Killings: President Buhari Meets Zamfara Traditional Rulers

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Gusau, Zamfara, presided over a town hall meeting in continuation of his tour of troubled areas across the country.

Reports say the President in company of his aides landed at the Gusau helipad at about 10.40a.m after taking off from Umaru Musa Yar’Adua international airport, Katsina.

The governors of Sokoto and Kebbi states, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and Atiku Bagudu respectively, some cabinet ministers, traditional and religious leaders, top government officials were among those that received the president.

President Buhari reviewed a parade mounted by the Army and Air Force.

He is scheduled to address traditional rulers and other stakeholders during the visit, and condole with families and communities that suffered from various forms of violent crimes in the state.

Zamfara has witnessed cases of attacks by armed bandits with hundreds of innocent people killed and property worth billions of naira carted away or destroyed.

The recent attack by bandits at Birane village in Zurmi Local Government area of the state left over 50 people dead.One of the most notorious bandits, Tsoho Buhari, popularly referred to as Buhari Daji, was recently killed by a repentant cattle rustler in the state.


Manchester United To Form Female Team

Manchester United have announced plans to form a women’s professional team after long being criticised for lagging behind their rivals.

The Premier League giants are the only top-flight club in England without a senior women’s team.

United said they had submitted an application to the Football Association to join the second tier of the Women’s Super League.


“We are pleased to announce that the club intends to establish its first-ever professional women’s team and has submitted an application to enter WSL2,” said Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

“The FA has provided excellent support through the process and we believe that launching a team in WSL2 would give many more of our graduates from the regional talent club the chance to establish themselves as first-team players.

“The Manchester United women’s team must be built in the same image and with the same principles as the men’s first team and offer academy players a clear route to top-level football within the club.”

Ex-United player and current England women’s coach Phil Neville recently called on his former club to form a women’s team.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch praised Manchester United for “finally dragging themselves into the 21st century” in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Commons Speaker John Bercow, an avid Arsenal fan, chimed in, saying: “They are light years behind Arsenal.”


Electricity Thieves May Go To Jail Soon

The Federal Government, through the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Etsu Mohammed, has inaugurated the Enugu Zone of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Task Force on Electricity Offences.

According to the DPP, the task force is to deal with “the menace of electricity theft and vandalism of electricity distribution assets in the South-East zone,” which is the coverage area of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company.

While inaugurating the 18-man task force on Wednesday, Umar said the growing menace of electricity theft in the area of coverage of the EEDC “has contributed immensely to the economic challenges that the power sector has faced over time in the South-East zone.”

On the mandate of the task-force, the DPP said, “Although SIPTECO is charged with the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting all electricity theft cases, you are also enjoined to make other recommendations to me and the management of the EEDC and make use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in appropriate cases.

“Bear in mind that the overall objective of your mandate is to prevent electricity theft, prosecute cases and recover lost revenue.”

He noted that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), had earlier approved the setting up of a similar task force for the catchment area of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company.

He said the said task force was inaugurated on May 2, 2017.

Speaking at the event on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Emeka Offor, and the acting Managing Director of the company, Paul Okeke, noted that the major electricity crimes in the South-East included illegal connections, meter cloning and meter bypassing.

Dasuki’s Trial To Enjoy Accelerated Hearing

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has adjourned the trial of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, in the alleged money-laundering charges brought against him by the federal government till May 2 and 3 for definite trial.

A judge of the court, Husseini Baba-Yusuf, announced the new trial date in Abuja after being presented with the Supreme Court judgement of March 2, 2018 which ordered accelerated hearing into the case.

However, to ensure effective management of the two separate charges against Mr. Dasuki and other defendants, the court fixed April 13 for a pre-trial conference to be attended by seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) involved in the case so as to enable them take common positions on documents from the prosecution and those from the defendants.

During the conference which will be presided over by Mr. Baba-Yusuf, all documents that are not contentious will be admitted from the bar while the contentious ones are to be tendered during trial to ensure speedy hearing of the cases which was filed in September 2015.

Senior counsels involved in the matter, especially Rotimi Jacobs for prosecution, Ahmed Raji, Akin Olujimi, Olajide Ayodele, Kayode Olatoke, Hakeem Afolabi and Solomon Umoh who are standing for different defendants in the trial all agreed with the Supreme Court decision for accelerated hearing and the pre-trial conference to sort out all the contentious issues.

