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Failed Prophesy: Ebonyi Pastor blames “deceitful spirit’’ for prediction on Super Falcons

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A Popular Ebonyi-based Pastor, Rev. Simeon Ononogbu, has blamed “deceitful” spirit for the failed prediction that the Super Falcons will reach the semi-finals of the FIFA Women World Cup in France.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ononogbu, a self-acclaimed forecaster, predicated in an interview that the Falcons would reach the semi-finals of the tournament, while the hosts, France would place fifth (best placed quarter-finalists).

The former Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi branch, sought the understanding of Nigerians on the failed prophesy, noting that he will be more careful in future prophesies.

“It is a pity that the prediction on the Falcons failed which means that it was not a revelation from God.

“We have so many spirits that can deceive people and if we are not careful, we will make mistakes such as this,” he said.

He said that several spirits abound which behaved like God’s spirit to talk and deceive men of God.

“The bible says that some spirits at times, transform into angels of light to talk to us.

“We have “fallen’’ spirits that deceive the children of God because we are humans and weaker than the other spirits,” he said.

Ononogbu, however, revealed that the prophecy on the Falcons could also have failed because he failed to interpret the revelation properly.

“At times when we don’t interpret properly, we will have problems out of it and this can also be seen as a wrong interpretation,” he said.

He, however, insisted that in spite of the failed prophesy, the revelation of France placing fifth in the tournament still stands because it is from God.

“This particular interpretation was clearer than that of the Falcons and we should wait till the end of the competition for its fulfillment,” he said.

Ononogbu, urged Nigerians not to judge him with the failed prophesy as he had correctly made eight-significant prophesies which were fulfilled.

“I earlier predicted the visit of Rev, Uma Ukpai to Ebonyi and those who refused to heed the directive on the venue saw the number of people that died,” he said.

Foreign

Gunmen kill Nigeria’s ruling party official in failed kidnap attempt

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Police in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Katsina said they have launched a manhunt for gunmen who shot dead a leader of the All Progressives Congress, the national ruling party, following a failed attempt to kidnap him.

Abdulhamid Sani, a local government chairman of the APC in Katsina, was shot dead on Sunday by the gunmen, believed to be bandits, state police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement early Monday.

The gunmen stormed the Batsari local government area of Katsina, where the 55-year-old Sani was a leader of the governing party, and began shooting sporadically with sophisticated weapons, Isah said.

Sani had resisted being kidnapped when he was shot dead by the gunmen, the spokesman said.

The gunmen later fled into a nearby forest.

(XINHUA)

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Health

COVID -19: Why NDDC failed to procure ventilators for 9 N’Delta states – Pondei

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has blamed its  inability to distribute ventilators and other test kits to its mandate states on global lockdown over the Coronavirus pandemic.

Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, NDDC Managing Director,   gave the clarification in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, following his recent promise that NDDC would supply ventilators and drugs to nine Niger Delta states.

The states are, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.

According to him, NDDC has since released the funds to the nine state governments to support their fight against the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

“Initially, we wanted to get ventilators but we could not. Ventilators which used to cost about eight to nine million naira for one; in one week went up to almost N30 million.

“Also, we found out that most of the people who said they can supply the equipment, do not have them in the country.

“Again, ventilators are now in short supply even in the U.S. The prices have also skyrocketed,” he said.

Pondei, a virologist, said that ventilators were in high demand globally as many countries continued to struggle with the pandemic.

“Most times, the ones (companies) we got in contact with, told us that the equipment would be delivered to us by end of April, and some in May.

“So, rather than tie up the money, we decided to give funds to the states, since the states had made plans to get the ventilators.

“Having discussed with the state governments, we didn’t want to duplicate efforts which will end up wasted. We are working in synergy,” he explained.

The managing director said the states had  all opened isolation centres and were also formulating procedures on treatment of COVID-19 patients.

He dismissed the various conspiracy theorists claims that radiation from 5G network was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, there is no scientific evidence that links COVID-19 to 5G network or that the virus is laboratory engineered.

“Rather than being distracted by this debate, Nigerians should instead focus their attention by following simply health tips, such as social distancing and regular washing of hands with soap, among others.

“We urge the people of Niger Delta and Nigerians at large to respect the restrictions being imposed by both the Federal and state governments. We also salute our health experts,” he added.

Pondei appealed to government to formulate a comprehensive health insurance scheme that would offer all Nigerian citizens universal health coverage.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu
(NAN)

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Judiciary

Judge’s absence stalls trial of 5 men charged with failed First Bank robbery

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The absence of Justice Ajoke Adepoju, of an FCT High Court, Wuse, on Friday, stalled the trial of five men charged in connection with the failed Mpape bank robbery at a First Bank branch in Mpape.

