The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories captured in one shot. Find articles ranging from News, to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:
- FG Approves N13.3bn For Take Off Of Community Policing
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N13.3 billion for the take-off of Community Policing initiative across Nigeria as the country seeks to tackle its security challenges. The approval was disclosed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during a virtual meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday. “As part of measures adopted to consolidate efforts aimed at containing the security situation in the country, the Federal Government has approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of Community Policing initiative across the country,” a statement by Laolu Akande, media aide to Osinbajo read.
It explained that during the meeting, it was resolved that “the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, with two other governors, meet with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Finance Minister and the Inspector General of Police to coordinate the proper utilization of the funding of the initiative.” In its report to the Council, the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad-hoc Committee on Security and Policing, had noted that engagement with stakeholders on the operationalization of community policing in the country was still on.
- SERAP demands withdrawal of controversial NBC code, NBMOA backs government
Kudos and knocks have continued to trail the reviewed National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) code.The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently instruct the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to withdraw the controversial code, threatening court action if the demand is not met. In an open letter to Mr. President, the group also sought withdrawal of the memo threatening to sanction any broadcast that denigrates, disrespects, insults, and abuses president, governors, lawmakers, and other elders and leaders in authority. SERAP further asked President Buhari to “instruct Mohammed and the NBC to immediately rescind the fine of N5million imposed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM, following reported comments by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Malafia, during an interview with the radio station.
Mailafia, in the interview with the radio station, claimed that some of the repentant Boko Haram terrorists confessed that one of the northern governors is the commander of the insurgents in Nigeria. The NBC last week reportedly warned journalists and broadcast stations, stating: “To denigrate our governors, lawmakers, elders and leaders in abusive terms is not our culture. We respect our leaders as a positive cultural value. The commission may be compelled to impose sanctions where stations fail to curb this practice.” In the SERAP’s letter dated August 15, 2020 and signed by the Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group said: “Rather than pushing to enforce a culture to respect president, governors, lawmakers, elders, and other leaders, Muhammed and the NBC should use their entrusted public office and mandates to promote a culture of public debate, access to information, transparency and accountability in government.”
- S/Kaduna killings: CAN leader meets El-Rufai, says killing Lekwot won’t bring peace
The President of Christian Association of Nigeria , CAN, Dr. Supo Ayokunle has said he would be meeting Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai on Monday over the killings in Southern Kaduna. He told Christians in the state that genocide in the state has given Kaduna state a bad name, adding that the bloodshed in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the country must stop. “My coming today is to identify with the oppressed people of Southern Kaduna whether Christian or Muslims. I come here not to see you alone but I will see the governor on Monday “he said.
According to him, the genocide in Kaduna is creating bad image for the country outside.
He said the Shariah council could not achieve peace by calling for more death. “When you are talking about peace and you say it is about killing somebody, is that peace? It is to bring further violence to the nation because Zamani Lekwot has his own people; they will not allow that. A government that attempts that is looking for a greater trouble,” he said.
- EFCC gets petition on Akpabio, Pondei
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has received a petition requesting the anti-graft agency to probe the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei. The anti-graft agency has invited a group, Foundation for True Freedom and Good Governance, to adopt the petition on Thursday. Agency officials said, adoption of the petition is a standard practice to enable the commission to verify the signatories before, commencement of investigation of the allegations against the two public officers bordering on alleged diversion of public funds. The Senate Ad Hoc Committee headed by Sen. Olubunmi Adetumbi, which investigated the NDDC activities, said it uncovered mismanagement of N81.5 billion.
Although Akpabio had been undergoing probe by EFCC on his tenure as the governor of Akwa Ibom State, this is the first time the EFCC has received a petition on alleged fraud in NDDC. The Senate Committee had indicted NDDC of financial recklessness. The Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, in his report, said the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) spent N81.5billion in eight months. He said the amount was contained in the submission of the IMC to the Ad hoc Committee. He said IMC 1, which was then chaired by Ms Gbene Joi Nunieh between October 2019 and February 18, 2020, spent f N22.5billion out of the N81.5billion. He said IMC II, chaired by Professor Pondei between February 19, 2020 and May 31st 2020 expended N59.1billion. He said budgeting was not entrenched in NDDC.
- Oyedepo dares FG: I can’t be alive to see a minister close Church accounts
Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, David Oyedepo has dared the Federal Government, saying that he cannot be alive to witness a minister removing a board trustee and close the accounts of the church. He rejected the newly amended Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Law, saying the church is not a club and neither should it be mistaken for a company for the minister to have the power to remove a board trustee or shut the accounts of the church.
Oyedepo, during his service in Canaanland on Sunday warned the Federal Government not to try what they were planning to do to the churches, saying that Nigeria is going too far. Oyedepo, during his service in Canaanland on Sunday warned the Federal Government not to try what they were planning to do to the churches, saying that Nigeria is going too far. “To appoint Board of Trustees! You’ll appoint an Occultist to be Manager of Church Affairs? When this crude prophet is alive? When all the sons of the Prophet are alive? May I say this sir, the Church is not a club and should not be mistaken for a company.
- We won’t accept ‘satanic’ CAMA, CAN vows
The Christian Association of Nigeria has rejected the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA), dismissing it as “satanic”.