Ahmed Raji, who led the legal team of Mr. Dasuki, had told the court that the decision of the Supreme Court indicated that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is different from State Security Service (SSS) and that both are not serving the same government.

The federal government had slammed charges against the former NSA Sambo Dasuki; Salisu Shuaib, Director Finance ONSA; Aminu Baba-Kusa, Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital on alleged money-laundering and criminal breach of trust.

Although the charges was filed in 2015, proper trial could not commenced due to the failure of the federal government to allow the principal defendant in the matter, Sambo Dasuki, to enjoy the bail and other bails granted him by different courts since 2015.

In the bid to enforce the bail order, Mr. Dasuki had approached the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court to compel the federal government to allow him go on bail as ordered by the trial court, just like other defendants, to enable him access his lawyers and prepare for his defence as required by law.

However, both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court had in their separate judgements disagreed with Mr. Dasuki that the federal government did not obey the bail order.

The two court held that since his bail at the Kuje Prison was endorsed by the Controller of Prison and was released before he was re-arrested by another of the federal government, the bail had been obeyed at that level.

With the new Supreme Court decision, especially on accelerated hearing, full scale trial is now expected to commence on May 2.

Justice Baba-Yusuf in his brief comment had appealed to the senior lawyers involved in the matter to cooperate with one another, especially with the prosecution to allow the trial to flow so that justice of the case can be met within a reasonable time.

The judge said that as minister in the temple of justice, the senior lawyers should do away with sentiments and do their jobs as legal practitioners of reputable standing in the interest of justice for both parties.

At the proceeding, apart from Mr. Dasuki, former Governor of Sokoto, Attahiru Bafarawa; and former Finance Minister of State, Bashir Yuguda among others were all present in court to answer the charges against them.

Taking NFIU Out Of EFCC A ‘Setback’ – Ribadu

The pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, has described the proposed movement of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) out of the EFCC, as a setback for the country.

“I feel sad that they want to take the NFIU away from EFCC. This will set us back,” he said.

Speaking on Thursday morning at an Anti-Corruption Situation Room organised by the HEDA Resource Centre in Abuja, Mr. Ribadu recalled how the NFIU was conceived, and nursed by the commission.

He said the NFIU achieved milestones because of the institutional backing and the enforcement effect of the EFCC.

Mr. Ribadu recalled that through the use of the NFIU, the EFCC worked on putting Nigeria back on global financial map.

“What we did with NFIU was to bring Nigeria at par with the rest of the world in terms of financial regulations and tracing suspicious deals,” he said.

He said it was a former official in the Olusegun Obasanjo government, Obiageli Ezekwesili, who first drew attention to Nigeria’s negative rating by the Egmont group and what was needed to address it.

Mr. Ribadu said the EFCC engaged the Financial Action Task Force and made efforts to comply with the requirements, including instituting the NFIU.

Mr. Ribadu also called for openness and accountability in the country’s oil and gas sector.

He lamented that failure to implement far-reaching reforms has left the industry undeveloped and used mainly as a cash cow to enrich a few.


In his presentation, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Waziri Adio, described efforts at instilling accountability in the oil and gas industry as a difficult task.

“The area is technical and people who are taking advantage of it don’t want it to change. They want the status quo to remain so that average people don’t understand what’s going on and when you challenge them they say you don’t know anything,” he said.

He said management of resources coming from extractive industry is an issue all citizens should be interested about, adding that “resources themselves are not a curse, it is the way people apply them”.

Obasanjo Encourages Women To Participate More In Politics

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on Nigerian women to play more prominent roles in the nation’s politics.

The former President said this on Thursday while delivering a keynote speech at the annual Women in Business conference in Lagos State.

This year’s edition of the conference has the global theme ‘Pressing for Progress’, with a special focus on ‘Women in Politics and Nation Building”.

With less than one year to the general elections, the former President believes the progress of any country is equal to the quality of women in that nation.

He, however, noted that power won’t be easy to get by the female gender unless they roll up their sleeves and fight for a place in the political space.

Obasanjo further called on the government at all levels to ensure adequate measures are put in place to guarantee the quality participation of women in politics.

He also disclosed that the Coalition for Nigeria Movement has registered more than three million members.

According to the former President, the coalition is working hard to stop a type of leadership that will engage only kith and kin in the affairs of government in the country.

Bolt To Train With Dortmund On Friday

Athletics legend Usain Bolt, who has ambitions to start a football career at 31, will train with Borussia Dortmund on Friday, the Bundesliga club has announced.

