HIIC urges FG to disseminate information on anti-terror fight

The Baroness Lynda Chalker-led Honourary International Investors’ Council on Monday emphasised the need for the Federal Government to ensure that the right information on efforts aimed at tackling security challenges in parts of the country was communicated to the public.

This was one of the 14-point communique issued at the of the 16th meeting of the council held inside the Banquet Hall of the Presidential, Villa, Abuja.

Chalker and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting attended by Vice President Namadi Sambo.

While saying the government must ensure that the right communication was passed to the National Assembly and the press, Chalker said rumours would do the country no good while better communication and responsible reporting would do the country a lot of benefits.

She added that the council commended the government on its strategic communication plan that aimed to stimulate a positive mindset of the people towards national development.

Chalker said, “Council noted the uncomplimentary role of the domestic and international media in communicating developments in the country.

“It advised the media to be sensitive towards complementing efforts at curbing the insecurity capable of derailing the gains achieved under the fledging democratic rule.

“Council commended the ability of the security agencies in tackling crude oil theft and piracy in Nigeria’s coastal waters through the satellite monitoring programme.

“It however emphasised the need for government to ensure the prosecution of oil thieves to serve as deterrent to others.”


France knock out Eagles from World Cup

France reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup as Paul Pogba’s header and Joseph Yobo’s own goal knocked out Nigeria in Brasilia.

Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike had a first-half goal ruled out for offside before Vincent Enyeama saved Pogba’s volley.

Victor Moses cleared Karim Benzema’s shot off the line after the break and Yohan Cabaye volleyed against the bar.

Pogba headed home after Enyeama’s misjudgement before Yobo diverted Mathieu Valbuena’s cross into the net.

France will play the winners of Monday night’s match between Algeria and Germany in the quarter-finals at the Maracana on Friday.

The final scoreline was harsh on Nigeria, who dominated for large parts of the second half, but late mistakes from their tiring players ensured they will have to wait for their first ever quarter-final appearance in a World Cup.

France have pedigree in the knockout rounds having reached at least the semi-finals on the last five occasions they have progressed past the first round at the World Cup.

Nigeria’s last-16 preparations had been disrupted by a row over bonuses and, with their group victory over Bosnia-Hercegovina their only World Cup win in 11 matches, this tie was always going to prove a big ask.

But, attacking with pace down the wings through both Moses and Ahmed Musa, the Super Eagles looked threatening early on. Only a flag for offside denied the powerful Emenike the opener, when he tapped home Musa’s cross.

Nigeria’s goalkeeper Enyeama made the most saves of any goalkeeper in the group phase and had to be alert again to keep out Pogba’s fierce close-range volley as the play swept from end to end in a first half that saw both sides look vulnerable defensively.

Juventus’s Pogba was being afforded a lot of space but, as was the case all over the pitch, the final ball was all too often wasteful with Mathieu Debuchy’s shot wide the only other notable attempt in a half that promised more than it delivered.

France, the 2006 runners-up, did not make it past the group stage in South Africa four years ago but they appear to be much more united as a squad in this tournament.

That togetherness was needed as Nigeria controlled the opening stages of the second half and only a sharp stop from Hugo Lloris prevented Peter Odemwingie’s low shot from giving the Africans the lead.

Against the run of play Benzema almost gave France the lead. The Real Madrid man played a neat one-two with Antoine Griezmann before seeing his shot partially blocked by Enyeama and then hacked off the line by Moses.

The introduction of Griezmann for Olivier Giroud saw France emerge more as an attacking force, with Benzema playing more centrally, and the breakthrough came when Pogba headed into an empty net after Enyeama had misjudged Valbuena’s corner.

And, as Nigeria pushed for a leveller, Joseph Yobo flicked Valbuena’s low cross into his own net on the day he surpassed Jay-Jay Okocha’s record of nine World Cup matches for the Super Eagles.

Adamawa Assembly rejects commissioner-nominee

The Adamawa State House of Assembly on Monday rejected Gov. Murtala Nyako’s commissioner-nominee, Mr Phineas Elisha.

The rejection followed an observation by some members that Girei Local Government, where the nominee hailed from, had two commissioners, and that giving it additional one would negate federal character requirement.