Earlier, the court’s registrar informed all parties and their counsel that Justice Adepoju traveled and gave them March 20.

The police charged Ehizo Larry, Princewill Obinna, Elijah David, Timothy Joe and Ernest Ewin with five counts bordering on armed robbery and possession of locally made pistols.

Ajoke had on Feb. 14, ordered that the defendants be remanded in a correctional facility, pending bail application and fixed March 13, for hearing.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the prosecution counsel, James Idachaba, told the court that the defendants conspired and invaded First Bank Plc, Mpape, Abuja, armed with locally made pistols, cutlasses and axes on Dec. 28.

Idachaba said the defendants invaded the bank with intent to steal money from the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) and threatened to use violence on the staff and customers in order to obtain cash from the bank.

He further said the defendants forcefully collected mobile phones, value not yet known from one Ann Awele, a staff of the said bank.

He added that the defendants got arrested by a team of police officers while in possession of the locally made pistols without required licence.

The prosecution counsel said in the course of police investigations, police officers attached to the special anti-robbery squad (SARS), FCT Abuja, conducted search at Obinna’s house in Katampe 1, Mpape, Abuja.

According to him, two locally made pistols were recovered from Obinna as a result of the search .

He said the offence contravened the provisions of  Section 3 and punishable under sections 6 (a) (b) (c) , 1 (2) (a), 2 (1), (2)(a), 27 (1)(a)(i) of the Robbery and Firearms (special provisions) Act.LFN 2004.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Idachaba urged the court to remand the defendants in prison and applied for a short date, saying seven witnesses were listed to testify and that vital exhibits will be tendered.

The defence counsel for Larry and Ewin, Peter Ihunweze,  did not oppose the prosecution counsel’s application but asked for a date to file for bail.

Anenin Enabosi , counsel to Obinna, aligned with Ihunweze’s submission, saying he had not been served with the charge sheet yet.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
(NAN)

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Foreign

Failed Afghan asylum seekers deported from Germany arrive in Kabul

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 A group of 39 rejected asylum seekers arrived in Kabul early on Thursday after being deported from Germany, an official from the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation said.

The chartered flight landed at 7:25 am (0255 GMT), officials added.

According to the Ministry, it marked the 33rd deportation flight from Germany to Afghanistan since December 2016.

The officials added that a total of 907 failed asylum seekers have been sent back to Afghanistan since then.

The deportations have been deeply controversial in Germany, with critics saying the war-torn country is too dangerous to send asylum seekers back to.

Almost daily attacks from the Taliban and Islamic militants are taking a toll on civilians in the country.

The country is also in the midst of a political stand-off, with two competing presidents , Ashraf Ghani, who is accr
Edited By: the country
(NAN)’s election commission, and Abdullah Abdullah, who declared self-victory and accused his rival of committing fraud.

Four rockets landed near the country’s presidential palace while parallel oath-taking ceremonies were under way in the city on Monday.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said Taliban militants carried out 32 attacks in 15 provinces over 24 hours earlier in the week, killing seven people and injuring 28 others.

The U.S. has begun to pull out its troops from Afghanistan, following the signing of the deal with the Taliban.

The deal also set a 14-month period for a gradual withdrawal of all international forces from Afghanistan.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

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Politics

Lagos Assembly summons former commissioner over failed 2019 Greater Lagos Fiesta

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The Lagos House of Assembly has summoned the former Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Olufunke Adebolu, to appear before the House over the failed 2019 Greater Lagos Fiesta.

The House passed the resolution during the plenary on Tuesday after a motion was moved by the Chairman, House Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Saka Solaja, under Matter of Urgent Public Importance.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had in January sacked the former Commissioner over the flop of the Greater Lagos Fiesta.

The House in its resolution also called the Special Adviser and Permanent Secretary in charge of the Ministry to join the former commissioner in appearing before them.

They also called on the present commissioner in the Ministry, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, to come and brief them on the itinerary of the ministry for this year.

The House expressed sadness at how the event failed woefully in 2019, noting that the ones organised previously, earned the state huge revenue.

Solaja, representing Oshodi Isolo II, explained to the House by giving a detailed account of the money allocated for the 2019 Greater Lagos Fiesta.

He informed the House how the 2019 Greater Lagos Fiesta failed despite the huge budget allocated for the successful execution of the programme.

The lawmaker noted that the past Fiesta held in the state, were well organised with Lagosians and artistes commending the government on the initiative.

