Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NDLEA Arrests 103 Drug Traffickers

The Akwa Ibom State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said it arrested 103 suspected drug traffickers in the state in the last eight months. The suspects were made up of 87 males and 16 females.

The command also seized 643.78kilogrammes, 90.4-grammes, and 98.1grammes respectively of cannabis; cocaine and heroine as well as 46 litres of a combination of alcohol and cannabis sativa.

Disclosing this while parading 12 other suspected drug traffickers, including two septuagenarians and a cripple, in the latest arrest, the State Commander of NDLEA, Mrs. Josephine Obi, said 16 other suspects were still on the run.

“Our investigations have revealed that the youths are made to undergo a period of apprenticeship for a year or two, and are settled or rewarded on graduation with two bags of cannabis Sativa to go and set up their own business in another location.

“The dealers continue to use the strategy of selling drugs at public centres like schools, restaurants, clubs, hotels and stadiums in order to avoid the risk of being arrested in their private houses. One Iniobong Archibong was arrested in Aka 1 Primary School and 7.5g of cocaine, 43.6g of heroin and 1.8g of cannabis sativa were recovered from him,” she said.

According to her, large acres of cannabis farms had been destroyed in Ikot Ekpene, Ikono and Ini local government areas of the state. She called on members of the public to support the agency in the fight against drugs by reporting suspected peddlers.

She explained that no fewer than 65 persons had been counselled, two persons rehabilitated, one under rehabilitation while five others were on the waiting list for rehabilitation.

Obi said the septuagenarians were in the habit of recruiting the aged, unemployed youths, minors and physically-challenged persons as agents for their drug activities while they stay out of sight to escape arrest.

This Day

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Goodluck Jonathan urges Nigerians to unite for greatness

President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, tasked Nigerians to see their diversity as a strength to achieve the common good of the country. He said without unity, Nigeria cannot meet any of its socio-economic challenges.

Speaking when a delegation of the Muslim community in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, led by Vice President Namadi Sambo paid him the traditional Sallah homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Jonathan urged all stakeholders to exploit the diverse nature of the country to boost economic development.

Jonathan said without unity, the government could not achieve any of its transformation agenda such as the provision of jobs, security, power and other socio-economic issues that directly impact on the lives of the ordinary Nigerian.

Jonathan said: "We thank all of you and we know as a nation we have challenges within this period. All Nigerians are clamouring for development. We need employment for our young people, we need power for our household use, commercial and industrial activities. We need food for our people, we need security for those who want to move around safely from one point to another. All these are possible if all of us collectively call on Allah to make it possible."

He recalled that all the breakfast sessions he had with prominent Muslim leaders during the Ramadan were to admonish them to continue to pray for the "development, economic growth, peace and security in the land so that we will get foreign direct investments."

Be our brothers keepers

The president explained further that the period of the celebration was one when we have to be our brothers keepers, stressing that "irrespective of the language we speak, irrespective of the part of the world or country we come from, is a period that Allah has made it possible for us to interact."

The president said no country stood on its own now, "even the giant countries need to live with other countries" stressing that "for us to get attraction then we must maintain peace and security in the country."

On the diversity of the nation, the president said: "If we look at ourselves, some of us are tall, some are short, some are fair, some are dark and all is designed by Allah. If Allah wanted all of us to be of the same height, we would have been the same height. So, there is a reason for the diversity and the diversity should be used to help us develop not to separate us."

While urging Muslims in the country "to continue to pray despite the end of Ramadan," he appealed to them to "pray that the commitment of this country, that myself and the vice president and others have made to transform this country comes to a fruition."

He said "no matter the efforts we make, we are humans and if Allah does not sanction it, it will not work. We believe that with your prayers things will be well in this country."

Jonathan reassures

Jonathan reassured that with his new national economic management team, "Nigerians can look forward to visible progress in the fulfilment of the promise of socio-economic revitalisation, job creation and the renewal of national infrastructure in the coming months."

The President, therefore, urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to supporting government at all times to ensure that the country continues to make steady progress towards the fulfilment of its vast, God-given potentials.

Sambo on bomb attack

Earlier in a remark, Vice President Namadi Sambo, extended his sincere condolences to Nigeria on the recent bomb attack at the United Nations (UN) House, saying the attack was not only on Nigeria but the world in general and prayed that the heinous act "will be stopped by the grace of Almighty Allah."

Sambo further prayed to "Almighty Allah to continue to grant good health and wisdom to our president and that Mr. President will lead us and transform this country as we have already been witnessing within this short period."

He also prayed that "we have peace, love, progressive and poverty is driven out of this country."


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pics and Video of Kanye West performing at D'banj concert in London right after performing at the 2011 VMA's in Los Angeles


Kanye West flew straight from the VMA’s in LA to London to attend newly signed G.O.O.D music artist D’Banj on stage.

Kanye joined D’Banj on stage to perform ‘All Of The Lights’ and also took the opportunity to make the new signing officiall by giving D’Bang his very own G.O.O.D music chain.


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Jos erupts again

Jos, the Plateau State capital which had enjoyed relative peace for several weeks erupted in another orgy of violence yesterday, leaving at least 20 dead and over 50 others injured. This happened just as the rampaging Islamic sect, Boko Haram struck again in Maiduguri, Borno State capital killing three people, including a local government chairman.

In the Jos violence, over 50 vehicles and 100 motorcycles were burnt with some of the occupants trapped inside as their vehicles were torched.

