CJN: Nigerians storm streets of New York, urge US, UN to back Buhari


Barely 24 hours after some concerned Nigerians trooped out en mass in the United Kingdom to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, their counterparts in the United States (US) have followed suit.

These Nigerians, under the auspices of Restore Nigeria Coalition (RNC) were spotted in the streets of Washington, chanting ‘Sai Baba’ as they urged the Donald Trump-led government and the United Nations to support President Buhari in flushing out corruption.

Cosmas Collins, President of RNC, speaking on behalf of the group, believes Nigeria has made tremendous progress in the anti-corruption fight as witnessed in the case of embattled Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Breaking: I am Justice Walter Onnoghen, I have not resigned

“They are sufficing to note that since 2015, the present administration has initiated measures aimed at reducing corrupt practices in the conduct of government business at all tiers of governance. This effort has yielded positive results to the admiration of the bulk of Nigerians and the consternation of a select few that have benefited from the rot in the system,” he said.

“Undeterred, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has carried on with enthusiasm and a determination to see that structural defects are fixed to curb the rot in the system for the betterment of Nigeria as a country.

Breaking: CCT declines to stop Onnoghen’s trial

“You may also wish to note that the bane of underdevelopment in Nigeria is as a result of the lackadaisical attitude of previous governments in the fight against corruption that has resulted in the wanton disregard for accountability and transparency in the conduct of government businesses and by extension governance in Nigeria.

“Since 2015 when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari took over the affairs of the state in Nigeria, Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress in governance evident in the dividends of democracy trickling down the ladder.

“However, the present administration has encountered numerous challenges from individuals and organisations that have subverted the system through nefarious ways and means all in the quest to portray the Muhammadu Buhari administration in poor light in an attempt to pitch the populace against the government to fulfil their personal agenda of causing unrest and disaffection in the country.

“The recent case of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, who violated the law in declaring his assets as stipulated by the law has further emphasized the level of rot in the system.

“A particular segment of the Nigerian society has cried wolf where none exist and painted a picture of political persecution, forgetting that Nigeria was on the brinks of imminent collapse due the activities of a few that have benefitted from the rot in the system.

“We are through this medium soliciting for assistance from the United States and United Nation in the war against corruption in Nigeria as initiated by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in recent times.

Onnoghen: It’s unfortunate FG has no regard for rule of law- Ohanaeze

“A vivid example can be seen in the instance where the Chief Judicial Official in Nigeria, either by omission or commission failed to declare a part of his assets running into millions of dollars.

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria as the number one judicial officer in the country for inexplicable reasons did not declare a part of his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau in Nigeria. The CJN cited “forgetfulness and mistake” as the reasons for the non-declaration.

“The non-declared items are bank accounts with balances that runs into millions of pounds sterling and dollars. This is too much to be right in our considered opinion. As the number one judicial officer in the country, it is wholly untenable for such an excuse, unless for deliberate reasons.”

We’re sorry for joining APC, says defected Chieftains, supporters in A-Ibom


APC-PDP

The camp of the opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State has suffered another setback following the defection of prominent chieftains of the party in Esit Eket local government area. Bassey Dan-Abia and Emem Edoho defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, along with their numerous supporters, saying they were sorry for joining APC.

We are capable of hosting Buhari rally’

Dan Abia jnr, a former House of Representatives Member for Eket Federal Constituency, is a brother to a former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Bassey Dan Abia (Snr).

APC-PDP

They dumped their former party, the APC, alongside hundreds of their supporters, when the PDP took its campaign rally to the area on Wednesday.

Dan- Abia, who apologised for making a mistake in joining the APC, added that he decided to return to the PDP after his political sojourn in the broom party, maintaining that the APC has nothing to offer Akwa Ibom people in particular and Nigerians as a whole.

Breaking: I am Justice Walter Onnoghen, I have not resigned

He said, “PDP is a religion, not only in Akwa Ibom, but here in Esit-Eket and we are back to the fold (PDP). I am happy to work for the victory of the PDP. APC is an atomistic society perpetually at war with itself. Example abounds in Rivers State.

“We are sorry we made a mistake, we faltered and we have returned home. We will work for the success of our party. In view of the fact that the APC is only pretending and is really not visible in most parts of the country, I believe I am not too big to say I am sorry, I am coming back home to work for the overall success of our great party, the PDP in all the elections.”

The PDP political leader of the area, elder Benji Udobia, spoke on their behalf assured Governor Udom Emmanuel of their total support towards his re-election bid.

Similarly, Dr Ini Adiakpan who spoke on behalf of the women, said Esit Eket women were not ready to be tricked into slavery through the “broom party” and assured  to give PDP 100 percent support.

