Sasa traders tackle monarch over alleged victimization

Sasa Traders

The Sasa Market Traders Association in Ibadan has accused the Serikin Sasa of Ibadanland, Alhaji Haruna Katsina Maiyasin, of victimizing its members and disrupting trading activities in the market.

Speaking with reporters in Ibadan on Saturday, some leaders of the association alleged that the monarch and members of his family have constituted threat to them, their families and businesses over the years for daring to take over the management of the market from them (Maiyasins).

Part of the strategies to get them out circulation, they said, included cooking up allegations against them and reporting same to security agencies, which had resulted in their suffering incarceration at different times and different detention centres within the state.

They alleged that after exhausting his credibility among the security personnel within the state, the monarch is now using the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police Force, Alagbon to place them on the wrong side of the law at all cost.

Kuranga Ismail Bamidele, Secretary General of the association, who spoke on behalf of the leaders present, said Serikin Sasa was fond of dropping the names of Nigerian leaders at every particular time to perpetrate the alleged harassment and intimidation against their vocal members.

“Certain time, the Serikin Sasa named us as Boko Haram members and some of us were arrested, but were later released after two days when investigation revealed that the allegations were false,” he said as he called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the Inspector General of Police Abubakar Idris to came to their rescue in order to stop further abuse of their members.

Bamidele traced the genesis of the crisis to the time the traders got their association registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and subsequently stopped the monarch’s domination of the market affairs in line with the rules spelt out as conditions for effective running of the association.

He said the monarch had over the years being the sole administrator of the market and Sasa community. But that they had to take over the management of the market after the registration since it was part of the rules that non-members are forbidden from having a say in the management of the association.

The association also added that they have been paying their dues collective and individually to the state and local government in charge of their jurisdiction, wondering why they were not allowed to enjoy their peace.

However, the monarch could not respond to the allegations against him as he claimed to be indisposed when contacted for response.

EFCC returns money stolen by RCCG deacon

EFCC

The Province 4 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Port Harcourt, was, on Wednesday, refunded the sum of N11.9m stolen by one of its deacons, Cyril Idakwoli.

A cheque of the sum was handed over to the Pastor-in-Charge of the Province, Mr. Mark Barango, by the South-South zonal head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ishaq Salihu.

Idakwoli was a staff of Access bank and the account officer of the church in the bank.

He was said to have diverted the sums to personal use instead of transferring it to he church’s account under his watch. The bank fired him after discovering the fraud and issued the cheque to pay it back to the church.

While handing over the cheque, the EFCC zonal head disclosed that Idakwoli forged the letterhead of the church’s Region 5 and signature of its accountant to perpetrate the fraud.

In his response, the provincial pastor expressed appreciation to the EFCC for the refund, wondering why a deacon in the church would be involved in such devilish act.

Salihu also said the EFCC had earlier recovered N36m belonging to Jephthah International School, which was also stolen by Idakwoji. He was also the account officer of the school when he diverted their money to his private purse.

Court relaxes order against Oyo LG election

Town Planning

Oyo State Government has secured an order that will facilitate the conduct of local government election in the state.

In a statement in Ibadan on Wednesday by the Commissioner for information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun quoting the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Oluwaseun Abimbola, the government stated that Order 3 of the interim injunction forbidding INEC from releasing the voters register to OYSIEC for conduct of elections into LGs and LCDAs has been discharged by the court.

According to Mr. Abimbola, “in respect of the case filed by Oyo baales challenging the LCDAs and in which the court had issued an injunction preventing the conduct of elections into LG&LCDAs. I made an application to the court to discharge the part of the Interim order preventing our conduct of elections into LGs since the subject matter of the suit is only on the propriety of LCDAs and not LGs.

“The other counsels in the matter all conceded to the point as canvassed by the Oyo State Government on this matter. Consequently, the Order 3 of the Interim injunction forbidding INEC from releasing voters register to OYSIEC for conduct of elections into LGs and LCDAs has been discharged by the court. Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) is now at liberty to conduct LG elections only, but not into LCDAs which is still pending in court,” the Attorney General explained.

Abimbola hoped that this would development would clear the air and misrepresentation by the people who believe that the state government was not interested in the conduct of the local government election, pointing out that the order secured is a demonstration to the fact that the state government is ready for the conduct of the election and the barrier has been removed.

Oyo partners Microsoft for digital literacy

Oyo Microsoft

The Oyo State Government on Wednesday disclosed that it is partnering Microsoft and Signal Alliance on its digital literacy programme, saying that 800 computers will be provided across eight centres as the pilot scheme.

The Government stated these during a press conference attended by representatives of Microsoft Nigeria, Signal Alliance, Tertiary Institutions, Schools Governing Board and other stakeholders   held at the Film Theatre of the State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Ibadan.