The apex Christian body said CAMA “would snuff life out of the church and rank the church as a secular institution under secular control.” President Muhammadu Buhari on August 7 signed into law, the Companies and Allied Matters Bill 2020. The bill passed by the National Assembly replaced the 1990 CAMA. The Christian body described sections 839(1) and (2) as of the law which empowers the supervising Minister “to suspend trustees of an association (in this case, the church) and appoint the interim managers to manage the affairs of the association for some given reasons” as “satanic”. Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant on Media and Communications to CAN President, Rev Samson Ayokunle, in a statement noted the Federal Government has declared war on the church if the law were to stand.
“The law, to say the least, is unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible, and an ill-wind that blows no one any good. It is a time bomb waiting to explode. “While we are not against the government fighting corruption wherever it may be found, yet we completely reject the idea of bringing the church, which is technically grouped among the NGOs, under control of the government. “The Church cannot be controlled by the government because of its spiritual responsibilities and obligations.” The Christian body added: “How can the government sack the trustee of a church which it contributed no dime to establish? “How can a secular and political minister be the final authority on the affairs and management of another institution which is not political? CAN called on Buhari to “stop the implementation of the obnoxious and ungodly law until the religious institutions are exempted from it” and “return the law to the National Assembly for immediate amendment.”
- INEC Clears Akeredolu, Ajayi, Jegede, 14 Others For Ondo Governorship Poll
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cleared 17 candidates for the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State. INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, announced this in a statement on Friday. He explained that this followed the weekly regular meeting of the electoral umpire on Thursday which deliberated on the conduct of the election scheduled for October 10 and other outstanding elections in the country. Okoye noted that INEC had published the provisional list of candidates comprising 17 political parties for the governorship election in Ondo on July 31.
He explained that in line with Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and as provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released February 6, withdrawal and substitution of candidates ended at 6pm on August 18. “Four political parties that earlier made valid nominations have substituted their candidates. “The African Democratic Congress (ADC), Action Democratic Party (ADP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) withdrew and substituted their deputy governorship candidates while the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) substituted both its governorship and deputy governorship candidates,” the statement read.
- Edo Election: Police Clampdown On Proliferation Of Prohibited Firearms
The Edo State Police Command has begun mopping up illegal firearms ahead of the September 19 governorship election in the state. This is in line with a directive issued by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, for a nationwide clampdown on the proliferation of prohibited firearms. Adamu had in a statement issued by the Force spokesman, Frank Mba, on August 16, said the directive is targeted at addressing the proliferation and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms in the country which is contrary to the provisions of Chapter F.28 LFN 2004 of the Firearms Act.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Police Public Relations Officer in Edo State, Chidi Nwabuzor, the Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, ordered all police officers “to immediately put in place measures to identify, disarm, arrest and prosecute any person or group of persons in possession of firearms prohibited by law.” Kokumo asked all Divisional Police Officers to with immediate effect, organize enlightenment meetings for members of the Vigilance Groups, Forest Guards, Hunters and Local Security outfits.
- EDO 2020: PDP accuses APC of printing illegal PVCs
Ahead of the Edo State governorship election slated for September 19, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC), is printing illegal Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). Edo State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, who made the allegation at a press conference in Benin Sunday, said that the matter has been reported to security agencies and the police. He said, “We have alerted the Police and security agencies on this illegal act, but nothing has been done about it. Nobody has been arrested. We are using this medium to alert Nigerians and the entire world of what is happening in the state”
Nehikhare accused the APC of trying to stoke violence in the state with a view of having the election postponed by INEC, saying that the PDP will not dance to the tune played by the party. However, reacting to the allegation, APC State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Azebamwen said, “It is a mark of ignorance for PDP’s Chris Nehikhare to accuse leaders of APC of criminally printing PVCs. Any politician who does that will be wasting his/her time and money because INEC’s card readers will reject the fake PVCs. “PDP leaders are trying to distract and deceive Edo people and other Nigerians about their plot to rig the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, but it will be an exercise in futility.
- Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Governorship Election
The Bayelsa Governorship Election Tribunal on Monday nullified the election of Governor Douye Diri. The Tribunal also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to order a fresh election within 90 days. The verdict follows the petition by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) challenging the victory of Governor Diri in the November 19 governorship election. The ANDP claimed that the party was unlawfully excluded from the election.
In a split judgement of two-one, the three-man panel ruled that INEC does not have the power to disqualify any candidate for an election. INEC in its argument had said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34-year-old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election. ANDP told Justice Yunusa Musa, who delivered the lead judgment that its initial Deputy Governorship Candidate, David Esinkuma was duly substituted by the Party within the allowed time frame, following the notification from INEC that he’s under-age.
Justice Musa in his response said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insists that the petition of the ANDP stands.
