Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Substandard Cables Worth Two Billion Naira Set For Destruction By Standards Organisation Of Nigeria

 The Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON will in the next two weeks destroy over two billion naira worth of substandard cables at its dump site in Shagamu, Ogun state.

Director General of SON, Joseph Odumodu stated this at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on the organizations achievements in 2012 and target for 2013.

Odumodu explained that in January 2013 alone the SON has evacuated over twenty trucks load of energy saving bulbs in Nigeria which has led the organization to introduce a product registration regime by February this year.

The SON DG also urged Nigerians to patronize locally made goods which aside from helping the economy by creating jobs, has a less than five percent substandard rate as against the over eighty percent rate on imported goods.

 May have seized over five million substandard tyres in the last two years its major challenge is how to safely dispose of something the FRSC say is responsible for over twenty percent of accidents in Nigeria, without harming the environment since there are no tyre shredding plants in the country.

Atiku Calls For Stiffer Anti-Corruption Law

Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called on the Federal Government and National Assembly to make the anti-corruption law stiffer to serve the purpose of deterrence against white-collar criminals in the country.

Reacting to the public outrage that greeted the two-year sentence passed on a pension crime convict, the former Vice President explained that the issue brought to light the major defects of the anti-corruption laws.

Atiku said that “President Obasanjo submitted a stiffer draft law which, however, was watered down by the then National Assembly.”

He said rather than trading blames, Nigerians should also look at the weaknesses in these laws and call for urgent review of the laws.

According to Atiku, the purpose of punishment is deterrence and the ultimate desire to produce remorse in the hearts and minds of offenders.

This, however, could not be achieved, he said, when the punishment is made so light as to make criminality attractive.

The Turaki Adamawa regretted that a situation where the majority believes the law is designed against the poor or petty offenders is not too good for the credibility of the anti-corruption war.
He particularly warned that the recent outrage over the light conviction of the pension offender could send the wrong signal to the international community about the seriousness or sincerity of Nigeria to fight corruption.

The former Vice President maintained that the existing penal provisions of the anti-corruption laws make it impossible to impose punishments that fit the gravity of the offences committed by white-collar criminals.

The former Vice President, who  played an active role in the formulation of the anti-corruption laws and creation of the EFCC, said more than a decade after, it was high time the provisions of the law is reviewed to strengthen the commission and the anti-graft war.

Oyo Approves Recruitment Of 3,000 Teachers

Abiola Ajimobi

Oyo State government has threatened to sanction forthwith any Principals/Teachers in her public schools whose student record poor performance in external examinations

The commissioner of education Adetokunbo Fayokun who handed down the warning said that the State Government has reviewed the allowances paid to teachers for the extension classes.

She added that Principals/Teachers performance will henceforth be judged by the students performance in external examination and any School Principal with record of Student poor performance will be sanctioned appropriately.

Mrs Fayokun stated that the State Government has just approved the recruitment of 3,000 qualified Teachers to fill vacancies in the Public Schools charging school Principals to leave no stone unturned and also to make sure that WAEC past questions were reviewed during the extension classes.

The State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Adetokunbo Fayokun disclosed this today at the interactive session with Principals of Public Schools in the State at Lagelu, Ibadan.

According to the Commissioner, the State Government has concluded the registration of candidate in State public school for May/June 2013 WASSCE and there's need for stakeholders to brainstorm, prepare student and commence extension classes  so that the State can move to the single digit in the rating of the forthcoming external examinations.

While reiterating the effort of the present administration at transforming the education sector by provision of furniture to schools, rehabilitation of school buildings provision of boreholes/toilets and free notebooks to mention few.

Responding on behalf of the Principals, the ANCOPPS President, Oyo State.  Mr. Y.A. Shittu  pledged their support and loyalty to the State Government to transform the education sector.

Rotimi Amaechi

River State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi has accused the Economic And Financial Crime commission of derailing in its core mandate of fighting corruption.

The governor, who said this during the Nigeria Bar Association National summit on Peace and Security asserted that that the graft agency is now used to victimize political opponents.

Ogun State 2013 Budget

The Ogun Government plans to spend 65 percent of its 2013 budget on the execution of its five cardinal projects, while the remaining 35 percent is being dedicated to other sectors.

Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mrs Oluwande Muoyo who dropped this hint today in Abeokuta during the budget breakdown session indicated that the 2013 budget is 6% greater than that of 2012, saying the increase was a reflection of Government’s desire to pursue the five-cardinal programmes vigorously.

 She revealed that the sum of N138.3b would be expended on the provision of affordable qualitative education and efficient healthcare delivery.

 Muoyo also disclosed that other areas to be given prime attention in the year include agricultural production and industrialisation, affordable housing and urban renewal as well as rural and infrastructural development and employment generation.

Giving a general breakdown, the Commissioner explained that in this fiscal year, the State Government would spend the total sum of N211.8b, pointing out that out of this, N116.9b is to be spent on capital expenditure, while the balance of N94b is for recurrent expenditure.

On sources of funding the budget, the Commissioner disclosed that the State intends to generate 35% through Internally Generated Revenue, 30%through Capital Receipts while the balance of 35% is expected to be sourced from the Federation Account.
Mrs. Muoyo also announced that following its aggressive pursuit, the State Government was able to generate the sum of N3b last December, adding that the sale of land accounted for only one third of this amount, while the balance was generated through recurrent sources such as taxes and levies.

Autopsy Result On Floating Bodies Been Awaited As Three Experts Carry Out The Autopsy.

 The Anambra state Commissioner for Health, Doctor Lawrence Ikeakor has called for patient as autopsy has been carried on 8 of the mysteries floating bodies found in Ezu River.
Correspondent Onuora Aninwobodo reports that the Commissioner said the number has risen to nineteen bodies and assured that all will be exhumed from their present grave which is the bank of the River to a befitting burial place.

The Commissioner explaining the process taken by  Anambra state Government in ensuring that the cause of death of the now mysterious bodies are unraveled, said that autopsy were carried out on eight of the dead bodies.
Doctor Ikeakor said one other body was found, while four exhumed for the exercise, which he said was done by a police pathologist and two from Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital Nnewi. He went on to say that the exercise was carried out in Awka, while the police pathologist has left for Benin with the sample for toxicology study

On the fate of the remaining corpses buried at the bank of the River, the Commissioner for Health said they will all be exhumed and buried at a befitting resting place.

The former Chief Medical Director of Anambra state University Teaching Hospital, Amaku called for patient as he said that no one can assume the cause of these peoples death for now.

It is imperative to note that the Commissioner for Health said the result of the exercise will be made public, but assured that the autopsy must be done in globally accepted standard.

House Committee Chair Arraigned By EFCC For Issuing Dud Cheques

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Internal Security, Aliyu Gebi , has been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Commission for issuing dud cheques of One Hundred and twenty  million naira.

Gebi was arraigned on a 13-count charge  before Justice Abba Bello Muhammad of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Apo, Abuja.

The anti-graft agency accused him of issuing 13 dud cheques in favour of the complainant, Musty Petroleum Limited, an offence contrary to and punishable under the Nigerian law.

Gebi pleaded not guilty.

Prosecution counsel, Mohammed Bello did not oppose bail. He however  urged the court to note the gravity of the offence by imposing condition that will make the Accused attend trial.

In his Ruling, Justice Muhammad granted bail based on previous terms as granted by the EFCC . 

The lawmaker is to deposit  his diplomatic passport with the EFCC".

The matter was adjourned till February 19 for hearing.

IGP Ask Federal High Court To Dismiss Ifeanyi Uba's Suit

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar,  has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos to dismiss a N10bn suit filed by Capital Oil and Gas Ltd and its chairman, Ifeanyi Uba, seeking to be shielded from any criminal prosecution.

The Special Fraud Unit of the police in Lagos in October 2012 held Uba and five of his employees in custody for 10 on the basis of investigating them for alleged N40bn fuel subsidy fraud.
Uba is by his suit seeking N10bn compensatory damages against the IG, and other respondents including, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede,  for alleged illegal detention.

