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Man, 34, faces N2.7m car fraud charge

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A 34-year-old, George Obum, was on Wednesday brought before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, over alleged fraud.

Obum allegedly presented himself as the owner of a car worth N7 million, and sold it to an unsuspecting buyer at the rate of N2.7 million.

The defendant, whose residential address was not given, is standing trial on a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and stealing.

The Prosecution, Sgt. Chinedu Njoku, told the court that the defendant and others at large committed the offences on Oct. 27, 2018, at Ojodu, Lagos.

Njoku said that the defendant fraudulently obtained N2.7 million from the complainant, Mr William Odeh, under the pretext of selling a Toyota Venza to him, but failed to do so.

“The defendant forged some documents and presented himself as the owner of a Toyota Venza marked RBC 863 TN, valued at N7 million.

“He used the forged documents and obtained N2.7 million from the complainant, under guise of selling the car to him, but failed to do so,” Njoku said.

According to the prosecution, the offences contravene Sections 287, 314, 376, 380 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him by the police.

The Magistrate, Mrs Folashade Botoku, granted him bail of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum.

She ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of tax payments to the Lagos State Government.

The magistrate then, adjourned the case until March 25 for mention.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Olagoke Olatoye

 

Foreign

UN warns of looming humanitarian crisis in Somalia

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The UN on Tuesday called on the international community to help Somalia avert a major humanitarian crisis due to the combined effect of devastating floods, desert locusts and the widespread impact of COVID-19.

Justin Brady, head of Office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia warned that the political and security gains made by Somalia over recent years could be at risk of reversal if swift action is not taken to avert the crisis.

“We have a situation of the two problems of floods and COVID-19 converging and reinforcing the impact on the population, and then we have the locusts,” Brady said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

“We expect to see a portion of the crops this year lost to the locust infestation, which will compound the food security and nutrition situation for many Somalis,” he added.

The UN official said Somalia’s coping mechanisms are significantly less than those of the neighboring countries.

“Therefore, the impact of floods, locusts and COVID-19 is not simply humanitarian but has the potential to reverse some of the political and security gains that the international community has invested in over the past decade,” said Brady.

According to the UN, about 500,000 people have been displaced by recent floods in Somalia’s central regions, while the country is also dealing with a severe locust infestation which threatens food security and nutrition for many.

Somalia has also been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic‘s spread with the total number of confirmed cases reaching 2,089, 390 recoveries and 79 fatalities as of Tuesday.

The UN said the pandemic has led to major socio-economic disruptions across Somalia, including a reduction in remittances from the Diaspora, itself a mainstay for many Somalis, and a reduction in casual labor opportunities due to COVID-19 restrictions, making it difficult for many to cope.

“We need to continue to work together and expand the coordination with the private sector, civil society and have more engagement with the diaspora,” Brady said.

He said the UN‘s warning takes into account Somalia’s inherent structural weaknesses, which make the country far more vulnerable than the other countries in the region, and calls for an all hands on deck approach to avert the worst.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said it has acquired equipment to help eradicate the locusts in infested areas in locations such as Hargeisa, Galmudug and Puntland. The infestation is Somalia‘s worst outbreak in 25 years.

The FAO Country Representative in Somalia, Etienne Peterschmitt, believes that the impact of the current desert locust outbreak in Somalia could, by September, increase the number of Somalis facing food insecurity or severe hunger by half a million.

Both OCHA and WHO have described the floods, locusts and COVID-19 as an unprecedented “triple threat,” which needed adequate funding to fight against.

Somalia was already struggling with floods and an invasion of desert locusts in the northern parts of the country when COVID-19 struck, further aggravating the situation by putting pressure on the country’s fragile health system, thereby causing a major public health crisis.

“Unless we are able to rapidly scale up our response operations, unless we get adequate funding from our donors, we will not be able to respond to this need of the government and that window is closing very rapidly,” said the WHO Country Representative for Somalia, Mamunur Rahman Malik.

According to the UN, while some half a million people have been displaced, overall, more than a million people have been affected by flash and riverine floods in Somalia.

In March, Somalia launched the National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19, seeking 57 million U.S. dollars for the next six months.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Ibadan businessman petitions new Oyo CP over alleged rights infringement