- UNILAG: Buhari suspends Babalakin, Ogundipe, sacks acting VC
The Federal Government has directed the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Wale Babalakin, to recuse himself from official duties relating to the institution. Spokesman of the Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, who broke the news in a statement yesterday, said Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe was also directed to recuse himself as Vice-Chancellor, adding that a panel has been set up to probe the crisis rocking UNILAG. The panel, which is chaired by Tukur Sa’ad, former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, has Victor Onuoha, Ikenna Oyindo, Ekanem Braide, Adamu Usman, and Jimoh Bankole as members. Expected to submit its report within two weeks, the seven-man panel is to review the report of the council sub-committe on review of expenditure of the university since and make appropriate recommendation after given those indicted an opportunity to themselves. It is also expected to examine steps taken by the council leading to the removal of Ogundipe in order to determine whether due process was followed in accordance to the stipulated universities act and whether fair hearing was adhered to.
The committee, which will be inaugurated by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Wednesday, August 25, 2020, is also expected to come up with decision to assist government in ensuring peace in the university. The Governing Council of UNILAG had removed Ogundipe from office over alleged financial misappropriation and abuse of office. But Ogundipe kicked against his removal, saying due process was not followed. Ogundipe had filed a lawsuit at the national industrial court to challenge his removal, but yesterday, he withdrew the suit, which had as defendants: UNILAG, Babalakin, UNILAG senate; Oladejo Azeez, the institution’s registrar; and Theophilus Soyombo, the acting VC.
- ‘Ogundipe Has Not Denied Any Wrongdoing’ – Babalakin Insists UNILAG VC Sack Was Legal
Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Wale Babalakin on Monday reiterated that the sack of Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as Vice-Chancellor was legal. He also noted that Ogundipe has not denied any of the allegations levelled against him. Babalakin made the remarks during an appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily. Ogundipe was sacked by the University’s Governing Council last week, but he has rejected the decision, claiming the process was not fair and did not follow due process.
The University’s Senate and labour unions have also suggested the Vice-Chancellor’s removal contravened the University’s laid down procedures. The school’s alumni association on Saturday called for the Council to rescind the sack and follow due process. On Monday, Babalakin, who chairs the Governing Council, maintained that due process had been followed and Ogundipe had been found guilty of gross misconduct and financial misappropriation.
- Phytomedicine to enter school curriculum – NIPRD boss
Director-General of National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja, Dr. Obi Adigwe, has disclosed plans by the institute to inculcate modules on phytomedicine in the country’s academic curriculum. According to Adigwe, the lockdown induced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) opened the experts’ eyes to the efficacy herbs in the treatment of diseases in the absence of orthodox medicaments. He spoke to reporters on Monday in Ilorin at the opening ceremony of a three-day programme entitled ‘Developing Nigeria’s Phytomedicines for a Healthy Population and Assured Economic Prosperity’.
“Orthodox medicine is the folktale of European countries and lately Asian nations. But today, Nigeria has learnt a great lesson on health issues due to the outbreak of COVID-19. “The NIPRD has a great role to play in this respect, and we had since started it. It had been proven that what our traditional medical medicines lacked was scientific knowledge, which, as an institute, we are now ready to supply,” he said. Adigwe pointed out that NIPRD did a first class analysis on the organic medicine from Madagascar for COVID-19. He added: “All those practising herbal medicine must now come together and be ready for scientific assistance. We had training modules and capacity processes developed in our institute, preparatory to its introduction in some of our tertiary institutions.”
- Rising food inflation bites deeper into weakened household income
Disposable income of many Nigerian households has continued to come under pressure, with many spending more on food following continued rise in food inflation, and the consumer price index (CPI). According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the CPI, which measures inflation increased by 12.82 per cent (year-on-year) in July 2020, or 0.26 per cent higher than the rate recorded in June 2020 (12.56) per cent, recording the highest level since March 2018. Similarly, the composite food index rose by 15.48 per cent in July compared to 15.18 per cent in June. The rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, meat, fruits, oils and fats, and fish.
Apart from seasonality effect typically associated with the onset of the planting season, as well as flooding in some parts of the country that must have negatively influenced the food basket, bread, biscuits, noodles, semo, and spaghetti among others are all made from wheat and Nigeria imports 90 per cent of the commodity for the production of other food items. With the foreign exchange scarcity, importers have had to source their dollars outside the official window at a higher cost to import, thus translating to higher cost of production, which is eventually transferred to the consumers.
- Buhari committed to ending fuel importation- Sylva
President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to reversing Nigeria’s status as a net importer of refined petroleum products, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said. The minister stated this after inspecting the first hydro-skimming private modular refinery being built by businessman, Dr. Azibapu Eruani in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital. The refinery, which is about 75 per cent completed, has the capacity to process 12, 000 barrels of crude per day. In a release by the spokesperson for the company, Austin Ebipade, the minister noted that Azikel hydro-skimming refinery is a massive visionary and pragmatic quest to facilitate the Federal Government’s objectives towards attaining self-sufficiency in the production of refined products such as petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and liquified petroleum gas (LPG).
According to the minister, the Azikel private refinery is important to Nigerians and the country’s search for economic prosperity. The statement quoted the minister to have said: “The Azikel Refinery is set to actualise the ‘export’ of refined products from Bayelsa State to other states in the Nigerian federation, with daily production of 1.5 million litres of petrol, one million litres of diesel 500,000 litres of kerosene and aviation fuel, thereby reversing of the stigma of Nigeria, the world’s fifth largest producer of crude oil being a net importer of refined products.”