Speaking at the conference, the Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Education, Dr Bisi Akin-Alabi stated that the state would launch digital literacy centers to prepare the state towards producing a knowledgeable competent workforce in the country.

She explained that the state government cum Microsoft and Signal Alliance would give birth to eight centres with 100 computers each, stressing that four centres will be in Ibadan, two in Oke Ogun, 1 for Oyo/Ogbomoso Zone and One for Ibarapa zone.

Dr. Akin-Alabi said that the every student is expected to benefit from the digital literacy, noting that Microsoft has promised to give the state 700 computers every year to complement the state government’s efforts until each school in the state is covered.

According to her, “this digital literacy project was put on ground towards the Sustainable Development Goals in education in order to ensure wholesome offerings for all and to demonstrate the government commitment to delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG) to bridge gaps in education provision. Oyo State government is collaborating with Microsoft and Signal Alliance to launch the digital literacy and cluster learning centers in the State. Initially, the government wanted to provide 3 Cluster Learning Centre (CLC) as a pilot scheme but the partnership with Microsoft and Signal Alliance increased it to eight.

“This is to improve access to qualitative education in the State by all private and public pupils. The Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led administration in Oyo State is set to launch a 21st Century Compliant digital literacy drive. This is another unprecedented move by the administration to prepare Oyo State for a knowledge-based future and make the State a hub for producing a knowledgeable competent workforce in Nigeria,” Dr Akin- Alabi added.

In her comments, the Microsoft Head of Education Programs in Nigeria, Ms Jordan Belmonte said that the programme was built towards making Oyo State meet the global technological pace, saying that this project could put Nigeria on the digital technological map through the state.

Belmonte pledged Microsoft’s commitment to lifelong education by providing education solutions and at the same time, promoting adoption of ICT in schools, stressing that the project will lead to institutional change and students can get certification which is recognized globally thereby giving Nigerian companies the opportunity to find the needed talent from their host community.

She said “We are delighted to partner the Oyo State Government and Standard Alliance we believe that investment in education is a critical component of preparing youths for the global workforce and it is directly tied to a country’s economic growth. Our mission is to ensure that we support this advancement in learning and the benefits it provides for Nigerian students. Microsoft Nigeria is committed to promoting lifelong learning by providing affordable access to education solutions and promoting the adoption of ICT in schools.”

The representative of Signal Alliance, Mrs. Adamma Onoegbu said it was important to prepare graduates before joining the workforce so as to be sure of quality input into the nation’s economy.

She said that technology should reach everywhere in Nigeria, hence the need to support the digital literacy drive of the Oyo State Government, assuring that the company will ensure that the objectives of the programme are realized.

The press conference was witnessed by the State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs Aderonke Makanjuola among others.

INEC to create polling booths in prisons

INEC

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission is working towards creating polling booths in prisons across the country to enable inmates cast their votes in the next general elections.

Yakubu made the disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday during a session with the Nigerian Civil Society Room Dialogue, a coalition of over 70 civil societies organisations across the country.

Though the INEC boss noted that not all the inmates will be allowed to participate in the exercise, he said the commission is already making arrangements with prisons authorities to ensure that those who meet the laid-down criteria were part of the 2019 elections.

“We have already engaged the Comptroller-General of Prisons and we have statistics on the number of prisoners nationwide and the number of inmates that are registered. We are looking at the possibility of creating polling units in the prisons and to enable some categories of prisoners to vote.

“Ghana does it but there are some categories of prisoners who by the nature of crimes committed lose the right to vote. Whatever we can do to open up the process to ensure that as much as possible Nigerians are given the opportunity to vote, will be done,” he said.

On the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, Yakubu vowed that the commission would ensure everything within its powers to ensure that it is not inconclusive.

While making his remarks at the event, the Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, and Convener of Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, said the event was designed to determine the level of preparedness of INEC for Anambra State governorship poll and get the updates on other elections.

Police trail Dangote expatriate’s abductors

Police Trail

The Nigeria Police said it has commenced full combing of the entire axis where an expatriate with Dangote Construction Company, Jose Machada, was abducted late Monday.

Two police officers guarding the Portuguese expatriates were killed in the incident that took place around 7 pm at the construction site of the company, along the Obajana-Kabba Road, Kogi State.

Commenting on the tragic incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, William Aga, said the State Commissioner of Police, Ali Janga, had visited the scene on Tuesday  where he met with the management of the construction company and some expatriates. He was said to later ordered immediate commencement of rescue operation for the abducted Portuguese.

For effective coordination, Janga reportedly directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations to move to the scene to assess the situation and commence combing of bushes around the scene.

The PPRO recalled that the assailants, numbering about 15 stormed the scene, shot the two police guards and took the abductee to a yet-unknown destination.