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An Ibadan-based businessman, Mr Peter Asa, has petitioned the new Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, over alleged infringement on his fundamental rights by the police.
Asa, in his petition, entitled: ‘Save My Soul’, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Ibadan, said that his rights had been grossly infringed upon.
He alleged that some police officers were being used to silence him over a certain property sold to him by a company, UAC, in 2020 for N26 million.
Asa, popularly known as King Zion, named a certain man as the brain behind his recent detention for three days at the Iyaganku police station.
The businessman said that the inaugural speech of the new police boss, where he pledged never to tolerate any infringement on the fundamental human rights of any member of the public by his officers and men, motivated his distress call.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Enwonwu, who took over from Mr Shina Olukolu, who had been transferred to the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Lagos State, assumed duty on June 1.
Asa, while alleging that the man in question had sponsored several attacks on him, using security agents, implored the police commissioner to carry out an investigation on the case.
“Two officers from Iyaganku, on a recent Thursday afternoon, around 2 pm., at the premises of a bank in Dugbe, arrested and treated me like a common criminal.
“I was taken to Iyaganku police station and kept in detention with criminally-minded suspects for three days.
“The officers arrested me and said my attention was needed at Iyaganku.
“There
is no iota of truth in what I was alleged of. They said I was responsible for the fire incident at the said property, which I duly paid for over 18 years ago.
“The ownership right on the matter is still in court and I will not want to go there. But as a pastor, I know truth will prevail at the end, as I have faith in God that I will get justice, no matter what,” he said.
Asa said that the fire incident happened in broad daylight on April 15 and that he was arrested on May 14, allegedly on a trumped up charge that he was responsible for the inferno.
He said that his arrest came after the officials of Oyo State government had fingered a welder working in one of the shops in the complex as the brain behind the inferno.


Edited By: Bayo Sekoni and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Foreign

Demand for labor in Germany continues to fall due to COVID-19 pandemic

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Due to economic restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for labor in Germany continued to fall as the country’s job index fell from 94 points in April to 91 points in May, Germany’s Federal Employment Agency (BA) announced on Tuesday.

The decline in labor demand slowed down after the monthly index had fallen by 19 points last month. “New job registrations have recovered from the strong fall in April,” BA noted.

However, with a minus of 38 points year-on-year, the job index in May was “considerably” below the previous year’s level and also remained below the reference level, according to BA.

“Staff requirements are lower than in the previous year in all industry sectors,” BA said. Almost half of the decline was due to the decreasing demand in temporary employment and the country’s manufacturing industry.

The hotel and restaurant industry was also affected by the coronavirus restrictions with 42 percent fewer jobs registered, according to BA. In transport and logistics, the number of registered jobs fell by a third.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Migrants demand “freedom” at Malta’s Marsa detention center

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Police were called in on Tuesday to help quell a protest at one of Malta’s detention centers where hundreds of migrants were demanding “freedom.”

The protest, which lasted from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., was kept under control. No major incidents were reported.

The migrants held at a detention center in the harbor village of Marsa waved towels, banged on windows and chanted “We want freedom.”

One migrant climbed the fence and jumped into a nearby canal. He was immediately captured by the police and taken to hospital. The situation seemed to escalate during the rescue because he resisted and the migrants inside the center began insulting the police and tried to force open the main gate.

However, the situation was soon brought under control. A police spokesman told Xinhua that only the person who tried to flee was arrested and that the intervention of the riot police squad was not required.

In April, a similar protest took place at the Marsa detention center.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

India launches $6.7 bn plan to boost electronics manufacturing

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India launched a 6.65 billion dollars plan on Tuesday to boost electronics manufacturing, saying it would start by offering five global smartphone makers incentives to establish or expand domestic production.

The government is offering a production-linked incentive (PLI) involving cash worth four per cent to six per cent of additional sales of goods made locally over five years, with 2019-2020 as the base year, technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a news conference.

Names of the five companies, which would have to meet investment and sales thresholds to be eligible, were expected to be announced in the next two months, ministry officials said.

Five Indian firms would also be selected for the PLI scheme, which, along with two other related initiatives, could help India produce smartphones and components worth 10 trillion rupees (133 billion dollars) by 2025, Prasad said.

The smartphone industry has become a showpiece for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make In India’ drive. The government now wants to make the country an export hub.

Global players such as Samsung and Taiwanese firms Foxconn and Wistron, which both supply Apple, have already ramped up local production, attracted by India’s huge market of 1.3 billion people.

The new plan also includes schemes to drive up production of components and create manufacturing clusters with pre-built factory sheds and common facilities for companies to move in immediately.

“We want the bridegrooms to come but we also want the entire wedding procession. A company coming (to India) should also bring the entire procession of its ancillaries,” Prasad said.

The plan comes as more companies look for manufacturing sites outside China, where the coronavirus pandemic disrupted global supply chains.

India, which offers cheap labor, has more than 1 billion mobile connections but less than half that number of smartphones, offering manufacturers a huge potential market.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Foreign

Feature: Istanbul’s cafe resorts to well-dressed mannequins to ensure social distancing after reopening

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Customers entering a cafe in central Istanbul on Tuesday were surprised when they saw some well-dressed mannequins sitting at some tables among other customers.

My friend and I decided to have a chat in this cafe for the first time in three months as the figures related to the COVID-19 cases have been in decline for a while in Turkey,” Mahmut Nuvit, a customer of the cafe, told Xinhua.

“We thought it would be empty over hygiene and social distancing concerns,” he continued with a smile on his face. “As soon as we stepped in, we noticed a different kind of crowd, and later realized that … some were mannequins.”

The management of the Varuna cafe and restaurant in the crowded Beyoglu district on the European side of the city has recently decided to use mannequins to implement the social distancing rule differently.