He expressed regrets that the last Fiesta apart from witnessing a low turn out compared to previous years, also had many flaws due to poor planning and improper organisation.

“We allocated huge sums of money to the Ministry for this yearly programme to hold but we were surprised with how the programme went in 2019.

“So, many Lagosians complained bitterly and some artistes also expressed their displeasure at how the event failed,” he said.

Mr Tunde Braimoh, representing Kosofe Constituency II, noted that “Tourism is the future of Lagos.”

Braimoh noted that a public servant was a public trust, adding that the former commissioner should be brought to account for all the budget that has been disbursed to her.

The Majority Leader, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, explained that the intention of the Fiesta was to raise the bar of tourism in the state.

Agunbiade, representing Ikorodu I, lamented that the 2019 Fiesta had a porous publicity.

The lawmaker said people were asking questions to know if the Fiesta was going to hold or not, but eventually, there was nothing.

“Those who were meant to grace the occasion were not carried along and the event ended up failing.

“The fact that someone is or no more in government does not mean he or she can’t be summoned to explain some grey areas,” he said.

Other members also complained that the failure of the programme in 2019 led to loss of revenue generation.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi

 

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Politics

PPPRA failed to remit N501m in 2014, says DFA

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Mr Peter Joshua, the Director of Finance and Administration, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has admitted that the agency failed to remit N501.2 million into the Federation Account in 2014.

The revelation stunned members of House of Representatives Committee on Finance at an investigative hearing on Monday in Abuja.

Joshua told the committee that the agency generated N2.8 billion in 2014 and should have remitted N708.6 million which represented 25 per cent of its Internally Generated Revenue in line with the law.

He, however, admitted that the agency remitted only N207.7 million leaving a difference of N501.2 million unmerited.

Joshua explained the amount was largely generated from the 15 kobo charged on every liter of fuel imported or refined locally.

The Chairman of the committee, Rep. James Faleke (APC-Lagos), demanded all relevant documents showing revenue generation and remittances from 2011 to date.

Faleke ruled that the management should appear before the committee with all the relevant documents on Feb. 27.

He said that the committee noticed a lot of irregularities in the revenue generation and remittances of the agency.

The legislator said that the Auditor General’s report on the agency was “damning” as there were queries yet to be answered.

According to him, it would not be business as usual as there was a new Sheriff in town, “we are looking for money to fund 2020 budget.”

“Furnish this house with the agency’s financial statement from 2011, the audited accounts, outstanding debts, all documents showing reconciliation with NNPC, details of all contracts awarded and copies of products certification,” he said.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Maharazu Ahmed

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Politics

Reps probe MDAs over failed audit reports

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The House of Representatives says it will “name and shame” Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that refuse to appear before it with their audited reports.

The Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, Rep. Wole Oke, disclosed this during an investigative public hearing into the presentation of audit reports of MDAs on Monday.

The committee is investigating the “allegations of deliberate and reckless refusal by non-treasury funded MDAs to render accounts to the Office of the Accountant-General to the Federation (OAGF)”.

Oke said the investigation was necessary following the reports of the growing number of MDAs that refused to submit their Reports to the OAGF.

He said the investigation was in line with the constitutional responsibility of the house to oversight MDAs and allowed for stakeholders to exercise their constitutional rights of fair hearing. 

The committee chairman said that the action by the committee was not intended to usurp the functions of the OAGF.

“Any agency that is invited and refused to show up, we will name and shame such MDAs. It shows that you are hiding something.

“We are only asking you, ‘bring your audited accounts’. If you have submitted to the auditor-general, show us proof; we are only saying based on the records that we have, so many agencies have refused to comply with the provision of the Constitution and relevant statutes.

“It is through these kinds of engagements that we can formulate policies, make new laws or amend the existing ones which are difficult to obey.”

The committee agreed that only the managing directors, chief executive officers or the directors of accounts of the various institutions present at the hearing could present the reports.

“Mr President can only give you a job but he cannot do the job for you. If we like to be MDs or CEOs, so why don’t we like to render accounts?

“You can discharge your duties when discharging money when it comes to accountability, you shy away. If the MD of Bank of Industry can be here, Director of DPR can be here, Nigerian Export-Import Bank are here, why won’t others?

“We would name and shame, aside deploy the provisions of the Constitution on warrant of arrest.”

He noted that in 2016, 323 MDAs failed to submit their audited reports to the OAGF compared to 215 unsubmitted reports in 2015; 148 in 2014; 109 in 2013; 85 in 2012; and 76 in 2011.

“Between 2010 and 2015, the Auditor-General’s Reports for these years were lying cold at the NASS without any action. 