- SPE asks FG to sell idle refineries to private operators
The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), has urged economic managers to sell Idle refineries to private sector operators to meet Nigeria’s oil and gas needs. According to the Chairman, SPE, Joe Nwakwue, keeping refineries idle is not in the interest of the economy, as the nation continues to incur expenses even when they are idle. He added that going by the yearly report published by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), showed that the country Nigeria lost about N120 billion operating the idle refineries over the years.
The NNPC boss, Mele Kyari, had attributed the failure to fix the refineries over these years to strategy challenges, as the government never knew what to do with them, adding that the Corporation didn’t get the right advisory services and the right strategy to go through with it. Consequently, Kyari said this called for a change in strategy and a new framework, to help NNPC and prospective investors to put their money down and ultimately change that equation, by first fixing the refineries to make them attractive. Nwakwue stated this at a press briefing to announce the SPE Nigeria Energy Industry Transformation Summit (NEITS), scheduled to hold from the 25th-27th of August.
- WHO recommends masks for children older than 11 years
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says children above 11 years should wear face masks wherever adults wear them, such as in crowded settings, as a tool against COVID-1. The UN health and children’s agencies say in a guidance document for decision makers that was published Friday evening. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF did not generally recommend children between ages six and 11 wear masks, but that they should be considered in areas with intense virus transmission or in special settings such as schools. However, there are situations when masks “can significantly interfere with the learning process and have a negative impact on critical school activities,” said international experts who drafted the guidance. Younger children should not be made to wear masks, mainly because they cannot put them on and off correctly by themselves, according to the document.
The expert group said children up to five years old would need to be under constant supervision if they did wear masks. “Children should also be listened to regarding their perceptions and any concerns about wearing a mask,” they said. Transparent visors offer less protection than fabric mouth and nose coverings, according to the guidance document. According to data from around the world, only around one to seven per cent of all COVID-19 cases are children and youths below age 18. There are conflicting studies about whether infected children carry less, more or the same amount of novel coronavirus compared to adults.
- Nigeria Working With WHO To Track COVID-19 Vaccine Development – Health Minister
Nigeria is working with the World Health Organisation to finalise enrollment with ACT Accelerator, a global mechanism tracking and sponsoring research organisations working on covid19 vaccine development. Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire said this on Thursday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“We are also interested in the COVAX facility, a GAVI supported global initiative to procure and assure equitable access to vaccines, as soon as they are available, especially for lower and lower middle-Income Countries (LMIC),” the minister said. “This will prioritise Nigeria for allocation of a part of two billion vaccines doses that will be secured, in a special plan to protect the interests of poorer countries.”
- Shoprite barred from transferring assets, battles $10m judgment debt.
The Federal High Court in Lagos has made an order of mareva injunction stopping Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Limited from disposing of or transferring its assets out of jurisdiction over a $10m judgment debt. The mareva injunction made by Justice Mohammed Liman was in favour of a Nigerian firm, A.I.C. Limited, which in 2018, secured a $10m judgment against Shoprite in a breach of contract lawsuit. According to court papers, the $10m judgment was entered in favour of A.I.C. Limited against Shoprite by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja. Displeased with the judgment, Shoprite went on appeal but it equally lost at the Court of Appeal and has gone to the Supreme Court.
In the July 14, 2020 mareva injunction, a copy of which was obtained by newsmen, Justice Liman restrained “the judgment debtor/1st respondent,” and its privies “from transferring, assigning, charging, disposing of its trademark, franchise and intellectual property in a manner that will alter, dissipate or remove these non-cash assets and other assets, including but not limited to trade receivables, trade payables, payment for purchase of merchandise, from within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.” The judge also mandated the 2nd respondent, Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, “to disclose its audited financial statements for the years ending 2018 and 2019 to enable the judgment creditor/applicant determine the judgment debtor’s/respondent’s funds in its custody in order to preserve same in satisfaction of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/L/288/2018.”
- Trump Tells US Voters Biden ‘Is Your Worst Nightmare’
President Donald Trump told voters near his opponent Joe Biden’s Pennsylvania birthplace on Thursday that the Democrat has sold out American workers and would be a “nightmare” if he got into power. Biden is “your worst nightmare,” Trump told the crowd in an extraordinarily dark speech in Old Forge, just down the road from Biden’s old hometown of Scranton, in the heart of the key election battleground state. “He spent the last half-century in Washington selling out our country and ripping off our jobs and letting other countries steal our jobs,” Trump said hours before Biden was to address the nation and accept the Democratic nomination for the White House.
Trump used his speech to snatch the limelight on Biden’s big day, blasting the Democrat as someone who would raise taxes, open borders to “let in violent mobs” and abandon American workers. Indicating the flavour of his reelection campaign in the next two and a half months, Trump claimed that recent crime spikes in big cities and sometimes violent protests against police abuses would engulf the country under Biden. “If you want a vision of your life under a Biden presidency, think of the smouldering ruins in Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland, the blood-stained sidewalks of Chicago, and imagine the mayhem coming to your town,” he said.