“Instead of leaving some of our tables empty, which would make the venue look bizarre and isolated, we simply treated the mannequins as our customers,” Ulas Volkan Celik, a manager of Varuna, told Xinhua.

On Monday, Turkey reopened restaurants, cafes, and many other facilities under strict precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic as the government decided to further ease restrictions.

The health ministry demanded the facilities leave at least 1.5 meters between each table and 60 centimeters between the chairs to secure the social distancing rule.

“We didn’t want to close some of our tables to the service or remove them to follow the rules,” Celik said. “After a brainstorming period, we came up with this creative idea.”

Now, there are a total of 16 mannequins sitting on eight out of 35 tables, all wearing daily outfits.

The staff had spent almost three weeks in preparing them for the big reopening on Monday.

“We found out that there are dressers specialized in dressing up mannequins,” Celik explained the process.

“But we did not apply to any stylist. We dressed our own clothes on mannequins,” he added.

The management has received a significant interest both from passersby and the customers, according to Celik.

“Even at the stage of our preparation, those who saw the models walked in and started taking photos,” he said, noting since the reopening, the customers have been saying of the cozy atmosphere inside the cafe.

“There is nothing more repellent than an empty cafe or restaurant, no matter where you are in the world,” Celik said.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Britain announces £160m in humanitarian aid to Yemen

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Britain announced on Tuesday 160 million pounds ($201 million) in humanitarian aid to Yemen, James Cleverly, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East and North Africa said.

Cleverly told a pledging conference to help the war-torn country of the British government plans to assist Yemen with the fund.

Saudi Arabia hosted a virtual U.N. conference to help raise some 2.4 billion dollars to counter funding shortages for aid operations in Yemen.

The conference is aimed at raising 2.4 billion dollars to keep aid flowing to Yemen.

“Unless we secure significant funding, more than 30 out of 41 major UN programmes in Yemen will close in the next few weeks,’ UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a videoconference.

“Today’s pledges will help our UN humanitarian agencies and their partners on the ground to continue providing a lifeline to millions of Yemenis,” he added.

He added that aid agencies “are in a race against time” in Yemen.

He said that reports indicate that mortality rates from COVID-19 in Aden, the temporary seat of the Yemeni government, are among the highest in the world.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Foreign

Lufthansa introduces mandatory mouth-nose cover rule

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Germany’s biggest airline Lufthansa announced on Tuesday that it is going to make wearing mouth-nose cover on board mandatory starting from June 8.

The General Conditions of Carriage (GCC) would be adapted accordingly, Lufthansa said in a statement. “Safety of customers and employees is a top priority,” it said.

All persons on board, except for children under the age of six, or persons who were unable to wear a mask due to health reasons or because of a disability, were required to wear mouth and nose protection while boarding, during the flight and when leaving the aircraft, according to Lufthansa.

The mask could be temporarily removed for the consumption of drinks and food on board, for communication with deaf people, for identification purposes and for other necessary activities incompatible with the wearing of a mouth and nose protection, according to Lufthansa.

Initially, this change of GCC would apply to Lufthansa, Eurowings and Lufthansa Cityline. All other Lufthansa Group airlines were currently examining whether they would also be adjusting their GCC accordingly, the airline explained.

Already since May 4, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group have been asking all passengers to wear a mouth and nose protection on board their flights

“In the interest of the health of customers and employees, by introducing the mask requirement into the GCC, it is clearly underlined that wearing a mask is mandatory for all passengers,” Lufthansa said in the statement.

The obligation to wear the mask will preliminarily apply until Aug. 31, 2020.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

UN humanitarian chief asks donors to prevent Yemen from falling off precipice

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UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock on Tuesday asked donors to pledge generously so that “a tragedy of historic proportions” could be avoided in Yemen.

“Yemen is now on the precipice, right on the cliff edge, below which lies a tragedy of historic proportions,” Lowcock told an online pledge conference for Yemen, co-sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and Saudi Arabia.

He asked donors for generous pledges consistent with their commitments last year, as well as for prompt payment and flexible financing to allow aid agencies to focus on where their needs are the greatest.

“I want in particular to warn that cutting funding to one part of the country or another because you are concerned about the behavior of those in control is tantamount to the collective punishment of the innocent and the vulnerable, people who have no say on who is in charge in the places they live,” said Lowcock.

“Pledges will not save lives unless they are paid. And so far, most of the pledges made remain unpaid,” he added.

Of the 41 major UN-supported programs in Yemen, more than 30 will close in the next few weeks unless additional funds are secured, he said. “COVID-19 rapid response teams are funded only until the end of month, we could start winding down treatment for severely malnourished children. Support for cholera facilities will also start to reduce,” he said.

The situation in Yemen is catastrophic, said Lowcock, adding that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country and the health system is in a state of collapse.

COVID-19 comes on top of the many problems already facing Yemen, such as economic collapse, a destroyed infrastructure, hunger, disease and displacement, he noted.

“Yemenis themselves say things are worse today than at any time in their recent history. And yet, so far this year, the world has offered less help than it did last year. Never have we had so little money for humanitarian action in Yemen this late in the year,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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