Top security chiefs in the state had last weekend met with religious and community leaders to fashion out strategies for a peaceful Sallah celebration in the state.

Eye witnesses gave different versions of what led to the fresh violence. A version said members of the ‘Izala’ Islamic Group who celebrated the end of the Ramadan yesterday were attacked by youths along Rukuba Road, a Christian dominated area while going for prayers at an abandoned mosque located in the area. The mosque was abandoned in the wake of the previous crisis.

However, another version said the Muslim youths going for the prayers, contrary to the directive of the police that they must not carry dangerous weapons to the praying grounds during the Sallah, brandished daggers, knives and other dangerous weapons which they waved dangerously at residents of the area as they drove past.

This was said to have infuriated the residents who were said to have mobilized in preparation for a showdown with the Muslims after the prayers, but were dispersed by members of the Special Task Force (STF) who allegedly shot and killed some of them.

The youths were said to have gone berserk when they were allegedly shot at from inside the mosque and in retaliation they stormed the mosque where they torched parked vehicles and motorcycles. They also allegedly attacked and killed some people inside the mosque.

Unconfirmed reports said some of the rampaging youths were killed when soldiers opened fire to curtail the violence while several were injured and rushed to hospital.

A combined team of the army and the police had to escort scores of Muslims out of the area to safety as angry youths had stationed themselves for a showdown.

Similar killings were reported in other parts like Farin Gada area where our correspondent saw about seven corpses allegedly killed by angry youths being removed by members of the STF.

The tension generated by the violence saw people hurriedly locking up their businesses and running for their lives in most parts of the city.


State govt calls for calm

Meanwhile, the Plateau State Government has called for calm saying it has taken necessary measures to curtail the situation.

Briefing journalists yesterday, the Commissioner for information and Communication, Mr. Yiljap Abraham described the situation as unfortunate coming at a time government was doing everything to consolidate on the peace in the state.

He advised people not to take the law into their hands as the state government would not tolerate any further threat to peace in the state.

He said the state Ministry of Health has been directed to supply the hospitals treating the injured.


Boko Haram kills LG chairman, two others

24 hours to the end of the Ramadan, Islamic sect, Boko Haram struck in Maiduguri killing the caretaker chairman of Kukawa local government area of Borno state, Alhaji Lawan Yarayi, alongside two other spare part dealers in Gamboru. Alhaji Yarayi was shot dead Sunday night at his residence in Bulabulin Ngarannam area of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council while the spare part dealers in Gamboru, were killed by two gunmen on a tricycle at the traders’ residence and fled, abandoning the tricycle with which they carried out the killings.

Borno State police commissioner, Simeon Midenda who confirmed the incidents to newsmen on phone said it was after the killers had left that his neighbors raised alarm which prompted policemen to go to the scene.

According to the CP no arrest was made but the police have got a clue which can help in tracking down the gunmen.

It was gathered that the chairman was trailed by the gunmen from Kukawa in Kukawa local government area of the state before he was shot dead at his residence in Maiduguri .

An eye witness who does not want his name in print said that the incident occurred at about 8.45pm on Sunday night

He said the gunmen told the security men at the gate that they were politicians who came to see the chairman before they were allowed into the compound and on sighting the LG boss they opened fire on him and fled.

The body of the chairman was immediately taken to University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) morgue and later buried according to Islamic rites.


Gov Shettima condoles

Meanwhile, Governor Kashim Shettima has condoled families of the slain council chief and traders in a text message he sent to our Correspondent in Maiduguri on Monday night, while performing his lesser hajj in Mecca , Saudi Arabia .

The condolence message reads in part: “may the Al-mighty God grant the families the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses,” praying that may their souls rest in perfect peace.

He said the Borno state government would not relent in its efforts to sustain the “relative peace and social harmony” that has prevailed in the past couple of weeks.

Shettima maintained that the insecurity to lives and property in the state, is however a temporary eclipse, adding that; “the Borno sun will continue shining again.”

Also, members of the Joint Task Force who are in the state to restore law and order has assured the general public that adequate security measures have been put in place to ensure a hitch –free Eid’el Fitir celebrations.


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Police arrest 50 over UN bomb blast

The Inspector General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim yesterday disclosed that 50 suspects have been arrested in connection with last Friday's bomb blast at the United Nations House in Abuja which claimed 23 lives with 73 others still hospitalised.

He said four more injured staff whose condition was considered critical have been flown to South Africa for treatment. Four injured staff had on Sunday been evacuated from the National Hospital Abuja to South Africa.

Ringim who had an interaction with the diplomatic community at the headquarters of the Foreign Affairs Ministry said President Goodluck Jonathan will soon make a pronouncement on progress made so far on police investigation into the blast.

He also disclosed that, his office has received a number of requests for police protection from embassies in Nigeria, since Friday's blast, assuring the diplomatic community of adequate security in Nigeria.

A United Nations vehicle damaged following an explosion from a suicide bomber that rocked the Nigerian UN headquaters is seen in Abuja on August 28, 2011. The death toll following the suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Nigeria has risen to 23, with 81 wounded. AFP PHOTO

The IG, who was invited by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru to brief the diplomatic corps on the readiness of the nation's security operatives to offer adequate protection, said: "The security agencies have made some arrests and President Jonathan will soon make some pronouncement in that regard because I want to leave that to him to address the nation.

"All the missions are required to request for specific assistance of security in order to feel more secured and it shall be granted as I have been mandated with other security apparatus to beef up security around all the foreign missions, the entire country as well as the whole of African region", he said.

