Thugs Disrupted TraderMoni In Ilorin.

Suspected Hoodlums yesterday invaded the Mandate Market in Ilorin, Kwara State, to disrupt the disbursement of money to beneficiaries of the TraderMoni.

They scared away petty traders and agents of the scheme.

As early as 9am, the suspected hoodlums stormed the Mandate Market, insisting that the TraderMoni scheme cannot be implemented in the market built on a land donated to the state government by the Senate President Bukola Saraki’s father, the late Olusola Saraki.

It was not clear whether they were sent by anyone or whether they were mere party zealots, working on their own.

According to witnesses, including Bank of Industry (BOI) officials who were at the market to supervise the enumeration and disbursement of the N10, 000 collateral free loans, the arrival of the mob at Mandate Market caused some uproar.

The suspected thugs also intimidated the petty traders who had lined up to participate in the programme. Many of the traders were palpably annoyed and refused to leave the market. Calm was restored with the intervention of the police.

At the Ipata Market, where enumeration and disbursement of the TraderMoni loans were also going on, market leaders reportedly rebuffed pressure from some officials of the state, urging them to shun the enumerators. The programme went on without incident.

Officials of the Bank of Industry (BoI) told reporters that enumeration had been going on in the two markets in Kwara State in the last few days, without incident until yesterday.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected in the markets today.

TraderMoni, which is part of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) under GEEP, is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans from N10, 000.

The loans are repayable over a period of six months at which point the traders on repayment will receive a fresh N15, 000 loan, which rises to N20, 000 when repaid.

The microcredit scheme, which has since been formally launched nationwide and the FCT, is expected to reach two million petty traders by the end of the year.

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Igbo In North Banned From Travelling Over 2019 Polls

People of Igbo extraction in the 19 northern states have been banned from travelling to their states of origin to vote in next year’s general elections. Any person who flouts the directive would be fined an undisclosed amount of money. The decision was reached following an extraordinary meeting of the Igbo Delegates Assembly (IDA) in Barnawa, Kaduna State. IDA, an administrative umbrella organisation of Igbo resident in the northern states and Abuja, is responsible for members’ welfare. In attendance were executives, all Eze Igbos and chapter presidents in the 19 states. 

“We want our people to stay in their respective states and cast their votes. The era of running home during elections cannot be tolerated again. There is no need for us to go home at every election because if you do that you will automatically disenfranchise yourself.

“We have done a lot of sensitisation. We have also educated our people on this and we all agreed. That is why we decided to place an embargo. And if you travel, IDA will fine such person(s),” the organisation said in a statement jointly signed by President General Chief Chikezie Nwogu and Secretary General Austin Ofokansi Ifedinezi. The Assembly also urged members to remain law-abiding in their states of residence.

A non-governmental organisation, the African Electoral Integrity Initiative (AE2i) meanwhile has unveiled ways to guarantee integrity in the elections. This was at the National Conference on Electoral Integrity it organised in Abuja yesterday with the theme: ‘Sustaining the Integrity of the 2019 General Elections.’

Prof. Yusuf Zoaka, Dean Faculty of Social Science, University of Abuja, in his presentation titled, ‘Principles of Electoral Integrity’, said a good election is hinged on fairness and a level playing ground for all.

Zoaka, who was represented by Dr Agaba Halidu, a lecturer at the university, also listed ethical conduct, professionalism and accuracy as criteria for successful polls. He maintained that for Nigeria to have an election with integrity, factors such as enforcement, transparency and respect for the rule of law must be upheld. He advised politicians to shun hate speeches that could breed violent campaigns, and INEC to remain impartial to avoid voter apathy and rejection of results.

Mr. Mohammed Baba, Commissioner in charge of Education at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), said vote buying has become a threat to democracy, hence all efforts must be made to curb it. He disclosed that ICPC would embark on a nationwide sensitisation programme this month to change people’s attitude towards the practice.

Dr Daniel Omofoman, Convener and Regional Director (West Africa) of AE2i, said: “The conference is aimed at sensitising stakeholders to the need to sustain the integrity of the 2019 elections and restoring voter confidence in the integrity of officials, voting procedure and materials used in the election. We believe more is coming on solutions that will resolve these issues,”

He added that other issues threatening the integrity of the elections include underage voting, fake news and partisan law enforcement. But President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja gave the assurance that the result of the 2019 general elections would reflect the will of the people.