Counsel for the IG, Mr. Godwin Obla, on Tuesday informed the presiding judge, Justice Chukwujekwu  Aneke that he had filed a preliminary objection to the suit urging the court to refuse the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
Among the IG’s grounds  for seeking the striking out of the suit is that it “does not disclose a reasonable cause of action against” the police “and the court in consequence lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit”.
Obla also argued that the police cannot be restrained from carrying out their constitutional duty of investigating fraud, having obtained an order of a magistrate’s court to hold the suspects in custody.

He contended in his objection that the suit was an abuse of court process as the facts and parties constituting the suit had been previously litigated and judgment delivered by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

“This suit is an abuse of the process of this court and has been brought to unduly irritate and annoy the second respondent (the IG),” Obla stated.

Abang had in October 2012 struck out Uba’s suit seeking an order of release from the custody of the SFU which claimed to be investigating Uba, his firm,   Capital Oil and four others for alleged fraud.

He was later released from the custody of SFU before the expiration of a remand order earlier granted by a Magistrate, Mr. Martins Owumi.
But Uba, who by is suit accuses the police authorities, Aig-Imokhuede and other respondents of “prosecutorial misconduct”, is seeking the court’s declaration nullifying the report made by the presidential committee on verification of oil subsidy payment to oil marketers.

He claimed that the report of the presidential committee headed by Aig -Imokhuede was tainted by malice as it had  portrayed him  as being involved in stealing and money laundering

Ubah therefore seeks an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the IGP, and CP SFU, from further “harassing, arresting or instituting any criminal process” against him.

Other respondents in the suit are the policeman investigating the fraud allegation against Uba and CEO Coscharis Motors, Mr Cosmas Maduka.

Justice Aneke has adjourned hearing of the objection and adoption of addresses till March 7.

Nkiru Sylvanus Paid Her Kidnappers 8 Million Naira - Security Agencies

Nkiru Sylvanus

Security agencies have revealed that Nollywood  actress and Aide of Governor Rochas Okorocha, Nkiru Sylvanus, who was kidnapped in Decmber last year, paid eight million Naira to secure her release.

The revelation came from the State Security Service and the Nigeria Police at a joint briefing in Abuja.

Spokespersons for both  organizations  also revealed that members of the notorious Kidnapping ring, which carried out the act, have also been arrested .

The gang is led by a dismissed police man, Ndidi Nwokoma.

Other members of the gang are Stanley Asonna, a twenty seven year old indigen of Oguta in IMO state, Aminu Musa, a Fourty year old ram trader from Taraba state. ohammed Abubarkar, 34, from Nassarawa state.

Others are Obinna, 30, from Anambra state and Sampson Chinedu from IMO state.

As the security agencies continue their battle against kidnapping there is still the controversial issue of ransom payment

The six suspects are to be handed over to the Police for prosecution

FG Demands Apology From Oby Ezekwesiri

Oby Ezekwesiri

The Federal Government has demanded an apology from former education Minister, Oby Ezekwesiri over allegation that the government of Umaru Yar Adua and Goodluck Jonathan had squandered over sixty seven Billion Dollars of Foreign Reserve and Excess Crude fund.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, who made the request in Abuja, accused the former World bank chief of intentionally distorting facts in her well publicized allegation.

Producing  documents on the country's Foriegn Reserve and Excess Crude fund from 2007 till date, the Presidential Aide argued that at no point between these years did the country's reserve was squandered.

He also explained that the country's reserve currently stand at Fourty five billion dollars as against fourth three billion dollars in may 2007 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo left office

NLC Accuse The Judiciary Of Encouraging Corruption

The NLC has accused the Nigeria Judiciary of allegedly encouraging corruption in the country following the two years jail sentence slammed  against the  former Director, Police Pension Board, Yakubu Yusuf

The labour union said  it was startled that a man who pleaded guilty of embezzling  N23.3bn pension fund was allowed to easily walk away after an option of fine of 750, 000thousand naira

According to the NLC in a statement issued in Abuja the judgement delivered by Justice Abubakar Talbas shows clearly that the Nigerian judiciary is being compromised and obviously encouraging corruption in a country that has lost most of her earnings to a few individuals who have used their public offices to corruptly enrich themselves" 

Statement signed by the  Acting President of th Union Comrade  Kiri Mohammed  NLC  said the  "judgement is not only unpatriotic but clearly against national interest as  people are united against corruption" which it said has brought the nation's  image to global ridicule 

It is against this backdrop,  the NLC called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to immediately appeal against the judgement or call for a retrial, adding that the National Judicial Council to should investigate both the judge and the entire case.