Governor Emmanuel, who promised to do more in the area if re-elected into office, announced his intention to construct the Stadium road, adding that modalities were at advanced stage for the reactivation of the Akwa Palm project.

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According to him, “In three years, I have done 19.75km in Esit Eket.  Those who promised 20 kilometres in eight years did none.

“We have started making some moves with the support of the PDP and the incoming President Atiku Abubakar, to ensure that Esit Eket, Mbo and  Ibeno become the new Nigeria through the actualization of Ibom deep sea port project. All I need is the cooperation of all and sundry to actualize the vision.” he appealed.

He, however, warned the people not to allow opposition elements to trick them into parting with their PVCs, saying that their voter’s cards remain their only power to support PDP’s candidates in the forthcoming elections.

Buhari arrives Kano for re-election campaign‎


President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Kano in continuation of his re-election campaigns across the country.

Muhammadu Buhari

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari landed at exactly 12: 55 pm at the 303 Nigerian Air Force Flying Training School Base, Kano.‎

He was received by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos state, Minister of Aviation and Director General, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Rotimi Amaechi‎.

Buhari: Petty traders, others make brisk business in Kano

Others are; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, Minister of State Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris.

Others include, Kano Business Mogul, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Governors of Zinder and Maradi in Niger Republic and members of State and National Assembly.‎

We are capable of hosting Buhari rally’

‎The president is expected to address a gathering of party supporters at the Sani Abacha Stadium at Kofar-Mata in Kano, to seek support for his re-election in the Feb. 16, presidential election.

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Thousands of APC supporters singing solidarity songs and displaying various party insignia had thronged the streets of Kano since morning to welcome President Buhari to the ancient city.(NAN)

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Trump says US-China trade talks ‘going well’


President Donald Trump on Wednesday touted the chances of success as US-China trade negotiations entered a second day, saying Beijing was eager to make a deal.

President Donald Trump

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In a morning series of tweets, he also said a final deal would leave “NOTHING” unresolved but such a bargain could only be struck after he met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping “in the near future.”

The meetings are “going well,” Trump said on Twitter.

“China does not want an increase in Tariffs and feels they will do much better if they make a deal. They are correct.”

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The two sides have just a month remaining in a 90-day truce declared in December. Should the talks fail, US import duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports are due to more than double on March 2 — something economists say could help knock the wind out of the global economy’s sails.

President Donald Trump 

But Washington’s aggressive prosecution of the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei — which federal prosecutors accused this week of industrial espionage, sanctions violations and fraud — threatened to upend the talks, drawing irate objections from Beijing.

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“No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more difficult points. Very comprehensive transaction,” Trump said.

“China’s representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table. All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved. Tariffs on China increase to 25% on March 1st, so all working hard to complete by that date!”

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Buhari: Petty traders, others make brisk business in Kano


Petty traders, such as food vendors and sachet water sellers, are making brisk business in Kano on Thursday as the people of the State await the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari for his re-election campaign, at the Sani Abacha stadium.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the food vendors, including sellers of other local delicacies, are making huge sales at the venue of the rally.

Buhari

Other traders having a field day at the rally include sellers of APC branded stickers, small flags and other souvenirs.

A sachet water seller, Sada Abdullahi, told NAN that he had sold 20 bags containing 20 pieces of the commodity each, at the venue of the event as at 12 noon.

“I made a lot of sales today as I sold no fewer than 20 bags of commodity at N150 each because it is one of the best quality sachet water around,” he said.

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Similarly, a Kolanut and Cigarettes seller, Malam Ibrahim Sale, said he made no less than N3,000 from the sales of the commodities within three hours.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stadium is already filled to capacity with APC supporters waiting for the arrival of the president. (NAN)

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Breaking: Asaba shuts down as Atiku campaign team arrives Delta


ASABA, the Delta State capital has been shutdown as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar campaign team arrived the State for campaign rally.

: Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democrtic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar acknowledging cheers from hin teeming supporters as he was warmly received from the trip to the United States of America at the General Aviation Terminal, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

There was serious traffic grid at Nnembisi road, which leads to the Stephen Keshi Stadium, venue of the rally, even as men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the police and other security agents were seen trying to control vehicular movement.

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Meanwhile, the Stephen Keshi Stadium was full to capacity as thousands of Deltans thronged the venue to catch a glimpse of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Tsio Tsio musical band led by the Governor of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN, Mr Quincy Tebite, Davido,  Timaya, among other musicians and comedians,  were on ground to entertain the people.

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Also, PDP women and youths cladded in customized wrappers and T-shirts danced round the stadium in solidarity for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and the PDP. The State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, his Deputy, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori and some other top government functionaries led Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his running mate, Mr Peter Obi among other top PDP chieftains from the Asaba international airport, where he landed to the campaign rally venue at exactly 1:10pm in an open roof luxurious bus. He waved at the crowd beaming smiles of satisfaction.