Mr Jerry Kundisi (PDP-Gombi), Adamu Kamale (PDP-Michika), and Alhaji Ibrahim Sadiq (PDP-Fufore), said although Elisha was qualified for the job, his appointment would violate Section 14 sub section 4 of the Constitution.

They argued that if the governor wanted Elisha as commissioner, he had to drop one of his commissioners from Girei Local Govenment.

The assembly’s sitting, presided over by the Speaker, Alhaji Ahmadu Fintiri, therefore, unanimously rejected the nomination.

FG denies knowledge of Chibok attack warning letter

The Coordinator, National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, has said the Federal Government was not aware of the threat by Boko Haram to attack communities around Chibok town.

Omeri, who said this on Monday while responding to questions on the preventive measures taken by security personnel against the Sunday  attacks on Kautikari, Kwada and Karagau villages, denied knowledge of the threat by the violent sect to attack the communities.

The insurgents attacked villages near Chibok in Borno State on Sunday, setting ablaze five churches and killing no fewer than 48.

In the offensive, which was said to have lasted for about four hours, the terrorists attacked churches during Sunday worship, shot at worshippers and set the church buildings ablaze.

The insurgents had two weeks ago written to the council area that they would attack it again and this was confirmed to journalists in Maiduguri by a top official of Chibok Local Government,  who said the threat had been reported to the government and the security agencies.

He said, “Everyone in the LGA believes that the sect cannot be pocketed by security men. The letter has further worsened their fear.

“Whenever Boko Haram tells you that they are coming, they will never fail to do so. Our fear now is that we don’t know when and how they are going to come but our people are in great fear. We are calling for prayers as well as on government to provide adequate security in Chibok.”

But the Federal Government’s NIC Coordinator, who confirmed the attacks on the villages, stated that the government was not aware of the reported threat by Boko Haram to attack the villages.

He said, “We are not aware of Boko Haram threat letter to the communities; Boko Haram came to the villages , but the security agencies mobilised during the attack and repelled it and also killed a number of the insurgents.

“The insurgents are showing a lot of desperation, which means that they are nearing their end.”

Fayose asks court to dismiss impeachment against him

Ekiti State Governor-elect, Mr. Ayo Fayose, on Monday asked an Ekiti High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, to strike out a case seeking to stop him from contesting the June 21 governorship election already won by him.

The Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate argued that the court lacked the jurisidiction to hear the case filed by a socio-cultural organisation, Ekiti Eleven and the Citizen Party.

His lead counsel, Mr. Raji Ahmed (SAN) argued that only the Federal High Court could hear the case since it involved the a Federal Agency-the Independent National Electoral Commission-and the National secretariat of PDP.

Ahmed said that the case in which the plaintiffs sought to stop his client from contesting the governorship election had been ovetaken by events as it had been won and lost.

Opposing the argument, the lead counsel to the citizen’s party, Norrison Quakers (SAN) argued that the case still had merit regardless of whether the election at hand had been conducted or not.

Supporting the argument, counsel to the ‘E-Eleven’, Mr. Raufu Balogun, insisted that the court had jurisdiction to try the case, and should therefore not strike it out.

He urged the court to dismiss the defendant’s counsel submission for lacking in merit, citing Section 31 of the Electoral Act.

Before adjourning till July 18 for ruling, Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi asked all the parties to submit their written applications on or before the said date.

The Plaintiff, Ekiti-Eleven, is seeking the court to compel Fayose to explain circumstances surrounding his 2006 impeachment.

The applicant contended that the former Ekiti Governor failed to disclose vital information regarding the grounds of his impeachment in 2006 in form CFO1 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Fear of Boko Haram attack hits conference

The fear of possible attack of members of the national conference by Boko Haram enveloped the conference on Monday when a delegate, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said he received a message on his telephone of a possible attack by members of the sect in Abuja this week.

Raising a matter of Public Urgency, he asked for the permission of the Chairman of the Conference, Justice Idris Kutigi to read the message.

He was granted the permission.

The message, which he also sent to our correspondent read, ” News got to us that our enemy is planning something bigger than Nyayan bomb blast between Tuesday and Wednesday in Abuja.

“Mind your movement and be careful. The date is still unknown. Please, pass it around to save loved ones.”

Some delegates later discussed the issue among themselves, wondering when the bombings would stop.