“They engaged the two police officers guarding the expatriates in a shootout. They shot the two officers. One died on the spot, while the other died in a hospital,” he said, adding that the deceased officers are Sergeant Gini John and Inspector Ezekiel Negedu.

244 Osun retirees get N1.7b bond

Osun retirees

A total of 244 retirees from the Osun State Civil Service have been issued N1.682bn worth of bonds.

This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Local Government Staff Pension Bureau of the State, Mr. Kayode Afolabi, during a ceremony to mark the presentation of certificates to beneficiaries in Osogbo, the state capital.

Giving the breakdown of the beneficiaries, Afolabi said 137 retired from public primary schools across the state, while the remaining 97 were former employees in its local government service.

He described the latest certificates presentation as fifth of its kind, noting that the last one was held on February 28, 2017.

The Permanent Secretary added that the exercise was in line with the provisions of the Contributory Pension Scheme for retired civil servants in the State.

He also told journalists that the state government is working hard to address the issue of delayed remittance of pensions deduction it was facing, which, according to him, was as a result of cash crunch facing the state.

He said the state government would very soon issue bond certificates to another set of retirees in line with the state’s determination to ensure welfare of current workers and the retired ones.

Nnamdi Kanu in Abarabe’s custody, FG alleges

Nnamdi Kanu

The Federal Government has accused Enyinnaya abararabe, Senator representing Abia South in Nigeria’s Senate, of keeping the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in his custody to shield him from appearing in court to answer to charges against him.

Abaribe was among the South-East leaders, who stood surety for Kanu before he was released on bail on April 24, 2017.

The government’s allegation was contained in a reply to Abaribe’s application to the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking to discontinue from being the secessionist leader’s surety before the court.

Describing the application as belated, the FG, in its counter-affidavit and written address, insisted that the senator has to produce Kanu to enable him continue with his trial before the court.

It alleged that Abaribe was aware of Kanu’s consistent violation of bail conditions long before September 11 when he claimed to have lost contact with him.

“That it was at this point at violating the conditions at the bail that the senator surety ought to surrender the 1st defendant and or bring up this application; “That this application is belated and ill-timed;

“The applicant failed to apply to the court timeously, stating on oath that the defendant bound by recognizance to appear before this court had violated the bail condition given by this court,” the Federal Government submitted in its counter-affidavit.

Also, in the written address to back up the application, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, urged the court to sanction Abararabe for aiding and abating Kanu to flout the bail conditions and make him forfeit the bond he entered into.

“My lord, the surety has failed woefully to abide by the terms of the contract he entered into with this court and therefore cannot claim frustration

“We urge that the court hold, that surety having refused to do what he ought to have done pursuant to section 174 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 aided and abetted the 1st defendant in the flouting of the bail conditions of this court and should forfeit the bond he entered into.”

The Federal Government also denied the suspicion that Kanu was in the Nigerian Military’s custody, saying the military activities in Abia State tagged ‘Operation Python Dance II’ was a routine exercise in its second year carried out by the military at the end of every year.”

Kanu did not appear in court for the resumed sitting on October 17, but his co-defendants were present.

While reacting to Abaribe’s application to withdraw himself from among Kanu’s sureties in the case, the presiding judge said she would not hear the application until the missing defendant is produced.

She gave Abaribe and the two other sureties up till November 20 to produce the defendant in court.

Insurance claims: Poly lecturers petition ICPC

Four aggrieved academic staff of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro have written a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) alleging deliberate delay in the settlement of their matured claims with the A & G insurance company.
In the petition, jointly signed by the foursome – Engr. Olufemi Adewale osore, Dr. Oladipo oludare Okege, Mr. Olaogun John Akande and Adelusi Abosede Ifeoluwa – and made available to journalists in Ibadan at the weekend, the petitioners accused the management of the insurance company of breach of contract agreements.
According to them, they had life insurance policies with the company, spanning fifteen years. They alleged that months after the maturity of the policy, the company had been tossing them around instead of paying them their dues.
They then sought the intervention of the ICPC in securing payment of the claims by the company.
“We undertook life insurance policies with A & G insurance company for a period of fifteen years (15 years); and our policies have matured for the past four months and above. Management of the company did not deem it fit to correspond with us individually on this matter. Efforts by us to reach the management of the company have met with hostility or at best gross display of nonchalant attitude.
“We invested with A & G Insurance Company through thick and thin and utmost good faith for fifteen (15) unbroken years.
“Sir, the nonchalant attitude of A & G insurance management over this matter is giving us serious concern about the future of our country, Nigeria. And since it is within your purview to check blatant abuse of office of this nature, we find it imperative to solicit your prompt and positive intervention on this matter,” the petition read.
But, while reacting to the petition, the company’s Director of Special Duties, Abiola Ajibowo, said they never intended to deny them their payment.
He said the company needed to follow due process which would involve some verifications to forestall irregular payment, pleading for patience from the affected dons.