“In 2016 Auditor-General’s Reports were received in July 2018, after a two-year delay.

“The Reports of 2017 were received by the National Assembly in 2019. 

“Despite the fact that we are in 2020, the 2018 and 2019 Reports are yet to be presented to the National Assembly,” he said. 

Oke regretted that the statistics were alarming,  adding that the committee needed probe into the reason for “this steep drop and outright disregard for the Constitution”.

He reiterated that the 9th Assembly would not be “business as usual”, contrary to some opinions that the National Assembly was “a rubber stamp”.

The public investigative hearing would be held for two weeks with different MDAs appearing before the committee to present their reports.

 

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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Judiciary

EFCC witness says JAMB revenue officer, boss failed to remit N36.5m revenue

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and misappropriated funds belonging to JAMB, an agency of the Federal Government contrary to Section 97 (2) of the Penal Code Law.

They were further accused to have within the same period while being state coordinator and revenue officer of JAMB state office committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said properties and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable by Section 315 of the Penal Code Law.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them which was read in the open court.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, while testifying for the prosecution, Ani said that based on a petition from JAMB, EFCC investigated the alleged scam and discovered that between 2014 and 2016, a total of 144,913 e-facility cards were received by the Makurdi office of the Board.

He said that the office sold a total of 124,180 at the cost of N1,000 each, adding that the sum of N124. 1 million was to be remitted to the Board by the office.

“But unfortunately, we discovered that the Makurdi zonal office remitted N88. 7 million, leaving a shortfall of N35.4 million,” the witness told the court.

He added that the office equally received a total of 10,210 change of course cards within the same period, informing that only 3,210 was sold at the cost of N2,500 each.

“By this, the office suppose to remit a total of N8,025,000 but unfortunately they remitted N7 million, leaving unremitted balance of over N1 million,” he said .

Ani said that the first defendant, Umoru, received the cards at times directly from JAMB headquarters and some other times delegated his officials to collect them.

The consignments of cards, the witness further informed, were handed over to Chieshe to sell and they did reconciliation among themselves.

He informed the court that during interrogation, the second defendant narrated to EFCC how she collected the cards from the first defendant and sold them by herself at times and through other agents and had money remitted into her salary account with Zenith Bank and her other account with EcoBank.

According to him, Chieshe informed interrogators that she made withdrawals from the accounts on the instruction of her boss and handed over the money to him and how the first defendant collected what the term IOU from the proceeds for both personal and official use “without authorization from the headquarters.

“The money left the accounts by bulk withdrawals by cheques issued in her name as well as multiple ATM withdrawals in the ratio of N10,000, N20,000 and at times N40,000 per day at the directive of the first defendant,”Ani said.

He added that the second defendant told interrogators that at a point she became uncomfortable with the whole transactions and warned her boss that it was high time they stopped but he refused to listen and the fraud continued.

Two other witnesses, Helen Akinloye and Joseph Ugbema, earlier testified for the prosecution.

Akinloye stated that she sold cards for the second defendant and remitted money to her in cash, while Ugbema, who said he was in the Account Department in the Makurdi office and assisted in the sale of the e-facility cards, told the court that he also remitted money to the second defendant in cash.

Ugbema also said that he was delegated by Umoru to collect consignments of cards at the JAMB headquarters.

Justice Peter Affen thereafter adjourned the case till March 17 for continuation of trial.    

Edited by: Remi Koleoso/Sadiya Hamza

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Foreign

Switzerland’s Obseva eyes China re-start for fertility drug that failed trial

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ObsEva struck a pact with China’s Yuyuan BioScience Technology to develop and commercialise the fertility drug nolasiban, the Swiss drugmaker said on Monday as it seeks to inject new life into a medicine that had flopped a trial.

In November, ObsEva said it was scrapping a development programme for nolasiban to help women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation after did not meet its primary endpoint of an increase in ongoing pregnancy.

The Nov. 7 announcement sent the shares down more than 3 per cent.

Under the terms of this new agreement, Yuyuan gets the rights to develop and sell nolasiban in China and will pay for activities to get the medicine registered there, including a Phase 1 study and a Phase 2 Proof-of-Concept study.

Financial terms are not being disclosed for the deal that leaves ObsEva with rights outside China.

ObsEva Chief Executive Ernest Loumaye said there had been a bidding process for nolasiban in China, and that “Yuyuan in particular impressed us with their extensive personal networks, commitment, passion and deep insights in the IVF space”.

Despite nolasiban’s earlier failure, Loumaye said “I remain convinced that oxytocin antagonists have a role in improving live birth rate following IVF, and we believe that Yuyuan is well positioned to further investigate.”

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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