President Jonathan Bows To Governors; Approves Release Of 2 Billion Dollars From Excess Crude Account

President Goodluck

Bowing to pressure from State Governors, President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday, approved the disbursement of 1 billion Dollars to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to enable them execute people oriented projects in line with the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda.

This is in addition to deduction of 1 billion Dollars for fuel subsidy payments.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Pictures: Gov. Fashola At Governors’ Forum In Abuja

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (right) and his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (right) after the Governors’ Forum meeting at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja on Monday, .January 28, 2013

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (right) and his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (right) after the Governors’ Forum meeting at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja on Monday, .January 28, 2013

Police Arraigns Alleged Mastermind Of Bomb Attack On 3 Newspapers Offices In Kaduna

The Police authority today arraigned before a  federal high court an alleged member of the militant Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram, Mustapha Usman over the bomb attack on the office of Thisday, The Moment and The Sun Newspapers offices located at the premises of S0J Plaza in Kaduna.  

It would be recalled that the 34 years old Mustapha Umar from Yobe state  was arrested on the 16th April,2012 when he allegedly drove a White Honda Academy car laden with explosive into the premises of SOJ Plaza where he detonated the explosive leaving few people wounded

The alleged terrorist who was brought into the court admst tight security could not take his plea on the ground he was not represented by a counsel

When Justice Ademola Adeniji sought to know why he could not hire the service of a lawyer the suspect who spoke through an interpreter said the police denied his love ones access to him while in the cell

Counsel to the federal government, Simon Labaran said the government was set for expeditious trial of the matter,arguing  that the suspect cannot delay hearing of the matter on the ground that he was told as at the time of arrest that he would need the services of a counsel

Justice Adeniji however said the court cannot seek the help of the Legal Aid Council to arrange for a lawyer to represent the alleged terrorist following the security and sensitive nature of the matter

 The trial Judge adjourned the matter to 5ft of February,2013 and ordered the police to  remind Mustapha Umar in Koje prison to enable him have access to his relatives and  hire a lawyer of his choice.

Seriake Dickson Prescribes Death Penalty For Kidnappers.

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson  has prescribed death penalty for kidnappers.

The Governor said  a bill to this effect will be forwarded to the State House of Assembly for passage into law.

Dickson made this known during the swearing in ceremony of Chairman and members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Agbere communal crisis, held at the Government House, Yenagoa.

The Governor said that he would not hesitate to sign the death warrant of kidnappers or those attempting to commit the crime as government would no longer condone acts of lawlessness.  

He threatened that any traditional ruler caught aiding and abetting kidnapping and other related vices would be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The Bill, according to the Governor, became imperative in order to forestall disruption of government’s developmental projects.

He thereby urged youths to take advantage of government’s policies and programmes geared towards building their capacity.

Senator Accuses Judge Of Undue Interest In His Election Case

Senator Representing Plateau North senatorial Zone in the National Assembly, Senator Gyang Pwajok has described the recent Judgement by the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Jos that dismissed the suit brought before it by a candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Tony Agaga, challenging his  October 6, 2012 election as a victory over the attack on the peoples mandate.

He expressed deep concern on the undue sentiment and interest being expressed by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who had earlier ordered Senator Pwajok to stop parading himself as the senator representing Plateau North Senatorial District. The senator described the judge's  refusal to sign his Judgement weeks after it was delivered as a sign of undue interest in the matter.

Senator Pwajok said his appeal should not be constrained by a lower court emphasizing that the undue interest in his case must stop forthwith.

N32.8 Bn Police Pension Scam: EFCC Kicks As Court Sentences John Yusufu to 6 Years Imprisonment

 The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has expressed reservation about the ruling of an FCT High Court, Abuja which handed a six year jail term with the option of N750, 000 fine to John Yakubu Yusufu, one of the six persons standing trial in the N32.8billion Police Pension scam. Justice Mohammed Talba convicted and sentenced Yusufu to two years imprisonment with the option of N250, 000 fine on three of an amended 20-count charge. The Commission is of the view that the option of fine runs contrary to the understanding between the prosecution and the defence wherein the convict consented to a custodial sentence with the forfeiture of all assets and money that are proceed of the crime. The agreement was duly communicated to his lordship.
The Commission will study the ruling and respond appropriately.