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Drones help Galapagos tackle rat infestation


ISLAND CONSERVATION
North Seymour’s blue-footed booby birds dig a shallow trench to raise their chicks

Drones are helping conservationists rid one Galapagos island of an infestation of rats threatening indigenous birds.

The drones have dropped poison on more than half of North Seymour Island in a bid to kill off the invasive species.

The island’s rare birds nest on the ground and their numbers are being depleted by the rodent invasion.

The drones work much faster and more cheaply than helicopters which have been used in similar rat eradication projects elsewhere.

Placed precisely

The infestation of brown and black rats was discovered in early 2018 and prompted action by NGO Island Conservation and the Galapagos’ Ministry of the Environment to rid the territory of the pest.

Drone on ship
Drones were launched from a ship offshore during the poisoning project

Rare species including frigate birds and the blue-footed booby raise their young in nests on the ground making them easy prey for the rats. The island has few trees so it is difficult for the indigenous birds to escape predation.

The rats are also known to eat native plants including the opuntia cactus and fragrant palo santo tree.

In addition, there are no species living on the island that prey on the rats. The birds mainly eat fish and North Seymour’s land iguanas eat cactus.

Island Conservation hopes that if the rats can be eliminated, this will herald the return of lava gulls that no longer nest on North Seymour.

Galapagos drone
The drones were fitted with special hoppers to dispense the poison

While other eradication projects have used helicopters to deliver poison, this was not feasible on North Seymour because of its remote position. Any helicopter, and its pilot, would first have to be delivered to the island on a boat before it could be used.

Drones can deliver poison much more precisely than is possible via helicopter, said Karl Campbell, South American regional director for Island Conservation. Each drone was flown for many 15-minute journeys, during which time they dispensed about 20kg (44lb) of poison.

The poison was cooked up by Bell Labs, which used a custom formula that can survive the island’s extreme weather.

While 52% of North Seymour was baited with the drones, the rest of the 1.9 sq km (0.7 sq miles) island required work by more than 30 park rangers to cover the rugged territory with poison.

Brown rat
Brown and black rats have infested the island

Island Conservation said it planned to put down the deadly bait once more before starting to look at the effect on the island’s rats.

Other projects in remote regions to remove rats had shown “dramatic” results, said Island Conservation. Five years after rats were extinguished on Palmyra Atoll, also in the Pacific, native tree cover had increased by 5,000%, it found.

The Galapagos work comes in the wake of a similar programme on the island of South Georgia  in the South Atlantic.

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UK prisons: Assaults and attacks on staff at record levels


Justice Secretary David Gauke said violence and self-harm in prisons is “unacceptably high.”

The number of assaults in prisons in England and Wales has reached a record high.

There were 33,803 attacks by prisoners in the year to the end of September 2018 – 20% up on the previous year.

The figures include a record 10,085 assaults on prison staff – up 29%.

There were 92 self-inflicted deaths in 2018, up from 72 in 2017.

The charity Prison Reform Trust (PRT) described the figures as “disturbing”.

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Of the total number of assaults 3,949 (12%) were serious, up 6% from the previous year.

The figures, published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), also revealed there were:

  • 325 deaths in prison custody in the 12 months to December 2018 – up 10%
  • 24,138 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in the 12 months to September 2018 – up 18%
  • Four killings in jail last year

Many prisons in England and Wales have seen surging levels of violence, drug use and self-harm in recent years.

The government says it is spending an extra £70m, including recruiting 4,000 extra staff, to help boost security in prisons.

Ministers plan to roll out synthetic pepper spray, known as Pava, to staff in publicly run prisons for men this year, following trials.

The MoJ has also announced traditional prison window bars are to be replaced with toughened glass and air vents in new prisons to help prevent drugs being smuggled in.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said he was “optimistic” the new measures could reduce violence.

“Clearly there is huge amount yet to be done but I am determined to cut the violence so prisons can focus on rehabilitating the offenders who will be back out at some point.

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“And while these figures are disturbing, I am optimistic that the measures we have been putting in place will help us to reduce violence and ultimately better protect the public.”

‘Making a volatile situation even worse”

PRT’s head of policy, Mark Day, said government plans were not working and warned Pava sprays could make “a volatile situation even worse.”

“The measures the government have put in place to improve prison safety, including increasing staff numbers and the roll out of a new key worker model, have not yet succeeded in reversing this rising trend.”

Prison staff union the Prison Officers’ Association said the figures were shocking and showed no progress had yet been made.