- Biden Pledges To End US ‘Darkness’ In Accepting Democratic Nomination
Joe Biden promised Thursday to end the “darkness” of Donald Trump’s presidency in a speech accepting the Democratic nomination with an impassioned call for unity and a return to optimism. “The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger, too much fear, too much division,” Biden said. n“If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” he said. “It’s time for us, for we the people, to come together.” Speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, but with an audience almost entirely online or on television, Biden’s acceptance speech reflected the enormity of the shutdown that has upended life across the United States in the battle against the deadly coronavirus.
And Biden, 77, urged Americans in blistering terms to punish Trump for the chaos that has seen more than 170,000 deaths and economic calamity. “We lead the world in deaths,” he said in the 22-minute speech, calling Trump’s performance “unforgivable.” “On day one” of his own presidency, Biden said, he would implement a national COVID-19 plan and mandate mask wearing.
Biden is on his third White House bid after failing to win the nomination in 1988 and 2008. But after months of relentless mockery from Trump and other Republicans who claim Biden is senile, the veteran politician’s speech was markedly fluent and always full of passion. Democrats hope the strong performance, as well as the vice-presidential nomination of Kamala Harris — the first black woman ever to make it onto the White House ticket of a major party — will deflate those attacks.
- Mali president resigns after military mutiny
Mali plunges into political uncertainty as military forces Ibrahim Boubacar Keita out of the presidency. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced around midnight on Tuesday that he is resigning from his post saying that he does not wish blood to be shed following a military mutiny that plunged the country into a political crisis. “Today, certain parts of the military have decided that intervention was necessary. Do I really have a choice? Because I do not wish blood to be shed,” Keita said in a brief statement broadcast on national television. Keita said that he has decided “to give up my duty from now on.” It is unclear if the military is now officially in charge of the country.
Earlier, Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were detained by soldiers in a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis in the country. The development came hours after soldiers took up arms and staged a mutiny at a key base in Kati, a town close to Bamako.
The soldiers were expected to deliver a statement later, while countries in West Africa, along with former colonial power France, the European Union and the African Union, denounced the actions of the soldiers and warned against any unconstitutional change of power. The events came amid a weeks-long political crisis that has seen opposition protesters taking to the streets to demand the departure of Keita, accusing him of allowing the country’s economy to collapse and mishandling a worsening security situation. Mali’s years-long conflict, in which ideologically-motivated armed groups have stoked ethnic tensions while jockeying for power, has spilled into the neighbouring countries of Niger and Burkina Faso, destabilising the wider Sahel region and creating a massive humanitarian crisis.
- ECOWAS Suspends Mali Over Coup, Imposes Sanctions
The West Africa bloc ECOWAS on Tuesday condemned a military putsch in Mali and pledged a range of retaliatory actions, including financial sanctions. Rebel soldiers arrested Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse on Tuesday afternoon following weeks of political tension in the country. The dramatic move followed the seizure of an army base near the capital Bamako that morning.
In a statement, the Economic Community for West African States said that its members would close land and air borders to Mali and pledged to demand sanctions against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators”. The 15-nation bloc — which includes Mali — also said that it would suspend the country from its internal decision-making bodies. “ECOWAS has noted with great concern the seizure of power by Malian military putschists,” said the statement, which was originally published in French.
- Finland Rations Paracetamol Over Supply Fears
The sale of some commonly used medicines will be restricted in Finland in order to ensure enough availability during the next predicted coronavirus wave, the health ministry announced on Tuesday. Users of the painkiller paracetamol and of the anti-inflammatory drug Dexamethasone will only be allowed to buy up to three months’ supply in one go, under special measures which are to be introduced immediately and continue until January next year.
The limits aim to “prepare for a possible increase in the global demand” if coronavirus cases spike over the autumn and winter, a statement from the health ministry said.
Paracetamol is an over-the-counter painkiller commonly used to treat fever, but worldwide supplies have been hit after the pandemic caused some ingredient manufacturers, particularly in China, to reduce their output. “We are taking this step so that even if the problems continue with the supply and logistics of paracetamol, we will have enough for every patient who needs it,” senior health ministry specialist Noora Oinonen told AFP. Meanwhile, the steroid Dexamethasone was found by a UK study in June to benefit patients critically ill with COVID-19, although the World Health Organization has not yet decided whether to endorse the drug as a coronavirus treatment. “We only have a small market for Dexamethasone in Finland, so if the WHO recommends it in its guidelines, there is a threat that sales of the medicine might grow quickly,” Oinonen said.
- Beirut explosions render 70,000 workers unemployed — UN
The United Nations says no fewer than 70,000 workers are believed to have been rendered unemployed by the recent devastating explosions in Beirut, Lebanon. A spokesperson for the organisation, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, who stated this during his daily news briefing on Monday, said many households were directly affected as a result. Dujarric said the latest figure was besides 220,000 workers estimated to have lost their jobs due to the country’s financial crisis that began in October, 2019. According to him, the coronavirus pandemic has also left many others jobless.
“Some 40,000 buildings were damaged, with 3,000 residential structures severely damaged. “At least 2,000 doctors were either injured or their clinics were destroyed. No fewer than 2,000 people were killed and 5,000 others injured in the Aug. 4 explosions at the Port of Beirut. The UN has launched a 565-million-U.S.-dollars (N214.7 billion) appeal to support recovery efforts in the city. Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged the inflows of foreign support to the Lebanese people, saying he was deeply moved by the show of solidarity.