The six accused persons in the police pension scam were first arraigned on March 29, 2012, on 16-count criminal charges bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. The other accused person were Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira. Kigo was the director of the Police Pension Office before he was made permanent secretary.

At today’s sitting, the prosecution sought the leave of the court for the accused persons to take fresh plea to an amended 20-count charge.  Another accused person, Christian Madubuike was added to the charge even as the name of Mrs. Uzoma Cyril Attang was removed from the list of accused persons due to her absence in court. She will be arraigned at a later date.
All the accused pleaded not guilty to the amended charge with the exception of Yusufu who pleaded guilty to counts 18, 19 and 20, paving the way for his conviction.
Count 19 of the charge reads: “ that you John Yakubu Yusufu between 27th January, 2009 and 25th November 2009 at Abuja in the Abuja Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory converted to your use certain property, to wit the sum of N1,364, 285, 419.95 ( One Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty Four Million, Two Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand, Four Hundred and Nineteen  Naira and Ninety five Kobo) belonging to Police Pension Office domiciled in its account with First Bank of Nigeria Plc and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 309 of the Penal Code Act, Cap. 532, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory , Abuja , Nigeria , 2007”
Before the ruling, defence counsel, Theodore Bala Maiyaki pleaded with the court for leniency.  “My Lord, his conduct has shown respect for this honourable court, he has saved the time of my Lord and being a first offender, with no previous record of conviction, I urge the court to temper justice with mercy and sentence him with least possible terms.” 
He said the convict has a serious heart condition and is the bread winner of not only his immediate family but of numerous others.
However, prosecution counsel Rotimi Jacobs reminded the court that Section 309 of the Criminal Procedure Code prescribes a maximum of 2 years imprisonment, a fine or both for the offence which the convict had pleaded guilty to.

He said “ the court needs to send out the message that the era of stealing public funds with impunity is gone. Having regards to the amount and properties involved, the duty imposed on the convict, it would not be good to convict him without regards to assuaging the feelings of Nigerians especially the pensioners.”

Apart from the jail term, the former assistant director of Police Pension office is to forfeit 32 properties. Among the properties are two units of a 3 bedroom semi detached bungalow at R2, A and B, sunny homes, Dakwo District, Abuja; two units  of 3 bedroom semi bungalow- detached at M24, A and B, sunny homes Dakwo homes, Dakwo District Abuja; four units of a 3bedroom semi- detached bungalow, managed by Daniel at sunny homes, Dakwo District, Abuja; eight units of an Estates of two bedroom flats, at Gombe, GRA; one unit Semi-detached Duplex at house 21, 4th Avenue, Gwarinpa, Abuja; four units of a 2 bedroom semi - detached duplex at Bricks city, Kubwa road, Abuja and one unit of Semi- Detached Duplex, at 14B Democracy crescent, Gaduwa, Abuja.

He also forfeits N325, 187, 867.18 ( Three Hundred and Twenty Five Million, One Hundred and Seven Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty Seven Thousand, Eighteen Kobo) cash.

Canada To Increase Investment In Nigeria

 The Canadian government is seeking to increase its trade investment in Nigeria’s fast growing market.

Canada’s minister of international trade, Ed Fast made the commitment when he led a trade mission of twenty eight Canadian companies to the Nigeria-Canada bi-national commission meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ed Fast who will serve as co-chair added that the commission, which will rapidly grow both countries investment relationship, will among other things help negotiate a foreign investment protection agreement that will serve as guide for investors and set up dispute resolution rules.

Nigeria’s trade and investment minister Olusegun Aganga emphasized the importance to explore the strength inherent in the strong and increasing trade and investment relations in both economies to create employment, generate wealth and enhance economic growth for Nigerians.

The world trade organization, World Bank, the IMF and others shows that Nigeria’s economy which has been growing at seven and half percent in the last twelve years is projected to keep rising steadily.