“Bolt is coming!” tweeted the German league club while the Jamaican sprint star wrote “BVB, get ready for Friday #BVBolt #NewLevels @bvb09 @pumafootball,” on his official account.

The event is a publicity stunt as both Bolt and Dortmund are sponsored by Puma.

The training is scheduled at 1030 local time (0930 GMT) and will be open to the public with huge media interest expected.

Bolt, who holds the world records for the 100m and 200m, had announced last January that he would be training with Dortmund during the current international break.

Since retiring from athletics last year, Bolt has made no secret of his dreams to play football.

The Manchester United fan will line up opposite British pop star Robbie Williams in a charity football match at Old Trafford on June 10.

Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, will captain the Soccer Aid World XI in a match to raise funds for the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef.

Dapchi: Dangerous Example Of How Not To Help Boko Haram By Azu Ishiekwene

It’s like a tale from fish-wifery told by moonlight: how Boko Haram entered a Nigerian town as villains, kidnapped dozens of schoolgirls, and 32 days later returned them to the same town as heroes with flags
waving and crowds cheering and not a single Nigerian soldier in sight.
Amend the last part. The soldiers who were in sight were present to stop journalists but to ensure the safe passage of Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi’s men.

If it were a movie, it would have been titled: “From Shekau to Al-Barnawi: The Making Of Another Monster”. Are these fellows still wanted? I’m bereft.

One month ago, we woke up to the news that Boko Haram had kidnapped 110 girls from their dormitory in the Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi.

From all accounts, the incident happened under very bizarre circumstances. Even though the region remains the epicenter of Boko Haram activities, the army was withdrawn from the town and two weeks later, the terrorists struck.

To say they struck, is to dramatize the incident. They came in Nigerian Army uniforms as if they had come to their playground. They came in nine trucks over miles of open, largely flat ground, released a few random shots in the air and within an hour rounded up 110 girls, while a few managed to escape.

The cries for help fell on deaf ears. The police station in Dapchi was conveniently empty and multiple sources reported that the phone numbers of the Divisional Police Officer were switched off.

God knows we’re glad to have the girls back, and we should do all we can to help them recover from the trauma. We’re deeply saddened about any of them who may have been lost or left behind, and we remember again the remaining Chibok girls.

But there’s a lot that the government needs to account for. We can’t say Shekau and the ascendant outlaw, Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, are wanted men and yet continue to deal with them like the fellows next door.

The only way for Dapchi not to happen again, for this whole thing not to become another criminal enterprise, is for the government to tell us exactly what happened and to adopt a different approach to this problem, instead of feeding the monsters.

I have a sickening feeling that we might be heading down a slippery slope with the lives of innocent children and sending a dangerous signal that parts of Nigeria are safer under the control of terrorists.

When are we going to be able to tell the terrorists that our children’s lives will not be toyed with?

My children grew up staying mostly with me. They did not go to boarding school; and even when they went away on holiday, I cannot recall them spending two or three weeks away at a stretch.

At about 18 when the eldest moved into the hostel after her admission to the University in Lagos, there was hardly any weekend when I did not find an excuse to visit, often under the pretext of taking some needed provision to her.

I’ve found out that I’m not alone. If we can help it, we, parents, want our children to be near, until it becomes inevitable to free them from the nest.

After the kidnap of the Dapchi girls, I’ve been thinking about that day when I left my daughter all by herself in her new school outside the country. For the first time in both of our lives, she was going to be on her own, not knowing what was going to happen to her after my departure.

If I could be so deeply confused and saddened by the prospects of her safety in a largely secure place, then I wonder how the parents of the Dapchi 110 must have felt losing the apples of their eyes to murderous strangers with no idea where they were or what was happening to them.

And I can imagine what joy it must be to have them back.

Buhari came close to this experience in a public way, lately. In December, his son, Yusuf – his only son – was involved in a bike accident that nearly claimed his life.

The country rallied round him and the First Family – which is as it should be. I still remember those pictures from the early days of the accident, when the poor chap’s life was hanging by a thread at Cedacrest Hospitals, Abuja.

Buhari and his wife, Aisha, visited the hospital a couple of times. On no occasion was the red carpet laid out for them like it happened during the President’s visit to Dapchi.

When I saw photographs from that Dapchi visit that was the first thing that struck me – the red carpet and Buhari’s light blue three-piece agbada and a matching cap.

I’m not saying his heart was not heavy with grief or that he should have faked his concern by appearing in rags. But for God’s sake, it was a somber visit, in some way reminiscent of his visits to Yusuf after the chap’s bike accident.