Speaking earlier, Ambassador Ashiru described the incident as an unfortunate one, adding that everything will be done to ensure safety and protection of all the diplomatic corps as well as that of Nigerian people.

He, however, appealed to all stakeholders to rise up and fight the new trend saying, "concerted effort must be made by Nigeria and the international community to combat the new form of terrorism affecting the whole world."

Ashiru also assured the diplomatic corps of adequate and proper security of their embassies and personnel. "I invited the IGP to address and assure you of our efforts and for you to have confidence in what we are doing to protect you and other people in the country," he said.

Some members of the diplomatic corps commended government for its efforts in securing and protecting their lives, assuring the federal government of their readiness to help in fighting terrorism in Nigeria.

Four more victims flown to South Africa

Meanwhile, four more victims of the bomb attack, were Monday flown out of Nigeria to South Africa, bringing the number of seriously injured who were evacuated since Saturday to eight.

The Co-ordinator of the UN Communications team in Nigeria, Sina Chuma-Mkandawire, who disclosed this, however declined to release the names of UN staff affected by the blast.

"We are not in a position to give you the names or the nationalities of those affected during the attack. What we can give you are the current figures of those affected", she said.


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Monday, August 29, 2011

Student Wins Microsoft Business Solutions Contest

A Nigerian university student, Miss Zulikhat Ibrahim, has won the Microsoft Business Solutions national competition.

Zulikhat, a student of the Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, beat many contestants from various tertiary institutions in a National Microsoft's Office Suite IT competition to emerge best with a score of 923 out of a total of 1,000 in Advance Excel 2007 within a time frame of 17 minutes, 2 seconds.

The Managing Director and the Chief Executive Officer of New Horizons, Mr. Tim Akano lauded the performances of the newly licensed students and assured the university management that the results were just tip of the iceberg.

Akano who was present at the ICT certificate presentation ceremony which took place on the campus along with Mr. Bolaji Olaoye, the company's GM in charge of Universities Operations pledged that New Horizons would produce more IT skilled students.

He stated that the national competition is an annual event which is anchored by Readmanna Ventures Ltd towards establishing the practical soundness of Nigerian youths in Microsoft Business Solutions Suites skills which are ever in top demand by employers.

Akano said about 40 students of the institution whose International Certificates (IC) had earlier arrived from various international IT and E-Business Technology Vendors abroad were presented with their different IC in Oracle, EC- Council Project Management, Customer Relationship Management, Multimedia/Web Design and Microsoft office suites.

Speaking at the occasion, the Vice Chancellor, Professor KA Okeleye congratulated the internationally certified students and affirmed that these extra qualifications have further boosted the future employability and entrepreneurship opportunity of the awardees.

He said the realization of the need to extend the extra quality that Crescent University has to offer humanity generally is what informed the open-door policy of the University admission system which does not discriminate against Christian youths who seek enrolment to the institution.

Daily Trust

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Flood Renders 7,000 Homeless in Lagos

There was an ocean surge at the Alfa beach in Eti-Osa local council development area of Lagos state, rendering no fewer than 7,000 residents homeless.

The state government has however declared that it does not have the required resources to curtail the reoccurrence of the calamity as well as unable to ameliorate the plight of the affected Nigerians.

It has thus appealed to the federal government to wake to the responsibility, noting that the only the massive and enduring structure put in place by the state government could curb future reoccurrence of the calamity.

It would be recalled that there was similar surge about a month ago with both President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Babatunde Fashola separately visiting the place with pledges to assist the community, though with nothing meaningful coming out from the visits.

However, another ocean surge occurred two days ago, this time sweeping almost half of the whole area as it destroyed mostly the economic values of the place.

The state team comprising of the commissioners of environment, Mr. Tunji Bello and his counterpart in the waterfront infrastructure development, Prince Adesegun Oniru visited the devastated area yesterday where they lamented the plight of the people.

According to Oniru who blamed the surge on the effect of the climate change while addressing newsmen at the site, "this is a major surge; you all can see that all the tourism activities in this area have collapsed."

Asked about the lasting solution to the crisis, he said, "The answer to this place is same we did at the Lagos beach and of course we don't have such money again in Lagos; if the federal government does not respond to this, nature will not cease to wreck havoc."

Contributing, Bello said, "Lagos cannot afford to do it, only the federal government can do it because it has many and better resources including the ecological fund to attend to this kind of natural disaster."

Also addressing newsmen, the head of the community, Chief Yusuf Atewolara recalled that both President Jonathan and Fashola at different times visited them when they had similar case about a month ago, saying, "About a month ago, we had similar surge that claimed a great part of our land, the governor came while the president also visited us a week after, they hovered above us in chopper and at the end the president promised us assistance but up till now we have not received any assistance.

"But two days ago, another surge happened, this time it claimed triple what it claimed a month ago because it has destroyed the whole of the major road here; it has destroyed several million naira worth properties. We are hereby pleading with the federal government, state government and other agencies to come to our aid to save coastal areas; the whole road is gone," he decried.

Daily Champion

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fraudsters who conned pensioner out of £245,000 jailed


Two fraudsters who convinced a pensioner she had won a £5.7m lottery jackpot before conning her out of her life-savings were jailed for a total of 50 months today.

Joshua Obasuyi, 49, and Julius Oweka, 48, were part of a Nigerian gang who tricked U.S. Professor Marie Lowery, 80, a retired lecturer at the University of Houston, Texas, into handing over £245,000.