Recruitment in PEF: Applicants petition Senate, FCC

No fewer than 11 applicants have petitioned the Senate and the Federal Character Commission (FCC) to probe the recent recruitment exercise in the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF).

In the petition signed by 11 applicants, which dated January 21, 2012 and received by both the Senate and the FCC on January 22, 2013, the applicants who claimed to be graduates of different universities in the country, alleged that the management of PEF recruited over 80 people without recourse to statutes regulating recruitment in the public service.

They alleged that PEF management did not give a level playing field to all Nigerians in their recruitment process so as to favour their people friends.

“The management of PEF did not follow due process by publishing/advertising existing vacancies in any national news daily as stipulated by the statute thereby depriving us of the opportunity to participate in the interview or selection exercise which was held between 3rd and 17th January, 2013,” they stated in the petition.

They said that while they had no grudges against those employed by the organisation, they are offended by the process that clandestinely gave them employment without having regards to the principle of federal character as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

They noted that part of the promise of the Federal Government was creation of jobs for unemployed Nigerians as well as giving equal opportunity to all irrespective of religious affiliation, financial capacity, ethnic and social background.

According to them, they believed the FCC was established, which the National Assembly was in support, to check flagrant abuse of processes and procedures of recruitment by various government establishments, including PEF.

The applicants therefore urged the Senate and the FCC to accommodate the probe of process of recruitment in PEF alongside that of the Nigeria Immigration Service.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Abuja High Court Sentences Former Police Pension Board To 2 Years In Prison

An Abuja High Court has sentenced former Director, Police Pension Board, Yakubu Yusuf, to two years in prison for embezzlement of N 23.3bn pension fund. 

He is also to forfeit N325 million and property.

In 2011, five civil servants, including the director were charged to court following their alleged complicity in the illegal diversion of N32.8 billion from the Nigerian Police pension fund between January 2009 and June 2011.

The Task Force under the leadership of Mr. Rasheed Maina claimed to have recovered over N159 billion in properties and cash from pension fraudsters.

The report of the investigation into the alleged mismanagement of the pension fund by a Senate Committee revealed that from 2005 to 2011 government officials in charge of pension funds in the country stole N237.9 billion pension funds, through a syndicated and institutionalised corruption, fraud and embezzlement in the management of pension funds in the country.

Gunmen kidnapped Parents of Local Government Chairman in Bayelsa

 Unknown gunmen have kidnapped the parents of the Chairman of Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The Kidnapped parents, Mr Festus Ibegu and Mrs.Ebiye Ibegu were abducted at their residence last night at Oloibiri by the gunmen while relaxing at home.

The gunmen invaded the area with a speed boat and shot sporadically to scare any intruder.

The kidnappers escaped with their victims by passing through Oloibiri water ways to an unknown destination.

This is coming barely a week after the kidnapped mother of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly,Betinah Benson, was released by gunmen after the payment of a ransom.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction of the Chairman's parents whose whereabout are unknown.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state,Fidelis Odunna who confirmed the incident says a Police crack team and Intelligence Unit have been dispatched to the area to track down the kidnappers.

Another NNPC pipeline Vandalised In Iju-Ishaga,

 The National Emergency Management Agency has strongly advised residents in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos not to inhale the petroleum product from the vandalised NNPC pipelines in the area. 

NEMA South West spokesman, Ibrahim Farinloye in statement said advice became necessary due to the spilling of petrol as a result of the indiscriminate activities of vandals.

Farinloye said NEMA has received distressed calls from the residents of Oluwole Bisiriyu street, Ilori Coker crescent, Kayode Williams Estate and Akute-Odo area over the pollution of the fresh air as a result of pipeline vandalism over night by vandals.

He said residents complained of serious stomach upset, nausea and coughing.

He explained that the agency had mobilized the safety personnel of the NNPC on the development and are almost concluding fixing the ruptured pipeline which is located under the Ogun River. 

He enjoined residents of the area to avoid consuming and using the river-water in the next three weeks.

Oyo To Begin Massive Removal Illegal Billboards

The Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency, the Government Agency established to regulate and control the Administration of outdoor Signage and Advertisement in Oyo State has concluded arrangements to commence massive enforcement of illegal billboards and signage  across the state boundaries.