- US election: Trump never took presidency seriously, says Obama
Donald Trump has “never” taken the US presidency seriously and lacks the skills to grow into the job, his predecessor Barack Obama will say Wednesday at the Democratic convention. “I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously…. But he never did,” the 44th president will say, according to excerpts of his speech released by convention organizers. “He’s shown no interest in putting in the work, no interest in finding common ground,” Obama said in a series of deeply critical comments about the sitting president. “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”
- Mali opposition declares support for coup leaders
Army colonel Assimi Goita on Wednesday introduced himself as Mali’s new military strongman a day after a coup that was condemned by the international community but won support from the country’s opposition. The African Union, European Union, the United States and the UN Security Council have all demanded the junta free President Ibrahim Boubacar, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and others taken captive in Tuesday’s coup that followed months of protests. In the Malian capital Bamako, Goita said after meeting top civil servants that he was the leader of the “National Committee for the Salvation of the People” that has seized power.
“Mali is in a situation of socio-political crisis. There is no more room for mistakes,” Goita, surrounded by armed military men, told journalists. His entourage told AFP that Goita, who is in his forties, had until now headed Mali’s special forces based in the centre of the west African country, torn for the last five years by jihadist and sectarian violence.
Several military men told AFP on condition of anonymity that Goita was the true force behind the coup. Fellow coup chiefs meanwhile called on the public to return to normal life, warned against acts of “vandalism” and threatened to punish any soldier found guilty of extortion. The opposition coalition M5-RFP said in a statement that “it took note of the commitment” the junta has made to “open a civilian political transition” and would work with it on “developing a roadmap.” The coalition’s Choguel Maiga told journalists “we will organise the biggest patriotic rally on Friday” in Bamako and nationwide in order to “celebrate the Malian people’s victory”.
- California Fires Force Thousands To Flee As Governor Asks For Help
Some of California’s largest-ever fires raged across the state Saturday, forcing tens of thousands from their homes as the governor called for international help to fight the blazes. About 12,000 lightning strikes hit across the state in 72 hours, officials said, sparking the fires that left thick smoke blanketing large areas of central and northern California. “We simply haven’t seen anything like this in many, many years,” California governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday. The two largest blazes — dubbed the SCU Lightening Complex and the LNU Lightening Complex — had burned a total of just under 600,000 acres (240,000 hectares) and nearly 500 structures.
Wineries in the famed Napa and Sonoma regions, which are still reeling from blazes in recent years, are under threat by the SCU Complex — the 10th largest fire recorded. Five deaths have been linked to the latest flare-ups, with four bodies recovered on Thursday, including three from a burned house in a rural area of Napa County. Nature reserves were also ravaged. The Big Basin Redwoods State Park said in a statement that some of its historic buildings had been destroyed by flames.
- PSG, Bayern Munich battle in Champions League final – Eyes on Lisbon
Attention of football fans across the globe will be on the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in Lisbon, Portugal, tomorrow for another exciting moment of soccer, as the final of the 2020 UEFA Champions League holds. The venue also known as the Estádio da Luz (Stadium of Light), the home of 37-time Portuguese champions, Benfica, was rebuilt to host games (including the final) of UEFA EURO 2004, and also staged the 2014 UEFA Champions League final, in which Real Madrid beat city rivals Atlético 4-1 after extra time to become European champions for a tenth time. It promises to be an epic showdown between French and German continental heavyweights, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
Paris Saint-Germain earned their place in the showpiece match with a comfortable 3-0 win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday, with Marquinhos, Angel Di Maria and Juan Bernat scoring the goals for the Parisians, who will contest their first-ever UEFA Champions League final and seek to complete a quadruple of trophies in the 2019-20 season (having also claimed Ligue 1, the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue). Bayern Munich, which has been the most impressive team in these latter stages of the UEFA Champions League confirmed their place in the final with a 3-0 triumph over Olympique Lyon on Wednesday evening, with Serge Gnabry (two) and Robert Lewandowski netting the goals. Tomorrow’s final could see Bayern, break Barcelona’s scoring record in the Champions League, having played seven less matches in what pundits call the deadliest scoring paring in the UCL of Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry.
- Man City hero David Silva joins Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad have signed former Manchester City midfielder David Silva as a free agent, the Spanish La Liga side said in a statement on Monday. The 34-year-old former Spain international has left Manchester City after a decade of service in which he won 11 major trophies, including four English Premier League titles. The Manchester outfit had announced earlier on Monday that they would be honouring the Spaniard by building a statue of him outside their Etihad Stadium. Real Sociedad, who finished sixth in La Liga, are one of the most attractive sides in the Spanish top flight. They were searching for a new playmaker after Martin Odegaard ended a one-year loan spell to return to Real Madrid.
- Bayern Munich Sack Youth Coach At Centre Of Racism Row
Bayern Munich, who face Lyon in a Champions League semi-final on Wednesday, have fired a coach from their youth academy amid a police investigation into allegations of racism. The coach, who was not named, has had his contract terminated “by mutual agreement”, the German league and cup champions said in a statement late Monday. The sacking is “the first result of an internal survey currently under way” at the youth training academy, it added.
Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said last week he was “furious” after hearing of the allegations, first reported by the ARD broadcaster. The coach is accused of making racist and other discriminatory comments in a series of messages, which he initially denied but later admitted, according to German media. He had been a youth coach at the club since 2003 and had been in charge of children’s and youth teams since 2006, according to the weekly Der Spiegel. He made discriminatory comments based on skin colour, nationality, religion and sexual orientation, Spiegel reported. These comments “do not correspond at all with the values that Bayern Munich represents”, Rummenigge said after police in Munich opened an investigation into the allegations.
- Taylor Swift donates £23,000 to help student go to university
An aspiring mathematician who lives in London has thanked Taylor Swift for making her “dreams come true” after the singer donated £23,000 towards her university education. Vitoria Mario, who is Portuguese but has lived in the UK for four years, said she was ineligible for government funding and her family could not afford to support her while she studied at Warwick University.
Swift made the contribution via a GoFundMe page. Alongside the donation for £23,373, the US pop star wrote: “Vitoria, I came across your story online and am so inspired by your drive and dedication to turning your dreams into reality. “I want to gift you the rest of your goal amount. Good luck with everything you do! Love, Taylor.” Mario said she has not spoken to Swift yet but was keen to thank her because “she actually made my dream come true”.
- Sinach gets Dove Awards nominations with ‘Way Maker’
Gospel singer, Osinachi Joseph, popularly known as Sinach, has been nominated in three categories— including the biggest song category— of the Dove Awards 2020 in the United States, with her hit track, ‘Way Maker’. The lyrical song which has received plausible reviews was nominated ‘Song of the Year’; Spanish Language Recorded Song of the Year (as recorded by Priscilla Bueno); and Worship Recorded Song of the Year (as recorded by Leeland). Dove Awards is organised by the Gospel Music Association, GMA, of the United States, and has been acclaimed one of the biggest gospel music awards in the world.
The Song of the Year Category, which is actually the biggest and flagship of the awards, is given to a songwriter and the publisher adjudged to have produced what is way above the class of competitors. ‘Way Maker’ is now acclaimed the first song written by a Nigerian gospel artiste to make the category. An excited Sinach reacted to the nomination: “This nomination could only have come through the Spirit of God and not man. “As I have said before, this song was born from the Spirit and it is soaring on the wings of the Holy Ghost. It is a song for the now. “I am grateful to everyone who has supported us, the churches, the ministers who have taken this song to the ends of the earth, and the many people it continues to be a blessing to.”
- Fireboy DML Drops His Sophomore Album “Apollo”
Nigerian singer-songwriter Fireboy DML has finally released the long-awaited second studio album Apollo. The 17-track album includes “ELI,” “Tattoo,” and “New York City Girl,” as well as appearances from D Smoke, Wande Coal, and Olamide. The Album was released midnight on Thursday and was announced on the singer’s Twitter account.
Speaking about the album on Monday, the singer said: This album is about evolution, growth, love, and pain. Gratitude to God for blessings. Gratitude to everyone who worked with me on this album; gratitude to my team (YBNL/EMPIRE), my family, and the kings who blessed this project with their presence. Last year, Fireboy DML released his debut album Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps. This will be his second album.
- Phyno teams up Flavour for Chop Life
Phyno has teamed up with Flavour for a new song titled Chop Life. The song release is coming after months of teasing fans with excerpts from the song themed along with a lager beer brand, Life. The two music stars are frequent collaborators and have produced songs like ‘Vibe,’ ‘Authe’ and ‘Culture,’ which also starred the Obiligbo Brothers.
Over the years, Phyno and Flavour have risen to become fans’ favourites with their impressive blend of highlife and contemporary music. The new song is a perfect exhibition of the talents possessed by both music stars. For this theme song, Phyno teams up with Flavour for the theme song for Life lager, has been released to commemorate the beautiful lighting of the Niger Bridge. The song emphasizes the message of hope and progress that has long been associated with the Life brand while delivering a melodious tune that is sure to get you off your feet.
- Ensure Severe Punishment For Rapists, Kaduna First Lady Tells Assembly
The First Lady of Kaduna State, Mrs Ummi El-Rufai, has asked members of the House of Assembly to enact a law that will ensure severe punishment for rapists. She made the appeal on Tuesday during a visit to the Assembly complex for the public hearing on the bill to amend the state Penal Code 2017 after the bill scaled through the second reading. Mrs El-Rufai proposed either castration or death sentence for rapists, describing such an act as a gross violation of the rights of women and children.
Expressing concern that an average of five rape cases especially minors are recorded in the state on daily basis, the governor’s wife noted that only severe penalty for rapists in the state penal code will serve as a deterrent to others. Upon arriving at the committee meeting room of the State House of Assembly, she was warmly received by the Speaker Yusuf Zailani and other lawmakers.
Her mission here is to intimate the lawmakers on the dangers of rising rape cases in the state and the need for them to hasten the passage of a bill that will mete out severe punishment against rapists.