It was a visit to a crime scene strewn with the broken emotions of a community that is half-dead, as one resident described it. If it didn’t occur to Buhari’s chaperons not spread the red carpet and deck the place like a set for the Oscars, didn’t the President himself
think that his appearance was insensitive?

It may seem an irrelevant point now, after the girls were rescued on Wednesday. Yet symbols, especially genuine and moderate symbols, can help any community going through difficult and distressing times.

It didn’t help matters that Buhari was comparing his response with that of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Chibok. He ought to know that no two miseries are ever alike; yet each demands our fullest
empathy and nothing less. Azu Ishiekwene

Is Dapchi the emerging template for dealing with Boko Haram? It worked for the release of over 101 Chibok girls, but even in that case, we did not see the terrorists in a triumphant procession on the streets of Chibok.

Something has changed. Al-Barnawi and his men have become emboldened to the frighteningly alarming point where they can march confidently down the streets of Dapchi with crowds waving the same Boko Haram
flags that gallant soldiers laid down lives to remove in many parts of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa in the last three years.

This dangerous sign can only be viewed with pleasure by Al-Barnawi, other Boko Haram franchises and their accomplices for whom we’re opening yet another door.

It’s true that Buhari said almost three years ago, that he was willing to negotiate to free the Chibok girls. But now, the handshake has reached the elbow and Dapchi may have signaled the end of our sovereignty.

Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network

Senate Confirms Buhari’s CBN Dep Govs, MPC Nominees

The Senate has confirmed the appointments of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad and Mr. Edward Adamu as Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria. It also approved the nomination of three out of four members of the Monetary Policy Committee.

The MPC members confirmed are Prof. Adeola Festus Adenikinju, Dr. Aliyu Rafindadi Sanusi and Dr. Robert Chikwendu Asogwa. Rejected is Dr. Asheikh A. Maidugu.

‎The confirmation followed the adoption of the reports by the Senate Committee ‎on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, which screened the nominees last week.

In the report on the MPC nominees presented by Chairman of the committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the panel said Maidugu was considered not qualified to occupy the position for which he was nominated.

West Ham Give Lifetime Bans To Pitch Invaders At Burnley Game

West Ham United have given lifetime bans to five supporters who invaded the pitch during the team’s 3-0 defeat by Burnley at London Stadium.

Several fans have also been banned for life for throwing coins or objects “with intent to injure or harm”.

Hammers joint-owner David Sullivan was hit by a coin as fans protested in front of the directors’ box.

The club said it had taken “swift and decisive action” after acts of “severe violence and physical aggression”.

It expects to issue further bans for attempted pitch invasions and violence before the next home game against fellow Premier League strugglers Southampton on 31 March.

Vice-chairman Karren Brady apologised for the events on 10 March, calling it “one of the most painful days” in the club’s history.

“We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of violence that endangers the welfare of others, and we are committed to ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for all spectators,” said the Premier League club in a statement.

The Hammers have struggled since moving from Upton Park to the former Olympic Stadium in August 2016, winning 12 and losing 13 of their 33 home league matches there.

David Moyes’ team are two points and one place above the relegation zone.

Tighter safety and security measures, including an increased police presence, will be in operation for the visit of Southampton.

London Stadium’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG), which includes representatives from the club, police, Newham council, and stadium owners and operators, announced the decision after an emergency meeting last week.

It also warned that future trouble could lead to closures.

Poland To Launch New World Cup Kit With Super Eagles Friendly

Poland will launch their World Cup kit during their friendly with Nigeria in Wroclaw on Friday.

The new Nike jerseys were officially presented on Wednesday in Wroclaw, while the players will on Thursday take part in a photo session in their World Cup suits, Polskie Radio reported on Wednesday.

According to the Polish outlet, the new jerseys will be first worn in Friday’s World Cup friendly against the Super Eagles in Wroclaw and four days later against South Korea in Chorzów.

The new jerseys, one predominantly red, the other mostly white, were presented in one of Wrocław’s shopping centres by national team stars Łukasz Piszczek and Piotr Zieliński in an unannounced event that surprised fans.

Polish FA spokesman Jakub Planckowski told Polskie Radio that the players are happy with the new jerseys which they noticed are lighter and more comfortable than the previous ones.

Poland are using the Nigeria friendly to have a feel of African opposition ahead of their Russia 2018 group clash with Senegal.

The Super Eagles will face Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D at the World Cup.