a fantastic season with Lille, scoring 18 goals in all competitions.

Osimhen became the most expensive player signed by Napoli following his move, surpassing Hirving Lozano who was acquired from PSV Eindhoven for 42 million euros.

Asked by reporters who Osimhen can be compared to, Amuneke said: “Osimhen is Osimhen. Each player has his own qualities. Weah, Drogba or Eto’o have done great things, the hope is that Victor can do them too”.

Amuneke believes his former pupil can flourish as the main striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation, a role he has adapted to admirably in the last one year with the national team.

“No, he doesn’t know how to play only the central striker, and 4-2-3-1 is not a new formation for him, he often plays in the national team.

“Tactically he has grown, I said, but he can still grow, especially in Italy where it is a very important aspect.

“I played against Baggio who had immense talent and thanks to Serie A he became the champion he was. Here, I hope that Victor can take such a step and become a champion too,” added Amuneke.



UK to ban sale of petrol, diesel cars by 2030


A plan on buying new petrol and diesel cars will be brought forward to 2030, Boris Johnson confirmed on Tuesday as he unveiled his £12billion, “Ten Point Plan” for a “green industrial revolution”.

While sales of diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned within 10 years, hybrid cars and vans that “can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe” can continue until 2035.

The Prime Minister unveiled a host of measures aimed at slashing the UK’s carbon emissions and tackling climate change – and “creating and supporting” 250,000 “green jobs”.

He hopes the proposals will boost moves to meet Britain’s pledge for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The PM announced £1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of electric vehicle charging points in homes, streets and motorways.

He also pledged £582m in grants for zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to make them cheaper and encourage take-up – and nearly £500m over four years to develop and mass produce electric vehicle batteries.

Other measures include creating Britain’s first town heated entirely by hydrogen, developing small and advanced nuclear reactors, and making homes, schools and hospitals “greener, warmer and more energy efficient”.

The Government set a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028, and Mr Johnson repeated a Conservative Party conference pledge to build enough offshore wind turbines to power every home.

The move would quadruple the amount of energy generated from offshore wind to 40GW by 2030, “supporting up to 60,000 jobs”.

No10 said the overall plan would cost £12bn but trigger three times as much in private sector investment.

The PM said: “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country.

“My Ten Point Plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.

“Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”

No10 said the “UK’s industrial heartlands” were “at the centre” of the plan, highlighting the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands, Scotland and Wales – regions and nations, apart from Scotland, which were key to the Tories’ landslide general election victory last December.

The plan comes in the same week the UK was due to host the COP26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow.

The gathering was postponed until next year because of the coronavirus crisis.

Other measures include generating 5GW of “low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes”, “making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel, and investing in zero-emission public transport of the future” and “supporting difficult-to-decarbonise industries to become greener through research projects for zero-emission planes and ships”.

Ministers have previously spoken of their push for “jet zero” for the aviation industry and to make the maritime sector more environmentally-friendly.

The PM also pledged to plant 30,000 hectares of trees every year, and a fresh focus on carbon capture and storage.

Greenpeace hailed a “big step forward for tackling the climate emergency”.

Head of politics Rebecca Newsom said: “This landmark announcement signals the end of the road for polluting cars and vans and a historic turning point on climate action.

“While switching to electric vehicles is no panacea, ditching new, polluting petrol and diesel in 2030 could put the Government back on track to meeting its climate commitments.”

Welcoming the plan, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit head of analysis Jonathan Marshall said: “These points tick off a number of the major policy decisions needed to get the UK demonstrably back on track to its net zero target.

“Strong support for cleaning up transport, industry and home heating – areas long ignored by the Government – will help deliver on the urgent need to cut emissions shared by people in all corners of the UK.”

But Green New Deal UK co-executive director Fatima Ibrahim claimed the plan was “muddled” and “incomplete”.

She added: “It’s light on detail and the amount of funding allocated pales in comparison to what is needed – especially in the wake of the coronavirus.

“Many of us were hoping for a bold, ambitious and coherent plan that brings together industry, energy and nature, broadening the scope of what green investment can do and green jobs can be.”