He made the promise while receiving a letter of credence from the ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Dr Jyrki Juhani Pulkkinen. He said Nigerians reserve the right to elect their leaders and that all efforts would be made to safeguard the integrity of the process. “I respect the people’s feelings,” he said, adding: “I assure all that we will have a free and fair election next year.”

Buhari congratulated Finland on its 101 Independence Day anniversary, marked yesterday. He commended the country’s growing relations with Nigeria, especially in the areas of Information Communication Technology (ICT), trade and education.

In his remarks, Pulkkinen noted that areas of mutual benefit could be extended to electricity, smart technology and crises management initiatives, pointing out he would work hard to improve trade figures and exchanges. “We will like to contribute to Africa rising. We know that Nigeria is the biggest country on the continent, so we are very interested in its growth,” he said.

He promised that at the United Nations, Finland would continue to support the restructuring of multilateral institutions, giving greater roles to African countries like Nigeria.

The president, who also received a letter of credence from the ambassador of France, Mr. Jerome Pasquier, described the visit to Nigeria by French President Emmanuel Macron as impressive and a booster to bilateral relations. Admitting that “France is investing so much in Nigeria and we are grateful,” he nevertheless called for more support in the fight against terrorism as fighters increasingly cross the borders to support insurgents.

Pasquier responded saying Macron would continue to support Nigeria, especially in the ongoing war against terrorism, with specific interest in the gathering and sharing of intelligence. He also commended Nigeria’s role in resolving the crises in Togo and Guinea Bissau.

Buhari equally received a letter of credence from the ambassador of the Czech Republic, Mr. Marek Skolil, to whom he gave an assurance of improved economic relations in solid minerals exploration.

Skolil, on his part, said his country would continue to support Nigeria’s military in the fight against terrorism in the northeast. “Nigeria is a very important country for us. We look forward to stronger ties, particularly with the armed forces,” he said.

SAHARAREPORTERS 

Reekado Banks Parted Ways With Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records

Nigerian singer, Ayoleyi Solomon, popularly known as Reekedo Banks has parted ways with Mavin Record, a music company owned by Don Jazzy.

Announcing his departure from Mavins Records on Instagram, the singer who celebrated his 25th birthday on Thursday, thanked Don Jazzy for the opportunity he gave him when he signed with the record label in 2013.

The post read: “Today I write in tears, not from a place of pain, but of joy and gratitude. A place of bliss and satisfaction because I am more than contented with how far this opportunity has brought me. The last five years have been the most blissful years of my career. The journey has been extremely wonderful and filled with the best experiences.

“I’ve learnt that family is not just about blood ties but about the love, sacrifices and friendship that exist amongst its members. The relationships I have fostered has proved to me that love is thicker than blood. Joining the @mavinrecords family was the best thing to have happened to me in the last decade. @donjazzy took me in and treated me like his own son. I’ll be eternally grateful to him for sacrifices he made towards the growth of my career.

“His selflessness and efforts towards me and the entire Mavin crew is one that is admirable and worthy of emulation. A true KING with a large heart, full of kindness and ready to accommodate even more people. And to the rest of the crew, Our family is a clear example of the saying, ‘We rise by lifting others’. Thank you all for all the times you’ve lifted me at my lowest moments, for the support, the amazing hits and most especially, the LOVE. Taking this bold step and moving on from Mavin Records onto bigger opportunities is something that, though not easy, is absolutely necessary because of my growth. I am very ecstatic about what the future holds and I cannot wait to share with everyone what new opportunities have come. Long Live Mavin Records.”

63Lecturers,Staff For Forgery,Sexual Harassment Sacked In Ebonyi Varsity

About 63 lecturers and other staff of Ebonyi State University (EBSU) have been relieved of their duties for alleged certificate forgeries, sexual harassment and extortion. Also sacked were adjunct lecturers of the school who have over-stayed in the university. Most of the staff sacked were said to have obtained their West African School Certificate Examination (WAEC) before their First School Leaving Certificate.

They were also said to have falsified their age, certificates and other relevant credentials. Their sack followed audit report submitted by a committee set up to verify credentials of workers of the institution. There were reports that over 300 persons were affected by the sack, but the management of the institution stated that only 63 were dismissed.

Some of the lecturers sacked for alleged sexual harassment are – Chinedu Ogah of the Department of History and International Relations and Dr. Egbo of Faculty of Education. Some other lecturers are being tried for same offences. Public Relations Officer of the university, Patrick Itumo, confirmed the sack of the lecturers and other staff to our correspondent He said: “That is the reason for the action we are talking about; the disengagement. They are not over 300 as being speculated. As I speak to you, they are 63 in number that have been disengaged.