- 35-Year-Old Man Imprisoned By Parents Regains Freedom After 15 Years
A 35-year-old man, Ibrahim Lawan, who was imprisoned by his parents in Kano State has regained freedom after 15 years. His hope for freedom from incarceration came to reality after Ibrahim was rescued by a Police Medical Team and operatives of Operation Puff Adder. The victim was removed from confinement on Sunday in Sheka, a community in Unguwar Fulani in Kumbotso Local Government Area of the state. He was later moved into an ambulance waiting just outside the building and was whisked away in company with armed security operatives.
The Public Relations Officer of the Kano State Police Command, Abdullahi Haruna, confirmed this to newsmen. He disclosed that Ibrahim has since been moved to the hospital for medical attention and the police have commenced an investigation into the incident.
Farawa was arrested for locking up his 30-year-old son, Ahmed Aminu, inside his car garage for seven years. He, however, claimed to have had his son locked up for three years after suspecting him of drug abuse.
- 7-man gang that specialises in withdrawals from dead persons’ bank accounts busted
Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of the Lagos State Police Command has smashed a syndicate which specialised in withdrawing cash from bank accounts of dead customers, within and outside Nigeria. It also foiled an attempt by the syndicate to transfer N25 million from a local bank account and $220,000 from a foreign account, in the process. Arrested were seven suspected members of the syndicate. Preliminary investigation revealed that members of the syndicate would scout for obituaries of prominent Nigerians. With the help of some bank staff, they would link the deceased bank accounts to ascertain the amount in them. Thereafter, they would clone the dead customer’s SIM cards with which they would carry out online transfer.
The arrested suspects ran out of luck while they were allegedly working on a fresh transaction of N25 million and $22,000 from local and foreign bank accounts in Lagos. An additional fraudulent transaction of N3 million that had been perfected by the syndicate through a cloned SIM card, was also retrieved by the operatives. Identities of the deceased are Osita Nwafor, 45; Nwogu Joseph Chika, 36; Anthony Odama, 43; Ikechukwu Nkem,32; James Okonkwo, 51; Adedio Paulinus, 29 and Ogundepo Olufemi, 51. Newsmen gathered that the suspected leader of the gang, Nwafor, popularly called Ossy, was first arrested in the gang’s hideout, last week, after a technical analysis of the details of the gang and its activities. During interrogation, Nwafor confessed to having recruited other members in 2019.
- Makinde Asks Security Agencies To Rearrest Wanted Suspected Serial Killer
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has given marching orders to security operatives to ensure the re-arrest of Sunday Shodipe. Shodipe is the wanted prime suspect in the series of murders in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state. Governor Makinde, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Security, Fatai Owoseni, at a Town Hall meeting in Akinyele, said the re-arrest of the suspected mastermind of at least six ritual killings in Ibadan, must be made a top priority of security operatives.
According to him, the state government places a premium on the security of lives and properties in the state and residents should remain calm and not take laws into their hands.
The governor said he shared the pains of the people of Akinyele over the incessant killings in the area, stressing that people must continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials to bring an end to the menace in the area. He added, “Be that as it may, the governor also wants us to dialogue with the people, with a view to ensuring that as much as security challenges can affect economic development, so also are barbaric actions like taking laws into people’s hands. “Yes, the people have the right, having suffered such pains, to come out to protest. But when we do our protest, we should do it in a way that will not continue to destroy the property of people because the properties of people we are destroying could also be members of our family.
- N500,000 Awaits Anyone With Information On Suspected Oyo Serial Killer – Police
The Police in Oyo State have promised to reward anyone who avails the State Command of useful information that will lead to the re-arrest of suspected serial killer, Sunday Sodipe. This was confirmed in a statement issued on Thursday by the police spokesman in the state, Fadeyi Olugbenga. According to him, the Commissioner of Police, Joe Nwachukwu Enwonwu, asked residents of the state and the general public to immediately hand the suspect over to the nearest police station for necessary action.
Similarly, the Command can be contacted via any of the following phone numbers: 08035632410 and 07066003536. This comes barely 24 hours after the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, ordered the the re-arrest of Shodipe, who escaped from the custody of the Oyo State Police Command. Condemning the unfortunate escape of the suspect, Adamu asked the Commissioner of Police in Oyo to intensify efforts and ensure his prompt rearrest. According to Force spokesman, Frank Mba, the police commissioner has also been directed to speed up investigations into the circumstances that led to the escape of the suspect.
- Monarchs go spiritual, dispatch hunters to fish out Shodipe
As the search for the escaped prime suspect in the serial killings in Akinyele Council of Oyo State, Sunday Shodipe, continues, monarchs in the area have gone spiritual and indeed dispatched local hunters to fish him out. The 19-year-old Shodipe, who was paraded by the Oyo State Police Command last month, escaped from the Mokola Police State, where he was remanded, last week. Various efforts are being made to re-arrest him, including the dispatch of crack detectives to the state by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), a marching order by Governor Seyi Makinde and a N500, 000 bounty for his arrest, among others. The monarchs disclosed that they had dispatched hunters, members of Soludero Hunters of Nigeria, members of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and Agbekoya to fish him out, vowing that there is no escape route for the infamous escapee.