She was strung along by the London-based conmen for nearly four years, after responding to a spam e-mail that told her she had won the jackpot in a prize draw.

Obasuyi and Oweka were caught in May 2009 in police sting operation following a tip-off from the FBI.

Detectives found more than £66,000 duped from 'lottery winners' around the world had been paid into a bank account at the Nat West in Grays, Essex,

Judge Rosamund Horwood-Smart QC jailed Obasuyi for 30 months and Oweka for 20 months at the Old Bailey, telling them that they were obviously 'well-versed in this type of scam'.

She said.'You were both involved in fraudulent activities with others, and there is evidence of more than one victim.

'In view of Prof Lowery, who was of course vulnerable, she was taken advantage of over many years - remorselessly and without mercy.

'This type of fraud takes advantage of the hopes, dreams and gullibility of others, and is very common and very harmful to our society.'

The court heard that in April 2005, Prof Lowery received an e-mail claiming to be from the fictitious 'Great British Lottery', in which she was congratulated for winning a £5.7m jackpot.

She initially agreed to pay £180 to process her winnings, and later complied with a string of demands for greater sums to be transferred via Western Union.

Throughout the scam, she was presented with bogus certificates and court documents in an effort to convince her that the arrangement was legitimate.

In November 2008, Prof Lowery was e-mailed by a man calling himself Chris Ascuncion, who told her he was a 'claims attorney' acting on behalf of the lottery company and asked for even more money to be transferred.

After beginning to suspect that she was being defrauded, she passed the e-mail on to the FBI - who immediately recognised the scammers' methods.

She arranged with the gang to fly to London and hand over the latest payment, £,3,996 in person.

Detectives from the City of London police then tapped her phone as she spoke with Obasuyi and agreeing to meet at the Crown Plaza Hotel, near Blackfriars Bridge, central London, on May 20, 2009.

Officers pounced at the meeting and were led to Oweka through his contact with Obasuyi

They later raided the gang's office in Croydon, south London, where they found a treasure trove of kit used to carry out the frauds - including a locked briefcase containing bundles of paper with a thin layer of real US dollars on top.

Anthony Wilcken, prosecuting, said computer evidence found at the unit showed they had targeted 'hundreds' of other people, whose telephone numbers and computer passwords were recorded.

'This was undoubtedly part of the fraudster's kit,' he said.

'The documents relating to frauds of that sort were manifest and numerous.'

None of the money Prof Lowery passed on has been recovered.

Obasuyi, from Plaistow, east London, admitted conspiracy to defraud, and two counts of acquiring criminal property.

Oweka, from Croydon, south London, denied conspiracy to defraud, two counts of acquiring criminal property and possessing an article for use in fraud, but was found guilty on all charges following a trial.

Daily Mail

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Boko Haram claims responsibility for UN bombing

Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the UN bombing in Abuja.

A caller told the BBC on phone that it carried out the attack.

Also, another Boko Haram 'spokesman' claiming responsibility for the deadly attack said, they were guided by the wisdom of Allah.

"Through the wisdom of Allah, we have launched the attack with absolute precision," the man who identified himself as Abu Darda said in a telephone call to an AFP journalist.

"The attack was carefully scripted and executed. We have said it several times that the UN is one of our prime targets."

The veracity of his claim could not be verified."We will provide details of the martyr who carried out the suicide attack," the man said.

"More attacks are on the way, and by the will of Allah we will have unfettered access to wherever we want to attack. We have more than 100 men who are willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Allah."

The blast at about 11 a.m. left a gaping hole in the compound, which houses about 400 people working for 26 U.N. humanitarian and development agencies. It's not clear how many were present, but dozens were injured

.This marks the first attack on the U.N. by militants in Nigeria. Past attacks by Boko Haram, a group that models itself on the Afghan Taliban, have been launched on national government targets, mainly in the north. The largest previous bombing, of the police headquarters in Abuja in June, killed six.


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A suicide bomb blast has rocked the UN compound in the Nigerian capital Abuja killing at least 18 people.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Bomb explosion at UN office in Abuja leaves several dead

There was a huge blast which was followed by thick black smoke at the United Nations office in Abuja at about 10.20am.

Residents around the National Hospital were still confused about what it was but minutes later, it was clear that the UN office close to the National Hospital had been attacked.

The Boko Haram group are key suspects although this is yet to be confirmed.

Immediately, the National hospital doctors were put on emergency and rescue vehicles from both the hospiatl and UN poured into the National hospital with dead as well as injured persons.

People screamed at the top of their voices on beholding the bloodied victims.

This Day

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Okonjo-Iweala Unveils Governments Economic Priorities

The Federal Government plans to cut recurrent expenditure, especially overheads, and keep the budget deficit at 3 per cent, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said.

She also said the government was planning to boost economic productivity and infrastructure investment in power, road and rail to create jobs, adding: "We need to maintain macroeconomic stability. We need to manage our fiscal situation in a more prudent manner. Monetary and fiscal policies must work hand-in-hand."

Recurrent spending currently accounts for 74 per cent of the budget, but Okonjo-Iweala, who doubles as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, said the government would trim spending to "a more reasonable figure" of 70 per cent in the next four years.

She was speaking at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday.

Okonjo-Iweala said she supported Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN's) policy of pegging the naira to the dollar to provide stability for businesses, promising to work with Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to have an exchange rate that reflects the economy.

To control inflation, the CBN targets naira stabilisation by keeping the rate within 3 per cent above or below N150 per dollar. She also said local contractors are owed $34 billion by the Federal Government.