“There is this audit report that was brought out from where these people were disengaged, 63 of them. Some of them have age discrepancies in their records. Some people obtained doubtful First School Leaving Certificates; some obtained their WAEC before their First School Leaving Certificates. “There are people who should have retired at the age of 65 or 70 years and they are still in service and also some adjunct professors who come from various places whose contracts have been reviewed up to five times.

As of now, nobody among these people has been reinstated. “Students are encouraged to come up with report of sexual harassment so that the school will look into it. They should talk to the authorities and they will be protected if they are afraid to make an open report on it.

They should send message to the VC’s phone, to me or their course adviser; they will be protected. “Recently, Chinedu Ogah of the Department of History and International Relations was dismissed for sexual harassment and extortion. Also Dr. Egbo of Education Faculty was also dismissed for sexual harassment. Other cases are still ongoing and as soon as they are determined, they will be published.”

Breaking News:Buhari Chairs Special FEC Meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently chairing a special session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The meeting is taking place in Abuja.

According to the presidency, the FEC meeting is a special session to discuss the 2019 budget.

Stay tuned for more details……. 

Breaking News:INEC Appointed New Secretary

The Independent National Electoral Commission has took to their twitter account to announced the appointment of a new secretary.

The board of INEC shared the appointment letter with the caption;

The Independent National Electoral Commission has appointed the Administrative Secretary, Delta State, Mrs. Rose Orianran-Anthony, as Secretary to the Commission for a four-year term with effect from 6th December, 2018.


Six months In Office, Restructuring Will Commence-Atiku

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has revealed when he will commence restructuring of Nigeria.

One of the key points of Atiku’s campaign was to restructure Nigeria if elected president in 2019.

The former Vice President said the restructuring process will start within six months of his government if he emerges victorious in the presidential election in 2019.

He gave this assurance on Thursday when he addressed his supporters at the historic Mapo Hall Square, Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

Atiku said he has always been an advocate of restructuring as a way to move the country forward.

He said: “One of the most important policies I have advocated in this country is the restructuring of this country.

“Today, I stand before you to pledge that before you that within six months we shall start the process of restructuring in every part of this country

Catholic Bishops Banned Priests From‘Active Politics’

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has banned Catholic priests and faithful of consecrated life from engaging in partisan politics including becoming a member of any political party.

The Secretary General, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, gave this order on Thursday in Abuja on behalf of the Catholic Bishops.ADVERTISEMENT

They frowned at the public altercation between Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka and a former Anambra State Governor and the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi.

The altercation occurred recently at Fr. Mbaka’s adoration ground in Enugu, on the issue of patronage in respect of the forthcoming 2019 general elections.ADVERTISEMENT

According to the Rev. Fr. Madu, the Bishops condemned the shameful scenario on an adoration ground, as contained in video recording that has gone viral on social media, saying the incident does not have the support of the Bishops Conference of Nigeria.

“As has always been our stand, the Catholic church in Nigeria, as clearly stated in their August 7, 2018 directives, remains apolitical and does not support or subscribe to any political party.

“Our concern is for a peaceful election process seen to be free, fair, credible and just, and a democratic governance that guarantees peace, justice, equity, among others.

“On behalf of the conference, we wish to reiterate their obligation as teachers of faith and morals, to educate the faithful on their role in the political life of the country, mindful of the present charged political atmosphere of Nigeria.

“With the ongoing campaigns of political parties gathering momentum, we deemed it necessary to again remind all priests and religious to keep to the position of the church on the issue of non-partisan politics,” Madu said.

While saying that they are sure that the Enugu diocese, where Rev. Mbaka is incardinated, is taking appropriate measures on the incident, they wish to categorically reiterate that no Catholic priest or people of consecrated life should be actively involved in partisan politics in obedience on the Canon Law of the Catholic.

He said, “Also, liturgical ceremonies must never be used as an occasion for political campaigns. The country is presently going through difficult times and we therefore call on all the faithful, to continue to pray for spiritual intervention in the life of our country, by the regular saying of the conference, on daily basis.

“We also enjoined the lay faithful to play their roles in the forthcoming elections premised on good conscience, play their roles at the election without prejudice or inducement and ensure that their votes count and the right people voted into power for the common good.”