One of the delegate, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “We are in trouble in this country. Bombings everywhere. When will this stop?

“Even here, we don’t know what is going to happen. Things are so bad in the country. Things are so bad.”

Only last Thursday, a delegate, Obi Onoliefo had raised the issue of safety of delegates when, having looked at the perimeter wall of the National Judicial Institute, observed that there were no security operatives manning them.

He, therefore, called for security operatives to be drafted to the perimeter fences to forestall insurgents from breaking into the premises and causing bloodshed.

Meanwhile, delegates began the deliberation on the report of the Political Parties and Electoral Matters, on Monday.

The report, which was made available to our correspondent recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission should stop deleting political parties.

While adding that political parties should be allowed to grow, it also said that government should not fund political parties.

Some of the recommendations are that, “Political party leadership and administration should be insulated from undue control and interference from chief executives of government at all levels, so that party independence is restored. In so doing.

“The wishes of the party members as expressed through their voted will be reflected in the party administration.”

The committee also recommended that rather than scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commissions, efforts should be made to strengthen them with a view to making them more effective, as well as improving their credibility.

It added that provision should be made for the financial indecent of SIECs by giving them a first line charge in the state’s budget.

That issues relating to the composition and administration of SIECs should be activated through a  law of the State House of Assembly.

It added that, “State Houses of Assembly,y should legislate the details of the composition and administration of SIECs as well as confirm their members.

“State houses of assembly should legislate the tenure of elected local government officials.”

On judiciary, it said that Federal High Court should be renamed and redesigned as constitutional court of Nigeria, adding the jurisdiction and powers of the Federal High Court should be transferred to the National Industrial Court.

On death or withdraw of a candidate, the committee recommended that where a candidate dies or withdraws from the election, the political party which nominated “that candidate shall submit to the commission the name of the candidate who scored the second highest number if voted at the primaries as the substitute candidate.”

It added that where such “a dead or disqualified candidate may have emerged by consensus, fresh primaries should be held to determine the new representative of the party. ” 

Cynthia Osokogu: Court admits video as evidence

Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, on Monday admitted in evidence, a video containing confessional statements of the alleged killers of Facebook lover, Cynthia Osokogu.

The defendants, Okwumo Nwabufo 34; Olisaeloka Ezike, 24; Orji Osita, 33; and Ezike Nonso, 25, are charged with conspiracy and murder of Cynthia.

At the hearing, Mr Emmanuel Peters, a film editor and cinematographer, led in evidence by Ade Ipaye, Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, told the court how he made the video recording and its certification.

Peters told the court that in continuation of the hearing that he connected his Sony digital camera to a Panasonic DVD player with a DELL laptop which he used in producing the DVD after which he destroyed the copy in the camera.

Peters identified the DVD and the certification document which was then tendered as evidence by Ipaye.

The counsel for the second defendant, Mr Michael Ajayi, however, opposed the admission of the video, saying the document did not fulfilling the provisions of Section 104 of the Evidence Act.

He argued that the certification was done after the trial had begun and that there was nothing to show that legal fees were paid to obtain the document, citing the case of Tapik United Vs GTB Plc.

Ipaye, however, cited Section 141 of the Evidence Act that proof of payment was required where there are legal fees prescribed in that respect.

He said, “The DVD was produced on the instruction of the police in the course of investigation; the whole purpose is to put it in evidence in a prosecution initiated by the state as between the police and the prosecution authority.

“What the Supreme Court said on the case cited by the defence counsel was that the learned trial judge ought to have ordered counsel to ensure that the said documents are paid for after which the trial continues.”

He urged the court to admit the DVD with the certification as evidence.

Akinlade subsequently ruled that the video recording was relevant to the trial and admitted it alongside a certification document as exhibit P16a and P16b respectively.

In his evidence, Insp. Yemi Olagbende from the homicide section of SCID, Panti, Yaba, a prosecution witness, told the court that he came in contact with the accused while investigating the matter .

He said, “I came in contact with the defendants when the case was transferred to my department, with instructions to find out the cause of death of Cynthia and the circumstances surrounding it.”

At this point, Mr Ade Ipaye applied for an adjournment for continuation of trial to enable the police officer to call witnesses to appear in court

The case was subsequently adjourned until Sept. 19, Oct. 3 and Oct. 10 for continuation of trial.