The country's external debts, she said, currently stand at about $5.7billion, bringing the total indebtedness to $39.7 billion.

She also said that turning the Nigerian economy around was attainable but could not be done overnight considering the distortions suffered by the economy in the past several years. Although she noted that the nation was in a comfort zone vis-a-vis the ratio of its total debt stock put at 20 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), she however expressed concern on the rising domestic debt profile, which is about 17.5 per cent of the GDP.

"We need to try and reduce domestic borrowing. We can't stop overnight because of the shocks, but we have to be cautious on domestic debt," the minister said, noting that contrary to expectations from certain quarters, there would be no new economic blueprint.

According to her, the Vision 20:2020 blueprint and the Transforming Nigeria Document would remain the bedrock of the economic agenda, noting that the major thrust of the administration's economic agenda is jobs and pro-jobs growth.

She stated that all the credible opinion surveys showed that jobs and infrastructure, especially power, are the two top priorities Nigerians want government to focus on.

Okonjo-Iweala listed security, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, housing and construction, the entertainment industry, education and health as the key sectoral areas that needed to be given priority attention.

This Day

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Nigeria is the highest exporter of crude oil in Africa

The Presidency yesterday began a count down to President Goodluck Jonathan's 100 days in office, with a declaration that one of the president's achievements was Nigeria's recovery of her place as the highest exporter of crude oil in Africa.

The government announced that Nigeria had again overtaken the Republic of Angola in oil production, following the return of peace to the troubled Niger Delta.

Nigeria currently produces about 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) up from about 1.8 million bpd at the behest of the crisis in the Niger Delta.

Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the sharp rise in oil production had again put the country as the second largest oil exporter in the world, next to Saudi Arabia.

He said: "Boosted by the overwhelming success of the amnesty programme of the current administration, Nigeria's oil production expanded by 20 per cent and she reclaimed her foremost position as Africa's largest oil exporter, which she had hitherto lost to Angola.

"Nigeria sets a new record by being recognized by OPEC in July as the second largest oil exporter in the cartel, second only to Saudi Arabia. It is the first time Nigeria has recorded such a feat, he added.


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kidnappers of John Mikel Obi’s Father revealed

The photograph of the six kidnappers was released in Kano today by the State Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Idris who said they were apprehended at Kabuga quarters of the city.

According to the Kano Police boss, Ibrahim Idris, the police in Jos, Plateau State arrested a dismissed police corporal, Jacob Cowen who led detectives to Kano.

The cooperation of the Plateau and Kano states police commands led to the arrest of the six suspected kidnappers who had held Elder Michael Obi hostage for 10 days.

The suspects include a lady, Nkechi Ossai, Ifeanyi Essien, Jacob Cowen, Ndubusi Friday, Basil Chukwuma and Sule Ibrahim.

Narrating his ordeal in the hands of his captors, Elder Michael Obi said they bundled him into an Army van and drove him into a bush where they beat and hit him with their shoes.

He said his kidnappers wore Army camouflage uniform but he could not ascertain if they were soldiers.

Meanwhile, the Eze Ndigbo of Kano, Chief Tobias Idika has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to treat kidnappers as terrorists, adding that the six suspected kidnappers should be brought to justice.

The Eze Ndigbo disowned the Igbos among the suspects, saying that the Igbos are noted for hardwork and business and not terrorism.

In a statement he signed, the Eze Ndigbo said he was delighted to join other Nigerians in thanking God for sparing the life of Elder Michael Obi.

The father of Chelsea and Nigeria midfielder, John Mikel Obi, Elder Michael Obi was abducted in Jos, Plateau State for 10 days.

After about a week, the kidnappers were reported to have demanded N20 million as ransom. But they were arrested yesterday evening while the police later released their photograph.


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English Premiere Leugue Trophy comes to Lagos

English Premier League trophy currently on global tour in Africa continent was yesterday in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. It was received by Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola in his office located in Alausa area of the state.

While receiving the trophy presented by the management of Multi Choice limited, Fashola said the English Premier League (EPL) has demonstrated the capacity to create a good economy for the tournament.

He said the country, especially Lagos, is challenged by the success of the EPL which he said started from very humble background, saying it has metamorphosed into a global economy that is viable and providing livelihood for many. "This is what we aimed to do and we have started it here, to mix education curriculum of young talented footballers with sporting commitment and we want to ensure those who participate in the Lagos Junior League are actually students in schools and we think that if we can create this partnership between school and football, we might be up to something very big.

I recall as a student that some of our colleagues used to play for big clubs like Leventis United, Mandillas, Wema Bank, Union Bank, LSDPC and so on and after school, they earn more income to support their family and I think that at this time when there is a lot of youth unemployment, this is one of the things that we can tap into.

With the followership that football has in this country and all of us that are involved in the administration of football at various levels we must get involved and grow it into big economies. I expect that we would be receiving Multi Choice hand in partnership as we go forward and as we provide a night away from destitution and violence."

Multi Choice Managing Director, Mr. Joseph Hundah, said it was important to present it to the governor who is a fan of Manchester United.


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NIS rescues 17 from human trafficking to Italy

Sokoto State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has rescued no fewer than 17 victims of human trafficking on their way to Niger Republic.
Parading the victims in Sokoto yesterday, Comptroller of the State Command, Mr. Abdulmalik Abdulmuminu, said the victims were nabbed by immigration officers at the weekend in Illela local government area.