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Peter Crouch: Stoke City striker poised for Premier League return with Burnley



Substitute Crouch volleys Stoke level against Shrews
Substitute Crouch volleys Stoke level against Shrews

Stoke City striker Peter Crouch, who turned 38 on Wednesday, is set to return to the Premier League at Burnley as part of a deal which will see Sam Vokes go the other way.

Championship club Stoke will pay a fee for Clarets striker Vokes, 29.

Crouch has made 462 Premier League appearances for six different clubs, scoring 108 goals.

Emiliano Sala’s family view search area off Guernsey

The former England forward was part of the Stoke side relegated from the Premier League last season.

Crouch has also played in the top flight for Tottenham, Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool and Portsmouth.

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Vokes, who played for Wales at Euro 2016, has been at Burnley since July 2012 and has this season started 10 league games for the Clarets, who are 17th in the Premier League.

Listen: Peter Crouch tells us what it’s like to be a player on the move on deadline day, arguments with chairmen and disagreements with managers.

Most headers & most sub appearances – Crouch’s Premier League record

Crouch was handed his Premier League debut at Aston Villa by Graham Taylor – at the age of 21. He started in a 3-2 defeat against Bolton in March 2002 and his team-mates included Peter Schmeichel, Steve Staunton and Gareth Barry.

Crouch’s club-by-club Premier League career
Team Games played Minutes played Goals Assists
Stoke City 202 12690 45 18
Liverpool 85 4575 22 12
Tottenham 73 4231 12 12
Portsmouth 38 3361 11 5
Aston Villa 37 1755 6 5
Southampton 27 1780 12 6

A veteran of 42 England caps, Crouch has scored the most headed goals in the Premier League and made 152 substitute appearances – the most in Premier League history.

Most headed goals in Premier League
Player Premier League goals Headed goals
Peter Crouch (Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Tottenham, Stoke) 108 53
Alan Shearer (Blackburn, Newcastle) 260 46
Dion Dublin (Man Utd, Coventry, Aston Villa) 111 45

Of the 28 players to score 100 Premier League goals or more, Crouch is the oldest. He brought up his century playing for Stoke against Everton on 1 February 2017 – two days after turning 36.

Crouch 'really pleased' to get to 100-goal milestone
Crouch ‘really pleased’ to get to 100-goal milestone

He has also scored for each of the six clubs he has played for in the Premier League.

Only Craig Bellamy – for Coventry, Newcastle, Blackburn, Liverpool, West Ham, Manchester City and Cardiff – has scored for more.

Crouch has scored more Premier League goals (108) than Dennis Bergkamp (87), Fernando Torres (85), and Cristiano Ronaldo (84).

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Equal pay: Asda loses appeal in court case…,


Supermarket giant Asda has lost an appeal in the latest development to a long-running legal dispute with staff over equal pay.

The decision means that lower paid shop staff, who are mostly women, can compare themselves with higher paid warehouse workers, who are mostly men.

Asda said it was “disappointed” with the decision and added it remained confident in its case.

A ruling over whether the work is of equal value is likely to be in May.

Leigh Day, which represented the staff, said the judgement was a “major step forward in the fair pay battle”.

Asda said: “We are obviously disappointed with the decision, which relates to a preliminary issue of whether jobs in different parts of the business can be compared.”

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It said it had brought the appeal “because it involved complex legal issues which have never been fully tested in the private sector and we will continue to ensure this case is given the legal scrutiny it deserves”.

The Employment Tribunal first ruled against Asda in October 2016. It said shop workers, who mainly work at check-outs or stacking shelves, could compare themselves with staff who work at warehouses.

Asda then appealed against this decision on 10 different grounds.

In August 2017, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled all points of their appeal unsuccessful. Asda then took its case to the Court of Appeal.

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Following Thursday’s ruling, the Court of Appeal denied Asda the right to appeal. However, the BBC understands the supermarket chain intends to apply to the Supreme Court to appeal against the ruling there.

Asda shopping bag

There are three key stages in an equal pay case

  • Are the jobs comparable?
  • If the jobs are comparable, are they of equal value?
  • If they are of equal value, is there a reason why the roles should not be paid equally?

Leigh Day represents more 30,000 shop floor staff from the big four supermarkets – Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons – in similar cases.

The legal firm said the claims against the big four supermarkets, if they lose their cases and are ordered to pay all eligible staff, could total more than £8bn.

The GMB union, which represents some Asda workers, welcomed what it described as Thursday’s “landmark” judgment.

General secretary Tim Roache, said: “We know we’re not all the way there, there are more hurdles to jump in this process and as always we remain ready to negotiate should Asda want to get round the table.”

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Asda said: “Our hourly rates of pay in stores are the same for female and male colleagues and this is equally true in our depots.

“Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres because the demands of the jobs in stores and the jobs in distribution centres are very different; they operate in different market sectors and we pay the market rate in those sectors regardless of gender.”

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