Speaking in his Office in preparation for the Impending removal exercise ,the Director General ,Mr Yinka Adepoju lamented the high volume of indebtedness by Practitioners ,Corporate Organization and other sign owners to his agency .

 Mr Adepoju registered his displeasure on the attitudes of these recalcitrant Stakeholders who inspite of repeated reminders have refused to fulfil their financial obligations to the State Government emphasising the fact that it is the corporate responsibility of such defaulters to pay their billboard taxes and other relevant bills as at when due.

The Director General who also noted that a recent monitoring exercise carried out by his Agency across the State revealed there were lots of billboard clusters on the roads while many are in state of disrepair thereby degrading the aesthetics of the environment claiming that all such irregularities shall be immediately corrected.

Mr Adepoju citing Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency Law 2012 warned that it has now become an offence to practice outdoor Advertising or display a signage in the state without being duly registered by the regulatory Agency while condemning indiscriminate pasting of posters on fence walls and monuments, an act which he said is now prohibited

Oil workers to Embark on Warning Strike over Anti-Labour Practices in Onne Free Trade Zone

Oil workers under the auspices of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have issued a notice to embark on a three-day warning strike if companies in the Onne Free Trade Zone (FTZ) do not recall workers sacked for engaging in union activities and stop the impunity and injustice being meted out to oil and gas workers in theFree Trade Zone.

In a communique issued after a meeting of the Joint Action Committee of their two unions on Onne FTZ in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday, January 24, 2013, the oil workers' unions stated that the planned industrial action will commence on February  13 and end on February 15, 2013 and will affect the entire south east and south-south states except Delta and Edo states.

The workers said if after the three days’ warning strike, no concrete step was taken to correct the injustice by the employers in the FTZ, a full blown industrial action affecting the whole country and including but not limited to total shut down of the oil and gas production will be embarked upon.

According to them, the strike was in compliance with an earlier directive of the November 16, 2012 Joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of NUPENG and PENGASSAN in Calabar, Cross River State, which gave a three weeks ultimatum to companies operating in the FTZ to allow unionisation in compliance with the Nigerian Labour laws.

The workers noted with dismay that more than two months after the expiration of that ultimatum, and despite intimating all concerned  government agencies with the unwholesome anti-labour practices in the Onne FTZ, nothing had been done to redress the situation. 

The unions were therefore being forced to embark on the warning strike to seek redress.

“In trying to organise members in the Onne FTZ, we have lost members to sack, victimisation and humiliation contrary to labour best practices and as guaranteed by Section 40 of the Nigeria Constitution, Nigerian Labour Laws and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 87 and 90.

“Infact, companies in other areas of the zone which oversees Rivers, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Enugu, Abia, Anambra and Benue have relocated to the Onne FTZ just to avoid the existence and practice of trade unionism.

"We have reported severally the unfair labour practices going on in the Onne FTZ to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment but despite the lip service advise of the Ministry of Labour to authorities of the FTZ to respect constitutional rights of workers to join trade unions and bargain collectively, these companies in connivance with the authority of the FTZ and their collaborators in government continue to deny Nigerian workers these inalienable constitutional rights."

The workers noted that as at August 2011, only five companies of the 123 companies operating in the FTZ allowed their members to join trade unions, while the leadership of the unions in these five companies were sacked for having the effrontery to join trade unions. They added that more companies have migrated to the FTZ since then.

Minister Rallies Support For Eagles In Rustenberg

Sports Minister and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, has been working behind the scene to ensure that administratively and otherwise the Super Eagles remain on course at the ongoing Nations Cup championship.

The Minister, who has refused to leave South Africa, despite his tight schedule back home said on Monday morning that he will go nowhere until Nigeria reaches the knock-out stages of the tournament from where he assured that the team will now start excelling.

Along with the Minister, NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, have been working behind the scene to ensure that the team is in good stead for the game against Ethiopia, even as the East African side say they will play their hearts out against Nigeria, as they have nothing to lose against the Super Eagles. “I am here and working with the NFF to ensure that all goes well with the team and the signs I’m seeing are very encouraging”, the Minister declared on Monday morning.

The Minister and the NFF leadership were expected in Rustenberg later on Monday.