According to him, the victims were on their way to Italy via Niger Republic. He explained that in the course of interrogation, the victims confessed that they were heading to Italy and intend to reach there through the Mediterranean.
The comptroller decried the high incidence of human trafficking in recent times and advised parents to monitor their wards against being misled by unscrupulous individuals.

He added that the victims have already been handed over to NAPTIP for further investigation. Meanwhile, the Zonal Coordinator of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Mr. Shehu Omar, has expressed dismay over the high incidence of human trafficking in the country.

He said the agency had rescued at least 125 victims of human trafficking in the last two months.
The NAPTIP coordinator said the victims would be trained on vocational skills to enable them acquire skills they can use to fend for themselves.

The victims, who included nine females and eight males, lamented that they embarked on the move to Italy because of lack of jobs and poverty in the country.

This Day

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Grandmother orders torture and execution of 16 year old granddaughter

A sixteen-year-old girl was strangled to death in Benin, allegedly on the orders of her grandmother.

The deceased, Miss Vera Oyemwen Efe, an SS2 student of Idia College, Benin, was the daughter of Publisher of Revolutionary Times, a Benin-based newspaper, Efe Stewart. Because her two parents were separated, Vera and her two younger sisters were staying with their maternal grandmother, Mrs Roseline Igiebor.

According to the deceased's sister Osamudiamen who witnessed what happened, Vera left the house for four days without telling anybody her whereabout.

When she came back after four days she could not give any satisfactory reason of where she had been to. The grandmother then called one of her sons, Ovbokhan Irabor to help her discipline the child. Ovbokhan was said to have given the girl the beaten of her life.

Not satisfied with the beating, Mrs Igiebor then instructed one of her neighbours, Adewale Karimu, to continue the punishment.

The deceased's sister said Adewale strangled the deceased, tied her hands and put a rope round her mouth, with her last strength she muttered "please, help I'm dying". She continued muttering it until she died.

The deceased's father, Efe Stewart, who confirmed the incident said then police was already investigating it. Police Public Relations Officer Peter Ogboi also confirmed the incident.

Daily Trust

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Monday, August 22, 2011

John Mikel Obi's father freed and his kidnappers arrested

The kidnapped father of the Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi was freed on Monday after detectives traced him to a city in northern Nigeria.

Olusola Amore, a police spokesman, said investigators followed Michael Obi's trail from central Nigeria's Plateau state to Kano, one of the nation's largest cities. Officers raided the area where Obi was held, freeing him and arresting a number of kidnappers, Amore said.

Mikel's management company confirmed Michael Obi's release. "Earlier today, Michael Obi called his family to advise them that he had been released by his abductors. [We] have waited until now to release this information to ensure that Michael was safe," it said.

"Mikel John Obi would like to thank everyone in Nigeria, his family and friends, Chelsea FC and their fans and his agents for their total support during this terrible time."

The statement does not reveal whether a ransom was paid. Michael Obi is reported to have told the BBC shortly after his release: "I am very stressed."

Michael Obi was kidnapped on 12 August while on his way home from work in the central Nigerian city of Jos.


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Video - John Mikel Obi's family speak about kidnapping

The father of Chelsea football star Mikel Obi is thought to have been kidnapped in Nigeria.

Micheal Obi has been missing for 10 days.

In an exclusive interview, Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege talks to the footballer's family about the disappearance. They believe Michael Obi has been kidnapped by men wanting to get money out of his son who earns up to $100,000 a week playing in the Premier League.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Video - Nigerian Police Continue Hunt For John Mikel Obi's Father

Nigerian Police Continue Hunt For Mikel's Father by NTDTV

Nigerian state police report they are doing everything humanly possible to find the kidnapped father of premiere league football star John Mikel Obi.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

ZR-7: The Red House Seven now playing in theatres nationwide

"When life in boarding school got tough...we got even"

TJ is a young man in his late twenties, the first draft of his book titled ZR-7 is long overdue for the publisher to review. He decides the entire draft will be recorded on a tape recorder and only his butler (Alphonso) is an actual witness, he begins to tell his story as the action comes alive.

The story is a classic life of boarding school adventures involving TJ with six of his friends (Rolly-D, Chiedu, UK, Tokunbo, Femi & James) while in JSS 1 (7th grade). The boys are initially shocked by all the hoops they have to jump in order to survive teachers, prefects, wicked seniors, dining hall food, thieves, cutting grass, washing toilets, discovering a Bushbaby, puppy love and all the other regular experiences anyone in a public Nigerian boarding school would experience. But when TJ and the boys accidentally see a man and two female students in an uncompromising position, what they do with that information is not their only problem in school, but the resulting scandal would change their lives far beyond their wildest dreams...

Written and Directed by Olufemi D. Ogunsanwo & Udoka Oyeka

Director Of Photography - Bishop C. Kagho Idhebor

Editor - Chidi Nwaozomudoh

RELEASE DATE: August 19, 2011

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Friday, August 19, 2011

John Mikel Obi pleads with kidnappers

Super Eagles and Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi, whose father was abducted last Friday in Jos has appealed to Nigerians to help find his father.

He also pleaded with the would-be kidnappers to release his father, even as he also appealed for information on the whereabout of his father.

Mikel said he and his family are yet to hear anything regarding his father's whereabouts or who might have taken him, and he made a direct appeal for his father's release.

"Please just let him go," he said. "He's just an old man, he hasn't done any harm to anyone as far as I know and I don't know why he has been taken."

With no contact made and no ransom demand yet received, Mikel is seeking information and help from anyone who can provide it.

"Nigeria is the country I am from, I have always tried to help the country in every way I can, playing for the country, serving the country. This is the time for the country to help me in this situation," Mikel told Sky Sports News. "I am just going to say, whoever has got my dad, whoever knows where my dad is, should please contact me and hopefully he should be released."

His father's transport company, M.C. Obi Transport, was deserted on Monday when our correspondent visited.

It was graveyard silence at the company on Monday as passengers could not be sported at the premises except few staffs on duty.

The company did not operate any scheduled service since Saturday when the matter was reported to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Plateau State Police command.

He was said to have left office at about 6 pm with his own car but did not reach home.

"We called him through out Friday, but his phone was ringing without reply and by Saturday, it was not going through at all again," one of his staffs who pleaded anonymity to Daily independent on Monday. Attempts to reach Mikel's mother was unsuccessful as at press time.

However, Plateau state Police Commissioner, Emmanuel Dipo Ayeni, told The Associated Press that Michael Obi disappeared from the state capital Jos on Friday. Ayeni said he had no other details.

"We are still searching to find his location," Ayeni said.

Nigeria Police spokesman, Olusola Amore, said no one had seen Mikel's father since 6 p.m. Friday, when he left work to return home.

London-based Sport Entertainment & Media Group, Mikel's management company, said no ransom demand had been made. It said Chelsea was looking at "security issues" after the abduction.

"Mikel was informed by his manager prior to the Stoke tie against Chelsea and decided to play so as not to let down his team and family," the media group said on Twitter.

Mikel has played with Chelsea since 2006. He previously played for Nigerian Premier League club Plateau United, Nigeria's Under-20 squad and Norwegian club Lyn.

"We will give Mikel and his family our full support at this most difficult time," Chelsea said on its website.

Jos, Plateau state capital where Mikel's father resides, has witnessed thousands death in recent years in religious and ethnic violence rooted largely in political and economic issues.

However, Mikel said the kidnapping shocked him because his family never had any problems there before.

"I have always thought one day something like this can happen, but where my family lives is a very secure and safe place," he said.

Kidnappings in Plateau state are a rarity when compared to Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, where militants and criminal gangs often kidnap foreigners for ransom. Middle class Nigerian families also increasingly find themselves targeted in the country's East as well.

It isn't the first time a soccer player's family has been targeted in Nigeria. In 2008, gunmen abducted the younger brother of Everton defender Joseph Yobo as he left a nightclub in Port Harcourt, the delta's largest city. The brother was released unharmed about two weeks later, though it was unclear if a ransom had been paid.

Michael Obi's abduction comes after a Forbes magazine survey in June listed Mikel as the seventh highest-paid African player in Europe. The magazine listed Mikel's salary as $5.8 million a year.

Daily Independent

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HIV-positive man, 40, rapes underage girls

Gombe State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Thursday paraded 40-year-old Gambo Abare, an HIV-positive man from Gadam village, for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl.

Briefing newsmen on the development, NSCDC Commandant in the state, Altine Sani, said the alleged rapist was arrested in the act at about 6pm in his grain-milling machine shop.

Little Ramatu, according to the commandant, was sent on errand by her parents when she was lured into the shop with sweets where she was defiled.

Abare, who tested positive to HIV, admitted defiling Ramatu and also confessed to raping five other underage girls within the same week.

He disclosed to journalists that one of his victims was his niece, also an underage.

He said he had been in the act of raping underage girls since last year and the same shop had been his crime scene.

Ramatu’s father, Malam Mohammed Bala, said he sent the girl to take some food to her grandmother to enable the old woman to break the day’s fast.

He alerted of the heinous defilement of his daughter by some almajiris and that informed his rushing to nearby NSCDC office which immediately deployed men in the scene to effect the arrest of Abare.

He will soon be charged to court.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Video - Part 2 of documentary on human trafficking between Nigeria and Italy

In the second part of the special investigation, The Nigerian Connection II, Juliana Ruhfus follows the trail from Italy back to Benin City in Nigeria, from where women, desperately seeking an escape from grinding poverty, are trafficked to Europe.

To pay for their travel, many of them incur massive debts to organised crime gangs in the false belief that a lucrative regular job awaits them at the other end. Often they are forced to undergo a Juju oath-swearing ritual that commits them to repaying the money on pain of death or insanity.

When they arrive in Europe, they discover the only way they can do this is by agreeing to work in the sex trade. A Juju priest who is involved in the trade justifies the use of ritual practices on the grounds that he is offering a service to the community.

But as Juliana discovers, it is not just traditional African religions in West Africa that contribute to this trade on bonded labour. Evangelical Christian pastors have been involved too.


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Video - Newly appointed Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala focuses on creating jobs

Former World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweale goes back to Nigeria to act as the Nigerian Finance Minister.

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Former World Bank Managing Director Okonjo-Iweala sworn in as new Finance Minisiter

Former Managing Director of the World Bank, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was sworn-in yesterday by President Goodluck Jonathan as the Minister of Finance declared that her main priority as she resumed duties was to create jobs which was a key component of the president's transformation agenda.

She made the declaration after she took oath of office, even as President Jonathan said that Dr Okonjo-Iweala and other ministers who were formerly based abroad before being invited to join the cabinet will not be paid salaries and allowances in foreign currencies.

Meanwhile, the President has also constituted the National Economic Management Team, NEMT, which will be inaugurated today with Dr Okonjo-Iweala as the Co-ordinator of the team.

Okonjo-Iweala who fielded questions from State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, was not comfortable with a question from reporters on the ongoing reforms of the banking sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, stating that the CBN doesn't have any reform, apart from President Jonathan's reforms.

"There is no reform package by the CBN and no reform package by the Ministry of Finance. There is a reform package for Nigeria which is being led by President Goodluck Jonathan. We are here to make sure that his priorities are met. CBN is dealing with monetary, currencies and exchange rates policies and the Finance sector is fiscal policy. The two have to come together in order to make a whole so there is no division", she said.

"But let me say this first the whole thrust of what the president wants for now is the creation of jobs so everything that we do in terms of pushing the economy forward has to be geared around how we can have a true job growth of the economy. So we are going to be working on that", she added.

According to her, "those micro economic structure reforms and investments in key sectors that need to be done in order that we create job for our youths would be the critical thrust but we can expand on that later".

On the issues of the debt, she said, "first we have to look at the fiscal issues in the country studying possibilities of fiscal consolidation and that includes looking at our debt level. As you know, I am somebody that believes we should have a prudent approach to our debt. But we will be able to tell you more later when we have started the process of looking at the budget".

Announces 3-point agenda

As she assumed duties yesterday at the Ministry of Finance secretariat, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, set for herself and the ministry staff, a three-point agenda of "efficiency, effectiveness and delivery."

Exuding confidence, she said the various challenges of the Nigerian economy could be successfully tackled with determination and readiness of spirited Nigerians to ensure the success of the needed reforms.

She urged all staff of the ministry to work hard, explaining that she could be a "very demanding" person.

The former World Bank Managing Director told the top management that the execution of government's policies would be based on hard work and that she was determined to ensure that Federal Ministry of Finance was at the lead in that regard. It is essential that all team members work together to deliver on the agenda", she said, adding that she did not have all the solutions alone.

She described her appointment into the cabinet as an honour that humbled her immensely and that "nobody is too big to serve his or her country. My decision to serve my country is because of my love for my country. I love Nigeria with a passion".

According to her, "Nigeria can do better than it is doing currently only if all those saddled with the responsibility of implementing the policies play together as a team".

In a brief remark, the Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Yerima Lawan Ngama identified a successful execution of the Vision 20:2020 as critical to the realization of the Goodluck Jonathan administration's transformation agenda.

No pact to pay Okonjo-Iweala, others in US dollars-Jonathan

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has announced that contrary to reports, he has no pact with any of the cabinet members sourced from the diaspora, including the immediate past World Bank second highest officer, to earn wages in US dollar.

Said he: "The question the media ask and I know, for Ngozi, it was quite embarrassing when you accepted to serve; it was in the media that you gave conditions to be paid in dollars. Let me formally announce to Nigerians that she accepted to serve just like any other minister and indeed others who came from the diaspora have not asked us for dollar salary. They are going to receive salary and allowances like others in the cabinet. They are coming to serve the country and are not coming because of their personal aggrandizement.

"For today's ceremony, there is the need to make one or two statements. First let me welcome Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on board, a very familiar terrain. She was here before most of us here, as a minister of finance and minister of foreign affairs briefly before leaving".

He thanked the new minister for accepting to come and serve again, "because considering the position you were holding at the foremost world bank, it is difficult for you to come back to serve as minister in a country".

"And I am saying this with all pride because when your name was made known and it entered the media, anywhere I go, heads of state and governments were wondering why you would even agree to come; and they were appreciative of me, especially the African presidents that I did well to pull you back home to help solve the African problem because they know your worth in the world Bank.

"Let me also thank the World Bank, particularly Zoellick for allowing you to come, for co-operating with us and promising to support us. It is an opportunity for us to thank the world bank and also thank the president especially. People wonder why we want her back, we want her back not just to manage the Ministry of Finance but we are opportuned to have her as somebody who is quite vast in economic issues and we want her back to play a key role in the economic issues in the country.

"Of course, you also know that in the immediate past, she also introduced the idea of Economic Management Team during Obasanjo's time and we followed up- the late President Yar'Adua and myself." The President disclosed that NEMT is to be inaugurated this morning at Council Chambers of the State, even as he promised to expand the team as the need arises.

"This time around we are expanding the Economic Team because we believe the country is one. Yes, the states have their own economies but if there is no proper coordination in the management of the economy between the federal government and the states, we cannot go anywhere as a nation. And that is why the economic team, this time around, will have some governors as members."

But specifically, he said: "Ngozi is brought in to coordinate all economic activities of the federal government and of course by extension, help the state. Let me also thank other ministers brought in from the diaspora, we know it is quite challenging to move from developed countries to Nigeria".

"For you, the expectation, not just from Nigeria, but the whole world, is quite high. People expect so much from you, some people feel you have the magic wand to wave and change everything. I believe with your level of experience and with the support we will give you, and of course cooperation of your colleagues, all of you collectively will help to change our own country. You will help to work to make sure that our transformation agenda move smoothly and get to the destination expected.

"I am quite happy with the ministers on board because this time we are emphasizing the cluster arrangement even though the economic management team has not been formally inaugurated, I am aware that the core economic ministers have been meeting in the minister of petroleum resources office.

They have been holding meetings to see how the ministers can work together. So your job is easier because even before you take the oath of office, already people are doing the work and they are working together. So the spirit is already there for you people to work together; and I will give all the ministers the political support to what they are meant to do and I believe all of you will succeed".

Ministers to brief President